Enviroschools and the Budget – Sabotaging Success

Two weeks I went to a hui of environmental educators working with the Enviroschools programme throughout the country. They were so vibrant and so excited about their ever expanding programmes throughout kura kaupapa and many other schools throughout Aotaeraoa. They were also focused on their “regeneration” project which involves students who have left school but are really keen to continue the work of environmental mentoring and education with younger people.

At present 675 schools are Enviroschools and the programmes cater for 210,000 children. Enviroschools told me about their long waiting lists of schools wanting to join the Enviroschools programme and their international success. Enviroschools have been mentoring the development of similar programmes and other “P4″ countries notably Chile.

The Enviroschools kaupapa is so much more than planting carrots outside the school library or cleaning up the local stream. The Matauranga Taiao approach is an educational philosophy based on an indigenous understanding of sustainability and of learning. Enviroschools is about children as leaders in critical thinking around sustaining the environmental and the community. It works with the leadership and passion of children and young people supported by Education for Sustainability (EFS) advisers and Enviroschools coordinators and teachers. I was initially concerned that Enviroschools might be constrained to a narrow definition of environmental thinking but having met the core team I am reassured.

The work of Enviroschools is deep and wide and holistic and it based on excellent reflective educational practices. The National Government has completely cut the funding for EFS advisers and has given Enviroschools six months to develop a plan for their ongoing funding. Enviroschools do have the involvement of Regional Councils and other partners but without core support from the central government things look tough.

In 2002 the Greens succeeded in a Budget bid to Labour which established the EFS advisers. In 2006 we managed to negotiate $30 million for the Enviroschools project based on the work of the EFS people and many passionate teachers and parents. Enviroschools are a Green flagship policy for good reason and we will continue to try and find ways to keep them going. This aspect of our children’s learning is so vital to everyone’s survival.

We are surprised at the sheer stupidity of this Budget cut.

55 thoughts on “Enviroschools and the Budget – Sabotaging Success

  1. You may well be surprised at the budget cuts, but would you care to explain where the money is going to come from to pay for all these ridiculous schemes you want to keep?

    It is not the job of the tax payer to fund hobby courses or Enviroschools, the Nat’s have not said they are going to ban them just that they need to find private funding, if they are so fantastic I would have thought that the private sector would be happy to fund them in a nanosecond.

    What’s the bet they do not.

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  2. Catherine – aren’t they stupid brutes! I’ve been involved with Enviroschools at ‘ground level’ for several years now and sensed that this would happen. Barbarians!! Next, it will be the ‘Fruit in Schools’ programme. These Nat -Actoids are idiots.
    Let the ‘Letters to the Editor’ flow!!

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  3. Where is the money coming from Fly?

    We know the left do not like to spend their own money so perhaps you could tell me where Mad Cath hopes to find this funding.

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  4. Where did the money for the ‘Cycleway’ come from Bro? Mad Key found it somewhere! Does he have a magic money tree? We know he’s got a rotten cabinet.

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  5. Tough. We’ve got projected deficits for the next ten years, so we have to reign in spending. We’ve also got the ETS, which will result in more nice-to-haves being cut.

    You wanted it, Greens.

    This is the price to pay for a poorly performing economy and projected eco-taxes. Thought you were big on making sacrifices?

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  6. Just how, BP, will the ETS result in any cuts? I seem to recall you blathering on about how it was going to rake in all this money for the govt in previous posts. Opinions swinging in the wind? Again?

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  7. Because stealth taxes drain the productive sector of wealth, thus undermining the economic base, thus decreasing the size of the pie.

    Ask Gareth Morgan what he thinks of emissions taxes.

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  8. But let’s get back to the topic, eh. The Greens insist everyone else make cutbacks and sacrifices, but whine like babies when anyone cuts back their hobbyhorses. Flippin’ hilarious!

    You’re not getting any more money. There isn’t any.

    Indoctrinate kids with propaganda on your own dime. Perhaps set up private schools, like the Catholics did.

