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Where Is The Real Green Party?

Written By: - Date published: 8:47 am, September 17th, 2021 - 48 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, greens, james shaw, science, uncategorized - Tags:

Where’s the hairy knuckle-dragging woke when you need them?

Answer: we are in power so we don’t need it.

It’s not easy to transition down from emergency instinct to managed plan. Certainly the idea of crisis enables you to bring people with you. What happens to that sense of collective energy when it’s just another budget process?

At the end of October we are about to get another round of global cross-country comparisons about our responses to climate change. The COP26 meet from October 31 to November 12. Because it’s a global effort we all need this kind of stocktake.

The New Zealand government’s plan has been classed by ClimateActionTracker as significantly worse than Australia’s. Which is weird.

New Zealand was supposed to have a strong plan ready to present to the world in Glasgow, but the pandemic got in the way. ACT’s Climate Change spokesperson Simon Court had fun with that:

In a world first, the Government has postponed responding to an emergency. The Government declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ last year, now it’s delayed its Emissions Reduction Plan by five months. (…) Jacinda Ardern called climate change “her generation’s nuclear free moment,” and once even said it was “life or death” and yet her government imported a million tonnes of coal last year”.

With National having voted for the plan in the first place, ACT get to have the Oppositional running on this.

Minister Shaw also got grief for flying there to Glasgow rather than attending by Teams or Zoom.

The criticism from Act and National was rich given how much they’d protested virtual Parliamentary business.

New Zealand’s effort to COP 26 in Glasgow had its own public consultation which closed at the end of August

New Zealand’s over-arching priorities for COP26 will be to:

  • conclude negotiations on outstanding items of the Paris Agreement, including rules for carbon markets that ensure environmental integrity and a transparency system that enables us to hold Parties to account and which supports ambition;
  • stand with the Pacific to amplify the voices and priorities of our region.

And then you get to see a few good things occur. It’s being reported that the carbon price is now high enough to change land use sufficiently to blow away sheep and beef. It’s not yet high enough to significantly influence emission behaviours elsewhere.

I’m not sure anyone knows how either the global or national economy will be shifted into the medium term by the pandemic. Perhaps greenhouse gas emissions from tourism are permanently ratcheted down. Too early.

As reported in Interest.co.nz, the carbon price is now high enough to change land-use sufficiently to blow away sheep and beef. It’s not yet high enough to significantly influence emission behaviours elsewhere.

The government had foreseen that with carbon trading the market mechanisms were going to be strong enough to do much of New Zealand’s carbon shift through shifting land use.

New Zealand’s net and greenhouse gas emissions have been remarkably stable over two decades. It’s certainly a lot worse if you go back to 1990. There is of course more to do, but the Government is not panicking. No need.

On August 15 Minister Shaw set out a timetable that means it won’t keep to the timetable it set down to deliver it when it passed the legislation last year. Instead it will be ready for Budget 2022.

Because of that, the Emissions Reduction Plan will need to have its legislation changed. Plenty of other deadlines have had to be chucked out the window for COVID-19, so there you go.

Who’s emitting the rage of street protest now? The hairy knuckle-draggers one might have imagined from two generations ago in the Green Party are instead the antiwoke issuing a Howl Of Protest, comforting themselves to the sound of their own four-wheel utes parading up and down the country, seeking sympathy for changing land use and vehicle upgrades.

48 comments on “Where Is The Real Green Party? ”

  1. Anker 1
    • Yes Green Party members must be enraged or in denial………
    • I use to be supportive of the Greens, but their track record isn’t looking good. They have Ministerial responsibilities for CC, homelessness and violence against women..what have the achieved on any of this….? All I have registered from the Greens is Golraz advocating for the paedophile register to no longer be made public because community organisations can access that info (not taking into account that whanau who are suspicious of a new step parent can check it), accusing a film about Jacinda and the chch terror attacks being white supremacy and last term MD wanting to reclaim the word c..t……
    • happy to hear from other their views on the Greens achievements……..
    • KJT 1.1

      We won't mention James Shaw getting both Labour and National to commit to action.

      • Sacha 1.1.1

        Not 'hairy' enough political action for some apparently. To the banners, comrades!

      • weka 1.1.2

        yep.

        The untold story is that the Greens work through relationship more than conventional macho leverage politics. Having had Ministers in the past two terms means that they get to liase with Labour in ways that we don't often see, as well as being able to effect cultural and baseline change within government departments. I don't have a good enough understanding about the details of parliamentary process to write about this well, someone else should do it, write about how parliament and government actually works. Because far to many people think the GP should have a magic wand and/or can force Labour (or previously NZF, lol) to do what they want. Wtaf.

