An election looms: do I feel lucky?

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Magnum-Dirty-Harry

Do you feel lucky punk?

Consider this. A few hundred metres away, right in front of you, there’s a man with a very big gun — a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world. You’re looking down the barrel. He’s just pulled the trigger, and a bullet is speeding towards you. You would very much like to dodge the bullet, but your fate depends on the actions of the political parties standing for election on September the 20th.

The Conservative Party denies the bullet exists, and will smack you if you move.

ACT says that if the bullet exists (and it’s not really sure it’s there) then the best thing to do is not very much at all because a little flesh wound never killed anyone.

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The National Party says that we should wait and see what the rest of the world does before taking any bullet seriously, and in the meantime hands out stacks of money to its friends in the bullet-making business asking them to make lighter bullets.

The Labour Party says that yes, a bullet is definitely on the way, and you need to move, but first lets see if we can deflect it from its trajectory by grabbing back some of the money the National Party has been giving away.

The Maori Party wants to plant trees between you and the gunman.

The Green Party wants you to take cover while it blows very, very hard at the bullet in the hope that its trajectory can be changed.

Internet/Mana agrees, but wants to do it digitally.

NZ First wants to do something, but isn’t sure what until it’s decided who is going to be the next prime minister.

The bullet is dangerous and damaging climate change and it is certainly heading our way. Climate policy really should be a major issue in this election, but – despite the valiant efforts of the Climate Voter initiative (up to 59,000 sign ups when I last checked) – it is failing to attract much mainstream attention. As far as media coverage is concerned, there’s more interest in a mythical tax cut unicorn which might turn up in a few years (or not). There’s precious little sign of serious thought being given to the issue that is going to define the lives of everyone on the planet over the rest of this century.

If you are a “climate voter”, the best way to inform yourself about party policies on climate is to have a look at the Great Climate Voter Debate, organised by the Climate Voter coalition last week. It’s two hours of on-topic discussion, and exactly the sort of balanced coverage we should be seeing on TV and in the press.

At the moment it looks like a fairly clear climate divide has opened up between the parties of the right and the left. A future National-Led government is unlikely to do anything to tighten up NZ’s emissions trading scheme, or take any serious steps to adapt to future inevitable change, nor will any of its likely coalition partners force its hand. A Labour-led government will be much more proactive, thanks to the presence of the Greens at the cabinet table. If the balance of power is held by NZ First, the next three years of climate policy will be decided by Winston Peters and the baubles of power.

You got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

18 COMMENTS

  1. “The Green Party wants you to take cover while it blows very, very hard at the bullet in the hope that its trajectory can be changed”

    I notice a lot that whenever an opinion piece is trying to disparage every political party to some extent on some serious issue of policy, it doesn’t really know what to do with the Greens. Gordon McLauchlan in a piece in the Herald titled “Why are our politicians sleepwalking” said “and the Greens are the same old unfathomable Greens.”

    None of this makes any sense as the Greens are quite plain in their policies, no where more so than to do with climate change where it is unequivocol with the most comprehensive and practical plans for tackling climate change of any party and the only party that is committed to taking it seriously.

    It really seems as if a lot of people simply do not want to take the Greens seriously. They really should be asking themselves “why cannot I not give the Greens the respect they are due and acknowledge their policies honestly”.

    • I think I make the point that the Greens are the party that takes climate change most seriously, because that is certainly the case. But the bullet analogy is relevant because there’s nothing we can do to avoid the warming that’s locked into the system by current atmospheric CO2 levels. Even if we could go to zero emissions tomorrow, there would still be 30+ years of warming to come, and hundreds of years of sea level rise (to 15-20m above current levels). We’re going to get a flesh wound, whatever we do…

    • “Greens are quite plain in their policies”

      Sorry Fambo .. but how can any thinking person not understand, that a savings scheme based on the continuing growth of this planet stuffing system is not green. And makeing it compulsory is just adding insult to injury.

      Great analogy thanks Gareth

      ” A Labour-led government will be much more proactive, thanks to the presence of the Greens at the cabinet table.”
      But as you say there is NO dodging this bullet, so it doesn’t matter who you vote for, feeling lucky will not stop our brains being splattered over the back wall )
      Maybe the true picture is that of all the politicians make, loading, and firing the gun.

  2. The inability of the MSM to acknowledge the importance of climate change renders them not just irresponsible but criminally and morally liable.

    The science is sound, the consequences dire, the need for change urgent. Not a story?

    • Yes, yes, yes and no, not when the MSM are among the main offenders. They are not going to draw attention to their own culpability.

    • The MSM have been preoccupied with other things over the last 2 weeks, in case you didn’t notice

      A certain person whose initials are CS seem to be getting most of the airtime.

  3. So its a re-run of 2005. Back then, NZ First demanded that Labour ditch the carbon tax that Labour was about to introduce. Winston wanted a review of climate policy. Which gave us the ETS, just as Labour went out of power, and which NZ First opposed anyway.

    Looking at NZ First policy this time around, the backroom people who put it together obviously understand climate change, but there is no clear line on what the party will actually do if it has any power.

    Winston has never been a climate change denier. Conservative politicians who accept the reality of climate change should be encouraged. But his track record so far has been to express concern, and then attack every policy proposal to deal with it.

    But them again, Gold Cards have increased bus patronage and reduced private car trips. ….

