Nothing will satisfy cynical Greens
New Zealand, top of the world? No, way — you’re joking right? What are we top in — rugby, cricket, academic research, the International Olympiads, basketball, soccer, yachting?
In the past few years, we’ve only really had the rights to brag about our national netball team, a sport which, really, few countries really care about.
But now, when we finally hit the jackpot in environmental performance in a report by Yale and Columbia Universities, our environmental political party is unhappy. Amidst our moment of glory, one of our own, Jeanette Fitzsimmons, is quick to jump up and say, you know, that’s just not good enough.
What do we expect of ourselves? Safe drinking water? Low ozone levels? Low greenhouse gas emissions? Oh, wait a second, we’ve already got all of those!
Nevertheless, in the eyes of the Greens, the report is not an encouraging one; quite the contrary. They point to our renewable energy score — a mere 35 out of 100 — and say we only look good because everyone else did worse.
Hold on. If we’re ahead of other countries, doesn’t that mean we’re on the right track? That, in a world where renewable energy is poorly utilised, we are among the countries leading with initiatives? And isn’t that a good thing?
Of course there’s room for improvement. There’s always room for improvement. And let’s be fair, the whole environmental concern thing hasn’t been around for that long, and it takes time.
So to be top of the world in environmental performance shows, at the very least, we’re on the right track. That, even if we’re not perfect, we’re doing well.
And to take this report as shaming New Zealand for being so inadequate is not only detrimental to the small moment of fame we get from it — it is also a severe, cynical misinterpretation, one that could only come from a group that has nothing better to do.
Jeanette Fitzsimmons is the co-leader of the Green Party