The Greens’ economic plan

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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