Our Hometown

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ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND: that’s the number of jobs likely to be lost as New Zealand’s tourist industry collapses. Very few of those involved in the accommodation, refreshment and entertainment of international visitors are open to the idea that most of their enterprises are gone for good. Many appear to believe that domestic tourists will fill the gaping hole in their business plans. Others are counting on Winston Peters’ trans-Tasman bubble to save the industry. Such hopes are almost certainly vain. As the foreman in Bruce Springteen’s classic song “My Hometown” puts it: “These jobs are going, boys, and they ain’t coming back.”

Those tourism jobs, though, they’re not like the jobs in Springsteen’s soon-to-be-closed textile mill. The factory jobs of the post-war boom underpinned a whole way of life. Unionised and well-paid, they conferred dignity and security on a working-class that was still conscious of its power and purpose. Those jobs paid for houses, cars, household appliances and holidays at grandad’s batch or a seaside holiday camping ground. Those jobs were solid and they made the people who did them solid too. When the factories closed and solid livelihoods they provided simply melted into air, New Zealand’s proud but fragile working-class culture evaporated along with them.

When all the hotels and restaurants constructed to accommodate the millions of international visitors who poured into New Zealand during the age of hyper-tourism shut down, their workforces will simply scatter. Mostly young, mostly untethered, and mostly flexible – in  the approved neoliberal fashion – they will suffer, struggle, adapt and survive. The vast majority of these hospitality workers will experience the collapse of their industry as a purely individual misfortune. The mass unionism of 1936-1991, which made the closure of any workplace a powerful collective experience (and generally resulted in some form of redundancy compensation) has not been a feature of working-life in the private sector for quarter-of-a-century.

Overwhelmingly, the collapse of hyper-tourism in New Zealand will be a small-business tragedy. These enterprises were the Remora fish who fed off the massive shark of international travel. Their fate will be the fate of all businesses born out of the extraordinary expansion of global markets which has defined the economic history of the past fifty years. Having taken advantage of global forces over which they exercised not the slightest control, they now find themselves caught up in an equally uncontrollable, exogenously generated, sequence of global events. Sadly, there is almost nothing that the small business owners can do to prevent these new global realities from smashing their enterprises and shattering their dreams.

Naturally, they will turn to the Government for assistance, even though the Government is almost as powerless to redirect the global tide as the small business-person.

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The brute facts of the Covid-19 catastrophe toll over the tourist industry like a funeral bell.

The unprecedented affordability of global travel – largely the effect of cost-saving innovations in the aviation industry – cannot endure. The Pandemic is destroying the world’s airlines. When it ends, the number of carriers will have shrunk significantly. Where there were once hundreds, experts are predicting that there will be only a few dozen airlines. That means fewer flights and higher fares. The number of international travellers will plummet. New Zealand will find itself in possession of a tourist infrastructure several times too large for its dramatically reduced visitor traffic.

There is nothing any government can do about this. No politician can conjure up millions of tourists out of thin – or even smoky Australian – air. Covid-19 has transformed those streams of passengers pouring off the airliners and cruise ships from prized spenders into potentially dangerous carriers of deadly diseases. Borders will become a lot harder to penetrate. Foreigners will no longer receive such a warm welcome.

Not that the foreigners will be much inclined to come anyway. It is a universal feature of economic crises that the ordinary person in the street becomes extremely risk averse and reluctant to spend. People become very careful with their money. Having being thoroughly drenched by the rainy day overhead, they immediately begin saving for the largest possible umbrella to protect them during the next. From seeing one last carefree hurrah aboard a cruise ship as their bound and due, the Baby Boom Generation may even start thinking about the generations coming after them.

Nothing politicians can do about that, either.

It all sounds very grim, and it will be, but only for a while. That strange combination of creativity, thrill-seeking and greed, which propels the entrepreneur towards new ventures will soon respond to new incentives and new opportunities. It is here that politicians can do something. In fact, it is here that they can do quite a lot. Governments can help with finance and advice; they can help with the imparting of new skills to new workforces; they can build affordable homes and lodgings for new workers to live in; they can re-empower those workers with the right to organise and participate in the new ventures – growing into new industries – that, phoenix-like, will rise out of the ashes of the old.