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  9. It’s not BluePeter’s opinions that are swinging in the wind.

    Schools are getting a good whipping from Blue, aren’t they? Fatty foods, adult classes trashed and now cheering the demise of funding for Enviroschools! Way to go Blue – were the kids nasty to you when you were at school?

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  10. I think it would be great if every child in New Zeland had a free, high quality education, and given all the resources they need.

    You come up with an economic plan that delivers it, alongside all the other things we need, and I’ll listen.

    But I just don’t understand these constant calls to spend, spend, spend, when we don’t have any money to spend? How is putting our children (“Vote For Us”) in more and more debt, so we can live well now, a good idea?

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  11. ( gozinta == gozouta ) = true;

    Maybe not tomorrow but inevitably.

    I think what we want to do can be done, but there must be tax changes to do it and I don’t think that National knows how to fix the tax system any more than Labour did.

    BJ

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  12. Parata Nui

    >Where is the money coming from Fly?

    How about not spending $$$ on taking us backwards 30 years with National Standards (no oxymoron intended)

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  13. The easiest way to fund Enviroschools is to make a capital investment to insulate (employing low decile parents in the process) then use half the saving on energy costs to repay the capital and use the other half to fund enviroschools.

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  14. ” if they are so fantastic I would have thought that the private sector would be happy to fund them in a nanosecond.”
    This has to be the most idiotic statement I have ever had the misfortune to read on here!
    “What’s the bet they do not.” the only truth in all you have ever written BB.
    Education is NOT about economic outcomes – so is completely out of your ken BB (not that you have much of a grip on economics either!) . But the concept of what constitutes education is also completely out of Tolley’s understanding as well. She is a disaster.

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  15. macro – good call and right on the button. Both Tolley and BluePeter appear to be seriously disconnected with schools, students and education, yet both are blithely making pronouncements regardless.

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  16. Shouldn’t right-wingers love the ETS, considering it’s a “user-pays” system. Or they just prefer tax-payers picking up the tab?

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  17. jarbury,

    It is not a question of ideology regarding the ETS, but whether (like education standards) we can afford them.

    Adding yet another tax to the dwindling number of tax payers is not going to be productive in reducing carbon emmisions.

    While you all have a go at Blue Peter, you convenient play the player not the ball.

    Noone yet can aswer where the extra money will come from, when we are staring at eight to ten billion dollar deficits.

    You cannot keep indebting the Green poster children like that because, like the banking system has found out, it will all crash sooner then later.

    Am fully with BJ that serious tax reform is required in New Zealand and that neither National, Labour or the greens have the bottle to implement any changes.

    Remember “user pays” will see increases in ALL the goods and services we currently buy and still be a drain on the tax payers pocket.

    It makes no odds if the ETS is from taxes or goods and services, the tax payer pays.

    I know the fairy tale argument that if the “user” pays the cost of those goods and services will cost more versus the same goods bought from “clean” goods and service provider.

    But if we look at a basic commodity like milk, there are no alternatives and the price will go up.

    And having Al Gore take his 30% cut on dubiously created carbon credits is still sending New Zealand money overseas for what?

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  18. The ETS is not a new tax, but a means of distributing our Kyoto obligations to emitters. The alternative is for the general tax payer to foot the entire bill, rather than those who have an incentive to cut emissions and therefore lower the cost burden over time. With the Nats hell-bent on increasing NZ emissions via new roads, the tax payer will see higher costs overtime without an ETS to provide a reverse incentive.

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  19. It is a crime against New Zealand taxpayers. A despicable Al Gore click-the-ticket ticket con. Carbon trading is an open invitation to massive fraud and will do nothing to alter climate change.

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  20. “Vote For Us” – when did you last stand up in parliament and object to saddling our children with debt? If your answer is to keep borrowing, then that’s exactly what you’re doing.

    Were your posters a fraud, too?

