Garner says Greens need to be more centrist

October 2nd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Duncan Garner writes:

The Green Party needs a serious rethink. For as long as they have been in Parliament, they have been a left wing party – linked to the fortunes of the Labour Party. The Greens have constantly ruled out voting confidence and supply in a National Government. It means they can only ever be in Government if Labour is in Government. And the truth is – even when the tide was in for the Labour Party – Helen Clark and co shafted them.

Clark chose to officially work with Peter Dunne and Winston Peters to form a Government and she left the Greens out in the cold, knowing their votes came for free. She knew how to keep her enemies close and her friends voted for Labour anyway.

History shows the Greens have missed out on power in New Zealand. If that is to change, the Greens need to evolve and be open to formally supporting a National Government.

I can’t see ever them doing this, but if they did it would guarantee Labour would never take them for granted again. Cunliffe was all set to lock them out of Government (if Labour did better) as the price to get Winston on board.

The Greens talk poverty and social justice, but the poor aren’t listening – and they’re certainly not voting for them. Look at these telling statistics from the poorest electorates in the country:

In Manurewa, in the crucial party vote, just 868 people voted for the Greens; in Manukau, East it was just 744; in Mangere, it was just 865.

Now look at the two most wealthy suburbs in NZ:

In Epsom, the Greens got 3415 votes; in Wellington Central, they got 8627 party votes, more than Labour’s 7351; in Auckland Central the Greens got 4584 votes, compared to Labour’s 4758.

The Greens get votes from wealthy liberals.

The Greens have been in power in Germany and Finland. Of course, they will always oppose National’s intention to mine, and of course they will oppose the numerous free-trade agreements, and of course they will disagree with farming practices and carbon emissions. But Labour supports mining and free-trade too – they aren’t that different to National. And what difference has Labour made to dairy farming in NZ? Zilch. Not forgetting, Labour negotiated and signed the China free-trade deal – not National.

In short, it’s time for the Greens to grow up, modernise and to be a party that can genuinely make a difference. They could be the 10 percent balance-of-power party every election – no matter who leads the Government.

Surely, if you’re a Greenie, that’s worth thinking about?

Again, will never happen I say.

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Green soul-searching

September 25th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The ODT editorial:

While the focus in the aftermath of the election rout has been on the woes of the Labour Party, the Greens should also be soul-searching and contemplating where to from here.

Despite brave words from co-leader Metiria Turei about the Greens doing well and holding their vote, the results must have been disappointing.

First, there is bewilderment that left-leaning parties were thrashed.

If you add the 4.1% of the Conservatives to National’s 48.1% (the Act and United Future party votes were only just worth counting), the ”right” trounced Labour’s 24.7%, the Greens’ 10% and Internet Mana’s 1.3%.

Yep, 53% to around 36%. To get a left Government not reliant on the whims of Winston needs around an 11% gain.

Both the Greens and Labour, often competing for the same voters, would have been expecting losses from one to flow to the other.

But they didn’t. Well Labour did lose some to the Greens, but the Greens lost some to non voters.

Although the Greens are ”red-green”, with most policies well left of centre, they continue to fail in the poorest electorates.

In South Auckland’s Mangere, Manukau East and Manurewa they could not even muster 900 votes per electorate.

Go to highly educated Wellington Central, and they won 8627.

Next highest was Rongotai (Wellington) with 8230 and then Dunedin North 6718 and Mt Albert (Auckland) 6205.

The dominant appeal is to the liberal middle class with, one suspects, a large number of socially and environmentally concerned middle-aged among those who ticked Green.

Yep. The challenge is how to expand beyond those.

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Green Councillor confirms against any large roads

September 24th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee today vested four pieces of land in Tawa to the Crown for the purpose of building the $850 million motorway north of Wellington.

Doing so was little more than a formality, given the New Zealand Transport Agency’s ability to acquire the land if the council did not willingly hand it over.

But acting committee chairman and deputy mayor of Wellington Justin Lester said, somewhat jokingly, it was the council’s last chance to stop Transmission Gully, which was first mooted in 1919.

”In my personal capacity, I wholeheartedly support it,” he said.

”We [councillors] do look forward to the project getting underway.”

But not everyone on the committee shared that view.

Councillor Iona Pannett said that even though the land transfer was a formality, she would not support it.

”I’m voting against this as a matter of principle because I’ll never never support mega road building,” she said.

”If there’s anything I can do to frustrate that, I will.”

Iona’s views are the views of most elected Greens. They are against roads, no matter what. They will never never support them. It is not about cost effectiveness, road safety or congestion. It is a near religious belief that cars are bad.
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This is a good time to abolish the SIS and GCSB!

September 24th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Green Party policy is to:

We would therefore institute a select committee enquiry into whether the SIS should be abolished and its responsibilities returned to the police. …

we will abolish the GCSB and close its two signals intelligence bases at Waihopai and Tangimoana immediately.

Meanwhile in Australia:

A TEEN terror suspect under investigation for making threats against Prime Minister Tony Abbott was shot dead by police last night after stabbing a Victorian police officer and a federal police agent.

The injured officers, both from the Joint Counter Terrorism Team, are in hospital in a stable condition. …

Senior intelligence sources confirmed that the terrorism suspect had been among a number of people whose passports were recently cancelled.

It is believed that the man was well known to police, and had displayed Islamic State flags in the local Dandenong shopping centre.

