Greening the government: economics

Written By: - Date published: 7:39 am, January 29th, 2018 - 92 comments
Categories: climate change, Economy, greens, james shaw, sustainability - Tags: , , , , ,

Remember how the Green Party campaigned on greening the government? Thought it was going to be a few tag on bits here and there? Think again.

Last weeks State of the Planet speech was another very good speech from James Shaw. It covered important ground, including the state of NZ and the planet (not good), and what the Green Party are planning to do about it. Shaw positions the Greens as now a government party, and all that entails.

He starts the speech with the assessment of the state of the planet and of NZ. If you are not already familiar with how bad things are, please go read Part One of the speech now. It’s sobering. He then gives an overview of sustainable economics theory, and finishes with a proposal for how NZ can “lead the way in moving the theory of sustainable economics into practice – and what a unique opportunity we have, right now, to do so.”

The main thing that Shaw is signalling in the speech is the urgent need for NZ to shift to a sustainable economy in order to avert catastrophe, particular with regards to climate change. He makes no bones about neoliberalism being at an end, but traditional lefties will be disappointed if they want to hear the Greens talking about pulling down capitalism. Instead Shaw is talking about what can we build to replace the current, obviously defunct economic system?

The cognitive linguist George Lakoff says that it is absolutely essential to have a compelling alternative frame if the old one is ever to be debunked. One of the reasons why it’s taking such a long time, I think, to get to a sustainable economy is that, although few people would argue against it, no one has been able to adequately describe it, in ways that sounded more credible than the linear, take-make-waste economy of the status quo.

Shaw name-drops prominent green sustainable economics thinkers from the past decades. Economics is not my field but I can’t overstate how exciting it is to see a government party and the Minister for Climate Change talking about core sustainability concepts such cradle to grave, biomimicry, and systems based sustainability, not just as informing the Green Party, but as actual paradigms for effecting change within the NZ government.

If you’re not familiar with green philosophy and thinking, it would be worth looking up Shaw’s references to get up to speed with what is going on here. This is sustainability in real terms, not the flakey concept that’s been appropriated by neoliberalism. Green thinking is a thing, and green politics is distinct from left wing politics. NZ is going to have to upskill on this over the coming years. The left too, who are still largely treating green politics as a nice to have that should fit in and around left wing paradigms. Shaw just got up and said, actually, we have to do real green politics if we want a chance at averting disaster, and here’s the plan.

So Shaw is centering green economics here. Boldly. Like others, I’m not that keen on the whole electric cars will save the world rhetoric that underpins much of the more superficial greening of industrialised nations, but what is exciting about this speech is that Shaw is talking about building systems of sustainability into government. That’s not tinkering around the edges or greenwashing, that’s effecting fundamental change across society.

As an example of new modelling, he references Doughnut Economics,

But I think Kate Raworth of Cambridge University has probably been most successful in creating a visual model that can compete with our traditional mental models about the economy. Essentially, two concentric circles, one inside the other.

Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics

From a deep green perspective this is still anthropocentric. I’d prefer models that place humans within ecosystems, but it’s a good stepping stone for most western minds who are still largely thinking in conventional, “linear, take-make-waste” economic terms.

There are now some very robust models out there – and enough evidence bubbling up from different companies and countries around the world that have been trying on various ideas – to give us a pretty good idea of what a sustainable economy looks like.

The Greens in Government will be using these new models of economic thinking that balance economic and environmental and social outcomes to guide us in our decision making. We urge others to start doing the same.

Shaw goes on to talk about what this would look like in practical terms. As expected, 100% renewable energy is there, not just electricity but transport fuels and industrial heat (100% renewable energy generation is in the Confidence and Supply Agreement for this reason).

We would have zero waste to landfill: waste would be designed out of industrial processes, and what little waste remains would be captured and reused, refurbished or recycled. Eugenie is currently reviewing the Waste Minimisation Act to achieve this outcome.

In fact, zero would be regarded as the goal in a number of areas – greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, air pollution, chemical pollution, nitrogen and phosphorous loading, zero homelessness, and zero people living in poverty.

We’d be designing industrial processes, products and services that regenerate resources rather than deplete them.

Rather than crossing our fingers and hoping that GDP growth would trickle down into poverty alleviation, we’d be distributive by design, consciously building models of commerce that systematically increase wealth across the widest possible base so all of our people benefit.

The speech moves onto legislative frameworks. The plan is to use this term to build the structure that will enable NZ to move to a green economy in the coming decades. Somewhat controversially, Shaw references the neoliberal revolution in NZ as an example of how to create the architecture of an economy.

We were one of the first countries in the world to put in place the architecture of the current economy. In reality, legislatively, it came down to a handful of Acts of Parliament: The State Services Act, The Reserve Bank Act, The Public Finance Act, The Employment Contracts Act, and The Resource Management Act.

Shaw believe those five Acts have more than any others determined the economy since the 80s.

The Greens in Government now want to look at what the new cornerstones for the next thirty years might be that reshape the New Zealand economy to be one of the first truly sustainable economies in the world – that delivers for our environment and our people.

He lists the following as intentions for action in the near future,

  • have wider goals than simply achieving GDP growth.
  • immediately include child poverty reduction targets into the Public Finance Act
  • establish a more comprehensive set of social and environmental indicators and develop ways to include them in our economic reporting
  • the Zero Carbon Act
  • review the Waste Minimisation Act
  • with Labour, release a new Government Policy Statement on Transport which will radically shift investment in our transport systems
  • set up the Green Investment Bank to stimulate the flow of financial capital towards projects and businesses that reduce our climate pollution, and using world leading thinkers to design this.

It’s important to remember that this is a speech from the Green Party, not the government. Shaw is upfront about the need for the Greens to be in parliament beyond this term (that’s a heads up to activists and supporters). Their plan is ambitious, and I’ll be interested to see how much they can achieve of that over time. It’s very clear that it will only work with support and movement on the part of the other parties. Extra-parliamentary support will be critical too, so there is a lot here for activists to pay attention to. The Greens are frogwhistling to the people already on board with green politics, but they’re also being transparent to the whole of society about what they want and intend to do and why it’s important. And it’s an invitation.

No doubt there will be the usual criticism that the Greens are too small and don’t have enough power to make Labour do anything, but this misses the point. The Greens want change, not power, and they are very good at influencing policy by working the long game with integrity. That Labour front footed a bunch of traditional GP policy areas in the election was a win for the Greens when one looks through a green politics lens rather than the conventional macho, ‘power and leverage is all that matters’ one.

One of the key issues now in transitioning to a sustainable economy is whether Labour will be willing to be influenced by the Greens and how much. It’s a good sign that they’re already on board with the bare bones, and I’m immensely grateful that Jacinda Ardern is PM, because she appears to have the capacity to work with others and not hoard power for the sake of it. I haven’t said anything about NZ First, mostly because I don’t know where they fit in with all this, but Shaw sounds confident in the shared policy.

