National’s Environment Policy

September 8th, 2008 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Such a good policy it was released twice – by Trevor Mallard and then John Key!

The major points are:

  1. Set 20 long-term environmental goals after stakeholder consultation.
  2. Transfer to the Independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the the responsibility for a five-yearly State of the report.
  3. Change Ministry for the Environment into a small politically neutral policy ministry only.
  4. Expand the Environmental Risk Management Authority into a full blown Environmental Protection Agency.
  5. Confirm a target of 50% reduction (from 1990) of carbon emissions by 2050 through an Emissions Trading Scheme.
  6. Dump the Biofuels bill but provide a tax incentive for sustainable biofuels.
  7. $1,000 grants for households to install solar water systems.
  8. Exempt electric cars from road user charges.
  9. Establish a new park in Northland’s Waipoua and surrounding Kauri forests.
  10. Initiate a formal investigation under the National Parks Act of a new national park on the public lands of the Waitakere Ranges.

There’s also additional details around air and noise standards etc.

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25 Responses to “National’s Environment Policy”

  1. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    1)..ok..

    2)..ok..

    3)..ok..(i don’t like the word ‘small’ tho’..what does that hide..?)

    4)..ok +

    5)..not enough..too late..

    6)..ok..

    7)..ok

    8)..ok+

    9)..ok+

    10)..ok+..

    i mean..it does nothing about the big problems..(cow shit/climate-change..being just two of them…)

    ..but for doing some fiddling around the edges..

    ..it’s ok..

    ..why not more marine reserves..?..(easy to do..!..)

    and..

    ..where have you hidden the/your ‘elephant in the room’..?

    ..your plans to gut the resource management act..?

    ..to ‘make life easier for developers’..?

    ..eh..?

    ..phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  2. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    The paramount criterion for any National policy development should be that it conforms to the Party’s core historic principles- small government and staying out of people’s lives. I doubt that these principles have been considered at all in the development of the above points.

    20 long term goals?? For chrissake, why not just two or three?? A five year report??? zzzzzzz yawn. More desk driving paper shufflers. The Environment Ministry should be politically neutral anyway. Full blown EPA- yeah well we know what that means. Increased assaults on private property rights like those have been going on for decades.

    This is just more big government, more costly and interfering regulation and a lot of sucking up to trendy but hollow mainstream media driven environmental buzz.

    Here’s what it should say. ERA to be wiped. New slate on environmental regulation with an emphasis on development of resources like oil gas coal and other minerals. Protection for developers against frivolous claims by politically driven organisations including the right to cost recovery for unnecessary delays.

    A repudiation of the Global Warming scam and a promise there will be no taxation of energy based on the fatuous claim that carbon is a pollutant. No logically unsupportable grants subsidies and tax exemptions based on ideas that are only tenuously beneficial or practical. (Biofuels, solar water, electric cars) – The National Party does not do such things. You want these, vote for Big Government Labour and/or the Watermelons.

    Give us a real alternative.

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  3. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    I think this is a bit of a lost political opportunity for the Nats. My gut feel is that the Green vote falls into three camps … the ardent compost-your-poos crowd (represented by Jeanette Fitzsimons), the rabid looney reds (represented by most of the other Green MPs) and a lot of votes from well-meaning want-to-make-the-world-a-better-place middle class urban voters.

    The true Greens and the rabid looneys are died in the wool. But the middle class urban vote is soft and could easily be coaxed away to another party that had a good-but-balanced environmental policy. Swipe 2% of the vote off the Greens and they’re gone. And with them goes one of Labour’s confidence and supply aces.

    So there seems a forgone opportunity for the Nats to rev up their environmental policy and target that middle class urban vote. My hunch is that you could get that vote through things like:
    * Increasing the spend on conservation, particularly of endangered species
    * Increasing the amount of national parks & marine reserves (which admittedly they’re proposing)
    * Placing much tighter environmental controls on farming, marine farming etc etc
    * Providing Government support, say dollar for dollar, to private initiatives like the Karori Bird Sanctuary
    * Promoting effective recycling schemes, say on the model of the one running in Rakaia

    etc etc. The Greens are never going to support National, and there’s an opportunity to kill them. So why not take it?

