Green leadership contenders

February 19th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Green MP Kevin Hague could have competition for the party’s leadership as two more MPs have tentatively suggested they might enter the contest.

MPs Gareth Hughes and Kennedy Graham would not rule out bids for the male co-leadership position, which will be up for grabs when Russel Norman stands down in May after eight years.

Mr Hughes confirmed yesterday he was consulting with supporters about whether he should enter the race, but said he would not confirm his intentions until closer to the nomination deadline in mid-April.

He is ranked fifth on the party’s list and has gained some profile in lobbying for environmental causes.

Dr Graham, who is one of the party’s senior MPs and speaks for the party on foreign affairs, said he “had not discounted the idea” of entering the leadership race.

Yes a 69 year old leader is a great idea, to compete with Winston!

Greens say there are too many New Zealanders

December 2nd, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Steve Kilgallon at Stuff reports:

Rather proving Ballingall’s assertion that politicians have steered clear of population debate because it touches upon such sensitivities as immigration, the Greens remain the only party with a population policy.

Theirs is based on New Zealand’s “ecological carrying capacity”, basically how many people per hectare the environment can sustain. Kennedy Graham says 5.7 million has been suggested as a possible population limit.

Graham says the world’s ecological footprint is already 50 per cent over-capacity; New Zealand requires 4.9 hectares per person when we should need only 1.8, making us the 32nd worst country in the world. Therefore, says Graham, you could argue there are already enough of us.

Graham seems to be suggesting we should ideally have 2.8 million fewer New Zealanders. That’s an even more ambitious popullation reduction target than their climate change policy which is to shoot one in five cows  to reduce their methane emissions.

The Greens official population policy states we should have an upper limit for NZ’s population and “The population cannot be increased beyond its capacity to offset its greenhouse gas emissions“.

They also are worried not about NZers going to Australia but vice-versa:

With predictions of continuing drought and water shortages it is possible that there could be an increase in immigrants from Australia, who are not covered by the immigration quota.The ability of the environment to sustain the present and future population is not a consideration in current immigration policies. A surge in population could see the population pushed beyond a sustainable level.

No, no, the invasion of the Australians must be stopped!

But the Greens do have hope for us:

By reducing our ecological footprint through means such as more densely clustered housing and a simpler (low meat/ low dairy) diet, we may be able to increase our population levels while remaining within the carrying capacity of the land.

Yes, if we all become vegans and give up dairy then you may be allowed to have children!

Green hysteria

November 9th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Isaac Davidson at NZ Herald reports:

The final reading of a bill which amended the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) drew impassioned speeches from MPs, in particular Green Party climate change spokesman Kennedy Graham.

Dr Graham levelled mock criminal charges at the Prime Minister and Minister for Climate Change.

“I charge the leaders of this Government with the moral crime of ecocide. I trust that in due course that they stand accountable before the children of this world, the children of John Key, the grandchildren of Tim Groser and mine.”

He went further: “The leaders of this government … are committing us to purgatory and thence to hell. Purgatory is the next decade, and hell the decade after.”

What insane hysteria. Purgatory and hell?

China’s daily growth in greenhouse gas emissions is greater than the total emissions put out by New Zealand.

I actually think agriculture should start to come into the ETS, but Kennedy Graham does his cause no help at all with such hysterical blather.

Robertson v Graham

June 22nd, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Grant Robertson blogs:

I am very annoyed at Kennedy Graham’s misleading blog about Labour’s non-attendance at Rio+20. It is pure politics and just plain wrong. I presume I am the person he is referring to when he says he spoke to a ’senior Labour person’ about this last week. It is simply not true to say as Ken does that the reason I was not in Rio was because “I could not get away”. What I actually said was that I could not afford the cost of going. There is a big difference between the two. (In fairness to Kennedy he has now apologised for any personal offence, though the blog remains unchanged)

I would love to be there. I was at Rio+10 in Johannesburg as a member of the New Zealand delegation. I had spent the previous two and half years at the UN working on the preparations for the event. It was a big deal to me. On that delegation Nick Smith was there as the opposition representative. Just as ten years before at the original Rio Summit there had been an opposition representative on the delegation. This year the government decided not to issue such an invitation. I did raise with Amy Adams the funding for other MPs going to Rio and she said it was not happening citing “budgetary constraints”.

Grant is correct to point out he said that the reason he couldn’t attend was financial, rather than not being a priority to take the time to attend.

However it is worth pointing out that just because the Ministry for the Environment won’t pay for him to attend,  doesn’t mean he could not have still chosen to attend. Labour’s parliamentary budget is a total of $5.1 million. Labour could well have decided to fund Grant or another MP to travel to Rio out of that budget. However they obviously decided that was not a priority for them. So it was still a matter of priorities for Labour in deciding not to attend.