There is so much good stuff in this speech. I feel like I will be holding my breath for a while, waiting to see which way this falls. After 2 decades of NZ wanting the Greens but not enabling them to lead, I feel we have a second chance now to do the right thing.

Full speech is on the Green Party’s Facebook page and transcript is on their website.

92 comments on “Greening the government: economics”

  1. Macro 1

    Thanks weka for such an excellent post and one that does sum up the Green vision for a sustainable world fit for everyone.
    The Young Greens are meeting this Auckland long weekend as usual up the valley at Harry and Jeanette’s, and they are the future, and are as enthusiastic as ever. 🙂

  2. Wayne 2

    A very good speech illustrating that for National, Shaw is fundamentally the political enemy. Everything he proposes is almost completely antithetical to National. To achieve Green goals, would inevitably involve massive government regulation and controls to enforce all these goals upon citizens and businesses. This is an essential part of the Green world view, the government controlling everyones choices. The shower head issue of 2008 would be repeated in a 1000 different ways.

    He would finish New Zealand as a place of competitively traded agricultural products, the very foundation of our prosperity for over 150 years.

    The idea that everything can be zero is absurd. No system can be made that efficient. For instance the costs of total recycling would be an impossible burden for productive enterprise. Shaw’s pathway is a pathway to poverty. Prices for most goods would dramatically increase, with the result that much less will be produced. Unemployment and recession would be the result.

    I am certain that National will build its own comprehensive position on environment policy, which will be quite different to that of the Greens. More focus on things like clean water, with greater riparian plantings to prevent stock access and nutrification. More research on the the most efficient fertilisers. Less focus on trains and trams, more focus on improving roads for autonomous vehicles – with more safety and more efficient use of road space. Which unlike the Green nirvana, are still likely to be mostly privately owned. A recognition that fossils fuels will still have their place (air and sea transport). More native and exotic forestry on marginal agricultural land.

    • Xanthe 2.1

      Gosh wayne so many canards so little space!

      Cant stomach any green party speeches right now but huge thanks Weka for your summary. This sounds a lot more like why I was a member of the greens many years ago. If Shaw can lead the party in the direction indicated my interest will be renewed

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2

      Man whose entire life has been funded by taxpayers believes government shouldn’t do things.

    • red-blooded 2.3

      Wayne, National has had 9 years in government to “build its own comprehensive vision on environment policy” – what did it come up with? They gutted the ETS, cut funds to DOC, buggered about with lowered water standards, increased subsidies for big irrigation schemes, seemed determined to build more and bigger roads while ignoring other forms of transport… Sustainability has never been valued as a core foundation within National Party policy.

      I’d agree with Weka that the Greens are further ahead with this thinking than Labour, although Labour has also been grappling with these issues for a long time, independently from the Greens. Wayne harkens back to the beat-up about shower heads towards the end of the Clark government. That was an example of his party’s smear and scare tactics having an effect. It helped them to gain power, but it was at the cost of the environment. We are now grappling with water shortage and contamination issues (and no, shower heads weren’t the answer by themselves, but they could have been part of a mindset shift that would have seen us treating our water resources more carefully). Remember the scaremongering and accusations around the ETS? Bill English with his misogynistic “mad cow’ sign and denials about climate change issues?

      Wayne, your comments here ignore the thrust of thought in the speech and the post, which was about the private sector working in a different way, not the takeover of the economy by the public sector. And I think everyone accepts that “total” is a very ambitious goal and is certainly not achievable in the short term, and that part of the strategy for achieving such a goal is mitigation, but there can be other goals along the pathway to “total” – nobody’s talking about a 360 degrees turn tomorrow (or even next year).

      How about opening up your mind to some new thinking?

      • Wayne 2.3.1

        I did read the speech. That is why I made the comment the the Green pathway would be dependent on government control and regulation at a level that would be unparalleled in any western society.

        It is a fair point, that in 2008 to 2017 National missed the environment boat. Obviously not completely but to a significant extent.

        I do expect National to rectify that during its time in opposition. That National will have a much more comprehensive environment policy. But it will be different to that of the Greens. Clearly there will be points of intersection and agreement. Presumably there will be consensus on clean water, riparian planting, marginal land planting, etc. Probably also on electric vehicles.

        But on many things, there is be a fundamentally different world view. And the zero targets for just about everything is where it will be evident. Greens believe in zero targets (land fill, energy production, etc). And that would effectively destroy our economy.

        National would think that zero targets would not only be impracticable, but also wrong. To attempt to do so will result in a hugely less efficient economy, with less production, less economic activity, more unemployment, more poverty.

        In my view you can’t have an industrial economy with no waste. It makes no sense to recycle everything. Many things yes, but not all, not even remotely all. The world is not actually short of mineral resources. In many cases it is vastly cheaper and more energy efficient (this latter point being particularly important) to mine new stocks, rather than to recycle everything.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3.1.1

          National will “think” these things until the precise moment someone pays them to “think” something else.

        • Carolyn_Nth 2.3.1.2

          That is why I made the comment the the Green pathway would be dependent on government control and regulation at a level that would be unparalleled in any western society.

          Interesting, because it took a lot of government controls and regulations to hand over power to international corporates: see the raw [power of the TPPA that the Key government was working towards]; or the way economic power was handed to the landlords and real estate companies, while low income people had no power to ensure they could find somewhere safe and healthy to live, or to ensure adequate health care.

          This was Daddy state government, hiding behind a small government rhetoric.

          And thanks, Wayne, for demonstrating what I said in my earlier comment – Shaw’s Green politics are seen by right wingers as opposite to their values, and they will be resisted strongly by those with most power.

          The economy you say will be destroyed, Wayne, is not working for a large number of Kiwis, and will not work for even more in the future.

        • Chris 2.3.1.3

          So it’s put environmental d-day out a bit but essentially business as ususal? You’re such a tosser.

          • Wayne 2.3.1.3.1

            How about actually debating the issue, rather than just insults. However I guess if you are Green no debate is required because obviously everyone else is wrong (and bad).

            [how about you both stop with the insults and do the political points without that. – weka]

        • Rosemary McDonald 2.3.1.4

          “In my view you can’t have an industrial economy with no waste. It makes no sense to recycle everything. Many things yes, but not all, not even remotely all. The world is not actually short of mineral resources. In many cases it is vastly cheaper and more energy efficient (this latter point being particularly important) to mine new stocks, rather than to recycle everything.”

          Actually, let’s split that up into separate statements. Put some light and air in there.

          “In my view you can’t have an industrial economy with no waste.

          Why not, Wayne.

          It makes no sense to recycle everything.

          Why not, Wayne.

          Many things yes, but not all, not even remotely all.

          The world is not actually short of mineral resources.

          Endless, infinite? Able to be sustainably extracted?

          In many cases it is vastly cheaper and more energy efficient (this latter point being particularly important) to mine new stocks, rather than to recycle everything.”

          More mining, again. You got shares in mining Wayne?

