NZ Green Party
Russel and Rodney debate the economy

TV3′s ASB Business show this morning featured a brawling debate between Russel and Rodney Hide this morning which includes Hide’s extraordinary proposal to pull New Zealand out of it’s international Kyoto commitments and, as Russel described it, have New Zealand tagged as a global climate criminal.  As Russel mentions during the debate the two biggest parts of our economy are the primary production sector and tourism.  Both rely intrinsically upon not just a clean, green environment, but also, more esoterically, our reputation for having a clean, green environment.  To tell the world that we are going to abandon our minimal commitments to climate change and leave it up to other countries to solve a problem that we are responsible for creating is economically irresponsible and shows Act’s dearth of economic analysis in the face of the current economic crisis.

29 thoughts on “Russel and Rodney debate the economy

  1. StephenR – while you are there go and have a gander at the oil sands extraction attraction – beauty!

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  2. Yeah i know what you mean greenfly. Still. Also, i’d still buy their stuff – would be more likely to pay attention to full life cycle greenhouse gas labelling or sumfing – hard info like THAT is something that people can respond to.

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  3. Seems that DPF doesn’t have a monopoly on ranting: “…as Russel described it, have New Zealand tagged as a global climate criminal” – at least DPF is funny, not pathetic…

    And by the way – you really think NZ will have a tourism business in 20 years? Are you smoking that stuff that Nandor liked?

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  4. >>more esoterically, our reputation for having a clean, green environment.

    I don’t think visitors give a toss if we’re in Kyoto or not. I doubt most would even know….

    “They’re not in Kyoto! Well, I’m not going there, no sir! After all, my holiday destinations are, first and foremost, a political choice!”

    Strange alternate reality you Greens live in, eh.

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  5. Probably many tourists do not know or care about Kyoto at this stage but a great number of them do care about the clean green brand and an increasingly large number of international food importers definitely want clean, green even organic and GE free.

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  6. What part of “we don’t have the money” don’t the Greens understand?

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  7. >>increasingly large number of international food importers definitely want clean, green even organic and GE free.

    Don’t believe the hype. It remains a tiny sector of the market.

    Despite almost non-stop “marketing” by the BBC and left-leaning newspapers, for the past ten years, organic consumption is less than 2% in the UK.

    You can’t have a sustainable economy if you have no economy left. Perhaps that’s the ulterior motive….

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  8. PS: conflating “clean and green” with “Kyoyo and ETS” is disingenuous.

    After all, emissions have increased under the LabGreen axis, yet tourist numbers haven’t suffered. In fact, they’ve gone up.

    We’re always going to look clean and green (note small “g”). That’s what the vastly underpopulated country looks like….

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  9. Yeah that is good, if we want to make an esoteric commitment to the enviroment we have to be a part of Kyoto.

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  10. “After all, emissions have increased under the LabGreen axis, yet tourist numbers haven’t suffered. In fact, they’ve gone up.”

    BP, as you know, the Greens have never been in Government, and never been in a position to force the Government to take climate change seriously.

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  11. BP,

    The demand from off shore markets for our GE free food is quite strong. Granted the organic production is for a niche interantional market.

    Brits, Euros and Japanese consumers do seem to be interested in well produced food, preferring the least chemical intevention that is possible.

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  12. Joy,

    It comes down to numbers. The demand for GE and organic makes up a tiny percentage of our markets.

    Organic consumption is starting to decline as cost becomes more of a consideration. People want cheap food, and if we fail to provide it, we won’t have much of an economy left.

    tinyurl.com/6f7lgd

    “Figures collected for the Guardian by the market research company TNS show spending on organic food and drinks fell from a peak of nearly £100m a month earlier this year to £81m in the most recent four-week period recorded. The fall has been steepest in eggs, but is also reported in the most popular sectors, including dairy, fruit and vegetables and chicken.”

    As I have frequently pointed out, ecological considerations fall by the way side as prices rise and standards of living fall.

    The Green Party haven’t adapted to the new economic reality. Wake up.

    georgedarroch

    The point is that tourists aren’t interested in our emissions level.

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  13. tinyurl.com/5q2twf

    Whole Foods announces a 31% decline in third-quarter profits from a year earlier. The shares close at $20.04 on the New York Stock Exchange, about 72% below their price at the start of 2007.