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  4. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    you really are the luddite..aren’t you reddy..?

    ..blind to the changes all around you..

    kinda ‘quaint’..really..

    ..phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  5. dime (8,789 comments) says:

    all i wanna know is – will National act on the UN’s recomendation that we all eat less red meat to save the planet?

    maybe we should ban red meat?

    who says global warming is a policy of the left – more tax, force people ot become vegetarians.. sounds like the right wing conspiracy to me.

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  6. big bruv (12,386 comments) says:

    Phul

    Do you not agree that at best the argument for AGW is “circumstantial and suppositional”?

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  7. first time caller (384 comments) says:

    I would really like National to be able to work with the Greens on environmental issues. I guess the reality is here in NZ is the Green movement has been hijacked by the hard left. This makes it all highly unlikely. In fact I think the Greens have ruled out dealing with National haven’t they?

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  8. Mr Dennis (348 comments) says:

    The policy is quite good overall I must say. A few points:

    - Blind acceptance of global warming and the need for an ETS. We cover this a lot. There is no consideration in the policy of whether this ETS would do any good at all for the environment, no consideration of how it may contribute to the 50% reduction in emissions (this seems like just a nice unachievable slogan to buy votes), and no consideration of the economic effects of it. It also blatantly contradicts the five principles at the start of the policy (including “Good science is essential…” and “People respond best to change when engaged and given incentives”).
    Big negative.

    - No road user charges for electric cars is good, if you are to have legislation that incentivises “green” transport (which some would argue you shouldn’t), this is the way to do it. Electric cars are far more efficient than biofuel. The big problem I have is that biofuel, even with all its problems, is given exactly the same financial incentive (no road user charges) as electric cars, even though electric cars are a far better technology.
    Slight positive.

    - No building consent for solar water heating. Great, simplifying legislation.
    Big positive.

    Lots in there, some of which I like and some of which I don’t. But overall we could live with this policy far easier than with the current situation.

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  9. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    4. EPA EPA EPA EEEEEEEEEPA!!!!!! Beware the glass dome people.

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  10. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    The EPA the Centre has been talking about (and maybe Nick is too – do not know.) is a different beast altogether.

    We have a major problem here (well many actually) in that Regional Councils make up their own environmental standards (see my paper on Contaminated Soils) and so is the MfE.
    They both promote junk science and these standards are consequently junk too.
    The MfE’s standards get written into National Standards which are then adopted by District and Regional Councils. They are hopelessly wrong and driven by environmental agendas. See the Dioxin rules.
    The classic is the air standard which bans open fires in the countriside unless your lot is more than 2ha.
    But of course you can have an open fire in the courtyard.
    My friends in Christchurch are fighting the Air Standards in the Canterbury REgional PLan but the court has ruled they cannot challenge the science because it is “settled” even though it is junk.
    And of course changing it requires a plan change which can take several years.
    So if a plan approves some process based on a standard but a new process comes out based on new science (like phosphorus being the problem not nitrogen etc) then we have no mechanism to quickly and easily change the science and the standard.

    The idea of extending this function to ERMA would be to create a scientific organisation to check all this junk science and write the standards accordingly, and be able to change them right through the system with a simple review.

    Otherwise when the AGW theory bites the dust we shall be stuck with all these climate change policies and standards based on AGW for a further several years.

    I don’t like the name for the obvious reason and can see no problem with just extending the functions of ERMA. They stood up to the greens on GE. And Environmental Risk Management is a better label than Environmental Protection.

