Saturday, October 31, 2020

Something I hope to be wrong on

So, the Greens went ahead and approved the deal with Labour. As I said earlier, I think its a mistake, which binds Green Ministers to implement Labour policy while effectively gagging them from criticising it. And on climate change - the only policy that matters - that's not a mistake the planet can afford to make.

Hopefully I'm wrong. Hopefully Labour will show some actual ambition and improve its policies. But based on their underwhelming election policies and the text of the "cooperation agreement", James Shaw's main job for the next three years will be selling climate change inaction. He'll be a quisling for the status quo, a collaborator in human extinction. And by extension, so will the Green Party. There will be no Parliamentary voice calling for the urgent, radical change we need to save the planet. Labour will have silenced them. Which means we need to look to extra-Parliamentary voices, like Extinction Rebellion, and 350, and Greenpeace if we want someone to stand up for a future.

Why am I so pessimistic? Because I actually read Labour's climate change policies, which are basicly PR bullshit which completely ignore our core problems of agricultural emissions and fossil transport. I believe Labour will try to implement the policies it campaigned on - a view backed by the fact that that is all the cooperation agreement commits to - and that Jacinda Ardern would not lie to the New Zealand public on this. I also think Labour's new rural backbench are going to want to keep their seats, so they'll have even more reasons than usual to keep pandering to farmers, our biggest greenhouse polluters.

Again, I hope to be wrong, and I guess we'll find out in May, when the Climate Change Commission presents its first three budgets and its first emissions reduction plan. As Minister, Shaw will be able to back the Commission and push for ambitious reductions, and Labour could accept the advice of its independent Commission as it effectively promised to do when it passed the Act. But Labour could just say "no" and gut those recommendations in favour of its weak, status quo policy - in which case the Zero Carbon Act will be a dead letter and the Green Party won't be able to say anything about it.

Green party members are obviously a lot more optimistic about labour's policies and intentions than I am. All I can say is that I hope they're right.