        There was an interesting exchange between Genter and Bernard Hickey the other day,

        • Ad 1.1.2.1

          Genter was one of the weakest Ministers we had that term, who lost herself in the wonkery of MoT-NZTA bureaucratic technicalities.

          • Sacha 1.1.2.1.1

            Must be why there was such a dramatic Budget increase for road safety initiatives; her delegation.

            • Ad 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Have you checked the road and injury levels since that time?

              The point in politics is at minimum to leave and not make the place worse than when you started.

            • DukeEll 1.1.2.1.1.2

              have you seen the road toll in auckland? target zero increased fatalities. a common theme with this government.

          • weka 1.1.2.1.2

            that doesn't speak to the point I made.

            • Ad 1.1.2.1.2.1

              Being ignorant of parliamentary process as you say you are doesn't mean that it's macho or posturing. It just means you need to learn more about it.

              • weka

                I understand it well enough to know that the rather large number of people complaining about the Greens not doing enough are missing why. Many people seem to think that the Greens having MPs in parliament or even when they were kind of in government, meant that they could somehow just get lots of policy gains that Labour don't want. That's plainly a misunderstanding by those people on how parliament works. I get it, I just don't have the conceptual language enough to write about it well (not my area of expertise).

                There are criticisms of the Greens to be made around whether they should be more activist and outspoken vs collaborative and working within the system.

                And I'm sure there are critiques to be made about competency, although yours seem to be based in assertions without explanation so it's hard to know what to make of them.

                But lumping that all together with vague ideas about GP magic wands just muddies things.

              • weka

                But the whole mainstream idea of leverage is macho politics. This stuff I actually understand well because I know the Green kaupapa including their approach to parliamentary politics. It's not the hard man approach that suits someone like Peters so well. And that it's different from that, and lots of peopel don't get it, leads to idiocies like 'Greens should pretend to go with National'. And people thinking the Greens are weak (see, macho) and they don't achieve anything.

                The Greens want change not power and they don't necessarily need a medal for each piece of change they achieve. They influence policy as much as bold gains that get reported in the MSM. This is why people still say they don't know what the GP does, because we're so immersed in combative, confrontational politics.

    • weka 1.2

      Here's how to know what the Greens are doing. Go to https://www.greens.org.nz/, click on News, and scroll through the pages to see the range of work they are doing.

      I also recommend following the MPs on twitter, although FB may also be good (or better).

      The Greens have 10 MPs and aren't in government. Labour govern on their own. I'd like to see an explanation of how that impacts on Shaw's job, an explanation I'm sure someone could provide, but it's easier to just throw shit about the party instead.

      The irony here is that people have been writing about where is the real Labour party for years, and Labour are the ones in charge now. And yet lefties still vote for them and then complain about the GP not doing enough. Parliament works in certain ways, if you want the GP to achieve more via legislation and policy, they have to have political power, and that means people voting for them (which in turn means not tearing them down pre-election).

      I like that some Labour supporters are real about how NZ is failing under Labour. We will see if that happens during election year too. It's like people want the Greens to be NZ's conscience but they're not willing to empower that conscience. Liberal NZ wants greenwashing not real change.

      Although, to be fair, I don't know what Ad is trying to say in this post, the headline and the hairy knuckle/woke tropes have obviously gone over my head.

      • Ad 1.2.1

        The Greens have 10 MPs and 2 are in government. They are assigned Ministerial responsibilities. Plenty of others are outside of cabinet but are part of the government.

      • Liberal Realist 1.2.2

        Well said Weka – it's not hard to find out what the Greens are doing.

        Good call on 'where is the real Labour Party' as well. This seems lost on many, for reasons I fail to comprehend. Accepting that they're managing a pandemic response (exceptionally well imo) Labour has an absolute majority and a good bucket of political capital to boot which they're just not going to use. Such a shame, though personally I've long concluded that Labour are neoliberal to the core culturally and that isn't going to change any time soon. Neoliberal means climate, environment will always come last in terms of priorities.

        • Tiger Mountain 1.2.2.1

          Agree.

          Labour’s default position is still Rogernomics/monetarism; which is now deeply embedded after 37 years in the NZ State and Public Sector via the Reserve Bank Act and State Sector Act etc.