    • Winston was right; the Greens were wrong:

      “Our policy is the opposite of Winston Peters’,” the Party’s Immigration Spokesperson Keith Locke says.

      http://www.greens.org.nz/policy/summary/population

      Savings Working Group
      January 2011
      “The big adverse gap in productivity between New Zealand and other countries opened up from the 1970s to the early 1990s. The policy choice that increased immigration – given the number of employers increasingly unable to pay First-World wages to the existing population and all the capital requirements that increasing populations involve – looks likely to have worked almost directly against the adjustment New Zealand needed to make and it might have been better off with a lower rate of net immigration. This adjustment would have involved a lower real interest rate (and cost of capital) and a lower real exchange rate, meaning a more favourable environment for raising the low level of productive capital per worker and labour productivity. The low level of capital per worker is a striking symptom of New Zealand’s economic challenge.

      http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/reviews-consultation/savingsworkinggroup/pdfs/swg-report-jan11.pdf

  4. Very amusing and accurate article. We have a rival for the talented Toby Manhire at the Herald.

    The essential problem is we are addicted to oil, and half the population have a low IQ so are easy prey for the climate denialists. Don’t know how you fix that, but the Greens are the closest on policy.

    Everyone is hoping the science is over estimating things and that we can adapt. But the reverse is entirely possible.

  5. George Monbiot had a quotable quote this week, with regard to the Vote for Scottish Independence.

    “Already, the myth of political apathy has been scotched by the tumultuous movement north of the border. As soon as something is worth voting for, people will queue into the night to add their names to the register. The low turn-outs in Westminster elections reflect not an absence of interest but an absence of hope.”

    Strikes me that the apathy toward NZ elections also reflects the absence of hope. We have had precious little evidence of late that Our Glorious Leaders up at Fort Fumble have even the faintest regard for what the average Jo thinks. “Feed ’em just enough bullshit to get elected then forget ’em”. I, for one, have only faint hopes that any outcome will make the slightest difference, particularly re climate change.

  6. The political system we have isn’t up to the task. Vote Conservative Party for binding referendums and then raise a referendum with the question “Should the government do nothing about the climate change hoax?”.
    The right wing will fund the “Yes” campaign with catchy slogans “You can’t legislate to change the weather.” perhaps even some John Ansell billboards targetting the tradies, ladies, dinkies, woopies, millenials etc. The “No” campaign will feature scientists and green evangelists and the occasional maverick businessman.

    The “Yes” vote carries the day with 72% and, hey, problem solved, the people have spoken, democracy in action, the wisdom of crowds, can’t get much fairer than that.

    In John Key’s words, “we’re on the cusp of something very special”.

  7. The greens came out with 2 more ways of loading the gun today
    Electric cars, and a hopium BAU statement that NZ will be at 100% ‘reusable’ energy by 2030 ?????????????
    Show me any car of part of, that doesn’t add CO2 to the environment, ether through it’s use or manufacture, and they all run on man made rubber and tarmac (both CO2 contributes), oh and electricity, Copper, Rare Earth shit (?) and … oil, not to forget the thousands of bunker oil nautical miles everything has to travel.
    Most of our current dams will be silted up by 2030.
    We have the 30 – 40 year time lag between current CO2 levels and + 5 degrees , in 16 years the planet could (?) be 2.5 degrees above what it is now. The ‘bullet’ is that human habitat can not move fast enough to support … humanity. And at about +2 the bullet is penetrating the skin
    But by 2030 NZ, like the rest of the world, will be 100% solar powered. Just as it was about what 50,000 years ago (before ‘man’ discovered fire?)
    Does anyone know how far away a generator is for say Benmore?
    That is enough effort for something that may not get posted.

  8. None of this makes any sense as the Greens are quite plain in their policies, no where more so than to do with climate change where it is unequivocol with the most comprehensive and practical plans for tackling climate change of any party and the only party that is committed to taking it seriously.
    ….

    Rubbish. The Greens are an environmental and “social justice party” (their own evaluation). They claim that one follows the other, but this makes no sense at all.
    Take

    Stretching over 3.5 million sq km (1.35 million sq mi) of the ocean, Kiribati consists of several islands spread across a territory of similar size to India, but most of the population is concentrated on South Tarawa.

    This tiny crescent of land is home to around 50,000 people – it’s overcrowded, with a population density similar to Tokyo or Hong Kong.”

    and

    “Their document ‘Ecological Footprint of New Zealand and its Regions’ enumerates the carrying capacity of New Zealand, but the Green Party ‘recognises that a sustainable population level for New Zealand would not be “final and fixed” but flexible.’

    “However, it would be quite wrong to take from this that we are asking parents to have less kids,” Mr Locke says.

    “It is anathema to myself – as it is to the Green Party – that any person should interest themselves in the right of any one to choose how many children they have,” said Mr Locke.
    “Their document ‘Ecological Footprint of New Zealand and its Regions’ enumerates the carrying capacity of New Zealand, but the Green Party ‘recognises that a sustainable population level for New Zealand would not be “final and fixed” but flexible.’

    “However, it would be quite wrong to take from this that we are asking parents to have less kids,” Mr Locke says.

    “It is anathema to myself – as it is to the Green Party – that any person should interest themselves in the right of any one to choose how many children they have,” said Mr Locke.

    https://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/greens%E2%80%99-population-policy-misinterpreted

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