Written By: - Date published: 1:22 pm, September 11th, 2017 - 75 comments
Categories: climate change, democratic participation, election 2017, elections, electoral commission, ETS, global warming, greens, labour, national, nz first, Politics, same old national, science - Tags: #FIXWINZ, values, WINZ
Voting has opened for advance votes and the expectation is that it will be pretty heavy prior to polling day over the next couple of weeks.
Advance voting begins today, and the chief electoral officer Alicia Wright said there would be more places to cast an early ballot than ever before.
The commission has made 485 advance voting booths available, up from 295 in 2014, and booths are now available in shopping malls and the international departure lounges at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports.
Ms Wright said more people than ever were expected to cast an early vote.
“We’re providing a better service than we ever have. What we’ve seen in the 2014 election was that it had doubled – it had gone from 15 percent 2011 to 30 percent in 2014.
“We’re anticipating that it is going to be up to 50 percent this election.”
I’ll be one of them. You can find out where and when on this page. Just tell it what electorate you are in and it will present you with the list of candidates and the location of the advance and election day voting places.
In my case being at the edge of the Mt Albert electorate (the other side of Newton Road is Auckland Central), I really only have one choice of candidate – the “ARDERN, Jacinda” immediately attracts my attention and I ignore the rest.
Best new candidate out of ‘my’ electorate since I (unfortunately) voted against CLARK, Helen in 1981 in favour of one of my ex-teachers at Mt Albert Grammar. While I am still living that down as a mistaken assessment of character, I have always tried to pick the person I think will be best candidate for my electorate and who could win it. I’m afraid that in my view voting for electoral forlorn hopes are just a waste of time.
But that is after all why we collectively put in MMP. We also get the more important party vote that actually determines which parties can coalesce to form a government.
Of course in my first election in 1978 I’d deliberately voted for the Values party candidate in Hamilton East. Pretty much as my first and last protest vote.
None of the other candidates had bothered to show up on campus when I was around. He’d made sense to someone doing a Earth Sciences degree with their focus on effects of increasing population on resources of a finite planet, and that the major parties will just flounce around playing lip service to doing anything about it.
Well he (whoever he was) was right. It is now nearly 40 years later and the major parties are still being ineffectual short-sighted fools. What was then a speculative theory about the effects of human generated greenhouse gases has flowered into being by far, the most effective predictor of the real world data being collected by an increasingly larger, denser, and more sophisticated world wide network.
National as usual are being supremely good at that particular folly of humans – having the ability to see into the future, and instead preferring stick their head in the arse to deny it. You really only have to look at their track record of doing nothing good for anyone apart from their donors over the last 9 years. That they got dragged kicking and screaming into doing anything that was useful has always been a result of extreme political pressure from outside that even they couldn’t ignore in a pig-headed and ignorant fashion or having to panic bribe voters as they are having such joy in doing this election.
Despite volunteering and donating for Labour for most of the last 35 years simply because Labour are better at longer term thinking than National (frankly it’d be hard to be worse) – their MPs really aren’t particularly better. If they were, then we’d see their efforts when in government in serious longer-term issues like our greenhouse gas emissions or waterways or public transport actually getting some results despite the overt sabotage by the idiots in National. We don’t and we consistently don’t.
Instead we see half-arsed attempts to get around their party and their member’s clear intent. That was why I didn’t vote for them in 2014 after the stupidity that they displayed at the 2012 conference, and part of the reason that I’m not voting for them today.
Sure Jacinda Arden is doing well in the headline position. But that could have so easily been a disaster. But I suspect that the decisions of the senior MPs who forced that decision to step down be made by Andrew Little were motivated more in avoiding the party involvement in a post-election leadership decision than in any real concern for the interests of the party.
But that is more of symptom than a real issue. The real issue for me is that Labour have been increasingly failing at their job of implementing policy for the long-term things that National refuses to consider. For instance, while they they did considerable work on faltering and governance infrastructure of New Zealand’s main urban centre, it clearly wasn’t enough. As importantly they left all of the really crucial decisions to way too late. The royal commission on Auckland governance reported in time for National to completely distort and mutate its recommendations into something that was unworkable in the medium term. The regional fuel tax that was to have funded much of the development was removed by National and not replaced.