          • Wayne 2.3.1.4.1

            Rosemary
            To take your specific comments. A zero waste economy. The last say 10% would cost vastly too much to recycle. It is not possible to recycle everything because too many sophisticated products have too many different minerals, components etc embedded in them to ever be economically separated. Particularly true of electronics, but no so with steel car bodies which can be readily recycled.
            No minerals are not infinite. But the earth is very large in comparison to humankind’s requirement. For instance the West Australia iron ore mines have enough ore for hundreds of years. For my entire lifetime we have always had 40 years of reserve oil. So called “rare earths” are not rare at all. Hundreds of years of reserves in the Andes and Mongolia. It is the reason why virtually all industrial products have got cheaper over time.
            A large number of Shaw’s assertions are contestable. For instance the assertion that arable land has reduced by a third. Simply not true. Food is actually becoming cheaper as a percentage of total global GDP. It is why famines are almost unknown (except where ther is a major war such as South Sudan) even though there is now 9 billion people.
            For a popular optimists view read last weeks Listener.

            • David Mac 2.3.1.4.1.1

              Zero is a fine target. If it is the ideal, I’m in favour of making it the target. Of course there will be decades of compromises we may never get there but if it’s where we want to be, it’s where we should be aiming.

              The Swedish road death toll target has been the same for several years. Zero. They’re well on their way.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.3.1.4.1.2

              It is not possible to recycle everything because too many sophisticated products have too many different minerals, components etc embedded in them to ever be economically separated.

              I’ve heard that argument about silicon chips and yet it must be complete bollocks.

              The silicon had to be refined to near perfect purity to be used as the base for the chip. It then has minute amounts added to it to turn it into an integrated circuit essentially making it impure again.

              The silicon must be refinable back to the first state. Same must apply to the gold and other metals used in it.

              And it really shouldn’t take any more energy than the mining and shipping in the first place. It’s going to be a more complex operation but we’ve either got or could develop the tools to have that complex operation work efficiently. May need some regulations to help maintain standards and probably government research on those tools.

              For instance the West Australia iron ore mines have enough ore for hundreds of years.

              And with the exponential growth in the use of those resources how long will it really last?

              Your statement is proof of your inability to understand maths.

              For instance the assertion that arable land has reduced by a third. Simply not true.

              Reality disagrees with your assertion.

              Food is actually becoming cheaper as a percentage of total global GDP.

              That has to do with productivity increases which uses less people to produce the same amount of food. But that increased productivity will meet the decreasing productivity of the soils as present farming practices destroy the land.

              You are, as per normal for RWNJs, talking out your arse.

              • Wayne

                Spare the insults, debate the issue.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  🙄

                  Put your delicate, easily-offended hand over the last sentence in DtB’s comment, read the rest of it and hey! presto! your wish came true!

                • I did. I even provided links and logic.

                  You only provided unfounded assertions that were easily proved wrong, i.e, you’re talking out your arse.

                  • Wayne

                    I had already done the reading on the reduction in arable land.

                    The US, China, India and Russia have around 40% of the worlds arable land. They have not had anything like a reduction of 30% in arable land, being land used for crops. Some land is not cultivated because it is no longer economic. Global supply chains that favour the most efficient farms particularly for grains, have meant that difficult small holdings are being retired. This is especially true in China with an ageing agricultural workforce.

                    But it is not the crisis that Shaw says, because total food supply is going up.

                    There isn’t an exponential growth in the use of steel, or coal, or a whole bunch of other minerals. In fact they are mostly quite stable with new production being similar year on year, or even declining in the case of coal and steel.

                    Rare earths have had huge growth because of the demand to electrify vehicles, but there are plenty of them to be mined for future demand. And as everyone applauds here, the car batteries can be recycled because they are sufficiently large that it is economic to do so.

                    • Pat

                      Your research abilities are sadly lacking….and youre a lawyer….god help your clients.

                      https://www.worldsteel.org/en/dam/jcr:0474d208-9108-4927-ace8-4ac5445c5df8/World+Steel+in+Figures+2017.pdf

                    • Wayne

                      Pat

                      Steel production has been static for six years (from the reference you attached). Aluminium is only growing slowly. Coal is declining.

                      Basically quite fast growth till the GFC, then pretty static since then, even though the global economy has recovered from the GFC, which was 10 years ago. The GFC forced efficiency which has proved a permanent gain.

                    • Pat

                      “… or even declining in the case of coal and steel.”

                      A 9% increase in the 6 year period you point (and a doubling since the turn odf the century)to is NOT a decline no matter how you spin it….shabby Wayne.

                      You have a proclivity to espouse an argument based on erroneous authoritative statements, whether deliberate or due to incompetence is irrelevant…the end result is the same…Bullshit.

                    • I had already done the reading on the reduction in arable land.

                      Really? So why did you go off on some unrelated bollocks?

                      The world has lost a third of its arable land due to erosion or pollution in the past 40 years, with potentially disastrous consequences as global demand for food soars, scientists have warned.

                      New research has calculated that nearly 33% of the world’s adequate or high-quality food-producing land has been lost at a rate that far outstrips the pace of natural processes to replace diminished soil.

                      The continual ploughing of fields, combined with heavy use of fertilizers, has degraded soils across the world, the research found, with erosion occurring at a pace of up to 100 times greater than the rate of soil formation. It takes around 500 years for just 2.5cm of topsoil to be created amid unimpeded ecological changes.

                      …because total food supply is going up.

                      [citation needed]

                    • Wayne

                      Draco,

                      In the US there has been a loss of arable land – to forestry and in many cases this is natural “second growth”. Most states in the midwest and especially on the north east have lost farmland. But it is not due to land degradation, or urbanisation.

                      In large measure due the mechanisation and agriculture subsidies taking land out of production.

                      The same pattern is repeated right through Europe. Way more forest now than 50 years ago. Virtually every pre WW 2 era photo in Italy and France shows much more agriculture than today. This was especially evident in Tuscany where I was for a few weeks last year. I did a huge amount of forest walking. It was mostly through 50 year old forests, with lots of abandoned farming cottages. In part this is due to EU farming policy. It is also due to much more highly mechanised agriculture. Small marginal fields are not suitable for machinery so they were taken out of production.

                      For somewhat different reasons this is happening in NZ. Shane Jones will accelerate it. No bad thing that marginal hill country goes back to forest. It will limit erosion and help clean rivers and streams.

                      The same will happen in China and SE Asia. All those picturesque hillside paddies will soon be a thing of the past.

                    • weka

                      “You have a proclivity to espouse an argument based on erroneous authoritative statements, whether deliberate or due to incompetence is irrelevant…the end result is the same…Bullshit.”

                      That’s a good summary. Thanks to everyone that called him on it today.

        • Chuck 2.3.1.5

          The Greens vision to have zero targets is not so far fetched in some areas. Landfill and energy production the more doable with current or developing technology.

          If the current Government is serious about reducing waste to landfill the first thing they can do is increase the current landfill levy to a minimum of $100 tonne.

          This will allow new systems to be implemented that will seriously dent the volume of waste being land filled.

