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Goff unveils Labour’s vision

Written By: - Date published: 1:21 pm, May 22nd, 2011 - 90 comments
Categories: labour, phil goff - Tags:

Phil Goff has announced that Labour will bring agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme earlier and use the extra revenue to fund R&D, much of which will be into clean tech and low-carbon farming. That’s part a swath of announcements showing Goff’s Labour has the vision Key’s National lacks. Labour is making positive choices while being fiscally responsible.

The cost of the $800 million R&D tax credits will be funded by making agriculture pay for its emissions from 2013, rather than 2015 under National. This is good commonsense stuff. It doesn’t make sense to be subsidising pollution from out-dated technology when we could be subsidising research and development of the next generation of technology that will boost incomes and protect our environment.

Incredibly, this $400 million a year subsidy only makes farmers pay for 10% of their 2005 emissions plus any growth since then. Not to mention the two for one subsidy that other polluters get. So plenty of room for further subsidy eliminations in the future.

Labour cannot be accused of a tax grab here. It has announced how it will save on a tax subsidy in one area and replace it will better subsidy in another. Contrast that to Key’s sneaky tax hike on Kiwisaver by taking away half our tax credits and taxing our employer contributions.

Goff also announced that Labour will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in its first year. That would take away from burgeoning profits, which end up as dividends for the wealthy and foreign owners, instead putting another $70 a week into the pocket of a full-time minimum wage worker.

I think this is actually the most effective cost of living policy. About quarter of a million workers (15%) would get a pay rise as a result. Half a billion a year into the poorest communities in the country. Think how many jobs that will create, rather than having that money go offshore in dividends, in luxury imports, and foreign holidays for the wealthy.

Wasteful projects like the navy missile system and the holiday highway will go and the money will be channeled into areas that need it.

We’ll have to wait to know exactly how much of National’s Kiwisaver cuts Labour can afford to reverse or what else it will do to incentivise savings. That’s responsible. National has created a hell of a mess. It only just opened it books and revealed its Kiwisaver cuts. Labour can’t simply pledge to reverse them until its done its calculations.

We also don’t know the guts of Labour’s tax policy, although Goff has confirmed there will be a new top tax rate in somewhere above $120,000 a year. Before anyone yells ‘tax grab’, consider that government revenue as a % of GDP has plunged thanks to National’s irresponsible tax cuts at the same time as spending as a % of GDP has soared. Getting back to balance should not be simply about spending cuts.

But, if today’s announcements are anything to go by, we can expect that Labour’s tax and savings policies will be a combination of responsibility and vision that puts National in the shade.

Goff’s full speech – Owning our future – is here.

90 comments on “Goff unveils Labour’s vision”

  1. Jimmie 1

    Hmmmm Labour is quite unsubtle really.

    One week trot out dubious figures using the worst dairy incomes in 4 years to shock people that farmers don’t pay tax and then hey presto the next week what do we have an extra $850 million tax on farmers (few who vote for Labour)

    Very unsubtle but does fit with Labour’s tax and spend philosophy but I guess it wont worry South Auckland voters until it flows through to increased dairy prices in the supermarket.
    Milk = $5 a litre?
    Might be interesting to see if the Feds organise protests against Labour come the election.

    • Eddie 1.1

      “Labour’s tax and spend philosophy”

      Labour is not increasing tax or spending here. It is replacing one kind of tax subsidy with another.

      “but I guess it wont worry South Auckland voters until it flows through to increased dairy prices in the supermarket.
      Milk = $5 a litre?”

      what you haven’t considered is that the cost of pollution already exists. Currently, we pay it as taxpayers because our government has to fork out for carbon credits while not getting paid by the farmer polluters.

      Isn’t it a tenant of rightwing ideology that people should have to pay the costs of their own decisions? Personal responsibility…

      • U 4 United 1.1.1

        “Emissions trading”and “common sense” in the same post!!!! That is a first. A bold first!

    • Peter 1.2

      At least they’ll get some tax from sources other than the bulk of PAYE earners who also get stung by GST

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      Hey Jimmie you must prefer National’s borrow and spend policy then? 🙄

      I know that China loves it, getting NZ workers paying them interest on the money that English has borrowed from them.