And globally:

A 42-minute audio recording by an ISIS spokesman was released on social media Sunday, in which the group calls on Muslims to kill civilians in countries that belong to the anti-ISIS, U.S.-led coalition.

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European, especially the spiteful and filthy French, or an Australian, or a Canadian or any other disbeliever, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” an ISIS spokesman says.

Note the reference to “any other disbeliever”.

The Herald editorial notes:

What should New Zealand do? Does this country have malcontents who would embrace even ascetic religious fundamentalism for the sake of a cause? Have any been with Isis and returned? Should this country, too, offer special forces to assist Iraqi troops on the ground? That depends on whether the new Iraqi Government is better than the last, and whether US air support alone might be effective, as it was in protecting Kurdistan. The decision must not be influenced by the possibility of terrorism at home. As Australia has shown, good intelligence can keep us safe.

This is worth reflecting on.

That doesn’t mean that the GCSB should be allowed to do what it wants. Absolutely not. I am against mass surveillance of New Zealanders (which does not occur in NZ). But be aware the Greens are not just against mass surveillance – their official policy is to abolish the GCSB entirely – and look at abolishing the SIS also. They take an unbalanced view on these issues, and that view has dangers as our closest neighbour comes under attack.

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The truth on water

September 19th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Got sent this e-mail by a reader. I have not fact checked it myself, but it seems to be accurate, and is a useful counter to the hysteria over water quality.

Are the Greens telling you the Truth?

1. A recent OECD survey measured the cleanliness of all major rivers that flow through farmland in OECD countries. Of the three New Zealand rivers measured, where did the Clutha, Waitaki and Waikato, respectively, place?

a)    87th, 89th and 90th

b)    42nd, 58th and 76th

c)    1st, 2nd and 4th

Answer:  Of all major rivers in the developed world that flow through farmland, the OECD found Clutha rated 1st, the Waitaki 2nd and the Waikato 4th for cleanliness.

 

2. Compared with other developed countries’ major rivers, the OECD study found New Zealand’s three longest rivers contained what levels of nitrates and total phosphorous, respectively?

a)    very high and relatively high

b)    relatively high and high

c)    very low and relatively low

Answer:  Our three longest rivers were found to have very low levels of nitrates, and relatively low levels of total phosphorus.

 

3. The latest Commission for the Environment report said what percentage of New Zealand rivers are getting cleaner?

a)    20%

b)    50%

c)    90%

Answer:  90% of our rivers are getting cleaner. There are river care and land care groups on all main and many small rivers across New Zealand. They’re spending millions of dollars to improve water quality. They include farmers, Fonterra, Dairy NZ, NZ Beef and Lamb, Landcare NZ, Federated Farmers, Iwi, fertilizer companies, universities, and regional councils.

4. How did the Greens interpret the Commissioner for the Environment’s report?

a)    They told the truth and congratulated farmers on the 90%.

b)    The lied and said only 50% of rivers were getting cleaner.

c)    They lied and said water quality was getting worse.

Answer:  Russel Norman lied and said water quality was getting worse, when the Commissioner for the Environment said 90% of rivers were getting cleaner overall.
5. How many of New Zealand’s 1000 rivers did the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment classify very poor for cleanliness?

a)    326

b)    17

c)    2

Answer: Only 17 of our 1000 rivers are still rated very poor for cleanliness. But the Commissioner for the Environment reports that each one is getting cleaner.

6. Compared with the OECD average of 11%, what percentage of available fresh water does New Zealand use?

a)    43%

b)    11.2%

c)    1.2%

Answer:  We use only 1.2% of our available fresh water. That’s nearly the lowest in the OECD. South Korea uses 43%. (North Korea’s not saying.) 

7. How many kilometres of rivers and streams have farmers so far fenced off?

a)    20,000 km

b)    30,000 km

c)    45,000 km

Answer: Farmers have so far fenced off 45,000 km of rivers and streams (note: the 20,000 km being quoted by National is Fonterra farmers only), as well as doing a great deal of planting alongside waterways.

8. What percentage of New Zealand dairy-farm rivers have farmers so far fenced off?

a)    30%

b)    60%

c)    90%

Answer:  Farmers have so far fenced off 90% of New Zealand rivers that run through farmland.

9. What has made farmers fence off so many rivers at their own expense?

a)    Government regulation

b)    Local and regional council regulation

c)    Their concern as practical environmentalists

Answer: As dairy farm income has risen, farmers have been able to afford to help clean up our rivers, and are doing more fencing and planting all the time.

 10. How do the Greens plan to reward farmers for their voluntary efforts?

a)    Tax them less

b)    Tax them the same

c)    Tax them more

Answer: The Green want to tax farmers more, making it harder for them to continue their fencing and planting.

11. How much are farming-related groups spending per year to solve the leaching problem?

a)    $2.5 million

b)    $12.5 million

c)    $25 million

Answer: Over $25 million per year is going into research to solve the leaching problem. The effort is constrained only by the number of available scientists.

12. Where are New Zealand’s worst affected stretches of rivers:

a)    downstream from farms

b)    downstream from towns

c)    downstream from Green Party offices.

Answer:  Our worst-affected stretches of river are downstream from urban, not rural, areas.

