National Party Plays Petty Politics over Climate Crisis

It is intensely disappointing that the National Party has resorted to petty partisan politics over the climate crisis.  I’m referring to National’s disingenuous and misleading politicking over the government’s proposals to encourage more fuel-efficient and low emission vehicles.

National’s politicking if ever implemented would prevent Kiwi motorists from receiving a $8000 cash discount on no emission vehicles, and benefiting from savings of around $7000 on fuel (Min of Transport )feebateusedfeebate

In return from some short term political point-scoring, National is opposed to  our economy saving $0.5 billion in lower health costs from reduced tailpipe emissions, fuel savings of $3.4 billion on imported oil, CO2 reduced by 5 million tons and cost benefit ratio of $3 saved for every $1 spent.

Under the scheme 8 of the 10 most popular cars imported by low income households would receive discounts between $800 and $1400.savings

National’s misleading campaign ignored all these massive benefits to ordinary Kiwi motorists, our economy and our climate.

Instead they cynically concentrated on a few high-income earners who can afford a $60,000 – $200,000 gas guzzling high-end truck and will pay $2000 – $3000 more.  Except very few will pay that surcharge because importers will avoid vehicles incurring the surcharge and instead import more fuel efficient versions.  And, many tradies and farmers will simply buy from existing vehicle stock in New Zealand which is totally exempt from any fee. 

The scheme only applies to imported vehicles. 

Also, by 2021 electric versions of the double cab ute will be available from Rivian, Tesla and Ford which will blow the socks off any equivalent petrol/diesel vehicle.

Remember last election when Coromandel MP Scott Simpson and National’s environment spokesperson talked up the cross-party “Globe” cooperative climate change initiative between all MPs in Parliament?  National must urgently get back to that cooperative spirit.

We have only 10 years to reduce global (and our) emissions by 50% to avoid irreversible climate breakdown where our communities and our children’s lives will suffer dramatic and irreparable harm.  Playing petty politics over the last 30 years with the greatest crisis ever to face humanity is what has gotten us into this mess in the first place. We cannot afford National’s malicious political point scoring on the climate crisis.

Blogger No Right Turn sums up the dilemma for National much better than I can  –

“The National party has a long history of climate change denial. When they were the opposition to the Clark government, they opposed the carbon tax, opposed biofuels, and infamously drove a tractor up Parliament’s steps to symbolise their opposition to farmers contributing to the cost of researching solutions to agricultural emissions. When in government, the first thing they did was gut the ETS and remove restrictions on fossil-fuel electricity generation. And back in opposition, they have opposed every measure the government has offered to reduce emissions. Why? Reporting from the weekend’s party conference makes this clear: because their rural core vote are climate change deniers:”

“Its a problem for National, because they are going to have to deal seriously with this issue next time they are in government. The climate crisis is not going to go away just because a bunch of backwards rural hicks don’t believe in it, and urban voters (who are facing entire suburbs being drowned) are going to demand action. National will need to respond with effective measures, or risk losing the votes of the 80% of us who live in cities. It’s that simple.”

“The Zero Carbon Bill is the real test of this. If they support it and strong methane targets, they’re a credible party. If they oppose it, then they’re a climate denial party and should be treated with all the seriousness such loonies deserve.”

Other commentators have called out The National Party for its misleading climate-damaging campaign –
Simon Wilson – the Herald (paywalled) Why National is Our Greatest Climate Change Threat 

Rod Oram and here

How the National Party’s future will be determined by climate change

Internal division within the National Party over climate change