    August 8. Tesco, the largest seller of organic food in the UK, announces price reductions of up to 25% for certain organic foods because of growing consumer resistance to high prices.

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  14. “As I have frequently pointed out, ecological considerations fall by the way side as prices rise and standards of living fall.”

    As I have frequently pointed out, there is always an excuse to delay positive steps.

    “The Green Party haven’t adapted to the new economic reality. Wake up.”

    We are awake to the economic situation. The argument for a lot of what we want to do is to prepare for a future very different from today, based on low carbon, etc. I know you don’t agree, but you really can’t expect us to suddenly change what we’re about. If people agree with you, we’ll be wiped out of Parliament and you can begin that right wing green party you’ve always wanted. If they stay with us, we’ll be back and will fight for what we believe in. Of course, the economic situation will constrain the pace of our or any government’s programme. We’re not ignoring this. As we’ve not had the resources to cost in detail many of our goals, we’re also not in a position to say exactly what we’d cut back on. Get over it, you’re not voting for us anyway.

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  15. >>We are awake to the economic situation.

    See, I don’t think you are. There are going to be cuts, and most of your policies involve spending and imposing higher costs.

    >>but you really can’t expect us to suddenly change what we’re about.

    Yet you demand it of others….

    >>As we’ve not had the resources to cost in detail many of our goals

    I don’t expect Treasury-level detail. I do expect some attempt at ballpark figures and an explaination of where the money is coming from. This shouldn’t require significant resources.

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  16. “>>We are awake to the economic situation.

    See, I don’t think you are. There are going to be cuts, and most of your policies involve spending and imposing higher costs.”

    Not as simple as that. For instance, a carbon charge encourages change towards lower carbon technologies to avoid those very costs. And in almost all areas, we’d spend the money differently. From roads to PT, or to much greater preventive health care, say. This would happen regardless of how much there is to spend. Health care is a good example as it relies on a cost/benefit analysis that is way beyond our resources. In such cases, you have to rely on academic analysis of examples from here and overseas.

    “>>but you really can’t expect us to suddenly change what we’re about.

    Yet you demand it of others….”

    The closest thing to such a demand I’ve seen on this blog by our side is for the old parties to ensure they make sustainable infrastructure investments in the current climate. But even that hardly counts, as we were saying that before the big crisis too.

    “>>As we’ve not had the resources to cost in detail many of our goals

    I don’t expect Treasury-level detail. I do expect some attempt at ballpark figures and an explaination of where the money is coming from. This shouldn’t require significant resources.”

    I can only say that it is not at all that easy, though we do more each election. One problem is that there are plenty of people like you, but who are only too happy not to cut us any slack and to pick apart any estimates too. Sometimes it is actually better to have nothing.

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  17. >>Not as simple as that.

    How does agriculture, particularly dairy, reduce carbon charges without reducing the size of the herd?

    The cost of reducing carbon output might be too great and make many businesses uneconomic. If the charge wasn’t administered, then those businesses may well be economic. What you’re doing, in most cases, is adding cost.

    >>who are only too happy not to cut us any slack

    I’m not cutting you any slack because it is my money you’ll be spending. I have a right to know if that money is being spent wisely.

    You must be accountable.

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  18. “How does agriculture, particularly dairy, reduce carbon charges without reducing the size of the herd?”

    First, note that they do not face an emissions cost for the whole of Kyoto 1. After that, they begin to face a cost at the margin that takes something like 15 years to cover their growth since 2005. They will always be exempt for at least 90% of their emissions since 2005. Fonterra and others are working on several technologies to reduce emissions at the moment, such as nitrous oxide inhibitors and stand off pads, which show promise.

    Second, farmers are discovering that the intensification of dairy is taking a big toll on cows and stressing them to the point of ill health. Some farmers are beginning to reduce the number of cows to escape this unsustainable cycle. They find that they end up producing more milk per cow with less input cost. A huge problem here is that while this is better for the farmer, it is not so good for Fonterra, who expect 4% growth per year forever and are driving farmers to get ever more from their stock. At some point this tension between the farmers and Fonterra will make interesting headlines.

