Below are extracts from an editorial in the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Associations magazine “New Zealand Wildlife” Autumn 1973 issue. John B Henderson then NZDA’s national president was the author.
The previous year, the National government had been trounced at the polls by Labour led by Norman Kirk. Elections have common characteristics with issues like housing, health and cost of living paramount but the 1972 election was very much focused on the environment and outdoors with issues like the raising of Fiordland National Park’s Lake Manapouri to supply foreign interests with cheap power for a smelter, trout farming and rich foreigners seeking bolt holes and to exploit fishing and hunting values.
John Henderson’s comments seem to us, to be pertinent to next year’s election.
Three (four or five) Waters for example, isn’t that environmental? And issues like public ownership relevant? The relinquishing of the people’s Urewera National Park? The plundering by corporates under the QMS of the public’s sea fisheries? The top-dressing of public lands with eco-toxins? Nitrate poisoning of rivers and people’s drinking water by government – aided corporate dairying expansion? Phobic pest policies? Futile firearm laws aimed at disarming the law abiding public. And the list goes on – just like it did at the 1972 election.
If there were any doubts in the past that the great public debates involving the environment, conservation and outdoor recreation were political issues, then the hard lessons driven home by the 1972 general election should have dispelled them for all but the myopic.
An entrenched government – National – paid the price for the many forms of environmental destruction that they were either directly responsible for or which they had allowed to happen and for their neglect, were unceremoniously bundled out of office. To be sure the cost of living was a major election controversy, as was housing, social welfare ——political TV, radio and press commentators failed at the election and subsequently failed to recognise and understand the real concepts that are at stake for our society, then it just goes to show how poorly we are served by news media controlled either by big business, big politics or big bureaucracy.
That one party took notice and the other didn’t is now political history and a measure of the way in which Governments can overlook the public interest.
Did the previous government –think they fooled us with their attempts to discredit persons and organisations —secret negotiations with respect to public land, the sale of first class land to foreign absentee owners —did they catch one single vote in that long, immensely costly and stupid trout farming debacle —could they not understand the frustrations of thousands — over commercial and foreign interests that are trying to make a business ir rich man’s playground out of outdoor heritage and deny access to New Zealanders?
The fact remains however that the conservation lobby especially the large group of outdoor recreational interests, has adopted a political stance—And that us as out should be in an age of pressure groups, big business and overseas control – when our environment from any angle one views it, is under threat of plunder and when our traditional and free and easy New Zealand way of life is under siege.
To those naive souls who continue to bleat that conservation and the outdoors don’t mix with politics, I say that is precisely what those who pull the big strings want you to believe.
You will continue to believe and thus do so at your peril.
When a democratically elected government is given by its people, full control of the financial and administrative, legal and economic machine, then it must not be allowed to opt out of its responsibility ——If the system fails, it is because government has failed.
Politics and the environment are nothing more and nothing less than cause and effect.
John Henderson in 1950s, heading into the Tararua Ranges
Agreed, anyone who thinks there is no place for politics and sport must have forgotten about the 1981 Springbok tour of NZ. Hunters have been aware of it since the 1930s! John Henderson, accused at times for being ‘too political’, was right then and now. His far-reaching perspectives on a tolerable population, on access, on privatising formerly state-owned assets, and on conservation (for which he leaned towards sustainable use of renewable resources, not non-use (a.k.a. preservation)) are beacons which should remain our guiding lights!
Norman Kirk once said that the “common”, “ordinary” working people want and need 4 very real things.
1. A devent, secure and meaningful job to provide for their families.
2. A home of their own to live in.
3. Someone to love. suppportive families, friends and neighbours.
4. Hope for the future of their kids.
Politicians and bureaucrats cannot provide these basic needs but they do get in the way with all their regulations, taxation and extragant spending of our current and future incomes.
The real incomes of wage and salary earners have decreased steadily since the mid 1970’s and this is getting worse. Decent, secure and meanigful jobs are harder to find.
Housing has become so expensive that many working people have had to give up the ambition to ever own their own home.
Social and economic problems are destroying familiy relationships, friendships and communities.
Most people are anxious and uncertain about their futures and that of their children.
We keep voting for the political celebrities that are chosen by the elite members and funders of the National, Labour and Green parties because they promise to protect and provide for us like our parents did.
The do not and cannot do anything to help us with decent jobs, affordable homes, supportive relationships and hope for a better future.
All these omnipotent busybodies can do is.
1. Make more repressive regulations to control us.
2. Take, borrow and spend more money that working people have to pay.
The politicians and bureaucrats are not our “parents”.
They are our EMPLOYEES.
We hire them in elections and pay their wages, perks and pensions but we do not get value for what we pay.
People need to stop depending on and complaining about THE GOVERNMENT.
