The Empty Gesture of the Climate Emergency declaration 



I screamed.


I yelled.


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I cried out.

Yes. Finally. Thank the little Baby Jesus that this Labour-Green Government had ended their trite incrementalism and were actually fucking doing something real and meaningful about the existential crisis of our time – Global Warming.

The Labour-Greens were finally going to tackle the nuclear moment of our lifetime and endorse the radical economic, political and societal change that must occur for us to be able to adapt to the grim new future of the climate crisis.

So I was thrilled to hear at first that the Greens and Labour were rapidly passing a climate emergency this week.

The legislation that allows emergency declarations is the CDEM Act. It means the Government can close roads, can close any business and can take over all private assets and property to fight the emergency.

About bloody time eh!

Wait. What?

What is the fine print in the Labour-Greens declaration of the climate crisis emergency?


It’s NOT an emergency that triggers the CDEM Act, so it’s not actually an emergency declaration at all, it’s just a symbolic gesture being used by the Greens and Labour at a time they are both under intense pressure from progressives for not revoking a racist drug law, not increasing welfare, not imposing a new wealth tax and spending billions propping up property speculators.

So this weeks ‘climate emergency’ is actually a hollow, empty gesture.

It’s like getting a beautifully wrapped Christmas present, only to open it and find a turd inside!

This is what the Labour and Greens are really giving us this Christmas…

…I voted Labour-Green and all I got for the climate was this dog turd sprinkled in glitter?

On closer inspection, it looks like the glitter is in fact sprinkles, so we are supposed to eat this shit sandwich and say ‘yum, yum. thank you’???

What’s the bet that after the tsunami of criticism once people realise how meaningless this is that they claim, ‘it’s a great first step’?

This bloody Government has had more ‘it’s a great first step’ moments than a one legged marathon runner! We need to be running on the climate crisis, not still making first steps!

How many ‘great first step’ press releases from Wellington Unions need to come out before you just recognise we are just jogging on the spot?

Get back to me when declaring an emergency actually allows for the emergency powers to be used, because what will happen this week in Parliament is nothing more than vacant virtue signalling.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the Political NZ Left are hash-tagging while Aotearoa fiddles.

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  1. Did you expect anything more than hollow gestures performed for media and the FB feed?

    Expect the empathy level to hit 110% and the frowny/concerned face.

  2. Maybe, just maybe, the message will finally seep through to persons like the commentator from Gentle Annie, that Roger Kerr and co were wrong, and that climate change is occurring, if they have to pause and think about the fact that the government can take over all their assets and property. Hide the best axe.

  3. Former Greek finance minister and economist philosopher Yanis Varoufakis tells the story of meeting his fellow European finance ministers to present the case for debt restructuring for Greece following the 2008 financial crisis. Yanis says politely, to his European colleagues that the Greek people – by electing his party – have given him a mandate to seek a better economic future for Greece. At this point the German finance minister interjects with the stern retort – “elections must not be allowed to change economic policy”.
    When you look back over the last couple of decades at any progressive leader from Helen Clark, Tony Blair to Obama and now Jacinda you will not find significant structural economic policy from any of them.
    In many cases these leaders have entrenched specific economic structures by providing government backing to certain private sector interests.
    In NZ we have a low wage, high rent economy where low wages are subsidized by WFF and high rents are subsidies by housing benefits – effectively embedding these factors into NZ investor and business thinking.
    In the US Obama mandated that all US citizens buy private health insurance – just think about that for a minute. (Yes he did improve health insurance regulations but how long do you think it will take health care lobbyists to get that changed).
    And now we have Jacinda in NZ who will tinker and twiddle at the edges – a few more social houses here and there – but not too many because that will reduce demand in the private rental sector.
    Lot’s of fine speeches and chair moving, lots of women and Maori in important positions, lot’s commissions and reports when it comes to reducing poverty or the climate crisis but no economic policy will be allowed to undermine the guaranteed compliant and low wage labor pool that supports NZ business or the high rents that extract back much of their earnings. No policy will be allowed to intercede in the massive and ubiquitous fossil fuel industry whether that’s restriction’s on fuel or vehicles.
    So to avoid disappointment remember that elections must not be allowed to change economic policy.