          It will take a more militant Green Party, and community organised direct action to turn things around. It is indeed rich to criticise NZ Greens for Labour’s ideological paralysis on tackling poverty and a state house mega build.

  2. KJT 2

    Even the ACT, party talking about "Climate change" even though they would fight to the death doing anything concrete about it.

    Is a significant achievement of the Greens, in itself.

  3. Sacha 3

    Where are the real political commentators of the left? #pffft

    • mickysavage 3.1

      I read this post as being very nuanced. Ad is superficially saying the Greens are not performing but then you dig into the detail, particularly around the ETS he is saying that things are actually developing reasonably well.

      • Andre 3.1.1

        I just give a sickened wry snort whenever I consider the results of the latest carbon credits auction. Where the government dumped a whole lot of extra carbon credits into the market, to keep the price down, FFS.

        Now, I'm not exactly clear on how much discretion Minister Shaw had in the decision to do that or in setting up the rules that forced any aspects of those decisions. But the actual result has ended up as a sick joke.

        • mickysavage 3.1.1.1

          Agreed that they need to manage the market better. It is the trouble with markets … if keeping the price to “realistic” levels meant a few speculators were burned then short term I approve.

      • weka 3.1.2

        I quite often feel like I am missing Ad's point, it's his writing style I think. In this one, I'm guessing one needed a degree of knowledge about the details of eg the ETS to get his points.

        • Ad 3.1.2.1

          It would be great if you stopped presuming my gender.

          The clue to the piece was in the first two lines. It's not that hard.

      • Incognito 3.1.3

        It does scream out for a counter post to dispel a few myths in this one, but then I’d be seen as an apologist and defender of “the most idealistic party in parliament”, which doesn’t gel well with my image as hard-nosed Censor Moderator. And I’m a little short of time in this frigging lockdown.

  4. weka 4

    And then you get to see a few good things occur. It’s being reported that the carbon price is now high enough to change land use sufficiently to blow away sheep and beef. It’s not yet high enough to significantly influence emission behaviours elsewhere.

    What does blow away mean here?

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    The NZ Greens will be with us for a long time by virtue of branding alone in the midst of Climate Disaster and tipping points.

    And it is highly likely Greens will be firmly needed for a Labour led Govt. in 2023 to eventuate. NZ Labour have criminally squandered a once in a generation majority MMP opportunity to bury Rogernomics.

    A fighting, class left eco socialist Green Party is what is required. There were Wild Greens in the early 00s fighting for “EcoNation 2020” which dissipated. And Greens at top level have succumbed to both Identity Politics and class collaboration (as all Parliamentary parties do that claim to represent “all” the people). They do genuinely consult members in important decision making–more than can be said for NZ National’s corporate governance model! Or Labour’s membership subservience to the “Parliamentary Wing” and Caucus.

    But having said that, there is much Green Policy of worth if you take the time to seek it out. They need to become activists again–Extend School Climate Strikes to community Climate Strikes, direct action is needed as well as Summits and Carbon Credit shifting.
    I party vote Green and participate in what ever local activity is happening in the Far North.

    • solkta 5.1

      The "top level" of the Greens have "succumbed" to "Identity Politics" because it is Green Party policy as established by the membership. But of course "succumbed" is not the correct word as the MPs are also selected by the membership through direct voting of the list ranking. If they did not actively agree with policy then they would not be there.

    • Ad 5.2

      Exactly right Tiger Mountain.

      Beggars belief that in this time it's Act rather than the Greens that are on the rise.

      • solkta 5.2.1

        Why does it beggar belief that Act rises when National falls?

        • Ad 5.2.1.1

          Homelessness is rising and the Greens co-leader is Associate Minister of Housing with particular responsibility for homelessness.

          Climate change is accelerating and the Greens co-leader is Minister for Climate change.

          Two Ministerial responsibilities with a very high public profile.

          But they are not moving the needle of public opinion at all. Act is. Act are able to get far greater media time, with no portfolio, less Parliamentary resource, and are gaining in popularity.

          • solkta 5.2.1.1.1

            Act has picked off a lot of wingnut vote from National due to Collin's inadequacy, that is not changing public opinion.

          • Chris 5.2.1.1.2

            Climate change accelerating isn't something any minister can easily halt the rate of, regardless of the party they're from. Homelessness is something that affects the poor more than anyone, and very few people give a fuck about the poor. So again, it's not an issue that can have much to do with the fact we have a Green Party associate minister. We've also got a Labour housing minister who's party is governing / has the numbers to govern alone.