        • David Mac 2.3.1.6

          Yes, I can see strong reasons for the Nats to ramp up their Enviro talk. Collectively, on hopping into bed with the Nats, the Greens said ‘Rather die a virgin thanks.’ There are some Green voters with a Nat bone in their body, more green than red. I can see sense in National wooing them.

          Not sure how they’re going to slag our govt’s handling of a situation with their signature all over it. Maybe we will of all forgotten how the rivers got like they are after a few terms.

          • Wayne 2.3.1.6.1

            The centre green voters may be swayed by a good National environmental policy, but the Green Party certainly won’t be. As they and their activists have very clearly indicated, the Greens are locked into Labour for the foreseeable future. The activists, in particular those supporting Metiria and now Marama, are very left, at least as I interpret their philosophical positions on virtually any issue you care to name.

            When I made the posts just after the election that the Greens also held the balance of power, it was more of a theoretical observation, not an expectation they would actually negotiate either way. In practise in the current parliament only NZF can perform that role, and they may not be in Parliament after 2020. And at least for 2020, NZF would not change from being Labours coalition partner, unless National got 46% to 47% and Labour was at least 10% behind.

            In my view the next election is likely to be virtually a FPP election between National (and a small amount of Act) and Labour/Green. NZF is likely to dip under 5%. The Maori Party won’t be back. TOP won’t get 5%. Act is good for no more than 2 seats.

      • How about opening up your mind to some new thinking?

        Conservatives almost instinctively reject any new thinking which is why they’re still stuck in the 15th century as to how they think things should work despite all the evidence showing that things don’t actually work that way.

    • patricia bremner 2.4

      Yes Wayne, more plasters and posturing while keeping the 1% happy. Typical.

    • Bill 2.5

      I think you’re right enough in surmising that we have a choice between light regulation and heavy regulation, up to and including the point of a command economy.

      Neither of those choices, nor any inbetween compromise, appeal. But happily there’s an other way, that sure, isn’t currently (How to say?) “in vogue”, that offers escape, relief or whatever.

      Abolish the market and democratically develop systems and rules for production and trade/distribution that are not predicated on individualism – that favour and reward co-operation.

      ie – Socialism 🙂

    • weka 2.6

      “A very good speech illustrating that for National, Shaw is fundamentally the political enemy.”

      Now you’re getting it Wayne. And please tell your mates, so we can stop with the whole the Greens will go with National bollocks (although you will have to give up that Dirty Politics tool).

      • Chuck 2.6.1

        LOL weka! as you know I am not a Green supporter, but understand there is more chance of turning water into wine than the Greens even entertaining the thought of going with Satan…sorry I mean National 🙂

        It does limit the influence the Greens have with Labour…

        The environmental / sustainability side of the Greens I can relate to (mostly).

        • weka 2.6.1.1

          “It does limit the influence the Greens have with Labour…”

          Not really. There are other ways to work than just the leverage one.

    • A very good speech illustrating that for National, Shaw is fundamentally the political enemy.

      Which proves, beyond doubt, that National is economically illiterate and the enemy of life itself.

      For instance the costs of total recycling would be an impossible burden for productive enterprise.

      Nature manages it.

      Prices for most goods would dramatically increase, with the result that much less will be produced.

      You mean that the market would actually work like it’s supposed to? That price signals would ensure that things on the market would be there because people need/want them and not because they’ve been made artificially cheap by government action?

      I am certain that National will build its own comprehensive position on environment policy, which will be quite different to that of the Greens.

      Your first statement was actually correct. National cannot do green because it’s antithetical to sustainability.

      Less focus on trains and trams, more focus on improving roads for autonomous vehicles – with more safety and more efficient use of road space.

      As I said – economically illiterate.

    • Keepcalmcarryon 2.8

      Complete failure by Wayne to address the fact that intensive agriculture as done by the National party is provably non sustainable.
      Undoubtedly there has been prosperity for 150 years especially for those who intensified with public irrigation money in to major polluters and sold to overseas buyers, or those who underwent tenure review and played the public for mugs pocketing millions.
      Said prosperity did not trickle down to the share Mikers out of work or farm workers on slave wages bought in from overseas. Prosperity for the landed gentry at public expense.
      And the public of course is left with low water tables, nitrate pollution and algal blooms to clean up and suffer loss of freedoms like swimming or fishing in our own rivers.
      You would accuse his mob of being thick except it’s far worse than that, it’s deliberate theft for their mates.

      • Stuart Munro 2.8.1

        They are as thick as thieves. Don’t forget 1080 – that’s not going down for conservation reasons, but in lieu of localized control of TB vectors to livestock.

    • barry 2.9

      At some stage we have to get to zero, or face extinction. We can’t keep using up the planet.

      Yes we might change technologies and stop using up the current resources, but eventually we run out of other options for resources to use up. We may be able to fudge it for our lifetimes and maybe our children will not notice, but nothing increases exponentially forever.

      Sustainability means zero. Not using more than you put back. yes, we can rob Peter to pay Paul a bit, but overall we have to be sustainable to survive. BAU is a certain road to destruction.

      http://www.dw.com/en/the-earth-is-exhausted-were-using-up-its-resources-faster-than-it-can-provide/a-39924823

      Earth-overshoot day is getting earlier every year. Every year since about 1980 we are getting deeper in debt and the increase in debt is growing. If it was numbers in a bank account then you could say that the economy is growing and so it is not as bad as it looks. But we only have one earth and it is not growing.

      So Wayne, when you say that business can not afford zero waste, then you are saying that the planet and future generations should subsidise them. If we are living off unsustainable agriculture then we are robbing the future for our current prosperity.

      Your arguments are arguments for the sort of economy that Shaw is talking about. we have ignored the externalities for too long. It is time to address the market failures.

      Regulation is necessary, regulation is always necessary. Without regulation the current economy wouldn’t function, we would have slavery and we would get sick from drinking the water.

      So i is not do we need some sort of zero waste, zero growth economy, but how do we get there?

      • weka 2.9.1

        +1000

        Wayne is a future eater.

        • Chuck 2.9.1.1

          The elephant in the room is this…Population growth.

          Approx. 83 million annual increase in the Earths population with estimates of just under 12 billion people by 2100 (from 7.6 billion in 2017). With Africa and Asia leading the charge.

          The demand on resources can only go in one direction – UP. Sure in some areas technology can assist. But not all.

          I am interested to know the GP policy (if any) on population control.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.9.1.1.1

            I am interested in whether you know that Earth has already passed ‘peak child’, and if you understand what that means for future population trends.

            Edit: also, when you say “population control”, is that something you think should be done to you and your family?

            • Chuck 2.9.1.1.1.1

              Yes, I have read various reports on peak child. And taking that into account the population being suggested is still 11 billion people by 2100.

              You have hit the nail on the head QAB…personaly (and everyone I know) would be horrified at anything near population control.

              So that is why I asked the question above…how do population growth and the resulting demand on the resources of the earth fit within GP policy? (which I guess is a nicer way of saying control).

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Are you also aware of the work of Julian Simon, and its level of accuracy by comparison to say, Malthusian “analysis”?