13. What is the Greens’ solution to improving river water quality?

a)    Recognise that farmers are practical environmentalists, and encourage them to finish their fencing and planting.

b)    Provide state assistance to help speed up the process

c)    Ban all new dairy farm conversions

Answer:  The Greens have said they want to cap dairy farming at its current level.

14. What will be the result of the Greens stopping new dairy farming?

a)    More export income

b)    Better schools, better hospitals – and a cleaner environment

c)    The loss of precious new export income that would allow us to afford better hospitals, better schools, and a cleaner environment

Answer:  The loss of precious new export income that would allow us to afford better hospitals, better schools – and a cleaner environment.

15. With their very public “dirty dairying” campaign, the Greens have:-

a)   helpfully improved New Zealand’s international reputation

b)    made no difference to New Zealand’s international reputation

c)    deliberately sabotaged New Zealand’s international reputation

Answer:  By loudly exaggerating problems with our clean, green image, the Greens have deliberately sabotaged New Zealand’s international reputation.


THE GREENS DON’T CARE ABOUT SABOTAGING NEW ZEALAND.

To say that farmers pull their weight for New Zealand is a massive understatement. Together these 60,000 hardworking and innovative men and women earn 52% of our export income.

And frankly, they’re hurting at the torrent of unjustified criticism from the Greens that they don’t care about our rivers.

They want you to know the facts.

There are river care and land care groups on all main and many small rivers across New Zealand. They’re spending millions of dollars to improve water quality.

These groups include farmers, Fonterra, Dairy NZ, NZ Beef and Lamb, Landcare NZ, Federated Farmers, iwi, fertilizer companies, universities, and regional councils.

The Greens’ unfair “dirty dairying” campaign has done much to sabotage New Zealand’s international reputation. You have to wonder whether these people are New Zealanders first, or more committed to the Socialist International goal of bringing down capitalism.

The fact is, thousands of New Zealand farmers are heavily committed financially and ethically to making our rivers cleaner.  (A commitment which started long before the “dirty dairying” campaign.)

THE DOWNSIDE OF A HUGE UPSIDE

So why do we have this problem with our rivers? It goes back to the early days of our farming and industry. The upside of those pioneering efforts was that farmers gave New Zealanders the highest standard of living in the world.The downside was that, with no practical alternatives, they had to use the rivers as a means of disposal. Everyone accepted that. There was little or no dissent.

Then in the 1960s, attitudes changed. And work began on cleaning up.

We’re happy to acknowledge that the Green movement was a part of that attitude shift. We respect the Greens as environmental watchdogs. But their solution to every problem is more state control. Their latest list of policies reveals them to be more concerned with socialist redistribution than about the environment.

FARMERS MADE US A RICH COUNTRY, NOT THE STATE.

We remind you who built the farming industry on which New Zealanders still depend for their high standard of living. It wasn’t the state. That’s why we say innovative, commonsense farmers have a better record of fixing environmental problems related to farming than heavy-handed bureaucrats from Wellington.

These are just a very few of the many waterways that have community groups working hard to clean them up:

Ngongotaha Stream, Bay of Plenty. This stream is benefitting from restoration work that began decades ago. A whole-of-catchment plan led to 90% of the river’s banks being fenced and replanted. Result: much less sediment entering the stream, less particulate nitrogen and phosphorous – and less E coli.

Watercress Creek, Tasman. A Fonterra-financed farm river plan is reaping big benefits. The creek is now fully fenced and the Fonterra factory’s waste no longer overflows into it. Council, schools, communities and farmers are all beavering away replanting.

Rai River, Marlborough. At one time, during the dairy season there were three million cow crossings a day in this catchment. After 20 years of huge expenditure on bridges and culverts, the number of cows in the water at any one time is close to zero. Result: E coli levels are way down.

Shag River, Otago. Various farmer organizations and the regional council shared with farmers information about best practice. Farmers then invested heavily in reticulated water, fencing and new practices. Result: an impressive drop in E coli levels.

Please don’t misunderstand us. We applaud the Greens for alerting us to problems. We just have a big problem with their heavy-handed state solutions.

MORE FACTS ABOUT HOW WE’RE IMPROVING OUR WATER QUALITY

There are three sources of pollution in waterways: pathogens (faeces), sediment (erosion) and nutrients (mainly phosphates and nitrogen).

Every year the pathogens and sediment problems have got better. And we’re now seeing a reduction in phosphates thanks to the efforts of farmers, the government,  regional councils and other groups.

Only nitrogen now needs to be beaten and we’re on track to knock it out too as millions are poured into research and development.

Something you should know when you hear the word nitrogen. Nitrogen occurs naturally in waterways – if it didn’t we’d have a much bigger problem.  Life in the water would die.

Rivers can handle quite heavy loads of nitrogen.  There’s no real problem until blooms appear. That’s a rare occurrence in New Zealand’s 1000 rivers.

NIWA’s Dr Davies-Colley had this to say about our improving water quality:

  • “The fact that some heavily polluted rivers – mostly in dairying areas – have turned the corner in recent years gives us cause for optimism for the future.”

“A relatively few urban- and mine-affected rivers in New Zealand probably have the worst water quality because of mobilisation of toxic contaminants such as heavy metals as well as severe habitat modification.”

TO STOP THE GREENS,
YOU MUST STOP LABOUR.

