Sri Lanka is in the grip of its worst economic crisis in decades, facing depleted petrol reserves, food shortages and a chronic lack of medical supplies.
More than a month of mainly peaceful protests against the government’s handling of the economy turned deadly last week when supporters of the former prime minister stormed an anti-government protest site in the commercial capital Colombo.
For New Zealanders, the troubles being experienced by Sri Lanka’s 22 million people might trigger humanitarian concerns but – at first blush – have little to teach us about good policy.
Kiwis therefore may shrug off Sri Lanka’s plight as the consequence of incompetence by the governing Rajapaksa brothers, one of whom has resigned as prime minister, the other whose job as president is under threat.
But the policy blunders that precipitated the crisis should be studied by policy wonks in this country Continue reading “What NZ can learn (is Greenpeace listening?) from Sri Lanka’s blundering to combat climate change by going organic”
Concerns throughout the country about tourism and its adverse impacts – crowded towns, clogged roads, dangerous drivers, filthy freedom campers, congested trails – were examined by Mike White in Noted in August. He asked if we need to limit the number of tourists coming here, a question supported by the statistics he produced.
A hundred years ago, 8000 overseas visitors came here (each year, presumably).
By the early 1960s, that had risen to 100,000; then 500,000 in the 1980s. Through the 1990s, international tourist numbers rocketed by 85% to 1.8 million. There were static years after the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, but recently things have boomed again. Encouraged by cheaper jet fuel, more airlines flying here, and the middle classes of China and India beginning to travel, there has been a 40% growth in overseas visitors in the past five years, to 3.9 million a year at present. That’s predicted to expand to 5.1 million by 2025. Nobody is suggesting the growth will stop there.
White acknowledged that tourism is our biggest earner, reaping $39 billion last year ($16 billion from overseas tourists – 20% of our exports – and $23 billion from Kiwis holidaying at home). More than 200,000 people are directly employed in tourism, about 8% of the workforce.
It’s unquestionably a cornerstone of the country’s economy.
But as with dairying, the backbone of the country’s economy, there is a down side. Continue reading “Too many tourists and cows – but sustainable management policies will treat them (and culling) differently”
Climate change warriors who are demanding NZ’s dairy herd be culled immediately to meet targets of lower methane emissions may be confounded by the evidence that leading farmers are already succeeding in lowering gas emissions. And the prospects of huge advances in other aspects of dairying, particularly in AI, robotics and the development of new crops, portend further gains..
And what’s holding up another key development?
It’s the intransigence of the so-called Green lobby against the introduction of genetic technology.
In a Ministry for the Environment briefing to Environment Minister David Parker in June 2018, officials warned NZ could fall behind the rest of the world in genetic engineering technologies. They said the rapid pace of technological change is forcing countries to clarify their positions, and recommended the government update the law. Continue reading “Culling our cows isn’t the only way to reduce emissions – but greenies shy from the GE option”