New Zealanders were surely made for nobler occupations that making beds, cooking food, pouring drinks and providing thrills and entertainment for wealthy foreigners. It is one of the great paradoxes of the Covid-19 Pandemic, that the places so many millions travelled so far around the world to see only revealed their true selves when the tourists stopped coming. Fish swam in the fresh clear water of Venice’s canals. The Taj Mahal glittered under azure blue skies. And we, in our bubbles, looked into the faces of the people we loved and realised for the first time in a long time how very beautiful they were. There is so much more to see in our hometowns when, like the little boy riding with his father in Springsteen’s song, we are given the opportunity to “take a good look around”.

 

38 COMMENTS

  1. I am really sorry for those whose income will drop, but welcome the good earth being able to breath better.

    Without real keepers of the land, nor a genuine conservation estate in New Zealand now, the drop in tourism numbers may help would-be workers to consider more productive, and more beneficial occupations, than whoring our mother – albeit for big bucks.

  2. If you couldn’t work out that tourism could not last the way it is going, then you are a dinosaur.

    As things change, industry needs to change. Climate change meant, NZ tourism was already on borrowed time.

    Sadly NZ increasingly has massive industry lobby groups for sunset polluting industries like tourism, intensive dairy, poor fast food businesses, construction … all of which are run in a disaster model of ‘low value, very polluting, no innovation’ ‘no risk control or contingency planning for downturns’ and off the backs of cheap unskilled Labour and visa rorts.

    Sadly like all ponzi’s and lack of ability to innovate, eventually they die when something goes wrong. I just hope the NZ government doesn’t bankrupt the country even more aka instead of ‘think big’ it’s ‘think small’ and bankrupt the next generations future on gross stupidity propping up a disaster zone.

    NZ could save money and the environment by the Covid intervention. They need to change or die and the first step is to send all the temp workers home as per their visa, and not let the migrant workers lobby group take NZ’s future away, because there is not future in tourism for many years and will never be the same again in terms of numbers. The titanic has sunk.

    Most of the tourism places were going to fail anyway. They were run by clueless people who bought the businesses for residency and ran them into the ground. I stayed at a supposedly luxury resort in Rotorua, well it was a joke, run by two browbeaten migrant workers, part of an expanding resort chain of their brand, if you want stinky fridges, constant bits falling off your room, rat bait boxes under your bed and housekeeping who forgot to clean the bathroom before renting the hotel room, that was the state on NZ tourism! Not to mention the frequent bus crashes, the volcanic eruptions, the congestion, the sewerage, lack of water and expanding tourism deaths here…

    NZ is running out of water in cities and towns and has seriously destroyed the previous pristine environment that the tourists came to see.

    Covid in NZ has the ability to save more lives than it took, just by calling a halt to the massive air and water pollution that was being allowed here by tourism, intensive dairy, construction and social harm from bad food.

    Is our government smart enough to take it a bad situation and turn it around to do good for the country? I’m not sure when I see their plan seems to be to deregulate further with the RMA and more environmental losses and prop up socially poor businesses, liquor barons.

    Not all tourist operators are doing badly, this billionaire polluter whose allowed to construct illegal dams for his golf courses and help wipe out one of the world’s most endangered birds https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/12/19/953508/dam-delays-half-soon-half-later-maybe is expanding the practise… https://localmatters.co.nz/news/38142-golf-mecca-planned-te-arai.html?fbclid=IwAR3MVYR9bQIvUBJn2xIXLbDv5Kqn2G-N3vTfL6h-t9ca9X7bfIGxV8dRjkU

    The third biggest export in NZ is IT which also seems to be surviving Covid a lot better. I wonder where the government should be sinking their money? Sarcasm.

    But again it seems, propping up the tax free profits of Google and following overseas big business advice, instead of putting money their own nationals to make the next NZ Google is the government’s only solution.

    • Wow. I wish I could live such a Puritan life as you must, the way you have described your idea of NZ post Covid. You obviously don’t travel, eat out much, especially fast food. I imagine you grow most of your own food and any dairy would not come from Fonterra. I imagine you would happily line up to work instead of migrant labour in the orchards. You must already have your own home as there’s far too much construction going on, although we really mean industry, stuff that pays for footpaths. And as a question, how does the Government of the day finance this brave new world of yours as it’s your grandchildren it’s borrowing from now to pay for the Covid virus outbreak. We can try to improve the health of our planet, we All can see that, but your idea of somehow switching the existing economy off is a fairytale in my mind. If you are serious you are disingenuous with your claim of being “ really sorry “ about those people in those Industries that in your opinion are killing the planet and must go.