                • Chuck

                  No, I need to have a read of his work. From the blurb I have just seen on Julian Simon he seems to suggest that humans are very good at finding ways to replace resources that become scarce.

                  • weka

                    Look where that landed us.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Using fibre-optics instead of copper wire? Using lightbulbs instead of candles? Using silicon chips instead of valves? Using aluminium instead of tin?

                      Reducing herd numbers and environmental impact whilst maintaining production levels?

                    • weka

                      Using coal and oil instead of living within out limits.

                      That humans are very good at finding ways to replace resources that become scarce is a boon, and a problem.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      However, as you’ve already pointed out, the bulk of that use occurs in the less populated countries, and therefore isn’t really connected to “over”population concerns.

                    • weka

                      As I’ve also said, I think overdeveloped countries also have population issues.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I think those problems are the result of greed, inappropriate use of technology, and the political influence of a tiny minority.

                      For example, the rivers aren’t being poisoned to feed the burgeoning mass of Kiwis.

                    • weka

                      I agree, although I think it goes back a long way. Humans have been gone into overshoot many times over a long history.

                      I think there is an inherent problem here for the species around that creative drive, and the evolutionary drive to improve and prioritise resource use for survival. It needs particular politics and social organisation to not be a disaster.

                    • Chuck

                      “Using coal and oil instead of living within out limits.”

                      It may be blasphemy within GP circles, but oil and gas was a leap forward for the planet at the time when they started to replace wood and coal in the 19th century as the only means of energy production.

                      Oil has allowed us to build dams, solar panels, wind farms, geothermal plants etc. And basically is behind pretty much every advancement in technology and living standards the world has seen.

                      Of course, we need to phase out oil…as better cleaner options come on stream, no argument there.

                      I don’t think its a case of “living within our limits” as cutting down forests and burning coal as the only means of energy production was never sustainable and would have produced a worse outcome than oil (with population growth and the demand for energy).

                      Living within our limits, in this case, would have entailed seriously limiting the advancement in technology, and strict restrictions on just how many people could be sustained by wood and coal energy alone.

          • weka 2.9.1.1.2

            And yet it’s the less populated countries that have driven climate change. We don’t have to worry about population in Africa and Asia, just do the things we know works (empower women, reduce poverty). What we do need to be thinking about is population in *NZ. What’s the carrying capacity of the ecological systems here if we stop expecting poor countries to support us with goods and services?

            GP population policy is on their website.

  3. Carolyn_Nth 3

    weka, it is very good to see that the GP is moving proactively towards a green future.

    The point where Gr een commentators lose me is with this, which you say in your post:

    Green thinking is a thing, and green politics is distinct from left wing politics.

    I have looked at this kind of statement for a while, and have come to the conclusion that it involves muddled thinking: possibly a middle class fear of the demonisation of the left and socialism that has been prevalent in recent decades.

    Basically, if it looks, walks and talks like the left, it is left: at least a social democratic version rather than socialism.

    When it includes egalitarian pre-distribution of resources, social justice, resource sustainability, collaborative systems, etc, it is left wing.

    It seems to me a claim coming from a middle class fear of being seen to challenge the powers that be in any strong way: of not wanting to be seen strongly rock te boat. And, if that is the approach, then it is doomed.

    Power is not given up easily, and there is no way these on the right will stop resisting, especially if it’s stating in ways made to seem threatening and nicely said.

    • weka 3.1

      I’ve been trying to think of how to explain this. I think you could look at Bill’s comment below as an example. He just ran Haworth’s model through a fairly classic LW analysis of economics and draws some conclusions that make sense (I guess) in the context of that but don’t actually get to grips with green politics. Hence the comparing with ‘caring capitalism’ and the inference that capitalism is the central issue to grapple with. So the green things are a tag on, rather than being examined for their fundamental nature to effect change, including btw the ability to change society from capitalism.

      I don’t see what Shaw is doing as being about being afraid of being left. But the Greens are positioning themselves so that they’re not stuck in the ghetto of being perpetually Labour’s little sister. I’m certainly not afraid of being left wing 😉 and I see obvious differences, albeit with overlaps, between left and green politics.

      Obviously the GP policies are left wing, so this makes it hard for people to get (it’s a paradox). What I’m saying is that there are things about green politics that need to be understood on their own terms and that it’s not enough to do that within a traditional left politics lens. I get it because my politics are deep green and based in ecology so things like biomimicry make sense to me intuitively. Those things being presented don’t match what I’ve seen from the left. Parts of the left have adopted green thinking to more or lesser extent, but that’s a different thing than having those concepts as foundational. If cradle to grave was integral to LW thinking, we wouldn’t be having the kinds of environmental crises that we are.

      I also find the framing of green politics as muddle middle class thinking pretty patronising. My inability to express myself well enough shouldn’t be mistaken for green politics being flakey.

      • Carolyn_Nth 3.1.1

        I’m sorry, weka. nothing you say there has convinced me.

        I don’t see most of Green Politics as being flakey. I’m on board with it till people start saying it doesn’t fit into a left-right paradigm – and then I look more closely, and see a gaping hole in Green politics.

        Basically, Green politics challenges the elitist, hierarchical values of right wing capitalism, which puts it firmly on the left, IMO.

        The thing that is ignored in the beyond left & right paradigm, is the nature of power. There is nothing in the politics to provide a policy for combating the kind of right wing elitist politics, as expressed by Wayne.

        Trying to be inclusive will not work if there are those who want to retain privilege through inequalities. And to me, that amounts to a nativity – ie being nice, using reasoned arguments, etc, will not work against such entrenched right wing power.

        They will continue to appropriate and subvert.

        Everything I read online about Green politics, locates it on the left:

        Wikipedia: Green politics:

        Green politics (also known as ecopolitics)[1] is a political ideology that aims to create an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, nonviolence, social justice and grassroots democracy.

        Supporters of green politics share many ideas with the ecology, conservation, environmentalism, feminism and peace movements. In addition to democracy and ecological issues, green politics is concerned with civil liberties, social justice, nonviolence, sometimes variants of localism[8] and tends to support social progressivism. The party’s platform is largely considered left in the political spectrum.

        to me, social justice and grass roots democracy put it firmly on the left.

        Green politics wikia on Green politics:

        Green platforms draw terminology from the science of ecology, and policy from environmentalism, deep ecology, feminism, pacifism, anarchism, libertarian socialism, social democracy, eco-socialism, and social ecology. In the 1970s, as these movements grew in influence, green politics arose as a new philosophy which synthesized their goals.

        I see nothing in Green politics about how it will counter, and work beyond the kind of right wing resistance, as for instance, expressed by Wayne. Without that, it will be assimilated and subverted.

        I have seen too much of how the right wing, wealthy elitists resisted the spread of socialist and social democratic values in and after the 60s and 70s, to be convinced there is any way forward without a plan of how to counter their powerful resistance.

