The Greens’ economic plan

June 5th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Isaac Davidson at NZ Herald reports:

He contrasted the Government’s “risky” investments in fossil fuels and intensive farming with ’ proposals – investment in clean technology and energy.

Dr Norman admitted that, if elected, the party would have to “pick winners” to achieve a green economy. A Green government would develop clean energy as an export industry by forming partnerships with power companies. It would also export expertise in geothermal and possibly marine energy.

Asked whether there was a risk in backing developing technologies, he said clean energy was a safe bet because there was huge growth in that area.

It is worth remembering that the Greens policy is to reduce the national dairy herd by about 20%. Think about what that will do to our balance of trade, and current account deficit.

As for their lovely slogan of “green jobs”, let me quote 2011 NZers of the Year Sir Paul Callaghan on it:

Our brilliance has been in the “weird stuff” that the big players don’t think to exploit.

So here is the risk. Politicians latch on to fashions, and the latest fashion is Clean Technology. Ten years ago it was Biotechnology. There is a huge danger in the application of political bias to the “smart economy”.

My view is that to succeed, New Zealand businesses need to be the best in the world at what they do. I do not care what they do, so long as it is legal and not morally objectionable.

There is absolutely no reason why we can expect to be best in the world at Clean Technology. Indeed, our major wind turbine manufacturer has struggled to sell products and NZ energy companies like Meridian buy their wind turbines offshore.

The irony here is that the country with the biggest environmental problems will probably be the world leader in Clean Tech, namely China.

Let me quote from the Green Party document: “Boost government R&D funding through a combination of tax credits and grants costing $1 billion over three years. R&D in clean technology industries would be prioritised, specifically in areas where we enjoy a competitive advantage, such as: sustainable agriculture, organic farm production, fisheries management, forestry management, renewable energy generation, and conservation.”

This is exactly the mistake of the past 10 years, prioritising according to some perceived international trend – then Biotechnology, now Clean Tech. And the Green’s idea of a Clean Tech line-up is remarkable.

Putting aside the paradox of organic farming, unscientific to the core that it is, the rest is an absurd list.

It is absurd, in particular, because we have proven particularly dreadful at developing advanced knowledge-based industries or leading technologies in any of those areas. …

I suggest people read the entire article. It is a superb demolition of the Green’s misguided policy.

What is scary is that in a Labour-Greens-NZ First-Mana Government, the Greens will probably hold the Finance portfolio. Their policy seems to be summed up as:

  • Tax more
  • Kill the dairy cows
  • Waste billions on pet projects
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78 Responses to “The Greens’ economic plan”

  1. RRM (9,420 comments) says:

    In my worldly opinion (lol) I think he’s a bit harsh on the “organic farming” product.

    Take a look in the “ORGANIC / GE Free” section of your supermarket, here or overseas, and you’ll see that even in the middle of a great depression plenty of people all over the civilised world WANT to pay a premium price for a supposedly premium product that isn’t tainted by association with the lowest common denominator products and practises.

    When you are the little guy who can’t compete with the scale of the big American McProducers even if you tried, and you live on a remote paradise island perfect for “green” branding, why wouldn’t you want to be the one supplying the premium product instead?

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  2. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    RRM,

    Because the premium product, as you term it, is extremely inefficient, tying up a great deal more land to match the output for traditional farming. (land for fertilizer crops, land for animals (fertilization distribution), additional land to feed the animals.)

    It is extraordinarily inefficient and also contra to climate change preventative measures. The additional land used is shrinking the carbon sink you know…

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  3. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “Dr Norman admitted that, if elected, the party would have to “pick winners” to achieve a green economy.”

    Idiot.

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  4. RRM (9,420 comments) says:

    bhudson – but if people are happy paying correspondingly more for the product then where’s the problem?

    I totally agree with DPF re Callaghan though – Govt needs to butt out of the “picking winners” thing, and let people decide what they’re going to do to make money…

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  5. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    but if people are paying more for the product then where’s the problem?

    RRM, two problems as I can see: quickly

    1. If you are concerned about the environment, organic farming is exacerbating climate change issues, rather than solving them (it is shrinking the carbon sink)

    2. Being less efficient it limits production from x ha of land in use. As a result the farming sector will require more land in use to meet export growth potential.

    Now, if you have no issue with the amount of land in use, then it is no great problem. But the Greens do, which makes organic farming a bad idea.

    [Unless you are happy to sacrifice growth, which, as DPF points out, the Greens are. That is not a great outcome for the rest of NZ however.]

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  6. dubya (214 comments) says:

    “Dr Norman admitted that, if elected, the party would have to “pick winners” to achieve a green economy.”

