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Newman Online Weekly commentary by Muriel Newman


Newman Online Weekly commentary by Dr Muriel Newman MP

Labour’s balmy $1 billion Kyoto Protocol joke

If anyone doubted that the Labour Party was not only anti-business but had lost its marbles as well, the expose' yesterday of the enormous $1 billion cost to New Zealand taxpayers of signing us up to the ill- advised Kyoto Protocol is ample proof.

Labour’s balmy idea that New Zealand should be one of the first countries to sign up to the questionable Protocol, even though Australia, the US and many of our trading partners have refused, was sold to the public on the basis that it would produce a massive benefit to the country.

While most people agree that governments should be taking responsibility to reduce environmental pollution and global warming, there still exists widespread skepticism about the fundamental feasibility of a plan to trade carbon credits.

The fact is that the benefits of Kyoto to our country have been grossly – and deliberately - oversold. Labour claimed that New Zealand would stand to make a $500 million gain. Now that we are committed, it is hard to believe how a $500 million gain could turn into a $500 million loss.

The reality is that Labour chose to promote the most beneficial case imaginable to the public to secure political support for the Kyoto Protocol concept. Now that it’s a Fait d’accompli and an election is looming, Labour has decided it’s time to reveal what the true cost to the country could be in case it gets leaked during the campaign.

What is even more worrying, however, is the emerging news that the assessment of a $1 billion cost to the taxpayer may in fact be a very conservative estimate. The true cost being far worse.

Earlier this week, I had an interesting conversation with a businessman, who for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous. He shed some light on how New Zealand is now in the ridiculous position of having voluntarily signed up to an agreement that will cost us dearly - that is apart from the fact that the Prime Minister has a hidden agenda, which is more to do with her personal international leadership aspirations than the good of the country!

Being very well connected to the Clark administration, he verified that as far as business issues are concerned, Labour lurches from one nutty idea to the next. He explained that they have no real understanding or comprehension of what it takes to successfully run a business, which is why during their time in office they have had no hesitation in piling lunatic costs and massive bureaucratic penalties onto small business.

On reflection that is not surprising given that few – if any – in the Labour Party have ever run a small business: They don’t understand what its like to risk all their capital, work all hours of the day and night and worry themselves sick about how to pay the wages.

He explained that while Labour has managed to maintain tight discipline on the outside, it is window dressing. On the inside, the Labour administration is in a shambles, with advice being given and proposals being accepted, only to be changed at whim then rejected with no explanation. He said it undermined any confidence he might have had in Labour, given that small business, as the engine room of our economy, needs a stable environment in which to be encouraged to invest, expand and grow, rather than being penalised by ad hoc decisions and loopy ideas.

This ad hoc approach to Kyoto has been obvious from the start.

First of all there were the lies to overstate the benefits and secure public acceptance for what is a nutty idea.

Then there was the ill-advised and downright ridiculous proposal to introduce a “fart tax” on the livestock industry. This was justified as a mechanism to reduce livestock carbon emissions but was in reality just another tax grab. Fortunately the public at large thought the idea – which made New Zealand a laughing stock around the world – was crazy and by joining the rural sector in rallying against it, the fart tax was finally abandoned.

Now there is the specter of a new tax on carbon, announced by Labour in the budget. This will produce a net cost increase across the economy, as coal fired power stations pass on their increased overheads through higher power prices and as most goods and services are subjected to price rises as the transport sector passes on its costs.

As always, it is New Zealand consumers and those in business who are price takers, who pay through the nose. With the cost of Kyoto threatening to balloon way past $1 billion, the future under a third term Labour Government is looking increasingly bleak.

The reality is that the Kyoto Protocol needs to be scrapped; ACT is pledging to dump it after the election – just so long as Labour are voted out!

If you agree that Kyoto should be scrapped, then firstly, please sign up to the on-line petition at www.act.org.nz/kyoto to show your support and secondly, please send this email on to anyone you know who feels as strongly as you do that the protocol is balmy and should be dumped. Ask them to sign up too and pass it on.

In a democratic society at least we have the right to free speech. Please take your opportunity to speak out against the stupidity of Helen Clark, the Labour Party and their nutty ideas!


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