        I don’t see it in Green politics – and that’s it’s big failing, IMO.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          “I’m on board with it till people start saying it doesn’t fit into a left-right paradigm”

          I didn’t say that. I said that green politics is distinct from LW politics. e.g. it’s not a subset of LW politics, which is how it often gets treated. And that we need to understand what green politics is saying that LW politics isn’t.

          Lots of green politics people don’t bother with this conversation any more and just get on with things. Because as soon as I say something like green politics is distinct from LW politics, some LW people immediately position that within LW paradigms of L//R and then eventually we have to have another round of will the Greens really go with National etc. Or the argument you’ve just made about power as if that’s the only thing going on, and the conversation is always within LW constructs not green ones. And then we hit the inevitable problem of ‘look the conversation just became polarised left vs green’. Which misses the point.

          I wasn’t actually referring to that L/R spectrum stuff in the post (and there’s a limit to how long I want to debate this as if I was, because I’m really not saying that the GP can be right too, of course they’re left wing). I was pointing to the fact that there are things that need to be understood about our situation, they’re not currently being understood within traditional LW political analysis, and they are being addressed by green politics. For me that’s a good thing, because as a LW person I can do both and benefit from the differences (more than the sum of the parts). Political biodiversity.

          “The thing that is ignored in the beyond left & right paradigm, is the nature of power.”

          No, it’s really not. Have a look at the GP Charter again. It directly addresses the nature of power-over. But it also addresses other kinds of power.

          If I went and read wikipedia about traditional LW politics, say Marxism or anti-capitalism, I would get a good enough general understanding of the lay of the land. But I wouldn’t have the ability to understand what it was really about unless I either went and read primary course material, or read good secondary analyses.

          The fact that you and I are now having a conversation in the context of LW values and ideas instead of green ones, tells me there is a missing language here. If this were immersed in green politics we’d already be naturally including the concepts I referred to in the post. Biomimicry, cradle to grave, systems thinking.

          So I feel like I’m a feminist talking to a man who gets a bit of women’s politics but is missing the foundations. I have the same experience with Bill. Maybe this is a bit harsh, but it comes across as mansplaining.

          “I see nothing in Green politics about how it will counter, and work beyond the kind of right wing resistance, as for instance, expressed by Wayne. Without that, it will be assimilated and subverted.”

          Funny, as I see that is *exactly what the Greens did last year (countered the RW resistance). It was rough for sure, but they weren’t assimilate or subverted, I reckon they are stronger now than before.

          btw, I have no interest in being inclusive to Wayne and his allies unless they change. They are dangerous and should be treated as such. But if they do change, then that’s a different matter. That’s the door that the GP leave open too.

          • Carolyn_Nth 3.1.1.1.1

            You’re attributing potential slippages to me that I would never get into: eg saying the Greens might go with National.

            You did say: Green thinking is a thing, and green politics is distinct from left wing politics. [albeit followed by The left too, who are still largely treating green politics as a nice to have that should fit in and around left wing paradigms. – which I do agree with] green and left politics need to be strongly integrated, in my view.

            That first sentence was what I was responding to. That, sentence, to me, could result in opening the way to discussion about the Greens working with the Nats – rather than clearly owning Green politics being on the left – which clearly discounts working with the Nats.

            I’ve read much more than wikipedia on green politics. And I’ve frequently read the claim from green politicos/supporters, that the Green Party is beyond left and right.

            Comparing me to mainsplaining is condescending. I have thought a lot about this, and largely am on board with the Green Party. But, I have come to the conclusion that the GP does not have an adequate plan or analysis around power.

            I don’t see power mentioned anywhere in the Charter. maybe obliquely through appropriate decision making.

            It is alluded to in the values when it says to challenge oppression.

            Marxist/socialist policies and theories directly examine and have a policy for combating power differences. That is the basis of trade unionism, and solidarity of the working classes. It is about directly countering the power of the ruling classes.

            Where the labour movement and Marxism fall short, IMO, is that that they give priority to arrangement within the industrial/paid work system. I like that green politics incorporate the whole of society, and community-based organisations – this enables better discussions about issues of gender, ‘race’ and unpaid labour.

            So consequently I see them as somewhat complementary – not one being a subset of the other.

            And I think these issues do need to be dealt with head on, not avoided.

            You end your last comment with:

            Funny, as I see that is *exactly what the Greens did last year (countered the RW resistance). It was rough for sure, but they weren’t assimilate or subverted, I reckon they are stronger now than before.

            I disagree. I think the GP has been knee-capped. It was not fully up to responding to the viscous attacks on Metiria Turei. Ardern’s Labour has somewhat sidelined the GP, partly by appropriating a weakened version of green policies, focused more around the environment, and disconnecting that from the other planks of Green Politics.

            And now the task is for the GP to rebuild.

            I do like Shaw’s plans for targeting specific legislation that he sees as foundational to the current paradigm.

            To counter the power of the right wing elitists, it requires asserting power from above through government, in concert with power from below at a grass roots level.

            Some Green MPs are more immersed in such politics than others, IMO.

      • Bill 3.1.2

        Seeing as how you brought me into this…

        if you are saying mention of the profit motive and how it operates is “a fairly classic LW analysis of economics”, and by implication that Green understandings are different from that, then what Green understanding would it be that spoke to the fundamental drivers of capitalism?

        And what is the “foundation” of Green politics you assume others are missing?

        It can’t be solidarity (that’s left wing). It can’t be anti-capitalism (that’s left wing). It can’t be democracy (that’s left wing). It can’t, by your argument, be anything from a left wing tradition. So what is it? What label or name would you use; what descriptive analysis would you apply; what novel, meaningful and non-LW things does it have to say about the systemic nature of our situation today? And what new avenue of escape does it open up?

        I wouldn’t ever call myself “deep green”, but I’ve never met a political fellow traveler who didn’t have a serious concern for the environment and decry the various impacts of state and liberal capitalist driven industrialisation on environments (human and otherwise).

        And none of the things you’ve mentioned in these comments (from bio-mimicry to cradle/grave resource use) are exclusive green concepts. They’ve been around for years and centuries.

  4. Bill 4

    The speech was excellent, The ideas contained in Kate Raworth’s “Doughnut Economics” very worthy. And, but…

    There’s the question of incentive. The current economic incentive is profit. It takes precedence over everything else, including the nicest or sanest of ideas – not to mention life itself.

    So I wanted to find out what Kate Raworth had to say in terms of how the profit motive might be challenged and what she reckoned could be developed by way of alternative incentives.

    I went to kateraworth.com and word searched “profit”. I got one hit. And in the article that came up, the sum total of what was being said about profit was –

    Any company that presented only its profit and loss account would get laughed off the stock exchange.

    And here’s the thing. If a basic or core element of capitalism isn’t being addressed – one that informs it and moves it – then what have we got aside from an utterly naive proposal that we all “get into” some kind of ‘nice’ capitalism because we might want to be nice?

    Many companies and individuals advocated a version of “caring capitalism” back in the day. Some set up fairly benevolent and philanthropic ventures. None survive today. All got washed away, dragged down or wrecked by the various movements of profit and its undercurrents.

