- Date published:
10:17 am, September 2nd, 2019 - 21 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, democratic participation, farming, greens, national, Parliament, political alternatives - Tags: trumpian politics
Anyone still wanting to blame the Greens for supposedly letting farmers off the hook over their GHG emissions needs to read this analysis from Andrea Vance of the politicking around the Zero Carbon Bill: The world is burning and Judith Collins just threw petrol on the fire.
Broadly, we have Judith Collins voting against the Bill and rarking up farmers in their conviction that they’re being hard done by for no good reason. Simon Bridges is dithering on whether to support the Bill past its second reading. National MP Matt King Coal is posting far-right, Trumpian, climate denial talking points on social media. Todd Muller as National’s Climate spokesperson negotiated with Climate Minister James Shaw to get concessions for farmers, and then after criticism at National’s AGM that Muller had in fact given too much away, he was made Agriculture spokesperson instead. Apparently many members still don’t believe in climate change.
What a f*cking mess. I have no idea how much of that is based in genuine belief, how much is vote protection, and how much is simple powermongering at the expense of a burning planet. We do know that National are tracking right and actively engaging in Trumpian politics, which is a bad, bad mix with New Zealand trying to transition to a post-fossil fuel world.
Meanwhile, New Zealand First have a written agreement with Labour that includes support for the Zero Carbon Bill, but in true Peters style, they kept their options open and Vance suggests that they can water down the Bill further in order to appease their rural voters.
The Bill is likely to pass, because the Labour-led coalition have the numbers. But without buy-in from National such an important piece of legislation isn’t well tory-proofed. Worse is the degree to which National and NZ First are affirming climate denial within the general population at a time when citizen buy-in for transition is critical.
Vance finishes with,
But if Shaw is forced to compromise (again) to secure NZ First’s votes, his own Green party will never forgive him.
This is important. As frustrating as this is for lefties and greenies we need to resist the tendency of the left to eat its own. In March Shaw said of the Bill that it’s “the best possible political consensus across New Zealand about how we get to that goal”. If you need reminding of what the Greens would do where it up to them, here’s their Climate Protection Plan.
The Greens aren’t the problem here, nor is Shaw because he’s playing the hand he was dealt. The problem is those who appear to believe that trading a safer future for some short term power is a valid choice and we should keep that firmly in mind.
If this is the best that the NZ parliament can do then we can take comfort from the fact that the best change is always led from the edge. I highly value the Greens in holding a line as much as possible in parliament, but it’s outside of parliament that the greatest change needs to happen now. Politicians will follow where we lead. It’s likely that next year will be the climate change election, in which case our tasks between now and then are clear.
Whatever we can do to support New Zealand doing the right thing: vote with a climate conscience in the local body elections next month, join the large and small scale political actions now happening everywhere (there are a bunch coming up in the next few months), get more Green MPs in government, talk to our neighbours about How to Get There, support the NGO and community actions that are helping people get on board.
Here’s my current inspiration for that,