Stupid stupid stupid

Written By: - Date published: 3:50 pm, November 12th, 2009 - 12 comments
Categories: Environment, john key, national/act government, scoundrels - Tags:

the-stupid-it-burnsOur government is stupid. Sorry, it’s the only conclusion I can draw. Our government is made up of confused, muddled thinkers incapable of planning further ahead than lunchtime. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

National have decided to “scrap the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy and stop work on vehicle fuel efficiency standards” (hence the split with the Greens as first reported by Pundit). These are bizarre decisions. At a time when energy costs are rising, and the costs of emissions are going to rise, we are gutting our attempts to improve energy efficiency and conservation. It’s stupid, it’s going to increase costs, it’s going to damage the environment. Jeanette Fitzsimons calls this “a retrograde vision of energy efficiency” and says:

… I introduced the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill in 1998, later passed in 2000, which gave the power to set Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for products, as most of the world had been doing for some time. Territories which have succeeded in substantially reducing the energy they use to produce goods and services, like the stand-out example of California, ascribe most of their success to a system of codes and standards for buildings, products and vehicles.

I have trouble understanding the antipathy of the National Government to standards of this kind. Products have not become more expensive. There is still a huge amount of choice. It seems to be ideological.

You don’t have to be a genius to see that the new Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy will be a huge step backwards.

So what kind of thinking lies behind National’s retreat from reality? Here’s John Key trying to explain his resistance to efficiency standards for cars:

“Because we think actually the changes to energy efficiency standards for cars will pose significant costs on New Zealand at a time when they can’t afford it and we don’t actually think it will improve the emissions profile because we think New Zealanders will stop buying new cars”

Count the stupid: (1) More efficient cars are cheaper to run, the higher upfront cost (if any) will be quickly recovered – see for example some UK figures. (2) Any increase in upfront cost is only met by someone buying a new car – i.e. someone who has decided that they can afford it – those who can’t will be buying second hand from the existing fleet. (3) Of course it will improve the emissions profile because of course Kiwis won’t stop buying new cars. (And in any case how can it impose significant costs on us if we stop buying new cars? – you can’t have it both ways John!)

As if this wasn’t bad enough, according to NRT National are also effectively abandoning planning for renewable energy sources:

… Fortunately, Labour moved to [channel] $4 million a year into sustainable energy development. And then, there was a change of government. National doesn’t believe in renewables, and doesn’t believe in sustainability, and so in their first budget they cut that funding from 2011 [PDF; p 146]. Now, they’ve released a new “feedback document” on their research priorities. The word “renewable” doesn’t appear in it once. As for energy research, it has been grouped together as “energy and minerals”, with a focus on Increas[ing] New Zealand’s wealth by identifying and exploiting hydrocarbon, mineral and other resources. In other words, finding more coal and gas to dig up. “Short-sighted” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

So we’re abandoning conservation and efficiency and renewable generation. This is so stupid it burns. Key may think that he’s avoiding hard decisions (it’s all about re-election to him), but that is an unambitious position born of fear and limited vision. Going green can save money for individuals and create opportunities within the economy. Instead, Key and his government offer no moves to address the challenges of our times, and selfishly pass off the costs of this abject failure to future generations. Cowardly as well as stupid.

12 comments on “Stupid stupid stupid”

  1. stevo 1

    Great, another clear position of difference opens up for people of sense. It was way to crowded in the centre anyway.

    It now falls to Labour to get on with it and sensibly present the difference to the public. Can you do it?

    National standards for kids but not for cars and new homes.

    Blue-Green indeed.

  2. George D 2

    (4) Reducing oil imports significantly will reduce the current account deficit, which is among the largest as a % of GDP anywhere in the world.

    (5)Reducing that current account deficit will reduce interest rates.

    (6)Reducing interest rates will help spur productive investment, and discourage speculatory investment in the NZD, lowering pressure on the dollar and making the currency more stable.

    (7)More productive investment and a long term lower, stable dollar would help the economy greatly.

    All of this is because National have fed the “Nanny State” beast, and now believe the meme to the bottom of their hearts. It is so bloody stupid it is unbelievable.

  3. RedLogix 3

    When Muldoon made the decision to shitcan Labour’s original 1970’s fully funded Super scheme, and replace it with his National Super which pushed the cost onto future taxpayers’ election bribe… the world didn’t end that day. It was only several decades later when everyone realised what an dreadful mistake that had been, how the costs while small initially, gradually compounded over the years.

    It’s the same with these regressive blunders this National govt is making, no-one will notice the impact today, but a future generation will condemn them and those who voted for them as profoundly short-sighted. By then someone will have found the cause of this spiritual disease and we will be able to cure it… hopefully.

  4. tc 4

    Stupid ?…..more like culpable /wreckless/negligence in charge of a country.

    More corporate behaviour……hid in your cave rather than face the music by going to copenhagen, chuck out some meanigless illogical statements for the doting press to lap up without question.

    But what do you expect from an ex currency trader fronting the big business interests that back them……you can just about see the puppet strings when he speaks.

    And hasn’t big business covered itself in glory as a well run efficient job creation machine that benefits the economy……mmmmmm.

  5. fizzleplug 5

    I love how this has been classified under “f*ckwits”. Says it all really.

  6. 350ppm 6

    The International Energy Agency has just released this year’s World Energy
    Outlook report. It will be of little surprise to anyone who has given it a moment’s thought that the Agency found ‘energy efficiency offers the biggest scope for cutting emissions.’ See: http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org

    Key, Brownlee, Smith & Co. ought to be hounded out of the country for their gross irresponsibility and flagrant contempt for taxpayers on energy and climate issues.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    I saw this coming when the split between the Greens and National cropped up. National is a conservative party and really does believe that the 19th century was better than today, ie, standards are new fangled, hard to understand and get in the way of the capitalists profit at any costs especially ones that can be passed on to other people.

  8. Macro 8

    “Gerry Brownlie!” – nuf said!

  9. Stupid and cynical.

    The nats are great at working out what is populist. They do not care about logic or the future or what is best. They are only concerned with how they can spin things to remain populat.

    And regrettably kiwis have this anti intellectual thing. Put up an expert and much of the population want to disagree with them and are indignant if you point out that the expert may actually better qualified to talk.

    So one side tries to win arguments with rational analysis, the other side likes to poke fun and pick scabe.

    One of these sides will do immense damage. Guess which one?

  10. Bill 10

    stupid, stupid, stupid…..for maintaining the faith…..

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