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Truth-telling and The New Climate Denial

Written By: - Date published: 2:03 am, August 4th, 2019 - 170 comments
Categories: climate change, greens, james shaw - Tags: ,

I always enjoy James Shaw’s speeches. He is often presented by the political commentariat as a centrist suit doing deals with business, letting farmer’s off the hook and dragging the Greens to the right. But when you hear him in his own words, the radical edge is always there. Not capital R, in your face radical, but a coherency with the outfield progressive nature of the party’s charter that runs through everything the Greens do.

In this year’s co-leader speech to the Green Party AGM in Dunedin, Shaw makes several important moves.

After outlining what the Greens have achieved since becoming part of the new government, he lays out what he sees as our most significant danger: the new climate deniers. Despite good work being done, the battle to address the climate crisis is proving difficult because of the next wave of this,

Today’s climate denial is far more dangerous.

And it’s dangerous because it doesn’t actually deny the basic existence of climate change or the science behind it.

It’s dangerous because it sounds reasonable.

The first stage of climate denial is – it’s not real.

The second stage is – if it is real, then it’s not us.

The third stage – if it is us, then it’s not that bad.

The fourth stage is – if it is that bad, then there’s nothing we can do about it.

Many of us have been observing and commenting on this, but it’s significant that Shaw is taking this into the mainstream. He’s directly naming Simon Bridges as leading this denial. On The Nation Shaw yet again rules out working with National, as well as saying that he could never work with someone with as little personal integrity as Bridges. That’s burning bridges time, putting a political stake in the ground and letting NZ know there is a clear choice to be made about the climate crisis and integrity. 

So much has changed in the past handful of years, and comprehension of the climate crisis is increasing rapidly. Along with that comes shifts in public response and willingness to act. This is a good thing and I feel more hope now than I did a few years ago, despite the deepening crisis. However while we are approaching a social tipping point where New Zealand (and the rest of the world) might start to take real action, we are seeing two big blocks. The new climate denial, and the potential to tip into despair.

Shaw bluntly names the problem with the first:

And the truth is, the politicians and their allies who are the new climate deniers are driven by something even more dangerous: calculated, short-term self-interest.

This is the alleged centrist in the suit, who talks with business and farming leaders, standing up and saying selfishness will kill us and the planet and we need to face this politically head on. To me this looks like paving the way for the next social shift. That what we are doing is not enough, that what we need to do can serve society well, that there is a way forward but we will have to change. It’s time to pick a side.

The second major block to real change is the potential for the tipping point of public awareness to fall over into despair. The great thing about tipping points is they can effect change rapidly, but the risk is that they may not go the way we want. We do have some choices here and I agree with Shaw that this is an absolutely critical one. As more people wake up to the crisis, if they don’t have the skills to manage that cognitively and emotionally, and don’t have pathways that give them a sense of empowerment and ways to act, then it’s likely that we will see many people choose to go into denial again, or simply give up.

National and its allies are now intentionally engaging in Trumpian politics NZ style and that is going to include increasing fear mongering at a time when awareness of the climate crisis is scary enough.  I see an urgent need for the left to be presenting truthful but hopeful stories about the climate situation and what we can do.

There are hints in Shaw’s speech of engaging with the aims of Extinction Rebellion. He talks about ‘truth-telling’, one of ER’s core demands, and goes on to list some alarming statistics on just how bad things are getting already with the climate, before talking about what is hopeful and what we can do. 

There will be criticism from the left that Shaw isn’t telling enough truth, but that’s not his job. His job is to translate the crisis into solutions-based policy and law, while conveying to the awakening public, at a pace they can cope with, why this is so important. When NZ is ready, more people will vote Green and the Greens in parliament will be able to do more. 

In the meantime it’s our job, those of us outside of parliament, to keep the pressure on across society so that at some point we elect a government that does declare a climate emergency, not in name but where it takes full responsibility for transitioning NZ to a long term, life affirming society.

Speech transcript and press release about the government’s Climate Action Plan are on the Green Party website.

170 comments on “Truth-telling and The New Climate Denial ”

  1. Frankie and Benjie 1


    Bring it on. Electric cars, cool. Tesla walls, wow. Exciting sci fi future.

    Just like the movies, up against frightening odds, how can they possibly beat the Death Star, or pull the glove off Thanos. Hopeful ideas might stop people from despair (or distract them enough to let others just get on with it).

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    So, those who refuse to be disadvantaged by climate change are digging deep into their denial resources to try to prevent anyone who accepts the situation as deeply concerning, from progressing their programmes. The denier councils are examples of this, as is the National Party. I'd suggest there's a close relationship between the two, consciously or otherwise. Bridges and his party are leading the Charge of the Ostriches.

    • weka 2.1

      Yep. I'll keep saying it, local body elections need some major attention from progressives. Regional councils especially are majorly blocking the moves we need to be doing at this point. Council elections can also be where major awareness raising happens in communities.

      The good councilors 🙂 and staff need support and we need many new, progressive faces in those positions. Hoping more people will be voting this year.

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    “Climate change is a conundrum for National, with the party’s rural base fearing the economic impact of the sharp reductions that some of its urban, more liberal supporters may want to see.”"

    “It’s time to pick a side.”

    • Pat 3.1

      wheres that quote from?

    • bwaghorn 3.2

      ""Climate change is a conundrum for National, with the party’s rural base fearing the economic impact of the sharp reductions that some of its urban, more liberal supporters may want to see.”""

      Otherring should be number 5 on the list . Those liberal urbanites will be flying and driving their little hearts out while pointing the finger at farmers. Much the same as the wealthy lefties.

      • Robert Guyton 3.2.1

        bwaghorn: do you believe that those with vested financial interests should have more or less say? Should farmers decide if farming practices must change, or should observers free of the obligations to the farm make those decisions?

        • vto

          New Zealand's primary sector has been making the decisions around primary sector resources since forever… and look at the results for the environment.

