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Delaying tactics

Written By: - Date published: 4:49 pm, November 19th, 2008 - 73 comments
Categories: climate change, national/act government - Tags: , ,

The National Party’s decision to resurrect the idea of a carbon tax is one of the most cynical plays I’ve seen in a while, coming from a party that opposed a carbon tax from day one.

In fact, for all their hollow attacks on Labour’s climate change record it’s been National that has campaigned harder than anyone to frustrate and delay any real action on climate change or force business to pay their own way. This latest about-face merely confirms that trend.

After all, who could forget National’s bitter opposition to the so-called ‘fart tax’ in 2003? Here’s a series of photos from the raucous protest National held outside Parliament, tractors and all. Boy, they made a noise. Bill even advocated pulling out of Kyoto. John Key called it a hoax.

The fact is every move Labour tried to make on climate change was opposed by National, and every time Labour timidly backed down. It wasn’t until Al Gore’s film came along and opened up the political space for them to move that Labour finally introduced the Emissions Trading Scheme, which National claimed it supported when it became clear they needed to look serious on climate change to remain electable.

Now with the election won, National are saying they’ll not only weaken and delay the ETS, but they’re considering dumping the whole thing and starting from scratch with the previously hated carbon tax. No doubt they figure it’ll take another year or two to discuss and consult on, then another few years to phase in – by the time they have to worry about it actually coming into effect it’ll be 2015 and they can start the whole process again.

Let’s be clear. National and ACT don’t really want a carbon tax. Nor do they want an ETS. Many of them don’t even believe in climate change. They simply want to force you and me as taxpayers to continue to pay for business’ emissions. And they will frustrate and delay action for as long as it takes.

For voters who believed Key’s promise during the election campaign that he’d take climate change seriously and keep the ETS broadly as it is this represents a major betrayal. I doubt it’ll be his last.

73 comments on “Delaying tactics ”

  1. the sprout 1

    my worry is that voters will so quickly come to expect u-turns from National on anything and everything that they’ll become inured to the lies and disappointments.

    let’s hope those who voted for National actually expect them to do what they they’d promised, and respond accordingly when they’re inevitably short-changed.

    btw, anyone hear Key rabbiting on during his caucus announcement about trying to squeeze people through key-holes? wtf! has the man never heard of the double entendre?

  2. Ianmac 2

    I thought that it was interesting that TV1 used Key’s past Youtube words, to compare with his recent position. I do hope that the MSM continue to do just that.

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    Come now Tane, National campaigned on reforming the ETS and said they would delay its introduction and align it with our trading partners to ensure that New Zealand businesses weren’t disadvantaged in relation to our trading partners. This is what voters agreed to when they voted National in.

    This sounds like sour grapes to me. As I said to a Labour Party voter the other day, you’re just still angry and upset that you put the wrong answer down on your ballot paper. There’s no point in remaining angry about your wrong answer. You can get it right next time if you try harder.

  4. sally 4

    The picture of Bill English says “The Mad Cow shouldn’t have signed”.

    I assume he’s refering to signing the Kyoto Protocol? Which was signed when Jim Bolger was Prime Minister?

  5. Tane 5

    Tim, I voted Green. But anyway, I realise National said they’d “tinker” with the ETS – apologies if it’s not explicit in the post, I had to cut a lot out to keep it brief. They certainly didn’t signal the level of weakening and delays they’re suggesting now. They also didn’t mention dumping it and going with a carbon tax. And this whole embarrassing nonsense about going over the science again? Honestly.

    I should also add, what annoys me the most in all this is National and its supporters trying to take the moral high ground on NZ’s emissions record after opposing any action for years, and then when we’ve finally got something they try to weaken and delay it as much as is politically possible. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    sally, I think it was actually Shipley, though I could be wrong. But Bill was clearly referring Helen. National Party misogyny goes back a while.

  6. On climate change, National is behaving like tobacco companies did on lung cancer or South African President, Tabo Mbeki, did on HIV.

    Denial….and obstruction. Politically, they may well be captives of their own propaganda.

  7. Steve:

    The evidence is conclusive for Tabacco and HIV.

  8. I have to say that prima facie I don’t get this move on ACT’s part.

    Nick Smith, the guy with the tongue so forked he could hug a tree with it, supporting it I am less surprised by.

    It is not like ACT to appear to back something so scientifically bogus so I must go and read their explanation.

  9. Janet 9

    Hopefully, after a few meetings with world leaders Key (not so sure about McCully) will realise just what a climate crisis we are facing and how NZ was a world leader in this area. Watch him over the next few months as he tries to keep up with the rest of the world and impress his new best friends Barack, Kevin, Nicolas etc.

