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There is a way forward – if we are wise enough to take it

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, November 15th, 2012 - 28 comments
Categories: capitalism, Conservation, economy, science, sustainability - Tags: , ,

Unemployment at record highs, current account deficit in trouble, the economy is stagnant, exodus to Australia, National is failing by every performance measure that they set themselves (except enriching the already wealthy of course). No plan when elected, no plan now, nothing to offer but shrugs and “jokes”. The most frustrating thing is that it doesn’t have to be this way, there is a way forward:

NZ placed to reap rewards in an eco-conscious world

Mandatory emissions standards for new vehicles, an electrical “smart grid” and a stocktake of our clean green image are among a raft of ways New Zealand could benefit itself and tap into a global green economy projected to top $3.6 trillion by 2050.

A report released today by the University of Auckland Business School and consultancy Vivid Economics proposes an ambitious blueprint for “green growth”, with homegrown export potential ranging from sustainable agricultural products and geothermal energy to second-generation biofuels.

It has found New Zealand could benefit from green investment in two main ways – exporting to countries investing in green assets and technology and importing new technology and ideas to boost world-leading policies here.

It makes recommendations for our major industry sectors, including tourism, agriculture and forestry and envisages an energy-efficient electricity network and eco-friendly buildings.

The report backs improving standards and infrastructure to meet an influx of electric cars, urges investment in public transport and second-generation biofuels, and proposes mandatory light vehicle emission standards for new vehicles. …

Pure Advantage, a lobby group formed by top business leaders, believes New Zealand has the potential to generate billions of dollars in new high-value economic growth while improving the environment. Yet the opportunities presented in the report have not been fully realised, according to the group’s chairman, Rob Morrison. “If they had been realised, we would already be seeing significant economic and environmental gains – but as of yet we are not.”

Pure Advantage commissioned the report:


Auckland and Wellington, 15 November 2012 – Pure Advantage today launched a significant new independent report called ‘Green Growth: Opportunities for New Zealand’, prepared by internationally renowned economists Vivid Economics of London in conjunction with the University of Auckland Business School.

The macroeconomic review is the first robust analytical assessment of New Zealand’s green growth economic opportunities within a global context.  …

‘Green Growth: Opportunities for New Zealand’ can be summarised into six points:

  1. A green economy offers the opportunity to improve the overall wellbeing of all New Zealanders, by viewing economic growth and environmental improvement in a holistic manner.
  2. New Zealand could benefit from global green investment patterns in two main ways: by exporting to nations investing in green goods and services and by importing new technology and ideas to create efficiencies at home.
  3. The potential economic opportunities are significant – the IEA estimates that global investments in low carbon energy alone could reach more than US$3 trillion per year by 2050, if the world shifts to an ambitious green growth trajectory.
  4. New Zealand should focus on sectors where it already has an advantage or where its natural capital is best suited to capturing future advantages.
  5. The best green growth export opportunities for New Zealand include sustainable efficient agricultural products and services, geothermal energy, biotechnology and forestry, including second-generation bio fuels. In the domestic economy, opportunities include improvements in building and transport energy efficiency, electricity grid technology and matching brand credibility through improved biodiversity management.
  6. These opportunities generally require action from both industry and government; however, there are steps which private industry can take immediately and unilaterally.

It’s all there. It’s the only rational way forward. The problem is that the message has already been repeated many times (sigh). The Nats aren’t listening. We’re stuck with as many wasted years as it takes until we get a government that can see the bleeding obvious. There is a way forward – we just need the wisdom to take it.


28 comments on “There is a way forward – if we are wise enough to take it”

  1. Tom Gould 1

    The Pure Advantage prescription makes sense, however how is this translated into everyday language that will engage and excite the public and shift conventional wisdom? All Key and Joyce need do is mouth some nonsense about ‘voodoo economics’ and ‘snake oil salesmen’ and ‘higher power prices’ and ‘sandal wearers’ and it all grinds to a halt.

    • karol 1.1

      Cunliffe has a go:

      “Labour is placing green growth at the heart of economic development. Low carbon power, transport and building technology could be worth $3 trillion by 2050. These are huge potential export opportunities for New Zealand companies.
      “The Government cannot dismiss this report out of hand like it did the previous one. That was an insult to the high calibre members of Pure Advantage. With world-renowned economist Lord Nicholas Stern involved in this report further insults would be a step to far.
      “It’s time for National to catch up with the 21st century, not wallow in the policies of the last one.”

