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Key’s victory no mandate for dirty energy

Key’s victory no mandate for dirty energy

By Steve Abel
September 23, 2014

“What matters most is not who is sitting in the White House, but "who is sitting in" -- and who is marching outside the White House, pushing for change.” – Howard Zinn.

The opportunity to create genuine transformation in society often occurs through the process of public resistance to retrograde governments and policies.

We as a movement for climate and environmental action need not see the re-election of the mine, drill, frack, cut and sell John Key government as a disaster but as an opportunity through which our movement can bring a broader population on board for change towards a genuinely clean green New Zealand.

It would also be a mistake to simply interpret John Key’s victory as a tick for deep sea oil drilling, climate inaction and a failure to back clean energy innovation. When we hear it conveyed as a blanket public mandate for these policies of the last six years we should question that assumption. Similarly the 2011 election was called a mandate for asset sales, yet the actual referendum on the matter after-the-fact showed the opposite.

The responsibility rests with us all to increase the volume of our call for action on climate change to such a level that it registers strongly on the public mind and in -turn on the politicians of every stripe who sit in the Beehive. We certainly began that with Climate Voter which grew to 60,000 strong in 12 weeks and the Climate Voter Debate which attracted 13,000 viewers.

We now need to translate that presence online into people on the streets.

Issue based advocacy needs to do its work no matter who is in government. The movement for climate action – like any effective movement – needs to take the long view and just keep turning up! Just as the hundreds who braved the weather on Sunday to join the People’s Climate March.

We can also take heart that through New Zealand history some of the great and most transformative movement mobilisations have occurred in the third and fourth terms of National governments including those that helped cement our Nuclear Free status (after Robert Muldoon’s three term leadership) and the anti-Vietnam war movement and campaign to Save Manapouriwhich climaxed in the closing years of Keith Holyoake’s four term National Government.

In a few days there is a great opportunity to show this new Government that our resistance to deep sea oil drilling is not going away when the Waiho Papa Moana Hikoi sets off from Cape Rienga on Friday 26 September and then culminates in a March up Queen Street at 12 noon on on Tuesday 30th of September.

See you there!

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