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  21. >>Both Tolley and BluePeter appear to be seriously disconnected

    You and Macro are seriously disconnected. You refuse to live within your means now, and thus saddle our kids with debt. All your empty preaching about cutting back – you don’t believe a word of it, do you? When it comes to your own indulgences, you want to spend, spend, spend.

    The money must come from somewhere, so tell me where. The tax-take is decreasing because the economy is shrinking. That leaves you with two options, only one of which is sustainable: borrow of cut services in line with income.

    So which is it?

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  22. Carbon trading is an open invitation to massive fraud and will do nothing to alter climate change.

    Its a shame the LabNats scuttled the carbon tax when we had the chance.

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  23. That’s a fraud, too.

    You’re not going to tax your way to a different climate.
    If man-made climate change is real, then New Zealand should be moving quickly to prepare for those changes, not pursue the ridiculous fraud that if we limit ourselves and tax ourselves the world temperature will remain constant.

    Just because it’s got the word “climate” in it, you should not reflexively support any measure.

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  24. macro

    Since when has a hobby course (funded by the tax payer) ever been classed as education?

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  25. Valis

    The ETS is not a new tax,

    Are we paying that now? Where and to whom? How much? Who collects the tax and where do the payments go? How are the helping global climate change?

    Not sure what you mean that it is not a new tax.

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  26. I think whether or not you “believe” in climate change, it’s surely obvious that if NZ was to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol or not engage in the upcoming Copenhagen conference it would be enormously damaging to our international reputation. Our “Clean Green” image would be gone in a flash.

    So therefore we will have an international obligation. You can’t get around that without pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, and it’s pretty obvious that would be a terrible move.

    So the question then becomes whether we just let the government foot the bill, and therefore provide no real incentives to actually decrease that bill over time, or whether we create some sort of user-pays system that will have incentives for us to reduce our CO2 emissions. Given that choice I would have really thought that right-wingers would be fond of the user-pays system.

    Then the question becomes “what kind of user-pays system?” And perhaps the jury is out on that one. Carbon tax vs ETS. Most of the rest of the world seems to be going down the ETS path though, so it would be a bit strange for us to do differently.

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  27. Just play the game like everyone else. Get out of the agriculture obligation, just like everyone else.

    Stop offering our kids up like lambs to the slaughter just to make yourselves feel holy.

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  28. I think there’s good reason to treat food production differently from other CO2 emitting activities, because it’s essential from a social equity point of view to make sure food is available at the cheapest possible price.

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  29. BluePeter Hits Rock Bottom! Accuses Greens of ‘Offering our kids up like lambs to the slaughter’ – What an idiot.

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  30. You’re the one who wants to saddle them with debt so you can feel self-righteous. New Zealand won’t make a difference in terms of emmissions. Our focus should be on adaptation.

    You’re the idiot, Greenfly. An ignorant, whack-it-on-the-credit-card fool.

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  31. “The money must come from somewhere, so tell me where. ”

    We’ve got a couple of toy frigates that aren’t doing anything useful.

    The new government could stop appointing its mates, all supposedly opposed to increased government spending, to lucrative new advisory positions.

    We stop building more roads.

    We cut MP’s salaries by 25 percent and give them secondhand Toyota Corollas to drive (we could give them bumper stickers saying “I’m really important” if they complain about the lack of apparent status).

    We scrap positions such as “Minister for the Rugby World Cup” and similar PC nonsense.

    Sorted.

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  32. If man-made climate change is real, then New Zealand should be moving quickly to prepare for those changes, not pursue the ridiculous fraud that if we limit ourselves and tax ourselves the world temperature will remain constant.

    A false choice, another strawman. No one has claimed that the temp could remain constant. The opposite is the case and the only question is how high we let it go. Along with that we must prepare for the change, whatever it will be. Any debt we take on now towards these two goals will be a drop in the bucket compared with the debt we’ll face should we do nothing.

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  33. >>We stop building more roads

    Should we leave cars idling then? What are you going to drive your buses down, given the old roads will be progressively clogged? Do you think your rail network will come cheap?

