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Kids, Rivers, Jobs

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, September 21st, 2011 - 70 comments
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The Greens launched their economic policy today –  I attended on behalf of the Fabian Society. Titled “100,000 green jobs for New Zealanders, it follows their plan to bring 100,000 children out of poverty by 2014. The focus was on leveraging green priorities, by using direct government investment, changing the way state-owned companies work, and shifting the drivers for green jobs in the private sector.

Entrepreneur Nick Gerritsen spoke about the opportunities for leveraging green technology for New Zealand, and the main presentation came from Russel Norman, who spoke of “a commonsense economy that is transformative of opportunity”  – you can watch it here. Media questions focussed around costings and priorities, all of which were laid out in the documents and presentations.

Compared with Labour’s economic policy launch I thought while Labour had done the heavy lifting on capital gains tax and budget priorities, the Greens focus on jobs made for better political marketing, even though Russel Norman waffled when asked what the jobs would look like for tonight’s television audience. Overall it was an impressive presentation and while there is no doubt that the policy fit is much closer with Labour, with opposition to partial asset sales, capital gains tax and support for government procurement, the Greens also had an eye for gains they might be able to make with a National-led government.

70 comments on “Kids, Rivers, Jobs”

  1. Anthony 1

    One thing I always wonder about extending the heat smart programme is whether people who need it actually get it, or whether it just becomes another score for middle-class home owners.

    Would like to see something that would actually give an incentive to landlords to have properly insulated and heated homes for their tenants.

    • Anthony 1.1

      Like the performance standard for rentals (that wasn’t very clear in my original comment sorry)

    • insider 1.2

      Isn’t that always the risk with these schemes. To me it also shows the relatively marginal value they provide compared to the promised benefits by proponents, if middle class people who can afford this stuff independently need a whacking subsidy to actually do it.

      That aside, there have been charities providing low income people with low cost installations. But as for favouring rentals, what’s to stop me ‘renting’ my home out , claiming a higher subsidy, then un-renting it or making the rental a sham via a company or trust. Seems more risk of middle class welfare to me.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1

        Middle class people in NZ happen to be poor due to the very low wage economy that we’ve been building for the last 30 years. The other 75% of people can’t afford the stuff even with the subsidy.

      • KJT 1.2.2

        Well from where I sit the biggest problem was the accreditation of only a few insulation providers who, mostly, whacked their prices up to what it would of cost pre-subsidy, plus the amount of the subsidy..

    • Carol 1.3

      My rented living space is pretty cheap and basic, and isn’t easily heated, but nevertheless I’m happy here. It would be a major task to improve it heating wise, and probably not worth the effort – it’d be better to pull it down and start over. If it was upgraded, then I’m pretty sure the rent would increase markedly.

      • Colonial Viper 1.3.1

        If it was upgraded, then I’m pretty sure the rent would increase markedly.

        Not if the Government owned the property and transferably leased it to you at a flat fixed rate for rolling 10 year terms.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    The Government has been, and can be once more, a provider of good productive, needed jobs for society, because the private sector is continuously failing to produce the kinds of decent paying jobs that we need as a country.

    • insider 2.1

      The govt relies on tax to pay its bills, such as for all these decently paid jobs, or on income from sales of services etc. Where will that tax come from and how will those sales be assured or competitively priced so that those not in govt pay can afford them?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        It’s not about money – it’s about proper distribution of our resources which the capitalist free-market is failing to achieve.

  3. queenstfarmer 3

    So the Greens want to repeat a smaller version of the massive programme which failed in the US. That is hardly compelling.

    • clandestino 3.1

      Except the US has done nothing like what is proposed by the Greens, are you really this simple or is it purposeful?

      • queenstfarmer 3.1.1

        Nothing like the US? The Greena’ plan is: “to create green jobs through business incentives and government leadership”. It lists 3 “highlights” of this plan:

        1. “Direct investment”
        2. “Keep it Kiwi”
        3. “Support for Small & Medium Businesses” (despite the fact virtually all SME’s run a mile from anything associated with the anti-business Greens)

        1 & 3 are exactly what the US has tried (among other things). It hasn’t worked. That is not to say the intentions aren’t noble – the Greens usually have good intentions – but the evidence is it will be a collosal waste of money.

        • clandestino

          China has done the above ‘direct investment’ too, as has Germany, as every blimmin country in the world does all the frickin time. Open your eyes, we compete against very rich countries getting richer because they do exactly the type of thing blindly ideological simpletons oppose with such misdirection.

