Yes, Nick Smith is taking a punt with climate change – but so did Rodney with the Super City

A sartorial turn-off - and he's blinkered about Auckland, too.

Those tossers at ACT have a bloody nerve.

Mind you, lots of nerve is needed when membership requires you to be led by a bloke who wears yellow jackets.

In this case, however, Alf is talking about the nerve of John Boscowen, who basks in the title of ACT Deputy Leader and Climate Change Spokesman.

He has got all huffy about climate change matters, and is demanding to know

… how Climate Change Minister Dr Nick Smith could propose to reduce New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 when he does not even know what effect this target will have on jobs and GDP.

The answer is simple.

You take a bloody big punt, you stand up and you propose it.

And if you don’t know what will happen as a consequence – well, that’s just too bad.

But it seems ACT has been busy lodging written Parliamentary Questions about the implications of the 2050 target on jobs, GDP, our relative status as a polluter, and our ‘clean green’ image.

“The Minister’s response was that modelling wasn’t possible due to the number of uncertainties, and a reliance on other countries to also reduce their emissions,” Mr Boscawen said.

“Put simply: the Government has set a target for reducing emissions without having any clue about the effects it will have on the country – in fact, Dr Smith cannot even say with certainty whether or not the scheme will help the climate.”

Boscowen accordingly accuses our Nick of acting irresponsibly on climate change and emissions.

Despite the massive uncertainties surrounding his target, Boscowen complains, Nick proposes to publish it in the New Zealand Gazette and formally commit New Zealanders to achieving it.

“New Zealanders already face challenging economic conditions, and are struggling with the cost burden imposed by the implementation of the ETS. The last thing we need is to risk an unknown economic outcome for a scheme that won’t even do what it’s supposed to.

“It is completely untenable for the Government to commit us to this target and I urge Dr Smith to scrap it. At the very least, he should delay committing us to it until New Zealand families can be safely assured they will not be hurt by the Government’s climate change aspirations even further,” Mr Boscawen said.

Alf would not like his constituents to misunderstand him on this matter.

Out here in rural New Zealand a lot of farmers are bloody unhappy about this climate change stuff, and their hard-working (etc) member of Parliament has every sympathy with them.

Moreover, Alf has heard lots of complaints from rural and urban folk alike as emissions trading charges add to the fast-rising cost of feeling the family car’s fuel tank and other energy costs.

Alf happens to agree it would be great to have assurances that New Zealand families will not be further hurt by the Government’s climate change aspirations.

But he happens to wonder what Boscowen was doing for Auckland families when his boss, Rodney Hide, was forcing the super city on them.

Did Boscowen demand that Rodney come up with a cost-benefit analysis?

Not that Alf can remember.

And so – in June last year – the nation learned that Aucklanders were shelling out $200 million to build the Super City.

The latest figure includes an admission from Local Government Minister Rodney Hide that it will cost $125.7 million, mostly in information technology costs, to get the new-look council up and running.

Mr Hide has previously been tight-lipped about the implementation costs, which come on top of $34.4 million of operating costs for the agency designing the Super City.

Other costs are $26.5 million to set up a mega-water company and $14.2 million by the region’s existing councils. The councils’ costs and setting up Watercare will be funded out of current budgets.

But Rodney was full of splendid-sounding pap about providing integrated planning and improved service delivery at a reduced cost, and about the emphasis throughout being on ensuring no undue burden is placed on the ratepayers of Auckland.

The lefites were given plenty of grist for their mill with this stuff.

A feller called Marty at The Standard gloated:

Congratulations Aucklanders, you are about to become the owners of a supercity. And it’s cost you just $200 million… so far.

The government embarked on a half-arsed, anti-democratic attempt to to reform Auckland in big business’s interests. They didn’t let Aucklanders have the referendum that they were entitled to and others have had to have their say on whether they support amalgamation.

But more important (with regard to Boscowen’s concerns about assurances that no one will be hurt) –

The government didn’t even work out the cost of the supercity before they started it (and why should they? It’s the ratepayers who foot the bill). Rodney Hide told Parliament the cost of setting up the supercity would be “minuscule” and refused to put a dollar figure on it.

Well, we’ll see how many Aucklanders think that $200 million is minuscule when it shows up in their rates bill

Alf recalls some Auckland University public economics teacher getting in on the act a few months earlier.

This teacher had an unpronounceable name – Rhema Vaithianathan – and so Alf did not bother to call her for more information.

But she was banging on about the reform costing hundreds of jobs in councils and hundreds more in the outer areas.

Dr Vaithianathan produced a report with lots of bothersome cost calculations that called for a detailed cost benefit analysis.

ACT countered her critique by saying she is a Labour party member who sought to stand in the Mt Albert by-election.

Ooh. That was a powerful counter-argument, eh?

In most circumstances, actually, Alf would happily accept that ideas advanced by Labour Party people are best ignored.

In this case, however, her advice seems to have been much the same as Boscowen’s pleading for a better fix on the costs and benfits with regard to climate change policies.

2 Responses to Yes, Nick Smith is taking a punt with climate change – but so did Rodney with the Super City

  1. rogerthesurf says:

    I think you had better research the subject of co2 emission reduction costs before you get too deeply into where you are going.

    For a start, take a look at my conversation with Doug and Denise at http://globalwarmingsupporter.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/what%e2%80%99s-up-there-and-how-we-know/

    Read some of the comments as well, especially the one about economic costs.

    Still want to punt with consequences like that?

    Maybe Boscowen knows a thing or two?

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    • Alf Grumble says:

      Alf would not punt with something like climate change, the ETS and their economic consequences. He would rather see more rigourous cost-benefit analysis. His point was that if it’s good enough for ACT to demand this cost-benefit analysis for climate change, they should have done the same before setting up the Super City on the strength of their articles of faith.

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