      • Uncle Helen 1.3.1

        I agree with Viper – we should stop borrowing money in order to finance the lifestyle choices of the the beneparasites. Cancel the Welfare State and hey presto! No more borrowing.

        Great idea Colonel Viper.

        • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.1

          I agree with Viper – we should stop borrowing money in order to finance the lifestyle choices of the the beneparasites. Cancel the Welfare State and hey presto!

          *Shrug*

          NZ Super is by far the biggest chunk of these “beneparasites”. 5x more social welfare money goes into NZ super than to the DPB.

          Slash back NZ super if you want, that’s where the “savings” are. I am sure you’ll back this idea right buddy?

          • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.1.1

            NZ Super is by far the biggest chunk of these “beneparasites”. 5x more social welfare money goes into NZ super than to the DPB.

            And the reason why that happens is because the 1975 National government, being just as economically illiterate as this lot, cancelled Labours Compulsory Super Scheme. You know, the same type of super that Oz has that has been one reason for them doing so well economically.

        • Robert M 1.3.1.2

          Surely the real beneficiary class is the vast army of social workers, consellors, psychologists, low grade hospital workers, enrolled nurses and psych workers. Wouldn’t it be better if we scrapped the whole outdated system, made our own choices and if 17+ just made our own choice of what drug or pharmacutical we wanted, almost everyone would make better choices.
          As for milk I seemed to remember about 2002, aunty helen decided milk was ridicululously cheap in the dairies and supermarkets 55c for half a pint and about a $1 for a full sized carton, so the government effectively allowed Fonterra to double the price to the kiwi mum and dad. Labour policy subsidy to the cow cockies.

          • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.2.1

            Surely the real beneficiary class is the vast army of social workers, consellors, psychologists, low grade hospital workers, enrolled nurses and psych workers. Wouldn’t it be better if we scrapped the whole outdated system

            Typical, devaluing work focussed on caring for others.

            Hey guess what happens genius when you fire all the “low grade” cleaners from the hospital. Patients start dying of after surgery infections! Yeah, you are really good at this.

            and if 17+ just made our own choice of what drug or pharmacutical we wanted, almost everyone would make better choices.

            Yeah go on, what would you prefer, valdecoxib or celecoxib?

            • RobertM 1.3.1.2.1.1

              Yes but low grade cleaners seems often to be the problem in many hospital outbreaks of infection. Workers employed for ‘charity’ reasons or without adequate literary skills to read warnings. The frequent muck ups in medication that occur at North Shore or Middlemore seem often to indicate not just lack of time or inefficient systems but lack of intelligence, education and ability to absorb information or think. Look I am full aware you need for example strong orderlies and ability to do many mundane tasks-but I don’t know they need to be Enrolled nurses.
              Generally speaking hospitals seem to be increaingly unhealthy environments with more outbreaks of dangerous bugs and infections- possibly due to low calibre staff, problems of cultural transition but also because bugs and reactions to drugs and antibiotics are going stronger and more dangerous. More and more reason to move away from hospital care as the basis of our system and for people to avoid it as much as possible.

    • MikeG 1.4

      The Treasury assumptions are on the basis of increased commodity prices, so IF they are right then milk at $5 a litre is highly likely.

  2. lprent 2

    Good. We can’t allow Federated Farmers to continue to shield the incompetent farmers from change. The competent farmers have already been adjusting their management to reduce methane.

    • ZeeBop 2.1

      Farmer have bad years and were carried by low and middle income nz who paid
      their share of tax and the farmers. And this is set to continue, as the burden of
      taxation is shifted on to lower an middle income earners by a drop in the top
      tax band, and a rise in the GST. Well done National, who would have thought they
      could borrow and raise tax during a recession, and the polls still have most
      plonkers, sorry, National voters cheering them on, hurt them more they cry.

    • U 4 United 2.2

      How would you have gleaned enough information on this topic to make such a sweeping generalisation?

  3. Nick K 3

    So plenty of room for further subsidy eliminations in the future.

    Code: We can tax the bloody farmers even more into the future – excellent!

    • millsy 3.1

      And what would you do? Have them pay no tax and be able to pour whatever crap they like into our rivers?

      Every single dollar that a farmer avoids in paying taxs, is 1 dollar less for our hospitals. Now I would like them to go to explain to the sick people in our hospital system why they do not want them to be treated.