          I shouldn’t be suprised you’re jumping on the ‘equate all direct investment with Solyndra’ bandwagon like all historically ignorant and economically inconsistent righties. Further to that, low interest loans and capital injections into the financial industry are not the definition of direct investment any sane person would use.

          • queenstfarmer

            Getting richer? You (and the Greens) need to read up on the failure of the US stimulus, including the green jobs stimulus. That is most definitely not a way to get richer.

            I shouldn’t be suprised you’re jumping on the ‘equate all direct investment with Solyndra’ bandwagon

            Where did I do that? But now that you’ve raised it, it was the single largest recipient of funds, and it failed. So to have the #1 example crash and burn, is not a good look.

            low interest loans and capital injections into the financial industry are not the definition of direct investment any sane person would use

            Um, you think capital injection is not direct investment?
            Low interest loans may not be, depending on their terms.

            • Colonial Viper

              Pumping money into the financial system does nothing to help Main St, it only helps Wall St.

              Hence corporate profits surged, bankster bonuses exceeded pre 2008 records, and the Dow hit old highs, even as 46M Americans went on food stamps and the real rate of underemployment sits at around 20%.

              You can’t be this obtuse for real, can you?

              Oh and one other thing.

              Now that the US has moved roughly 50,000 factories worth of production (and hence GDP) over to China, no amount of stimulus is going to help ordinary Americans.

              The money pipes to the American household are broken and all the money pumped in is leaking straight into bankster pockets.

              • queenstfarmer

                Pumping money into the financial system does nothing to help Main St, it only helps Wall St… You can’t be this obtuse for real, can you?

                Hang on – I was talking about green stimulus. I would mostly agree with your statement that pumping money into the financial system (in the manner of the big bank bailouts) does nothing to help Main St, it only helps Wall St.

                Corporate welfarism (crony capitalism) must stop. The regulators must break down the behemoths to prevent them getting out of control, and from then on let them live by the sword, die by the sword.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Green stimulus works very well when direct it into established initiatives like home insulation, solar hot water heating, public transport, etc.

                  Throwing big money at speculative tech wielded by badly managed companies…well, that typically generates the usual results.

                  • rosy

                    Throwing big money at speculative tech wielded by badly managed companies…well, that typically generates the usual results.

                    But, but CV, it’s being entrepreneurial – capitalists bow at the altar of the entrepreneurial, don’t they? They’re the ‘wealth creators’ (when they’re not losing money) so surely all good capitalists should be cheering the spirit of this investment, not dissing the result?

                    • prism

                      @tosy I thought that when wealth creators lose money they are said to be earning negative wealth. So they never really lose money, they just tuck it away behind the bookcase till needed.

            • clandestino

              “Um, you think capital injection is not direct investment?”

              Um, I see you’ve answered this question already below.

              No, it’s not a good look, but you are foolishly equating what went on there (competing with the Chinese in a who-can-scale-fastest race, only one winner) with what the Greens want to do here. I suggest you read the policy.

        • Ianupnorth

          The USA don’t even produce their own light bulbs; maybe we should start producing our own ‘basics’

          A medium enterprise in the USA would be the size of Fletchers or Telecom

          • Colonial Viper


            Now you’re talking

            Its not about who can make stuff cheaper per unit price

            Its who can make stuff at most value to NZ society. And providing good jobs and important societal roles to all who want them, while turning out great products, fits the bill precisely.

          • queenstfarmer

            OK, so say you want NZ to produce light bulbs. Presumably, this would be the Government forking out several hundred million dollars to build a factory, license the necessary technology (the energy-saving ones are a lot more high tech than the old Edison incandescents), hire the staff, go through the full setup.

            Then the lightbulb that comes out would be maybe 5 times more expensive than the ones made in Asia. So no-one buys them, you can’t export them, and you have a big factory with the staff twiddling their thumbs.

            So then you either put a massive tarriff on imported lightbulbs, or make your own lightbulbs at a huge loss year after year, so the Government Light Bulb Company can be “competitive”. Then the countries we used to buy lightbulbs from slap (or increase) a retaliatory tarriff / domestic subsidy on whatever we export to them, instantly diminishing that sector of the NZ productive economy.

            But don’t worry – we can all bask in the warm (but not too warm) glow of New Zealand Government-brand lighting.

            Why does this all sound rather familiar?