    And please could Key work on his diction. Dropped consonants, mangled vowels, half of the word ignored – so embarrassing.

  10. Lew 10

    Brett Dale: It’s a common misconception that the evidence is not conclusive for anthropogenic climate change.

    Unless you’re a climate scientist (and nobody in the government is; no, not even Rodney Hide) then it’s a matter of who you choose to believe. The rational course of action is to believe the overwhelming majority of scientific opinion as expressed by thousands of properly-qualified climate scientists – not the few dozen or so who disagree. Their concerns are legitimate, but are not a valid basis for policy.


  11. gingercrush 11

    The Greens suggest we get tough on dairying and Agriculture. What they don’t do is offer us a way to economic growth without reliance on such sectors. Global warming is likely real. Yes I happen to be a bit of a denier. I actually do agree with tackling global warming. Not for believing in it but I think Europe will use it as an excuse to not trade with certain countries and to keep their tariffs and subsidies.

    New Zealand has a unique problem in regards to greenhouse emissions in that our economy is so reliant on the agriculture and dairying sectors. Other countries that have achieved cuts to greenhouse emissions typically are no where near the reliance we have. One thing is to move away from our dependency on agriculture and dairying. But neither Labour nor National has offered or shown a way to do that. The greens suggest we get tough on both sectors but they don’t offer an alternative way for economic growth.

    I think National-Act have to think carefully on the international implications. The whole issue isn’t if its real or not. The issue is that there is a consensus in the global community that we need to do something about it. That means we must do something about it. But I really think neither the Left or the right have had the right ideas on it. The left tried to give those sectors a break but eventually they would have had to be implemented. Arguably had they been in government they would have relied on the Green party who would have wanted far tougher measures. National should have told Act to shut it. Their plan was good. Use an emissions trading scheme but don’t have it hurt the industry. The answer now seems to be at a loss.

  12. bobo 12

    Wow have they just alienated farmers in one day, impressive, was this Rodney’s idea as I can’t see why they would bring it up as a possible measure ? They must be dumber than I gave them credit , Key’s foot in mouth has returned ..

  13. Quoth the Raven 13

    Ginger – Don’t you think it is somewhat hypocritical of them to have so ardently opposed the carbon tax when labour proposed it, working themselves up into a delirium and then do this turn around now they have power.?

  14. gingercrush 14

    Well yes same for the farmers really. Blame the stupid Nation supporters who switched to Act. If only they stuck to Hide and the female whose name i can’t remember.

  15. Tim Ellis 15

    No I don’t think that’s hypocritical QtR. National has said all along that New Zealand should not move more quickly than its trading partners, and should not aim to be the world leader on climate change at the expense of the economy and jobs, but aim to keep in synch with the rest of the world. None of our other trading partners are looking to include all greenhouse gases on every sector of the economy as early as New Zealand is planning under the ETS.

    Introducing a carbon tax five years ago would have been economically reckless. That’s why National opposed it.

    National went into the election saying it was going to delay the ETS, and modify it to ensure that the ramifications are known and that we are not penalising industry just to win a UN award, faster than our trading partners. One of those modifications may be a transitional carbon tax rather than an ETS.

    Bobo, National hasn’t alienated farmers. Federated farmers have come out and said that they support National’s moves as far more responsible than proceeding with the ETS.

  16. Con 16

    The thing about a carbon tax as opposed to a “cap and trade” scheme is that it does NOT impose a hard limit on carbon emissions. The more you pollute, the more you pay, but you can still get away with polluting.

    So I see this is as not only a delaying tactic, but also as a weakening of the actual regulatory power of the emission reduction regime.

  17. Con 17

    Gingercrush: actually the last government did have a scheme to help with the carbon emissions of our dairying sector: a huge research fund for the primary sector; a research fund which I believe the Nats pledged to abolish.

    We have 2 options: we can either reduce the carbon-intensity of our dairying sector substantially (and for this we would need to boost dairy research), or we can reduce the scale of our dairying sector.

    There are no other options.

    Pretending that global warming is a hoax will just not fly in the global community, as you say. Worse than that though, it’s a dangerously stupid delusion.

  18. bobo 19

    I still can’t work out why farmer’s vote National religiously..

  19. we just heard how a grand jury in texas indicted dick cheney, current us veep, and ex- attorney-general alberto gonzales for… ‘crimes against humanity’..

    could this be catching.. and pertinent to AGW..? inaction being the cause for indictment in the first instance..? any numbers of alt excuses adding up to valid evidence..

  20. Pablo 21

    I still can’t work out why farmer’s vote National religiously..