    • There are a thousand thousand activity’s that can be developed by this tragedy that would create employment and earn foreign cash for us all. There is no excuse for not getting serious now and aggressively pursuing them for the betterment of all NZ’ers. The ONLY ones standing in the way now is the dead economic / political ideology of the neo liberals.

      We did it before and we can do it again.

      WITHOUT THEM.

      So to all those neo liberal whiners who love to quote TINA , – read your history books and learn that people in this country did it pretty rough and yet STILL made things happen LONG BEFORE you ever showed up on the scene with your Johhny come lately destructive Mont Pelerin guidebook for sucking the best out of any country you chose to put your tentacles into.

      People went through the Great Depression and then the World War Two, – and learnt from it and how to look after their own in this country after that. With far more deaths and deprivation than this covid19 will ever inflict.

      The neo liberal is a liar.

      Never listen to them or their doleful / baleful cry’s about the economy.

  3. I have known for long time that tourism was a short-term aberration in the grand scheme of things, and was a sector that contributed little to our collective welfare, other than the understanding and appreciation of different cultures, whilst it contributed massively to the degradation of the environment, both visibly and invisibly -all that steel, concrete, glass, copper and plastics going into the construction of hotels (and the commensurate emissions involved in the manufacture and installation of those material; all the aluminium, titanium, copper, plastics and rubber required to construct aircraft (and the commensurate emissions in manufacture); all the steel, copper, plastics and glass required to construct motor vehicles and cruise ships (and the commensurate emissions in manufacture).

    But most of all, the enormous per capita emissions that are a natural consequence of operating airplanes, helicopters (one of the most inefficient forms of transport ever devised), jet boats, speed boats, jet skis etc., and the large (and very nasty) per capita emissions of diesel buses and campervans etc.

    One of the most egregiously stupid wastes of resources was the construction of the Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth (against the wishes of a large sector, if not of the majority, of the local populace out of some of the most environmentally-unfriendly materials available, and largely at ratepayer expense: stainless steel cladding of concrete with steel reinforcing.

    This monstrosity, not only visually out of keeping with the local architecture but also a traffic hazard, was pushed through by the tiny sector of the business community, and supported by the corrupt Key government, on the basis that it would attract millions of tourists who would fill the hotels and restaurants of the then mayor (a hotelier) and his cronies.

    All concerns about the imminent decline energy supplies and the ongoing overheating of the planet by emissions were ignored by the so-called planners, of course.

    So here was are, not many years later, with not just the Len Lye Centre but a vast collection of ‘infrastructure’ across the country that has little or no utility, just as expected (and predicted) by anyone with a brain that functions properly and who is not out to grab what they can while they can and rort the system to do so.

    If ever there was a formula for accelerating Planetary Meltdown and creating local environmental catastrophes , then tourism has to be a prime contender. So good riddance to bad rubbish.

    ‘good riddance (to bad rubbish)
    It is a good thing this detrimental person or thing is leaving, because one is better off without them or it.’

    https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Good+Riddance+to+Bad+Rubbish

    That is especially true for our children and grandchildren, who are inheriting a world depleted of resources and overloaded with pollutants, one of the most dangerous being excess carbon dioxide, which is causing Planetary Meltdown and Acidification of the Oceans.

    April CO2
    Apr. 2020: 416.18 ppm
    Apr. 2019: 413.52 ppm

    Thank you, Chris, for pointing out there are many alternatives to tourism. Sadly, one of the most productive alternatives -permaculture- is still ignored because there is no way for banks and corporations to profit from it, or for governments to tax it or control it. (Though NPDC did have good go at stamping out community gardens in Waitara and has allowed others to run down. And a really nasty government could impose heavy land taxes in the form of local rates or pass ‘food safety regulations’ to deter people from becoming to-a-degree self-sufficient.)

    over the coming months we will see just how deluded Jacinda Adern and her colleagues are, and whether they will continue to try to resurrect ‘dead horses’ in order to preserve dysfunctional status arrangements. From what I have witnessed over the years, I am not at all hopeful this government will not continue to squander resources on boondoggles and continue to make our collective predicament worse.