    • Eddie 3.2

      It always amazes me that the right is happy to subsidise pollution. It’s entirely inconsistent with your philosophy of personal responsibility.

  4. Peter Johansson 4

    R&D doesn’t make cheaper products and won’t lower living costs – it’s an added cost, payable by the end user. Taxing your own food chain in a bid to force innovation is absurb: a think or starve siege mentality – only it’s simulated, not real. It’ll never win majority vote, because when the going gets tough the public will choose anything over enforced starvation and cold homes and they’ll not forget who forced them. For new efforts to succeed there must be measurable step-by-step returns in the present, not wholesale “do without because we told you” while MPs go home to their central heating and personal fortunes. Labour have supported “children” (a trojan horse for all kinds of absurdity) and ETS type policies before and they weren’t returned to office. I really don’t see them as a potential future political party at this rate. Will likely fragment and die out.

    Goff could win 2011 by default. It’s “the election no one wants to win”, but any public sacrifices will only be to Goffs personal gain, and frankly, I’d rather be able to eat. As for fiscally responsible, increased taxes are never responsible if half the populations living standards are reduced to poverty level. You may save cash intially, but you’ll need more prisons and police and welfare which will cancel out your “savings” and cause social problems that take years to return to past years levels. In the mean time, the “rich” the socialists hate so much will still be rich and the gaps will be wider. Smile and Wave will be exchanged for Strut and Puff. Nope, Labour, or anyone else, need real ideas. Rehash might get them elected, but nothing will change.

    • Eddie 4.1

      No, what is absurd is subsidising old, polluting technology while refusing to invest in new, clean technology.

      • Peter Johansson 4.1.1

        The immediate problem is that the old polluting technology is feeding people. The new clean technology doesn’t exist, or doesn’t exist in an affordable form that can feed people. So don’t know how many ways I can define the phrase “no real viable solutions”. But if people want to vote for policy that cuts off their food supply while we look… for the sake of ideology…

          • Deadly_NZ 4.1.1.1.1

            Unfortunately if you buy a lot of Hydroponics gear, you could end up with the cops kicking down your door looking for the marijuana plantation. OOPPSS lol

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.2

          R&D doesn’t make cheaper products and won’t lower living costs – it’s an added cost, payable by the end user.

          Wow. You really are a backward thinker.

          I think companies like Panasonic and Samsung who have reduced the prices of their flat screen TV’s in the last ten years from $15,000 each to $1,500 each might be happy to vouch that you are dead wrong.

          And companies like Apple who have developed groundbreaking products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad would simply laugh at your commercial naivete.

        • Eddie 4.1.1.3

          you think we should never invest in learning – ie research and development – because it diverts resources from immediate consumption?

          Wow. that’s what societies do when they are on the verge of complete collapse from starvation/invasion.

          There would be no progress if we placed producing the most from old tech over developing new tech

          • Deadly_NZ 4.1.1.3.1

            And don’t NZ lead the way in 3d tracking that was used for the America’s cup and now in other sports.

        • Zaphod Beeblebrox 4.1.1.4

          Unfortunately the old polluting technology is also stealing our children’s and grand-children’s future. Don’t you think we shouldn’t be making some effort to mitigate this intergenerational theft?

  5. millsy 5

    “a trojan horse for all kinds of absurdity”

    What is what supposed to mean? Parents not being able to whack their kids with jug cords and bit of wood, or shove them to the ground and tip them out of a chair?

    ” for fiscally responsible, increased taxes are never responsible if half the populations living standards are reduced to poverty level”

    Living standard for a lot of people are already at poverty level. And they were when National last cut taxes. Look at the amount of hopsitals that closed in this nation when National cut tax in 96, or state houses that got sold?

    ” the “rich” the socialists hate so much ”

    This socialist doesnt hate the rich. I just dont want to doff my hat to them, and I want them to pay a bit more tax so we can have a decent hospital and school system, not one where kids are kicked out of school to make way for international students, and where patients die on underfunded emergency room floors.

    • Peter Johansson 5.1

      You’re free to vote for more government in your private life and higher taxes – be my guest. Other people will undoubtably choose a less authoritarian alternative. But while you’re making charitable donations to the IRD to sooth your ideological conscience, other people will be investing their funds in various ways to get rich. Then, the golden rule will apply: he who has the gold, will rule. You will have no choice but to doff your cap, at your own expense, since you made yourself poor for unrealistic ideals.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Other people will undoubtably choose a less authoritarian alternative.