If you party vote Labour and the Left wins, in a couple of weeks 30% of the Cunliffe cabinet will be Green. Russel Norman and Metiria Turei will be Joint Deputy Prime Ministers. Ex-communist Norman is going to be driving a hard bargain to get his hands on the Finance portfolio. We’ll have up to seven Green ministers.

Is that what you want?

If not, there’s only one thing you can do about it. Don’t vote Labour because Labour means 30% Greens.

 Authorised by: John Third for The Opinion, 61 Ironside Road, Johnsonville.

I don’t agree with all the rhetoric in the e-mail, but I do absolutely agree with the salient points about how the Greens are misleading over the issue, and that their policy to cap the number of cows in New Zealand is the wrong one.

 

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Greens try to cuddle up to National

September 13th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Internet Party leader Laila Harre has criticised the Greens for talking about the possibility of a co-operation deal with a National Government just eight days from the election – a proposal that National has slapped down and exploited.

“I think it is seriously mis-timed,” Ms Harre told the Weekend Herald.

She said it was crucial that progressive parties focused on mobilising turnout to change the government and the amount of early voting so far signalled the potential for a significant increase.

“I think the Greens’ statement is unfortunate. It risks demoralising those who are confident and hold hope that the progressive parties are focused on a change of government,” Ms Harre said.

In the event that National managed to put together a government after September 20, it would be one that was extremely vulnerable, with John Key’s leadership an issue in the aftermath of the Dirty Politics revelations.

“All of that makes it even more important that the progressive parties that want to change the Government are entirely focused on that outcome.

“It is not the time for any of those parties to be forming relationships of any nature with the National Party.”

Laila is unhappy with her comrades. Bad Greens.

However, Prime Minister John Key had ruled it out by the afternoon and exploited the appearance of a rift between the Greens and Labour for all it was worth.

“They’ve given up hope on Labour,” he told reporters in Northland.

“The Greens have made their own way with Labour.

“The fact that the ship is taking on so much water is really a problem for the two of them to think about.”

The big problem for Labour leader David Cunliffe was that the only partner he had basically got “is saying ‘man overboard’,” the PM said

If they don’t make it this time, the Greens face 18 years of not being in Government. Also they will then have Internet Mana in Parliament with greater resources and directly competing for votes with them..

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The left’s policies will put us back into deficit

September 10th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

One News reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe’s Capital Gains Tax is again under fire – this time from economists at the NZIER who say it won’t generate anywhere near enough money to cover the party’s spending promises.

Labour has over-estimated its capital gains tax numbers, according to a report by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research. The report was commissioned by Federated Farmers, which strongly opposes the proposal.

Labour predicts a capital gains tax should raise $3.7 billion by 2026. But the Institute claims it’ll actually bring in less than half of that.

So who do we believe? The NZIEr is probably the (or one of the) most respected economics firms in New Zealand.

Labour on the other hand is the first opposition party in around two decades to decline the offer by Treasury to have a secondee in their office, who could credibly cost their policies for them.

It’s not a hard call.

And in related news, the Taxpayers Union has released a paper by Dr Michael Dunn analysing the likely fiscal impact of the Green Party wages policy. Dr Dunn is the former head of forecasting at IRD, so is an expert in forecasting.

The Greens claimed their wages policy will bring in an extra $800 million a year in tax revenue to the Government. Dr Dunn has calculated that in fact it would result in around $110 million less tax revenue every year, So that is a $2.7 billion hold in the Greens costings. We have a surplus projection of $300 million, so goodbye surplus.

The Greens and Dr Dunn agree that the direct cost of their policy on the Government will be $1.1 bllion over three years. Add on the reduced tax revenue and the total impact on the Government’s books is to leave the Government’s books $1.4 billion worse off – compared to their claim that it would be $1.5 billion better off.

These are not minor differences. These are billions of dollars. And just on one policy!!

I think it is time that we have what the US have, and a NZ version of the Congressional Budget Office which can independently cost policies proposed by parliamentary parties. NZers deserve better than to be conned by political parties that grossly mislead voters over the true costs of their policies.

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Greens spam Ecan

September 10th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Green Party has been accused of “subverting the democratic process” by lobbying Environment Canterbury (ECan) on behalf of individuals without their knowledge.

Four people were surprised to receive emails from ECan thanking them for their submission on the region’s proposed bus changes when they had not submitted.

A further 20 submissions, of the 165 submissions sent in by the Greens, were found to have incorrect email addresses.

ECan received 2357 submissions for its proposed bus changes.

All submissions from the Greens were a standard response asking for more investment in public transport and more services for elderly.

Emails given to The Press by ECan, with personal information removed, showed people were unimpressed.

“I nevet [sic] sent this email! How did this happen?” one said.

“I actually didn’t give permission for the Green Party to send that submission on my behalf,” another said.

Another questioned the ethics of the practice.

“It does not accurately represent my thoughts . . . I’m not sure I agree ethically with this practice.”

So how did this happen?

Green Party MP Eugenie Sage said it was an “attempt to engage the public that had gone wrong”.

According to the telephone script, those contacted were asked if their name could added to the Greens’ submission.

“Some people may not have been aware that there was a submission being sent in on their behalf after the phone conversation,” she said.

That is so deceptive. There is a huge difference between adding a name to a petition, and having a political party send in an individual submission on your behalf.  And obviously they failed to articulate what would be in that submission, hence deceiving both the individuals and Ecan.

Sage said the emails were not checked before they were used.