      Though it may still need a little more refining to address and excite ordinary Kiwis.

      • aerobubble 1.1.1

        Man alters the environment to his own ends. Cheap oil allowed for roading to go up the sides of hills where no horse and cart would. It was bleedingly stupid. National roading while good in the sense that we should have built a proper highway system 50 years ago and reaped the benefits of cheap oil, and necessarily need an extensive highway system still. Is however still based in the thinking big mentality, forcing the geography of NZ to suit humanity. Its bleeding stupid to build any road like we did in the past, that goes up and down hills, tunnels yes, across flat plains yes, but up and down gullies, geez, let the market adjust itself to the nature of the highway system not pick winnings and lock in downstream fuel costs.

        So what’s the worst policy path for NZ, first fail to build a highway system 50 years ago, then fail to build an energy efficient highway system today when we do finally get round to it.

      • Jenny 1.1.2

        A leader is the one who gives a lead.

        What lead has Shearer given in any direction, on any topic?

        • bbfloyd

          @jenny…What lead have YOU given on any topic? Or is irrelevant whining supposed to be your idea of leading? I”ll make it easy.. Cunliffe is the economic development spokesman…. It’s HIS job to Speak on these issues….Which is why he has….

          And how much of Shearers speeches have you listened to, or read?? So how do you know he hasn’t talked about this??? From the look of it, you wouldn’t recognise leadership if you life depended on it….. But go ahead, white ant your own party… That seems to be all the “defenders” of democracy seem capable of right now….

          Nothing short of mental illness would induce me to vote national, ( regardless of what lprent thinks of me,”right wing troll”indeed), but considering what i’ve seen from the opposition “supporters” lately, Australia is starting to look more realistic as a permanent home….. Hanging around just to watch the labour party having to battle it’s “own people”, as well as the Murdoch fourth estate” is a pointless waste of time…..

  2. Bill 2

    It’s the only rational way forward.

    It might be a more rational way forward for a market economy. But is continuing to run our economy along market principles any rational way forward at all? I don’t think so. There is nothing rational in pursuing economic growth for its own sake (a central supporting pillar of a market economy). And there is nothing rational or even very human in continuing to have people serve the needs of the market rather than having an economy that serves the needs of people.

    But anyway…

    • karol 2.1

      Agreed – we need to shift towards an economy that serves the people.  Social policy developed in relation to the economy, not the economy first.

      • aerobubble 2.1.1

        I disagree. Greed is good, just excessive greed is damn stupid. As a Green I have long believed the greediest plan was to maximize the resources of the planet, and that means over the longest time period. And the need to dig it up and burn in all in one generation is not only not smart, its not capitalism, its national socialism (the Nazi weren’t the only national socialist party). Any governing party that cannibalizes the planet (pollution), society (social inequity), the economy (huge debt) is a national socialist party. Both Labour and National have continued the same policies started under Roger and Thatcher, to use the wealth of middle east oil to pick winners who could produce the most profit today as to the most profit over the lifetime of their raw resources.

        Key is not a capitalist, he’s your classic upper class toff hanger on.

    • lefty 2.2

      Green capitalism is just opening up new fields for capitalist exploitation and will give another temporary burst of life to a stuffed system, just like keynesian economics, neo liberalism etc did.

      At best it would have a marginal effect on the well being of the planet and will do so at the cost of relieving the political pressure to do something real about changing the economic system that is the source of our social, economic and environmental problems.

      We would have to be foolish indeed to think these Pure Advantage guys have suddenly turned from some of the worst exploiters around into saints who care about something bigger than their bank accounts.

      • aerobubble 2.2.1

        Nobody is pure, Karl Marx wasn’t. Shit happens. The question is for me how to get the current conservative rump to wake up to themselves before its too late. You must know by now, stupid people are conservatives all their lives.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.2

        Green capitalism is just opening up new fields for capitalist exploitation and will give another temporary burst of life to a stuffed system, just like keynesian economics, neo liberalism etc did.