    I am often reminded of the canal builders of England in the early 1800s. Having committed to canal construction they perceived the emergent rail systems as short term novelties with no future and continued to pour money and other resources into the construction of canals, many of which operated for a rather short time before being superceded by rail.

    Sadly, humans are generally (and especially industrial humans) are not at all good at planning for the future, especially when that future will be very different form anything they have experienced or desire. So, I’m sure ‘we’ will continue to construct ‘permanent’ infrastructure in places that will be under water in a few decades, due to sea level rise, and ‘we’ will continue to construct high rise buildings that are ‘doomed to failure’ due to energy system failure, and will continue to rely on fossil fuels until they become unaffordable or unavailable because they are so convenient and energy dense.

    • I overlooked including a link to the Len Lye monstrosity, which I believe ended up costing of the order of $20 million versus an initial budgeted cost of around $8 million. Just think how many fruit trees and community gardens could have been established for that kind of sum! Of course, the name of the game is not to actually help the general populace become healthy and happy, with strong community values, but to generate short-term profits for banks, corporations and opportunists.

      If you haven’t seen ithe Len Lye monstrosity you haven’t missed anything.

      https://govettbrewster.com/len-lye/centre

      I also omitted to mention that after the initial flood of curiosity visitors, visitor numbers, especially those from overseas, were nowhere near those predicted by the ‘planners’. That was before Covid-19 changed everything. Meanwhile the maintenance costs have been much higher.

      It’s a typical boondoggle promoters strategy to understate the costs and overstate the financial benefits whilst entirely ignoring the environmental aspects in this “Feel good” and don’t face reality adolescent-mentality society, where massive amounts of resource as squandered because someone thinks a project a good idea, and then generates goes on to generate phony reports to justify the project. Thus we have become a land of art galleries, coffee shops and fast-food outlets whilst the high-value low-cost alternatives that genuinely benefit people are ignored or vilified.

      .

      • New Plymouth can’t afford anything creatives and Len Lye after pumping all that oil and gas. The dour prosaic unimaginative NZr speaks again. Go all weird like David Gray, hole yourself up in your cabin. Don’t open your mind up to anything new. Pathetic.

    • …’helicopters (one of the most inefficient forms of transport ever devised)’…

      Careful , – think of the thousands of peoples lives saved by the Westpac helicopter , and other vital airlifts or drop-offs that can never be achieved by standard aircraft… the things choppers can do over conventional aircraft are in fact, amazing.

  4. Is the ‘spare’ accommodation useful as housing for the homeless or for the Govt to buy as council housing?…..at todays fair market price of course. The up’s and downs of capitalism.

    • Under level 3 the homeless were evicted from the accommodation they had been placed in under level 4. So no need.

  5. The 1st stage of dying “denial” is what we are all in now. Kubler-Ross curve: The first reaction is denial. In this stage, individuals believe the diagnosis is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false, PREFERABLE reality. That preferable reality is that the domestic market will fill the hoards of international visitors that we have been paying our tax in infrastructure (roads etc) oh and let’s not forget the imported labor that we now have to feel sorry for. Wait until the anger and depression stages hit.

    Bye-bye National. Hello COL Labour / NZF

  6. It ain’t just tourism, forestry needs a clean up with so much illegal wood being harvested (by NZ’s so called big partner), it makes a mockery of NZ that has more sustainable plantations, devastating the countries illegally logged often in Africa and South America, while destroying the earths air.

    “A study published in the Royal Geographical Society in 2018 demonstrates the relationship between the exportation of timber to China and the destruction of forests in the Congo Basin. Researchers studied data collected from 2001 to 2015 to see how tree-cover changed during that period. Tree-cover loss had been measured by remote sensing. (1)

    Over that 15-year period, timber exports from countries in the Congo Basin to China doubled. 50% of these timber exports came from Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. Researchers found a positive correlation between increased timber exports to China and tree-cover loss in the Congo Basin. Additionally, Chinese timber imports from the Congo Basin increased with a rise in American demand for furniture made in China. (3)

    Illegal Timber Trade

    The global illegal timber trade is a lucrative one. Estimates suggest that 30% of the timber produced each year is done so illegally. The illegal timber industry is worth between $30 and $100 billion annually. Its impacts on the environment and developing countries are disastrous. (2)”

    https://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/china-is-turning-the-rainforest-into-cheap-furniture-for-the-u-s/?utm_source=TPW&fbclid=IwAR0XRm1ipEMQHsPq0FT49pxc8vi0kv5ii5iKnFb07si40CPJjrDzXV-wZ1M

    • really fucking unbelievable isn’t it when it all comes out in the wash/media. But there it is in black and white. NZers should be up in arms about this shit and this American billionaire opportunist won’t be the only one rorting the system to top up their nice lifestyles. How do we make an example out of them??