    Cos in the olden days the National Party used to be a conservative party, not a neo-con party.

    Global warming is likely real. Yes I happen to be a bit of a denier.

    Ginge, can you explain the apparent contradiction in that sentence?

  21. J 22

    Really, I would have thought that one of the most cynical moves would be to pass the Electoral Finance Act when in Government and then after losing power attempt to repudiate it in an effort to have a say over it’s amendment or repeal.

  22. gingercrush 23

    Why should they vote Labour?? Why do East Auckland and the North Shore electorates vote National. Why do most provinces outside the main centres typically vote National. Why do South Auckland voters go with Labour. Why does Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch vote Labour? Why does Hamilton swing.

    Its long-term tradition of voting. Its not always explainable but National has been the party for the rural people and richer people. Labour has been the party for Maori and working class. Probably way too simplistic. Since some workers do vote National. Not everyone with good incomes vote National often they vote Labour or the Greens.

    In fact I think what is quite startling is that increasingly the provinces outside the main centre are looking far more strong for Centre-right parties than they are for the centre-left. While cities especially in 2005 tended to vote sharply for the Centre-left. And I think that is the most likely future for New Zealand. The provinces will trend to National and the right while Wellington and Dunedin go to Labour and the left with parts of Auckland going either right/left depending where and Christchurch is the place to watch because its a city that is shifting all sort of places. So far it favours Labour but I sense and see changes in that city.

    Historically many provincial centres were Labour territory but increasingly they seem to favour National and the right.

    But there isn’t a surprise farmers vote National. Just because you vote Labour doesn’t make you right. That is your opinion. Farmers don’t trust Labour and they don’t see the Labour party as voting in their interests. Especially when the Greens were likely to be Labour’s coalition partner. Farmers can deal with Labour. But when the Greens want to change the whole way they farm, how intensive they farm etc. Its no surprise they don’t trust them.


    Those are two options but they’re both arguably both difficult. The first being that we don’t know if such possibilities exist. For the second point, if we reduce dairying. What do we replace it with?

  23. update, there was something else, another broadside charge laid against the pair and I couldn’t recall what that was for my earlier comment.. now I have it—

    “organized criminal activity”

    Relevance — well inaction has gottabe organised in this day and age..

  24. gingercrush 25

    Pablo I believe there is some evidence towards global warming. But I believe there too is much hype surrounding it. And I’m quite skeptical towards such things. I mean a few years ago the country was in an almost frenzy in regards to bird flu. My opinion whether global warming exists or not is irrelevant really because I believe we need to do something about it. The only difference for me is I’m saying reduce global emissions not to help the planet but that reducing emissions will make us look good internationally.

    And don’t get me started on if you fly a plane you then pay carbon credits and somehow you’re making the world better. I don’t buy such triple. I don’t see how planting forests after using a bunch of emissions actually makes the world better.

    But that is very difficult when 50% of the greenhouse emissions here comes from dairying and agriculture.

  25. Quoth the Raven 26

    I don’t see how planting forests after using a bunch of emissions actually makes the world better.

    Trees use carbon dioxide. No wonder you don’t know much about global warming.

  26. gobsmacked 27

    First question time in the new Parliament:

    Does the Prime Minister agree that “The sooner we get an emissions trading system in place the sooner we can make progress on climate change”?

  27. gingercrush 28

    Trees use carbon dioxide. No wonder you don’t know much about global warming.

    Trees do not use carbon dioxide. They take in and absorb carbon dioxide.

  28. Liar 29

    My tractor runs on unwanted watermelons.

  29. randal 30

    judging by the first two kites the situation may be becoming more demanding than we think

  30. r0b 31

    Tim Ellis: As I said to a Labour Party voter the other day, you’re just still angry and upset that you put the wrong answer down on your ballot paper. There’s no point in remaining angry about your wrong answer. You can get it right next time if you try harder.

    Please Tim, please go on telling that to as many Labour voters as you can find. I think that’s an excellent plan.

    J: I would have thought that one of the most cynical moves would be to pass the Electoral Finance Act when in Government and then after losing power attempt to repudiate it in an effort to have a say over it’s amendment or repeal.

    That’s not cynical, that’s learning from your mistakes. Resurrecting the fart tax that you worked so hard to kill is cynical. Laying in to Owen Glenn’s public donations while laundering your own donations through anonymous trusts is cynical. Attacking Winston Peters for his undeclared donations while concealing undeclared donations of your own is cynical.

    Ianmac: I thought that it was interesting that TV1 used Key’s past Youtube words, to compare with his recent position. I do hope that the MSM continue to do just that.

    Hear hear. There is a rich legacy of positions, claims and attack lines to draw on.