            • Ad 5.2.1.1.2.1

              Nothing like the left defending the weak performance of the Greens by downplaying the two most serious and high profile national issues outside of COVID.

              If they haven't figured out how to generate publicity from that there is something seriously wrong with both their performance and their ability to inspire.

              • Chris

                What hasn't James Shaw done that would've stopped the acceleration of climate change? And what hasn't Marama Davidson done that could've stopped the rate of homelessness rising?

                • Ad

                  Gained political traction. On either.

                  Energised the population. On either.

                  Enabled New Zealand to have a leadership position. On either.

                  The climate change ones I've already outlined in the post: form a binding national plan to bring NZ to net zero emissions.

                  It is quite amazing that supporters of the most idealistic party in parliament appear to have run out of ideals let alone ideas.

                  • Sacha

                    Nice strawman you have there. Hope it’s organic.

                    • Ad

                      If you are incapable of holding your own politicians to account you are no use to your own party. That it particularly the case when they are in power.

                      Labour gets plenty of scrutiny on this site and others.

                      But as soon as you criticise the Greens just a wee bit all their supporters cry like they've been spanked. Time the Green Ministers grew up and improved.

                    • Sacha

                      Come back to us when you start bemoaning Labour no longer behaving like a trade union – or preferably just find a more mature view of how change happens.

    • tc 5.3

      +100 a criminal waste indeed.

  6. pat 6

    There are 99 months until 2030….we've just wasted (at least) 5 of them.

  7. bwaghorn 7

    “Blow away sheep and beef.

    Looks like I might have to switch political sides.

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    I must say I am disappointed in the Greens – from the tainted embrace of 1080 to the wretched revisionist Mexican, they represent little or nothing I value any more.

    No doubt they 'hold the government to account' better than National do, but that's not much of an achievement – I have shrubbery that performs better than National.

  9. froggleblocks 9

    It's ironic you link to the interest.co.nz article, without seeming to understand the implications of what is written in it.

    The way carbon forestry farming works, is once the land is converted to forest and the carbon credits are earned and sold on the market, that land is now permanently forest. If the forest is cut down, the carbon credits have to be bought back from the market at the prevailing price. If the carbon credits are sold in 2040 for (say) $200 per tonne, and then in 2060 you want to cut the forest down and convert it to beef, if the carbon credits now cost $1,000 per tonne, then it'll cost 5x the amount of money to chop the forest down as was gained in credits from planting the forest.

    The article says that carbon foresting is now more cost effective than beef and sheep. Except you can sell beef and sheep meat every year, forever, as long as you're using the land for that purpose. It creates food and income. When the land is converted to forest, you get carbon credits for about 80 years (diminishing each year over that time span), and then at the end of the 80 years no more credits are gained. The land must then be permanently forested forever, because cutting it down at any point means you have to buy credits back from the market.

    The other aspect here is that the carbon credits are purely transfers within the NZ economy. You can't (at present) sell the carbon credits for international export revenue – but you can export beef and sheep meat overseas, and obviously we do a lot of that.

    Finally the article says that the price of carbon is high enough that it will incentivize farmers to convert away from sheep and beef to carbon forestry (with all of the implications I've just outlined above), but it is NOT high enough to actually meaningfully get emitters to pollute less. As prices rise, it will start to become attractive to emitters to pollute less, but it will become even more attractive still to convert beef and sheep to permanent forests. Why run a beef farm, which is a huge amount of effort, and earn say $200k per year, if you could just plant the same amount of land in pinus radiata and earn $300k every year for almost no effort, just selling the carbon credits as they accumulate?

    In other words the situation is VERY bad for the future of New Zealand, as the regulatory incentives currently stand. Once land is converted to forest – and we're talking about pinus radiata mono cultures here – the economics are designed such that the land will never be converted back to sheep, beef, or any other productive use.

    You've heard about kiwis becoming tenants in their own lands, because the land has been bought up by overseas interests? Well this isn't much worse – the future inhabitants of this country saddled with extensive pinus radiata monocultures, with little land being used for productive food farming purposes, which is where we presently derive most of our export income. Right now NZ produces enough food to feed 40M people. In the future if substantial swathes of land are converted to forest – permanently – we may not be able to feed nearly as many, nor produce as much export revenue. Meaning lower average incomes for everyone in NZ, except the people who own all the permanent forest land. But even those people, after 80 years, will have a lot of land with forest on it that they can't use for any purpose, but for which is no longer producing revenue in the form of carbon credits.

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