Friday, May 09, 2014

A technology policy, not an environment one

The Internet Party released its environment policy today, promising a "smart future". What does that mean? A 100% renewable electricity target, smart meters everywhere, turning Christchurch into a "smart city", and building a "Green data centre" running on renewable energy to attract internet businesses. Note what's missing from all of this: the natural environment. This is really a technology policy about pushing innovation and development in a greener direction, not an environment one.

As for the specifics, looking at the full document the actual details are a bit sketchy. For example, there's no detail on how that 100% renewables target will be achieved, though they will "appoint a multi-disciplinary expert panel" to look at it, which I guess puts them one step ahead of the government. Ditto making New Zealand a world leader in green technologies - its pure management speak. On smart cities there's more detail, but its still a grab-bag of vague possibilities, rather than solid policy commitments. Only on the data centre do we see the sorts of specifics that are necessary.

Overall, the impression is that they want to be green, and use technology to enable that, but that this isn't really what they do. Still, the fact that this is the second policy they've announced, after pulling the plug on the spies, sends a powerful message about their priorities: they're a future-oriented party, and that means a greener one.