    Sounds a bit like former Trade and Enterprise Minister Jim Anderton… I guess Russel did study him! Both masters of sanctimony and pandering to a small interest group (Anderton had the elderly and entitled, Russ has the middle class and guilt-ridden)

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  7. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    RRM,

    On the “picking winners” part – yep, a singularly bad idea

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  8. flipper (3,533 comments) says:

    In January, the Outside the Beltway Group, Wellington NZ, noted in their analysis, “Demolishing” :

    ” …. Another major contributor to the wider economic malaise [in Europe] has been the desire of many euro nations to introduce “green” jobs. The State of California tried with disastrous consequences. In Britain the results have been appalling.
    ” … Spain embraced green jobs with a vengeance, losing 2.2 jobs for every “green job” created. So bad did the situation become that unemployment rose to 22 per cent (since up to 25%+) as the socialist government was tipped out of office just a few weeks ago.

    (See also The False Promise of Green Energy by Morris A.P. et al; the Cato Institute Washington D.C. 2011. ISBN 978-1-935308-41-6 for a detailed, peer reviewed analysis.) ”

    So what do we have. Last year the red melons (greens) promised (their G/ election policy) to create 100,000 green jobs. Let us assume they could. Unemployment (based on European experience and research in other areas) will increase by a net 120,000 – and there will be an increases in both unemployment costs – and the deficit.

    Yes, russel with one L (and the silly McGillicuddy bint), you are very, very smart

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  9. KiwiGreg (3,169 comments) says:

    @ RRM “bhudson – but if people are happy paying correspondingly more for the product then where’s the problem?”

    There is no problem. But here’s the thing only SOME people are willing to pay more for whatever benefit they think they are receiving. MOST people are not (market shares for the products tell the answer). Companies will respond to demand, the government doesn’t need to be involved.

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  10. decanker (222 comments) says:

    DPF: “What is scary is that [the Greens] policy seems to be summed up as:
    Tax more
    Kill the dairy cows
    Waste billions on pet projects”

    Everything is oooh scary, just depends on your viewpoint, one could equally say:

    “What is scary is that National policy seems to be summed up as:
    Cut more
    Kill the rivers
    Waste billions on pet projects”

    Doesn’t really progress the debate though does it? You’re good when you analyse, not so good when you party broadcast.

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  11. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    It’s easier in NZ to talk about organic farming being a con, because our standard farming is actually pretty safe from a food quality point of view. But in many countries where more industrialised farming is the norm, there’s a big difference between animals that have been intensively farmed in sheds and animals that live outdoors. Similarly for fruit and veg, in some countries there is a world of difference in farming methods.

    Given this, it actually makes sense for NZ farmers to proclaim organic – it’s not as large a change to our normal farming practices as it is for other countries.

    Leaving all that aside though, the Greens are clearly mad. Getting into the manufacturing business will always fail whilst the Chinese have lower labour costs, lower taxes, lower regulations and government subsidies. The US have learned that recently with their green job schemes, most of which have failed when the manufacturing that underpinned them went broke or moved to China.

    I can understand perhaps us being in the business of designing product, but not making it. Think Apple, their design is in the US, but all manufacturing in China. That’s the only model of green jobs that could potentially work here.

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  12. jaba (2,089 comments) says:

    well, R Norman is a financial genius with a CV beyond reproach is the private sector so he knows what he is talking about.
    I have said many times recently, I believe the mix above WILL make up our next Govt and the shit fight to follow would be stunning .. not sure how many ministerial jobs will be available BUT lets say 20 (pick what ever you like). Lets say Winny survives with the same number of MP’s .. same with the Gweens. So, how would these jobs be allocated:
    Winny would demand the baubles for himself and maybe 1-2 others (who)
    Harawira would want one especially if his vote is needed
    The Gweens would want 5-7 (who)
    Labour to have the balance (who)
    fill the gaps for fun times

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  13. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    Maybe he is meaning after the fact? So, throw money at every single idea they like that fits their socialist ideology, and when one in 50 is successful, pick them.

    Brilliant! The man is a genius!!

    Or not…

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  14. flipper (3,533 comments) says:

    And, in reference to some comment above, this further quote from “Demolishing”:

    ” … The “knowledge economy”, “sustainability”, “green industries”, “organic foods” and the so called “clean, green image” are essentially “buzz words” that contribute little. Tourism, petroleum, other minerals (two areas with huge potential for future growth if the knee-jerk “wets” are ignored in favour of economic growth), and manufacturing, all to varying degrees, make very useful contributions. But it is agricultural (in the widest sense) production and exports that under-pin the New Zealand economy. (Agriculture is increasingly the target of the red melons and the left. They ignore the fact that only prosperous developed nations pay any attention to the environment. Third world nations place economic survival and growth ahead of “green” dreams.)

    ” The ignorance shown by the Green-Labour faction on this question pinned them and their policy positions (to use an obvious pun), in left field. ”

    Oops !