The government is just some people that we have employed and should fire and replace if they are not pleasing us.
The failures of “the government” are OUR FAULT for hiring the wrong employees.
We ought to stop hiring employees that are chosen by and imposed on us by the elite mrmbers and funders of the 3 main parties and hire new ones from the “minor” parties.
RED, GREEN AND BLUE
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO
WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU
WE WILL HIRE SOMEONE NEW.
Have a GO!
There is no denying that previous governments have done some really bad as well as some good moves. Our present one is no exception, and in fact worse in the aspect of being especially undemocratic. You can talk up your favourite flavour, Labour, National, ACT and even the totally undemocratic Maori supremacist parties who openly demand to cream off everything without making any contribution in the past, present or future and without giving anyone but themselves any say about where and how the spending of OUR money will be spent. Well, what all these one-eyed groups are pushing is their particular barrow (bugger everyone else!) and should they kid their way into power in the Government seats, as our current Maori-Labour-Green government has, they can pass all kinds of outrageously undemocratic stuff that will take years to sort out and put right once they have lost the next election. The only way to put a halt to such destructive activity is to require that ALL major changes in legislation are subject to full public referendum rather than having, as is happening at the moment, a charismatic leader in the thrall of powerful but misguided allies, announcing without discussion with the public: “This is what we are going to do,” and forcefully pushing it into law with her majority government regardless of widespread disagreement among the public. Certainly she can get her way in the short term, but in the long term what then happens is that she is voted out and the following government is faced with imposing wastefully expensive corrective measures to get our country back on its feet. The answer is stronger democratic rules requiring major changes to be subject to approval by a majority of citizens, rather than a majority of uncaring extremists who happen to be in Parliament. Sure, that will have a cost and will cause a little delay but it will be less costly and take less time in the end than putting right the outrageous decisions of some doctrinaire crank.
What was said by John Henderson in 1973 is so true – forever – and today and next year election year. Political donations are corruption and bribery of the elected representatives. The current administration under Jacinda Ardern has forgotten, politicians are elected by the people. The two current issues are under-mining of democracy and loss of freedom of speech. Do not be deluded by Attorney general Kiri Allan saying “hate speech” laws are off the agenda. If elected in 2023, the hate speech laws which are anti-freedom of speech will be back on the agenda by a re-elected Labour and Greens.
John Henderson would not be persuaded the Green Party is an environmental party. They have forsaken their environmental aims for political correctness and wokeism
Very good comment by Rob McMillan, Dr. Charlie Baycroft and Chaz Forsyth.
Yes it is naive to think the environment and outdoors do not involve politics.
Voting is a democratic right and a voter should vote for sound policies. It is ironic John Henderson’s words “when our environment from any angle one views it, is under threat of plunder and when our traditional and free and easy New Zealand way of life is under siege.” are so true heading towards next year’s election. As a former Labour supporter and one who has voted Green Party at one election, I am dismayed, indeed appalled, at how undemocratic the current virtual coalition of Labour and the Green parties is.
They need a good boot into oblivion at the 2023 election.
I don’t see National offering inspiration so far and ACT has its origins in Roger Douglas, who showed he did not believe in democracy. Also many environmental plunderings as John Henderson termed it, has occurred under National governments. Perhaps Dr Charlie Baycroft is right in saying:-
RED, GREEN AND BLUE
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO
WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU
WE WILL HIRE SOMEONE NEW.
Have a GO!
Well said all of you but don’t get fooled that who we vote for in this next election will put things right because they won’t. When the election draws near we should put an ad in the paper asking for people who will rule under our terms and that no politician need apply, otherwise we will have the same situation happening all over again. We must have a binding constitution that cannot be broken. Maybe we should look at a different system.
Maybe have power in our own communities. But we do need to look at this as if we don’t nothing will change.
It is ironic that Jack Marshall, leader of the Nats before Muldoon knifed him, was a keen trout fisher at Taupo. He writes about it in one of his books.
I think that before the 1972 election he rashly told anglers if they didn’t like National’s policies on trout farming they should vote for Norman Kirk.
In my early years,[ ’70’s], after arriving in NZ .J B Hwenderson was just about the only voice standing up for all that was great about NZ outdoor recreation. There is no modern day equivalent apart from Tony Orman & a few others. I remember sitting in meetings as people acknowledged he was right but ridiculed him for being too extreme. Today our enemy is much the same but adding full blown apartheid into the mix, pushed by the Ardern labour Govmnt. How many know of the DOC Operations Working Group ordered by the Ardern & her cabal of racists, to pepare the paperwork for handing over the entire Conservation Estate to maori tribal control & of course the 3 Waters will give virtual ownership of water to maori tribal control as a permanenent revenue stream from this public necessity to multi-billion dallar maori coffers.