National retreads deny climate change

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, April 2nd, 2008 - 35 comments
Categories: climate change, same old national - Tags: ,

Lockwood Smith gave us student debt. Maurice Williamson gave us traffic jams. Now they want to give us global warming.

Just days after Al Gore launched his $300m worldwide climate change campaign National retreads Maurice Williamson and Lockwood Smith are refusing to answer questions about whether or not they even believe climate change is happening.

Lockwood Smith: … I don’t know what this is about, my position is totally consistent with National’s position.
Espiner: What I’m asking you is whether you believe in global warming.
Lockwood Smith: My position is totally consistent with National’s position.
Espiner: Lockwood, I’m asking you whether you believe in global warming.
Lockwood Smith: I’m telling you what my answer is.
Espiner: What is it?
Lockwood Smith: That I totally support National’s position.
Espiner: Do you believe in global warming?
Lockwood Smith: I totally support National’s position.
Espiner: Why can’t you tell us yes or no?
Lockwood Smith: Because the important thing is what I support.

Espiner: I understand that you said to the AA conference that you thought that [climate change] wasn’t happening.
Williamson: That’s not true. What I said to the AA is that I wasn’t going to comment on any other member’s policy, I was there to talk about roading.
Espiner: Do you believe in climate change?
Williamson: I believe in the National Party’s policy.
Espiner: But do you yourself believe in it?
Williamson: I believe in the National Party’s policy.

I thought National was actually doing a pretty good job of countering the “hidden agenda” perception that arose out of the last election. This certainly won’t help, especially from MPs as senior as Smith and Williamson. What it’s done is to further expose the National Party strategy:

Listen to the pollsters. Stick to the lines.

35 comments on “National retreads deny climate change”

  1. Spam 1

    “Giving” us climate change? Which party was it that just legislated net greenhouse-gas causing biofuels be put in petrol?

    Now: Would you want to be governed by a party with a caucus where no-one has their own opinion and there is no discussion and debate, or one where people have their own opinions, reach a consensus, and have people support it?

  2. ahhh spam, same old tired insiuations.

    Without investment in biofuel its never going to improve, so a bit of extra carbon now, long term shoudl result in much less. Though im always a little suspicou of studies like that, im waiting for the heritage institute to some out with a studying showing that walking is worse for th endviroment thant driving or something like that.

    Far more concerning is the social effects of bio fuel, and for the promotion of which I would have thought youd be a huge supporter of bio fuels.

  3. rjs131 3

    So what if they hold personal differing views. I am sure that the labour party is a broad church where there are differing views. An example is how almost all labour MPs are against teh exploitation of vulnerable workers yet Taito Philip Field was all for that.

    For consistency, like DPF has said, we should ask every Labour MP where they stand on tax cuts

  4. Stephen 4

    Yeah, whoop-dee-doo, this is a beat up!

  5. higherstandard 5

    So MPs have their own views but agree to support the party line, what’s the issue ?

    As Smith says “Because the important thing is what I support.”

  6. monty 6

    What is the big deal – National MPs are allowed to have individual thoughts (unlike the members of the Labour Cult Party MPs)

    I thought John Key explained the rationale and the National Party position very well this morning on the TV1 breakfast show.

    We know Dear Leader determines and in fact only alloes into the ranks Labour breed clones, but I like that National MPs are allowed individual thought. By the way can you confirm Cullen is personally very supportive of tax cuts and thinks they are a good idea. No – – I thought not just do anything for power.

    What was Cullen’s quote about not believing in tax cuts, being a socialist and proud of that. That’s right – he has become a memeber of the Labour Cult Party where individual thought other than Clarks is not allowed.

    What was Cullen’s quote about not believing in tax cuts, being a socialist and proud of that. That’s right – he has become a memeber of the Labour Cult Party where individual thought other than Clarks is not allowed.

  7. Tim 7

    Whatever, the public has a right to know where MPs stand on various issues. These slippery characters can’t even give a straight answer. They seem to have their heads in the sand in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus that climate change is happening.

  8. outofbed 8

    I like the way the right are trying to deflect this by harping on about all they ever talk about, namely tax cuts
    No comparison
    Tax cuts in the scheme of things are irrelevant whether we get 10 20 or thirty extra buck a week is unimportant
    However when our entire existence is under threat from the biggest danger that humanity has ever faced, You would think that the transport spokesperson for a major political party would have a bit of a clue.
    Even after making allowances that it is Maurice Williamson.
    It all goes to show that National’s new found environmental awareness is just Greenwash.

