There was an international flavour to two of the new statements from the Beehive and a cosmic flavour to a third, when we checked earlier in the day. But the most ominous announcement, signalling big changes in the offing very close to home, emerged from the office of Nanaia Mahuta, as Minister of Local Government.
She advised us – or warned us, maybe – she has appointed a team to review our local government arrangements.
She mentioned the evolution of local democracy.
Evolution? Or further erosion?
One outcome could be a quickening of the pace of change that already has weakened citizens’ right to decide who should govern them and their ability to hold their governors to account for their performance at three-yearly elections.
On the international front, we learned – Continue reading “Overhaul ahead for local authorities and their governance – the big issue should be whether local democracy is enhanced or further eroded”
The government’s declaration of a national emergency on climate change has taken symbolism in politics to new heights. It’s an art form perfected by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the bulk of New Zealanders, it seems, like it.
Look at how she kept New Zealanders free of the Covid-19 virus (albeit with a bit of expert help from Dr Ashley Bloomfield).
A problem with rising house prices? Send a letter to the Reserve Bank governor.
Too many children suffering in poverty? Increase benefits: problem solved.
So too with climate change: First step, make the state sector carbon-free.
The public cheers. Opposition politicians who dismiss it are rubbished as carping critics. Continue reading “Back to the future: Ardern govt refashions a 2007 commitment to make the state service carbon-neutral”
The proposition that global warming driven by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a risk that needs to be dealt with has achieved a large measure of agreement among policymakers. The proposition that it has to be dealt with right now and at great cost has no such consensus. Continue reading “Climate emergency: future shock or last gasp”
The government is wrestling with the goal of decarbonising the economy—at a cost nobody can guess at. It says it wants NZ’s electricity system to become 100% renewable.
But, Energy Minister Megan Woods insists, “we won’t die in a ditch over the last couple of percent if it places unreasonable costs on households and puts security of supply at risk”.
For those eager not to join her in the ditch (or anywhere else), it would be reassuring, given the government’s performance other major policies (for example KiwiBuild), to have a clearly defined policy rather than aspirational ministerial hopes.
Let’s face it: there will be a cost, possibly a high one, to decarbonising the economy.
But will NZ’s effort make any significant difference to global warming? After all, NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions are just 0.17% of the world’s total , compared with China’s 26%, the US 14% and the EU 9%. Continue reading “Govt has declared its aspirational (but uncosted) decarbonising goals – and the oil giants have their goals, too”