          Farmers like to claim they want to leave the land in a better state for their next generation… can someone (perhaps you mr waghorn?) show a generation in NZ which has actually done this? Because from what I can see our environment has steadily worsened with each passing generation. Since forever. Hasn't it.

          And it is still continuing (we in Canterbury are watching our drinking water getting shat in and become undrinkable. And those doing the shatting are simply looking glibbly at it with no answer, continuing to vote National and not caring a shit, so to speak)

          Under the above facts and history, the answer to your question Mr Guyton is "not on your nellie"

          • Robert Guyton

            "And yet as it stands the voter field most opposed to them is the field who hate the the Greens the most: rural New Zealand. They hate them because they feel regulated and taxed and under-represented against sneering townie liberals, who are often Green-leaning."


        • bwaghorn

          All those involved need to be part of the process.

          We need to pull the catch as one.

          Trying to go to fast and sending whole communities to the poor house will just see the whole process fall down .

          Consensus is the only way its ,probably not possible due to human nature and the fact that the national party are scum short sighted fucktards.

          • Sacha

            Fascinating how corporate dairy farming still manages to convince some people it is a 'whole community', let alone the majority of NZ's people or businesses.

            Responsible, smart farmers have a big role to play in climate action. They have not been served well by sector organisations, financiers, regulators or media.

            • Robert Guyton

              Trying to go fast?

              We have to go fast.

              Do you suggest we go slowly?

              • bwaghorn

                When moving a large mob of sheep you guide the leaders by applying pressure from the sides near the front, while easing the back along slowly enough that they dont sit down on you. The middle will go where the front leads.

                You go fast you'll lose the mob and losing the mob in the nz climate debate will hand power to right for years .

                As much as I hated the key years he was right what nz does means fuck all so we should concentrate on finding scientific solutions as reductionism really ain't going to work . Kiwis will not accept third world living standards .

                • greywarshark

                  bwaghorn you are wise up to a point. But we are all going to have to accept a drop in living standards. The big job is to try to make them at the upper third of the third world standards.

                  Thinking ahead. There are so many houses on vacant land that may have been used to bury bodies from islands in the NZ, from the Pacific etc. where they just don't have room once sea level rises or have too-high childbirth rates with over-crowding and then high influenza and dengue fever rates.

                  This sounds a crazy thought, but our ideas are lagging so far behind the known and already felt effects of climate change that we are still at kindergarten level. This is not the 20th century and we noted that changes needed to be made then, which were not done. That was because we opened the door to the tricky money-men, and they have come in and pinched our assets and our bums and settled in comfortably to shore up their tax havens, or bomb shelters, or piece of paradise or whatever.

                  It's funny my relatives have worked hard all their lives and lived well but carefully, not been alcohol drinkers for instance. Now they have a nice big house overlooking the water. Across the road are what I consider ugly utilitarian? or perhaps brutalistic two-storey grey painted, black roofed dwellings (not homes to my eyes) and the group of them are owned and lived in by Chinese people. They haven't even been able to bring their attractive roofed dwellings for some diversity of housing style.

                  We seem to be chained to the money-mad elite strutting their stuff. So we all here need to keep up with what is happening, we may be small in NZ but we will feel the effects of climate change plus political stuff-ups that will still be felt in 2084. Kiwis who won't accept this or that when they are talking over a beverage, will find that they are unprepared for what Nature and events force on them, and be lucky to have any insurance. Insurance was for when you could calculate the odds of something happening, and when it gets too uncertain it is not a viable business option.

                  • bwaghorn

                    Personally think it's to late grey . Russia and Canada are burning the die are caste .

                    But on the off chance I'm being a chicken little I am pointing out the only way were can go forward in the age of stupid.

                • Robert Guyton

                  "Kiwis will not accept third world living standards ."

                  What'll they do, Kiwis, when the climate imposes those "third world standards" upon them?

                  I'd rather choose to live differently than have such a decision forced upon me. Making changes now, voluntarily, seems the wiser choice by far. Becoming an pro-active, adroit, knowledgable "third-worlder" would be a pleasure and a privilege, imo. Being chucked, kicking and screaming, into it would be unpleasant, especially when the choice to embrace the state was offered, and declined, earlier.

                  • Leaves one to ponder why people in the third world accept those "third-world living standards." In some situations, what one is willing or unwilling to accept is irrelevant, and climate change looks like one of those situations for fairly obvious reasons.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Looking on the bright side; many of those "standards" look very appealing; it's a matter of controlling the "descent" rather than taking the plunge because someone pushed you. In fact, it'll be an improvement on many of the things we "first-worlders" seem to cling to; anyone wanting more traffic jams or a higher concentration of sugar in their diet?

                  • bwaghorn

                    Guess I should have used the term 'willingly ' I assumed it was self evident.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      You and Key are united in believing "what nz does means fuck all "?

                      Do you also believe that what an individual does means fuck all?

                      No point in grass-roots movements then?

                      Greta et al are wasting their time?

                • Robert Guyton

                  Reductionism won't turn back the climate change tide but it will prepare those who reduce for surviving when that tide comes in.

      • weka 3.2.2

        Fair point about the othering B. There's still going to be focus on farming, for obvious reasons, but I agree that there may be some people who will finger point and not look at their own impacts. Climate change as something other people do.

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    "When Chlöe Swarbrick stood up in Parliament to declare a climate emergency, the opposition simply blocked it.

    That is the new climate denial: the denial that we need to change how we do things, to avoid a climate crisis.

    It is desperate and it is dangerous.

    Simon, it’s time for a bit of truth-telling, don’t you think?

    Climate change is real, it us, but it is bad. Really bad.

    Since 1980, the world has experienced a fifty-fold increase in the number of dangerous heat waves.

    The United Nations estimates that by 2050 the world will need nearly twice as much food as it does today.

    But drought is turning some of the world’s most arable land to desert.

    The Arctic is on fire right now. Today. While I stand here and talk to you.

    The Arctic.

    On fire."