  31. Con 32


    Those are two options but they’re both arguably both difficult. The first being that we don’t know if such possibilities exist. For the second point, if we reduce dairying. What do we replace it with?

    Those two options (reducing dairying, or making it less polluting) are both difficult, but since there are no other workable options, what’s the point in pointing out that they are hard? There’s no substitute for hard work.

    I don’t know what NZ should replace dairying with (if that should prove necessary). Perhaps growing some other crop? I don’t know enough about agriculture to know what is a good alternative, frankly, but that’s why I think there’s no getting around the requirement to rustle up some top-notch agricultural scientists, and throw some money at the problem that way. It is bound to be money well spent, but we can hardly guess what the results will be until the hard work is done, can we?

    Actually … I do know of one positive thing that should be done: pyrolysis or carbonization

  32. the dude abides 33

    Hey, Gingercrush — I think I’ve seen you make the same claims about Chch going blue on Kiwiblog. Given that 2008 will be the high water mark of what we are still euphemistically calling the centre-right vote, and still National didn’t win any Chch electorates it didn’t have before (ie it has one in six), your thinking is speculative at best. Or perhaps just delusional. And yes I live there.

    Yes, National made big gains in the party vote here this time which simply suggests that people were splitting their vote and going for what they thought was the centre. More fool them — and all of us — when they realise Nat/Act aren’t really the centre.

  33. Alexandra 34

    I suspect the talk about introduction of carbon tax is a diversion from the callous move to put on hold ETS. I dont think this is a flip flop or even part of a coalition deal with Act. The consequences are so far reaching that the ‘delay’ of the ETS must have been intended all along. The reincarnation of labours carbon tax is designed to placate the centre audience. Sadly it will take some time for those voters to shift from bewilderment to doubt, then to any outward expression of betrayal.

  34. Quoth the Raven 35

    Trees do not use carbon dioxide. They take in and absorb carbon dioxide.

    Is that not using it Einstein?

  35. Pascal's bookie 36

    God what a waste of money re-litigating all this stuff again.

    Anyone that falls for this is a sucker or complicit.

    “Hey, we’re not 100 percent about this ETS and we said it needs some tweaks, we know we only talked about it for months and months and months and everyone had their say, and nothing’s really changed on the science or the economics of it all but we don’t know what tweaks it needs ’cause we weren’t paying attention and stuff, so let’s maybe scrap the whole thing and talk about doing that other thing we said was the worst thing ever, and while we’re at it question the science of AGW, we’ll get that guy that predicts the weather with the moon in for a chat, he’s always fun. Shouldn’t take more than fuckin ages and be a big waste of money and time, promise”

    The devil you say! Anyone would think the Nat’s just wanted to let their mates keep polluting for free for as long as possible irrespective of the science or our treaty obligations. Oh no that’s right, they’ll meet our treaty obligations by having the taxpayer cough up because subsidising pollution is the new (old blue) black.

  36. Tim Ellis 37

    Alexandra, it’s hardly a diversion. National spoke at length about its ETS policy well before and during the election. National pledged to reform Labour’s ETS within nine months of office. The carbon tax idea appears to be a transitional arrangement. You can read national’s policy at http://national.org.nz/files/2008/ets.pdf

  37. Tim Ellis 38

    PB, I don’t think introducing nearly eight hundred amendments to the ETS the day it was due to go through its final reading in Parliament means that it was properly thought out and debated. Nice try though.

    Read National’s policy. It’s what National promised before the election, and repeated numerous times on the campaign hustings. National’s implementing what it promised to do.

    How sour are those grapes you’re chewing on?

  38. Pascal's bookie 39

    Tim, that single page PDF isn’t a policy, it’s a promise to come up with a policy. IOW, a diversion.

  39. Tim Ellis 40

    You’re quite right PB, compared to the extensive material at http://labour.org.nz/policy.html , I’m sure you were expecting something much more in-depth from a political party.

  40. Bill 41

    Getting away from fixations on how the government/ parliament pans out on issues crucial to all of us…winning arguments…losing arguments…honing analysis…

    Why not use this Nat U-turn as an opportunity to galvanise people at a grassroots level demanding, for example, that since we (the ordinary punters) are underwriting the disastrous financial shenanigans of business, that business pay for the environmental impact of their continuing shenanigans?

    A successful grassroots movement could demand and win far better than the ETS. Even a failed mobilisation ( and I’m realistic enough to reckon that would be the case) would be a learning curve…..a win/win situation.