    >>We cut MP’s salaries by 25 percent and give them secondhand Toyota Corollas to drive

    I’m all for that.

    >>We scrap positions such as “Minister for the Rugby World Cup” and similar PC nonsense

    Also agreed.

    >>The new government could stop appointing its mates, all supposedly opposed to increased government spending, to lucrative new advisory positions.

    Agreed.

    >>We’ve got a couple of toy frigates that aren’t doing anything useful.

    Perhaps, but then they do provide jobs and fisheries patrol? Part of alliance strategies so we don’t actually have to run an air force? i.e. teh cost of getting rid of them would be higher?

    But this is still a drop in the ocean. We need to cut billions worth – per year.

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  34. >>the only question is how high we let it go.

    Evasion and false. The implication is that if we tax New Zealand taxpayers more, we will stop global temperature rise. That is not true.

    >>Any debt we take on now towards these two goals will be a drop in the bucket compared with the debt we’ll face should we do nothing.

    False dichotomy. That’s like saying if we cut off our legs that will make our headache go away.

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  35. Are we paying that now? Where and to whom? How much? Who collects the tax and where do the payments go? How are the helping global climate change?

    I don’t know the other details, but I think the current estimate of the NZ obligation is $600m. We help by being a responsible global citizen. This is everyone’s problem and we have a responsibility to do our bit. Plus if some countries decide to be emissions bludgers, it is harder to argue that the larger countries should act to save our skins.

    Not sure what you mean that it is not a new tax.

    An ETS or a carbon tax would allocate the Kyoto costs away from the general tax payer to the producer, who would have a direct incentive to lower their emissions as a result.

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  36. >>away from the general tax payer

    Huh? They’ll be paying it!

    You’re assuming the producer absorbs it, as opposed to what they usually do – build it into the price and pass it on. Many industries just aren’t going to achieve huge price differentials by acting one way or another. It’s a myth.

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  37. Evasion and false. The implication is that if we tax New Zealand taxpayers more, we will stop global temperature rise. That is not true.

    Not on our own, but with the rest of the world. We’re all in the same boat.

    False dichotomy. That’s like saying if we cut off our legs that will make our headache go away.

    No, its like saying if we go into debt to insulate our houses, we’ll get it back and more in power and health savings.

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  38. >>Not on our own, but with the rest of the world. We’re all in the same boat

    We should do no more than the rest of the world. And while China is not on board, then everyone else is just having a feel-good w**k.

    >>No, its like saying if we go into debt to insulate our houses

    I’ve yet to see any detail of how this will work. There’s an assumption that the world will want higher priced food. In reality, the world will likely start buying from producers not saddled with our level of production taxation.

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  39. >>We stop building more roads

    Should we leave cars idling then? What are you going to drive your buses down, given the old roads will be progressively clogged? Do you think your rail network will come cheap?

    Vehicle numbers on roads are steady or declining. Why do we need more roads?

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  40. Valis,

    I don’t know the other details, but I think the current estimate of the NZ obligation is $600m.

    By some slight of hand we are obliged to pay $600M every year to who?

    How?

    And Al Gore gets his $200M per year to facilitate this.

    And you think the tax payer will mind? When we are running 8 billion dollar annual deficits?

    Sometimes wonder where the Greens economic head space is at.

    Has anyone a the Greens considered the future or do you think the New Zelaand tax payers will by magic make up the deficit PLUS send money to Al Gore and some overseas country where they used to have industry but dont anymore.

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  41. Gerrit, I don’t think even the Nats are prepared to pull out of Kyoto, so the issue is how best to lower our obligation.

    You’re assuming the producer absorbs it, as opposed to what they usually do – build it into the price and pass it on.

    I’m not assuming this at all, BP. I’m assuming that a market mechanism will provide incentive to lower emissions. I’m assuming that paying it from income tax and GST will provide no incentive at all.

    We should do no more than the rest of the world. And while China is not on board, then everyone else is just having a feel-good w**k.