    I know how Chloe felt smiley

    • Wayne 4.1

      You seriously expect National to buy into a Chloe Swarbrick political stunt? The "climate emergency" declaration is not about practical action, it is about identifying political enemies.

      It was a good thing that Shaw said on The Nation, that the Greens would never go with National because in his view National is dishonest. Although the statement was in reference to Simon Bridges, it will be interpreted by National as applying to them all. It will make it very difficult for Shaw to do anything at all with National on anything. He has made cross party consensus on anything to do with climate change very difficult. I suspect that was probably his intention. He wants climate change to be a key political battlefront, so insulting National is one way of achieving that. He won’t be easily forgiven by National for his statement, in making it very clear he doesn’t want a cross party consensus.

      Prior to the election I did mention that I thought the Greens could in theory go with National, though I never believed that could actually happen. It is a good thing that has effectively been permanently ruled out. It makes it easier for voters.

      In the same way that in 2020 NZF won't go with National in any circumstances. So Simon might just as well rule them out as an option for 2020. That is reality anyway.

      The 2020 election might well turn on whether NZF gets above 5% or not.

      • Pat 4.1.1

        Youre a spokesman for NZFirst as well now?…when did you take up that role?

      • Muttonbird 4.1.2

        I see this has made you very angry. Backs up what I said earlier that Bridges and National will be very hurt by this. The last thing they wanted was a line to be drawn because their policy so far was to smudge any line and pretend they gave a stuff about the environment.

        Shaw has neatly framed the issue as for or against and it is this simple messaging which Crosby Textor and Topham Guerin think works with voters used against them.

        National are now on the wrong side of the environment debate and unfortunately for them their business backers will not allow them to regain any of the narrative.

        Watch for very emotive, simple, clear campaigning on the environment in the 2020 election.

        National are very worried, proven by their petulant reaction to Shaw’s speech. They know they are vulnerable.

        • Shadrach

          "National are very worried, proven by their petulant reaction to Shaw’s speech. "

          Maybe. But after the rather naïve personal attack on Simon's speech issues, and now this, I'm wondering who is worried about who?

      • Ad 4.1.3

        Shaw must have been pretty confidence in his parliamentary numbers about his Carbon bill to go after Bridges like that. Also confident that he really has won the forming lobby over. Hopefully he remembers how the Fart Tax bill was killed.

      • Dennis Frank 4.1.4

        The 2020 election might well turn on whether NZF gets above 5% or not.

        Just as likely that it will effectively be a referendum on how well the coalition has worked (as an experiment in leftist centrism) and on whether minimising our response to climate change is sensible (National's stance).

        I'm puzzled that National finds consensus so hard to even think about, let alone do. I get that tradition binds them to a sense of entitlement, but wouldn't it be better to try and make MMP work? Pissing off James was stupid. He was making a sustained genuine effort to work with National.

      • Muttonbird 4.1.5

        Bridges screwed up when he attacked Shaw on the day Shaw was signing emissions reduction targets with farmers on board.

        He said Shaw was in back-down. He should have congratulated Shaw instead for getting policy through with consensus from industry.

        Bad mistake by Bridges, as if we weren't used to that, and one which is coming back to haunt him now.

        • Wayne

          When someone calls you dishonest or lacking in personal integrity, you are entitled to react.

          Generally politicians will say of politicians on the other side that they are wrong, or muddled, or have bad policies something like that. They generally don't make it personal. That is more for party activist who usually don't have any restraint. you see that all the time on this site, or for that matter on Kiwiblog (though you don't see DPF ever doing that, unlike some of the authors on this site)

          When a politician starts saying there opponents are dishonest or have no personal integrity, they have crossed a line.


          Simon Bridges saying that Shaw backed down is hardly a cause for a personal attack. Saying the someone had backed down is not an attack on their integrity or honesty. Ask far as I can see the only looser in all of this is Shaw. He has seriosly damaged his reputation that he is above personal attacks.

          It is interesting that it is Shaw (and thus the Greens generally) taking up the cudgel of personal attacks. Shaw is getting form on this, just like the ad he used about Simon.

          In contrast you don't see either Simon or Jacinda taking that approach about each other, or the members of their opponents.

          So the Greens, who have always made a point about being above personal politics, have become among the worst practitioners of such approach. There is no obvious reason why they should do so. Unless they want to make it emphatically clear that they have no further interest in cross party dialogue.

          This issue is not about coalition arrangements (the Greens would never go with National in any event). It is a statement they don't intend to engage with National on any issues. Why they would do that, I don't know.

      • Psycho Milt 4.1.6

        It was a good thing that Shaw said on The Nation, that the Greens would never go with National because in his view National is dishonest.

        On this subject, National is dishonest. It pays lip service to the science on AGW while simultaneously opposing any efforts to mitigate it that would affect its voter base. I don't know whether it's being dishonest about accepting AGW is happening or dishonest about wanting to do something about it, but the "dishonest" part is clear enough.

      • weka 4.1.7

        "It will make it very difficult for Shaw to do anything at all with National on anything. He has made cross party consensus on anything to do with climate change very difficult. I suspect that was probably his intention. He wants climate change to be a key political battlefront, so insulting National is one way of achieving that. He won’t be easily forgiven by National for his statement, in making it very clear he doesn’t want a cross party consensus."

        I see it similarly, although for me there are two additional contexts. One is that the Greens have taken an open approach to politics generally and climate change specifically for nearly 30 years. Now that it is clear that National are choosing climate denial and active on that, it's fair that the GP assess that as extremely dangerous and act accordingly by laying down some lines. There's nothing left to lose but a lot to gain.

        I agree that it gives voters clarity.

        The other is that afaik the GP position is still that they will work with any party on shared policy. So theoretically this includes National. Whether National can get over the insult, or whether they choose to use the insult for their own side of the power game, that is on National. At some point they will have to acquiesce on climate or be destroyed as a party. The climate crisis will ensure that. I hope for all our sakes that doesn't happen in a long drawn out nasty political process. But in the end the Greens are still willing to work with whoever is willing to do the right thing.