    • patricia bremner 4.1

      Survival of humanity and living species could become the driver. Many caring businesses were undermined by cheap competitions imported labour and other bad practices.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        Those things you mention result in higher profits. And higher profits translate into economic power and eventually political power too.

        “Could” is wishful thinking in a world snared and driven by short term profit.

        Case in point – BP. Remember how they did the whole “Beyond Petroleum” gig and made out they were going to be conscientious and what not?

        What do you think happened to all their enthusiasm for solar and wind and whatever? Well, they dumped their entire stock because dropping prices for solar made the whole caboodle a “bad deal” for shareholders.

        You think the CEO of BP doesn’t know that oil will be the end of us? Of course they know that. But they are paid to make decisions on specific grounds and return good dividends to shareholders. If they don’t do that, they get replaced.

        • patricia bremner 4.1.1.1

          Bill we used to do all plumbing with lead pipes, when it was discovered how dangerous that was, change happened. Lead was in our blood, in the atmosphere and going into the sea.

          Oil will go the same way, . because its derivative plastic is doing the same.

          People do change, many work in a green economy now.

          • Bill 4.1.1.1.1

            And the resistance to moving away from …lead piping, lead in petrol, cigarette manufacturing, CFCs, dangerous production techniques, the internal combustion engine – what drives the resistance?

            Is what drives the resistance in any way different to what drove the adoption and spread of those things in the first place?

            Maybe think of situations where profit no longer relied on the use of a given material because a cheaper one had been sourced, what happened to the resistance over continued use of the original material?

            I’d be willing to punt that the introduction of cheap, easily sourced and far more profitable plastic piping was behind any “dumping” of lead pipes – not any philanthropy on the part of capitalist enterprises. They, afterall, fought government regulation grounded in concern for the health/safety of citizens. They (and their singular focus on profit) are the reason why we have to have government regulation and legislation.

            (very late) edit – What is this “green economy” btw? We live in and by a “fossil economy”. If I’m a printer and use sustainably produced rubber based (and therefore bio-degradable) ink instead of pertro-chemical ink, I’m still in the fossil economy – not some green economy.

      • David Mac 4.1.2

        I don’t think the majority of NZers see ‘Profit’ as a dirty word.

        Mega profits funneling into the mouths of a few, profit at the expense of the quality of life of others. Astronomical executive salaries and those on the floor with holes in their boots. I think focus on this type of ‘Profit’ sub-heading could enjoy popular support.

        I don’t think I’d be anywhere near as mildly motivated as I am now if I was working for ‘Caring Communities’ rather than David Mac Inc. I’d get much more fishing in!

        • Bill 4.1.2.1

          ‘Profit’ as a phenomenon is neither dirty nor clean.

          But it has very predictable and, you might say “documented”, effects within a monetized setting in terms of production and distribution – and those effects are not good (widespread poverty, CO2, other pollutions everywhere…the encouragement and even celebration of some of our “less than desirable” traits)

          And like you say, it’s a very effective motivator.

          So we need to create an environment where profit loses its power and where other powerful motivations can come into play. I say “need”, but of course, we can just carry on with the same basic economics we have for the next few decades, and then watch it all unravel, fall over and implode in the face of physics.

          • Nic the NZer 4.1.2.1.1

            There are several problems with this view. First we should understand the question in Marx day was where do profits come from. Marx critique of capitalism was not that there should not be profits, it was to claim that they belonged to workers. I know of no critique of capitalism which points to accumulation of surplus being a property of capitalism (including surplus financial income).

            We should be worried by things like unreasonable profits, profits earned with significant harm to the environment or states putting profits ahead of the public good but there is simply no other compirable motivation available than paying for the output of others and this entails them being able to earn more than they immediately require.

            • Bill 4.1.2.1.1.1

              Nic, if you want an esoteric discussion/debate on Marx and his arguments around profit, you’re going to have to engage a Marxist.

              My comments have been about the profit motive. Y’know, the motivation for the doors on DC-10s being left unfixed because it would be cheaper to pay out for a planeload of dead passengers. (Turkish Airlines Flight 981)

              The profit motive that says it’s better to save capitalism for a few years than save globally integrated human civilisation for the medium and long term.

              The profit motive that decrees starving people have to starve while food from their region is exported.

              The profit motive that says, in short, that the price is always worth it.

              If you believe there is no other possible motivation besides profit, then you’ll have no interest in thinking of any other environment for production and distribution that might penalise individual competition and reward co-operation.

              In other words, we’re seeking entirely different conversations from each other.

              • Nic the NZer

                Sorry, but unless you can demonstrate that profits are an inherent property of capitalism (which they clearly are not) then it’s hardly worth considering this further and moving on to the question of how to move onto an alternative mode without profits.

                I am well aware there are a large variety of motivations which are not that of making a profit.

  5. eco maori 5

    Its excellent to have The Green party as part of the Coalition Government I agree that NZ can show the World how to live environmentally sustainable with all the natural resources we have . Jamie Shaw is a intelligent man .Ka kite ano

  6. patricia bremner 6

    Thank you Weka for this post. I read James Shaw’s speech with a growing sense of conviction that NZ is lucky to have this thoughtful being as part of the current government. He is knowledgeable and practical. I see the doughnut theory of economics as an interesting and tangible set of ingredients we could use to effect change.

    James is correct that the contracts act was one of the most misunderstood dangerous things implemented by the neo-liberal thinkers. In that part of his speech I felt he was pointing out that legislation with clever sustainable bones could turn the ship, as 5 pieces of key legislation set up the current neo-liberal model.

    He was indicating a need to reset from protest to policy implementation; a call for mature strategic group thinking to create the legislative bones needed. This is new territory for the Greens. A second time in government needs to lay foundations.
    He is pointing out that the ideal of pure democracy needs work, and their task is to take Labour and NZ First along with them, as well as convince NZ at large.
    No mean task. Why? Survival is why.

    • weka 6.1

      thanks, that’s lovely analysis. I’m hoping to do a second post about the societal change stuff he was talking about. That was just as exciting as the sustainability stuff.

      “In that part of his speech I felt he was pointing out that legislation with clever sustainable bones could turn the ship, as 5 pieces of key legislation set up the current neo-liberal model.”

      This. Smart, and that’s the move forward to something better that can appeal across the board, rather than the reactionary anti-neoliberal thing that too often ghettoises the left. Wayne is right above when he calls James Shaw National’s enemy, lol.

  7. Carolyn_Nth 7

    I like that James Shaw has focused on a small number of key acts:

    handful of Acts of Parliament: The State Services Act, The Reserve Bank Act, The Public Finance Act, The Employment Contracts Act, and The Resource Management Act.

    I would also like to see the Social Security Act included as a key one that needs changing.

    • patricia bremner 7.1

      Yes, you are right, but with better distribution another model might be possible ? UBI?

  8. Xanthe 8

    ActuallY i do not like the “donut economics” in that is sets Social aims in opposition to environmental sustainiable. This is both nonfactual and a very destructive attitude that is somewhat responsible for the derailment of the green movement contributing to further environmental degredation. What is needed now is a model that correctly places social advances as a consequence of environmental strength

  9. patricia bremner 9

    The doughnut economic cycle is based on the earth systems, so we would have better environmental outcomes surely?