    So how will you get China on board? The feel good wank is you thinking you’ve saved a few dollars while the boat you’re in sinks.

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  42. I think the Greens have yet to experience the moment when the rubber hits the road. When they do, it will be rather interesting.

    They’ve largely talked about climate change in terms of abstract religion. The rubber rolled over the forecourt last year, in the form of showers and lighbulbs. The blowback was significant, and no doubt cost the Greens a few percentage points in the general election.

    So what’s going to happen when the ETS hits the average kiwi in the back pocket? They are going to be **howling**.

    Will you have the arguments to quell that rage?

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  43. >the boat you’re in sinks

    The boat will sink or float, regardless of what New Zealand does. Better not throw our cash and children overboard as a symbolic gesture.

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  44. Hyperbole. I just hope emissions bludgers like you keep very quite as you go down.

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  45. The problem with the Greens approach to climate change is that they waste money chasing a global solution rather than dealing with New Zealand.

    Since what New Zealand does doesn’t matter to the world, then we should not be sucked into a global scheme that is not going to fix the problem and instead is going to cost New Zealand.

    Why do the greens always seek utopian solutions rather than pragmatic ones?

    Hey if i had my way
    New Zealand would leave the WTO, UN, Kyoto and every other globalist one world government organisation.

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  46. >>emissions bludgers

    But I’m not. That’s the thing – I’m greener than your MPs. They make extensive use of polluting planes, and I do not, even though i could.

    That’s why I laugh at their pompous lecturing :)

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  47. >>We’ve got a couple of toy frigates that aren’t doing anything useful.

    “Perhaps, but then they do provide jobs and fisheries patrol? Part of alliance strategies so we don’t actually have to run an air force? i.e. teh cost of getting rid of them would be higher? ”

    No need for an airforce either – expensive luxury left over from richer times. We never used the strike wing when we had one. If you are going to justify spending on the basis of creating jobs, we might just as well fund community education- or anything. And last I looked the frigates didn’t do fisheries patrols other than once in a blue moon as a PR exercise. The airforce Orions do the fisheries patrols, a rather expensive option as they’re built for sub hunting. Pretty good patrol aircraft though, should strip the warfighting gear and hand them over to a coastguard.

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  48. BP

    Give me control of the taxes and the climate WILL be affected. I’d have a much harder job doing it with the ETS.

    The problem is that you don’t want to accept that it is necessary to do BOTH not just throw up your hands, claim its hopeless and try to get as much profit as you can before it all goes to hell.

    Making things worse than they have to be is not a good look. You ARE a wrecker. You ARE being irresponsible (at least in your words here) and you DON’T want to admit it to yourself.

    Sorry to have to point it out.

    BJ

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  49. But I’m not. That’s the thing – I’m greener than your MPs. They make extensive use of polluting planes, and I do not, even though i could.

    Obfuscation. The discussion here is about NZ’s part in the international response to climate change. You’re a bludger because you think we should refuse to do our bit.

    That’s why I laugh at their pompous lecturing.

    And I at your’s.

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  50. The LIES about showers and lightbulbs? The lies that had to be retracted with such desperate speed because anything less would have drawn a lawsuit which would have made the Greens MUCH wealthier?

    Phhhht! That’s the one thing about NaCTites… they have good memories, as liars must.

    BJ

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  51. “:But this is still a drop in the ocean. We need to cut billions worth – per year.”

    Oh, I thought we were debating $30 million or some such for the enviroschools thing.

    But if it’s billions, here’s some thoughts:

    Cut defence entirely – that’s close to a billion and a half. Make defence a community responsibility. Plenty of people out there happy to run around the hills with rifles on the weekends.

    Cut every hospital manager who can’t explain the value of their job from a patient’s perspective within 30 seconds.

    Divide education into “basic skills” and “job skills”. Basic skills should be the classical subjects – grammar, rhetoric, logic (tools for further learning) and modern necessities (civics, law, cooking, how to mop floors, how to fix a fuse, change a flat tyre and fix the brakes on a bike). Fund these for all, close down all “job skills’ courses (if industry needs these skills it will pay for them itself).