      • Anne 4.1.8

        … the Greens would never go with National because in his view National is dishonest. Although the statement was in reference to Simon Bridges, it will be interpreted by National as applying to them all.

        If the news reports I’ve seen are correct, he didn't say National is dishonest. He said that Simon Bridges lacks integrity. And he was referring to Simon Bridges, not all the members of the National Party. If you have chosen to interpret it that way, that is your prerogative but imo you are clearly wrong.

        Bridges has shown time and again he lacks integrity by the way he distorts a circumstance to fit with a meme he is trying to evoke. The most recent example is the Part Time Prime Minister (PTPM) incident. He knows it’s a lie, and he also knows the trip to the Tokolaus was arranged many months ago and it was NOT a holiday.

        James Shaw has been in talks with the parliamentary National Party for some time over cross-party action on Climate Change. Simon Bridges would have been an integral part of those talks. I suspect he and some of his MPs were saying one thing to Shaw, then something quite different to the more self-serving and entitled among National's supporters.

        Is it any wonder he has deduced that Bridges cannot be trusted and lacks integrity.

        • Wayne


          I would have thought "part time Prime Minister" cannot really be seen as a personal attack. It is not intended to be an attack on her integrity or honesty.

          • Morrissey


            Of course it is an attack on her. Bridges must have struggled hard to resist using the demeaning and misogynistic language his National cronies use about her when talking with one another.

          • Robert Guyton

            Wayne said:

            "I would have thought "part time Prime Minister" cannot really be seen as a personal attack."

            "Breath-takingly disconnected from reality", was my first thought, but eventually I went with, "ex-Nat".

            • Muttonbird

              Struggling to see how Key's accusation that Labour 'backs rapists and murderers' isn't personal.

          • Anne

            It was dishonest Wayne intending to create an impression which is untrue. Yes,
            I know politicians of all colours make a mockery of one another, but that came across to me as intentionally nasty.

            • Poission

              Would it be a personal attack on James Shaw,to say that in relation to his management of the statistics portfolio that he lacks integrals (almost surely) ?

              • Anne

                Are you referring to the Census balls-up that he inherited from National? The one where they made the decision for the population to fill their forms in online… failing to appreciate that many people didn't have computers because they couldn't afford them so ended up been left out altogether? By the time Shaw took over the portfolio at the end of 2017 the point of no return had passed, so he had no choice but to let it roll out as it was.

                I agree that was a shambles but that's what one expects from a National govt.

                As for his integrals… he's always come across to me as a pretty wholesome and complete sort of guy. 😉

              • In Vino

                It seems to me that Wayne is diverting – taking Shaw's low, personal attack as if it somehow is more significant than the global warming of our planet.

                That Wayne does so makes me suspect that he is one of those denialists who still clings to the delusion that the science is not yet settled, and it can all be put off and ignored in the real world of business… etc.

                Wayne, I suspect you may well live long enough to have to admit how wrong your outlook is.

                • Anne

                  Actually, I think Wayne is aware of the seriousness of CC, but his desire to protect his beloved National comes first.

                  Btw, I don'r regard Shaw's comment as low at all. I think he was telling the truth based on his own personal experiences.

                  • In Vino

                    Yeah, I was kind of quoting Wayne when I wrote 'low' .. But I could not remember him using the word, just portraying it that way.

                    I agree with you.

                  • Wayne


                    I was certainly defending Simon Bridges. He has not done anything that warrants such a personal attack.

                    Obviously I know that politicians attack each other, usually on policies, sometimes using satire and hyperbole (such as part time Prime Minister). But only very rarely do they do so on the basis that they are dishonest or lacking in integrity.

                    That this particular attack came from James Shaw made it all the more unusual. Given the record of the Greens on personal attacks.

                    So I can only assume he is using it as demarcator that in future he will have nothing further to do with National. That cross party dialogue between National and the Green Party is a thing of the past.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Unequal dialogues are a contradiction in terms and bound to fail. National is unable to see this. Might is Right.

                    • In Vino

                      What else can one say, Robert?

                      My compliments – I think you say it best.

      • Robert Guyton 4.1.9

        "The "climate emergency" declaration is not about practical action, it is about identifying political enemies. "

        You're repeating that nonsense again, Wayne?

        I suppose you are unable to recognise just how wrong it is; hence your insistence on making the claim over and over. As someone who did as Chloe did; moved the declaration of a climate emergency, not, as you claim, to "identify my political enemies" but to set in motion action to address the coming changes and because my intentions were genuine and not as you describe, I can understand that Chloe's were also for the same reasons. Your view is cynical and warped, in my opinion.

        • Shadrach

          There are two angles to this.

          On one hand, declaring a climate 'emergency' is tokenism and no more. It is just another foolish attempt to use emotive language to scaremonger based on the worst case scenarios, and forgetting that many people have become skeptical because of the failure of many predictions from the past to become reality.

          On the other hand, there could be something more sinister. Alarmism is seen by some as an excuse to curb the freedoms of others, in a similar way that occurs in times of wars and natural disasters. The difference is that man cannot 'fix' climate change, and so these curbs will continue indefinitely, inserting ideological insanity in the lives of our children and their children.

          I am very definitely in the former group, perhaps because I have a natural bs meter when it comes to conspiracy theories. Nevertheless, as the climate change hysteria heats up, it is increasingly difficult to ignore those who have a foot in the second camp.

            • Shadrach

              Graph 1 shows an increase in atmospheric CO2.

              Graph 2 shows a temperature anomaly over 140 years of under 1%.

              Neither graph provides any insight into whether mans activities can 'fix' climate change, or whether climate change is, or will be catastrophic. Some suggest it may well be very, very good https://www.spectator.co.uk/2013/10/carry-on-warming/.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Believing that the effects of unnatural atmospheric/climate trends "may well be very, very good" is illogical (IMHO). As is appealing to the ‘authority’ of Matt Ridley (“Carry on Warming” – 2013).

