100% Pure NZ?
New Zealand brands itself as 100% Pure and images like this one portray the magic of our waterways and beaches.
At present this ‘image’ is under pressure in the lowland river systems where intensive farming methods have put pressure on our rivers and lakes, an in some parts of New Zealand they swimming is no longer recommended.
However many New Zealanders are working together to change this – clearing rubbish, protecting and planting waterways and demanding improvements to farming methods so they are accountable for the run off they produce.
Cycling is HOT
In the past 10 years cycle ways have been developed in almost every corner of New Zealand. Most cities and small towns you visit will have cycle ways – the most famous is the Otago Cycle Trail, and now a national network of cycleways is emerging and you can now hire a car with a cycle rack and bikes as part of your holiday.
In New Zealand last year thousands of people marched in the lead up to the Paris Climate Change Talks, asking the government to take a lead on Climate Change. I joined the march in Auckland, and as we walked down to the march with our banners, we merged in with hundreds of others making their way to the beginning of the march.
It was the biggest march I had been to for many years, with New Zealanders of all ages deciding that this was something they are very concerned about. Unfortunately the NZ government has decided to be a follower on this issue rather than a leader, but it has not stopped New Zealanders from taking their own steps to change.
In the past few years I have noticed electric and hybrid cars are on the increase, a friend of mine who owns a backpackers recently installed a charging point for electric cars on his property, solar panels are sprouting on roof tops of new and existing buildings.
New Zealand is in a strong position in relation to renewable electricity – 70% of our electricity comes from renewable hydro, wind and geothermal sources. So the incentive to have solar panels is not as strong as in other countries.
But New Zealanders are getting into solar in a big way, recognising that at the end of the earth as we are, we need to be as self sufficient as we can be, while still being a part of the global economy. We are building a new house at present, and options such as those offered by Solar City are very tempting – they put up the panels, and pay for them in exchange for a cheaper locked in power price.