            • Colonial Viper

              1) Overseas countries are already slapping tarriffs on our products. They are doing so via competitive devaluations.

              2) We would not choose to produce items that we were 5x more expensive in. 50% perhaps, and at better quality.

              3) And we would not limit production to a single item like light bulbs. (Those lightbulbs require glass, electronics, rare earth metal elements etc). It would be across entire high value industries.

              4) Deglobalisation is going to happen anyway. Energy and transport costs are about to make the age of wage arbitrage a distant memory.

              5) When people are employed and being paid decent wages they will have the luxury of choosing “Made in NZ” to support their sons, daughters, brothers and sisters in good jobs.

              Why does this all sound rather familiar?

              Because its a throwback to an almost lost NZ socialist past – but modified for a socialist future where every New Zealander has productive, meaningful work to do.

              • clandestino


                We negotiated away all our tariffs, hollowing out our manufacturing base and losing us jobs that paid well and employed thousands.
                Now the Doha round is down to about 4% tariffs they want to get rid of, mostly agricultural. To do this is to the detriment of billions of the worlds poor, because they know it will destroy their livelihoods the same way it did our manufacturing. Global wage-slave arbitrage is a race to the slimy bottom of an oil barrel. End it now and start building sustainably at home.

              • queenstfarmer

                I agree lightbulbs are a daft idea – it wasn’t my suggestion.

                Arbitrarily limiting what NZ Govt Manufacturing Co “should” produce to items that are a mere 50% more costly than everyone else (and engaging in isolationist tarriff wars), is not much less daft.

            • AAMC

              “Then the lightbulb that comes out would be maybe 5 times more expensive than the ones made in Asia. So no-one buys them, you can’t export them, and you have a big factory with the staff twiddling their thumbs.

              So then you either put a massive tarriff on imported lightbulbs, or make your own lightbulbs at a huge loss year after year,”


              Then the corn and canola and soy that comes out would be maybe 5 times more expensive than the ones made everywhere else. So no-one buys them, you can’t export them, and you have big farms with the staff twiddling their thumbs.

              So you put massive subsidies into agriculture and tariffs on imported corn and canola and soy, make your own agricultural commodities at a huge financial and environmental loss year after year, and starve half of Africa and turn your population into Foie gras!

              • KJT

                Or you make a better widget, like the Germans do, and everyone is happy to pay a premium for them.

                No country has been successful without protecting their industry, at least in the early stages.

                The UK and the USA are rather forgetful about their protectionist past. We are still on the recovery (Or should be if Labour and National had a clue) from being a farm for the UK, while we had to accept their overpriced and substandard manufactured goods in return.

                Sound familiar. We are still paying too much for goods, priced too highly for their quality, whilst almost giving away our commodities. Subsidised by NZ consumers so they can be exported below cost.
                NZ workers and taxpayers are still paying to be ripped off.

                Angela Merkel to the British PM. “But, we still make things”.

            • Adele

              Actually, New Zealand does produce lightbulbs. Thorn Lighting NZ has been manufacturing ‘light bulbs’ in NZ since 1936 and by all accounts remains a viable and healthy industry player.

  4. Anthony, the Greens share your concerns about warm healthy homes for those who need them most. That’s why part of our priority to end child poverty is introducing minimum standards for rental properties. Extending the home insulation scheme goes hand in hand with this, providing landlords with subsidies to help them reach the standards. More here: http://www.greens.org.nz/endchildpoverty and here: http://www.greens.org.nz/warmhealthyrentals.


    • Vicky32 4.1

      introducing minimum standards for rental properties.

      Given the state of the rental I am in, and brought up my sons in, I am into that!

      • alex 4.1.1

        Hear hear. I live in a rental, and I’m bloody freezing.

        • insider

          The study in Otago on insulating properties found it only raised internal temperatures 0.5 deg. You might be better moving.

          • TightyRighty

            You can’t argue sense with a greenie. I/S said it best, Deceitful and Misleading.

          • newbie

            insulation on it’s own doesn’t raise temperatures- it saves money by requiring less to heat and having less heat loss. I think…???

  5. Galeandra 5

    QF- but the evidence is it will be a collosal (sic) waste of money. On just one ‘example’ with no unpacking of the particularities at all. Gimme a break. So,we can leave it all to the private sector to dig us out of the hole and allow everyone to earn a just wage? Of course, the evidence shows that the taxcuts were a colossal waste of money.

