Poll results won’t deter Labour from its reform programme – but they shouldn’t unnerve the Nats, either

Latest  opinion  polling  has   created  a  stir  among  the  political cognoscenti.  On   one  side, ACT’s  rise is being seen as  a  big  problem   for  National. From  another,  Labour’s   fall  by 9.7 points   from the  previous poll points to  sharp  disillusion  with the Ardern government.

TV3’s  AM Show  told viewers ACT’s  four-point  rise  to 11 % constitutes “soaring popularity”.  Well,  not  quite.

Then there seemed to be  a  general  judgement  that Judith Collins’ fall below  ACT  leader David  Seymour’s rating  signalled  her imminent  demise  as  National  leader.

In  reality,  the  Newshub Reid  Research poll’s  findings,  while  recording sharp shifts  from  its  previous  sampling,  weren’t  much  different   from  the   Colmar  Brunton  post-Budget poll  which  recorded  Labour  down  to  46%  from  its  previous highs   in the  fifties. Continue reading “Poll results won’t deter Labour from its reform programme – but they shouldn’t unnerve the Nats, either”

Young eco-warriors press for change – if they get what they demand, they should brace for a lower standard of living

The latest  cohort of school students  took  to the  streets  last week  to  demand  climate  change action. In  Wellington, several thousand strikers marched to Parliament.

Izzy Cook, one of the organisers, said they had their own list of demands.

“Investing in a just transition to a sustainable future, reducing agricultural emissions, prohibiting the use of fossil fuels nationwide so phasing them out, getting climate education [and] honouring our neighbours in the Pacific Islands.” 

 The demands were handed over to Climate Change Minister James Shaw.

But he said it’s not just him who needs to be listening. Continue reading “Young eco-warriors press for change – if they get what they demand, they should brace for a lower standard of living”

Apologies galore from the errant Shaw – but what about an apology to the taxpayer?

James  Shaw  has  set  a   new   standard  for  ministerial  conduct  in  the  way he has  performed over  the  allocation  of  $11.7m  of  taxpayer money  for a  privately-owned  Green  school in Taranaki.

The Green School was one of 150 projects getting a grant from a $3bn fund— the shovel-ready infrastructure fund – and Shaw was willing to put them all at risk.

An email  to government ministers and the Treasury from Shaw’s office included a stark ultimatum:

“Minister Shaw won’t sign this briefing until the Green School in Taranaki is incorporated”. Continue reading “Apologies galore from the errant Shaw – but what about an apology to the taxpayer?”

Private schools could be on to a Shaw thing – but maybe they need “Green” in their name to secure millions

Did we miss it?  Or was it posted on the Beehive website after we had recorded the Government’s August 26 announcements?

Whatever happened, we are chagrined to have missed the official posting of the declaration that Green Party co-leader James Shaw has bypassed the strictures of his party’s policy to announce:   Taranaki school construction project to create jobs.

The statement didn’t seem untoward, in the Covid-19 era of massive borrowing to pump billions into infrastructural work and employment.

More than 200 construction jobs will be secured in Taranaki through Government funding for a school expansion project, the Associate Minister of Finance, James Shaw said today.

Green School New Zealand will be supported with $11.7 million from the $3 billion set aside by the Government for infrastructure in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

The ‘shovel-ready’ project would enable the school to expand its student roll from 120 students to 250.

But the announcement subjected Shaw and his party to widespread criticism – indeed, ridicule – because of something the press statement did not mention. Green School is a private school which charges up to $24,000 a year for New Zealand students and $43,000 a year for international students.

We are talking Green hypocrisy here, because: Continue reading “Private schools could be on to a Shaw thing – but maybe they need “Green” in their name to secure millions”

When the Greens press party leaders to continue commitment to science, we wonder if they include themselves

Latest from the Beehive

We drew a blank, when we paid our morning visit to the Beehive website.  Nothing had been posted since Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced the Government’s plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment.

Hmm.  Let’s check our email in-tray.

This contained advice about the PM’s next media conference – in tandem with the DG of Health – on the virus thing that has thrown politics and politicking into a bit of a tizz. The conference is at 1pm today.

Our email also brought statements (all Covid-related) headed  – Continue reading “When the Greens press party leaders to continue commitment to science, we wonder if they include themselves”

How the Greens’ wealth tax proposal could be a political lifeline for Winston Peters and his party

The  Green Party’s  major new election  policy  for  a  wealth  tax has, not  unexpectedly,  had a mixed  reception, not   least  from  politicians of  other parties.

