Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Climate change: Ambitious for New Zealand?

Over on his blog, Gareth Morgan attacks the government's withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol as duplicitious and deceitful. In the process, he clearly expresses the real problem:

It is evident that National does not subscribe to the view that New Zealand can meaningfully change its economic structure, we are predominantly a primary producer and that is what underlies our status of being the 5th highest emitter of greenhouse gasses per capita in the OECD (11th in the world). We simply cannot change that and are finding the economic cost of even reversing the upward trend in our per capita greenhouse emissions too big an ask. We don’t have any other strings to our growth bow other than sponsoring emission-intensive industries so for us it’s either economic growth or capping emissions – you cannot have both. This is National’s position. It needs to be explicit on this and have the courage of its convictions to say so.

This is National's vision of our future: a cow shitting in a river, forever. And everything else must be sacrificed to maintain it. Our local environment, the global environment, our international reputation, even our democracy - all must make way for the mighty cow.

Its a blinkered view of our economy, one which totally denies any possibility of innovation or change. "Ambitious for New Zealand"? Hardly.

As Morgan points out, the public aren't being asked whether this is the sort of economy we want. Its time we were. But that's the last question that National - a party whose principle purpose is to protect existing economic interests - wants to ask: because given a choice, the New Zealand public might say "no".