Bag the bag

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

FROM PAGE 7 in­ter­fer­ence. It takes the po­lit­i­cal will of the govern­ment of the day and pop­u­lar sup­port to do so. If New Zealand can find a way to bet­ter man­age its eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal re­la­tion­ship with the PRC, it could be­come a model to other Western states.”

The topic of China’s ex­pand­ing in­flu­ence ac­tiv­i­ties have rarely been raised pub­licly in New Zealand, so where is the pop­u­lar sup­port for the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil to be wad­ing into cosy re­la­tion­ships with Chi­nese in­ter­ests, es­pe­cially with in­ward in­vest­ment, and ap­par­ently with eyes wide shut?

The ad­dress by Con­sul-Gen­eral Xu Er­wen at the May Wai­tangi trade and in­vest­ment fo­rum in­cluded the state­ments: ”We care so much about how to bring more ben­e­fits and op­por­tu­ni­ties to this part of New Zealand, through win­win co-op­er­a­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween China and North­land.” And, “The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, pro­posed by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping five years ago, is also an im­por­tant mea­sure of China’s re­form and open­ing up .This ini­tia­tive is about to build up an im­por­tant plat­form to prac­tise build­ing a com­mu­nity of shared fu­ture for mankind.”

On ‘win-win’ the China and the Age of Strate­gic Ri­valry re­port is more san­guine, in as­sert­ing that be­yond the pro­pa­ganda cam­paign, the sleek videos and the pol­ished diplo­matic nar­ra­tive, which pro­ject an im­age of “win-win co-op­er­a­tion” and good­will for the broader re­gion’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, China’s real ob­jec­tives are to en­hance China’s own eco­nomic power by open­ing new mar­kets for Chi­nese state-owned en­ter­prises, broad­en­ing their global foot­print and re­duc­ing China’s most press­ing strate­gic vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties.

On the ba­sis of the new re­port, the co­terie of Far North coun­cil­lors and staff who are push­ing the China re­la­tion­ship might wish to re­flect on their cur­rent ad­vo­cacy, as if that turns into a bo­gey it will be at for­gone op­por­tu­ni­ties more ben­e­fi­cial to the wider Far North com­mu­nity. ROSS FORBES

Kerik­eri The story of a pi­lot whale dy­ing be­cause of a stom­ach full of 85 plas­tic bags is a sad re­flec­tion on a mod­ern-day throw-away so­ci­ety.

The whale ba­si­cally died of star­va­tion, as it couldn’t con­sume any food with a clogged stom­ach — a sit­u­a­tion that would be met with screams of con­dem­na­tion if it had hap­pened in any aquar­ium but has be­come lit­tle more than a news­pa­per space filler in this case.

The same sit­u­a­tion oc­curs in many oceans and wa­ter­ways — so pol­luted that you could al­most walk over it but not swim in it. The pro­vi­sion of safe, clean wa­ter is a ba­sic hu­man right, al­though not al­ways a re­al­ity.

Plas­tic is a won­der of science but its time as a com­mon gro­cery bag must be stopped. All peo­ple must stop us­ing them and leg­is­la­tors need to ban them — now.

It’s time to bag the plas­tic bag. DEN­NIS FITZGER­ALD


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