New Zealand's green image criticised
By JOANNA DAVIS - The Press | Wednesday, 16 May 2007

New Zealanders are not doing enough to live up to the country's clean and green image, say visiting European tourism students.

Susanne Kabelitz, from Germany, and Jochem Jansen, from the Netherlands, were surprised to find deserted cycleways, houses without insulation, scant recycling, no rain-water collection, and plastic shopping bags "everywhere" during their six-month exchange to complete a tourism business management diploma at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.

Kabelitz said New Zealand lived up to its "very successful" 100 per cent pure tourism campaign when visiting national parks and other remote areas, but not in the cities.

Jansen said the country's population density ? 15 people per square kilometre compared to Germany's 230 and the Netherlands' 392 ? meant the Government had not had to legislate sustainable living as it had in Europe.

"We're faced with the problem a bit more (in Europe) and you can't get away like you can in New Zealand and go 50 minutes out of town to a pristine environment."

Jansen said New Zealanders were aware of the need to be green, but had not yet translated that into action. "My hope, in a sense, is that you will not wait for Government to legislate on sustainability, but should take individual action and perhaps you won't end up like Europe."

About 1.5 million visitors come to New Zealand each year.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Fiona Luhrs said the industry had a responsibility to protect the environment "both in our wilderness areas and our urban centres" to ensure New Zealand fulfilled its 100 per cent pure marketing promise.

She said the new New Zealand Tourism Strategy, expected to be released today, re-emphasised the sustainability message.

From here .