“We were using a new method of public engagement, having people call people on our database to alert them to the submission process,” she said.

That is indigenous disingenious.  The Greens were not just alerting them to the submission process. The Greens were writing submission for them, and sending them in without their permission. You could make a case for fraud. Sending a false submission in the name of someone is a serious issue.

It been abandoned in Christchurch because of the botch-up but would continue to be used elsewhere.

So the Greens are saying that they will send in individual submissions in you name elsewhere, so long as you just say you agree with them on a general issue.

They have become an astro-turfing party!

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Greens flogging dead horse

September 8th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Reviving the scrapped light rail system, introducing new electric buses and retaining a fleet of trolley buses are part of the Green Party’s $500 million vision for Wellington’s transport system.

The policy, released today, calls for money earmarked by the current National Government for upgrading and expanding the capital’s roading network to be spent on public transport, Green Party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said.

Wellingtonians could be taking light rail from the railway station out to Kilbirnie by 2020, and the airport and Miramar by 2025 under the plan, she said.

I can understand the Greens supporting light rail as a possibility before it was fully explored as an option. But the two Wellington Councils and NZTA commissioned a study of light rail and even Mayor Celia now agrees it is unaffordable and ineffective.

So why are the Greens still backing it? Because it is about a near religious belief in rail. It is nothing to do with enhancing transport.

Light rail was costed at $940 million, and providing benefits of just $30 million. The business to cost ratio is close to zero – 0.05. The Greens are proposing to waste around $3,000 per Wellington household. If you live in Wellington think about what you could do with $3,000 instead!

The Greens would also retain the city’s ageing trolley buses, at a cost of $70m for their upgrade.

That’s $70 million which won’t reduce congestion by one passenger. In fact it will make congestion worse. The new non trolley buses will make a commute five to ten minutes  faster. The Greens are against this!

I’d love us to have light rail and trolley buses if they were even marginally cost effective. But they’re not. The Greens are unable to accept reality, and are flogging dead horses. Except that if they are in Government we’ll be paying for those dead horses.

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Cash for Clunkers

September 5th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

John Sununu at the Boston Globe writes:

POLITICIANS HAVE difficulty learning from their mistakes; it’s tough enough to just acknowledge them. Admitting mistakes leaves elected officials feeling exposed and vulnerable. And why bother, when the partisan divide encourages both sides to endlessly litigate the rights and wrongs of past legislative choices?

Cash for Clunkers should be the exception. Enacted in 2009, the $3 billion program was intended to stimulate the economy by offering $4,500 credits for trading older vehicles for newer, more fuel-efficient cars. 

I recall the hoopla around that. People said it was visionary. I think some parties even pushed for such a programme in NZ. Yes, here is the Green Party pushing for it.

It was a spectacular failure, at least according to two comprehensive studies. The first was completed last year by the Brookings Institute, a left-leaning Washington think tank. Another, conducted by Texas A&M researchers, was released recently by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Here’s some conclusions from Brookings:

Using Li, Linn, and Spiller’s (2012) long-term jobs estimate for the CARS program, the program created 0.7 jobs for each million dollars of program cost, resulting in a cost of $1.4 million per job created.

This is presumably what the Greens mean by Green jobs!

Li, Linn, and Spiller’s (2012) estimated reductions in carbon dioxide emissions (including the co-benefit reduction in carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and exhaust particulates) amounts to a cost per ton of carbon dioxide of $91 to $301 stemming from
the program.

The usual cost for a ton of carbon is no more than $25. This was a huge waste of money in an environmental sense.

So why did the programme get accepted and then fail?

First, get caught up in the hoopla. Clunkers produced the type of headlines that politicians dream of: helping people buy cars, better fuel efficiency, the promise of job creation, and the word “cash” in the title. (Spelled with a $, if you please.) It was full of the kind of vague simplicity that has great political appeal, but begins to disintegrate as soon as it comes into contact with the real world.

Second, ignore the reality and complexity of human behavior. Proponents never seriously considered that subsidies would appeal most to consumers who were already considering replacing their vehicles. Both studies showed conclusively that the short-term spike in sales simply represented transactions that were pulled forward in time. Legislators’ belief that a temporary $4,500 rebate would result in sustainable sales growth was wrong from the start.

Lawmakers also failed to consider that the owners of “gas guzzlers” and those able to act quickly on a new car purchase tended to be higher income families. In fact, Brookings’ analysis showed that recipients of the credit were wealthier and better educated than the population at large.

Third, set aside basic economics, including the fundamentals of supply and demand. To justify the fuel savings promised under the program, the clunkers returned to dealers were destroyed, rather than resold as used vehicles. A year later, the resulting shortage of used cars pushed prices up an average of 10 percent.

The emphasis on smaller, fuel efficient vehicles also meant that the cars sold were less expensive than would otherwise have been the case. Consequently, automobile dealers — who actively promoted the bill and lobbied for its passage — saw lower revenues, and less profit, per car. Whether out of desperation or ignorance, they failed to consider the effects of this substitution.

Finally, use the wrong measurement for success. Ironically, early assessments asserted that the program was successful because it was popular. That’s a natural way for politicians to think, but completely meaningless where economics are concerned. (Throwing money in the street might make you popular, but it’s still a terrible idea.) Brookings and the Texas A&M researchers both concluded that across meaningful measures of success — economic growth, job creation, and emissions reductions — performance was abysmal. It was a costly error: by mistaking demand for success, legislators were convinced to throw away $2 billion more on top of the initial $1 billion program.