    Every successive occasion where it would be desirable to have the streets voicing our opinions/ demands has that much more chance of success if we take every opportunity afforded us to learn and grow. If we simply ‘wait for the big one’ we will fall over and fail because we will have no experience to learn from and build on.

    What’s that catchism?…..Stop talking! Help us get ready.

  41. Pascal's bookie 42

    Tim, Labour’s ETS policy is here

  42. gobsmacked 43

    Tim, is the link I provided at 8.08 the view of the National Party or not?

    If the new Environment / Climate Change Minister doesn’t speak for the government, who does?

  43. Bill 44


    ‘If the new Environment Minister doesn’t speak for the government, who does?’

    More pertinently…who is speaking for us? Where is our voice? (see comment 3 up)

  44. gingercrush 45

    Quoth – Well you were being a smartass so I used it back at you. And I don’t think saying Trees use carbon dioxide is a good way to describe it

    Con – Rather interesting.

    the dude abides – Yes that would have been me at Kiwiblog. Interestingly, you accuse me of being delusional when you seem to think we live in a First-past-the-point situation. Yes Labour candidates won 5 of the 6 electorates. But National got more party votes vote over Labour in 3 of those 6 electorates. Those being Port Hills, And the centre-right got more votes than the centre-left (Nat/Act vs Lab/GRN and Progressives) in two electorates. Those being Ilam and Waimakariri.

    Rather impressive when you consider that Port Hills, Christchurch East, Waimakariri, Wigram were all held by Cabinet Ministers. In such cases I would suggest that had they not been there you could have seen bigger shifts and more people giving National the party vote. My thoughts about Christchurch does involve speculation. If we accept that Ilam and Christchurch East are unlikely to change. Both suburbs share a commonality in that Christchurch East has many Urban Class workers while Ilam tends to have higher income earners.

    Then the four electorates that could well change are Wigram, Port Hills, Waimakariri and Christchurch Central.

    Wigram – Is having a housing development at the old Wigram Flight Centre. That is a big development that is likely to bring in a number of houses. Contary to what many believe, its the higher earners that usually nab such buildings. Thus that points to National voters who will be living there. Wigram could well be a seat that eventually turns blue. Yes there are some very traditional Labour areas in Spreydon, Hornby and Hillmorton. Where change could well happen is in Sockburn, Upper Riccarton and Riccarton itself. Likewise Hoon Hay interestingly could change. But for now we’ll call it centre-left and centre-left in the future.

    Port Hills – The hills have seen large growth patterns and should reasonably expect more changes. The hills favour National. On the other hand Woolston, Opawa and Linwood favour Labour. If the boundaries largely stay the seem. Suggestion would be that as the hills see more growth. That growth will favour National. Thus it is a seat that may well go blue. Though boundary changes could see it absorb the whole of Linwood in the future. Call – It’ll continue to be centre-left for now but expect changes.

    Christchurch Central – Probably the most interesting electorate. The city itself will continue to see more growth. A big development is happening in St. Albans where the old Caledonian Pub sits. St. Albans and increasingly Shirley and Papanut continue to see in-fill housing. Those houses I suspect will largely be brought by people who favour National. On the other hand the electorate is flanked by strong-hold Labour areas in Linwood and Richmond. But this is an electorate seeing plenty of in-fill housing and that should overtime favour the National party and the centre-right. I think this will shift to blue.

    Waimakariri – Voted Blue this year and voted blue in 2005. Clayton Cosgrove is possibly the most conservative Labour MP in the party. The fact he held his seat when the vote completely favoured the centre-right suggests that he is a strong candidate. If anything that blue vote will increase in the future. Especially when that area is undergoing housing developments. Blue, blue, blue and more blue.

    Christchurch East, Port Hills and Wigram – Centre-left
    Ilam, Waimakariri – Centre-right
    Christchurch Central – Will increasingly become centre-right


    This is speculative. This doesn’t take into account possible boundary changes. Yes Christchurch will still be left. But like Auckland which has clear red areas and clear blue areas. The same may come true for Christchurch. Of all the places in New Zealand I believe Christchurch will see the biggest changes in the years to come.

  45. Santi 46

    To Tane and all climate change believers: do not forget the people of NZ have spoken and decided not to go the Labour way (forget the Greens).

    In oher words: you lost, we won, eat that.

  46. tsmithfield 47

    I am agnostic about climate change.

    One of the main reasons is that climate models are heavilly predicated on the assumed amplifying effect of CO2 on water vapour levels. Water vapour is largely assumed to have a strong positive feedback with respect to temperature in the models. However, recent work by Spencer and Christie has demonstrated that cloud formations also cause air-current effects that “recycle” CO2 out of the atmosphere, resulting in a strong negative feedback that largely mitigates the positive feedbacks included in the climate models. Thus, it seems that the models are likely grossly overstating of water vapour on temperature.

