GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions


Is our government serious about Climate Change or not?

I read James Shaw’s Zero carbon Amendment Bill yesterday (the complete title is the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill ).

It’s aim is to meet what we agreed to under the Paris Agreement,namely to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 and reduce agricultural methane by that same date.

There then follows a lot of clauses about the stepping stones ( which they call “emissions budgets “) they say the government will implement to achieve this life saving goal plus a whole lot of provisions about what the Commission must do and what the Minister must do .

But then you get to clause 5ZJ which is about what happens if the present and future governments DON’T meet the 2050 target and it says:

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“No remedy or relief is available for failure to meet the 2050 target or an emissions budget and the 2050 target and emissions budgets are not enforceable in a court of law…”

In other words NOTHING.

This is a Bill that is about intention not compulsion.


My guess it’s because big business – especially big agricultural business- has already lobbied the government (mainly through National and New Zealand First) against forcing us to adopt serious climate change measures as it will hurt their profits and our economy.

Well folks, the tactics of friendly persuasion and encouragement isn’t going to solve the extinction problem of climate change.

If we don’t pass legislation with the teeth to force capitalism to factor global warming outcomes into its investment decisions, then one day we won’t have an economy at all – because we won’t have a planet.

Our law makers would do well to remeber a saying that is more than a 1000 years old…

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. Yes Bruce; we agree, just a look at the pictures here tell a thousand words, as a monster sea devours property on HB beaches.

    $75k sale: New Zealand’s cheapest beachfront property is so seaside it’s almost underwater

    14 May, 2019 6:00am
    4 minutes to read

    It’s NZ’s cheapest beachfront property, and on days like this in 2018, it’s easy to see why. Photo / Peak Video
    Hawkes Bay Today

    By: Blair Voorend

    A Hawke’s Bay house which is the last place you’d want to be in the event of a large East Coast swell has sold for an astonishingly cheap $75,500.
    The 21 Clifton Road, Haumoana

  2. It would be pointless including “teeth” since a future government can always reverse the legislation if they wish to “transgress ” without being punished.

  3. Is our government serious about Climate Change or not?

    Can we stop a Cyclone? A volcano blowing? An asteroid strike? No! CC is now exponential and irreversible. Other than realistic preparation we can do nothing.

  4. No, but none of us. So, representative. We can’t face 19 out of 20ths of our wealth being removed, so we look away. She’s a sort who doesn’t like unpopularity. Is it surprising?

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