        • aerobubble

          I don’t see it that way. Its rather negative to suggest we should just give up, all those Greens have been scammed, and well even the neo-liberals won’t change either. In fact if I were a neo-liberal I’d probably want to pour cold water on any means to move forward. And yes it will mean taking business people along because we can’t survive now without advanced farming, etc. Going on 7 billion, that’s a lot of people to die to get back to some Green fantasy.

          Tomorrow the governments of the world should hike the cost of private car ownership…

      • Jenny 2.2.3

        I suppose Lefty we could wait for the great glorious proletarian revolution to end capitalism. But by that time the planet would be cooked.

    • fatty 2.3

      true…it appears that green capitalism is the new version of third way…which is just another form of neoliberalism. Interesting link here

  3. Great to read that research into positive alternatives are being invested in. Thanks Anthony

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Good points to raise Anthony, but unless tourists are visiting NZ in coal steamers or on sail ships in 2050, there’s not going to be much of a tourist industry by that time.

    • Populuxe1 4.1

      Even in the nineteenth century there was a significant tourism industry in New Zealand, and I think you grossly underestimate the possibilities of steam and sail technology.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        I’d be more likely to pay to go on a sailing ship than a modern diesel cruise liner.

      • aerobubble 4.1.2

        Yes. And they will stay longer and pay more, and not leave coke cans everywhere. Why does National do that! Argue its will be worse if the Greens get there way, cost more, and be what was it Key says ‘naive’.

    • Wayne 4.2

      We are not going to run out of fuel any time soon. Jet airliners will still be ubiquitous in 2050. Heck, the Dreamliners coming into service from now to 2020 are likely to be still operating in 2050. The 767’s Air New Zealand bought in 1984 are still flying today, and airfares are way cheaper now than they were then.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        We are not going to run out of fuel any time soon.

        Sure, we’re simply running out of cheap fuel.

        Heck, the Dreamliners coming into service from now to 2020 are likely to be still operating in 2050.

        A few will operate, for VIP services.

        The 767′s Air New Zealand bought in 1984 are still flying today, and airfares are way cheaper now than they were then.

        The next 30 years is not going to be predictable from the last 30 years.

        Just like trying to predict the happenings of 1980 to 2010 based on 1950 to 1980 events would not have worked.

        • AmaKiwi

          When the economy gets a cold the tourist industry gets pneumonia.

        • Richard Christie

          We are not going to run out of fuel any time soon.


          Meaningless comment, usually put as an excuse to do nothing and wait until we’ve irretreivably shat in our nest.

          What the hell is soon?
          Do you expect, or at least hope, that the human species will still be around in 100 years?
          200 years?
          How about 500?


          Thinking retrospectively, 5000yrs is not very long,, only almost 5000 years or so since Egyptians built their first pyramids.

          Let’s think optimistically and aim for at least a couple of million years.

          It’s going to be a long, long, long, long time without cheap oil, if any oil at all.

          And without oil the planet can’t support the way we currently live. Support nothing that even approaches the way we currently live.

          Reality is way too hard for neo lib capitalist theory to cope with.

          • aerobubble

            Economically speaking, consumers of oil will have to have money to buy oil as oil becomes scarcer. Since everyone eats and will of necessity pay farmers, farmers (the producers of food), will have the money to buy fuel for their farms. Now tell me how much fuel will be left at reasonable prices? Enough for a family to run two cars? Even one car? I don’t think so. Already there is a huge incentive for people to cycle, moped, to work, with a Green government buses will become cheaper and cars more expensive. So we can say one thing for sure will happen by 2050, the private car will be the target of the tax man, and the farmer lobbies will be fore square behind them for obvious reasons, that the less waste of fuel by private families the cheaper their input costs for fuel.

  5. Jenny 5

    The crisis is upon us. Climate Change is a reality that can no longer be denied. (though apparently, it can be ignored, especially by politicians seeking reelection).

    • aerobubble 5.1

      Climate change happens in the natural course of events. The crisis we are facing is four fold, rapid population rise coupled to wasteful resource depletion, backed by an economic system that rewards bullies (like when did everyone get so stupid and not realize that bullying was a scam to distract individuals – termed bully – into the false belief that any good, or power, could come from the use of force), and the fourth spectre of the crisis the social collapse that see growing bullying in all its forms, from loud useless car noise, to people wasting their lifes trolling ‘shoot ya’ threat, etc,etc.

      National Party insanity is still played up as the competent compromise.

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