    Even if AGW theory is correct as stated, there are several reasons why the ETS should be delayed:

    1. The current economic downturn is driving down the use of hydrocarbons as can be seen by the sudden fall in oil prices. Therefore, CO2 going into the atmosphere is reducing even without carbon trading schemes.

    2. The ETS has some very illogical elements. For instance, carbon credits are earned for growing trees. However, credits are lost for cutting down trees, the assumption being that the trees will be burned and the carbon returned to the atmosphere. However, this assumption is clearly incorrect as more often than not, harvested trees are turned furniture, house-framing etc meaning that the carbon contained in the trees remains locked up.

  47. gingercrush 48

    tsmithfield interesting post. But surely because trees take in and absorb carbon dioxide surely any cutting of trees means less CO2 is absorbed and thus has detrimental effects in terms of greenhouse emissions. And surely that is why credits should be lost when companies/people wish to cut down trees.

  48. tsmithfield 49

    Gingercrush: But surely because trees take in and absorb carbon dioxide surely any cutting of trees means less CO2 is absorbed and thus has detrimental effects in terms of greenhouse emissions. And surely that is why credits should be lost when companies/people wish to cut down trees.

    I would preface my previous comments by saying that under an ETS there should be some penalty for the loss of trees so far as lost future CO2 absorption capacity is concerned. However, a full penalty, based on the assumption that wood is to be burned, does not seem fair or appropriate since most wood is not in fact burned but used for other purposes.

  49. gomango 50

    tane – interested in the expression “hollow attacks”. Just read the stats quoted on kiwiblog and it seems to tell a very clear story of underperformance by NZ from 1999 to 2006, both relative to our peers and in absolute terms. Am I missing something?

  50. Tane 51

    gomango – yes, you’re missing the fact that National is grossly hypocritical in trying to make political capital out of the record of the last 9 years given they opposed, and until the ETS sunk, every single move to reduce emissions.

  51. gobsmacked 52

    Santi says: “To Tane and all climate change believers: do not forget the people of NZ have spoken”

    John Key says: “I firmly believe in climate change and always have’

  52. tsmithfield 53


    Further to my previous comments, another point with respect to trees is that the closer they become to fully grown, the less potential there is for further capture of carbon.

    Consequently, a tree that is harvested at full maturity will have 0 cost of carbon in current or future loss of carbon-sink potential if it is turned into furniture or house framing. Therefore, there should be no loss of carbon credits if a fully mature tree is harvested.

  53. Felix 54

    I suppose we could just wait until the world dairy market is saturated and the prices fall (oh my god how could anyone have forseen this happening?!?!?) before we start looking at better ways to utilize our primary resources.

    Better to build a few more baskets for our eggs, methinks.

    Our vision for the future of NZ cannot be “the world’s biggest dairy farm”. Anyone who tries to sell you this has their head up a cows arse.

  54. gingercrush 55

    Well except the Greenhouse emissions in transporting that log to a sawmill and then the emissions in the making of furniture. But yes I get your point and its certainly interesting and good job too. Much appreciated.

    Personally I find the whole you buy carbon credits to offset emissions rather weird. It makes sense sure. But if you plant trees that take years to grow and become mature. In the meantime you’re using up much more emissions than what the trees will be able to absorb. At the same time what trees do get planted are also offset by the likelihood of trees being cut down elsewhere in the world and never replaced. I know other ways to offset emissions is for your carbon credits to be invested in renewable energy such as wind farms etc. To me such things make much more sense and are likely better economically. It invests in infrastructure in a country which brings new jobs while at the same time likely making that country more able to be less reliant on fossil fuels etc for energy needs.

    Personally I think some SOE or entity should be set up that is 50% owned by the government and 50% owned by the polluters. Polluters get into the SOE by buying into it. It’d have to be compulsory but in return for paying into it they get a seat on the board to decide where to spend the capital. While the government puts some start-up capital into it and continues to pay money each year to offset its own greenhouse emissions. That capital then is reinvested in schemes that offset emissions or invest in infrastructure that uses less greenhouse emissions such as wind power energy etc. Perhaps even going so far as to set up their own wind farm etc. Profits returned first go to pay for whatever our Kyoto fine is. And then are distributed equally back between the government and the pollutors. Yes in effect the pollutors benefit in polluting. But at the same time it means investment in New Zealand infrastructure and a way to offset and reduce greenhouse emissions. Not that I know anything about business etc but I’d take it over the Emissions Trading Scheme.

