Rutherford on the oil and gas ban

Hamish Rutherford writes at Stuff:

Since Ardern led a group of Cabinet colleagues into the Beehive theatrette to announce the move on April 12, there has been mounting speculation about just how little detailed analysis was undertaken behind the move. …

But only on Tuesday did New Zealand learn that whatever advice was provided, it ultimately meant nothing.

This was not an agreement made around the Cabinet table, by New Zealand’s most powerful body, acting in the best interests of New Zealand, bound by collective responsibility.

It was a political deal, struck after intense lobbying between the leaders of political parties, who agreed what was going to happen. The Cabinet was informed after the fact.

Here’s what interests me. If this wasn’t a decision taken by Cabinet, then how was Winston persuaded to back it. The decision runs totally counter to their policies and rhetoric. There must be some sort of political pay off in exchange. Maybe the price was the Greens continue to back the waka jumping bill?

In fact, it appears that the deal was the subject of exhaustive meetings and discussions, amid warnings from the Beehive that from time to time, this is how decisions will be made in this coalition.

But this is not how Government should be done.

Especially a decision to close down an entire industry. No consultation or analysis at all.

Politicians ultimately the reserve the right to shortcut the decision-making process to come to the conclusion they want to.

But for a Government which proclaims its values and promises openness and transparency, it is on a fast track to losing any moral high ground.

I’d say the moral high ground was lost some months ago.

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