New Zealand's clean-green image and pride of all things Hobbit have taken a blow in an internationally-read blog labelling us ''Fellowship of the Drill''.
In response to Prime Minister John Key saying he wanted to increase our oil and gas exploration, major British publication The Guardian has published a blog post pointing out that it doesn't quite gel with our ''100 per cent Pure New Zealand'' marketing.
The branding was last year tweaked to ''100 per cent Middle-earth'' to cash in on the release of the first in the Hobbit movie trilogy.
''But just days before filming ended, National Party leader Prime Minister Key - who is also the tourism minister - delivered a You Tube address that made clear he thinks the future for New Zealand lies not so much in filming Middle-earth, but drilling it for oil and gas,'' Guardian freelance writer Graham Readfearn said in his Australian blog Planet Oz.
In the July 22 YouTube broadcast, Key said: ''New Zealand's natural landscapes are part of what makes this country so special and unique. No matter where I am overseas people want to talk to me about how beautiful our scenery is.
''I believe that energy and resources could well be a game changer for New Zealand. The next five years are crucial as we encourage further exploration. This is important because if we are to increase our oil and gas exploration by 50 per cent, we could potentially earn royalties of up to $13 billion, which is huge.''
A massive banner recently unfurled on a central Wellington building by Greenpeace attacking Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges also got a special mention in the article.
The 300-square metre banner, hung on the side of a Manners St building, said Bridges was accused of misleading Parliament over his dealings with the oil industry. It also says he wrongly claimed New Zealand can deal with a deep sea oil spill.
Greenpeace claimed Bridges denied in Parliament about having contact with the oil industry regarding the Crown Minerals Bill amendment about protests at sea.
See Key's July 22 YouTube clip below:
- © Fairfax NZ News
A "fat tax" on sugary drinks is:Related story: PM rejects 'fat tax'