Phil O’Reilly makes the point that our tourism 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 mining 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.