    • “When you look back over the last couple of decades at any progressive leader from Helen Clark, Tony Blair to Obama and now Jacinda you will not find significant structural economic policy from any of them.”

      And you call them progressive?

    • “When you look back over the last couple of decades at any progressive leader from Helen Clark, Tony Blair to Obama and now Jacinda you will not find significant structural economic policy from any of them.”

      and you call them progressive?

  4. Without a global consensus nothing NZ does will have a tangible effect anyway (given we contribute just 0.1% of global emissions). The government knows this. People on this blog don’t seem to (or are ignoring this “inconvenient truth” 😉 ), and think climate measures we take here in NZ will somehow impact our local climate. It won’t a jot of difference, because it can’t. So why bother? To virtue signal to the rest of the world?

    • By failing to address the climate emergency at the local level and by ensuring NZ remains utterly dependent on imported oil, the government ensures that NZ society will undergo catastrophic failure in the near future.

      Resources -concrete, steel and glass etc. are allocated to infrastructure that will have no utility in the near future and much of it will be physically destroyed by extreme weather events or will be physically underwater (due to ‘faster than expected’ sea level rise). NZ will be littered with car parks, parking buildings, retail premises, hotels and motels etc. that will have next to no use, and large sectors of the population will be unable to feed themselves.

      All the evidence indicates that point being reached within a decade.

      Appropriate policies, geared to ecological sanity and ;providing the populace with the tools they need to have healthy, productive lives are abhorred by governments because such policies provide no profits for banks and corporations, nor tax revenues for governments.

      The sabotaging of NZ society that has characterised all governments for many decades continues under Adern.

      There is such a thing as leadership (remembers the anti-nuclear stance?) . And Adern shows none. Just more of the same shit we’ve been served up for decades.

      • So in other words, shoot ourselves in our feet to spite ourselves?
        BTW, I really, really want NZ to decouple from China (especially) and the US. I think our dependence on imported goods is an utter embarrassment for a country that could trivially produce most of it locally. If what you are suggesting leads to that I’m all for it, but not because I think we’re “saving the planet” by doing it.

        • It is far too late to ‘save the planet’ The time for that was the 1970s.

          What we could do is reduce the misery that will come as a result of present climate policies. And climate polices means practically all economic and social polices since all of them impact on the ability to survive what is in the pipeline. .

          The government won’t even do that, and is fully committed to making matters worse faster through unstinting support for business-as-usual: infrastructure constructed where it will be washed away or covered with water; outrageously carbon-intensive activities not just tolerated by promoted! Maximum pain in the future seems to be the byword for governance.

      • AFKTT
        If Ardern and this govt had any vision or backbone, they would look at NZ becoming the Norway of the Pacific.
        Some quick facts (you may not like them):
        “Norway’s modern manufacturing and welfare system rely on a financial reserve produced by exploitation of natural resources, particularly North Sea oil. According to United Nations data for 2018, Norway together with Luxembourg, and Switzerland are the only three countries in the world with a GDP per capita above US$70,000.”

        There you go, we should be drilling more oil and selling it, instead of shutting the whole thing down. Think of the welfare system that could buy this country.
        But instead of Norway, we are have become NO WAY…because we specialise in being NIMYBYS.

        • Are you going for Fuckwit of the Year, Herman?

          Firstly, you have to have oil deposits in order to drill for them and extract them. NZ was the first place in the British Empire to commence extracting oil -Ngamutu, New Plymouth around 1880. And we’ve nearly sucked the deposits nearly dry. Peak extraction was 1987!

          No wonder the Adern government was comfortable to put a symbolic ban on new drilling; there’s bugger all to be found…hence so many prospective wells being abandoned when they came up dry several years ago. And no significant attempts to find oil since.

          If you are thinking about the Chatham Rise, think again. The depth is too great for conventional drilling and the seas are inhospitable….
          very different from the shallow Gulf of Mexico or the shallow North Sea.

