I have decided to write a bit about New Zealand away from its clean, green image but also not neglecting that as well as New Zealand has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world with volcano’s, glaciers, fijords, magnificent hiking as well as great fishing, climbing, caving and a host of other activities for any tourist visiting to have a thoroughly good time. That said it also has an underbelly that is rarely discussed and this week with the UNICEF report on ranking of how children were treated, educated, etc in all the industrialised countries of the world New Zealand came bottom out of 26, with the UK 21st. A bit scary and pehaps the report is not a true reflection of how many children are treated in NZ as I know many of my friends and family do treat their children very well but also I also know that is not the case with everyone.
I grew up in South Auckland, Manurewa to be exact which has changed a lot since my childhood, its also a place that few tourists would ever venture except perhaps to visit the Botanic Gardens beside the motorway. NZ’s image abroad is one of All Blacks and rugby, great place for a holiday, sailing and a laid back attitude to life which is all true. However, politically it is a country where there is a lot of inertia and in terms of policy as the UNICEF report on children indicates is failing the children of NZ. My favourite policy is climate change, probably because I work in the field and one of the reasons I left was a frustration and resignation that an ad hoc climate change policy with no chance of ever having true quantitative targets would ever happen. So it was with a little cynism I read about the Prime Minister in NZ saying climate change will be a keystone policy this year with a long term aim of carbon neutrality which is probably possible but one of methane neutrality a little more difficult. I await the outcome of the policy review currently underway but will go with the prediction that emissions trading will be chosen as the key policy, which as I recall was suggested by a previous PM Geoffrey Palmer in 1988! I will stop here.