The sun was shining and the bagpipes sang as the gowned graduates pranced (marched seems a too regimented verb to describe their progress) their way along George Street towards the Town Hall where they were to be capped. Watching the parade in Dunedin today made me think of all the talented young people we have coming out of our Universities, ready to engage in futures full of promise and possibilities...
...but this National Government is a wrecker of futures and a dasher of dreams. Rather than embrace the talent and skills of our young graduates and use them to help shape and create a sustainable and exciting future they are turning to the fuels and philosophies of a previous era. More and more New Zealand is becoming a modern embodiment of the industrial revolution. Our farms and factories are focussed on wringing huge profits from the "white gold", with lignite powering the factories and effluent flowing steadily into our waterways. Profit, progress and export markets power our country and coal and lignite are deemed to be fuel of the future, come hell or high water (both likely as carbon emissions soar).
This Government cuts taxes to the already rich and pours money into the businesses and corporates of a bygone era by deliberately cashing in on what rightfully and morally belongs to the next generation.
It will be my children who will have to pay back the money borrowed to rebuild Christchurch.
It will be my children who will pay dearly for the carbon emissions created by the planned lignite mines and the loss of productive farm land.
It will be my children who will have to pay the costs of restoring our rivers, lakes and aquifers.
It will be my children who will have to catch up with the rest of the world in the use of alternative energy sources, sustainable technologies and efficient public transport systems.
It will be my children who will have to manage the ongoing costs of children brought up in poverty and put right the huge inequities of income that splits our society as never before.
Sadly my children's generation are already becoming collateral damage from this government's agenda: 25% live in poverty, 27% are unemployed, many are committing suicide (at the highest rate in the OECD) and many will leave our country so they can fully utilize their training and skills and be paid a living wage. Of course, those that remain and can't find work will be demoralized even further with draconian forms of welfare that will limit financial independence and self determination.
The National driven juggernaut is building up lignite fired steam and we need to slam on its brakes before it smashes too far into our children's future. Party vote Green!