  55. Chris G 56

    And the Bonehead post of the day goes to:


    “To Tane and all climate change believers: do not forget the people of NZ have spoken and decided not to go the Labour way (forget the Greens).

    In oher words: you lost, we won, eat that.”

    Congratulations Santi, your an acclaimed idiot.

  56. higherstandard 57

    Felix – quite right but agriculture will remain a major part of our economy in our lifetimes the trick as always is “milking” your current export markets for all their worth while developing new ones.

  57. gingercrush 58

    ^ Neither the National party of the 1990s that tried to get us big into IT or the Labour government of 2000s ever really set out to change that. Yes Labour started some things but on the whole what our economy exports and trades is largely the same as what we did in the 1990s and is the same as the 1980s and so on. And its a weakness this National-led government also seems to possess. How strange but of the lot its the Green party that offered such opportunities though their ideas were constrained in environment thinking and local production for local people.

  58. Chris G 59


    “Further to my previous comments, another point with respect to trees is that the closer they become to fully grown, the less potential there is for further capture of carbon.”

    Not so, according to: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/09/study_says_old_growth_forests.html

    quote: “A group of forest scientists reports that, contrary to conventional wisdom, most old growth forests absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they release and should be factored into international efforts to control greenhouse gases.”

    Thus stressing the importance of preservation.

  59. Chris G 60


    I tend to disagree with milking dairying as an export for all its worth as there are some big environmental problems associated with it, pollution of waterways and the large use of water.

    If we do turn in to a big dairy farm (bloody unlikely) but even if we want to, we should expect more of this:


    Water in Canterbury is now fully allocated. Its a precious resource (As much as we take it for granted) that needs attention

  60. higherstandard 61


    Dairying doesn’t have to be as environmentally unfriendly as it is currently – I also tend to think that Canterbury is not as suited to this industry as other parts of the country.

  61. gomango 62

    Tane – I agree National has has several positions on this and I can see claims of hypocracy – I won’t argue with you on how hypocritical as we’d disagree but I acknowledge some merit to the other side of my position. The point I was making is it is somewhat hypocritical to bag the hypocracy (real or imagined) of National, when quite clearly the Labour government went backwards in both relative and absolute terms when they had full ability and power to change our emissions profile. Where is the emissions achievement of the last government?

    Is it the same place as the many other issues raised on the campaign trail “Stick with us, we’ll fix it” to to which the easy response of Nats was “but you’ve had 9 years and done nothing”.

    If one accepts that reducing emissions is a worthy goal neither Labour nor National should give much confidence -Labour on their track record, and National on their plans. And nor should the Greens position give comfort as they are long on emission reduction controls, short on growth ideas. Fine if we all want to catch buses, become vegetarians and live according to their sustainability ideals. I certainly don’t, but I am prepared to pay for my footprint when everyone else on the globe does.

    All sides of the debate are solution poor, but at least both Labour (to some extent) and National (to a greater degree) seem disinclined to let emission controls interfere too much with growth – unless we follow the rest of the world rather than lead it. When we see India, China and the US (Bush/Obama change helps here) in the scheme and complying – why would we impose an unnecessary comparative disadvantage on our exporters?.

    Re exports to Europe – companies that export there will of their own accord become carbon neutral or positive simply because they have to do so in order to sell product.

    The other issue with both emissions trading and carbon tax is Russia. Bad stats and poor oversight mean they’ll always be a net seller of credits yet if you look for an example of a negligent, polluting, treaty breaking greenhouse villain they don’t come much bigger and badder than the neo-con paradise which is Russia. (By that I mean if US really was owned and run by neo-cons it would look pretty much just like Russia or the US in the late 19th Century).

  62. tssmithfield,
    However, recent work by Spencer and Christie

    Online link please. I should want to ensure – as indeed I’d expect a climate-change agnostic would also – that the aforementioned are not indulging themselves with semantic loops! Can’t have their non-defining moments amount to inadvertant mickeytaking.. can we?

    Also, and addressed to gingercrush, I have a several simple questions. Which are, in terms of the lifecycle of a tree in temperate zones(as NZ) what carbon uptake is there and when? What’s more, can this ever equate to adequate removal of lower atmospheric carbon dioxide.? Adequate taken to mean sufficient to reduce existing levels plus additional economic ‘growth’ premia from inaction or non-attention to such matters by powers-that-be.

  63. lprent 64


    However, recent work by Spencer and Christie has demonstrated that cloud formations also cause air-current effects that “recycle’ CO2 out of the atmosphere, resulting in a strong negative feedback that largely mitigates the positive feedbacks included in the climate models.

