Green Party

Awesome news. Can we just cancel it now?

The Green taliban are outraged, because they say the Emissions Trading Scheme is so weak now it is ineffective.

An evaluation of the Emissions Trading Scheme shows the Government has “weakened the scheme to the point of ineffectiveness,” says Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

The Government released three technical reports last week, to help New Zealanders engage with a public review of the ETS.

One of those, a Ministry of Environment report into the performance of the ETS, found it provided businesses nearly no incentive to look at how to reduce their emissions.

Shaw said that with expenditure of $40m on setting up the ETS, and despite it being the Government’s main policy for tackling climate change, it was failing.    Read more »

Hide on Greens going mainstream

I had thought it was only new co-leader James Shaw anxious to be business-friendly and PR-savvy by rejoicing COP21 in which the world’s leaders meet in Paris to agree solemnly to do nothing about climate change.

I mistakenly presumed Shaw, in joining Government Minister Tim Grosser celebrating the “do-nothing” agreement, would cause the Green Party to explode. But no. It was accepted.

And now Green co-leader Metiria Turei has made the party even more middle-of-the-road. It’s all the more astonishing because she has been co-leader for seven years and in the old radical Green Party she was the most radical.

Turei used her state-of-the-nation address to explain how unradical the Greens are, how they can work with National and Labour, and how they are the party of fiscal rectitude.

“We’ve had agreements with Labour and National,” she said.

And by implication the Greens can do so again. Brilliant. The Greens are trying to straddle the centre and are opening up the possibility of supporting John Key in government. Their members and supporters are being not-so-subtly softened up.

Straddle the centre? Nothing of the sort. All the Greens are doing is trying to engage and attempt change by influence and then take credit for it. National, quite rightly, are keeping them at arm’s-length and continue to paint them as far-left loons.   Read more »

Taxpayer-costed policy is of no benefit to the National Party

It is clear that every policy Labour have introduced fell apart under a little scrutiny within 24-48 hours, and frequently the numbers simply didn’t stack up.

I don’t see National giving away such a natural advantage by levelling the playing field.

Also, knowing the Greens, they would clog any such department up with continuous trivial and whacky requests and make it effectively useless.

In 2011 Australia set up a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) to provide an impartial costings of the election commitments of political parties during the campaign period and to assist parties in their costings outside the campaign period. Canada had set up a similar office in 2006.

The Congressional Budget Office, with a much more expansive mandate was established in the US in 1974. The New South Wales Parliament followed the federal example and set up its own PBO.

In this context the proposal by Metiria Turei to set up an independent costing unit for New Zealand seems very sensible and mainstream.

It is a major change to the conventions around election costings in New Zealand. The current position as set out by the SSC and Treasury in their guidance for public servants published on their websites in the lead up to the 2014 election is that only the Finance Minister or relevant portfolio minister can request costing of party election promises.

This not an option open to the Opposition or other non-government parties. In 1998 the Howard Government in Australia introduced the Charter of Budget Honesty Act. While modelled on New Zealand’s Public Finance Act in providing for a pre-election “opening of the books” it also expressly provided that during the pre-election period the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition could request the Secretaries of the Departments of Treasury and of Finance to prepare costings of their publicly announced policies. Since the establishment of the PBO in 2011 minor parties can also request costings and parties can approach the PBO instead of Treasury and Finance.

Allowing non-government parties to have their policies properly costed levels the playing field between the government and other parties and can improve the quality of policy debate in the lead up to an election. Whether this actually happens depends on how the costing unit is structured, but a lot more on how the parties make use of it.

The Greens will be all for this until their policies are costed and people work out that they are insane, with no real economic credentials other than they like spending other people’s money.

I also question how long such an office would remain impartial once a Labour government got in and filled its ranks with their flunkies.

Chris Trotter espoused different concerns…he thinks treasury is full of ideologues and neo-liberal control freaks.

Sadly, a good idea will fall by the wayside. In any case we don’t need a review office to know that anything Labour and the Greens propose will be horrendously expensive and blow out massively. Look at student loans and Working for Families. And Winston isn’t any better with his Gold Card bribe.

 

– NZ Herald

Key to Turei: On yer bike girlie

The Prime Minister has dismissed a Green Party policy to create an independent policy costing unit in Treasury, saying it wasn’t a priority.

The Greens had sent letters to leaders asking for cross-party support on the idea, and they’re not surprised John Key isn’t a fan.

In her State of the Union speech yesterday, co-leader Metiria Turei detailed the Policy Costing Unit plan, which she said would “cut the spin” and bring clarity to the political system.

She estimated the cost of the unit would be between $1 million and $2 million a year, but would increase in election years.

At his post-Cabinet news conference yesterday, Mr Key said the policy wouldn’t achieve what it would set out to do and parties could just ignore the numbers.

