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National gather fuel for their political dumpster fires

Written By: - Date published: 10:17 am, September 2nd, 2019 - 21 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, democratic participation, farming, greens, national, Parliament, political alternatives - Tags:

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,

21 comments on “National gather fuel for their political dumpster fires ”

  1. weka 1

    So many headline/title options but I think Idiot/Savant nailed it:


  2. We can but hope National will follow the Collins lead and go full out climate change deniers – and therefore become irrelevant.

    A rump party of a few disgruntled industrial farmers – whoop de do! A fate they so richly deserve.

    • weka 2.1

      I was thinking that for a while. Now I'm more worried because of Peters and the farming lobby. If National go fully committed here, the full power of their PR machine will be in it too.

      • I respectfully disagree, Weka.

        We are entering, or are already in what could be called 'an age of anxiety.' The realisation that, unless we do something pdq we could be swept away by the sheer magnitude of climate change. This is making people worried about the future and the children are leading the way – demanding, shouting for change and response. This has seeped pretty deeply into out conscious minds!

        Look to 20th September for a response which will shake the halls of power – particularly on the right. National are on a hiding to nothing as climate change deniers, notwithstanding their PR machine.

        • weka

          what's happening on the 20th?

          I hope you are right. It's the damage that they can do in the meantime that bothers me, and how they intersect with anxiety and the people who get mean or more conservative when they are stressed.

          Remember how Chch voted post-quake? I'm going to be really interested to see what they do with the Ecan election this year.

        • SHG

          Look to 20th September for a response which will shake the halls of power – particularly on the right

          Of the current Government who would you describe as being on the right?

        • Ken

          Can we expect a renaissance 'age of Valium' to ease our passage into oblivion?

    • We can but hope National will follow the Collins lead and go full out climate change deniers – and therefore become irrelevant.

      They won't. Their strategy of paying lip service to the need to mitigate climate change while quietly opposing any action to mitigate it is working very well for them. When Matt King recently outed himself as a denier, he was in the Herald shortly after making a humiliating attempt to pretend he hadn't meant it – no doubt on the orders of his superiors

      • Then maybe we can hope that Collins will split the party – she might lead the rump, and Soimon the remainder?

        I can't see Crusher coming quietly back into the fold if she can see some political gain from espousing climate change denial.

        The end justifies the means with that woman (and with every Nat politician, for that matter).

      • mike 2.2.2

        remember national used bogus carbon credits i think there is fat chance national will ever except there is even such a thing as climate change funny insurance industry and the us military do there is no chance new zealand will do anything the farmers will not allow it

  3. Kevin 3

    National. Happy to burn down the house so they can rule the ashes.

  4. Stuart Munro. 4

    NZ businesses – the larger ones at least, have often had that "I wanna be the last dinosaur" mentality.

    Now is the time when a few long term matters have to be revised, inappropriate industries avoided or tapered off, and new ones that will form the basis of a sustainable future carefully nurtured. But the bovver boys don't want to play.

    This is the price our country pays by giving political credence to the fool who shouts the loudest. It's the ideological free market proving yet again that markets cannot be relied on to produce public good.

  5. observer 5

    "As frustrating as this is for lefties and greenies we need to resist the tendency of the left to eat its own."

    To spell it out: there is a better than even chance of a Labour-Green majority in the next term, without Winston. And after 20+ years of MMP that is the best deal we will ever have. So we can either work to get them to 61, or complain that they should be pretending they already do.

    Throwing toys out the cot is sheer self-indulgence, and the biggest gift National could ask for. Anybody who does that deserves the same contempt as the deniers.

  6. AB 6
    1. Say it's not happening/a hoax
    2. Say it is happening but it's natural cycles not anthropogenic
    3. Say it is anthropogenic but the scientists are alarmists and it doesn't need urgent action
    4. Say it is serious, but there are/will be technology solutions and we need to invest in those and not 'crash the economy'
    5. Say it is serious and requires urgent action but within a market framework (i.e. austerity and resource scarcity for the poor/middle class and protection for the rich)
    6. Repress the resulting protest and resentment through mass surveillance, police action and internal detention camps for the displaced

    That is likely to be how it plays out in Natland. Up to stage four and counting.

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