          As for Norway, well it too is past peak and on the way down. And its sovereign investment fund has been getting such poor returns everything is starting to implode.

          Just wait till the equity bubble bursts in 2021.

          • Mostly true. However, I think MMT has effectively put an end to any potential equity bubble bursts. Since 2009, when Bernanke made his famous “we an invention called the printing press” speech, I think we can rest assured that the stock market can really only ever go up. We have central banks now that are literally prepared to print fiat currency (“QE”) in order to prop up any or all the stock, bond and real estate markets as required. I’m predicting the Dow to rise to at least 35,000 next year and 40,000 before the end of 2022.

  5. Best way to take attention off the Covid Wardens and Wrong Turn Ardern surprisingly bad decisions on Christmas Bonus Benefit Payment denial, so much for reducing Child Poverty in NZ, and the Cannabis Vote smack in the face call, keep filling up NZ Prisons with Kiwis for the crime of cannabis use.

  6. Ba ha ! That, was funny. I’m sorry for your disillusionment of course but man you can write a funny post.
    ‘Kiss The Ground’ is a great American documentary on the soil biome. I know I’ve commented it into here before but we should all watch it again and let it sink in. I’ve watched it a couple of times now because I’ve nagged my friends and whanau to check it out.
    As a farmer born to the land prior to the mercantile firms pimping chemicals to the more modern yet less aware farmer I know the value of regenerative agriculture. And that value is literally priceless because once it’s gone it won’t come back quickly enough to stave off mass starvation, poverty and an atmosphere laden with CO2.
    My family developed a 650 acre property in beautiful central eastern southland which involved tiling the small spring fed creeks ( Round porous fired clay pipes laid end to end. Water can seep through but sediments can’t. As an apprentice tile heaver is why this 12 year old kid was built like a brick shithouse. ) and bulldozing the eyebrows down to make smooth grazing paddocks. The result of that was by bulldozing the upper level of natural dark microbe rich soils off the hills we were left with clay faces that would erode when it rained so my father and mother set forth for the shits of the chicken and the cow and sheep. Lovely free fertiliser and all we had to do was wait for nature to call on those various wee beasties.
    Most of todays agriculture is about exploiting that soil biome and it’s becoming exhausted and is dying and soon all we’ll be left with is dead dirt.
    Artificial nitrogens, spraying with glyphosates, over stocking and the greed of the bankster will send us into ruin and it’s a slowly building catastrophe of biblical proportions that I see coming as a result and has The Green Party been out to seek council from traditional farmers about the above?
    The answer, of course, is no.
    And there are reasons for that but I’m not going to bore the dear reader with gory details. We know that AO/NZ is a corrupted country. We know that those whom corrupted us now need to make good their escape lest they get hung up from a tree.
    I will say however, there will be time for that later but first lets fix what they fucked?
    Please watch this documentary. It’s hope-giving if nothing else.
    ‘Kiss The Ground’.
    Available in Netflix.

  7. Meanwhile news today of the PM disputing that little has been achieved thus far on poverty in particular the recommendations by social sector professionals. On RNZ Morning Report she referred to a minor increase of benefit rate for those with children as proof of the government’s success. I also heard a report today whereby a migrant doctor had beaten his partner and was being deported out of New Zealand for it. His support team argued that the doctor had performed essential and honourable duties during the coronavirus period and that this was the true measure of his character. Hopefully the PM will take into consideration all of the facts with the social cost of doing next to nothing in honourable duty, and rather than making excuses doesn’t also suffer from battered wife syndrome where she forgives everything down by her administration and goes back to a hopeful but fantasy normal life ignorant of the horrible truth.

  8. The purpose of emergency declarations, as I understand it, is to empower governments to undertake measures necessary for the protection of the safety of the country and its people in the event of some danger with which they are confronted, and where there is no time to consult parliament. The slow moving nature of climate change, however, doesn’t seem to make it the sort of danger to which such a declaration would apply.