      • By passing legislation to deny access to them and giving a full apology to Kim Dotcom, – and granting him full citizenship as well as dropping ALL foreign / bogus charges against him and denying access to foreign powers where their legislation DOES NOT apply here in the sovereign nation of NZ.

        That would be a nice starting point.

    • Chris, as an ex-Southern man, how can you excuse (on 2 counts) “holidays at grandad’s batch”?

      My grandchildren have holidays at our crib.

    • From the Herald apropos:

      As a list began circulating showing which of New Zealand’s largest law firms had opted to put their hands out to apply for the Government’s wage subsidy programme, there was a mixture of anger and ridicule.

      A partner at one of New Zealand’s largest law firms – one of the ones which has not applied for help – said he was considering a whip around of his colleagues to ensure that his rivals did not have to forgo their annual skiing holidays in Aspen or Vail “because of course, we’re all in this together”.

      No doubt the legal industry will be hit by a fall in activity; there are already plenty of anecdotes that many major transactions have been put on ice because of uncertainty.

      Law firms may well have to cut back on staff and there is also no suggestion that any of the law firms have acted in any way illegally.

      But with New Zealand having experienced a decade of uninterrupted growth and top partners in some cases believed to be earning seven-figure annual incomes, it raises the question of whether it is appropriate for the partners to put out their hand rather than reach into their pockets.

      To be fair, it appears New Zealand companies currently fall into two camps. Those that have taken the wage subsidy, and those that have not taken it, yet. (NZME, the owner of the Weekend Herald, has taken the subsidy).

      But while many companies took the subsidy out of need, some took it when they clearly had other ways to pay the bills.

      Auckland International Airport faced such a profound drop in revenue that it appeared to be briefly reluctant to describe itself as solvent .

      Yet it still managed to convince investors to plough in $1.2 billion of new equity in little over 24 hours. In comparison, the $4.3 million it took in wage subsidies was a rounding error to the airport, but could have made a significant difference to dozens, if not hundreds, of smaller businesses.

      Andrew Barnes , the rich lister who founded Perpetual Guardian, said while the circumstances of each business was different, not all should reach out because ultimately the cost would fall on taxpayers.

      “As business leaders we do have to think about whether or not we should be taking subsidies. If we are capable of funding our companies then I believe we should try and do that, because ultimately, this is not free money.”

      Other major corporates have been willing to reach out. Last weekend in these pages professional director Rob Campbell said he hoped that most of the Government assistance would go to those at the bottom.

      But retirement care company Summerset, of which he is chairman, had to hastily announce that its board and executive had decided to take a pay cut after it received questions about why it needed nearly $9m in subsidies , when it was still able to operate as an essential service.

      The company’s shares, while down from the peak of January, are above where they were a year ago. Is a 10 per cent gain in 12 months sufficient pain to justify money for a which our grandchildren will probably still be paying back?

      At least Summerset’s executive are cutting their salaries. A spokesman for Metlifecare, which has been given $7.5m in wage subsidies, said while board and management had not yet taken a pay cut, they had forfeited bonus payments this year.

      For the executives involved that might mean a reduction in take home pay, but for the many Kiwis who will never get a bonus of any type, it may not feel like sharing the pain.

      The board of carpet company Cavalier, which was paid $2.8m in wage subsidies, took the step of being paid 20 per cent of their fees in shares “to better align their interests with those of shareholders”. Their interests should already be aligned, but when taking subsidies the question might be if the interests are aligned with taxpayers.

      On social media farmers have been calling for dairy companies which took the subsidy at a time when they were still operating to pay it back. Economist Cameron Bagrie urged New Zealand’s supermarkets to favour products from the meat companies which had opted not to take the wage subsidies.