  9. James Kearney 9

    I love how the right wing posters just blindly parrot DPF’s talking points for the day. So predictable.

  10. ghostwhowalks 10

    TV3 would never try this on their mates. And they cant call in favours to get the CEO of TVNZ to make a retraction.

    I remember how all those times National would focus on labour Mps who had been union leaders and how they would have a hidden agenda in a Labour government ( in fact Howard ran such a campaign 6 months ago)
    So please no crocodile tears on the bad TVNZ catching out our two faced MPs

  11. andy 11

    Sounds like he didn’t know the Nats position, it would have been easy to say this is Nationals position and I support that policy.

    Instead he looked foolish again, a seasoned politician should have managed Espiner much better.

    The Nats must get new media advisers, the current crop can’t get the basics right.

  12. higherstandard 12

    Tim

    Are you advocating the removal of the party whips?

  13. Steve Pierson 13

    These two are far from being the only Natioan politicans who are only paying lip-service to cliamte change for political gain. here are some other quotes http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=866

  14. Draco TB 14

    You know – if National was all about freedom of choice etc then their ministers would be able to say what they wanted. So, why wouldn’t either of those senior National MPs state their own personal views? At a guess I’d say it was all about getting into power.

    What was it that Diane Foreman said – something about being in power was everything.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    The “broad church” defence is simply stating the obvious and completely misses the point.

    1) They are not being asked about a policy. There may well be different views about METHODS – the merits of the emissions trading scheme, alternative options, etc.

    But that was not the question. They were asked if they believe in global warming. There is a fundamental difference between having doubts about a policy to address a problem, and not even believing a problem exists.

    2) They are not just maverick caucus members. They would be in Cabinet, and implementing policy in areas directly related to climate change. How could a Transport Minister be in charge of a policy that he fundamentally disagrees with? Why would he get up in the morning?

    But then the whole National manifesto is a fraud. If they are in government, New Zealand will have an Education Minister who doesn’t believe in the country’s education policy, a Defence Minister who doesn’t believe in the country’s defence policy, and so on. And that is even BEFORE any further concessions to coalition partners.

    Nobody goes into politics to work hard to do things they don’t believe in. That defies all logic. National’s makeover is a nonsense, because it is about changing words instead of minds. Inevitably, it will fall apart.

  16. higherstandard 16

    Gob

    “But then the whole National manifesto is a fraud. If they are in government, New Zealand will have an Education Minister who doesn’t believe in the country’s education policy, a Defence Minister who doesn’t believe in the country’s defence policy, and so on. And that is even BEFORE any further concessions to coalition partners.”

    Even the most facile moron couldn’t believe such mindless cant.

  17. gobsmacked 17

    HS

    OK, what is National’s stated education policy? On student loans, bulk funding, NCEA etc?

    And who will be the Education Minister, if National win?

  18. higherstandard 18

    I don’t know who their education Minister will be after the election I suspect there are a number of possibilities including LS – however I can be fairly certain that they will put in place education policy that they will as a caucus believe in and look to change any current policy that they don’t agree with. Much the same as the current government.

  19. gobsmacked 19

    Er, they’re telling us they will KEEP the policies they don’t agree with. That’s the whole point.

    Or are you saying they should look to change the policies, but not tell us until after we’ve voted?

  20. Wow kiwiblog really does go off the deep end when a national mp gets exposed for what they really are!

  21. insider 21

    Shows how much climate change is now a religious cult – you have to “believe” (according to Guyon Espiner) else be vilified as a heretic.

    Why are we so afraid of opinions and ideas?

    I thought it was more embarassing for Espiner than anyone. This guy is apparantly one of NZ’s leading political reporters.

  22. Steve Pierson 22

    insider. if a politican thinks they are right and the IPCC, the largest scientific body ever assembled, the world’s national academies’ of science, and nearly everyone who has taken a look at the issue for the last fifty years are wrong, and they want to be elected to a position where they will influence a country’s response to the issue, they deserve to be vilified

  23. Steve Pierson 23

    gobsmacked. I’m saying politicans should support policies they believe in, not be hypocrites. Moreover, how can we trust them to take the aciton necessary when they’re only paying lip service to the issue for political reasons?

  24. mike 24

    “I’m saying politicans should support policies they believe in, not be hypocrites”
    So steve do you think cullen is being a hypocrite offering taxcuts as he definitely does’nt beleive in them?

