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Bullet dodged

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, December 17th, 2009 - 76 comments
Categories: climate change, john key - Tags:

keylettermanWell, that could have been embarrassing. John Key on the world stage, along with leaders of other countries in what has been billed the ‘greatest debate on Earth’ had the potential to be very painful.

It goes without saying that he would have treated the whole thing as a PR event. National was already preparing the ground for it in the same manner as they did the Letterman appearance. Key might not actually have whipped out ‘the top ten reasons why I am “somewhat suspicious” of climate change’ but he would have struggled to foot it in a top-level public debate on the issue, and New Zealand’s embarrassing backward steps under his government would have been exposed to all the world.

I think that is probably why Key was bumped. The debate is meant to be a serious discussion of how the world can tackle climate change. Having a Prime Minister there who has stripped back his country’s climate change policies to the bone wouldn’t have made sense. I mean, what would he have said ‘yeah, we took the existing Emissions Trading Scheme, which although world-leading was too weak, and reduced it into a $110 billion lolly scramble for polluters’?

The reality is, New Zealand is now in the obstructionist camp at Copenhagen. The old alliance of the Anglo-Saxon settler-states (the only developed countries in the world where deniers are given any credence) has come together again, this time to block, frustrate, and dilute any international agreement that comes anywhere near being sufficient. Our ‘global alliance’ on agriculture emissions research is a joke – we’re spending less on it than on Key’s bloody cycleway.

No wonder Key was uninvited. Under his watch, New Zealand has gone from climate change leader to enemy of progress.

76 comments on “Bullet dodged”

  1. BLiP 1

    Dunno why Key would even be considered – according to him and the redneck rabble at his meetings, there’s no need to worry about climate change for the next ten years.

    • Jim McDonald 1.1

      Did BBC see Helen Clark at the meeting, invited NZ and then realised NZ now has a new PM? hehe

      • Jim McDonald 1.1.1

        Hey Blip

        Just read your reference below (December 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm).

        So what I joked is not too far off the mark.

        Key would have been fantastic with his smiley lips for a photo-op but if he had to open his mouth to debate ….. ???

      • BLiP 1.1.2

        Heh! More likely the BBC did a bit of research and found out that the last time Shonkey was on international television he was there to insert a product placement for Cinnabon and, even then, it was a lie.

    • Jacquie Butterfield 1.2

      BLiP, You’ve made me laugh. First one today!

  2. Bill 2

    The debate is meant to be a serious discussion of how the world can tackle climate change.

    Which begs the question as to why any leaders of any countries are participating? They have had their bash, and as fully expected failed spectacularly.

    A serious discussion would have science taking centre stage. We already know that serious political solutions are to be pushed aside in favour of continuing ‘business as usual’.

    That leaves techno fixes. Science would have told us that there are no techno fixes if even the most cursory acknowledgement of the precautionary principle is to be observed.

    This would have led us straight back to a political solution and the need to shove the dead wood aside. But no. We give the dead wood a platform and hype it up as being serious and (laughably) the ‘greatest debate on Earth’…..actually, JK should have been there and there woud have been at least one honest expression of political intent, integrity and competence.

  3. fizzleplug 3

    Or maybe, the rest of the world sees us as insignificant on the climate change matters?

    After all, we are pretty insignificant.

  4. lukas 4

    climate change leader huh?

    please explain record emissions growth compared to other developed countries in the last 10 years?

    • fizzleplug 4.1

      Is this the part where we consider India and China to not be developed?

    • Significant, not record.

      Caused by the economy humming along, people driving more and increased demand on power being fed by thermal power stations.

      There is no immediate fix but a few things you could do are:

      1. Ban the construction of thermal power stations.
      2. Introduce efficiency standards for things like ligkt bulbs.
      3. Introduce biofuel additions to fuel.
      4. Get an ETS going which provides a market incentive for power users to reduce consumption.

      All done by the last Government, all either removed or kneecapped by the current.

      And your point is?