Many many government initiatives fail, like this one, because they never predict the unforeseen consequences.

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Green MP says cave living is okay!

September 3rd, 2014 at 1:01 pm by David Farrar

A reader writes in:

Tonight at a public meeting in Rotorua that I attended, Catherine Delahunty made an interesting interjection.

After an ACT candidate argued that unduly restrictive policies would have us all living in caves again, Catherine interjected:

“there’s nothing wrong with living in caves”

I trust the reader that this is an accurate recollection of the quote. Would be interested to hear from anyone else at that meeting, who can confirm it.

Good to have the Greens not deny the impact of their policies :-)

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Greens wages policy

September 2nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Greens wages policy is here. Some extracts:

As a first step to restore workplace fairness, the Green Party will increase the minimum wage to $15 immediately, in December 2014. We will then raise it in $1 steps on April 1st each year, so that it reaches $16 on April 1 2015, $17 on April 1 2016, and $18 on April 1 2017.

They also want to abolish the starting off wage, so they want to make it illegal to hire a 16 year old for less than $18 an hour!

The minimum wage in NZ is very high compared to the median wage. It is set at 66%. This policy would see it go to close to 85% (less any increase in median wages by 2017). The Department of Labour estimates this policy would see 24,000 lose their jobs, and go onto welfare.

Treasury have said that the minimum wage in New Zealand is the highest in the OECD compared to the average wage (at 49%) and third highest compared to the median wage.

National has increased the minimum wage by 19% in six years. Combined with tax cuts, the after tax income of someone on the minimum wage has gone up 27%. Adjusted for inflation a minimum wage worker has had a real income boost of 11%.

There is no case for the massive increases in the minimum wage, proposed by the Greens. We already have almost the highest in the world compared to median and average wages.

The Green Party also supports the Living Wage Movement, which has established that a typical family needs a wage of $18.80 to buy the
basics and participate in society. In order to lead by example, the Green Party will pay the Living Wage to all core public service staff,
and require all relevant Government contractors to pay a Living Wage when their contracts come up for renewal.

This will mean a de facto $18.40 minimum wage for most of NZ. There are very few companies that don’t have a government agency as a client. If you run a photocopier business, and supply services to a government agency, then you’ll have to pay the 16 year old intern $18.40 an hour!

As another major step towards a more stable and secure future for workers, we will implement recommendations from business, Government and unions for a statutory minimum redundancy payment for all staff equivalent to four weeks’ pay

And as part of this:

These changes will give workers more stability, and discourage unnecessary restructuring. In the case of large-scale redundancies, we will also fund union delegates to work with staff for 3-6 months to support them through the transition

This is the real policy – to have taxpayers fund unions.

We will also incorporate pay ratios into Government procurement policies.

So the Greens in Government will ban companies from gaining Government contracts, even if they are the cheapest and best provider, if they think their CEOs are paid too much!!!

The Green Party will work with the Union movement to see how the terms and conditions of unionised workers can be extended to others in their industries, whether through the Council of Trade Unions’ Extension Bargaining model or other policies

De facto compulsory unionism to return!! Joy. And hey by coincidence those unions are major donors to parties on the left.

To tackle the unacceptable face of precarious work, the Green Party will introduce laws banning zero-hours agreements, as part of greater
regulation of hours of work.

This is insane. This means a company would have to pay casual staff, even when there is no actual work to do.

Increasing the minimum wage will cost $1.1 billion over three years, owing to higher Government staffing costs, especially in the health
sector. However, that will be offset by increased tax revenue from wages of $1.9 billion over three years.

This is economic failure of the highest kind. They are counting the extra tax from higher wages, yet have ignored the fact companies paying those higher wages will have smaller profits and pay less tax. And low paid workers pay tax at around 15% and companies at 28% so here’s the actual cost of this policy:

  • $1.1 billion in higher government staff costs
  • Extra PAYE tax from higher wages -$1.9 billion
  • Less company tax from lower profits – $3.5 billion

So the actual fiscal impact of this policy would be $2.7 billion, not the claimed $800 million savings.

Now think about the economic incompetence of a party that doesn’t realise that profits fall if wages increase. And think about how massive that deficit will be if these people are making economic decisions in a Cabinet!

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Greens are advertising on Whale Oil!!

August 28th, 2014 at 3:52 pm by David Farrar

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Stuff has this screenshot of Whale Oil, with Green Party advertising on it. That’s very very funny.

It’s very nice of the Greens to help boost the income of Whale Oil.

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Russel missed the bus so wants a train!

August 25th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Greens co-leader Russel Norman was literally up in arms about public transport yesterday – but he still missed the bus.

Norman was heading from a TV3 appointment in Mt Eden to Auckland Airport and, as a good Green, opted to use the Airbus Express service.

But he could not attract the attention of the driver, who drove straight past.

Venting his frustration, he tweeted: “Hey Airbus, you know how you just drove past me on Mt Eden Rd even tho I was waving my arms rather vigorously, it doesn’t help PT [public transport].”

Norman then plugged an airport rail link.

“Oh boy we need a rail link to Auckland airport. 45m plus wait for an Airbus that wd stop. Greens will transform Auckland transport.”