    Anyone seen the front page of the Dom Post today?

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  15. tom hunter (4,367 comments) says:

    It is worth remembering that the Greens policy is to reduce the national dairy herd by about 20%.

    There were about 4.5 million dairy cows in 2011, so we’re talking about 900,000 cows. The time frame is not stated but I see no reason why it should not happen as quickly as possible.

    So the cows need to be eliminated (liquidated would be a more appropriate term) fast. This means shooting them if we are to also employ more people. Obviously the government will supply the weapons and ammunition, since people who come equipped represent security risks to the state. The guns and ammunition should be obtained from NZ manufacturers so that the money stays in the country. Clearly there are limits to this, as can be seen with the Komatsu and Caterpiller bulldozers required for digging the huge trenches in which to bury the slaughtered animals, but that machinery is likely already here and is a sunk cost. I figure about 2000 people: roughly 100 to do the shooting over a 60 day period (8 hour days) around the country, with additional support staff such as bulldozer drivers, trauma counsellors, and accountants (for the GHG reduction calculations).

    I suppose we could organise train schedules to existing abattoirs that are already set up to supply this service, but it would not provide any extra employment, would negatively impact existing schedules, and flood the meat markets, also negatively affecting other areas.

    Better to dump and dispose. Aside from the stimulus of the wages there would be huge cost savings from the reduction of dairy effluent in rivers, GHG production from cows, carbon-sequestering gains from the buried bodies, not to mention the increase in dairy prices caused by the reduction in milk supply, which could be used to compensate farmers for their reduced herd sizes.

    The compensation issue is tied up with the approach of where the numbers are to be reduced. I suggest farms with more than 400 cows and in the South Island be the primary targets of the campaign. This would return the industry to a traditional focus on small dairy farmers with 200 cows or less, and the re-distribution of the savings should help them return to being economic units. In fact, given the emphasis on clean-and-green, we should consider permanent tax credits for those farmers willing to preserve their land with traditional dairy farming methods, since the land is more important. Europe has already shown the way over the years. The result would be beautiful, pastoral landscapes that tourists can admire as they follow the course of JK’s national bike paths. A more relaxed approach to farming would also allow older people to remain on the land well past the traditional retirement age, adding the final touch of rustic charm.

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  16. Pete George (22,733 comments) says:

    The Greens have a lot of self belief – they think they have done the homework and know what will fix things.

    After criticism of National not meeting job targets – which is correct, they haven’t – but ironically in a Green post called John Key, the jobs fairy – I suggested Green job targets were in dreamworld. A response was probably a typical view:

    I realistically expect the Greens projections to be met if not surpassed, because they at least have a plan that will work.

    The internal PR has worked very well, but I think there’s still a lot of skepticism beyond the Green bubble in the wider electorate.

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  17. UpandComer (506 comments) says:

    I want to note what Russell said regarding risk, that is ‘risky fossil fuels and farming’. Russell has a nose that only can smell one way risk. The fact is, green technology is massively risky. Fossil fuel investment and farming are actually practically risk free in the sense that they will deliver a certain benefit if done right, yet Russell ignores the risks in spending huge money on untried and uncertain green technologies which we have no expertise in whatsoever.

    It’s much more likely we can do mineral exploration/exploitation and farming right, then Russell is able to pick the right ‘winners’.

    Farmers today are more environmentally aware then ever before. What they hate is being told what to do by the government, doing it, then finding out later that it was the wrong thing to do. I give you open air run-off pits in dairy sheds. They were supposed to get rid of the run-off waste well, by putting it into a pit then cleaning it before releasing it. What actually happened was the cleaning machines couldn’t handle the amount of solid matter, and when it rained the pits over-flowed. No one builds them anymore. That was brought in to meet concerns with water quality. Farmer’s know they have to look after their environment as it hurts their bottom line.

    Get rid of 20% of our dairy herd. Oh. My. God.

    Russell does the same thing with his treatment of roads. He talks about a lack of cost benefit analysis with respect to roads, then ignores the fact that practically all forms of public transport, especially his favorite, trains, end up have to be subsidised and nearly always run at a loss!

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  18. Scott Chris (5,870 comments) says:

    Callaghan:

    Putting aside the paradox of organic farming, unscientific to the core that it is, the rest is an absurd list.

    Well he may have been a whiz with materials technology but subjective consumer predilections aside, there is a great deal of solid scientific evidence which supports the idea that bio-diverse organic farming is substantially better for the environment than endless hectares of monoculture.

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  19. flipper (3,533 comments) says:

    chrissie wussie v Sir John Callaghan.

    How many rounds you want to go wus?
    What subjects wus?.

    You would not even last until the starting bell, you dumb ass!

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  20. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    DPF :What is scary is that in a Labour-Greens-NZ First-Mana Government, the Greens will probably hold the Finance portfolio.

