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Greens win better ETS

Written By: - Date published: 11:23 am, August 27th, 2008 - 21 comments
Categories: climate change, election 2008, Environment, greens, labour - Tags:

The Greens have won some very good improvements to the ETS in exchange for their support.

The most important is $1 billion over 15 years to insulate low-income homes and subsidise upgrades to insulation of higher income homes. That’s a really positive development; all New Zealand homes will finally have decent insulation (Labour has done well in insulating State houses; it’s the private landlords who, up to now, have failed). Better insulation allows families to reduce their heating bills and, thereby, their carbon emissions but it also creates warmer, dryer houses, which leads to better health, especially for children and this, in turn, leads to better educational outcomes.

A contestable fund of 150,000 carbon credits a year for developing low-carbon technologies will accelerate development of these technologies and keep New Zealand companies at the forefront in producing products for which their is growing international demand.

Parliamentary oversight of the allocation of permits and the requirement for the Minister to announce targets for carbon reduction will help ensure that real reductions are made, that the cap is lowered aggressively, and that allocation of credits is transparent.

The Greens have played a bit of brinkmanship with Labour over the ETS and it has paid off. They have led the debate towards a greater focus on sustainability; delivering a more environmentally effective ETS than would otherwise have been the case.

21 comments on “Greens win better ETS ”

  1. Rob 1

    [lprent: Pure threadjack deleted]

  2. It’s rather ironic eh Steve that Labour has had to make so many changes to the Bill to accomodate the Greens and NZ First – and now NZ First may not be around to support it.

    There are eight more sitting days until the Parliament is dissolved – it hardly makes for confidence in a robust democratic process does it.

  3. well, nzf will be in parliament at least until the end of this term.

    And there’s no rush in this – you’ve had a three year process to create this ETS and the Greens and Labour have been in talks for a couple of months on these improvements – which don’t change the essetnials of the ETS, just add stuff onto it.

  4. Rob 4

    Steve I believe its a can of worms for Helen. I believe that Labour has made some gains due to Maurice’s stupid comments. However I think that if Helen doesn’t act on the Winston affair National will be able to use that right up to the Election and it will destroy the Labour campaign. The Public will want to know that things are being done fairly and Honestly. It is more than likely after today’s announcement the SFO will have to become involved and who knows what they are going to dredge up!!

    [lprent: I’m sure it is a problem for NZF. But why threadjack – you have a bad enough reputation around here for doing it? I’m going to start zapping them.. ]

  5. Stephen 5

    Why does each Standard post seem to be getting jacked by all this Winston stuff?!

    SP, I believe there was a concession towards biodiversity that was very important for the Greens too! Something along the lines of ensuring native forest was not cut down to be replaced by Pinus Radiata, in the name of carbon credits.

  6. bill brown 6

    Threadjacking is bloody rude, It’s just like talking over someone’s conversation, something you should have learnt not to do by the time you’re five.

    I believe all practitioners should be dealt with with extreme prejudice. Except this example, of course.

  7. RedLogix 7

    Back on thread.

    I was delighted to hear Jeanette announcing these two important concessions last night. I think the Greens have handled this very difficult issue for them exceedingly well.

    I think it was Muldoon (of all people) who I once heard say “Politics is the art of the possible”… and while I along with no doubt many of the deeper shades of green in the Party itself will be very dissapointed that the ETS in it’s present form is fairly weak, it is still better than nothing.

    Congratulations of getting the biodiversity policy cemented in. The insulation funding will be huge boost to EECA too.

  8. Oh, god, we’re still dealing with Winston Peters (ew, I feel dirty just mentioning the name). You know, in 1999 I thought the nightmare was over. But in late 2008 he’s still putting his grubby hands on the nation, influencing policies and holding Governments to ransom.

    And what does this have to do with climate policy? Well the fact that the ETS Labour offered the Greens was so useless in large part due to the influence of Winston *&(%*(&%^ Peters and his bunch of lunatics, who are roundly unenthusiastic about any real climate change policies.

    Helen, why did you do this too us?

    [lprent: neatly put in context….]

  9. RedLogix 9

    Helen, why did you do this too us?

    We did it to her in 2005. A messy little thing called the numbers. Elections can be a bastard like that.

  10. “A messy little thing called the numbers”

    Oh rubbish.

    Labour had the option, it would have involved some humility, such as the repeal of the confiscation of the seabed and foreshore, but it was certainly there. It would have involved some making up and apologies from the Prime Minister, but I don’t think that Turia and Sharples were showboating when they went to talk with Labour. I have too much faith in Sharples’ integrity to believe that.