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  11. pushmepullu (686 comments) says:

    Philu it is pretty bloody ironic that you are accusing others of being luddites when your deep green ideologhy wants to drag us back to the stone age

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  12. getstaffed (9,188 comments) says:

    virtualmark (9:42). IMHO your analysis is spot on. kudos++

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  13. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    From Rodney Hide: Speech in Christchurch yesterday; look, it is just sickening if this guy and his party don’t get right back up there in votes and parliamentary seats.

    “…….The key to prosperity is not clever economic management by government. The key is freedom: the unlocking of our entrepreneurial talent and imagination of what could be, not what is. That means the removal of the heavy yoke of excessive taxation, government waste, suffocating red-tape, and business management by government committee.

    ACT’s commitment to freedom commits us to something else too – something vitally missing from our politics at the present time – reason. Side-by-side with freedom stands reason – our human ability to think, to discover, to know, and to grow our knowledge by testing our ideas against logic and experience makes freedom possible.

    We can’t be free without reason and we can’t reason without freedom. They are indivisible.

    ACT’s commitment to freedom, reason and therefore limited government puts us out of favour with our present government.

    It means that we want honest government, not dishonest government. We want government policies to be reasoned and our government ministers to tell the truth, not immerse themselves and our government in a web of deceit, deception and downright lies. We want our government limited to what it can do well, and leave us free to do what we do best, and we want our government held to account by the same law that our government would hold us to. Our ministers should tell the truth, be expected to tell the truth, and not be above the law, and that includes the Prime Minister. That’s not happening at the present time.

    It’s ACT that’s making sure they don’t get away with it. Kiwis want their government honest. That’s the standard that ACT is enforcing. We will not be deterred by the bluff, bluster and lies. It’s not for nothing that we chose the slogan “The Guts to Do What’s Right”.

    Next week Parliament is poised to pass the wealth-sapping Emissions Trading Scheme. ACT is the only party opposed to the ETS although National’s opposing Labour’s ETS preferring an ETS of their own making that we have yet to see.

    ACT opposes the ETS because we favour reason, freedom and prosperity. The ETS opposes all three.

    A warmer climate with more CO2 in the atmosphere is an unambiguous benefit to New Zealand and to the world. I don’t know what we are scared of. A New Zealand that was one or two degrees warmer would be a better place to live and better environment for agriculture. The same is true for CO2. We pump the stuff into our greenhouses to stimulate plant growth. It’s the number one nutrient with carbon through photosynthesis being the source of all life.

    New Zealanders who can afford it go to the Gold Coast for their holidays, not Invercargill. We would like it to be warmer. It seems strange to me that we are rushing to try to stop something that I can’t see as bad.

    The changes we are talking about are small. The IPCC’s best estimate through their computer generated scenarios has the world two to four degrees warmer by century’s end and the sea level 20-60cms higher. That’s hardly catastrophic. Indeed, dragging New Zealand temperature-wise closer to the Australia would be a good thing.

    The world was warmer than today during the Medieval Warm Period, a time when civilisations flourished, the Vikings settled Greenland, the Polynesians explored the Pacific, and Maori sailed to New Zealand.

    We should remind ourselves too that while these scenarios are generated by scientists they themselves are not science. They are projections based on computer models. They are educated guesses, not science. Science is about theories and the testing of theories against the facts. It’s not lab coats, high speed computers and committees of wise people.

    I remain sceptical that we know what the weather will be in a hundred years. I remain sceptical that greenhouse gases are the cause of a global warming. That’s because of the facts.

    During the past 100 years there were periods, such as 1940 – 1975, when temperatures fell, even though CO2 levels increased. All official measures of global temperature show that temperature peaked in 1998 and has been declining since at least 2002, and this is in the face of an almost five percent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1998.

    The facts don’t fit the theory.

    The ETS creates a market in greenhouse gas emissions and therefore a price to emit. The aim is to change our behaviour as producers and consumers. The aim of all other political Parties bar ACT is to price carbon emissions sufficiently to change every New Zealanders behaviour radically. That’s the policy’s point. It is a radical policy to reshape our economy and our lives.