    Right wing propaganda .. Just like they once said they wouldn’t drive Japanese made cars … and now they do.
    The old conservative right is running scared and has conceded the Greens will be part of the next Government.

    Next they will be pounding there chests condoning the values of a a green economy.. go figure.

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  21. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    “Dr Norman admitted that, if elected”
    Is this the same Green Party that…
    - could not stay in the Alliance Party
    - would not go into govt with Labour
    - could not go into govt with National
    - has actually never been in govt
    These idiots would not know the meaning of being elected; they’re permanent opposition, where they can say whatever the hell they like, knowing it will never be put to the test.

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  22. Megan (12 comments) says:

    Once again an example of totally and completely misguided policy from the greens, sure go right ahead and destroy NZ’s most successful industry economically which also happens to be the only primary production industry actively working hard and investing in research to address its environmental externalities. Meanwhile loss of productive land via growth of towns and cities is at an all time high- another driver of conversion of marginal land and intensification of existing productive land.

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  23. UpandComer (506 comments) says:

    Tom Hunter. Oh my god man, your whole post is just effluent. Do you know any farmers? do you know any but the minority of polluting farmers? do you know anyone from the Waikato, Southland, Otago, Taranaki? Do you think it’s a good thing for a government to come and take a whole lot of property off of a whole lot of people?

    Here is what it would cost. The averageish price for a mature healthy mild producing heifer is roughtly 1500, if you kill nine hundred thousand of them it would cost 1350000000 to compensate. This would need to be increased because those cows are bought and bred with their long term earning potential involved, i.e. the milk they produce over a life time offsets debt costs of buying them.

    I mean honestly I don’t even know how to approach such a ludicrous post in all of it’s stupidity, naivety, and actually sheer fascism and assault on freedom and liberty.

    Don’t do anything any more Tom you idiot.

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  24. Mark (1,356 comments) says:

    The Greens have always had a constituency that has been relatively stable and has seen them in each MMP parliament. In the vacuum that is the Labour party the Greens have more of the left wing vote than they have in the past and have gone from that 5% – 7% to now polling fairly consistently in the 10%+ range. It will be interesting to delve into the polling to see whether this is because they are attracting the disaffected labour vote or they are in fact making some traction with young people.

    Like it or not Norman was probably the best performed leader in the last election. Certainly Goff was abject and JK’s disastrous cup of tea left the door ajar and Norman made few errors and presented fairly well.

    A Labour/Green/NZ First coalition is a terrifying thought and of even more concern when you consider that while National still enjoy around 50% support but it will be interesting to see how much the education debate is going to hurt them,it has a fragile group of supporting parties. The Maori Party have to navigate the exit of Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples which is going to be difficult to do and keep Labour at bay, and whilst Dunn is probably safe Banks must have a question mark over him so the current 1 seat majority starts to look a bit thin.

    We may scoff at and deride the Green policy but there is a possibility that the Greens may form part of the next government. National have to take care that it is seen as a particularly safe pair of hands and avoid another FUBAR like the budget PR.

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  25. tom hunter (4,367 comments) says:

    :)

    That’s an awesome rant by the way. Two thumbs up.

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  26. UpandComer (506 comments) says:

    Seriously Tom Hunter, go and talk to my cousins and uncles who are dairy farmers, and they will quickly disabuse you of all that swill floating around in your little head. See if you could take their cows.

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  27. Scott Chris (5,870 comments) says:

    flipper, I’ll put it simply for you.

    Callaghan said “organic farming is unscientific to the core”.

    I say there is a great deal of solid scientific research supporting the idea that monoculture is bad for the environment whereas a bio-diverse organic approach is much better for the environment.

    Not very hard to understand is it? If you can find fault with my reasoning why not point it out rather than relying on some dead icon to do your thinking for you.

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  28. Scott Chris (5,870 comments) says:

    UpandComer

    I would suggest that the new parting in your hairstyle was left there as the sarcasm in Tom Hunter’s original post flew unscathed over your head.

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  29. graham (2,214 comments) says:

    It’s not just the Greens who have the ability to waste billions on so-called ‘pet projects’, to be fair. Give any politician an open cheque-book (which is how they tend to see us tax-payers/rates payers) and watch them go. Good old Muldoon and ‘Think Big’, along with Len Brown’s inner-city rail link (which Labour would support with $1.2 billion) spring to mind immediately; I’m sure you can all think of many other examples.

    Mind you, with ‘Think Big’, it could be argued that at least one of the projects paid off. The ammonia-urea manufacturing plant at Kapuni is a pretty good performer. Under Ballance Agri-Nutrients it’s generated a fairly sizeable income.

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  30. wreck1080 (3,722 comments) says:

    Ohhh, I wonder why Norman doesn’t go into business for himself.