Personally I think it was the right decision. If I was an MP, I’d rather spend my parliamentary funding on some good policy research, rather than flying the Deputy Leader to Rio. But it was a decision open to Labour.

World’s worst emitters?

December 11th, 2011 at 4:11 pm by David Farrar

Kennedy Graham blogs:

In Durban, the Kyoto Protocol is kept on life support.

Kyoto is, of course, the only binding climate instrument with specific emission targets. It compels the world’s worst emitters to reduce emissions. But it has always been inadequate in itself – a first step to greater things. And it terminates within 12 months.

Kyoto does not compel the world’s worst emitters to reduce emissions. It compels only 37 countries to reduce emissions. Now let us look at the top 10 emitters in 2005″

  1. China 16.4%
  2. US 15.8%
  3. EU 12.1%
  4. Brazil 6.5%
  5. Indonesia 4.6%
  6. Russia 4.6%
  7. India 4.3%
  8. Japan 3.1%
  9. Canada 1.8%
  10. Mexico 1.6%

Those countries bolded are not required under Kyoto to reduce or even hold emissions.

There is a simple way to test if someone talking climate change is seriously concerned about the environmental impact, or they are just a politician or pseudo-politician wanting to score points.

The test is do they mention China (and preferably India). Any agreement that exempts China is a disaster for the environment, based on climate change science. Only a moron would promote an agreement where China can continue to increase emissions at 10% per annum.  Because if China is not part of the agreement, then by 2020 their emissions will be greater than the rest of the world in 2005. So even if every other country went carbon neutral at a cost of trillions of dollars, it would be of not benefit to the planet as China’s increase in emissions will be greater than everyone else’s reductions.

Dr Graham in his entire blog post doesn’t mention China once. That is conclusive proof that his concern is the politics, not the environment.

The weird stance of Charles Chauvel

December 18th, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

As the Copenhagen summit looks like ending with no agreement, around the only substantial achievement (to date) was the launch of the Global Research Alliance on agriculture greenhouse gases.

This is hugely important both for NZ and internationally.

The importance for NZ is it could help find a way to reduce methane emissions from livestock, which would save the country billions in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

The importance for the world is to avoid what happened with biofuels – that food producing land is converted into other uses, leading to global food shortages.

So it is one of those rare initiatives that almost everyone from business lobby groups to the most hardened Greenie supports. And kudos to Tim Groser and others for getting 20 countries to all pledge funding to it – from Australia to Vietnam to the US. Much better than NZ funding all the research,

Back in NZ, it won support from the Wgtn Chamber of Commerce (no fan of an ETS):

“The reality is that rather than the current proliferation of poorly designed cap and trade systems, science and technology are the real keys to solving the greenhouse gas emissions challenge, and this initiative plays to New Zealand’s research strengths,” said Chamber CEO Charles Finny. …

“This is a good example of trans-national cooperation with a number of countries pooling their expertise to solve a global problem. New Zealand going it alone would be less likely to produce results and it runs against the grain of what this global issue is all about.

“It is increasingly likely that this will be one of the few concrete initiatives to come from Copenhagen and so John Key and Tim Groser deserve full congratulations for the leadership they have shown in delivering this outcome,” Mr Finny concluded.

So business likes it. And what about the Greens. Well this is Kennedy Graham:

Minister Tim Groser advised that, on Day 1, some US$150 m. had been pledged, and it was hoped that this would leverage private funding as well.  But he stressed that it was not just a question of finance – the essence was coordination, of research already underway and new research yet to be funded.  France, for example, already has some 500 researchers in agriculture and climate change who would form part of the Alliance.  India’s contribution would be immense as well.  Once the political momentum was underway, it was important to turn it over to the scientists.

Denmark gave the most impressive example of the potential of the Alliance. Since 1990 it had increased agricultural production by 16% yet agricultural emissions had dropped by 23%.   This had been achieved through optimisation of the nutrient chain and improving water management. …

We should take a positive view of this initiative.

And Jeanette Fitzsimons said:

The Green Party today welcomed the announcement that New Zealand will lead a Global Research Alliance for reducing climate change emissions from agriculture, adding that it is crucial to pursue science and ideas that enhance our clean green reputation.

“I am delighted that New Zealand is finally doing something serious about fighting climate change and reducing agricultural emissions,” said Green Party Climate Change and Agriculture spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons. …

So New Zealand has achieved around the only positive announcement from Copenhagen, with an initiative that pleases both ETS sceptical businesses and the Greens. So who does that leave?

Labour’s Charles Chauvel. In a bizarre press release (one which Clark would have called treasonous if she was still PM) he has attacked the Global Alliance claiming NZ should have gone it alone:

“The multinational nature of the Global Agriculture Fund will inevitably mean that New Zealand won’t own the results of any research paid for by it.