                "For 23 years, I worked at a libertarian thinktank, arguing against climate action. But my views have changed. I now embrace decarbonization. Why? For one thing, I’ve come to better understand risk management."

                "There’s a world of difference between those “likely” low-end and the high-end estimates. “Lukewarmers”, such as the journalist Matt Ridley, contend that warming will be at the low end and prove of little consequence. Many scientists, however, have little patience for those arguments, arguing instead that warming is more likely to be at the higher end, with global environmental and economic convulsion the likes of which we’ve never seen." – Jerry Taylor


                • Shadrach

                  No it is not illogical. Believing man can 'fix' climate change in any significant way is illogical.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Shadrach; if you believe humans caused the climate to change beyond its natural form; AGW in other words, you must surely believe that … humans can cause the climate to change; therefore they must be able to "fix"; that is, change, the climate still. They/we may not be able to entirely reverse the changes we've made but still, significant change isn't at all "illogical", donchthink?

                    • Shadrach

                      Humans are undoubtedly responsible for some of the change in climate. It does not necessarily follow that we can reasonably reverse that, or that we should even try.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      "Humans are undoubtedly responsible for some of the change in climate. "

                      Capable of some change?

                      Good. Let's make some more changes to help alleviate the expected damage. I'm surprised you can't detect the contradiction in your claims.

          • Robert Guyton

            Shadrach says, of an issue with a multitude of aspects,

            "There are two angles to this", thus proving he's from the Right.

            • Shadrach

              You've totally misunderstood the point I was making.

              • In Vino

                From what I can see your point is that it is foolish to be alarmist, because you yourself, with your marvellous bullshit detector, have seen through so many conspiracy theories.

                In this case I think your bullshit detector may have become a bullshit producer. You often produce it in quantities on TS.

                • Incognito

                  If his BS detector is anything like a vacuum cleaner it sucks, and blows at the other end 😉

                • Shadrach

                  Your reading for comprehension is deficient.

                  My original post (https://thestandard.org.nz/truth-telling-and-the-new-climate-denial/#comment-1642864) made it quite clear that the conspiracy theories I was skeptical about were those that ascribe some great global scam to alarmist climate change claims.

                  I don’t hold that view. Apart from anything else, I doubt the protagonists of such a grand conspiracy would have done such a poor job at making their case.

                  The reason it is foolish to believe the most alarmist of claims because there is no evidence for them, and acting on those claims will likely bring harm to many people.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    So many of us failing to grasp your meaning, Shadrach! It might be, bear with me for a moment, that your explanation was somehow…lacking. Wanna have another go, more slowly this time, using words and concepts we hold in common?

                    • Incognito

                      Somehow, it reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld … 😉


                    • Shadrach

                      "So many of us failing to grasp your meaning,"

                      No, only InVino.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      "You've totally misunderstood the point I was making."


                    • Shadrach

                      "You've totally misunderstood the point I was making."

                      Yes that was addressed to your inability to differentiate between your "multitude of aspects" and my "There are two angles to this". It seems you were struggling to read the posts in order and context.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      So only In Vino … and me…

                      Drowsy's all good then?

                    • Incognito []

                      Yeah, nah!

                      I’m still at a loss what Shadrach thinks a “hissy fit” means.

                    • In Vino

                      Shadrach – my heart bleeds for your misunderstood ardour.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Robert @8:39 pm (4 August) – I may have misunderstood Shadrach's 'evidence', but their position might be summarised as "make hay while the sun shines*" – never mind that 'making hay' (BAU) is untenable, not to mention irresponsible. [* wow is it shining or what!]

                      No doubt Shadrach supports the concept of 'personal responsibility', provided that it doesn't hinder their efforts to accumulate wealth.

    • Poission 4.2

      That is the new climate denial: the denial that we need to change how we do things, to avoid a climate crisis.

      It is desperate and it is dangerous.

      Indeed it is.

      Climate deadlines,and declarations of emergencies are dangerous.



      • Robert Guyton 4.2.1

        From your link, Poission:

        "For those who take the rhetoric of climate change discourse literally there is of course a certain logic to such desperate measures. "

        For those who believe much of what is said by the climate scientists and commentators, there is of course logic to support a such desperate measures; it's a desperate situation and those who deny that situation are indeed a threat to the well being of all of us.

        • Poission

          Look out the window Robert.

          The consensus models (both GCM and CCM) suggest strongly (high confidence) that the gains under the montreal protocol (CFC control) will reverse and cancel mode and circulation changes in the SH, a return to the good old days.

  5. Ad 5

    I've been guilty of of quietly enjoying a well structured political speech or two, like weeing in your own wetsuit its quietly warming.

    When Labour starts trending back to its natural mid-30s, the Greens need speeches with policy platforms that will attract 12% rather than 6%. Sure it's too early for election-year policy, but some hints on how to get there would be useful.

  6. Muttonbird 6

    I enjoyed Shaw's comments on The Nation. Describing Bridges as someone with little personal integrity will hurt Bridges, and it will hurt him because it is the truth, he knows it is the truth, and he knows that a very, very large proportion of New Zealand knows it is the truth.

    It's in the people he associates with: It's in Chris Bishop who deliberately trawls government agencies for online weak points to exploit. It's in political hitman and bagman, Jami Lee Ross. It's in Paula Bennett who uses ordinary people's personal information to attack them politically and closes the door on struggling people, the door once open to her.

    It's in his daily actions: It's in the casual racism and the casual abuse of colleagues. It's in the corrupt cash-for-candidates thought embedded in the National Party. It's in the default silencing of women who have been harassed. It's in the arrogant, smug, entitled use of taxpayer resources for personal political gain. It's in the employment of US-style attack politics.

    And it's now in climate change denial. Pretending action while still placing business ahead of the environment.

    • AB 6.1

      A shame that James stopped at stage four. Stage five is when the evidence and effects are visible to everyone. Then denial will not be enough to protect existing wealth and power. Only force will do that job. The pain and suffering will be pushed downwards while the top end of town defends to the death everything they have. There is a straight line from current denialism to some dystopian future.