  25. insider 25

    Steve

    Free trade is demonstrably a better thing than closed markets yet some MPs with significant power keep calling for tariffs and fortress NZ without vilification. Inf fact you posted that it shoudl be a key Green policy. The Foreign Minister is apparantly against free trade yet we are signing an FTA with China? Why no challenge to WP and HC on this apparant contradiction?

    There are a spectrum of views on climate and plenty of other political, scientific and social issues.

    I think it is far worse to attempt to suppress people’s views through vilification, particularly on issues which rely on a lot of theory and assumption rather than direct observation of cause and effect.

  26. insider 26

    “I’m saying politicans should support policies they believe in, not be hypocrites.”

    Well what you are effectively saying is that should be parties of one – or mindless drones following an all knowing leader a la Density.

    However would policy be developed if you didn;t have some diversity of view? Look at the mess Labour is getting itself into on climate policy. I think it is mainly because they have not debated it and completely ignored contrary views.

    In fact perhaps that;s the reason they are seeding this story – to divert from the almighty pasting they are getting on biofuels, ETS and the 90% renewables strategy.

  27. Steve Pierson 28

    insider. I agree with free trade (although I worry it is too driven by capital’s interests, rather than those of most people) but free trade is not a matter of science like climate change is.

    reasonable people can disagree over whether neoliberal of keynesian economics is best, or whether presidential democracy is the best form of government. It is not reasonable to disagree with scientific theories that are accepted by nearly every scientist (theories of gravity, evolution, and climate change being obvious exmaples) unless you have some pretty damn good scientific evidence, in which case you should be able to convince scientists the theory is flawed.

  28. insider 29

    Don’t want to be pedantic and I’m no science philosopher but “In science, a theory is a mathematical or logical explanation, or a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation. ” from wiki.

    I don’t think climate change is there yet given the range of explanations about and scenarios for the climate and limited capability of models.

    I think it is a theory in the common usage sense but there are still a lot of connections unable to be made except by conjecture which means there are still significant areas open for debate and discussion. You don’t seem to agree that it is acceptable to challenge and ask for proof.

  29. r0b 30

    I don’t think climate change is there yet given the range of explanations about and scenarios for the climate and limited capability of models.

    Think of the scientific literature on climate change as a collection of theories, rather than a single monolithic theory (because it certainly isn’t a single monolithic issue). Any number of that collection of theories meets reasonable criteria for the label of “a scientific theory”.

    You don’t seem to agree that it is acceptable to challenge and ask for proof.

    You can’t prove a hypothesis (the core of a theory). You can only disprove it. (Go read up on a philosopher called Karl Popper).

    But at a certain point you have to accept that a theory has enough (un-refuted) support to be treated as a good working assumption, or “true” in general terms.

    Of course it’s acceptable to challenge and ask what the support is for a theory. But when you are then pointed to the supporting literature you are obliged to read it, understand it, and (if it makes sense and is supported and can’t currently be refuted) accept it as a good working assumption.

  30. r0b 31

    “You can’t prove a hypothesis (the core of a theory)” – beg pardon I should have said that you can’t prove a hypothesis outside of certain closed formal systems (such as logic) .

  31. Tim 32

    HS, I don’t actually know what a party whip is but I assume it’s someone who keeps MPs toeing the party line. I advocate for their abolition. I think the best democracy is one where representatives represent the views of their constituents and not those of their political party. I think MMP has flaws because someone who is good at manipulating their way up the ladder in a political party may end up in power, without the mandate of voters or any particular skill or integrity.

    I think Williamson and Smith should be free to state their views without interference from the party (even though I totally oppose their views).

  32. Dan 33

    I am not incredulous because they have gone against National Party policy: all MPs from all parties must struggle with policies at times. I am not incredulous because they spoke publicly against party policy: they were trying to connect to their audience. What I am incredulous about is they actually do not believe there is a problem. When a person aspires to lead, then they must be judged on their beliefs and responses to situations.
    Climate change is a reality.

  33. higherstandard 34

    Interesting I see the other Espiner has blogged on this topic as well.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/blogs/politics/2008/04/02/climate-change-and-the-hollow-man/

    Are the two espiners closely related seems they often take contrary views to each other therefore I suspect they are.

  34. Gobbler 35

    I think the Nats shoot themselves in the foot everytime this issue comes up for a different reason:

    One day they are complaining that average Kiwis are struggling to fill their cars with petrol owing to increased cost. Yet the next they are dismissing public transport and the like or simply being ‘slippery’ when it comes to detailing transport policy.

    Surely electrified rail networks in the main centres (which are powered by 90% renewable electricity going to plan) is going to provide Kiwi families with consistent pricing that isn’t beholden to peak oil?

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