“So, as well as there being substantially less money for investment in the reduction of emissions from agriculture, New Zealand will be poorer because we lose the opportunity to sell or share emissions reduction technology in our singular area of expertise on our own terms.

“Despite the self-generated fanfare and bright lights, National’s approach represents a failure. It totally lacks ambition and is a huge missed opportunity for New Zealand,” Charles Chauvel said.

Yes Chauvel thinks NZ could have solved the problem all by itself. He also misrepresents intellectual property laws (being pat of a multilateral alliance does not mean individual institutions abandon intellectual property rights over their inventions). It is a shockingly stupid stance.

In Opposition, there are times when mindless opposition just for the sake of a press release is a bad idea. As the Greens show, there are times you can say this is a good initiative – even if we don;t like the other things you are doing.

I wonder what Phil Goff, a respected former foreign and trade minister, thinks of his MPs claim NZ should not have helped set up the global research alliance, and gone it alone? I can’t imagine he possibly agrees.

Bridges, Graham and Beaumont

January 16th, 2009 at 8:02 am by David Farrar

Today’s three MPs in the Herald:

Simon Bridges

New MP Simon Bridges wants New Zealanders to reconsider the right to silence for those accused of serious and sexual crimes and to trust juries with more information.

Mr Bridges, a former Crown prosecutor in Tauranga for eight years, used his maiden speech to challenge parts of the legal system, saying the accused’s right not to face questioning in cases such as rape put victims who had to face often gruelling cross-examinations in an uneven position.

“Martin Luther King jnr once said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. In many trials I have seen injustices – indeed manifest indignities – performed on the weakest in our society as court rules work against them … in short, juries need to be trusted with more information and victims of sex crimes treated more evenly when compared to the accused.”

Mr Bridges told the Herald the question of whether an accused should face questioning was particularly relevant for sexual crimes or crimes against children where the victims themselves faced often gruelling cross-examination.

“I’m a reasonably experienced rape trial lawyer and I can think of specific women cross-examined for days, while the accuseds just sat on their hands and didn’t give evidence. There have been acquittals where I am sure factually that the accused was guilty.”

The right to silence has long been considered fundamental to the criminal law ethos of”innocent until proven guilty”.

Mr Bridges said he believed the law should be”rebalanced”and he intended to work on the issue as an MP.

He said juries should also be trusted with more information, such as previous convictions, in some cases as the current laws could obstruct a fair verdict.

Not sure I agree with Simon, but he makes a strong case about the unfairness of victims being cross-examined for days on end, and the accussed not having to give evidence at all. I’m more sympathethic though to his thoughts on juries having more information.

Kennedy Graham

Former diplomat and academic – most recently he lectured in international law at Canterbury and Victoria universities. Was involved in NZ establishing a nuclear-free zone, including fronting on it as a diplomat before the UN in Geneva and New York.

In his own words:
“We are drawing down on Earth’s natural resources, borrowing forward on the human heritage, irretrievably encroaching on our children’s right to inherit the Earth in a natural and sustainable state.”

It will be interesting to see what influence Kennedy has on the Greens foreign policy, as his views are presumably somewhat different from Keith Locke’s.

Carol Beaumont

Says her late father Ron takes credit for teaching her how to speak out and fostered debate, but also sowed the seeds of feminism in her when he dismissed her wish to follow in his footsteps and become a mechanic as “unsuitable for a girl”. She was chairwoman of the Melville High School Student Council, worked as a cleaner and was in the Cleaners’ Union.

In her own words:
“In the course of the campaign I saw the huge number of people who work for community good in sports groups, marae, in youth groups, in community safety groups, in churches and in community development initiatives. They are ambitious people. It is important to reflect on the meaning of the word ‘ambition’ because recently it has been used by many only in the context of the individual. It is more than that. I consider myself ambitious and have always wanted to use my skills in roles that challenge me but my real ambition is in wanting to make a difference for others.”

Beaumont was reasonably well regarded as CTU Secretary but her loss of Maungakiekie to National means she is reliant on keeping a high list place.

Blog Bits

May 13th, 2008 at 11:23 pm by David Farrar

Also a revealing of National’s secret agenda:

  • Students of Decile One Primary Schools to be converted to bio-ethanol
  • Judith Collins to be appointed Associate Minister of Social Welfare with special areas of responsibility including draining beneficiaries of their cerebrospinal fluids.
  • Said they wouldn’t sell any state assets, didn’t promise not to just give them away.

I like the idea of getting around the no sale clause by giving every NZ adult free shares in some SOEs 🙂

Lyndon Hood at Scoop also has what I presume is satire:

If New Zealand wants to maintain its edge as a clean, green nation, we urgently need to pretend as hard as we can to take decisive action on climate change.