    • chris T 6.2

      The Greens have become just an off-shoot of Labour now they continue to sling their hook to one ship.

      Actually more just Labour's patsies given how little influence they have had.

      Sad really, given how much influence they could have had, if they had genuinely cared enough about making change to be make an effort to be more influential.

      • Dukeofurl 6.2.1

        What part of 6% of the vote dont you understand. You maybe on the bridge but you dont get to plot the exact course. 12% likely gets a hand on the wheel.

        Ask Maori party about how much of your agenda gets implemented when you go with National

        • chris T

          It is all well and good having 6% of the vote, until Labour figure out they can do anything they want and the Greens will just cave, as the Greens will only hang out with them.

      • Robert Guyton 6.2.2

        It's sad, Chris T, terribly sad: think of all the joy they could have felt as an off-shoot of National! They would have Simon as their leader, Maggie Barry and Paula Bennett as role-models and climate-denial as their raison d'être! Foolish Greens; giving all that up for … governance!

        What were they thinking???

        • chris T

          They would have a shedload more influence doing a Winston and getting the best deal from either side than just going "We are going with Labour. Tell us what you will let us do Winston"

          • Robert Guyton

            A shedload more!

            Just what they yearn for! A shedload more of National-approved…what?

            • chris T

              There is no law that says you can't say you will go with either knowing you will go with Labour.

              It is called political bargaining and Labour could do with a bit of a shock rather than just taking them for granted.

              The Greens could have easily been in the same bargaining position as Winston and demanded to be in on the talks.

              Instead it was, "We will be alright. Just get what you can get for us no matter how small, in closed meetings with Winston Jacinda. Cos your ace and we will go with you anyway"

              • Robert Guyton

                Well, Chris T, it's a great shame, a great shame indeed that YOU weren't leading the Greens negotiating team when the horse-trading was underway, coz you're EXCELLENT and this sort of thing and clearly The Greens were completely unable to grasp the subtleties you are so au fait with. If only they had known!! Everything might have been different now! The Greens could be hand-in-glove with Simon and Paula and winning concessions hand-over-fist!

                And you'd be singing their praises. Instead of wittering-on like a neurotic chicken smiley

              • Sacha

                The Greens could have easily been in the same bargaining position as Winston and demanded to be in on the talks.

                'Demanded' backed with what? If they had retained closer to 15% of the vote perhaps.

                • chris T

                  Backed with the fact if the Greens said they might go with the Nat's, even if internally an empty threat Labour would be screwed Winston or no Winston

                  • Rapunzel

                    If "ifs" and "buts" etc, etc, it looks like, this is not the same chris.

                    • chris T

                      How is it not the same?

                      Without Winston they couldn't be in govt, without the Greens they couldn't be in govt

                  • Sacha

                    Lab + Winston > Nats

                    No way the Nats were going to change stance enough for the Greens to work with them – so there was nowhere else to go. Everyone knew that, including Winnie.

            • chris T

              Would also remind you that probably the best deal the Greens have had in a long time was insulating 100,000s of houses in partnership with the Key govt

              • Robert Guyton

                Ah, yes, the MOU The Greens ended because of National's duplicitous behaviour. That abiding memory!

              • Rapunzel

                The other "reply" bottom has gone but they did and they are in govt, NZers will get a vote next year and National will still get the same hard-core vote around the 40%. That will be the time to gauge how to deliver both their supporters and Winston's a sound platform, I don't see why an "Epsom" shouldn't be exploited to shore that up.

                • chris T

                  Unless Labour gift Winston a seat (which may not even work with them) it doesn't look like he will even be around.

                  But a fair point. Labour should still win and hopefully the Greens won't just roll over again, to put them in govt.

                  As scary as a Labour, powerful Greens only govt sounds to me, it is better than just one party.

                  • Rapunzel

                    I hope Winston is but it may not even be seats that are the cause of that TBH.

                  • gsays

                    Winston not being around after the election… this will be the fourth election he has been dismissed as ineffective.

        • ianmac

          Delicious there Robert @6.2.2

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    I detect a personal element in his description of Bridges, and I have no problem with whatever experiential basis provoked that description. The Nats have a genuine leadership vacuum, and are in collective denial about that, gambling that enough voters are deniers. Not a sensible gamble!

    A clever leader would respond appropriately to geopolitical circumstances, and read the mass shift that history is catalysing. Bridges, instead, is thinking like a used-car salesman – as the Greens attack ad depicted.

    When I first wrote here around 5 years ago I was staunch on the GP being centrist. I've seen the viability of that stance eroded by Nats obduracy, so I reckon James is reading the electoral prospects right. The Greens have to reject a National Party that is firm on remaining part of the problem. If the Bluegreens want to play a constructive role in Aotearoa, they must pull finger and shift National into being part of the solution!

    • gsays 7.1

      Is it a leadership vacuum or the result of their politics.

      By that I mean Bridge's utterances seem to be the result of polling. Not coming from principles, not from a bigger plan just saying what they think needs to be said to get into power again.

      On RNZ, when he paints himself into a corner, Bridges just seems to repeat a couple of key phrases that he was briefed on before the interview.

      • Dennis Frank 7.1.1

        Yeah, both, I guess. He is indeed a practitioner of ad hocism. No sense of the zeitgeist whatsoever. Little sense of strategy, and not a clue how to make MMP work for National in the current context.

  8. vto 8

    Truth-telling? Ha

    Until politicians apply the Fair Trading Act to themselves, like it is to commerce, they will always fail to impress…

    Misleading and deceptive conduct in trade

    Misleading and deceptive conduct in politics

    Which is more important. Which has a greater impact on society

  9. Rosemary McDonald 9

    What would secure my two votes again would be a definite, unequivocal move left from the GP. Have loudly and proudly proclaimed policies that would not only demand implementation of measures to halt climate change, but would also demand protections for those most affected by climate change.

    • weka 9.1

      What kinds of protections Rosemary? The Greens talk about a just transition (eg job creation in the new green economy where climate polluting jobs are phased out), but I am curious how you see that could be done.

