Tourism more than clean and green

December 29th, 2009 at 9:48 am by David Farrar

Phil O’Reilly makes the point that our is not just based on a clean and green brand. This is not to say one should not protect such a brand, but also not to get hysterical that some on 0.001% of DOC land will damage the brand. O’Reilly lists other reasons people visit here:

  • The country is beautiful, and the people are friendly, open, down to earth, direct, hospitable and welcoming. New Zealand people are “authentic”. They say there is something vibrant about us.
  • New Zealand is safe and pretty. It’s the least corrupt country in the world. The people are honest and trustworthy.
  • Americans say the food is good, with no worries about food safety. Australians talk about flying over to have fun in Courtenay Place.

And he goes on:

People overseas find our countryside beautiful but they tend to mention our people more. And, interestingly, I’ve never heard anyone describe New Zealand in terms of “clean and green”. Yet we seem to have convinced ourselves that that’s how the world sees us.

We seem to have a view that any chink in our environment will badly compromise our clean, green image in the eyes of the world.

I don’t think people overseas do have such simplistic opinions. Most people are realists. They understand that an absolutely pristine environment is not achievable unless humans are somehow removed from the picture.

As some want.

20 Responses to “Tourism more than clean and green”

  1. Chthoniid (2,064 comments) says:

    O’Reilly’s experiences of tourists matches my own. In general, the most commonly mentioned attractions are the scenery, the people (surprisingly described as gentle by one visitor from Singapore) and the safety.

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  2. side show bob (3,476 comments) says:

    Phil O’Reilly talks a lot of sense, most the tourists I’ve meet are more into the “culture” of NZ. Sure the scenery rates highly but most seem more interested with the day to day lives of Kiwis which in some cases vary greatly from the urban settings a lot of these tourists come from. I have shown several around the farm, got them to help with the stock and even taken some fishing, all were blown away and many have remain friends over the years.

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  3. MT_Tinman (4,390 comments) says:

    I converse with tourists for much of my living.

    Based on personal experience the “Clean/Green” thing attracts a significant number of European and Canadian people (and probably the odd Californian – but aren’t they all?).

    Most others come because NZ is cheap and safe.

    What brings people back to New Zealand is the things listed in the original post above, particularly the friendly reception they get from most locals.

    Having noted that, mining 20% of the country (let alone .001%) would not be seen or noted by anyone but a handful of green/red treehuggers who’s sole claim to fame is their desire to tell others what to do and will happily take NZ back to the stoneage to get their way.

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  4. KiwiGreg (3,584 comments) says:

    How you reconcile your view on mining with the “damage” to “our” “brand” from not buying into climate change hysteria quite escapes me.

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  5. stephen (4,011 comments) says:

    How is “The country is beautiful” a reason other than ‘clean and green’ for visiting? They aren’t the same?

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  6. s.russell (2,072 comments) says:

    Because it will still be beautiful even if an extra 0.01 per cent gets mined.

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  7. Brian Smaller (4,332 comments) says:

    stephen – Italy is beautiful but it is still a shithole. I say that from the perspective of someone who is half-Italian and with stacks of Italian familgia.

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  8. Ericthetinman (5 comments) says:

    As some want.
    Who wants humans removed from the picture?

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  9. stephen (4,011 comments) says:

    Italy is a shithole because of the people you mean Brian?

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  10. stephen (4,011 comments) says:

    Who wants humans removed from the picture?

    All greenies – I saw it on a blog somewhere.

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  11. francis (643 comments) says:

    It’s just a tagline in a marketing campaign, not an article of faith (nor of fact).

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  12. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    If Phil O’Reilley’s had his way then for tourists visiting New Zealand it would be like meeting an exotic, beautiful girl on the internet, only to discover that in person she has halitosis and dirty underwear.

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  13. Razork (375 comments) says:

    The whole clean and green thing cracks me up.

    the truth is that NZ is only “clean and green” coz it’s empty.
    there’s no-one here!

    If we had a population equal to some other countries of our geographic size and carried on the way we do, the place would be a tip.

    I’m no greenie, far from it, but nothing pisses me off more than seeing all the rubbish etc on the side of roads

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  14. lprent (105 comments) says:

    razork: I’d agree with that. It was brought to my attention by a Taiwanese guy I was working with on a project when he said that he thought NZers were probably more grubby than the taiwanese. But that because there were less of them it didn’t have as much impact.

