Granny Herald backs big business | The Jackal

5 Apr 2013

Granny Herald backs big business

Today, I had the displeasure of reading the most biased editorial in the NZ Herald so far this year. Not only does it argue that big business interests should trump our civil liberties, it entirely misses the point of why people are protesting in the first place.

In this case there are multiple reasons for why concerned citizens spend their time and money to deter the interests of big business; from the lack of any proper response equipment in the event of a deep sea oil leak to the effects of burning more fossil fuels on climate change not to mention the fact that there's very little return in the form of taxes and that investment into clean energy sources create at least twice as many jobs... The justifications behind people peacefully protesting are numerous.

But despite these undeniable facts, the government and todays Herald editorial argue that the new law that imposes large fines and excessive jail terms, which far outweigh the brevity of any perceived "crime" are for the protesters own good.

They no doubt find some inspiration from disruptive tactics against Japanese whaling in the southern ocean and, going back a bit, New Zealanders' flotillas against French nuclear tests in the Pacific. But sooner or later a protester could be seriously injured and sympathisers in their cause would be the first to ask why the Defence Force did not intervene.

It should be mentioned that environmental activists in Brazil who were fighting the good fight against Petrobras have gone missing or been killed, which makes the statement that "protester could be seriously injured" in New Zealand a bit sinister.

In Februray 2013, Yale Environment 360 reported:

Personal danger is not what most environmentalists have in mind when they take up the cause of protecting nature and the people who rely on it in their daily lives. But from Laos to the Philippines to Brazil, the list of environmentalists who have paid for their activism with their lives is growing. It is a grim toll, especially in the last year.

Most protestors don't want to put their lives at risk, either by direct activism, heavy-handed law enforcement or by the companies they're protesting against acting dangerously or using devious tactics to silence them. However danger is always going to be a part of active protest, even when its peaceful. In my opinion, the government's punitive measures will do nothing to reduce that danger.

The lopsided article also entirely ignores the fact that there are already laws that govern what people can and cannot do at sea, making me question whether the new laws are actually required? Obviously the government doesn't like the fact that those laws haven't worked against Elvis Teddy, who has been dragged through the courts by crown lawyers hell bent on gaining a prosecution. How much all that's costing the taxpayer the government hasn't disclosed.

But what really highlights their hypocrisy in this matter is that National said the protest to halt deep sea oil drilling in the Raukumara Basin two years ago had no bearing on Petrobras later handing in its exploration permits. Now they're legislating to specifically target that kind of activism, clearly showing that the civil disobedience had an impact.

National is also determined to weaken the RMA, which will further undermine the publics’ input on the decision making process concerning the environment. When big business effectively owns our politicians, these are very concerning issues that have wide spread implications for our Kiwi way of life that often takes our natural resources for granted.

In my opinion, the publics’ determination to halt deep sea oil drilling and protect one of our most valuable assets should be celebrated... Especially considering that such a dangerous enterprise puts at risk our environment that many people rely upon including numerous sustainable and highly profitable businesses.

If people feel strongly enough to actively protest and in some cases put their lives at risk their message should be listened to. But instead of that level headed approach, we have a deluded government implementing punitive legislation which is propped up by jaundiced Herald articles like todays editorial... Talk about a load of propaganda!