  9. More fluff that with actualise in to absolutely nothing for Cindy and Co.

    All they do is talk – action is for bailing banks and cutting taxes for wealthy folk.

    Labour and National should amalgamate – at least this would be more honest than the current supposedly two party system – Labour have showing nothing to indicate they differ from National apart from lots of fluff during disasters … which is all very well and nice, but if all fluff and no action – business as usual.

    Effectively we are left to take issues into our own hands … watch this space.

    No I don’t support ACT or any other conservative twats either.

  10. What Martyn, a government deeply tethered to neoliberal economics doing absolutely nothing but protecting the status quo. Who would have thought it.

  11. Chances are that the so-called climate emergency turns out to be just a quirky idea without tangible substance …? We will see soon.

    Anyway … … let’s talk about possible rescue. Let’s talk about ‘a rescue society’.

    Yes, you heard right.

    A Rescue Society.

    Or: Socio-economic Alternatives during the Age of the Anthropocene.


    Of course, there was always the situation that the parliamentary Greens (or the Left, to ensure a more comprehensive perspective) do not gain enough political drive to initiate, guide and maintain the urgently needed socio-ecological transformation process.

    Even those with the best of intentions can be severely restricted, hindered, defused by state-supported neoliberal structures and resistance from all parts of a compromised parliamentary landscape.

    Not only in NZ, but all-over the world.

    So what? Game over?

    Climate adaptation? Forget it?


    Maybe not.

    What now? Fighting?

    Yes, in many ways.

    Let’s talk about one possibility: Implosion. Insolvency. Bankrupt.

    Collapse of the system.

    We set up a “rescue society”. A Society in Society.

    Individuals, small businesses, craftsmen, trade unions, sports clubs, artists, professionals from all walks of life. Every woman, every man. Anyone.

    We simply need to agree to a set of principles and build up our communications along these lines:

    1. Observe and act, 2. Generate and store energy, 3. Generate yields, 4. Self-regulation and accept feedback, 5. Use renewable resources and services, 6. Do not produce waste, 7. Apply deductive practice: from patterns to design of details, 8. Integration instead of separation, 9. Use of small and slow technologies, 10. Use diversity, 11. Recognize the value of the ‘economically worthless’, 12. React creatively to change.

    Safeguarding society.

    We build an alternative “Rescue Society”.

    Blocking the spokes of the wheel without falling under the wheels.

    We can call it a genuine Civil Society response in difficult times.

    System. Change. Now.
    Community Design for Climate Change

  12. Just more weasel words,from the head weasel, just like the weasel before.
    All talk, glacial pace implementation

    Of the 43 Annex I countries – industrialised nations which have benefited the most from greenhouse gas emissions and therefore have the greatest obligation to reduce emissions – just 12 have seen net emissions increase since 1990. New Zealand is one of those.

    In fact, New Zealand has seen the second-greatest increase in emissions (in percentage terms) among Annex I countries.

    New Zealand, however, still has the same interim NDC that the National government submitted in 2015. This doesn’t seek to reduce emissions at all, but instead to limit average annual emissions over the next decade to a 10 percent increase from 2005 levels.

  13. Yes Martyn I am very disapointed that the greens are piss weak about climate change so Labour needs to put a line in the sand now to get moving on climate change.

    We have always advocated for a return to rail freight as the road trucking industry has qmost potched all freight off rail and noow carries 96% all all freight on trucks and trucks consume massive oil products besides diesel as the tyres are over 60% oil based and the roads they are wearing out at breakneck speed are alos mage from oil so there are three steams of oil use which is the highest used transport mode using oil whch the oil companies hate rail and shipping as they are low oil users by comparission.

    So Labour cut trucking and incease rail.

  14. You say ‘populist leader’, like it’s a bad thing.

    The world has seen enough of right wing populist leaders, it is now time for a left populist leader..

    The dance between people and leadership is a subtle one.