      • Rosemary McDonald 9.1.1

        I'd like to see parallel workstreams. One devoted to slowing and mitigating the effects of climate change and another building resilience in populations that are likely to be most impacted. Not in a 'We will look after the poor people if/when shit gets real' kind of way, but strengthening those individuals and communities now. There are far too many people barely getting by, and the WEAG highlighted this and recommended that benefits be raised immediately. This has not happened and these citizens have been told to wait, again. I sense the GP knows that life is hard enough for this group already without them giving climate change much thought. Alleviate their financial constraints and this very large group of potential voters just might have the time to consider other issues. Come voting time it would be useful for people to have already come to see the GP as being as much for the people as they are for the planet.

        It nearly happened under Metiria…

        • weka

          Love the parallel workstreams framing, and I hope the GP extend their work out beyond the jobs aspect. I think they inherently do, in that they want all government policy to take climate change into account and thus their policies do. But I agree that it needs to be loud and proudly spoken.

          I think they've been hinting that welfare is coming up on their agenda. I hope so. Tying that into climate mitigation and adaptation is a really good idea, and might be a way of getting NZ out of its political cul de sac of hating beneficiaries/being afraid to stand up for beneficiaries.

          • Brigid

            "I think they've been hinting that welfare is coming up on their agenda. "

            That isn't good enough. They need to declare that the lower paid and unemployed or disabled are barely subsisting and that they will tell the government in no uncertain terms that it needs to do something about it now.

            Rosemary is quite right. When you're living in your car with your three kids you do not give a shit about climate change, nor do you care what party is in government, because if this so called left leaning coalition will do damned all about inequality what's the point in voting at all?

            • weka

              "They need to declare that the lower paid and unemployed or disabled are barely subsisting and that they will tell the government in no uncertain terms that it needs to do something about it now."

              Afaik they already did that in various ways and the government ignored them.

              The point in voting is that if the Greens weren't there it would be a more centrist L/NZF govt with even less attention paid to the homeless.

              The Greens don't have a magic wand, and they don't have the power in parliament to get more gains than they have. To get significant movement on poverty, they need more MPs.

              In the meantime, they have to strategise and work with what they have got. It looks to me like they have focused on the responsibilities they got post-election via the agreement with Labour. They've also worked on building and maintaining relationships with Labour and NZF, and using their influence there. They're now solid to start doing more on the issues you raise.

              If you want to blame someone, or be angry at someone, maybe look to the people who have the power to make immediate changes: Labour and NZF.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Agree with this on the need to strengthen less well off individuals and communities. And it is safeguarding the least well off that would make it a radical policy.

          In recent decades I have seen the elites appropriate and defuse radical policies (feminism, 'race', indigenous land rights, etc). They do not give up their power and privilege without mobilising many strategies and propaganda.

          I think this maybe where Jack McDonald sees the GP having drifted rightwards under Shaw's leadership, especially with policies on economics and social security.

          The main issue for the right with climate policies seems to be their potential loss of economic power, income and wealth.

          It will require mass mobilisation of people power to counter any right wing initiatives that claim to maintain the comfortable lives of the middle and upper classes – rather than the required need for us all to change our lifestyles.

          • Pat

            "It will require mass mobilisation of people power to counter any right wing initiatives that claim to maintain the comfortable lives of the middle and upper classes – rather than the required need for us all to change our lifestyles."

            It will require a mobilisation of people power with a coherent pathway AND an acceptance that everyones lifestyle (OECD) is going to need to change and PDQ rather than a disparate demand that only others need to change …the signs of that acceptance are as yet not good.

  10. Marcus Morris 10

    A brilliant, timely and extraordinary speech from James Shaw. It is extraordinary because it has long been a Green Party mantra where you do not attack the person. Criticise the policy of course, but avoid bringing in personality. The philosophy behind this, I think, is that in doing so you maintain both your dignity and your integrity. I may be wrong but show me a piece where any previous Green Party Leader has contradicted my “thesis”. In fact Green MP’s have shown remarkable restraint over many years when they have put up with incessant personal attack and abuse from the “right”.

    James Shaw has called out Simon Bridges for what he is, a shallow desperate populist. Had this come from Labour or New Zealand first it would have been dismissed as a political rant. Coming from James Shaw it will get the waverers thinking and it is that thirteen percent that must be engaged if we are to ensure the continuation of this present regime.

    • weka 10.1

      I thought that too (but haven't been following politics so much in the last year so wondered if I had missed something). This is why it seems like a stake in the ground moment. Shaw has burnt the GP bridges with National as part of an intentional strategy to carve out space for the next political movement on climate action to centre. It's a very good move (despite the wonky start with the car sales ad). I hope they will maintain their position of not doing attack politics generally, but make exceptions as needed on CC. Or maybe they're about to go hard after Bridges/National.

      • Rosemary McDonald 10.1.1

        Shaw has burnt the GP bridges with National …smileyyes

        • Robert Guyton

          Bridges burned?

          Shaw. But was there ever anything other than a leash and collar between the parties?

          James has slipped that once and for all.

  11. IMHO, Shaw is one of the most under-rated NZ politicians. Ardern is good with the media, but you can hear the careful message management being applied when she's in difficult territory – I've never been able to hear Shaw doing that. He always sounds like he's just telling you what he thinks, which is mind-boggling when you try to imagine yourself being able to do that if you were him. If he says "I would never empower someone with as little personal integrity as Simon Bridges to become Prime Minister," you'd best believe it.

  12. I'm glad they've ruled out working with National, because National's MPs peddle a particularly devious variant of climate change denial. It's a variant of this one:

    The third stage – if it is us, then it’s not that bad.

    The model is to pay lip service to the science, but downplay the speed and extent of change so that there's an excuse to oppose every single climate-change-mitigation policy that would affect its supporters' BAU. That way, they can avoid being described as AGW-deniers while continuing to act as AGW-deniers. There won't be any truth-telling from these people and the Greens' efforts would only ever be sabotaged by them.

