The National government's economic policy over the past six years has (publicly, at least) been driven by a need to protect New Zealand's credit rating in the face of the global financial crisis. But while they've been slashing and burning and selling stuff off, they've missed the real threat; climate change:
Climate change is a mega-trend that will affect countries creditworthiness, and New Zealands worse than most, says Standard & Poor's.
In a report released on Friday the ratings agency said global warming, alongside ageing populations, was going to be the second mega-trend affecting sovereign credit risk and more difficult for governments to address.
S&P said some of the most potent ways climate change could affect countries growth prospects might be changing patterns of rainfall that could reduce agricultural yields via droughts and floods, and heatwaves and wildfires.
And as the IPCC pointed out a few months ago, New Zealand is seriously exposed to these risks.
A prudent government would be working to reduce those risks, by reducing our domestic emissions while working constructively for an international agreement to reduce global ones. Instead, National has gutted our primary domestic emissions reduction policy, and allied with polluters to impede and water-down any replacement for Kyoto. And all so a few rich people can continue to profit by dumping the real costs of their actions on others. But maybe a threat to something they actually understand - money - will sharpen their minds a bit?