I’m not sure that a bus refusing to stop for Russel is a good reason to build a rail link to Auckland Airport.

That’s another $1.5 billion added onto the Greens spending promises!

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Greens forgot to fill in the blanks!

August 21st, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

This was in a Green party press release put out this week:

Treasury’s pre-election update today shows net Government debt will be substantially higher than forecast just three months ago, demonstrating what poor economic managers National, the Green Party said today.

“National like to paint themselves as a safe pair of hands on economic management, but Treasury figures show that net debt is projected to be $3 billion higher in 2018 than projected in the May budget,” Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said.

“That equates at $663 per New Zealander. In six years of National management, net debt per person has risen to $xxx, from $xx.

This tells us two things. The first is that the Greens wrote their release before they even knew what the figures said. The second is that they managed to send a press release out without sticking in the actual data.

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Greens claim they will run bigger surpluses – yeah right

August 21st, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key has taken a shot at Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, saying he must have been smoking dope to believe the Greens could pay off debt faster than National.

The Green Party has claimed its economic policies would pay down debt faster and get bigger surpluses, than under National. Mr Key said he knew the Greens were also keen on legalising cannabis.

“If they really believe that, maybe they’ve been trying the substance because they can’t do it.” Asked if he thought Dr Norman had been smoking weed when he put out the numbers, Mr Key said “well, if he really believes those press releases, yes. Press releases are cheap and easy. Getting back into surplus is a much more challenging issue.”

Mr Key said between them Labour and the Greens had made $28 billion worth of promises already. Even if Labour stuck to its promise to remain in surplus, it would leave no buffer if there was another disaster that impacted on the economy.

The claims they would also be fiscally restrained are laughable.

First of all Labour and Greens have condemned every measure of fiscal restraint in the last six years. We would not be on the verge of surplus if they had been Government.

Secondly it is important to understand how they are claiming they will stay within surplus. It involves the operating allowance.

The Government has allowed $1.5 billion a year of extra spending. This is cumulative. So this year is is $1.5 billion, and next year it is $3.0 billion (over two years ago) and the year after $4.5 billion. Labour and Greens say they will fund all their policies for the next three to four years from those operating allowances.

This is again not even close to credible. What Labour and Greens are implicitly saying, and you have to believe, is that if elected they will make no more spending decisions for the next three or four years. That they will not fund any new initiatives. They will not even have a Budget where they announce new spending, because what they have done is pre-allocate the allowances for the next four years.

Now if you believe that they will make no new spending commitments in the next four years. That for four years they would announce Budgets that are basically one page long and just say “No more spending” then you can believe they will run a surplus. But if you do believe that, can I also offer you this nice bridge for sale.

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Greens want co-Deputy PMs

August 20th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Green co-leaders Russel Norman and Metiria Turei want to be in a full coalition with Labour and have senior Cabinet positions that reflect their party’s priorities, social justice and the economy.

And they say that the possibility of sharing the role of deputy prime minister has to be on the negotiation table.

So what positions will Hone, Laila and Kim have?

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Norman’s brother-in-law celebrating Nats billboard defacements

August 18th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Kiwi Oscar winner Anna Paquin and her husband, Stephen Moyer, have landed in Wellington – lending some heavyweight celebrity endorsement to the Greens.

The True Blood co-stars are in New Zealand with their almost 2-year-old twins Poppy and Charlie.

Paquin grew up in Wellington and she and her family are understood to be staying with her mother.

Paquin has been tweeting support for Greens Party co-leader Russel Norman and offered to help put up election hoardings. Paquin’s sister, Katya, is Norman’s partner.

Moyer went a step further in his support, posting pictures to his Instagram account of defaced National hoardings.

“One of the great joys of driving down to Wellington town every day is seeing how the National Party posters have been defaced,” he wrote.

Charming. A big believer in democracy.

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Greens pledge higher taxes for higher welfare

August 18th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

A Green Government would hike the tax rate to 40 per cent on income over $140,000 and use the extra revenue to tackle child poverty.

The party’s $1 billion poverty package includes new tax credits for low-income families and children in their first few weeks of life. These would be extended to the children of students and beneficiaries.

The party has this afternoon launched its election campaign in Auckland and also announced plans to harmonise the trust tax rate with the top income tax rate and crack down on avoidance. Its costings say this would generate and extra $1bn a year.

Under the plans, the Family Tax Credit and the In-work Tax Credit would be scrapped and replaced with a Children’s Credit, worth an extra $60-a-week. It would be extended to those who currently miss out on the In Work credit, which is available only to parents who work more than 20-30 hours a week.

Basically a huge income boost to families not working, funded by a tax hike on some families that are working.

The welfare system is designed so there is an incentive to be in work. The Greens want to remove one of they key incentives.

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Greens and Labour in Canterbury

August 18th, 2014 at 6:04 am by David Farrar

Georgina Stylianou at Stuff reports:

Cantabrians appear more likely to vote Green than people anywhere else in the country, a new poll suggests.

Data from the stuff.co.nz/Ipsos political poll shows the Green Party gained 8.8 percentage points, according to surveys done at the start of this month, putting the party on 21.2 per cent support in Canterbury against a national average of 11.3 per cent. …

 Labour lost traction in Canterbury for the second month in a row, with the latest data putting it on 14.2 per cent, down 10 percentage points. Last month, Labour lost 3 percentage points while National gained the same amount. National is polling at just over 55 per cent – down 4 percentage points from July – of the Canterbury party vote. …

Right-wing blogger and commentator David Farrar said the Greens and Labour had been competing for the same votes.

