YouTube juxtaposition exposes National’s Enviroschool hypocrisy

Posted on June 22, 2009


In preparing our graduates for careers as sustainable practioners we’ve been grateful for the work going on before us in schools. The Enviroschools programme in particular has been doing amazing work with a whole school approach to education for sustainability. But no more.  John Key has cut the funding for Enviroschools from the end of the year (google news).    The Greens call this “sabotaging success” and “a disaster for our future“.

Perhaps more powerful than the political statements though, is the juxtaposition of two clips on YouTube.   Here’s a short video from Dunedin’s “frodesnz” on this decision:

and, here, courtesy of YouTube’s related videos, is John Key himself talking to the Enviroschools Youth Jam in 2007.   In it he says

Most of all, we know that the environment is something that New Zealanders have for a long time taken for granted. We’re at a point we can no longer afford to do that, it is certainly very important for the future of our country.

He talks about the important question of how to get New Zealanders to engage in the issue. He highlights the role of the Enviroschools youth leaders:

a lot of New Zealanders see it (sustainability) as something the government can work on but don’t see it as something they can personally make a real difference to. You can play a leadership role in getting that message out there to the community.

It is a shame now that this government is neither working on it themselves nor working to prepare New Zealanders to make a real difference.

I’ve been shocked before at how short sighted this government is towards the environment but they are seeming increasingly barefaced.

Here’s Metiria Turei trying to get a straight answer from Key in the house (via scoop)

Metiria Turei: How does cutting the budget for education for sustainability on, for example, the MātaurangaKuraTaiao programme, education for sustainability advisers, and Enviroschools enhance our brand; or are eco-literate children not part of the Prime Minister’s vision of New Zealand’s future brand?

Hon JOHN KEY: In answer to the last part of the question: yes.

Metiria Turei: Does the Prime Minister agree that New Zealand’s clean, green reputation—indeed, New Zealand’s “clean, green” brand—is worth billions of dollars to the New Zealand economy and to thousands of struggling New Zealand businesses, and that during a recession we should be doing more, not less, to protect our environment on which our economy is based?

Hon JOHN KEY: I certainly agree that part of New Zealand’s important brand is the “clean, green” image, and that is one of the reasons why funding in the Budget has been as excessive as it has; it is very important we maintain that brand. But it is equally important that we realise we have to live within our economic means, and I do not think that a very modest reduction in expenditure is out of the question for any Government department at the moment.