    Given his self proclaimed ability to pick winners, he will make a fortune in the private sector. He could become the richest man in the world.

    Or, is he only willing to sink other peoples money into his dreams?

    .

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  31. wreck1080 (3,722 comments) says:

    Also, it might be a nice time to take a 3 year holiday if the greens control the finances.

    Lucky my employment allows me to work anywhere in the world.

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  32. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    So the Greens policy is to throw a lot of money around and HOPE that someone comes up with a good idea that we can capitalise on. Isnt that their complaint about climate sceptics?

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  33. kowtow (7,581 comments) says:

    Pick winners and safe bets……..sounds like a gambler if you ask me.Gambling with our taxes and future wealth.

    They talk of investing when what is actually involved is massive subsidies to centrally planned, ideology driven strategies ……think the old Soviet Union and how well that worked.

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  34. UpandComer (506 comments) says:

    hahahahahaha. My parting is intact. You don’t understand, that Tom Hunter post actually is pretty much what a lot of Green type people would say for real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been present when people have said that kind of thing in meetings, to myself, to my uncle. Loool.

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  35. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    Tell you what russel, you convince us of your economic credentials, and we will consider it. Or maybe put up a personal guarantee before we let you play with our taxes?

    Im sure your doctorate in political science will come in handy. Im comforted by the fact you are so well qualified to support a process in picking winners.

    Toad? (tumbleweed)…

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  36. emmess (1,367 comments) says:

    Has anyone noticed the immense hypocrisy (I know there is so much to count) of the Greens saying “leaders were realising the need to look wider than GDP” and at the same time moaning about austerity i.e. supporting the flip side of that which is Francois Hollande’s so called ‘growth agenda’?

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  37. virtualmark (1,470 comments) says:

    The Greens are less a political party and more of a religious cult. And like all religious cults they have no trouble in holding illogical and contradictory points of view:

    * We’ll create all these knowledge based jobs in clean tech, but then we’ll tax those highly-paid people to such an extent that they’ll go overseas
    * We’ll pick winners, even though history clearly shows Government’s can’t pick winners
    * We won’t support mining, even though it creates higher-paid jobs than cleantech and is the main reason Kiwis are emigrating to Australia
    * We won’t support mining, but we’ll continue to use things made of metal and plastics
    * We don’t like fossil fuels, but we’ll fly up and down the country freely
    * Motorways don’t have a good enough cost:benefit, so we’ll invest in public transport instead … even though no public transport system in the world covers its costs and none of our proposed ideas have a viable cost:benefit either

    and on and on.

    My contact with senior Green party figures has shown me their understanding of basic economics is scarily deficient. The four core challenges we face as a country are:

    1. In the last generation the populations of Eastern Europe, China and India have joined the global economy, which has crashed the value of unskilled labour. We are better off as a country from free trade (take a walk through your local red shed and ask yourself how much that stuff would have cost to buy in the mid-1980s) … but this exposes our unskilled labour to the (low) global price of that labour.
    2. Meanwhile, the high-value jobs require ever increasing levels of education, creativity and hard work, and the supply of people capable of doing those jobs is very small and those people are able to emigrate freely to other countries. If we want a high-value economy we need to encourage these people to stay here, not drive them away.
    3. We don’t save enough money into productive investments that generate jobs and grow our economy.
    4. As a country we are living beyond our means, and financing our lifestyles (WFF, student loans, pensions etc) from debt … that places an increasing financing cost on our economy and which will steal options away from our children.

    I haven’t seen ANYTHING from the Greens that addresses those four challenges.

    Lots of la-la land stuff about how they will be able to pick winners and create hundreds of thousands of jobs making windmills and grooming unicorns. But nothing that suggests they have serious answers to our most serious problems.

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  38. backster (2,073 comments) says:

    If Russell becomes Finance Minister, a trip to the world leading country in creating Green Jobs, namely Spain would be justified,and if he implements their policies why he would be as worthy of a knighthood as Sir Michael Cullen.

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  39. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    DPF said “Their policy seems to be summed up as:

    Tax more
    Kill the dairy cows
    Waste billions on pet projects”

    AND

    Get on National Radio far more often than is warranted.

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  40. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    virtualmark (1,256) Says:
    June 5th, 2012 at 2:45 pm
    “The Greens … (want to create jobs by) grooming unicorns”

    Eeeeeww

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  41. KevinH (1,131 comments) says:

    At this stage the Greens are still “thinking out loud” and have yet to implement strategies that will take their Energy concepts from the drawing board to the coal face.(sic) (pun)
    For instance in any Energy strategy there is a place for fossil fuels and renewable sources, it’s a matter of prioritising and seeking balance with what is available versus demand.
    Secondly not all renewable sources are economically sound, for instance research into tidal energy is proving an expensive white elephant due to having to create verticals from the ground up.
    Fossil fuels will always have a place because simply they are here and available right here and now, it’s just a matter of minimising the enviromental impacts.