    They decided that centrist stability appealed to them more, and they got what they signed up for.

  11. RedLogix 11

    Allowing the seabed and foreshore to become the private property of the Maori tribes (or even something that looked like it) would have made the S59 repeal look like a fit of pique between two elderly ladies on a Sunday School tea-towel committee. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the argument, the large non-Maori majority in NZ (and that include PI’s and Asian’s) would never have accepted this. It would have been electoral suicide.

    If that was the price Labour had to pay for the current arrangment, it was probably the lessor of the two evils.

    Besides, I get the sense that in general Maori opposition to the Seabed and Foreshore Act has mellowed given the number of tribes who have successfully taken advantage of its ‘guardianship’ provisions recently, and the wider round of important Treaty settlements that Dr Cullen has recently concluded. Maori may usefully conclude that they are getting what they really want, but without the violent confrontations that might well have been the result of the course Tariana Turia’s ideological faction was and still is trying to take them on.

  12. I don’t think that the public would have liked it, certainly. But calling it “electoral suicide” seems a lot like hyperbole to me, particularly when the alternative was the ramshackle timebomb that is NZF – but since it’s a counterfactual we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  13. RedLogix 13


    NZF was always had a use-by date. It was never going to survive the retirement of Winston. (The same applies to UF and it’s leader.) Medium term engagements with them for political purposes was always going to be a typical MMP compromise, messy, even ugly at times.

    By contrast what Tariana was asking was more than just the ‘public not liking it’… it was never possible.

    Many many years ago I had a breakfast conversation with the man who is now the Chairman of a major NI tribe. It was quiet, casual, non-political and non-confrontational. He was generally expounding his views about colonisation and confiscation. At one point I asked him what his vision for the future of this country might be, in say 50 years time. His answer was chilling.

    He quite plainly stated that he believed NZ would become a dozen or so quite independent sovereign tribal states, with tribal chiefs as absolute rulers in each of them. Each with it’s own borders, governance, and laws according to tribal custom.

    I asked him what how thought the ‘rest of us’ living here in New Zealand would fit into this dream of his. “Oh if you don’t like paying rent, you can always go back to where you came from.” was his quite airy answer.

    He was not pulling my leg, nor was I trying to argue with him. It was a time of my life when I had been quite close to a number of Maori communities, had spent quite a lot of time on marae, and was in a naive sort of way sympathetic to much of what he was saying. It has only been with the passing of the years that has the significance of his vision has become clear to me.

    Colonisation in one form or another was always going to happen. The Maori had no magical force bubble that surrounded these islands to keep the nasty outside world at bay and allow them to continue in their Stone Age ways unmolested. There was always going to be change and upheaval, and injustices were committed that can and should be recompensed as best we might.

    But a vision based on restoring ancient Maori tribal supremacy in this country is both wrong and dangerous. And to my mind the Seabed and Foreshore claims, however we might want to argue the legal positions, was a step too far in that direction… while in a few months time the current brouhaha over Winston’s donations (and whatever his fate politically as a consequence) will be both forgotten and meaningless.

  14. RedLogix, you sound just like Ian Wishart.

    The sad thing is that I don’t doubt that there are many people like you in the Labour Party who are genuinely scared of partnership under the treaty, rather than having the crown dictate to Maori what is and isn’t acceptable.

    Your knowledge of history is also completely wrong, as if the two alternatives were “Stone Age” or complete colonisation. Maori were heavily involved in proactively using technology from the time of first contact, on their terms and for their benefit. Waikato iwi in particular (but others to a significant extent) in the 1850s were producing huge surpluses, using modern milling technology for wheat, owned large numbers of ships, and were engaged in farming. Rather than the “fatal impact” that Logan Campbell, colonialists and yourself like to imagine, Maori were doing quite ok when able to act on their own terms. Their position was destroyed when the crown went into a vicious war of confiscation and destruction that lasted into the 1880s in parts of the country, and was reinforced through the courts (with “legal confiscation” constituting most of the land taken).

  15. lprent 15

    George: Just a point.

    It is always unwise around here to assume what party people support unless you absolutely know (like me for instance). There are only a handful of committed party activists here amongst a large number of activists and readers, in both the posters and the commentators.

    I suspect that, like a lot of the population, most here just haven’t made up their mind exactly which party they will vote for. They often are clear about who they will vote against.

    Offhand I can’t remember RedLogix ever saying (apart from clearly being on the left).

    I prefer people didn’t make those sorts of assumptions as the resulting conversations are usually pretty boring.