    No more roads. Let industry go to where the people are, rather than the other way around.

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  52. Sam, On the last point, more roads are needed because industry has gone to where the people are, and vice versa. Or, at least, they would have if the implementers of the Town Planning Act hadn’t insisted that people and industry must be in different areas of the same city.

    If you were suggesting we need to be actively moving back to the mixed use cities we had before the Town Planning Act then I’m wholeheartedly in agreement.

    But that only addresses urban industries. Rural industries like farming forestry and tourism can’t go to where the people are. That is where this country really needs to spend big on better roads. If we didn’t have governments fixated on urban congestion we could halve the road toll in half a decade and initiate an emissions blackspot program similar to Transits successful 1990s accident blackspot program.

    The biggest problem with your suggestion is that using the money motorists are currently paying into the Land Transport Fund for Kyoto obligations makes it very difficult to “sell” a Kyoto surcharge on motor fuels. Besides, if we’re not going spend those billions on roads we should spend it on PT not on what is in effect a fine for not spending the money on PT or fuel efficient rural roads and highways.

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  53. BluePeter Said:
    “>>away from the general tax payer

    Huh? They’ll be paying it!

    You’re assuming the producer absorbs it, as opposed to what they usually do – build it into the price and pass it on. Many industries just aren’t going to achieve huge price differentials by acting one way or another. It’s a myth.”

    BP, you’re overlooking the fact that previous governments have committed NZ to paying for Kyoto breaches. The question is should the general taxpayer pay through GST, etc, or should those who buy the most carbon intensive products pay a larger share.

    The whole point of the ETS or the scrapped carbon tax was to use commercial “cost plus” imperitive to alter consumer behaviour. If an industry isn’t a major GHG contributor then the ETS shouldn’t create huge price differentials in those industries. Horticulture, viticulture and grain farming are industries where the ETS will have minimal impact for NZ consumers of NZ grown products. Red meat and dairy products are a different kettle of fish. These are fertiliser intensive industries. ETS will reward farmers who have implemented sophisticated fertiliser management systems and punish the laggards and luddites. Something that Fonterra’s blunt “payment per kg of milk solids” regime fails to do.

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  54. The new education curriculum, which comes into effect in 2010, has a component call ‘ecological sustainability’. Schools now must teach, assess and report on ecological sustainability. If government is having doubts about funding enviroschools then I would suggest that funding for teaching ecological sustainability will not get much support or prority. It will be status quo.

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  55. “Noone yet can aswer where the extra money will come from, when we are staring at eight to ten billion dollar deficits.”

    Well we could cut back on roading, jails, or defence, but then there will be arguments about priorities. Or instead lets increase government revenue. How about this for an idea.

    It is generally understood that the incentive for earning a reasonable amount of money is the lifestyle choices, but the incentive for earning a really obscene amount goes beyond lifestyle or even beyond greed and the motivation is envy; ie get everyone to envy and respect you. So why not play on this weakness and the government sells the right to wear a really flashy uniform, complete with a badge saying “I earn over $500,000 per year, aren’t I clever”, or something to that effect.

    The government would need to charge a high premium for the right to use this; and after all this will be part of the status. The wearer is telling us they are so rich they can afford to spend enough to keep a family of four for life for the baubles of office. It will also have to be accompanied by pretty hideous penalties to anyone cheating. I would suggest confiscating all their wealth. The poor would be unlikely to cheat the system because nobody would believe them anyway. It would only be the moderately rich dreaming of being obscenely rich that would have any incentives to cheat. Punishing offenders would therefore be yet another source of income.

    “Silver” and “bronze” uniforms may be made available for those on lesser amounts, depending on the success of the system. I bet this would increase revenue sufficiently to cover all the green initiatives, and it would be environmentally friendly (it may not be good for the spiritual development of those being adored or for their worshipers, but then you can’t have everything)

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