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  42. virtualmark (1,470 comments) says:

    expat … haven’t you heard, the Green’s platform for the next general election will be based on providing a free unicorn to every beneficiary.

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  43. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Well that will certainly stimulate economic growth through increased demand for Unicorn related products and services…

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  44. virtualmark (1,470 comments) says:

    Not to mention the biofuels we can make from Unicorn poo.

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  45. virtualmark (1,470 comments) says:

    But just to be clear … these are organic non-GM unicorns.

    None of your franken-unicorns for us. No sir.

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  46. chiz (1,119 comments) says:

    Scott Chris:I say there is a great deal of solid scientific research supporting the idea that monoculture is bad for the environment whereas a bio-diverse organic approach is much better for the environment.

    Organic farming has a lower yield per hectare than modern farming. You therefore need more land to produce food organically than under modern farming. There isn’t enough arable land on the planet to feed the forthcoming 9 billion people unless we make more of it – by destroying ecosystems, draining wetlands etc, on a large scale. This would drive thousands of species into extinction.

    Furthermore organic farming doesn’t have access to modern synthetic fungicides. Instead they use shitloads of copper sulphate which builds up in the soil. Eventually it will reach toxic levels.

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  47. virtualmark (1,470 comments) says:

    Tom Hunter …

    It is worth remembering that the Greens policy is to reduce the national dairy herd by about 20%.

    There were about 4.5 million dairy cows in 2011, so we’re talking about 900,000 cows. The time frame is not stated but I see no reason why it should not happen as quickly as possible.

    So the cows need to be eliminated (liquidated would be a more appropriate term) fast.

    I’m pretty sure the Greens also believe the world is over-populated and we need to reduce the global population by at least 20% too. Stop giving them ideas.

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  48. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Can we intensively farm Unicorns and force feed them corn to get Unicorn foie gras *as well as* biofuel and of course moon beams.

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  49. virtualmark (1,470 comments) says:

    Well expat, as chiz has outlined organic farming has a lower yield per hectare than intensive farming. So the number of unicorns per hectare will inevitably be limited.

    As for moon beams. One of our first steps in New Zealand’s global clean tech leadership will be to develop a photo-voltaic cell that works from moon beams rather than sunlight. It hasn’t escaped our attention that the moon is out for as many hours as the sun, but so far all those moon beams are simply wasted. Think of the number of electric cars we could power with moon beams! And with this new cleantech breakthrough those electric cars would now be able to travel at night!

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  50. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    expat: I thought unicorns could fly? Surely that opens up hitherto unknown economies of scale, as we can stack them 10 deep, and get 1000% increase in productivity from our farm land? The effluent would be pretty deep, and the unicorns might not stay white once you stack them like that, but if you’re using it all for biofuels, probably worth the effort. The biofuels could then be used to drive the laser grid that you have to use instead of fences to keep them in. My question is whether the net carbon position on all of this is positive, but certainly there’s no evidence it won’t work. In fact, I’m yet to see any peer reviewed science on any of this, which just goes to show that our capitalist society is once again covering up the facts.

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  51. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    I thought unicorns could fly?

    You idiot! Unicorns cant fly!!!!

    So what other fairy-tales do you believe mate?!?

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  52. virtualmark (1,470 comments) says:

    Kimble, I think PaulL is referring to genetically modified Pega-Unicorns. The National Party is solely to fault for creating these mutants, as part of their shift to the extreme right. We believe the National Party’s intent is to sell the genetic sequence for Pega-unicorns to Monsanto, in return for Monsanto donating $25,000 to the National Party’s 2014 election campaign.

    Here in the Green Party we are only interested in organic Unicorns.

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  53. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    Isn’t Organic Unicorn the same thing as long pork?

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  54. virtualmark (1,470 comments) says:

    Kimble, unicorn is closer to horse than pig.

    A good number of the 100,000 cleantech jobs we will create when in power will be in boucherie chevaline (horse butchers). In our first 100 days in power Mojo Mathers (our food spokesperson) will introduce a cooking book with delicious recipes for unicorn meat, and each school tuckshop will be required to offer at least one unicorn dish.

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  55. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    That is just hypocritical BS!

    Do you know how much sugar is in Unicorn meat?!?!

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  56. virtualmark (1,470 comments) says:

    Yes, unfortunately unicorns are made of sugar and spice and all things nice.

    The biggest problem we have is Sue Kedgley. The damn woman keeps filing remits at the AGM complaining about how much dihydrogen monoxide there is in unicorn meat, and that it’s some kind of poison. But none of us can find any reference to this dihydrogen monoxide stuff in the national poisons database. I’m sure it’s something else made by Monsanto.