These were foreseeable consequences of being succeeded by the simpletons of National MPs in government. The lessons should be obvious. After winning government, don’t bask on your victory or quarrel over what to do. Start the long-term changes required in 6 or 9 or 20 years first. Do the minor stuff as you have time.
Looking back into the differences on political intent vs reality, you only have to look at the difference between the Greens and Labour on greenhouse gas emissions. The Greens have been calling for straight-forward tax for decades. Labour caught in cleft between its market orientated MPs and its obligations under the Kyoto agreement dithered around for most of their 9 years being lobbied and gradually watering down from something that might have worked to something that didn’t.
What we got was accurately analysed by Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn this morning as being effectively useless and ineffective.
The problem with the ETS is that while its perfect in theory, its absolutely ineffective in practice. Labour weakened it with subsidies, National weakened it further, and meanwhile international trading flooded the market with fraudulent “credits” that had no environmental value at all. This crashed the price, providing no incentive for anyone to reduce emissions. The Greens’ plan would replace all that with a simple tax regime, with the revenue recycled into emissions reductions and a universal payment to every adult New Zealander. Forest-owners would get a fixed payment, rather than the present credit scheme. While unstated, I expect that the proposed independent climate change commission would recommend tax increases to reduce emissions over time.
In theory, this is equivalent to an ETS. In practice, it is likely to be easier to administer and more effective. There will be transition costs – the ETS will take some time to unwind. So its really a way of putting pressure on pro-ETS parties to fix the fucking thing: bring in agriculture, stop subsidising pollution, strangle credit supply to hike the price, so that it works as it should. Otherwise we’re just shuffling paper around as a substitute for action.
Now here is the thing. The intent of something like ETS is to force a gradual change in economic behaviour. In this case to add at least part of the cost to the emission of greenhouse gases by the producer directly to them. This is to ameliorate their current behaviour of dumping the cost to everyone else in the future in a classic tragedy of the commons manner. Essentially the farmers and other large emitters are metaphorically and physically crapping, peeing, and farting into our atmosphere and waterways and expecting everyone else present and future to pay for them. And we’ll pay for next few thousand years in the costs of unsettled climate and poisoned waters.
But something like the ETS simply isn’t going to work in anything other than economist wet dreams. It provides so many ways for the invisible hand of the market and politics to rort because of its very complexity. It carries vast overhead costs to administer because of its complexity.
The issue that Metiria Turei raised is like this as well. We now have a punitive and ineffective welfare system that costs a hell of a lot to run (I estimate that more than 40% of the money for programs like unemployment or DP benefit never reaches those needing it), and appears to be designed as a torture system for anyone entering it.
Now this isn’t particularly my personal experience, I only looked at it once in the midst of the GFC and ignored it as being useless immediately. I have an MBA, writing a CV isn’t a problem, and I don’t need to waste hours demonstrating that their instructor doesn’t know how to write one. But it is the experience of literally hundreds of people that I have run across over the decades who do have to put up with the simple minded stupidity of the system.
Frankly the best thing that could be done with the current would be fire most of the WINZ staff, put it on the web or consoles, and to make it operate like superannuation does – with an average 2-3% loss rate and a entitlement based on very simple criteria. It’d be way cheaper and you deal with cheats by simple investigation and criminal charges.
I can’t see Labour even thinking effectively about these kinds of things. So I will be party voting Green again this year and hoping for a Labour/Green government. Ideally with cross bench support and places in the cabinet for NZ First irrespective of if they are needed for the votes or not. I think that NZ First will feel more secure in a position where they can both be opposition and government at the same time. They will push for their changes more effectively that way. Maybe the Greens should consider it as well.
But we need a governing coalition that can achieve a long term governing across several electoral cycles. Because that is what we need to fix our accumulated long-term issues that National avoids dealing with and to prepare for the challenges of the future.