Sunday, 14 July 2013
Thisn is the sppech i gave to my class as part of an assessment all about of New Zealand is 100% pure. Please excuse the spelling mistakes and bad grammer.
Bill McKibben once said, ‘New Zealand needs to decide whose company it wants to keep. Those countries like Germany that are moving fast to chart a new course in renewable energy, or those countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia that are reckoning they can keep the dirty years going on a little longer.’ We live in a world of darkness and dirty. Turning a blind eye to the environmental events of our age ignoring the lack of political and social change on the topic. Blatantly ignoring, and allowing the environmental degradation of our world and country to elongate. Now, severely risk encroaching on how we live and expect to live in New Zealand. This lack of political and social change can be seen in many forms. In our waterways, how we treat our marine environment and the wildlife that inhabit that environment. Our treatment of our country and environmental disrespect.
We call ourselves 100% pure. It’s our biggest marketing campaign and coincidently, our largest marketing ploy. We put it on wristbands, signs and water bottles, our politicians fluently recite speeches about it including all the bills they never pass. Although with the evolution modern water testing, our pure label is under serious scrutiny. New Zealand has 425,000 kilometres of rivers and streams but nearly half of our country is developed into farmland. Leading to an increase in farm runoff, nitrogen, phosphorous, phosphates in the soil, periphyton and fine bed sediment. At the last water quality testing in New Zealand, 52% of our waterways had a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ quality. 28% had a ‘fair’ quality, although swimming in these waterways entails a risk of illness. And only 20% had a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ quality. And even when shown this 80% impure statistic last year, John Key dismissed the information as nothing saying ‘the Vast bulk of New Zealand waterways are safe to swim in, so when they look at these statistics they look at the worst ones, they don’t measure all of them, and they measure at the worst time possible.’ Right, so it seems our prime minister is happy that most of our waterways are safe. I wouldn’t classify 20% as most, would you? Nor would I be happy swimming in one of our 52% severely damaged and unhealthy rivers. These statistics are measured in summer, when people are swimming in rivers, so it is the best time possible and over a third of our waterways are monitored. But that label would stand up, would it? New Zealand, 52% impure.
We also damage our waterways in other ways. To the east of our country is the Tasman Sea and to the west lies the Pacific Ocean. And below these turbulent waves lies a world of beauty, mystery and wonder. Yet under these same waves also lurks what has been labelled ‘the slowest recovery mission of our time’ by Greenpeace. 53 Maui dolphins remain, and very little has been done to protect them. A net ban has been introduced but not to the entirety of their territory. We call ourselves Clean Green New Zealand yet if, and quite likely, when the Maui’s dolphin goes extinct, we will become only the second country after China to oversee the extinction of a Dolphin Species after the Yangtze River Dolphin was declared extinct in 2006.
New Zealand waters are also home to 112 shark species, 73 are commercially fished and only 11 species are covered by the Quote Management System. New Zealand is also one of the 20 top exporters of shark fins to Asian countries. Worth 4.5 billion dollars annually. So why is this a problem? There worth revenue and political alliances. So what’s wrong with shark fins? Every year up to 100 million sharks are culled worldwide simply for their fins, The sharks are caught and hauled aboard, where their fins are cut off and can then be legally, legally dumped back into the ocean dead, or dying, lacking the physical ability to move. Surely this barbaric practice could only happen in some far-flung country? However, in New Zealand waters, 15 km that way, Shark fining is legal. It can’t be seized as illegal goods, it is instead packaged for export to be turned into the Asian delicacy, shark fin soup. Every political party in New Zealand is calling for a ban. Expect national. Every other political party is willing to leave 4.5 billion dollars behind in the bid for a cleaner, greener country. Except national. And every other party is willing to change our environment before it’s too late. Except national ,except national. Except national. The perfect example of the lack of political change, despite the public outcry.
We even treat our environment badly. 30% of our country has been made into reserves. Where as only 0.3% of our mainland coast is reserve land. The land reserves mean many of our species have room to breed and thrive. The lack of marine reserves tells a different story. Take for example of snapper in the Goat Island reserve. Snapper numbers have still not returned to their pre-fished value, this is because snapper need 40 square kms to thrive. Goat Island is only 5.1 square kilometres. New Zealand is not 100% pure. We have too much disrespect for our environment and what lives in it. However, changing a politician’s view may sound hard but it is possible. We may not be 100% pure now but getting there is 100% achievable.