      A string of small business owners have suggested that at a minimum, executives and boards should demonstrate that they are sharing in the pain by cutting their own salaries.

      John Milford, chief executive of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce said the scheme – including how quickly companies were being paid – made it a lifeline for thousands of businesses.

      But he suspected that it could backfire on companies which were seen to abuse the scheme. “Does it sit comfortably with your brand value? The public will judge you.”

  7. An excellent piece I picked up on Zero Hedge by Charles Hugh Smith details ‘why it is different this time’ and why what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning of the crash. The original allows copy-and-paste whereas ZH doesn’t.

    Excerpt[Discussing the US, which obviously still dominates the financial world despite being on the ropes]:

    ‘Here are a few of the many consequential differences between all previous recessions and the current situation:

    1. Households have never been so dependent on debt as a substitute for stagnating wages.

    2. Real earnings (adjusted for inflation) have never been so stagnant for the bottom 90% for so long.

    3. Corporations have never been so dependent on debt (selling bonds or taking on loans) to fund money-losing operations (see Netflix) or stock buybacks designed to saddle the company with debt service expenses to enrich insiders.

    4. The stock market has never been so dependent on what amounts to fraud — stock buybacks — to push valuations higher.

    5. The economy has never been so dependent on absurdly overvalued stock valuations to prop up pension funds and the spending of the top 10% who own 85% of all stocks, i.e. “the wealth effect.”

    6. The economy and the stock market have never been so dependent on central bank free money for financiers and corporations, money creation for the few at the expense of the many, what amounts to an embezzlement scheme.

    7. Federal statistics have never been so gamed, rigged or distorted to support a neo-feudal agenda of claiming a level of wide-spread prosperity that is entirely fictitious.

    8. Major sectors of the economy have never been such rackets, i.e. cartels and quasi-monopolies that use obscure pricing and manipulation of government mandates to maximize profits while the quality and quantity of the goods and services they produce declines.

    9. The economy has never been in such thrall to sociopaths who have mastered the exploitation of the letter of the law while completely overturning the spirit of the law.

    10. Households and companies have never been so dependent on “free money” gained from asset appreciation based on speculation, not an actual increase in productivity or value.

    11. The ascendancy of self-interest as the one organizing directive in politics and finance has never been so complete, and the resulting moral rot never more pervasive.

    12. The dependence on fictitious capital masquerading as “wealth” has never been greater.

    13. The dependence on simulacra, simulations and false fronts to hide the decay of trust, credibility, transparency and accountability has never been so pervasive and complete.

    14. The corrupt linkage of political power, media ownership, “national security” agencies and corporate power has never been so widely accepted as “normal” and “unavoidable.”

    15. Primary institutions such as higher education, healthcare and national defense have never been so dysfunctional, ineffective, sclerotic, resistant to reform or costly.

    16. The economy has never been so dependent on constant central bank manipulation of the stock and housing markets.

    17. The economy has never been so fragile or brittle, and so dependent on convenient fictions to stave off a crash in asset valuations.

    18. Never before in U.S. history have the most valuable corporations all been engaged in selling goods and services that actively reduce productivity and human happiness.
    This is only a selection of a much longer list, but you get the idea. Basing one’s decisions on analogs from the past is entering a fool’s paradise of folly.

    While the stock market euphorically front-runs the Fed and a V-shaped recovery, the reality is the crash has only just begun….’

    https://dailyreckoning.com/this-isnt-just-another-crash/

  8. Seriously, some of the articles on this site are becoming more enablers of neoliberalism with a plethora of more bail outs for migrants and businesses, and more pro China abandon human right for business interests.

    Meanwhile articles highlighting some alarming news stories that effect NZ and are in breach of our obligations and human rights are not getting any spotlight such as…

    Lets hope tourism doesn’t resurrect with these headlines! Greens and Jacinda’s ‘climate change’ moment missing in action.

    New Zealand will miss climate deadline by more than a year
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/121423596/new-zealand-will-miss-climate-deadline-by-more-than-a-year

    “Under the Paris accord, every five years countries have to tell the United Nations how much they will do to help keep the world inside 1.5C-2 degrees Celsius of fossil-fuelled heating.

