My apologies to the Greens – why the Carbon Tax is a genius move



I have to eat some humble organic locally produced pie here. I have always been fairly mean to the Greens in the past over some of their strategic manoeuvres. I have meanly said that they have all the tactical ability of slow growing moss.

Well, today such mockery ends. The Carbon Tax is such a brilliant political masterstroke, I’d say it just eclipsed the appointment of Laila Harre as leader of the Internet Party.

When all a National Party cheerleader like David Farrar can throw at the Carbon Tax is a mere grumble, you know that the Greens have sensed and responded to the challenge of the Left becoming more crowded and have decided to directly challenge National’s Blue Green urban liberal voter block while maintaining their environmental core vote. Every household with economic literacy enough for a heat pump just pricked up their ears at a Carbon Tax and seen the mechanics of it as clever enough to walk from National and vote Green.

This means any youth voters the Greens lose to IMP they will gain from National. It’s a genius strategy that is a deep raid into National Party territory.

If the Greens hammer, hammer, hammer the environment throughout this election campaign with solution based policy they will reap a vast reward at the cost of the National Party.

I thought 15% was unachievable, this Policy makes it a possibility.

This raid into National territory takes pressure off Cunliffe to do the same and allows him to focus on the missing million with a strong Labour flag.

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If progressives can appreciate the electoral math here and use MMP tactically by working together as a united front, then the chance of Key losing the parliamentary majority goes up alongside Cunliffe’s chances at becoming PM.


  1. Carbon tax has always been the way to go.

    Globally the right wing have been laughing as hard about Kyoto and cap and trade as they have been about selling us the trickle down theory.

    • Although it is the right way to go, it is easy prey for the right. It is a brave policy (or alternatively political suicide) to tell voters they will probably get a tax increase if they vote for you whilst your National opponents are hinting that you will get a tax cut if you only think of your own wallet and vote for them.

  2. Why so conservative? 15% ? Is that all?!

    Global warming is here to stay and in fact to get much much worse before it ever starts to get better, maybe in the lifetimes of our great great-grandchildren, or much longer thereafter. That message is starting to get through to people. In terms of real honest solution providing, he Greens are the only pedicab even going in that direction. Given another few months, another good bit of weather, and another fair dinkum documentary or two, why not aim for 25-50%?

    The Greens in Germany have made a phenomenal contribution to the direction of that great land, both by supporting Hermann Scheer’s solar revolution and in their own right. NZ now has MMP, the Greens have the right policies and people in place and ready to roll, the time is more than ripe, and so the same is completely achievable.

    I just wish someone would ask that nice Gareth chap to please stop clashing his green and blue pastels.

  3. Right on! The ETS, despite it looking promising at the start, failed because the money became more important than the pollution which it was supposed to limit. Whenever money becomes more important than priniciple, failure quickly follows.

  4. The carbon equivalent tax policy is indeed a smart one. There is one worry I have, and that is how this will affect the poor out of work, those that are having to live on fixed income, be they long term beneficiaries or pensioners.

    It is projected that the tax will lead to some moderate price increases, and to compensate that the Greens tie it to a $ 2,000 tax exemption on incomes. How does this work well for the groups I mentioned, as they will likely see their living costs increase, while not being able to take advantage of the tax free income policy.

    Beneficiaries only pay a minute bit of tax on their base benefit, and they will not be better off under this tax, unless the Greens and a future government will perhaps increase benefits.

    Apart from that it is a positive move, and now even having the conservative “NZ Taxpayers Union” praise it, that is really making for bizarre response to the new Greens policy.

    We need more smart policies, and the Nats will really get scared then.

    • What many beneficiaries don’t realise is that thei benefits are taxed at source. Everyone will be better off except the big polluters, and they can reduce their costs by cleaning up their act.

  5. The Tax Payers union supporting a Green policy, this must be genius. Sheep farmers will be pleased too. About time they got some recognition of their importance to sustainable agriculture.

  6. Yes, Greens heading in the right direction with this. Seems a bit complicated in implementation (lampooned by Tom Scott in today’s DomPost) and they seem to be trying to please everyone – get over that, it’s all ugly from here on with climate change. Just tax carbon and put the $$ in a consolidated fund to pay for dealing with the effects – simple, everyone understands that – the “user pays” philosophy will even resonate with the Act types.

  7. The ETS is, and always was a scam. The key word is TRADING. Like a stock exchange. Or currency. TRADING emissions? Really? Who profits from that? Hint: It’s NOT the environment.
    A carbon tax is infinitely preferable, although the way the Greens are spinning it reminds me an awful lot of Kevin Rudd’s Mining Tax, i.e. targeting a particular perceived wealthy industry with very deep pockets (which I suspect is far from the reality). Incidentally, that move really ultimately didn’t turn out well for Kevin politically.
    Still, I would be pleased to see the back of ETS.

  8. Can you please explain to me Martyn why

    A shift from a neoliberal Trading, carbon Emissions (did I just mention TRADING) scheme towards a taxation scheme, with a refund to the lowest $2000 included within a comprehensive no tax programme for the lowest $10,000 is a “move to the right”????

    Am I failing to understand the basics of left wing taxation policy as opposed to right wing neoliberal trading policy, despite having taught this at universities for 20 years?

    Dr Ruth Irwin

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