SATURDAY’S Gisborne Herald editorial contained some of the best “opinion piece” writing I have seen in this paper for a long time.
I say that simply because it states the obvious and makes a lot of sense — elements sadly lacking in a lot of what masquerades as fair comment from other contributors.
So much of what was said in that piece also has relevance to other important debates we are having, especially the controversial topic of sustainable growth and how we manage it in this country.
We seem at present unable to emerge from under the weight of the shrill calls from the Greens to lock up New Zealand and throw away the key. How that will help us to grow is beyond me. It is just plain stupid and defies any form of logic.
What we do need to do, above all else, is to find out what our natural resources are, where they are located, the extent of the deposits and at least get an informed opinion as to how we might exploit these assets to the betterment of the nation as a whole.
Any investigation will have to ensure that all our options are canvassed and presented in such an independent way that allows for an informed debate to follow which will ultimately influence what we do next.
I am totally convinced that any decisions to mine or harvest these resources can be managed in such a way as to ensure our environment is adequately protected. If the extraction systems are suspect enough to deem them unreliable in providing this protection then logically, we should delay that part of the exercise until we can provide those guarantees.
Tragically, at present, if the Greens have their way, we will never know what our potential could be! For them, it will never be the right time to explore what a wealthy country I suspect we are.
For a moment, let us look at the consequences of not finding out where our wealth lies.
No amount of telling the rest of the world that we generally run stable governments, can produce all the protein the world needs or that we are the most scenic country on the planet will cut the mustard when the bankers look at our credit rating and decide we can’t sustain it any more.
Just look at virtually every state within the European Union, some of which have economies that are structured similarly to New Zealand’s.
We have seen what happens when hard questions are asked about a country’s ability to sustain growth at a level and in such a way that will satisfy the people who lend the funds to develop. Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Iceland have all had the ruler run over their economies and been bluntly told that they must face up to some very distasteful political decisions, with draconian effects on the social and economic fabric of each state.
It is definitely not “carry on business as usual”!
If we don’t get our own house in order quickly, New Zealand faces the very real possibility of being told to do the same.
Probably, the one thing that could save us from such a fate is to show that we are a country rich enough in natural resources to pay our way.
That is arguably the main reason why Australia has been able to ride out this recession unscathed.
I believe we could, in fact, join our Aussie cousins with such a favourable reputation if we stopped listening to this nonsense from the Greens.
For the sake of us all, we have to find out!