National's John Key is looking to be more sizzle than sausage on climate change...


It feels like the 80s, when coal fired power stations were still considered cool and global warming was something to worry about in the 22nd century. At least that’s how the new Government is behaving. Its confidence and supply arrangement with ACT includes the following: ditching the 10 year moratorium on new fossil fuel generation, “reviewing” the ETS (read: either scrapping it or watering it down to the point of redundancy) and maybe even…wait for it….reviewing the science on climate change.

In other words, Key is proposing to drag New Zealand backwards into the mud of global disgrace and irrelevancy. Can you imagine what it’s going to do for our country to be branded the latest climate deniers? I can see it now….as the US steps down from this unenviable dais, Rodney steps up, arms aloft in a yellow splash of victory.

Around the world, temperature increases, global emissions and loss of ice at the Arctic and Antarctic are overshooting all worst case scenarios. Science, far from overstating the case, barely reflects the half of it. The Arctic icecap has entered what’s been called a 'death spiral'. For the first time in human history, you can take a ship right around the North Pole. There may be no summer ice left at all at the North Pole within five years.

The imperative for action is growing by the day. But John and Rodney clearly think otherwise.

Their agreement on confidence and supply screams: “we’re lowering risk New Zealand's environmental standards and procrastinating over climate change.” As such, it puts us at risk of an international backlash, not least among our key export markets.

New Zealand's trade is based on feeding middle class consumers and giving them a first class Kiwi holiday. New Zealand needs these consumers a lot more than they need New Zealand.

Promoting fossil fuel power stations, further delaying the ETS and questioning established climate science are all great incentives for the world's consumers to shop elsewhere. It’s like putting a label on our goods saying: “Produced by a country that doesn’t believe in the biggest collective crisis ever faced by mankind”.

We're running out of time to tackle climate change.

The world is running out of time to avoid catastrophic climate change and a good many of the world's citizens are running out of patience. Consumers are already rejecting unsustainably caught New Zealand orange roughy and the food miles scare shows just how vulnerable New Zealand producers are to concerns about climate change.

Someone once proposed New Zealand be fast followers rather than leaders on climate change. The truth is we’re barely in the race. And with developments like the National-ACT arrangements, we’ll soon be dropping out altogether. .