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  57. Scott Chris (5,870 comments) says:

    Organic farming has a lower yield per hectare than modern farming.

    Sure Chiz, but that’s not the point I was making. There are aspects to organic farming that are completely unscientific such as the aversion to genetically modified crops or basic glyphosate herbicides, however taking a rational and balanced approach to agriculture makes perfect sense to me.

    Instead they use shitloads of copper sulphate which builds up in the soil. Eventually it will reach toxic levels.

    Got a link to back that assertion? Sounds like the kind of story the WSJ or WP would come up with. The overuse of copper sulphate simply doesn’t comply with the basic organic ethos of striving to achieve environmental balance.

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  58. Peter (1,577 comments) says:

    At this stage the Greens are still “thinking out loud”

    Plenty of evidence of “out loud”. Very little evidence of “thinking”.

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  59. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    If someone wanted to invest in their unicorn enterprise and buy more stock, how many mung beans would it cost per unicorn?

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  60. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    Can’t wait for the commie fucks to come and shoot my cows, open season on greens. And I have no doubt who would come out on the right side of the ledger.

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  61. Colville (2,058 comments) says:

    If they shoot 1.2 mil cows what will the dumb fucks do with all that ultra expensive land? Govt gonna buy it with MY taxes?

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  62. tom hunter (4,367 comments) says:

    My god. It’s full of stars.

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  63. OneTrack (2,564 comments) says:

    @Colville – No need to buy the land (or the cows). Just nationalise them both. Job done. And, even better, the only people complaining will be the polluting farmers. High-5.

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  64. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Re-designing Russel’s “green” economics

    Dr. Russell Norman is trying to have a perfect foresight of an economy (a complex system) via top-down design , while privately he is clueless to how to run his own life such as to make himself prosperous. Once he’s got power, all of a sudden he’s got the perfect foresight to run the lifes of many people, which is something he never achieved when he was running his own (a single person or his family) life. Unbelievable! Why are the unproductive people in the society always think that know better of what’s best for the rest?

    Sir Paul Callaghan was right on the mark in his comment.

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  65. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    … however taking a rational and balanced approach to agriculture makes perfect sense to me.

    Is it rational to take a balanced approach when one side of the balancing act is unknown?

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  66. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    Why are the unproductive people in the society always think that know better of what’s best for the rest?

    I hope you dont think that productive people are any better.

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  67. infused (634 comments) says:

    Organic farming is a pile of shit. Do some research, there is very little difference. You are buying the same shit.

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  68. slijmbal (1,210 comments) says:

    One of the rationales about organic farming is reduced use of artificial pesticides and thus they are healthier to the consumer. This is the usual bad science from the greens.

    1) many types of organic farming allow ‘natural’ pesticides
    2) and even if they are not used plants produce their own pesticides – a wide variety – the amount they produce increases substantially when they are stressed e.g. attacked by pests
    3) those ‘natural’ pesticides that have been tested appear to be as bad as the artificial e.g. just as carcinogenic in similar percentages
    4) we ‘eat’ substantially more natural pesticides than we do artificial

    There are some obvious exceptions to this e.g. there is a type of pesticide whose name I forget which is looking like potential culprits against bees by getting in to the pollen and to which bees seem very sensitive – indicative at present but looking likely

    In summary, artificial vs natural pesticides looks like a red herring wrt to health.

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  69. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Kimble, the difference here is that productive people in the society are the ones who want to be left alone so they can carry on with what they do best. Business people don’t want too many legislation stifling their ability to conduct their businesses. However, the unproductive that I refereed to here are the ones who wield immense power, ie, the lawmakers. Lawmakers don’t produce anything useful at all. All they do is coming up with new legislation all the time of what they think in their own little thick heads of what the society should do, such as you’re only allowed A, B, C, etc,.. and you can’t do E, F, G, etc,… They think they know of what’s best. If one looks at their own pathetic private life before they even entered parliament, they were miserable. They didn’t have the perfect foresight to run their miserable life thus lifting them into prosperity. But now, they think they have the perfect foresight of how society should be run, which is something they never had before they entered parliament. If they had, they wouldn’t want to go into parliament because it is a place made up of unproductive losers in the society. Its not fun to be a loser. however the do enjoy being a power wielding loser, and that’s what’s drive them.

    Ron Paul suggested in the US that politicians should work for a living outside of parliament (full time). US Congress (or NZ Parliament) should only for a few months of the year and the other months of the year (they’re not in Washington) they should all go back to work for a living (whatever they do) in their own states. It used to be like that over 100 years ago.

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  70. Bogusnews (441 comments) says:

    I got some terrible news from the Greens in my mailer today.

    Father Christmas doesn’t exist!! They said the Tooth Fairy told them.

