Mark Dye: Maybe we can learn something from Pakistan

Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Thursday, 17 August 2017, 12:17PM
Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif (Getty Images)
Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif (Getty Images)

When you think of Pakistan, what comes to mind? Actually pause and think about it for a second. What did you come up with? Was common sense politics one?

Didn’t think so. And yet in the last couple of weeks I have been left gobsmacked, not once, but twice at a couple of news stories out of Pakistan.

The first one came in the depth of the furore that was Metiria Turei and her fraudulent past. It was around the time we learnt the Turei had a wee side hustle in electoral fraud on the go whilst she was defrauding the taxpayer via the DPB, Pakistan’s Supreme Court announced it was disqualifying its prime minister Nawaz Sharif for failing to declare a US$3000 monthly salary from an offshore company. The Panama Papers claim yet another victim.

But how? Well Article 62 of the Pakistani constitution of course. Article 62 states that politicians must be ‘honest’ and ‘righteous’. The Supreme Court of Pakistan deemed Sharif had not been, and so he was removed by unanimous decision.

Of course, ‘honest and righteous’ is wide open to interpretation, but still, wouldn’t that be a nice toy to play with? Think how many politicians we could’ve used that on? ‘Let’s 62 em’, we could all cry the next time one our politicians are caught buying porn and charging it back to the taxpayer, or paying a visit to a business partner of a close friend or relative whilst on a taxpayer funded trip.

The next shock came via the Independent in the UK last night when I learned that in less than two years, in an effort to tackle Climate Change, prevent erosion and bolster animal habitats, a single province in Pakistan has planted one billion trees.

ONE BILLION! It gets better, former international cricket superstar turned politician Imran Khan launched the initiative. Nope, no fake news. Khyber Pakhtunkhaw, located in the North West of the country, has restored forest to 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land. Known as the ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’, similar efforts are expected to be rolled out of Pakistan over the next few years.

Meanwhile back home in New Zealand, we have no way of removing an MP that defrauded the taxpayer and showed no remorse for doing so (just a single ‘sorry’, would’ve changed so much), and in regards to Climate Change and afforestation, well, where do we start?

According to the Ministry for the Environment we are hoping to have our rejigged Emissions Trading Scheme up and running sometime in the 2020’s, wicked. And the Ministry of Primary Resources was hoping to establish 15,000 hectares of new forests between 2015, and 2020.

Unfortunately I’ve seen no detail as to how that is coming along. Granted New Zealand is a third of the size of Pakistan, but still. 350,000 hectares and a billion trees in two years!

I never thought I’d utter the words, but maybe we could learn a thing or two from Pakistan.

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