    “The cost of reducing carbon output might be too great and make many businesses uneconomic. If the charge wasn’t administered, then those businesses may well be economic. What you’re doing, in most cases, is adding cost.”

    The intent is for sectors to transition to low carbon use, not to get rid of whole sectors. There will always be individual businesses who do this sooner or better and outperform others as a result. But you can be sure that if a whole sector is somehow not coping, relief will not be far away. Politicians will be particularly sensitive to this during a downturn, as you say, but it is no reason to give up.

    “I’m not cutting you any slack because it is my money you’ll be spending. I have a right to know if that money is being spent wisely.”

    But you were, buy saying detailed costs were not needed, to which I said we’d attract as much criticism anyway.

    “You must be accountable.”

    We won’t last long in government if we tank the economy. But now we’re having the old “what will it cost argument”, not the “you’re not awake” argument, so I’ve made my point.

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  19. “How does agriculture, particularly dairy, reduce carbon charges without reducing the size of the herd?”

    Perhaps its about time we diversified our economy so we are not relying on producing unsustainable products that involve animal cruelty.

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  20. Talk about rude, Russell never stopped talking over the top of people. He was a little out of his depth and he would have done better to keep his mouth shut for a minute and listen.

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  21. Blue peter you plonker. $100 million a year from one Hawkes Bay business-and all organic- and exported & they still can’t get enough!!!! Smell the grass man instead of smoking it.
    & no I don’t!!!
    Dave

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  22. Isn’t the reality that to have a sustainable economy we have to produce someTHING that people off-shore want to buy? Like most ‘mature’ countries, we have moved away from dirty hands and grown our economy through sale of ‘services’, high priced ones at that. Indeed, for one of our few high-growth ‘thing’ production sectors (wine) we have to import workers from poorer Pacific countries.

    The ‘service’ economy cannot continue in a time when money is tight and living standards are falling. Take the real estate agent who makes a ‘special offer’ of only $20,000, plus GST plus all advertising costs to sell your house for you! You know full well that they are going to spend less than 100 hours on the work and that you are therefore expected to pay $200 per hour to have them sit in your house through some open-homes, arrange your house details on a standard template flyer and then argue your price down so they can get their money (on a flat fee, what you give up doesn’t affect them at all!) This is a service many will forgo very soon. There are many others!

    Without a viable manufacturing export business our standard of living for the next five to ten years is going to plunge, and we will see many more productive people leave for more satisfying living environments, such as Queensland.

    Regulation, with its attendant cost, is not the way to stimulate the economy. (Mind you, I’m against bailing out the banks as well – let capitalism work, leave them to collapse and see what emerges as a viable alternative!) It encourages attitudes, like those expressed recently in the NZFSA, of ‘we have the right to spend money as we see fit; we’re government and the food industry will just have to pay the increased levies (this when questioned on the fridge full of wine in a manager’s office).

    It is vital that government once again be of laws not of people. That we establish what it is that we owe each other as a society, and have government provide that -no more and no less.

    Finally, any MP shouting down another speaker is showing nothing more than ignorance and bad manners – not attributes of leadership. A reasoned argument would have earned some respect if not a vote, the good Doctor’s approach to dialogue and debate leaves a lot to be desired. To paraphrase, ‘you may be able to shout over your students doctor, but you can’t shout over others opinions and get my respect!

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  23. Stopwhaling
    $100 million a year is NOTHING in the scale of our economy! We’ve just been handed a $150 BILLION contingent liability, and are likely to get another $300 Billion; by my reconing that makes us technically bankrupt as a country!

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  24. I hope every single person who is thinking of voting Green watched that clip.

    Not only is Norman an incredibly arrogant man he is an economic fool.

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  25. # big bro Says:
    October 23rd, 2008 at 11:27 am

    > Not only is Norman an incredibly arrogant man he is an economic fool.

    Indeed. Russel should come to Frogblog, where he could learn an object lesson in humility from the likes of Big Bro.

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  26. While tax payers prop up banks who have bought tainted meat there area lot of b*g**s who have escaped intact and are having a field day. A house in Queenstown recently sold for $6.5m,and then there was the peninsula with “private beach”….(private beach?) somewhere idyllic.

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