“I can see why the Greens are worried about the costing of their own projects and Labour’s because they’re obviously usually pretty large. I don’t think it it’s a terribly good idea.” Read more »

Green Taliban want to ban weedkiller

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The Greens are launching a campaign to halt the use of one of the most commonly used weed killers in the country.

The Spray-free Streets and Parks campaign, which will be launched at Northcote’s Onepoto Domain today, is calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to reassess the safety of glyphosate.

The chemical – first sold in Round Up in the 1970s – is widely used by councils in parks and streets around the country, says Green MP Steffan Browning.

However, despite the World Health Organisation classifying glyphosate as probably carcinogenic, it was still legal to use it on public spaces and around the home, he said. Read more »

What happened to peak oil?

The Green party issued a press release yesterday in which they claimed that cheap oil prices give us the opportunity to start exiting from oil exploration.

Low oil prices give the Government the perfect opportunity to begin withdrawing its support for oil exploration and risky deep sea oil drilling, the Green Party said today.

Oil prices have fallen over the past 18 months, dropping from more than $100 a barrel to just over $30. Some analysts believe prices could sink to as low as $10 this year.

“Low oil prices present the perfect opportunity for the Government to start withdrawing its support for oil exploration and risky deep sea oil drilling,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“Oil hasn’t been this cheap since George W. Bush was President.

“We know that two-thirds of all discovered fossil fuels have to stay in the ground if we want a secure, stable climate. A good economic manager would use the low current oil price to withdraw its support for further investment in dirty energy and encourage capital to flow into the clean economy instead.

“Once oil companies sink capital into extraction, it becomes costly to abandon and that much harder to meet our Paris commitments to reduce carbon pollution.   Read more »

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New Zealand farmers warm to Green Party. Luckily, the Australian one

The Aussie Green party is moving to embrace GMOs, and Kiwi farmers have said it is a sensible policy, putting pressure on the NZ Greens to do the same thing here.

New Zealand farmers are pleased with what they believe is a shift in the position of Australian Federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale on the issue of genetically modified crops.

The Greens oppose the use of genetically modified crops, arguing they pose significant risks to agricultural ecosystems and human health.

But Senator Di Natale told the ABC last week that there is no concrete evidence on potential health harms to people.

He said as a medical practitioner he did not have a philosophical or ideological opposition to the technology itself.

Read more »

Police Complaints Authority accepts Green Party complaint on behalf of Hager

The Independent Police Conduct Authority will investigate a complaint about police actions in their unlawful search of journalist Nicky Hager’s home.

The Green Party laid the complaint with the police watchdog and confirmed this afternoon it had received a reply saying an investigation was imminent.

Police turned up at Hager’s Wellington house in October last year with a search warrant after the journalist used information about blogger Cameron Slater, obtained from hacker Rawshark, in his book Dirty Politics.

Last week, the High Court ruled the search unlawful.

The Greens laid their complaint on Monday.

“We welcome the IPCA’s prompt decision to investigate the decisions that led to the police warrant and unlawful search of Mr Hager’s home,” party co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“There are many unanswered questions from the Dirty Politics scandal, and why the police made the decision to search Mr Hager’s home is one them.

“Given that the warrant and search on Mr Hager’s house have been ruled unlawful, I asked the IPCA to investigate the decisions of senior-ranked police officials involved in applying for the warrant.”

Ms Turei claimed that Hager’s book uncovered a “dirty politics regime run out of the Prime Minister’s office” and that John Key had not properly addressed those allegations.

The complaint is that there is alleged political interference or direction that caused the police to execute a search warrant on Hager’s stuff.   Read more »

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The inconsistency of the Green party

This was Kennedy Graham in parliament on 2 December:

Dr Kennedy Graham: Has the Government made any estimate of the percentage reduction required in our emissions in order for New Zealand to have its fair share of the global carbon budget consistent with 2 degrees?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I suspect that calculation may well have been done, but I do not have the numbers to hand. The Government is satisfied that the targets we are talking about at the conference in Paris represent an adequate balance of our contribution to reducing both climate change and temperature increase with the fact that for New Zealand the cost of reducing another tonne of carbon emissions is higher than for any other developed country.

Dr Kennedy Graham: What are the principles of fairness that his Government has used when it decided on its self-described “fair reduction target” of 11 percent of 1990 levels?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Pretty much what I have just said and that is carrying our share of the burden of reducing carbon emissions across the globe on the one hand, and on the other hand balancing it up with recognising that it costs New Zealand more than pretty much every other developed country to reduce carbon emissions by another tonne because of the unique mix of carbon emissions that New Zealand produces.   Read more »

Useless Green MP wants Red Peak, still

Gareth Hughes is the one of the biggest wastes of space in the parliament, and he has some serious competition.

But his latest outburst about that stupid Red Peak flag that came a very distant third in the recent referendum is just ridiculous.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes is refusing to fly the Red Peak flag at half mast just yet.

The Red Peak placed third in yesterday’s first referendum preliminary results.

This means it has little chance of going up against the existing national flag in the second voting round in March.

Read more »