        What? Like having the corporate powers rule our lives, the prices we are charged and the pittances we are paid?

        No I don’t think anyone will be voting for that this year buddy.

      • Eddie 5.1.2

        that makes me laugh when I think of all the things National has made illegal. Not to mention the fact that one of their ministers is de facto dictator

      • Jim in Tokyo 5.1.3

        Sounds super! And when, once in a while, these wise investments default due to dwindling regulatory oversight,  those same fine financial Übermenschen adapt accordingly right? They’d never be cheeky enough to go crawling back to big government and attempt to appropriate those same higher taxes they fought against to cover their personal failings as investors, would they?  That would be somehow…

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.4

        …a less authoritarian alternative.

        We certainly don’t want the dictatorial parties like National, Act and United Future in government. Just think of the undemocratic ways they’d run the country. They’d probably do things like remove elected councils, remove Auckland’s right to have a democratic say in how they’re organised and push dictatorial acts through parliament by abusing urgency…

        Oh, wait…

  6. Afewknowthetruth 6

    Another load of crap from the scientifically illiterate moron who thinks he can lead.

    ETS is just a financial scam designed to avoid dealing with the problem of emissions while making money for international investros. As usuaal we can rely on Goff to promote dysfuntion and sabotage. And as for R & D, the biggest source of problems is inappropriate solutions.

    So, it’s off the cliff at 100kph under National or off the cliff at 98kph under Labour: the choice is yours!

    Fortunately the global economy looks certain to implode before 2015 .

    • Georgecom 6.1

      Robert. Go and have a closer look at the announcements. One key item here is a policy to scrap the Holiday Highway. That is good news. The other half of the good news story will be an announcement that the money saved wll be sunk into the Auckland rail loop.

    • Eddie 6.2

      It’s important to have people on the cutting edge demanding better, like AFKTT does. But you can’t expect a mainstream party to leap that whole why in one go.

      And ETSs, like carbon taxes, do work.

      • infused 6.2.1

        The ETS is a pile of shit. It’s a tax grab, simple as that. It won’t change jack.

        • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1

          Oh dear, a Righty losing confidence in the power of market incentives on rational economic actors.

          This is so sad to see, sort of like watching the face of a child who realises that the tooth fairy is not real.

  7. Galeandra 7

    Afewknowthetruth it should be pretty obvious from the thread so far just how much mental inertia has to be confronted if NZ politicians are to adequately confront the issues ahead. Goff is at least on the progressive side of the ledger depite what self-absorbed wooden tops like Jimmie & Nick K have to say. If you have genuine issues with the programme, let’s hear them. Your diatribe is hardly educational!

    • Afewknowthetruth 7.1

      Galeandra.

      I think you will find that all the current crop of politiicans are fully committed to misinformation and misrepresentation, so that they can keep promoting their dysfunctional money-lender based ideologies.

      That is exactly why there is no hope within the present policial system.

  8. seeker 8

    At long last a vision to get NZ moving, developing and becoming the vibrant, innovative, thrusting country we should be.

    I am just beginning to breathe again having nearly fallen into the stifling blackhole of despair, injustice, spin and stagnation or, hellon earth,that is always life under a self-serving, asset grabbing, exploitative, manipulative, anachronistic, lying NAct type government.

    This particular Government has been one of the worst for ignorance as well, e.g.ministers attacking privacy of citizens and being called ‘honourable’ by their leader, National Standards, ACC sellout, debt run up to claim asset stripping is necessary whilst giving tax cuts to the already wealthy to help them with the asset stripping (16.7 billion dipton), trying to mine or drill pristine, precious worldscapes, three strikes, private prisons, irresponsible and amoral work law changes,CERRA, some suspect justice system changes, erosion of democracy under urgency use in Parliament and poor select committee practice.etc.Ecan., Hobbit agenda plus embarassment on the international scene (Letterman,Tuhoe jibes etc. )
    .
    Never have I felt more like I live in a lawless ‘poor cousin’ backwater – back being the operative.word.

    It is so time for NAct to go -enough already. I will not be able to survive another three years of my life in such a stagnant, almost amoral ideology. What a waste of my time on this earth – I and my family need hope….. not incompetence and cunning.

