Tuesday, September 01, 2020

If only he had fought this hard for actual Green policy

James Shaw's private school funding scandal just keeps getting worse and worse. Today we learned that the school was unregistered, and that Shaw had been personally lobbied by the owners (making the whole thing look like dodgy pork). And his strong advocacy involved refusing to sign off on the $3 billion infrastructure package unless it was included:

Newshub has obtained an email that went to Government ministers and the Treasury from Shaw's office and it included a stark ultimatum.

"Minister Shaw won't sign this briefing until the Green School in Taranaki is incorporated."

The email said Shaw discussed the ultimatum with the Education Minister.

"Minister Shaw has also discussed this one with Minister Hipkins.

"Sorry to be the spanner-in-the-works, but if we can get the project included, he'll sign everything this afternoon," the email said.

I understand strong advocacy for projects you believe in. I understand ignoring Treasury advice - they're operating in a backward paradigm and incapable of recognising the benefits sometimes. And if Shaw had advocated this hard for wind farms, or solar panels, or hydrogen cracking, or improved EV infrastructure, or trialling clean ways of making steel, I'd be applauding, because that is what he is meant to do. But picking a private school for the kids of foreign millionaires as the cause you want to die in a ditch for seems like a weird choice. And I just wish he'd fought this hard for actual Green policy, like a tougher Zero Carbon Act, or including agriculture in the ETS, or a capital gains tax, rather than a fucking subsidy to the rich which does absolutely nothing for the environment while actively undermining social justice. But I guess that's what happens when the party's leadership goes to managers rather than activists.