Robson-On-Politics - Wednesday 8 November 2006
Robson-On-Politics - Wednesday 8 November 2006
PM's utu on National
The National Party can take a lot of the credit for the abandonment of the carbon tax proposal, as well as every other minority government proposal to tackle climate change, over the past seven years.
National, in that sense, is like the oil companies and big business interests, which consistently put their shareholders' short-term financial interests ahead of the long-term welfare of famililes, the environment and even life itself.
Their official position has always been that there is not enough evidence to justify the short-financial costs required to upgrade the efficiency of our transport fleet and energy production.
Their position has always been that, by definition, there can never be enough evidence that human activity is contributing to global climate change. No matter how much evidence science provides, the Right-Wingers always say we need more evidence in order to justify action.
In Election 2002 and Election 2005, the Right drove up and down the country holding angry public rallies damning the minority Lab-Progressive government's proposed tax on carbon content which had been intended to give financial incentives to encourage changes in our behaviours to make us go easier on our environment.
But the Prime Minister's carbon-neutral future vision speech has caught many people's attention.
It is utu. Its pay-back time. National is going to be on the backfoot on this issue from now on as I am sure that their disgraceful public record, captured on TV, in-print, its anti-science and anti-life record, is going to be thrown back at them regularly by the Labour Party.
United Future's shameful record
Most New Zealand parents are conservative by instinct when it comes to the question of whether or not we should err on the side of caution in the face of real or even potential threats to the happiness and well-being of our children.
If the evidence isn't 100%, let's say just 60%, then that is, for most families, good enough reason to take action, defensive action just in case.
United Future, National's natural policy ally on the far-right of politics, says that the reason it is in politics is because it is a pro-families party. So you might expect such a party would err on the side of caution whenever it comes to a potential threat to families' wellbeing.
But United Future's record on issues doesn't tally with its rhetoric on families. Global Climate Change is no exception.
Kyoto Protcol - it is just "stupid" says United Future
The Kyoto Protocol, a modest, tentative first step measure by responsible nations that New Zealand is a signatory to, is "just stupid" United Future says.
"The best course the Government should follow now," United said last year ahead while campaigning for votes, "would be to accept United Future's sensible policies of repudiating the Kyoto Protocol."
United always calls itself "sensible" - but its leader's position against the Progressive Party Bill to limit alcohol advertising and marketing on TV during children's watching times, just like the party's position against international agreements to tackle global climate change, are, in my opinion, the very opposite of sensible or moderate or reasonable or moral.
How is your MP going to vote on Progressive Bill to reduce alcohol harm?
Have you checked out how your local MP is going to vote on the Progressive Bill to try and reduce the supply of liquor to young teenagers? At the moment this Bill could go either way.
Please do contact your M.P.'s electorate office. Ask them to please at least seriously read some of the findings and data from the public health specialists before they make up their minds.
Maori Party MPs meeting with National Party leader
The most interesting political news in New Zealand in the past seven days was, for me, that the National Party leader used the parliamentary recess to at last meet with the Maori Party Parliamentary Caucus.
In the last two elections, under Mr Brash in 2005 and under Mr English in 2002, National campaigned with a promise that if it were to win power it would, upon becoming the government, both abolish the Maori seats and also pretend that there was never any Treaty of Waitangi signed in this country in 1840 between iwi and the British government which was a precursor to significant settlement from the U.K.
I should imagine that National Party strategists have finally realized, after losing three elections in a row, that they actually need to win an election in New Zealand - the real New Zealand, not some non-existent one where their heads have been these past seven years.
Unlike the United States, which has a hideously unrepresentative House and Senate elected using a weird 19th century-designed, gerrymandered voting system in which Big Money rules the day, in New Zealand we have a representative Parliament elected where everyone's vote actually counts equally - parliamentary seats are distributed in proportion to parties' share of votes received.
What that means in the real world is that National cannot emerge from an election to lead a government without first winning the support of the Maori Party. That was again highlighted in the Roy Morgan poll on Friday.
The poll, translated into seats, would deliver a theoretical Labour-Progressive-Green-Maori majority coalition government of 63 seats or alternatively a National-United Future-Maori-ACT majority of 62 seats.
The more likely result of this kind of poll actually being replicated in an election, however, would be a continuation of the status quo of a minority Lab-Progressive government supported on confidence by 2 or 3 other parties that might demand a ministerial posting outside of cabinet.
Progressive Party set to do well in Vermont
It is hard to care about which party wins Federal Congressional elections in the US although I did like that line attributed to the president about 'don't go Democratic!'.
Both Democrats and Republicans have a terrible record imposing unfair barriers to our farmers - the taxes on Kiwi agricultural imports into the U.S. are an apartheid economic wall to keep us, and other potential competitors, out.
Similarly on foreign policy, the Democrats totally supported the illegal U.S./U.K./Australian invasion and subsequent destruction of civilisation in Iraq and similarly support the current administration's deep hostility to democracy in South America, Asia or anywhere else.
Politics at State level is more representative of real American values because it isn't so dominated by the absurd two-party dictat. The Progressive Party in Vermont should do well this week, I'll keep you posted on how they go!