Sunday – a beautiful sunny summer day greeted me on waking up. this puts everyone in a good mood. As John Denver sang “Sunshine almost always makes me high”.
Rugby – There is an air of excitement in our town this weekend. We have had two quarter-final matches of the Rugby World Cup played here. Yesterday Wales beat Ireland 22-10 and today Australia meet South Africa. Given the (sometimes) friendly rivalry between New Zealand and Australia I imagine that many NZers will be hoping for a South African win.
The city has an air of festival about it. Flags from all the competing nations are flying and many cars have flags of their favourites flying from their cars. People are walking around with painted faces and in all, everybody seems to be enjoying themselves.
The City Council has got behind this weekend and has designated a large fanzone with giant screens so that those without tickets to the match can watch. Streets around the stadium have been blocked to traffic as has an area around the fanzone. This makes getting around a trifle difficult for the rest of us, but heavens, it’s only one weekend.
Oil Disaster – Here is an update on the disaster unfolding in our waters.
- Our Prime Minister, John Key warned of a potential environmental disaster.
- Gareth Hughes, the Green Party’s marine issues spokesman said New Zealand was not geared to cope with the potential disaster. “This has to be a wake-up call for the government in regards to its deep-sea oil plans and energy strategy.”
- The Leader of the Opposition, Phil Goff said it was not possible to stop all oil exploration, “but we are going to make it conditional on every environmental safeguard being put in place to stop any disaster occurring. We cannot afford a disaster like the Gulf of Mexico”.
So all of our politicians are moving into the picture but what is actually happening to ameliorate this disaster? We are told that experts and equipment are arriving from around the world. Most, if not all, experts on how to deal with such an environmental disaster are in the northern hemisphere and take days to arrive here.
The effect on the sea life and birds is yet to be seen. We do know that already there are birds being seen covered in oil. Tauranga resident, Tommy Kapai, who sailed his yacht around the stricken vessel yesterday said he saw a dead penguin floating by.
But nowhere have I seen or read about blame being laid at anyone’s door for this disaster. We are told that the ship was on auto pilot at the time of the grounding. Where were the members of the ship’s crew? Shouldn’t they still be in charge even if the auto pilot is on? What has the Captain said about this? Who will be responsible for the massive clean up? The questions keep coming but no answers are given.
As John Hanlon sang way back in the 1970s –
“Damn the dam cried the fantail,
As he flew into as he flew into the sky,
To give power to the people
All this beauty has to die“
Note – This song was taken up as the anthem for the Save Manapouri Campaign. This campaign waged between 1959 and 1972 in New Zealand to prevent the raising of the levels of lakes Manapouri and Te Anau as part of the construction of the Manapouri Power Project.
And as Joni Mitchell says in the Big Yellow Taxi –
“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
till it’s gone “
- A Disaster Unfolding (growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com)
- Fears of environmental disaster in New Zealand as oil gushes from grounded ship (telegraph.co.uk)
- New Zealand’s passion for rugby (bbc.co.uk)
- New Zealand: Oil disaster on Tauranga reef (thefreeonline.wordpress.com)