At a regional level, the data had a higher margin of error so to “say Canterbury is more Green . . . will require them to stay at that level for another month or so,” Farrar said.

Only 108 people in the poll were from Canterbury. That is a 9.4% margin of error

Greens went from 12.3% to 21.2%. There is a 94.7% chance their vote actually lifted.

Labour went from 17.2% to 14.2%. There is a 71.1% chance their vote actually dropped.

There is an 89.1% chance that the Greens are actually polling higher than Labour in Canterbury.

So none of these are at 95% confidence, but they are more likely than not by some distance.

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Should the Greens be in the potential PM debates?

August 16th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Greens co-leader Russel Norman wants to shake the minor party tag once and for all after the latest political poll gave them another seat in parliament.

The Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos Political Poll has National steady on 55.1 per cent, Labour down 2.4 percentage points on 22.5 and the Greens down 1.1 percentage point to 11.3 per cent.

Based on those results, the Greens would increase their numbers in the house by one to 15 seats, Labour would have 29 seats and National would govern alone with 72 seats.

The Greens have been the only party to grow consistently in the MMP environment and had a target of 15 per cent in the general election, he said.

Their results are:

  • 1999: 5.2%
  • 2002: 7.0%
  • 2005: 5.3%
  • 2008: 6.7%
  • 2011: 11.1%

Not quite consistent, but they have done well the last two elections.

That should count for something but they were consistently knocked back from the leaders’ debates.

“We don’t like the way we get excluded from the debates and all of that kind of stuff and if we had our way it would be like in the UK,” he said.

“We’ve argued with the TV stations, unsuccessfully, and with many others that it should be three-way debates with the Greens in there.”

Maybe Norman has a point. Maybe he should appear with David Cunliffe in the debates, and they could split Labour’s time with the Greens in say a 2:1 ratio?

The only problem is that there is no guarantee the Greens will be in Government, even if Labour wins. If NZ First blocks them, what can they do?

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Reducing climate emissions

August 14th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

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Unfortunate placement!

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Greens want political advocacy to be charitable

August 13th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Denise Roche blogs:

 In Australia political advocacy is recognised as a charitable purpose in its own right”.

It is time we modernised our system and included advocacy in the Charities Act. I have a members bill in my name that would do just that

I’m absolutely opposed to this. You should not get a tax deduction because you donate to do political advocacy. Should Kim Dotcom get a $1.3 million tax deduction because he gave $4 million to the Internet Party?

This law change would allow every lobby group in New Zealand to claim they are a charity.

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Greens declare jihad on all roads

August 7th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

NewstalkZb reports:

The Green Party wants a complete turnaround in transport funding.

The party has released its transport policy today and is proposing to axe over $11 billion in funding from State Highway Projects.

More than a billion more will be taken from local road improvements.

Instead the Greens want to increase public transport spending by almost $11 billion.

Transport funding should generally go on projects with the highest benefit to cost ratios. The Greens just hate cars and hence roads, so they want motorists to fund trains.

My preference is to have all transport decisions based on the benefit to cost ratio – have say everything with a BCR above 1.5 funded.

The Greens supported light rail for Wellington. That had a BCR of 0.05!!! That is equal to setting $100 notes on fire and burning them to ash.

They supported a rail package out to the Kapiti Coast that would have cost $100 million and only removed 80 cars a day at peak time. Buying 80 motorists a helicopter  would have been cheaper.

The Greens do not see congestion as a bad thing. They like congested roads. They think forcing motorists out of their cars will save the planet. That’s a valid worldview, but you should be aware of it.

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Another billion dollar Green ban

July 31st, 2014 at 6:07 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Green Party policy to protect Maui’s dolphins could cost Taranaki thousands of jobs and billions of dollars, Conservation Minister Nick Smith says.

Yesterday the Green Party announced a new policy to ban set-net fishing, trawling and gas and oil exploration within reserve areas that are home to the 55 Maui’s dolphins.

The move could have a significant impact on both Taranaki’s fishing and oil and gas industries, Smith said.

“There has not been a single incident involving Maui’s dolphin and Taranaki’s $3 billion oil and gas industry in over 40 years,” Smith said.

It is fishing that kill dolphins, not drilling. The Greens hate oil and gas because it upsets Gaia, so they are using the dolphins as a pretext to eventually wipe out Taranaki’s oil industry.

“The prohibition on any new oil and gas exploration in this large area will come at a huge economic cost long term not just to Taranaki, but more widely to New Zealand.

“This extreme Green policy will cost Taranaki thousands of jobs and billions of dollars.”

If you ban any new exploration, that means you will eventually kill the industry off. The Greens think this means everyone will abandon their cars, but instead it will just mean that we become more dependent on imports.

However, New Plymouth’s Labour candidate Andrew Little said the party did not support a ban of offshore drilling. “The biggest risk is set-nets,” he said.

“There’s no evidence that offshore drilling has an impact on Maui’s dolphins, so we can’t support that.

Good to have some sense from Labour, but we have to remember that on current polling the Greens would probably expect to get around a third of their policies implemented if they are in Government, as they are polling at around half Labour’s level.

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