    The current round of pledges is not enough to keep the globe inside that comparatively safe temperature zone. 2019 was the second hottest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

    Countries have the option of updating their self-imposed targets – called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – at any time. But, once lodged, NDCs can only go higher. Countries can’t opt to reduce their pledges.”

    Instead we are getting this..

    Government suspends financial oversight
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300004126/government-suspends-financial-oversight

    “Some of the most expensive decisions ever made by a New Zealand government will receive no scrutiny from its economic watchdog after Cabinet suspended Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), due to Covid-19.”

    “This was laid bare last week when Parliament passed the wrong tax law by accident, bringing into force a multi-billion dollar loan scheme without so much as a select committee to scrutinise it. ”

    “The Government had intended to pass a different tax law, but a mix up at the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) meant a different tax law was tabled and passed through all stages under urgency before the mix up was noticed by financial website interest.co.nz. An urgent Cabinet meeting had to be held to retrospectively approve the bill.”

    Coronavirus: David Parker tells councils to keep consenting during Covid-19 crisis
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/121102312/coronavirus-david-parker-tells-councils-to-keep-consenting-during-covid19-crisis

    “Environment Minister David Parker has urged mayors and councils to clear a backlog of development consents during the lockdown to pave the way for New Zealand to build its way to economic recovery.

    He also said councils should exercise “their discretion wisely” to allow essential businesses to keep running, even if they’re technically breaking the rules of their consent.

    This would mean allowing some essential businesses like supermarkets to keep operating outside of the hours that their consents allow.”

  9. After the Mt Island volcanic explosion, and the horrific injuries suffered by visitors to this country, the local woman mayor, and MP Tolley, quickly expostulated that the tours should continue.

    “Anne Tolley, the electorate MP for the East Coast, says Whakaari/White Island is an integral part of everyday life for those on the coast…

    But Tolley says tours should, one day, return to Whakaari/White Island.

    “It is adventure tourism, there is risk. Anyone who doesn’t understand that it’s a risk must really be away with the fairies. You’re going into the caldera​ of an active volcano. You’re given a hard hat, a gas mask, and at times the sulphur can be overwhelming,” she says.”

    Tolley’s comment that tourists who don’t understand the risk ‘must really be away with the fairies’, insulted good, trusting persons. It enables slack tourist operators to blame the victim, and to avoid taking responsibility; at this point, when a member of the New Zealand Parliament publicly insulted and demeaned terribly injured tourism victims, it became very clear that tourism is now out of control, and that money rules. Which we knew.

    Basically – burned people here and there in agony, possibly forever maimed, is ok as long as the money keeps on coming in – and hey that what ACC’s for – the Kiwi taxpayer once again bailing out rich business owners and Maori tribal entities reaping huge benefits from the rape of the land, and more often than not adding nothing of value.

    My opinion of Turner and Tolley is unprintable. Anyone pondering the sort of women who enabled the cruel excesses of Hitler, Stalin, and other tyrants, may have glimpsed their types down here in Aotearoa New Zealand.

    Key constantly referred to tourism as a major industry in the country, and every time he did, I winced at the easy money man. I have zero confidence in the ability or the will of any contemporary New Zealand political party to stop the trashing of this beautiful country.

    Labour slides around on euphemisms, the Greens have wounded wee feelings, I don’t know about NZ First, and Maori seem to have a monopoly on winkling money out of many of our natural assets; there are locations in New Zealand where very time a new outdoor activity starts-up, the local iwi immediately zoom in with a usually-Treaty claim.

    The coronavirus curtailing of tourism may be Gaia stepping in and taking over because we have not had the wisdom or the gumption to do so ourselves – and it will happen again – and – how peaceful the streets were during the lockdown

  10. I’m glad to see the death of tourism as it is in NZ now. Its short term-ism, seasonal, and low paying jobs.

    Taking on debt is the only way people survive in the industry that is a bottom feeder. Only those at the top which are usually corporates or those with heavy hitting financial backers who’re in it for the ‘glory’ can make money.
    Then theres the service sectors reliant on the tourism industry who are complacent. Their business model, like every other industry is based constant growth!

    Then come the environment and its degradation. “Oh! We can mitigate that!” Councils and governments say because we have too, because its the economy dummy!

    Good riddens I say. No more ‘low-ball’ tourism-itist travellers and no more exploitation of Workers and the Environment.