The  policy  to  tax the  wealthy  to  fund a payment of at least  $325 a week   for anyone  not  in  full-time  work,  predictably brought  cheers  from  trade  unions  and  child  poverty  lobby groups.  But it provoked scorn  from  the  other side of the  fence,  where  the  idea undermines  the  core  principle  of  capitalism as  the  driver of  economic  growth.

Interestingly,  one  sample of   public opinion  on the issue   showed   85%  against—and   only 15% in favour.

But  that lopsided  result has its  upside for  the Greens   and brings a  glow to those  within  the Green Party  who worked  up  the policy.  It  could  guarantee    the  Green   Party  is  not   overwhelmed    by  the halo effect  at  present  enveloping   Prime Minister    Jacinda  Ardern,   which  could result  in  the  kind of election landslide  delivering an outright majority  in Parliament for Labour.

If it  lifted the Green  Party’s  current  ratings  of  around 6-7%  to  double-digit levels   it  would be a  major  victory.   Continue reading “How the Greens’ wealth tax proposal could be a political lifeline for Winston Peters and his party”

Agriculture Minister is missing in (in)action while climate change warriors harry NZ’s dairy industry

The  world stands  on  the  brink of a  food crisis worse  than  any seen  in the last  50 years, the  UN has  warned  as  it  urged  governments to  act swiftly to avoid  disaster.

So what  is the  Ardern  government  doing about  it?   Shouldn’t   it  be working  to  ramp  up  food production?  After  all,  NZ   prides  itself  on being  among  the world’s  leaders  in producing  high-quality  food.

Instead,  Climate  Change  Minister  James  Shaw is celebrating  being  “ ambitious” in tackling  what he calls the climate crisis with,  he   says,

“ … necessary rule changes that will incentivise NZ’s biggest polluters to invest in the transition to a clean, climate-friendly economy”.

This  includes putting a price  on  farming  emissions.   Shaw  reckons it’s great that this puts NZ further ahead on climate action than many other parts of the world. Continue reading “Agriculture Minister is missing in (in)action while climate change warriors harry NZ’s dairy industry”

The Greens have a little list – and the high-flying MPs on it are big spenders of public money

Keep an eye out for armies of tree planters hard at work.

No, not the One Billion Tree programme.  We refer to the tree planting that is essential to offset the carbon emissions generated by high-flying Green Party MPs.

Newshub drew our attention the other day to Climate Change Minister James Shaw’s international travel expenses, the highest of all ministers from October to the end of December, at $77,771, compared to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s $54,487.

When asked to justify the expenses, Mr Shaw told Magic Talk on Friday the Green Party offsets all travel through tree-planting, something he said he’d “recommend people do”. 

“Those programmes have to be verified and part of the verification process is that the tree planted has to be additional to what’s already being planted. We do that through a programme that’s run by Enviro-Mark.”

“I am carbon neutral. But, the best thing to do would be to reduce emissions – that’s the main thing you’ve got to do. You can’t just buy your way out of trouble with offsets,” Mr Shaw said.  Continue reading “The Greens have a little list – and the high-flying MPs on it are big spenders of public money”

Climate commission’s challenge is to produce a world-leading plan (dairying included) for a low-emissions economy

Global efforts to tackle climate change have stalled in Madrid.  The  197  parties to the UN  talks  agreed to the need  for  new  emission  cuts, but they stopped  short  of concrete  commitments  and left  the outstanding issues of  the  Paris  Agreement undecided.

Never mind,  NZ  is  showing  the world  what  “meaningful, ambitious and lasting climate action looks like”.

That’s  how  Climate  Change Minister  James Shaw  sees  it.

As the head of the NZ delegation at the global climate talks, Shaw shared  with delegates  to   COP25 the progress the  Ardern government is making

“ … to build a cleaner, safer planet for future generations”. Continue reading “Climate commission’s challenge is to produce a world-leading plan (dairying included) for a low-emissions economy”

Bridges is offside with supporters in bridling against an independent budget office

“I didn’t come down in the last shower,” Opposition leader Simon Bridges huffed on RNZ’s Morning Report when quizzed about his objection to the establishment of an independent Parliamentary Budget Office.

We are left to conjecture on what he did come down in and when it might bring him to earth.  A thunder cloud of paranoid suspicion, perhaps.

On this issue his instincts have seriously failed him. When the Taxpayers Union is welcoming a Green Party initiative now that it has been modified, Bridges and the Nats should take a bit more time before declaring their position.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:

Continue reading “Bridges is offside with supporters in bridling against an independent budget office”