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National’s weird take on the Government’s Climate Adaption Plan

Written By: - Date published: 9:05 am, August 4th, 2022 - 7 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, james shaw, Media, national, science, uncategorized - Tags:

The Government’s Climate Adaption Plan was released yesterday.  It is a complex report that traverses what we are going to do to respond to the threats of climate change.  The comments in the report are general.  As is the analysis of the threats posed by climate change.  We do not know if we are going to have to face enhanced threats from storms, sea level rises and adverse weather events or if we are going to absolutely cook the planet and have to plan for a tiny number of humans to travel to Mars and set up a colony.  Such is the degree of change that could occur.

But it is bleedingly obvious that change will occur.  Nothing can be more certain.

The report presents a compelling argument for 3 waters:

Over the next 30 to 40 years, an estimated $120 billion to $185 billion upgrade of water assets will be required to meet drinking water and environmental standards, and the needs of future population distribution and land-use choices. The aim is to significantly improve the safety, quality, resilience, accessibility and performance of the three waters services in a way that is efficient and affordable for New Zealanders.

The report mentions the potential economic cost in terms of uninhabitable houses, and this sum could exceed $100 billion.

From the report:

About 675,000 (or one in seven) people across Aotearoa live in areas that are prone to flooding, which amounts to over $100 billion worth of residential buildings. Over 72,000 people live in areas at risk of storm surges. The number of people exposed to these hazards will increase as rainfall increases, storms become more frequent and sea levels rise.

Who should pay this bill?  Should it be all borne by Government, or should Insurance companies, that have already built climate change risk into premiums contribute, or what about Local Councils that grant consents to construct retirement villages in areas with a coastal inundation notation in their District Plan, should they chip in for making such a stupid decision?

Or the landowners themselves?  Should they be permitted to build in areas that are clearly at risk but then still expect all of us to bail them out?  Or the banks that lend money on land purchases on clearly risky sites?

About who pays the cost the report says this:

Central government will not bear every risk and cost of climate change, including climate change adaptation. Risk and cost will fall across different parts of society, including asset or property owners, their insurance companies, their banks, local government and central government. The Government can choose the role it plays and how it influences the way these costs and risks fall. Care will need to be taken to manage any perverse or unintended outcomes such as moral hazard (that is, inappropriate incentives to continue developing in at risk areas).

This is fair enough.  There will need to be meaningful discussions between all of the parties and for the Government to say that it will pick up the tab right now is absolutely crazy.

This level of craziness did not stop the National Party or, dear lord, Radio New Zealand from attacking the Government on this very point.  From Radio New Zealand:

National Party climate spokesperson Scott Simpson said despite the draft version of the plan asking for the public’s input, it was silent on the potentially trillion-dollar question of who would carry the cost.

“Well better late than never, five years into this government’s term and they’re finally addressing the adaptation plan.

“But the big question is really left unanswered which is ‘who pays?’, and that’s not addressed in the plan.”

And the presentation is very National friendly.

Shades of reporting two sides of an argument even if one side is total bollocks.  And Lisa Owen pressing James Shaw on this particular point repeatedly was a waste of valuable space in the public discourse.

Of course a conclusion of “who pays” is not included in the plan.  The issue is addressed and it is made that this is a really big complex issue that hordes of lawyers will be fighting over during the next few decades to resolve.

But to demand a precise conclusion on how much this is going to cost us all and who is going to pay is that stupid a proposal that Scott Simpson, National and RNZ should hang their heads in shame for even suggesting it.

7 comments on “National’s weird take on the Government’s Climate Adaption Plan ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    "Well better late than never" says National's Scott Simpson, untruthfully.

  2. Ad 2

    I am surprised that the Insurance Council isn't indicating that it is preparing to withdraw coverage from more floodplain areas like Christchurch east, Thames, northern Napier, South Dunedin, southern Invercargill, or Petone.

    Its too big for government or local government.

    Needs more big premium bumps.

  3. Bearded Git 3

    RadioNZ continues to take a very anti Labour government line on key issues-we should expect balanced journalism at least from RNZ. I wonder what is going on there.

    (Hoskin and friends are lost causes of course)

    • tc 3.1

      National 'aligned' RNZ early days under former chair Griffin.

      Enter Kris Faafoi who did SFA with his media mates and here we are.

      Covids shown how crucial objective reporting is and should've been a first term objective given the ongoing dirty politics after Goff, cunliffe etc.

  4. Mike 4

    Great post, as always. You make me understand that we are heading into a Climate War, and the opposition is not the self-serving fake accountants of the nitpicking Right but a mad planet we have armed to kill us. In the context of a "war" you start looking at concepts like treason, sabotage and taking money from the enemy. Just saying.

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