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  71. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    As anybody who has ever left NZ for an extended period, it’s all rubbish particular the R& D breaks for clean and green. Anything you invest in in NZ that requires huge upfront capital, time testing in labs and expensive whatevermetalonium that drives physical components of the tech ( and that we’ed never be able to mine in PC paradise is never going to be profitable. It’s the business equivalent of nuclear fusion. Maybe not entirely out of the picture but you need an incentive great than NZ’s local market to drive it and that money is business not taxpayers. Without “picking winners”, you could seed industries that NZ is good at – smart labour and low production costs. Software development being one but you’re going to be shit out of luck in anything infrastructure related. Like it was said the countries with a real prerogative to do so, high population and low labour costs will develop the next wonder car.

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  72. Mark (1,356 comments) says:

    I am very worried about the greens policy platforms and the fact that they may have influence in the next governmet but for those of you ACT supporters who are taking the opportunity to rubbish them on this blog the greens are sitting at over 10% while ACT barely registers. How can this possibly be?

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  73. Tauhei Notts (1,601 comments) says:

    Only now am I beginning to understand Fonterra’s Trading Amongst Farmers policy.
    If the Greens get and the country’s dairy herd is reduced drastically the redemption of shares liability will become horrific.
    Anybody with an ounce of financial nouse can see what a Green victory will do the Fonterra traded share price.
    Sir Henry from Putaruru and Theo have been very quiet on this matter.

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  74. Scott Chris (5,870 comments) says:

    Is it rational to take a balanced approach when one side of the balancing act is unknown?

    If you are referring to the ‘picking winners’ comment, then I agree that that is an immensely naive policy idea. The market picks winners not the government. However the government can create an economic environment which favours one technology type over another.

    Regarding the practice of organic farming perhaps I can use this analogy to illustrate my point. If you go to your doctor and you are subsequently found to have high cholesterol he is quite likely to advise you to moderate your diet and take more exercise before prescribing statins.

    In other words, seek balance rather than a quick fix.

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  75. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    It’s very pleasing to see this post. It means that, still a long way out from the next election, National MPs are staring at the opposition benches wondering which one will be theirs after the next election.

    Tax more
    Kill the dairy cows
    Waste billions on pet projects

    First, as I understand it, the Greens policy is to reverse some tax cuts that are regressive in nature, thus restore lost revenue to the government for minimal, if any, negative impact on economic growth. A capital gains tax to broaden the tax base is classical neo-liberal economics and should be a natural fit with National (except for the vested interests of aging farmers, of course)

    Then there is the scaremongering comments on killing dairy dairy cows that no doubt convinced some of the more simplistic posters here, but I’m sure DPF had a big grin writing that one!

    More seriously, the main concern around numbers of cows is pollution of our streams etc and Federated Farmers now has more enlightened leadership that is keen on addressing this issue.

    Also, in his recent address to Federated Farmers, Sir Peter Gluckman made the point that cows of exactly the same genetic make up are producing up to double the milk yield in China. So there is huge potential for farmers to reduce methane emissions with a more scientific approach to their work. There is probably, heaven forbid, a facilitating role for the government here – omigod, picking winners!

    Talking about picking winners, some counties with governments who do just this are amongst the strongest in the world today: eg China, Russia, Israel, Germany, Japan…Israel has a huge publicly funded research sector and is one of the world’s top innovators, but for some reason we don’t want to emulate success?

    Sounds just like the old reactionary National Party I remember so well!

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  76. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    I’m sorry *but* this thread was about Unicorn farming, back on topic puuuurhlease.

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  77. chiz (1,119 comments) says:

    Scott Chris:however taking a rational and balanced approach to agriculture makes perfect sense to me

    I agree. But organic farming is based on dogma. There are a very tiny number of people in the organic farming community for example that don’t have any objection to GE crops and don’t see any problem growing them organically but debate on this sort of thing is verboten.

    Got a link to back that assertion? Sounds like the kind of story the WSJ or WP would come up with. The overuse of copper sulphate simply doesn’t comply with the basic organic ethos of striving to achieve environmental balance.

    Again, organic farming is based on dogma. They believe they are doing things responsibly even though they aren’t. Belief trumps actuality.

    And yes the copper sulphate problem is very well established. Soil scientists have been warning about this for years. Agricultural uses of copper sulphate were discovered in the late 19th century and in the 20th century soil scientists spent a lot of time looking at things like its retention time in soil. The evidence is good enough that in the late 90s the EU commission decided that they were going to ban the use of copper sulphate by organic farmers and only relented after all the organic lobby groups protested. They admitted that copper sulphate caused harm but wanted time to find an alternative, which they haven’t of course.

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  78. chiz (1,119 comments) says:

    expat:I’m sorry *but* this thread was about Unicorn farming

    What about unicorn pharming? Not only would get their poo for bio-fuels, but we get useful drugs from them too.

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