    John Key needs to go back to what he does best–wheeling and dealing, preferably in Hawaii and leave the Nact lot to sink quietly and eternally into the stagnant, quagmire of life their ridiculous in humane ideology has created, and may their wallets be permanently empty.

    • Afewknowthetruth 8.1

      ‘a vision to get NZ moving, developing and becoming the vibrant’

      Methinks you have been reading too much party-political propaganda.

      Development is the problem. You only have to look at the nations going down the gurgler the fastest Japan-USA, plus Europe- to see that the more developed a nation becomes the worse its problems..

      The paradigm shift is too hard for most people at this stage (they are mostly still locked into broken paradigms), but once ithe globalised ndustrial system has collapsed a bit more it will get easier to see the truth.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        to see that the more developed a nation becomes the worse its problems..

        Whereas Somalia, Haiti and Chad have no where to fall down to from where they are now and are therefore better off, correct?

  9. Craig 9

    Well, Johnno has said he’ll step down as National leader if (O please!) they end up losing this year’s election. I’d hate to be Stephen Joyce and have to pick up the pieces in that case.

  10. John D 10

    The ETS on ruminant methane is a tax by any other name. There is no practical way for farmers to reduce methane emissions other than to reduce stock numbers.

    Besides, I thought the ETS was a trading scheme. How come money gets syphoned off into R&D?
    (Personally, I would prefer money spent on research than on growing trees, but the question still stands)

    • Roflcopter 10.1

      That’s Goff’s big fubar. You can’t use ETS revenue to fund R&D.

      • RedLogix 10.1.1

        Because the govt is subsidising the ETS from general taxation, any extra income raised… in this case from farming….indirectly frees up general taxation for other purposes.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.2

        He’s not. He’s using the money saved from not having to subsidise the farmers for their pollution.

    • Eddie 10.2

      actually, farmers can reduce methane emissions through better pasture management and livestock selection. The methane output per cow has dropped something like 9% in the past decade.

      In fact a survey of farms showed variation in methane output between 284g per day to 427g/d http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/globalchange/summaries/methane_emissions_ag.asp

      • John D 10.2.1

        Eddie – that is interesting info. However, does it translate into the ETS? I thought that farmers were charged on a per stock unit basis rather than by CH4 emissions. I’d be interested to get further info on this if you have it, Cheers

  11. Bunji 11

    There’s actually a divide between dairy and meat farmers here. Meat farmers have reduced stock numbers and increased efficiency significantly. Some may find that they’re 10% below 2005 levels already and may in fact get credit from being in the scheme.

    So, like other industries already in the scheme, they may want to decide whether they want to continue to subsidise dairy.

  12. Uncle Helen 12

    Phil Goff has announced.. ..use the extra revenue to fund R&D

    Translating the socialist drivel:

    “Phil Goff has announced.. ..use the extra revenue to fund Wananga ‘degrees’ in basket weaving, guitar strumming and advanced welfare fraud, alongside generous grants to the Gender Studies department at Auckland University. Just like last time.”

    • millsy 12.1

      Why dont you fuck off to America Uncle, where the poor are made to live on the streets.

    • Anthony 12.2

      Almost got wingnut Bingo!

      [x] Racism
      [x] Sexism
      [ ] Homophobia

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1

        Considering his name, I’d say that he’s got the third as well.

    • Eddie 12.3

      R&D tax credits are claimed by corporations when they undertake spending on activities that meet the definition. Nothing to do with universities.

      You fucken muppet.

      • Uncle Helen 12.3.1

        Does the revisionist attempts to expunge the Clark Regime’s crimes from the historical record ever get tiresome?

        And.

        Do you apparatchiks really believe that our memories are that short?

        IrishBill: Take two weeks off to contemplate just how stupid this comment sounds.

    • Deadly_NZ 12.4

      Oh just fuck off will you. if you dont like nz then fuck off to Somalia.

