Written By: - Date published: 10:55 am, October 14th, 2008 - 89 comments
Categories: climate change, economy, election 2008, Environment, families, greens, health, housing, national, tax - Tags: nick smith
National’s Nick Smith has announced that they would cancel the $1 billion fund to insulate New Zealand houses, which the Greens won as part of the Emissions Trading Scheme. This massive programme would improve energy efficiency, create warmer, healthier homes and would provide useful employment during the downturn. A study, ironically carried out under National and mentioned to me by Nick Smith, showed that insulating a State house saves $2 in health costs per $1 of insulation – it actually saves the Government money to invest in insulation. But National would cancel the plan. Their priority is tax cuts right now, not a myriad of benefits in the future. I suspect for Nick Smith, personally, this is another ‘dead fish’ he has to swallow to get back into power.
This is part of a disappointing trend from National. Under the Tories, we would see Kiwisaver gutted, R&D credits gone, and no money for insulating homes. These are all programmes that are a long-term investment in creating a wealthy, more high-tech, healthier, more efficient New Zealand but National would rather use the money for tax cuts for the rich (something like 80% of the extra money in National’s tax cuts goes to people on incomes over $100K). It’s this short-term thinking that got us into trouble in the 1990s. They attacked our public services, education, health, benefits and cut taxes for the wealthy. The effects are still being felt now as the children of the Mother of All Budgets reach adulthood.
Now, more than ever, I don’t think New Zealand can afford to be run by a party that refuses to make long-term investments in the future.