  16. RedLogix 16

    Maori were heavily involved in proactively using technology from the time of first contact, on their terms and for their benefit.

    Or as Michael King reminds us, that between the years 1800 and 1840 Maori proactively used imported technology to exterminate almost 40% of their own population. It was probably one of the most devastating and ruthless ‘genocides’ anywhere in the world over the last several centuries.

    But there is no point in painting just in black and white here. I fully accept that Maori were never a backward people, and the more progressive elements of their society made fabulous progress towards becoming part of the wider world right from after the very first contacts. They dominated much of the vital coastal shipping trade and as you say SOME elements of Maori society were doing very on their own terms.

    But the fatal flaw was their deeply embedded sense of tribe; the necessary wider notion of being ‘Maori’ in a pan-tribal sense was either weak or entirely missing.

    Your knowledge of history is also completely wrong, as if the two alternatives were “Stone Age’ or complete colonisation.

    Well in reality colonisation was inevitable, the only meaningful question was how it would proceed, and that is something that we should not solely judge through the lenses of our modern notions and values.

    As I see it, colonisation was largely the inevitable dominance of a more legally and materially developed European civilisation, when it came into contact with the Maori, who although not a backward or unsophisticated people, because their divided tribal political model meant they were unable to present a united resistance were thus overwhelmed.

    It is useful to not overlook the vital assistance provided to the Government troops in the New Zealand Wars, by Maori irregulars keen to settle scores with old tribal enemies. If not for their efforts, the tribes may well have never been conquered as they were and indeed colonisation may well have proceeded differently. But wars change history, and all wars have winners and losers, however much we may wish to pass judgement on their motives and methods centuries later.

    If by ‘partnership’ you mean full Maori engagement with the wider world on equal terms, then who could argue with that? But if you mean some ill-defined form of ‘dual sovereignty’, that may or may not be democratically acceptable to the whole of New Zealand society…. then regretably you’ll just have to keep on lumping me in with Ian Wishhart.

  17. The soooner MMP goes the better, and it can take the Greens with them, there has never been one party that has supported Bigorty more than Greens.

  18. r0b 18

    The soooner MMP goes the better

    Democracy all too much for you there Brett? Should we just bin the whole thing and go back to a hereditary monarchy while we’re at it?

    there has never been one party that has supported Bigorty more than Greens.

    I must admit I’m intrigued. Just how do you twist your view of the world to arrive at that bizarre conclusion?

  19. Ari 19

    If you think these improvements are very good, Steve, then you are even less ambitious for New Zealand than John Key. There is a lot more we could be doing and this is the barest scratching of the surface- my biggest fear here is that posts like this one and other similar stories will give the public the impression that the ETS that passes this term is adequate enough to address our own contribution to climate change, and to manage its effects on the New Zealand economy, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

    and now NZ First may not be around to support it.

    Clark’s pretty clear she’s not going to dismiss Winston until she hears back from the privileges committee, (which is good enough for me) and there’s no way he can argue with that. I don’t see any real way out of their support for the ETS and the wider coalition for NZF until next election- and that “way out” is likely to be the one the wider voting public has been hoping for for some time. 😉 Let’s hope any disenfranchised NZF supporters demand good policy and accountability if they change allegiance- regardless of who they might change to. That said, predicting the death of NZF or Winston is kinda like throwing a boomerang and forgetting about it- you have a tendency to get hit in the head by your mistake when you least expect it.

  20. T-Rex 20

    Ari – There’s always a lot more we could be doing; you’ve got to start somewhere.

    Consider that 5 years ago climate change and peak oil were barely even grazing the public conciousness. Sure – there was Kyoto – but it hadn’t come into effect and (as evidenced) wasn’t REALLY being thought about even at a political level in NZ. Now we’ve got a framework that, despite it’s weaknesses, creates a structure and begins to put the right incentives in place.

    We’ve FINALLY got an internal market force that will encourage emissions reduction. That is a fantastic thing, and the Greens were right to support it now.

    I think ’08Wire put it quite well: “The Greens are voting for the ETS. Good. But they are calling for a better ETS. Good.”

    Transport emissions are going to fall anyway, because the marginal cost of oil is already high enough to foster a move away. Agriculture I know almost nothing about, but it’s damned certain that having the ETS as it exists now increases the odds that we’ll have one addressing agricultural emissions in 10 years time.

    The world will not end if we don’t move to address agricultural emissions tomorrow… or it it will, then it was going to anyway. Trying to do everything at once usually leads to acheiving nothing.

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