    • Robert Guyton 12.1

      "There won't be any truth-telling from these people and the Greens' efforts would only ever be sabotaged by them. "


  13. Sacha 13

    This seems to be the shortest clip of the relevant part of The Nation (1m30): https://www.facebook.com/NewshubNationNZ/videos/377634992895005/

    "I would never empower someone with as little personal integrity as Simon Bridges to become Prime Minister"

    If Wayne wants to read that as insulting his party rather than its current temporary leader, that says more about tribalism than anything else.

    • weka 13.1

      I don't know, seems like a pretty pointed insult to the party. They put in and keep a leader who has no personal integrity. What does that say about the people that chose him?

      • weka 13.1.1

        probably not the party as a whole though, from memory National don't have a democratic process for choosing leaders so it's not like members are responsible for Bridges.

      • Sacha 13.1.2

        Or it could be giving the Nats a face-saving way out of their current stance – ditch the 'leader' (who in reality has little power), then upgrade the policy.

        And yes, the people to convince are not the branch members but the shadowy creeps who run the party apparatus.

      • greywarshark 13.1.3

        I guess that Gnash plan to present a new leader later on who will seem to be fresh and have no faux pas to stir the peeps. The Party will be so overjoyed that they will flock behind the new person, and only the seat will remain warm. The temperature will get colder around S Bridges – they might give Simon a medal for just sticking with it, probably stick the medal at him – ouch.

        (In the UK it was noticed that Boorish was quiet in the 7-10 days before the election for which he was tipped to tip-over, the thinking being that it cleaned the slate ready for the announcement of his rising.)

        • chris T

          The irony being the Nats are in a better position currently than Labour would kill their own family in the same time frame to be in when they became opposition.

          Obvious difference is the Nats have no friends.

    • joe90 13.2

      "I would never empower someone with as little personal integrity as Simon Bridges to become Prime Minister"


      James knows something we don't?

      • Sacha 13.2.1

        You have to wonder. It's an unusual statement.

        • weka

          How so?

          • Sacha

            As our friendly law commissioner has been noting above, pollies do not usually go for each other so personally. Maybe Shaw's obvious distaste has been informed by stuff the public has not been privy to?

            • weka

              Maybe but it doesn't strike me as something he would do. Unless this is a new, dirtier Greens.

              • Robert Guyton

                James was just truthin'

                • weka

                  I think so. I think PM's point upthread, that what you see is what you get, is true.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    The Greens hold the issue of climate change and if they're staunch enough to keep their grip on it strong, they stand to rise to extraordinary political heights, in my opinion. They'll have to endure slings and arrows, but what's new about that? They always have and know a thing or two about the Simons of the political world and know that when he says, "do this" they should do as they've always intended.

                    • marty mars

                      One big issue is that the forces of denial are going to ramp up as more evidence is shown that they are wrong – facts, evidence and photos mean nothing to these people – they want BAU and money and that is that. The Greens are going to have to really get tough to take the shit coming their way if they stand up for action to combat the climate disaster – they can do it and they will need the strength of many arms to achieve it.

                • James was just truthin'

                  Yup. Even if the info leaked by Jami Lee Ross didn't convince Shaw that Bridges has no personal integrity, the pride Bridges took in having overseen a data breach of a government system couldn't have left any doubt.

  14. A sitting member of the Labour Party told me NZ First are a real anchor to progressive/radical policies within the Coalition.

    National, in the face of the impending climate crisis (the scale of which few have been able to imagine or comprehend yet) are irrelevant. They will be consigned to a footnote in history books (if humans are in a position to record the terrible events about to happen).

    NZ First are not much better, but at least have some capable MPs. Tracy Martin, for instance.

    If this country is going to respond in any meaningful way to the coming climate crisis, we need an unencumbered Labour-Green coalition government. James Shaw and the Greens, especially the young members, will have an increasingly important role to play.

  15. marty mars 15

    This is very sad.

    "As an indigenous ecosocialist the last few years have been tough; the 2017 campaign, Metiria's [Turei] resignation, and the continued centrist drift of the party's direction under James Shaw's co-leadership.

    "When the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] says we have 12 years to save the world from climate catastrophe, we simply don't have time for centrism, moderation or fiscal austerity."

    However, Mr McDonald said he would be staying on as a party member, as he believed the Green Party were still the best hope for radical change in Parliament.


    • Ad 15.1

      Agree, but it's also a gift for list renewal.
      It’s more dignified than the mad foaming mess of resignations four weeks out to election day last time around.

    • marty mars 15.2

      Sad because we need young people to be engaged – to be motivated to work to change things but maybe that needs to come from outside the system.

      • weka 15.2.1

        Sad as a loss for the Greens. Exciting to see what Jack does without the limits of being a political candidate. I'd be happy if we had a solid GP the way that it is with a substantial movement outside of parliament pulling government left and forward.

  16. greywarshark 16

    What does anyone think of whether the computer age and tech generally is taking away our ability to think things through and make decisions as a reasoning individual – put this in How to Get There? But I think someone detected me as a BS fabricator, and I have not passed the test for serious consideration.

  17. Hmmmm,… I've always been a skeptic of the assumed core reasons ( the burning of fossil fuels etc ) for any 'climate change'… and thought tree planting / revegetation would be far more appropriate. And while they ( oil / coal ) may be a contributor,… I reckon its far more than that. Remember when we all used to say that the worlds forests are the 'lungs' of the earth?

    And why we talk about riparian edges being 'reveged' as natural filters?

    Well , I think the real culprit is the denuding of the worlds great forests thats more at fault than the burning of fossil fuels.

    Have a listen to this learned academic.

    ‘How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change’

    Allan Savory

  18. Sacha 18

    When did we start labelling willingness to compromise as 'centrist'?

  19. ianmac 19

    Read somewhere this morning that said a US Poll showed that young Republicans believed that Climate change was the most important issue facing them.

    Might put Deniers Trump and Bridges in a tricky spot?

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