      • gitmo 4.2.1

        How are any of those suggestions going to effect our agricultural emissions ?

        • mickysavage 4.2.1.1

          I forgot the $12m levy that was to fund study into animal ruminations commonly known as the fart tax.

          This was opposed bitterly by the Nats. Interesting they now agree on the need to fund research in the area.

          • lukas 4.2.1.1.1

            so a $12million dollar tax that would just be passed on to consumers, probably with a mark up, is great news, but a pledge of $45 million dollars is not?

            please explain.

            • BLiP 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Its about choice, Lukey. See, if a company gets taxed and then passes the cost on via price rises, consumers then have the choice to purchase the product or not. What choice do the tax payers have with Shonkey striding the world stage spending our money like it belongs to him? Same with the billion dollar National Ltd® ETS subsidy, what choice do consumers have about that?

              Choice – remember that? Thought you’d have been in favour of it.

              • Jim McDonald

                The spirit of the festive season makes me suggest charitably that the policy mind of our PM just emitted a brain fart.

    • Bright Red 4.3

      Our net emissions are below 1990 levels.

      We’re making a surplus off Kyoto, remember?

      • fizzleplug 4.3.1

        Maybe these new education standards would have prevented someone counting all those trees incorrectly haha.

  5. gitmo 5

    Yes I’m sure none of the other leaders are seeing this as a PR opportunity cough cough, more hot air and bombast the whole meeting’s a fiasco and gorgefest.

    Who are the other tosspots taking part in the debate, Kevin Rudd, Jacob Zuma, Prime Minister of South Africa, President of Mexico Felipe Caldero and Indian Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh……… which of these do you prefer to Key ?

  6. Tim Ellis 6

    Funny how the post below shows that New Zealand’s commitments at Copenhagen are in line with the biggest commitments other countries are making, yet Marty says we’re in the “obstructionist camp”.

    • Bright Red 6.1

      we’re nowhere near what the major EU countries are proposing.

      The UK has passed a law requiring 80% by 2050 and targets along the way (30-odd by 2020).

      • zelda 6.1.1

        Thank the Brits for having nuclear power.
        They arent going to meet their existing legally binding reductions ( 34% relative to 1990). So they make more unrealistic changes . Way to go

    • sk 6.2

      We are the only country where the national leader has declared to the natianal legislature in the last 5 years that climate change is a “complete and utter hoax”. Those are tough words to run from . . ..

  7. sk 7

    maybe the BBC was worried that the NZ Prime Minister could not think of ‘somethink’ to say .. . .

  8. grumpy 8

    But Hey! They’ve got Zuma there. Isn’t he the guy who claims beetroot is the cure for AIDS and raped his young neice who had AIDS. When asked why he had unprotected sex with an HIV positive person he said “it’s OK, I washed myself afterwards”.

    Bet he really understands the AGW science.

    Great company.

  9. Tim Ellis 9

    Perhaps the BBC, given its intention to grill international leaders, thought that having the leader of the country with the world’s first all gases, all sectors emissions trading scheme wasn’t worth grilling. Probably why they opted to go after Mr Rudd, who doesn’t have an emissions trading scheme. It seems that Marty’s “new zealand sucks” message isn’t getting through to the rest of the world.

    • lukas 9.1

      amazing how things change so quickly. A number of posts were made here about National running a nz sucks campaign prior to the election, now a number of writers here and the “green” Party MP’s have mastered the art of telling the rest of the world how much we suck.

      • lprent 9.1.1

        I hate to tell you this – but we do.

        The Key government is moving every environmental policy area backwards. From the power generation to the ETS this government is useless on maintaining any progress that we have been making towards a less polluting and more sustainable future.

        I’m just surprised that the Greens think that they can get any progress on their main issues with this regressive government.

    • Bright Red 9.2

      Tim. Key gutted the world’s first all sectors, all gases ETS.

      Do you think that Key deserves a pat on the head because he didn’t abolish it completely?

