Monday, November 19
Open Question to the Board of Tourism NZ
I work with Greenpeace as a volunteer and have been involved with campaigns such as the Save the Maui Dolphin campaign (trying to rescue the last 55 Maui Dolphins which are unique to New Zealand from extinction due to unsafe fishing practices), and the No Drill, No Spill campaign against deep sea oil drilling off of our pristine coastlines (the same kind of drilling that caused the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster).
In each of these campaigns I have often wondered where the Board of Tourism NZ's voice is in these urgent issues which have a direct impact on them. Today, I finally heard the Board's voice which came in the form of an article in both the NY Times and the New Zealand Herald in which New Zealand's clean, green image is slammed as being just as fantastical as The Hobbit movie.
The Herald article ends with this:
"Tourism New Zealand communications manager Deborah Gray said 100 per cent Pure New Zealand was one of the most successful destination marketing campaigns in the world and was not just about the environment, but the whole package.
"It's the activities, the landscape and the people that combine to make for a uniquely New Zealand or 100 per cent Pure New Zealand - experience.""
As a campaigner for environmental issues, I found this statement disgusting. It was not just deceitful in the way it has now pivoted on its 100% Pure messaging to mean something different than what its quite obviously presenting itself as in the past, but worse than that, Tourism NZ has now become an apologist for environmentally destructive behaviour. You've essentially given a free pass to the fishing industry and the oil industry whose practices are creating massive negative impacts on your very own industry- AND to New Zealand's environment itself.
This seems bafflingly hypocritical to me, as I'm struggling to find out what the upshot for Tourism NZ is here.
Where is your voice when protecting the environment?
Please, on behalf of the country that you benefit so much from, and whose lands and oceans you hang your reputation on, speak out.