    But I’m puzzled about the focus on tourism (as I just blogged about at the standard). I’ve been working in export industries for years. We use the clean and green image as a hook both for exporting, and for recruiting immigrant skills.

    To lose it for some gratuitous short-term mining (which appears to be what O”Reilly is advocating) would be a hell of an impact for exporters, especially farmers, but also even in my own IT area. For instance the best incentive we ever found for sales staff in the overseas distribution chain was to give a prize of a trip to NZ. It is an image that has been built up for decades and pays massive dividends to any exporting business that uses it.

    I suspect that Phil O’Reilly is only speaking for a relative handful of old industries focused more on either the internal market or commodity export production than export marketing. He probably has little current experience in anything particularly current for exporting.

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  15. expat (4,087 comments) says:

    Francis is correct, “Clean Green NZ” is a marketing tagline that was ditched some time ago in favour of “100% Pure” I believe.

    Personally I think “Clean Green NZ” has become a clichéd cringe inducing kneejerk phrase overused and without much meaning these days but each to their own.

    As far as mining in NZ goes, industry is one of the compromises a society makes in order to provide jobs and GDP growth it is simplistic and naive to imply that NZ can export its mining side effects to other countries by not mining in NZ but importing goods that use mined constituent ingredients of components and therefore lety NZ keep its ‘clean green’ image whilst relying solely on ‘clean green new industry’ such as technology when technology has vast amounts of hidden pollution associated such as manufacture of chips, flats screens and management of air-conditioned server farms sucking power.

    What Reilly is getting at in a slightly controversial way is that NZ as a nation needs to recognise the slightly hackneyed nature of the much regurgitated “Clean Green NZ” phrase and look to develop a more balanced economy than the one we have now.

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  16. expat (4,087 comments) says:

    BTW: lprent, your server has crashed.

    Internal Server Error

    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
    Apache/2.2.9 (Ubuntu) mod_perl/2.0.4 Perl/v5.10.0 Server at Port 80

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  17. Owen McShane (1,193 comments) says:

    Wildavsky always used to remind us to ask “Compared to what?”
    I don’t have any problem with people suggesting that New Zealand is Green and Clean because, compared to most countries, that is the first thing that strikes you. Our countryside is green and so are our suburbs – because of the incredible rich growth in gardens where people are still allowed to plant trees.
    Also, the air is amazingly clean in spite of the ARC’s attempts to persuade us otherwise – and so is the sea and our lakes compared to most others in the world.

    HOWEVER, I am appalled by the slogan “100% Pure” because it is an absolute nonsense and is an invitation to all the deep greens and gloom merchants to bad mouth NZ every chance they get. It would fail any test of truth in advertising and should never have got off the ground.
    What on Earth does it mean? People drink mineral water in preference to pure water. And what can one mean by 100% pure soil? Or even 100% pure air? If the air was 100% pure it would never rain!

    And going by own experience our day to day thoughts are by no means 100% pure.

    Purity is a dangerous notion for any public policy. Racial purity and genetic purity and ethnic purity are all handmaidens of fascistic thought.

    So let’s promote NZ for being clean and green and with friendly people and fine food and wine and terror tourism and wonderful beaches and great fishing and so on. But dump the 100% pure campaign.

    The Greens would be horrified which is why we should do it.

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  18. EPMU (30 comments) says:

    “The Greens would be horrified”

    At what:

    A) the “unnecessary road building” taking place around the country after a decade of negligence under Labour?
    B) the “unnecessary” reform of primary school standards around the country after a decade of negligence under Labour?
    C) the “unnecessary” etc etc etc after a decade of negligence under Labour?

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  19. lprent (105 comments) says:

    expat: Thanks.

    Been doing some upgrades and fixes on it during the quiet period. There have been a number of tedious bugs that have been showing up in the last few months that were hard to fix under full load, so I’ve been working around them and deferring upgrades.

    I suspect you were getting caught by the post-comment-close-off. The wordpress 2.9 upgrade seems to have removed a index that it depended on. You’ll see a post from later that day detailing the changes.

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  20. greenbranz (1 comment) says:

    The vast majority of the world’s consumers who know something about us will happily acknowledge NZ as a clean and green leader. This perception is the most valuable asset we have. We should make more of it. See my blog

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