      • Tim Ellis 9.2.1

        No, BR, Mr Key’s government pared back the ETS so we wouldn’t sacrifice our economy just so that we could be light years ahead of our trading partners on climate change. It is still ahead of most of the world.

        • sk 9.2.1.1

          The beneficiaries are all foreign industrial companies; Rio, Bluescope, Holcim. Prey tell, what are the economic benefits of subsidising these companies?

          • Tim Ellis 9.2.1.1.1

            The economic benefits are that they don’t close up shop and go and operate in China where they have lower production costs, are closer to their markets, and aren’t hit with large carbon charges. It seems saving New Zealand jobs isn’t a priority for you.

            • BLiP 9.2.1.1.1.1

              False dichotomy.

            • sk 9.2.1.1.1.2

              Shall we go back to an import substitution model then? Which is the conclusion that follows from your point.

              Rio can’t build an aluminium smelter in China, no cheap electricity for them. Nor can Bluescope, nor Holcim (the latter can own equity stakes but not 100% of a plant in China). Last I heard no Chinese SOE was operating an industrial plant in NZ. Their markets – aside from Rio – are largely in NZ. All it means is higher prices, which we need if the market is to play any role in reducing demand for carbon intensive product (i.e. using wood in place of cement or steel).

        • Bright Red 9.2.1.2

          You are admitting, Tim, that Key has taken NZ backwards on climate change policy.

    • sk 9.3

      Tim, I feel real bad for you, but I keep telling you that Mr Key is regarded as a lightweight offshore. That is why the BBC doesn’t want to ‘grill’ him.

      Oh, and with the intensity based free allocation, everyone can see that the NZ ETS is what you have when you don’t want an ETS

      • Jim McDonald 9.3.1

        Maybe NZ officials (the ones who escaped being ‘capped’/fired) should quickly contact BBC and ask if they’d like to grill marshmallow?

  10. BLiP 10

    Second thoughts: it would have been quite fun if Shonkey had been interviewed. He might have been asked about why New Zealand should be considered 100% Pure when over the last 12 months National Ltd®:

    – defended internationally the importation of rain-forest-wrecking palm kernel and stood silent while Federated Farmers called Greenpeace “terrorists”

    – removed a proposed ban on incandescent lightbulbs

    – reversed a moratorium on building new gas/oil/coal power stations

    – gutted the home insulation scheme

    – pulled $300million out of public transport, walking and cycling schemes and added it to a pot of $2billion to ‘upgrade’ state highways

    – changed the law to provide billions of dollar in subsidies for polluters via the ETS casino

    – begun a process of gutting the Resource Management Act to make it difficult/impossible for the public to lodge appeals against developers and removed the rights of councils to have general tree protection

    – removed the ability of Auckland to introduce a fuel levy to fund planned public transport upgrades

    – left electrification of rail network up in the air without promised funding commitments

    – removed the Ministry for the Environment’s programme to make Government Departments ‘carbon neutral’

    – removed funding for public tv advertising on sustainability and energy efficiency

    – pulled funding helping small towns do public litter bin recycling schemes

    . . . very aspirational indeed. In fact, it would appear the provision of evidence proving that that New Zealand sucks is, in fact, solely down to the efforts of National Ltd® and its big-business sugar daddies.

  11. gobsmacked 11

    This is yet another flip-flop by the BBC.

    First, they said they were going to have John Key on the programme.

    Then they said there was “only a 5% chance” that he would be dumped from the programme.

    Then they made some excuse about timetables and diaries, and said it was a very long flight from New Zealand.

    Finally, at the last minute, the BBC caved in to pressure, and changed their mind. A total U-turn.

    Poor John. What has he done to deserve being treated like this?

    • Ros 11.1

      I’m a curious Australian gobsmacked, curious as to how our aspirant to President of the World, Kevin Rudd, got to bump your PM. I note that the BBC says “Top decision makers from all continents will be in the panel discussion” While a number of the commenters here are pleased about NZ being snubbed, I have darker thoughts. It’s not as if Kruddy would have not moved heaven and earth to change his timetable to be in the debate if he had been asked. So very likely your PM was the first choice for (from all continents) Now if you studied our PM you would be aware that would have him spitting. Just recall his sniffy correction of Obama for introducing the President of Brazil as the most popular politician in the world.

