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.  

Dr Kennedy Graham: With full regard to that unique mix, would he agree that if one takes account of New Zealand’s per capita emissions, our relative wealth, and our historical emissions, our target would be at least 40 percent below 1990 levels, not 11 percent?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: All those things have, I am sure, been taken into account, and some of them may be at a detailed level, but, just by way of an example, a very high proportion of our energy is from renewable sources already. I note that other countries that are, on the face of it, promoting more aggressive targets than New Zealand are at the same time, for instance, shutting down low-carbon-emitting energy sources such as nuclear energy and expanding their coal energy, and it is going to be pretty difficult for them to reconcile those kinds of conflicting objectives.

After going on and on all year about the so called child poverty rate in NZ for which they use an equality measure more than a poverty measure, Kennedy Graham then quotes New Zealand’s relative wealth when the Greens are wanting NZ to increase our emissions reduction targets.

If NZ has relative wealth, then it also has relative ‘poverty’  and therefore it does not have one third of its children living in poverty.

As we blogged earlier the ‘poverty’ measure is one of relativity and not actual poverty. You know the methodology is flawed when one of the criteria is some children share a room. When I was at primary school I shared a room with my brother. I can assure you that we were not brought up in poverty back then.

The measures are designed to gain headlines and create the perception of permanent poverty which must be addressed. It is rubbish.

What makes it all worse is parties like the Greens are quite content to use relative measure on climate change but they won’t compare our ‘poverty’ with that of other countries. It would destroy their myth that a third of children live in poverty.


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