  13. Sookie 13

    A good announcement on policy and I hope it gets the attention it deserves as a contrast to the pathetic, short sighted, narrow minded and venal bumblings we’ve been forced to endure from the Nats for the last two and half years of shame. Making the feet dragging farmers pay their fair share is a vote winner, as farmers never vote for Labour anyway and the average person is pretty pissed off with them for gouging us, getting dodgy loans from crooked finance companies, shitting in our rivers, nicking our water, paying bugger all tax AND putting their hands out whenever there’s a bloody storm or flood. Have I missed anything out? Blocking recreation access to the high country, conversion of inappropriate land to dairying, shooting keas…the list goes on.

    • millsy 13.1

      The reaction of farmers when they are told to clean up their act reminds me of the reaction that I used to give as a child when my parents told me to clean my room….

      • Deadly_NZ 13.1.1

        Nothing done until the dreaded ‘NO TEA’ came out. Yes they have been asked, and asked to clean up their acts by Labour, but since Smile ‘n’ Wave got in they have had a free ride. And I do hope that they give some powers to the dept that has to clean up the mess. IE send the bill to the polluters to clean up our rivers. That will let them know the free ride is over

  14. John D 14

    We seem to be conflating issues around “pollution”. The ETS is on ruminant methane. Whether this can be classified as pollution is debatable, as it is part of the natural carbon cycle.

    There are genuine issues around water contamination which we can manage using the appropriate regulatory tools. I am not sure that the ETS is the right tool for this.

    • Eddie 14.1

      livestock are a part of the human economy and wouldn’t exist, certainly not in so great numbers, if it weren’t for their usefulness as human food sources. their emissions are as anthropogenic as a car’s.

      • John D 14.1.1

        Based on that logic, Eddie, we should tax people for breathing. Humans exhale about 1 kg of CO2 per day.

        http://www.gcrio.org/doctorgc/index.php/drweblog/C53/

        Methane decomposes naturally into CO2 and H2O over a period less than a decade, and up to the publication of IPCC AR4, there was no increase in global methane emissions (though I believe there may be more recent studies that show an increase)

        • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1

          Based on that logic, Eddie, we should tax people for breathing.

          ? People are plenty taxed already. Cows are not.

          • John D 14.1.1.1.1

            Great comment Viper. We should tax cows because people are already taxed too much.

            Do cows get the vote?

            Do cows get equal opportunities to attend universities?

            Do cows get working for families?

            I demand equal rights for cows!!

        • lprent 14.1.1.2

          Yes – it does decay rapidly. No- the rate of increase in methane in the atmosphere has been close to expodential since the first measurements were made. The bit you missed out was that methane is about 70 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. This means that a sustained increase in methane is more of a problem than carbon dioxide. The advantage that reducing it causes a immediate fallback it’s effects -unlike carbon dioxide.

          Be nice if you could learn some actual science rather than jerking off here with shit you clearly read somewhere did not actually understand.

          • John D 14.1.1.2.1

            Be nice if you could learn some actual science rather than jerking off here with shit you clearly read somewhere did not actually understand.

            Please see my links to the IPCC and EPA in reply to MrSmith below.

            • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.2.1.1

              http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/oct/HQ_08-276_Methane_levels.html

              NASA says the warming potential of methane is around 25x that of CO2. Australian sources state 23x.

              So not 70x, but it is a lot greater than CO2.

              • John D

                Yes, and it’s part of the natural carbon cycle.
                So we should tax people for breathing, at a rate 1/21 of the rate for methane.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Farmers are going to have to pay a bit more on top of their $1500 income tax per year now. It’s going to a good cause – developing a broader based higher value economy. Seems good to me.

            • lprent 14.1.1.2.1.2

              I was in a hurry (the joys of weekend work) and mis-remembered. My mistakes. It isn’t 70x, that was one of the other greenhouse gases (one of the chlorofluorocarbons), and I was referring to the rate of emission of methane in the atmosphere rather than amount in the atmosphere. 

              The principle of the argument still stands.

              Methane has a very low atmospheric residency time compared to CO2. It has also high greenhouse potential. The latter is more important than the former if the rate of production of methane keeps increasing. 

              Currently the source/sink process for methane is not well understood – but there is a pretty readable discussion of this based on IPCC 4 in wikipedia for anyone who is interested.

              Since the 1800s, atmospheric methane concentrations have increased annually at a rate of about 0.9%.[2] Long term atmospheric measurements of methane by NOAA show that the build up of methane has slowed dramatically over the last decade, after nearly tripling since pre-industrial times.[28] Although scientists have yet to pinpoint the exact reason(s) for this sudden drop in growth rates, it is thought that this reduction is due to reduced industrial emissions and drought in wetland areas.