    As Covid-19 spread around the world. Saw the collapse of the Italian health system, reputedly, “one of the best health care systems in the world”. To prevent the collapse of our health system, A petition circulated among New Zealand health workers demanded that the New Zealand government declare a full level 4 lockdown.
    When the petition recorded only 3,000 health workers signatures, the Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, pooh poohed the idea. Saying the country will stay at alert level 2.

    Otago Daily Times

    Sunday,22 March 2020

    Health workers want Alert Level 4 now

    Over 65,000 Drs and nurses and carers signed the petition. Within hours of this massive health worker petition landing on the PMs desk, the Prime Minister answered the health workers demand, brushed aside the timorous Bloomfield, skipped over level 3 and instead ordered a full level 4 lockdown for the whole country.
    This was leadership.

    The ramifications flowing from the Prime Minister’s decision to put the nation into level 4 lockdown, was that the government and the population became committed to a strategy of elimination of the virus within our nation’s borders.

    Compared to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s zero leadership, “suppression” strategy, New Zealand’s elimination strategy became the envy of the world. Catapulting Ardern onto the world stage.

    This was leadership. But it didn’t spring from nowhere.

    The same for the declaring of the ‘Climate Emergency’. Declaring a climate emergency didn’t come from nowhere either

    To declare a climate emergency was a principle demand, of the Extinction Rebellion activists.

    In the personality of Jacinda Ardern we have a highly effective and influential communicator who not only is open to the popular mood but also is capable of shaping it.

    The point is;

    We currently have a popular, (populist), leader, and administration, that is proven to be amenable to grass roots activism.  

    The other point is this:

    If we want the government to go further. It is up to us to give the declaration of a climate emergency life and agency and real teeth.

    How do we do this?

    By grass roots protests against every move by the fossil fuel industry to resist cutting emissions.

    Currently the polluters are fighting a rear guard action to keep on polluting.

    It’s up to us to stop them.

    When it comes to activism against the fossil fuel industry,  we are target rich.

    One impending immediate battleground which goes against the calling of a climatee emergency, is the government plan to subsidise Comalco with a $multti million taxpayer bailout to keep the Tiwai aluminum smelter open. This massive government subsidy to Comalco will commit us to a fossil fueled electricity grid. Better that the money be used to pay for a just transsition of the Tiwai workforce and community and to connect the Manapouri power station to the national grid.

    Another impending battleground is the government’s decision to allow Bathurst coal mines to develop new coal fields on Crown land in Huntly.

    Other possible targets are the Indonesian coal imports through Tauranga, and the coal exports through Lytlleton.


    The forces of of political right wing reaction are always waiting, ready to take advantage of a leadership that doesn’t take the people with it, if we are not to careful, these reactionary forces will and can change the narrative.

    Personally I regard the calling of a climate emergency by the government as a positive move, it is easy to regard it as not being enough, (and it isn’t), It is up to us to make it real.

  15. 415 ppm CO2 is sersious shit; = that Jacinda needs to address here as the ‘global village’ needs to, as our oxygen levels are sinking as so bad.

    Meanwhile as covid 19 is damaging our lungs slowly also as much as the oxygen levels in our atmospere is declining.

    So we are causing ‘self harm’ heading for mass extremination of our entire population slowly !!!!!

  16. This declaring a climate emergency crap is just another populist message that the neo liberals love to use to pander to the concerns of the electorate. It was front page headline news in some of the daily papers who are the bastions of do little government in order to maintain the status quo. When the fourth estate are not howling in pain or gnashing their teeth it means the blairites are keeping the free market ship steady , no rocking of the boat.
    I thought the Key legacy was dead but it lives on with another populist leader and party of a different colour but in reality the same approach and policies.
    Don’t think Adern will be pulling anyones hair , most of her colleagues are loosing theirs.

  17. Martyn, I first mentioned “jogging on the spot” months ago (though I didn’t copyright or trademark it) as the natural default position of the Labour Party when they came out with their inspired election slogan “Let’s Keep Moving!” — Inspired work by the standards of Labour’s PR mindset, because it allows them to give the electorate an illusion of movement, though it betrays no commitment to any direction in particular or even level of energy to be (not) applied.


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