    It will drive businesses under, farmers to the wall, cost untold jobs, make us much poorer and drive up the cost of everything. That’s the policy’s purpose.

    Oh and it will also subject every part of our lives to government control and regulation because the carbon cycle is central to life, to agriculture and forestry and the burning of fossil fuels drives our industrial economy and our standard of living.

    The IPCC models show that none of this will make a jot of difference to world weather. Indeed, we could shut New Zealand down and it would not make a difference. Of course, the policy aim is not to shut New Zealand down. They say that would be silly. The goal is just to half shut us down and render the other half subject to strict government control because of Minister Parker’s absurdity that we are now living in a “carbon-constrained world”. Nonsense.

    The ETS won’t work. The market to be created is a cheat market that is entirely artificial that will only exist because of government policy. It will produce scam after scam with New Zealand having to pay big dollars for phoney credits in a world-wide swindle that will make New Zealand First’s funding look simple, straight-forward and honest……”

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  14. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “The idea of extending this function to ERMA would be to create a scientific organisation to check all this junk science and write the standards accordingly, and be able to change them right through the system with a simple review.”

    OK fine. Especially the bit about checking all the junk science. This is actually quite a massive task as we’re drowning in environmental bullshit at the moment. So much of it is trendy nonsense with no practical benefit, no real scientific underpinning and it is basically designed to give power seeking communists the leverage they need to be part of the governmental process.

    Anyone given the task of sifting through all the bs and coming up with some soundly based cost effective policies would be under enormous pressure from politicians in pseudo-green parties who see environmental hysteria as their meal ticket.

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  15. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “The ETS won’t work. The market to be created is a cheat market that is entirely artificial that will only exist because of government policy. It will produce scam after scam with New Zealand having to pay big dollars for phoney credits in a world-wide swindle that will make New Zealand First’s funding look simple, straight-forward and honest……”

    Exactly- so why the damn hell is National going along with it????

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  16. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Thanks Redbaiter.
    However, this is just my idea of what it should be. I suspect there will be a lot of pressure to turn it into a super Uber MFE with even more dictatorial powers than MfE and DoC.
    What I want is a critic not an advocate – but it will be a hard campaign to hold to the straight and narrow.

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  17. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    5)..not enough..too late..

    Don’t you mean: Wouldnt matter anyway?

    Tell me phil, what noticable impact on Global Warming/Climate Change would NZ reducing its emissions achieve? And to put it more simple for the luddites: How much will the temperature be reduced by any of the political parties climate change policy, be it National or Labour or the Greens?

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  18. baxter (893 comments) says:

    If electric cars are to pay no road user charges then it follows that other cars will pay increased charges… There should also be a target of exempting livestock from any liability for breathing at all. Who was the traitor so determined to wreck our economy that came up with this uniquely stupid idea. Otherwise I agree with Rodney, Owen and Redbaiter.

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  19. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    baxter livestock are targetted ‘cos farming is an industry that releases green’ouse gasses or somefing.

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  20. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    That’s right, stephen, but if the world was actually covered by Buffalo and Antelope instead of those pesky beef-farming humans, that would be “natural” and “species-diverse” and a “good thing”.

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  21. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    My, there are some Karma-givers abroad on this thread who don’t like criticism of the new “blue-green” emperor’s new clothes, isn’t there?

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  22. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Why is it that someone can get bad karma for simply asking a question these days? Are the left so scared of debate they feel the need to try and stifle any attempt to question their religion? They remind me of bloody fundamentalist Christians the way they are banging on!

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  23. getstaffed (9,188 comments) says:

    Bevan – agreed. It’s odd. Steady on the comparisons though… some of us fundermentalis Christian don’t like being tarred with the same brush as leftie goats :)

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  24. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    getstaffed, good one :-)

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  25. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Bevan, philu would get negative karma for saying he got a job, hardly only the left who do it. Could even be pissed off ACT-ites in this case.

    Philbest, more like ‘that’s nature’ whereas farming is…not. Expanding dairy production is analogous to building another factory.

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