Tim Walker’s Offset

Air New Zealand are pleased to announce that a portion of its travellers are volunteering to pay a supplementary fee intended to ‘offset the impact’ of carbon emissions.

Given modern peoples’ assumed understanding of ecology, Global Warming and, by implication, most everything environmental, they are of course aware of the massive volume of exhaust discharge emitted by an aeroplane also the detriment to which this is assuredly subjecting New Zealand’s environment; Air New Zealand has perceived the willingness of their customers to pay them this additional guilt-tax as ‘a step in the right direction’…

Quote from the Air New Zealand website: ‘Air New Zealand is committed to helping customers minimise the impact of their air travel on the environment’; thus in their attempt to achieve this claim Air New Zealand is – net of taxes but reportedly taking no administrative fees at all – using every bit of those customers’ extra funding to purchase ‘carbon offsets’, which are presumably intended to offset the Greenhouse Effect.

…A step in the right direction indeed, as Air New Zealand now has its customers paying more flight-tax than ever before; according to the airline though all funds raised are going towards the ongoing establishment and maintenance of New Zealand’s nature reserves, where thousands of square kilometres of native bush will work to neutralise airborne pollution across the nation and potentially, around the world…

Going back a few years, people who propagated large stands of forestry could apply for something known as ‘carbon credits’, as these vast plantations were seen to be ‘capturers of pollution’ and were therefore working towards mitigating/negating the onset of the Greenhouse Effect.

…Also thinking a few years back, the New Zealand Government made a pledge to ‘significantly reduce its carbon footprint by 2020’ and started planting trees in earnest, in order to meet this target while in the meantime, of course, earning carbon credits for its efforts; then only to discover that it was in fact far quicker and much easier to simply purchase carbon credits from other, already heavily forested nations such as Ukraine and Russia, rendering the Government’s ‘carbon credit scheme’ something of a farce…

Ultimately Air New Zealand customers have no guarantee how their money, the taxation being used to fund their so called carbon offsets, is being used; they have only our eponymous airline’s word that it’s being used for good not evil and ultimately Air New Zealand has no guarantee either that its money, the revenue from the taxation which it is allegedly passing over to New Zealand’s nature reserves, is being properly appropriated by those reserves or more importantly, is having any tangible effect on the state of our environment of which the reserves are a part and which they are supposedly protecting.

…Air New Zealand, the largely New Zealand Government-owned airline, has started encouraging its customers to pay a voluntary tax to cover the cost of the environmental impact caused by the emissions of its aeroplanes…

This is an undoubtedly superb thing that, around the nation, our Government is committed to the propagation of nature reserves for the benefit of nurturing and supporting New Zealand natives, but realistically, do we actually believe that this new concept of ‘carbon offsetting’ is truly advantageous to our environment and that it’s not just another way for our Government to squeeze more tax from hard working Kiwis while improving its own image in the face of World Climate Change?

…Air New Zealand is committed to helping customers minimise the impact of their air travel on the environment; yet it is unwilling to absorb any of, thus appears to have zero compunction in passing on, the environmental cost from the effects of its planes’ pollution.

Still I’m undecided whether the above script ought to be categorised as Political, Ecological, or Financial.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Flynn Haer

Photography by N Vie Ron-Cost





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *