This is a guest post from a long time reader. The writer states:
I have been looking at and thinking about this issue for a few weeks now and had expected some coverage on the issues in the media leading up to the election but there’s been nothing.
Your post last weekend leading up to Father’s Day and suggestion to send in a post to Pete got me thinking. However my apologies that this is not a short 500-1000 word post.
I am not a public figure, a journalist, or blogger. I am not a member of any political party either. I am currently a stay at home mother who also does a bit of charity work for a national charity which has nothing to do with these issues.
I have a question. It is important and arises out of an issue that ought to have some light shed on it before we cast our vote in less than a week as we weigh up who we trust to run our country because there is a risk that decisions might be made following the election that none of us thought we voted for. By then it is too late. This issue has not featured during this entire election campaign and I suspect the media’s insatiable lust for the “dirty politics” saga has taken up so much of the oxygen that even the proponents of global warming and climate change have choked on all the hot air arising from the political storm that has ensued.
‘Climate change’ and in particular the mechanism for a “polluter-pays” regime has been high on the agenda and a significant issue for all of the political parties in the previous three election campaigns with plenty of debate. This time it has been buried under all the popular issues de jour such as child poverty, capital gains tax and the minimum wage. It surprises me especially when I recall previous elections and the spectre of an increase in the cost of living arising out of taxes on carbon pollution.
Much like the ongoing debate as to whether climate change is a controllable impact on our environment, until recently there has been a lot of debate on all sides of the political and environmental spectrum as to the desirability, credibility and effectiveness of the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) versus a simple carbon tax. I don’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of all the competing arguments. I am not an industry participant by any definition but an end-use consumer, a mother of three young children in her 40s, with a sizeable mortgage to pay on top of other increasing living costs.
The sustainability of our planet, protecting our environment and ensuring the generations that follow in our footsteps aren’t adversely affected by the excesses of our times is important to me and yet I remain concerned at the rising cost of living and the potential impact the introduction of new taxes or costs based on amorphous concepts such as climate change will have on our economy.
I also want to know the detail and what the deal is for each of the parties. We didn’t need the “Dirty Politics” book to teach us that behind political parties’ policies lie individuals, lobby groups and industry sector groups with a vested interest in the success or otherwise of proposed laws that will affect them.
As a voter and an individual I am no different in that I want to know what I am up for and what will affect me in the pocket following this election. So I went looking for party policies on this issue and the future of the ETS in particular, because it doesn’t take a genius to note that as ‘polluters’ responsible for around 47% of New Zealand’s total emissions (based on 2010 figures[i]) if the agricultural sector is included in the ETS the high costs faced by farmers will inevitably be passed on to us as consumers of dairy and meat products.
What did I learn? Read more »