    • queenstfarmer 5.1

      Of course, the evidence shows that the taxcuts were a colossal waste of money.

      What evidence?

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        I agree with qstf.

        The tax cuts weren’t a waste of money for the top 5% of rich New Zealanders.

        They were very worthwhile in fact.

  6. I think the policy spounds great. Imagine how it wld work if Te Mana, the Greens and Labour decided on a green jobs shared platform… NZ as a low carbon economy sounds a lot better than National and Act’s: NZ as a low wage economy, powered by greed and dirty energy.

    Looking fwd to hearing more details about the Green Jobs policy the greens launched.

  7. AAMC 7

    Joyce on One News, rubbishing the Greens as not having a grasp of economics.

    I thought that was brilliant given the previous story about the IMF warning that the system that Joyce endorses and knows so much about was going off the cliff.

    • marsman 7.1

      Joyce is adamant that we shall have ‘NZ as a low wage economy, powered by greed and dirty energy’ as Ecosocialism so succinctly puts it.

    • mik e 7.2

      joyces choice just build more motorways that will fix everthing

      • logie97 7.2.1

        What really pisses me off is that the item on One News was introduced by Petrie, with a smirking Simon Dallow to the side, and then footage of Russell Norman announcing it to some audience and saying that he would work with National or Labour. Then they cut away to Joyce and allowed him to pour his diatribe over it and dismiss it. No where in the item was there a critical analysis of the policy, discussion around detail or direct interviews with the Greens.

        All I got from it was that the Greens have a policy and that, on behalf of the nation, Joyce dismissed it for us …

        • Jum

          Logie 97,

          If Greens lie down with NAct dogs they’ll get fleas – serve them right too.

          • Jim Nald

            The Greens can campaign against selling our assets for all they want
            And I am waiting to see the Greens sell their souls to National from 26 Nov 2011

  8. Afewknowthetruth 8

    Let’s all paint our faces green before we jump off the cliff.

    It’s all delusional nonsense. There is no such thing as clean technology. Technology is, by definition, dirty. Some technology is less dirty that others, but all technology is dirty. That’s where vague platitudes are so useful.

    We need not worry too much about the child poverty policy. Most of the globalised economic system will be down the drain by 2014. By implication, most people’s standard of living will fall significantly oer the next few years.

    And I note there is no mention of anything actually connected with reality in the Green’s policy statement. In particualr, tehr is no mention of Peak Oil and the unravelling that is now taking place as a consequence of Peak Oil.

    However, the policy release does contain plenty of spin-doctor stuff, so will probably appeal to the uninformed and deluded.

    • mik e 8.1

      Afew Fundamentalist born again revivalists have been spouting the same conspiracy the end is nigh for the last 100 years even the inca or mayan calender runs out about then.Flim flam.

    • AAMC 8.2

      I’d still rather see them in Govt than National AFKTT, even if it just slows our approach to the cliff.

      I’d rather move forward with positivity and hope, however futile it may turn out to be!

      • alex 8.2.1

        Exactly AAMC, we can’t predict the future, we have no idea how screwed we are yet, and the Greens are the best and most realistic hope of changing our society enough to avert the worst damage. Lets not get defeatist AFKTT, after all, its either do nothing and we all die or do something and we might not all die, I know which option I prefer.

    • Colonial Viper 8.3

      I’ve spoken to many MPs from across the parties in the last few weeks on the issue of energy depletion.

      Now they can’t say they weren’t told.

  9. Serious question.

    Did the Greens support National’s Bike track?

    • I thought the greens were the Bike track, because they must have sand and rocks in their silly heads to be so stupid.

      • AAMC 9.1.1

        Ho ho ho, unlike the current guardians of our future who are clearly enlightened to have brought us to this Utopian existence of poverty and collapse.

  10. TEA 10

    This policy will drop the almighty dollar down to 30 cents against the US.
    No one with sense will vote for this crap.
    Welcome to 4th world New Zealand.
    Start practicing building wooden push bikes

    • mik e 10.1

      weak argument Tea if it dropped our dollar down by 30cents against the us our economy would boom .Exports would go up imports down smart move.Shows how much the right knows about economics.

    • clandestino 10.2

      Hahahaha 30c dollar??

      If only we could get all the farmers to hear that, then they actually might vote Green!!!

    • Colonial Viper 10.3

      TEA demonstrates the typical Right Wing level of economic knowledge.