  11. “Governments can help with finance and advice; they can help with the imparting of new skills to new workforces; they can build affordable homes and lodgings for new workers to live in; they can re-empower those workers with the right to organise and participate in the new ventures – growing into new industries – that, phoenix-like, will rise out of the ashes of the old.”

    Love this para Chris. As you rightly say, Government HAS a central place in shaping our way forward. Skills/ training, housing, organised labour. All essential. You only missed universally accessible healthcare as a central plank of civilised society.

  12. Chris, I think you’re right on all counts although I laughed at “Governments can help with finance and advice” like as if anyone in this government could offer plausibly useful advice to a budding entrepreneur!

    LOL

  13. Chris, as an ex-Southern man, how can you excuse (on 2 counts) “holidays at grandad’s batch”?

    My grandchildren have holidays at our crib.

  14. I forgot to mention in my previous comments the fact that thousands, tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of young people NZ, and millions of young people around the world, have been misled -you could even say tricked- by successive governments and so-called community leaders into believing tourism had a long-term future (despite irrefutable evidence it didn’t). many of these deluded and misled youngsters paid substantial fees (and forsook much more worthwhile training opportunities) to study tourism, hotel management, cultural sensitivity etc.

    Now I’m not against cultural sensitivity but I am yet to be convinced one needs to study it for months or years at great expense to practice it; nor do I believe courses in hotel catering and management offered much in the way of genuine academic achievement. Whatever the case, tens of thousands of students now find themselves in debt in order to acquire more-or-less useless qualifications.These millions of young people around the world and tens of thousands in NZ have just found out they have been conned, scammed, taken for a ride, -ad the careers they thought they would have no longer exist.

    It’s much the same for economics and business management schools, which have been teaching ‘a lot of garbage’ based of fraudulent or highly defective theories and models -infinite growth on a finite planet with zero accounting for the energy inputs or the environmental toll of business activities -theories which have been demonstrated to be as robust as a carton of eggs when it comes to the crunch.

    None the less, I suspect we will hear a lot of noise from politicians and the corporate media about the ‘need to get people working and to raise the GDP, despite GDP being a phony measure of economic activity which measures negatives and counterproductive activities as positives.

  15. Pre covid19…

    Mary Hopkin Those were the days lyrics
    https://youtu.be/QptZ8tYZAkE?t=119

    Post covid19…

    But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, there may be many silver linings to this unfortunate time in history , – IF we do things right this time around. We have the people, we have the nous, we have the country, we have the resources,… it is indeed time for us to “take a good look around”.

    He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata !!!

    Good article.

  16. “New Zealanders were surely made for nobler occupations that making beds, cooking food, pouring drinks and providing thrills and entertainment for wealthy foreigners.”
    Can you please explain why, in a world of globalisation this should be, or indeed is, true.
    Because it is not, unless you believe we are some superior beings.
    Come on, this is getting ridiculous.
    There are enough brains here to come up with solutions to overcome our place in this crisis.
    Speak the truth and cut the BS.

  17. The problem I Have with Chris’s article is that apart from a lot of unecessary migrant workers, what makes tourism any less of a living than any other of the jobs created to make a profit for somebody. Apart from growing food, and the manufacture of some clothing to keep us warm, (Not necessarily fashionable), most jobs contribute to the damaging and wasteful world that we live in. There’s vertually nothing we produce that hasn’t got some impact on the environment and do we really need all this shit that we buy endlessly. We are all quick to point the stick at someone else but unless you live in a very modest way, don’t have a huge wardrobe full of clothes, don’t travel a lot or have a flash washing machine and keep the same mobile phone for twenty years we are all working in or supporting industries that degrade the planet. Maybe it’s ok if we degrade someone else’s country because we want all the goodies but don’t want to grubby up our beautiful country. Then of course we demand footpaths and theatres and sewerage systems that can handle the plastic and wipes. Who pays for that. Remember the Government isn’t a bank it just spends your money.

  18. After reading all the dire commenters here, perhaps we can run festivals of the sad and mad. Something to catch the fancy and really enjoy a wallow and hand-wringing session. We can do this probably better than anyone else in the world. Everyone will cast bad spells about and there will be competitions where ideas are put up on a big screen and people down below think of all the ways that they will never work, and make rude remarks about those suggesting them. It will be a gas.

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