              The only exceptions to this drop in growth rate occurred in 1991 and 1998 when growth rates increased suddenly to 14-15 nmol/mol per year for those years, nearly double the growth rates of the years before.[3]

              The problem is that since we really don’t know why the rate of increase of the methane in the atmosphere has slowed down, then we also don’t know when or why it will suddenly speed up. Since it has such an fast short-term effect on the energy balance, it is quite risky to let emissions rise because we don’t know at what point it will cause a tipping in some other feedback.

              For instance if we get a widespread melt in the northern permafrost or the release of methane chaldates (?sp)

              Incidentally the human effect on methane levels goes back a long time prior to the industrial revolution. I see that the wikipedia entry points to the research on the effect of rice production approx 5000 years ago on global climates.

        • MrSmith 14.1.1.3

          John D you should write a paper on it , have it published and the peer reviewed then, instead of wasting peoples time here with your propaganda.

      • Robert Atack 14.1.2

        The energy we use to feed and water the cows, and then the energy we use to turn their milk into $$ is the foot print we have to worry about, and the energy we have to put into cleaning up the mess ie Manawatu River.
        Cows are about 30% of our footprint (so I have been told?)……. lets start carbon taxing children, and at least stop the Working for Families, we have to stop the insanity some time.
        At some point in the near future the population will have to stop growing, so why don’t we slow down while the Mini still has room? And shouldn’t we leave a seat for the million or so expats out there?

  15. RedLogix 15

    In terms of asset sales; what would happen if Labour simply announced that any new asset sales would be nationalised for $1 next time they became govt? It’s radical but it would work.

    No shareholder would be mad enough to take the risk.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Problem is that it works both ways. NAT could start issuing nuclear ultimatums from Opposition as well.

      Further, and unfortunately, I am sure that a step of this kind will run into multiple WTO issues.

      That’s not to say that a number of measures to discourage foreign ownership (eg. make it very expensive to buy in) from environmental standards to price controls to control of the board, could not be taken.

      • RedLogix 15.1.1

        NAT could start issuing nuclear ultimatums from Opposition as well.

        True. Unfortunately there is a massive assymetry at work here. The Nats when in power can easily sell any asset anytime they please, for whatever price they want… while Labour when in power has a far greater hurdle to leap over in order to re-purchase an asset. The buy back of Kiwirail being an excellent example. It’s always easier to destroy than to create.

        I keep wondering what would be a valid political strategy to counter this?

        • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1

          I keep wondering what would be a valid political strategy to counter this?

          You issue controlling shares in the power generators to every citizen. And to new citizens as they are born. The controlling shares don’t entitle the citizens to any profits however (the Government continues to own the “profit” shares), but it does give the public direct ownership control.

          At age 65 people can cash in their controlling shares by selling them back to the Govt, for which they will receive a nominal sum.

          This does several things:

          1) Effectively turns the power generator into a democratically controlled enterprise.
          2) Reduces the private attractiveness of the power generators significantly as any purchaser will have limited control over the business.
          3) Maintains profits from the generators flowing into State coffers.
          4) Allows ordinary NZ voters to vote down any private take over offer at any time.

          This is just a rough idea, it needs to be refined.

  16. Salsy 16

    Fascinating how many on the right want to argue all the details of Goff’s ETS R&D policy, but are happy to support and the defend a budget – which as one herald comment suggests really doesn’t add up:

    We’re supposedly $17 billion in the red, and borrowing $380 million a week just to stay afloat which adds up to another $19.7 billion a year, but we can flick off half of three power companies and an airline for the same as it will cost to rebuild Christchurch, which cancel each other out even though we’re not doing it until after the election, then prune $179 million off Kiwisaver, find $1 billion in savings from the Public Service, and all of a sudden we’re magically back in the black by 2014?
    I don’t pretend to be a mathematical genius, but somewhere in amongst all the smoke and mirrors there’s a lot here which doesn’t appear to add up.

