Hikoi likely to be heated

20:12, Apr 25 2012

Anger at an `anything-for-a-quick-buck' mentality will make this week's hikoi to Wellington a hot one.

Is it naive or illogical to think there are other ways of creating jobs than digging holes in the ground, selling land to overseas investors and ruining lives through easy access to gambling machines?

If John Key had felt anything of the ruination of lives from gambling, he would surely not have shrugged off public opposition to the SkyCity deal. I can't help feeling it's illogical that the destruction caused by gambling and alcohol is legal, yet there's not much progress in growing the fantastically versatile crop of hemp. There's so much that doesn't make sense.

We have such wealth – our mountains, rivers, beaches, streams, forests – and relatively unpolluted air. This is our capital.

Russell artist Helme Heine, preparing a talk for a show of his satirical work in Europe, says: "I think we need a new consciousness. A humanistic solution. The belief in human capital, the appreciation of the arts, education, training, social aspects of a future. We must all learn to think differently."

Dr Seuss's Lorax has a good point. The Lorax painted a picture of corporate greed and the dangers it poses to nature in 1971.


Speaking for the trees the Lorax says: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Which is pretty much the same message sent out by a number of individuals and international groups, over the decades including the Club of Rome, a global think-tank that raised attention in 1972 with its report, The Limits to Growth.

Three years ago the club was still humming along, warning that limits to growth are increasingly severe and urgent.

Its new campaign has five issue areas: Environment and resources, globalisation, international development, social transformation, peace and security.

So is it cynical to question, in the light of new research, whether fracking and genetic engineering are as safe as they are touted to be by those who make money from these techniques?

Too often we have been led astray by experts in the past who didn't know.

I remember, as a child, the family dentist giving me and my brother each a shiny, slippery little ball of mercury to play with, every time we visited his surgery for a check-up.

On a very local level, do you remember engineers assuring the people living in Inlet Rd that there would be no smell from the sewerage system they were putting in on the orchard across the road?

Should we be wary? Yes. And is it naive to put greater emphasis on the value of human and environmental capital above the quick buck? No.

Some things are more precious than the dollar. We could look at using what we have to create prosperity. We could learn to share a bit better.

The Government could take baby steps by sharing out the Lotto pool so that instead of the regular massive million dollar win the pool could be shared out between 10 people – $100,000 would be fantastic for most people. Less is more most of the time.

Happiness is good food, a nice place to live, the means to move from one place to another, clean laundry, friendship, love and a beautiful environment.

The majority of New Zealanders seem to agree with this principle but the government isn't listening.

Perhaps the hikoi will get the message through.

Bay Chronicle