    For the CO2 scrubbing effect you probably need to look at some of the work that was done on the pre-Cambrian iceworld hypothesis. It is a known system, but obviously research is still being done to refine the rates at different temps and rates.

    In effect you’re just looking at another buffering effect – it doesn’t change the models, it simply changes the time period. The problem is that it makes all water have more CO2 adsorbed (eventually winding up in the oceans).

    However water has a limited adsorption of CO2, reducing as the ppm of adsorbed CO2 in the water increases. As the CO2 in ocean and ground water increases, so will the CO2 in evaporated water. So regardless of the adsorption rates you’re simply buffering the problem and changing the time before the effect shows. Of course there is now clear evidence that the acidity of the oceans is increasing dramatically from the effects of adsorbed CO2. So it looks like that sink is going to overflow shortly. Just thinking about how much CO2 adsorption is required to move the overall acidity of the ocean is *mind-blowing*

    To make it change the models at any fundamental level, you’d have to show that there was a sequestration of CO2 for instance in limestone or other calcium carbonate deposits. That would significantly change the model timings to a later date (ie until those deposits got subducted and the CO2 released in volcanoes). To date there has been no research showing that.

    So I’d class that under the usual “selectively using research out of context to avoid the issue”. If the people promoting the idea had done any earth science, they’d never have promoted that as an issue. That research is something the the modellers plug in to change the expected outcomes.

    I’m afraid that most of the climate deniers appear to have no basic understanding of either earth science or closed loop environmental systems. They seem to mainly have a degree level education in “wishful thinking”.

  64. Quoth the Raven 65

    HS – Hear hear. Canterbury is so very dry in summer. Dairy farming is messing this land up. We need to make agriculture cleaner and that’s why the fast forward fund and R&D tax cuts would have been a good start. It’s ridiculous for a country that relies so heavily on agriculture to put so little money into research.

  65. Chris G 66


    Well no it could do better in polluting waterways, but that is monitored reasonably well albeit fines to the farmers -damage none the less inflicted on the water systems.

    But at the end of the day you need to use a huge amount of water for dairying… nothing will change that. Unless you make water, which you can, but then you need far too much energy to do that! 😀

  66. Mr Shankly 67

    Labour’s knowledge economy never happened despite 9 years of rhetoric – little real effort was made by the government to install any productive change or development in our economy – just blatant populist nonsense.

    [lprent: So? There has been more done in that area than the Nat’s ever did. Where is the implementation behind the Nat’s empty visions. Cutting R&D across the board is going to help?.]

  67. tsmithfield 68

    Northpaw: “Online link please. I should want to ensure – as indeed I?d expect a climate-change agnostic would also – that the aforementioned are not indulging themselves with semantic loops! Can?t have their non-defining moments amount to inadvertant mickeytaking.. can we?”

    Sure, sorry, I should have given this:

    This article was accepted for publication in the November edition of Journal of Climate.


  68. Mr. Shankly,

    would you be so kind as to inform me on what “Labour(‘s) knowledge economy” you are referring to..?

    Further, could you add whether it was an intended public – ie publicly notified – policy or not..

    Could you also comment as to the possibility of such a policy being imported in part or whole..?

    Sorry about the questions, but your comment appears to me not at all savvy in terms of certainty.. or even probability.. of it being a wholly “Labour” anything.

  69. Mr Shankly 70

    Well the R and D fund was just tokenist window dressing.

    Pumping money into productive areas of the economy would have been useful nine years ago.

    Our tertiary sector – needs a major overhaul – far too many people waste a period of their lives completing degrees that are not required for anything that actually leads to a job.

    Universities should probably have had a reasonably tough entry criteria and many courses should look to be significantly reduced – as education is the country investing in our future – not just a >3 year holiday.

  70. Mr Shankly,

    in respect of some parts of what you say, and presuming their correctness I find myself agreeing with you..

    Constructively. At issue, however, is now. And REAL. NOW.

    Not 9 years ago or the interim… for you see in a modern economy why must the government “pump money” into (presumably you mean) private “productive areas of the economy”.? Why can’t those entities look out for themselves..?

  71. Carol 72

    And our future doesn’t just include working. Education should be to help people to learn how to learn, and to be able to be critical in order to enable democracy to thrive. Job skills and knowledge change very quickly. An education that is too vocationally specific doesn’t prepare people for all the changes that will happen in their work and other aspects of their lives.

  72. Mr Shankly 73

    Yes our education is system is encouraging people to be critical, to question – unfortunately our energy is often wasted on the small things that do not actually matter. If people are going to change job / career frequently – with large changes in skill mix university for many uni is a waste of time – they would be better doing an OE or starting a small business. Young people need to get out and live

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