      So did the BBC decide to invite Kruddy, or did Kruddy’s minions get stuck into the BBC. He has a huge entourage with him including an official photographer. You seem to have some inkling as to what happened gobsmacked. Care to add to your comment for the curious.

      • BLiP 11.1.1

        Word is that Shonkey’s press people talked him up but, after a moment’s research, it soon became apparent that Key is a lightweight trying to leverage his own abilities off the record of his predecessor Helen Clark. See here:

        What the Prime Minister’s initial inclusion in the BBC debate reveals, however, is how well connected his press secretaries are with the rest of the world’s media. They would have talked him up and made him out to be more concerned about climate change than he really is. But actions speak louder than words. And sooner or later, BBC’s research and talking to other world leaders, its producers would have quickly worked out that New Zealand’s Prime Minister was the wrong guy to put on the debate. Because New Zealand, and the Prime Minister, are not key players at all on this issue. That changed at the change of government last year.

        • Tim Ellis 11.1.1.1

          That same report describes Ms Clark as a key player on climate change. This explains why at the most important summit of the generation she is having dinner with Charles Chauvel.

          • BLiP 11.1.1.1.1

            Very good idea introducing Charles so some of the movers and shakers rather than a cretin who preferred to make jokes about her being childless. Can you just imagine the cringe which would creep up your spine when introducing Shonkey to the rest of the diners? I think she’s actually done New Zealand a favour by saving us the embarrassment.

            • BLiP 11.1.1.1.1.1

              And its Miss Clark.

              [lprent: She has been married to Peter Davis for about 29 years. He is looking forward to her return. He is used to her being around on the weekends. Difficult from New York. I gather the phone and e-mail isn’t quite the same.
              However (IMHO) she sensibly didn’t change her name when they got married. It is a rather senseless custom. Mind you, so is the Miss/Mrs. ]

          • lprent 11.1.1.1.2

            TE: What is Charles the Labour spokesperson on? Climate change was one of them? Why would she talk to anyone else about the NZ position.

            The UNDP is a major player. But her role is at a rather more senior level than John Key, and more focused on the effects of trying to help people through the screwups that politicians like John Key are doing.

  12. SHG 12

    Why would anyone care what the PM of NZ has to say on climate change? NZ is a small country with a tiny population. It’s utterly insignificant.

    • sk 12.1

      Wrong SHG. Historically, when we have had bright, articulate, capable PM’s they do get a hearing, even if our economic size is irrelevant (Nash at Bretton Woods is an analogue for Copenhagen).

      But this group of adjectives do not apply to Mr Key outside of NZ. His approachability / commonality is a domestic, not global, strength. He lacks the intellectual firepower or belief structure to contribute to the global climate change debate. Unfortunate, but true nonetheless.

  13. tc 14

    Here here gobsmacked….what has Jonny done to deserve this.

    The comedic value alone made him a worthy participant both in terms of the lack of answers, indepth comments and his mashing of the english language.

    The BBC is not like the vacant space media spots he gets here without being challenged they would hone in on any weaknesses and there’s plenty of british based criticism they would feed off that his gov’t has got up to unwinding the former govt’s sustainability initiatives.

    Like children not allowed to play with matches the BBC have taken a mature experienced view that JK is way out of his league…..that’s not good TV so esay decision.

  14. gobsmacked 15

    To clarify: my comment above was just a sarcastic piss-take. Using John Key’s own words on going/not going to Copenhagen. It turns out the BBC were as unreliable as he is.

    So his staff are now grumbling to the media about the BBC’s late change of heart. Oh, the irony is sweet. Key got Key’ed.

  15. According to the piece about it on Stuff –

    “The dumping will be an embarrassment for Key after Climate Change Minister Nick Smith earlier this week said the Prime Minister’s inclusion was a “huge honour”.