  11. alex 11

    I would love to see the Greens as a strong part of the next government, especially if it was with Labour. After all, the Greens also support a CGT. The economy might actually pick up if these two parties worked together against National, but I think now more than ever a focus on the environment is more important than a focus on the economy.

  12. AAMC 12

    With the moniker TEA, we can probably make some assumptions bout the quality of his/her information.

    No one with sense would accept the status quo, or we really will be building wooden bikes.

  13. HC 13

    The presentation on the main stream TV news was abysmal. Of course the “highest authority” on every economic, social and scientific value of the Green’s policies, our “beloved” Grand Leader “Smilin Assassin” was shown and quoted immediately afterwards, rubbishing it all.

    So much for “objective” and “balanced” reporting by TVOne, TV3 and so forth!

    If it had been the BBC or ABC they would most likely have an academic specialist with economic and other qualifications offer an at least partly qualified comment. But having the PM or other government politician give their comments absolutely stinks.

    Even on National Radio they quoted John Key on this item, rather than get independent experts comment. With such media coverage it is no wonder the polls say what they do and the election may be a waste of time after all. Talk about “democracy”?! NZ is NOT a TRUE democracy!

  14. Afewknowthetruth 14

    I would like to see the Greens put their time and energy into real solutions to our predicament and not squander precious resoucres on futile attempts to prop up failing systems.

    That highly positive approach interpreted by many people on TS as ‘negativity’.

    • AAMC 14.1

      We need a variety of goals surely AFKTT!?

      In the short term, having the Greens as a strong voice in Parliament at least slightly moderates the debate.

      In the short to medium term, those who “know” need to move out of cities, build communities, plant trees, establish permaculture and step out of the system – lead by example.

      But having a Green voice amongst the pigeons can only be positive. So long as they do get amongst the pigeons, and don’t continue their slide into a focus group, establishment party!

      • HC 14.1.1

        AAMC: I would have like to have seem a few more policy ideas from the Greens myself, but we have to bear in mind that they are still a “minor” party (with potential) and are NEEDED as a voice in parliament. Small starts are better than NO start, than dragging your feet and/or do nothing.

        So they need our support. They can evolve from within, and putting many candidates on their list is a good sign also.

      • Afewknowthetruth 14.1.2

        AAMC Only two major goals.

        Preventing mass starvation when the industrial food system collapses.

        Preventing abrupt climate change rendering the Earth largely uninhabitable.

        After battling the ignorance and apathy of Green Party leadership in Auckland for 5 years I fled and started my personal preparations for the meltdown well away from ‘Orcland’.

        ‘But having a Green voice amongst the pigeons can only be positive. ‘

        That would only be true if the Greens were actually focusing on the real issues. If they continue to try to prop up dysfunctioanl arrangements -as is the case- they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

        The sad reality is, the Greens have been skirting round all the major issues for 15 years and still are.

        We are at ‘the cliff face’ and falling right now. Talk about implementing solutions incrementally over the next decade is nonsense.

  15. Thomas 16

    The Greens have no way to pay for this. And the 100,000 jobs number is bogus. Is this policy based on any analysis? at all? Or is the attitude just “We’ll throw a few billion at something that sounds nice and surely that’ll help the economy.”

    More to the point, is this plan beneficial for NZ? You can easily “create” jobs; for example, you could outlaw any earthmoving equipment more advanced than a shovel; or, you could declare that being unemployed between 9am and 5pm on a weekday is a job and get the government to pay $15/hour for it. But I don’t think that anyone would consider these proposals or the Greens’ policy to be beneficial to NZ.

    DPF makes a good point on KiwiBlog:


    If the Greens were soliciting money, rather than votes, they would be “cooking the books” and they would be prosecuted for fraud.

  16. joe90 17

    And the 100,000 jobs number is bogus

    Hon JOHN KEY: I would say that the Job Summit has and will create thousands of jobs.

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): I stand by my full statement, which was: “The Treasury forecasts are that the Budget will create in the order of 170,000 jobs.”, and that is true.

  17. millsy 18

    I would agree with about 70-80% of this policy, but I still have a few concerns. Most notably it doesnt mention what it plans to do with the rail network, and there are a few neo-liberal tinges to it.

    I like the idea of a soverign wealth fund though.

    They still wont get my vote though. They lost any chance of that when they drove Labour and Helen Clark into the arms of Peter Dunne because of their all-or-nothing stance on GE/GM, and ensuring the country drifted slowly to the right ever since.

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