    • Xanthe 9.1

      If you look at the diagram in weka’s post you will see that it places “ecological ceiling” in opposition to “social foundation” This thinking IS what prevents the green movement from gaining traction. Its “just wrong” ….. !

      • Carolyn_Nth 9.1.1

        Why is it wrong? The human living space is between what is possible within a context where there is an ecological ceiling, and is based on a social foundation. what exactly is the problem with that?

        And why do you see “environmental strength” (whatever that means) as an alternative to “ecological sustainability” – which is not exactly the same as “environmental sustainability”

      • weka 9.1.2

        I think you have misunderstood the model Xanthe. The way I see it, it’s saying these things are fundamental to having good human lives (the inner circle), and these things are the danger zones for humans doing too much (the outer circle). Between those two guidelines is a ‘sweet spot’ where human societies can live well and not trash the place. The social and environmental aren’t in opposition, they’re complementary. Live within these limits, create these foundations, and humans and the planet can be ok.

        Have a look at this (4 mins),

  10. One Two 10

    Shaw can say anything he likes from his current position…

    • Carolyn_Nth 10.1

      You’re joking, surely….. no one could so misunderstand the GP this badly….surely?

  11. Pat 11

    “We were one of the first countries in the world to put in place the architecture of the current economy. In reality, legislatively, it came down to a handful of Acts of Parliament: The State Services Act, The Reserve Bank Act, The Public Finance Act, The Employment Contracts Act, and The Resource Management Act.”

    Hes right, however those changes were implemented with the vigorous support of Treasury, the Reserve bank, Cabinet, the business sector and largely the media….it was what they wanted and had lobbied for…whereas what JS is proposing is the antithesis and may even lack wide public support….think light bulbs and shower heads

    • patricia bremner 11.1

      “Think lightbulbs and showerheads”
      Many people in NZ and elsewhere have moved to water saving devices, and manufacturers have met that requirement and even provide a star system.

      Most are also moving to halogen lighting, example our now lit harbour bridge, an example of a lightbulb moment!! Cheap electricity and bulbs. Even counting establishment and maintenance this system is far superior to the conventional.

      So humanity does see the need to change, it is big money that has a problem with anything that affects profits, because they want increasing profit at the expense of people and the planet, “and devil take the hind most”. Sustainable profit would be fine.

    • weka 11.2

      I think the whole light bulbs thing was a sociopolitical reaction to the end of the Clark govt rather than being an indicator that NZers are inherently anti-change.

      Fair point about the institutional support for Rogernomics. Let’s hope that there are saner people around now. Also, there are centrist and RW people pointing to the failure of neoliberalism, so I suspect there are more people open to change now. That’s the value of Shaw framing this as green politics not LW politics.

      • Rosemary McDonald 11.2.1

        “…the whole light bulbs thing….”

        “Paul Glennie, Wellington City Council Team Leader of Strategic Planning; and Greg Skelton Chief Executive, Wellington Electricity. The latest LED lighting technology could save local authorities millions of dollars in electricity costs for street lights – but there are signs that energy and lines companies will raise their prices to make up for lost revenue. A study by Wellington City Council has shown it could make savings of between one and one point five million dollars a year based on current electricity tariffs, but a big risk with moving to the new technology – which provides better, brighter lighting and other advantages – is that any savings made, might be clawed back.”

        https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/20173753/could-savings-in-energy-efficient-lighting-be-clawed-back

        If folk don’t remember this from 2015, you really need to have a listen.

        Even just the first five minutes will tell us where the major roadblocks are to ‘greening’ our government.

        Anyone know if this is something that is known to the new Incumbents?

        https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=20173753

        • weka 11.2.1.1

          Haven’t looked at in a while, but the GP’s policies around power included some reform of the industry. I’m guessing the stumbling block would be Labour.

        • Nic the NZer 11.2.1.2

          Even if electricity companies earn similar income on the back of providing less electricity there is still a significant benefit to reducing government electricity use of course.

      • Pat 11.2.2

        It was indeed the reaction ( and back down in the face of) to the Clark Gov. intention to implement some minor sensible CC policies that I was referring to…..Im not convinced that the wider public or opposition political response to even more wide reaching policies will be any better received today.

  12. Ad 12

    Shaw needs to show he can do one piece of legislation before proposing a whole bunch more.

    The Zero Carbon Bill is a very long way off, and quite uncertain in its effects.

    Shaw also needs to show business wants this: when he does a speech like this there needs to be industry beside him. Leadership in business is not easy.

    • patricia bremner 12.1

      Business is not outside governance, although they try to form arrangements that effect that. Monseca, Treaties, or Cabals.

      The internet has informed and allowed the free exchange of ideas, which began with books, continued with newspapers radio and television, which were subverted by big money and vested interests.Now we are fighting to keep the internet free.

      There have been many models of sustainable socially and environmentally successful businesses, but they have been undercut by business pirates who plunder just as the original ones did. We need laws to alter that. Sustainable business practice law.

      Industry will come on board as their customers require ethical products. Organic use was considered to be quirky, ’till business profit grew, and ethical and sustainable land use was understood. Now it is a growing enterprise, interrupted by mega businesses which were supported by the previous government which allowed asset stripping, akin to modern piracy.

      The fact NZ has governance that supported piracy for years does not mean we have to continue to produce overwhelming waste and unsustainable practices, as business and their customers will all be affected by growing water shortages, heat waves and depletion and failure of many natural systems.

      We are confronted with systems overload on many levels in the natural world, and
      to change we need legislation which prevents unbridled greed.

  13. Sparky 13

    The problem with the Greens vision can be summed up in three words: Labour/ National/MSM.

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  • Chatham Islands pāua plan approved
    Efforts to reverse the decline in the Chatham Islands pāua fishery are the focus of a new plan jointly agreed between government, the local community and industry. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the plan was developed by the PauaMAC4 Industry ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill introduced for synthetics crackdown
    The Police will get stronger powers of search and seizure to crackdown on synthetic drugs under new legislation, which makes the two main synthetics (5F-ADB and AMB-FUBINACA) Class A drugs. The Government has today introduced the Misuse of Drugs Amendment ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Blasphemous libel law repealed
    The archaic blasphemous libel offence will be repealed following the passing of the Crimes Amendment Bill today, says Justice Minister Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Coalition Government lassos livestock rustling
    New rules to crack down on livestock rustling will come into force following the passing of the Crimes Amendment Bill says Justice Minister Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Medieval law axed
    The ‘year and a day rule’ rule will be repealed following the passing of the Crimes Amendment Bill, says Justice Minister Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Further steps to combat tax evasion
    Further steps to combat tax evasion Revenue Minister Stuart Nash has announced New Zealand is expanding its global ability to combat tax evasion by joining forces with authorities in 30 countries and jurisdictions. Cabinet has agreed to add another ...
    3 weeks ago