    “Basically, what you’re looking for is a non-European developed country that’s seen to be constructive,” Smith said.”

    If you were looking for a non-European developed country that’s seen to be constructive you wouldn’t look to New Zealand under National. Perhaps that’s what the BBC twigged.

  16. Scribe 17

    Marty G,

    Your post actually doesn’t make any sense.

    You say Key was dropped from the panel because of our embarrassing ETS, but when the ETS was passed, he wasn’t even going to be in Copenhagen for the conference. Therefore, the BBC would have invited Key with that knowledge, so uninviting him for that reason seems completely illogical. Yet that’s what you’re claiming happened.

    • grumpy 17.1

      And Rudd doesn’t even have an ETS and seems not to favour one anywhere near a comprehensive as NZ’s

    • lukas 17.2

      as opposed to his other posts on climate change that make sense? take his polar bear one as a prime example.

      • grumpy 17.2.1

        You don’t think Marty is just using the climate issue to push his well documented hatred of capitalism?

        I would have thought Marty, that you could have made very valid points about the Emissions Trading market (developed by Enron) and the opportunities for ubercapitalists to enrich themselves at the world’s expense

        • lukas 17.2.1.1

          Perhaps, also his well documented hatred of John Key and anyone who disagrees with his view.

      • Scribe 17.2.2

        as opposed to his other posts on climate change that make sense?

        True, but I try to just criticise the immediate idiocy, rather than documenting a pattern of idiocy.

        When reading this post, for some reason I was reminded of the whole Hillary Clinton “I was named after Ed Hillary” saga.

  17. tc 18

    Yes I figured as much Gobsmacked.

    We have the same scenario as Oz has had up till their last election……being led by an international embarrassment who’s first name is John.

    lets hope that unlike Oz the opposition can rally and make them one term wonders and get NZ back on track and educate the swingers about poor choices being very costly to their children and themselves……a Tolley good idea eh what !

  18. Irascible 19

    A question.In this day of crosby-textor spinning was Key really invited then univited or was the truth that his spin doctors suggested the possibility of his being invited if he was to attend the Copenhagen conference and left it to credulous journalists to read it as a real invitation. Once the spin began it became a “truth”, a given that Key (informed on the issue by Hide.) was a participant in the BBC discussion. This would allow the spin doctors to then cry foul once the real invitees were announced and declare that their client was unfairly bounced from the forum thus presenting Key as a victim who deserves the sympathy of all NZers?
    Given this NACT govt’s propensity to rorting the system and distortions of information I can’t help but ask the question.

    • Jim McDonald 19.1

      NZers might feel regret about declining international perceptions and regard of NZ but NZers should not have sympathy for Key.

      The majority of NZers voted a joker for PM. So we should neither be surprised nor sympathetic when the PM gets treated like a joke.

  19. Herodotus 20

    To me al this conference is a waste of time, it is all about MONEY nothing about CO2 reduction, which just points out really HOW COMMITTED the leaders really are. Especially when all we see is leaders with their hands out. If there is AGW, this get-together just helps one faction, those who are sceptics. Otherwise we would see leaders actually leading and a agenda that reflects a change in emissions, but to those I am sorry you will be dissappointed.

  20. about that cycleway..

    captcha – arriving

  21. gobsmacked 22

    Follow-up – ABC (Australia) reports:

    “The BBC has now made a statement that it approached many world leaders to be on the panel.

    The broadcaster says while it wanted the widest representation of world views, it was never the case that two leaders from Australasia would appear on the show.

    The BBC says when it first approached Mr Key, he was unavailable.

    Later they were told the New Zealand Prime Minister was free. But by then they had already lined up Kevin Rudd.”

    (emphasis added)

    So Key’s dithering on Copenhagen cost him his slot. Will the NZ media now report this very different version of events? Or just keep parroting Beehive spin?

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  • Ground-breaking on NZ Post depot
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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
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  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
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