  17. nadis 17

    It’s not actually a bad idea – I would quibble about the effectiveness of ETS, and levying a charge on farmers that their competitors overseas don’t have – so it’s unfair in that sense, but so is everything about the ETS. Its a complete travesty of a system designed by Wall street as a moneymaking enterprise. There is plenty of research around to indicate it is the most expensive solution possible and the most ineffective due to widespread and institutionalised cheating. Just bring in a carbon tax.

    Where i think it is really bad policy is the way it looks like the R&D policy would be applied. Inefficient. Every company will start with the question “how do I claim the subsidy?” and work backwards from there. I know thats what I’ll be doing in the unlikely event Labour ever gets to implement this policy.

    Labour is so paralysed by fear of being painted into a corner by the Nats that they don’t do what is actually the most rational thing for R&D subsidies which is give them to public sector research organisations to partner with industry to spend the money, Otherwise you just get a multinational temporarily setting up already existing R&D from offshore in NZ to reduce their NZ tax liability or small businesses like me characterising product development costs as R&D.

  18. Tangled up in blue 18

    I guess my only concern is what will happen to unemployment if minimum wage rises to $15 during a recession.

    • Graham 18.1

      Perhaps those on ‘obscene and unnecessarily high’ wages will have to be forced to take a pay cut, and settle for just ‘unnecessarily high’ wages instead?

      • Tangled up in blue 18.1.1

        A tax rise and a pay cut. Gonna be some pissed off old rich guys hehe.

        • Colonial Viper 18.1.1.1

          Issue is that the richest people in NZ hide all their income. Hence the case of dairy farmers paying less income tax than someone on the minimum wage.

          A CGT, asset tax and estate tax is the only way to go.

  19. gnomic 19

    Er, dictionary police here. Far, far above, a comment included this sentence:
    ‘Isn’t it a tenant of rightwing ideology that people should have to pay the costs of their own decisions?’

    For tenant, read tenet?
    –noun
    any opinion, principle, doctrine, dogma, etc., especially one held as true by members of a profession, group, or movement.

    Just sayin’ 🙂

    Now, moving on to matters of more substance. I have to agree with the slightly annoying (on account of the ex cathedra tendencies) Afewknowwhatsup here. Is it not a simple fact that any economic policy based on growth ad infinitum is clearly wrong and delusional? Aiming for a steady state would be optimistic. But consider some antonyms of growth.

    abatement, decrease, diminishment, failure, lessening, reduction, stagnation, underdevelopment
    block, failure, impediment, recession, stagnation
    cessation, decline, descent, downfall, regression, retreat, retrogression, stoppage
    collapse, failure, loss

    Surely this is where we are really at? Look around you, look hard, do you realistically see any prospect of the pie getting a lot larger either in the NZ or global context? Word is, more poverty for the peons. Little people left out.

    Obviously nobody wants to hear this, so it has to be ignored by the politicians as they conduct the triennial bidding wars to win the affections of the voters. But the truth will out regardless.

    • M 19.1

      gnomic, David Harvey, a professor of Anthroplogy at Oxford among other universities put it well when he said that development is not the same as growth which of course is coming to an end.

      A steady state economy is optimistic IMO, an economy that lurches back and forth probably more likely as people will be very fickle in their voting choices. You only have to look to all the short sighted people who got their greed on for a $50 tax cut – poor deluded fools, they got a cut all right.

      Bad news doesn’t win elections – it will only dawn on people that life as they’ve known it is over when shortages appear for many of the items they take for granted or are unobtainable unless you’re very rich. I’ve kept all my cloth nappies to sew into reusable toilet paper squares because competition for forest products will be intense – fire or toilet paper? You will die from the cold but not from a lack of toilet paper but I can’t see many people wanting to do the Eastern left hand thing. This sort of situation may be some time off but I liken it to WWII rationing. Some time ago there was a brilliant British documentary series about how a modern family were immersed in a home, fashions and food of the wartime period with the rationing of goods and for a family of five they found they went from using five toilets rolls a week to using one and a desert was a very rare treat made from canned fruit.

  20. ZeeBop 20

    Base lies from MSM hack for the right wing…
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/5039314/Lifting-minimum-wage-would-cost-6000-jobs
    “Labour has learnt absolutely nothing in 2 1/2 years. This is the same prescription that got us into trouble.”

    What did National have done so different? Both offered tax cuts? Seriously nothing different
    except more debt from larger tax cuts from National. Everything else Labour lite.

    Labour would have meant less debt!

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