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Election Bribes, Power Greenouts & the Nat Pack


Election Bribes, Power Greenouts and the Lacklustre Nat Pack

Three opinion-piece by Peter Cresswell from his Blog Not PC

This week:
1. Running the Rule over the Nats
2. No Power
3. Election Bribes for Students

1. Running the Rule over the Nats

A winning but high-risk strategy in sport is to attack your opponent directly at their strongest point rather than identifying their weaknesses and attacking those. When you can pull it off it's a winning strategy since once the opponent's strength is demolished, or at least nullified, the rest should follow. It's high risk because if you can't pull it off you lose. Big time. As DPF pointed out last week, "The most stupid thing a party can do is set expectations that their leader will crush the other leader. This is Politics 101. It means that a draw becomes a loss, a win a draw, and a bad performance could spell game over."

Labour have explicitly adopted this very strategy in their decision to target Don Brash in a series of, well, odd billboard attacks. The idea is that if they can take him out they take out National's main strength. In doing so they've chosen not to attack the many weaknesses behind him, and as Saturday's Herald's article looking at National's possible front bench demonstrates, those weaknesses are legion.

John Armstrong runs the rule over the Nats behind Brash, and as those of us who can remember the Nats when they were in power might testify they come up three feet short of a yard.

In every respect apart from the obvious one Gerry Brownlee is a lightweight, and only in a caucus with the paucity of talent of this one would such a buffoon have the job of deputy. Bill English was a dithering waste-of-space as party leader, deservedly leading his party to their worst electoral defeat ever, and more recently criticising Labour for the NCEA disaster, apparently unaware that his own party introduced the whole mess. Onya Bill.

And then we have Nick Smith. Idiot. The man that called the RMA "far-sighted environmental legislation" when he was previously minister in charge of it. The man that John Armstrong points out "as Environment Minister... would have the crucial task of rewriting the Resource Management Act." Uh oh! As Lindsay Perigo describes him he is "a man with a fork in his tongue big enough to hug a tree with." Expect to see no change however "substantive" to the RMA from Nick the Dick, especially now that Labour have stolen the window-dressing he proposed for it.

Remember Tony Ryall promising to end the presumption of innocence for crimes of his choice when he was Justice Minister back in 1998? Remember Vile Ryall defending the revenue-collecting of his police officers, and instructing them to continue with it. Some of us still do. And then there's John Key, who has spent the last few weeks contradicting his leader: when Brash says in the morning "tax cuts by Christmas" John says in the afternoon maybe by Easter, or Christmas 2007, or in nine years. With talent like this around him, Don Brash must walk into his caucus room some days and just shake his head, and wonder how he ever got involved with them.


2. No power

Shit, I hate saying 'I told you so,' especially when what I was offering was a warning. Seven years ago I pointed out that "Auckland's current power crisis is only a dry run for worse to come." Remember Auckland's power blackouts in February 1998? Remember the crisis when a few crucial cables broke, and we learnt how tenuous was the power supply to our largest city?

With this in mind, did you notice this week Genesis's Energy's appeal over the decision to deny them a secure right to take water from the Whanganui River to generate hydro power? The reason Genesis Energy's water rights were cut from 35 to 10 years by the environment court (acting under the RMA) was because Ken Mair of the Whanganui River Trust Board says he wants to "ensure the well-being of our river." Specifically, he wants to ensure the 'mauri' or 'life force' of the river. Yes, that's right, this is mystic nonsense recognised in law by the environment court.

A ten-year water right is not a secure right. As Genesis said when the decision was handed down, "We cannot plan for sustainable operation of the Tongariro hydro scheme with a ten year time horizon. Like other power generators, long term commercial certainty over the operation of our assets is essential to meet New Zealand's energy needs."

So in Owen McShane's words "Now we have a sort of precedent that says rivers in New Zealand have a life force and generating stations take that life force away." Alan Jenkins from the Electricity Networks Association warns that the principal objective of having enough power to meet demand is steadily being eroded. "It's very hard to invest in coal [because of Kyoto], nuclear's a sort of four letter word...hydro is suddenly becoming too hard...what's left?...we can't do everything on windpower," says Jenkins. And if there's no power, there's no industry. And industry is our real lifeblood. So this decision demands that our own real lives are being sacrificed for the mystical life force of Ken Mair's river. Such is the RMA.

Which is what I was saying seven years ago during Auckland's power crisis:

Future restrictions on industry arising from 'The Green Dream Team' will dwarf [Auckland's] current problems, according to the Libertarianz Party. The Dream Team's two players are the Resource Management Act and the Kyoto Protocol: The RMA we know about by now; the Protocol, signed by Simon Upton earlier this year... extracts promises that governments of wealthy, industrial nations will 'work towards the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions' - the inescapable by-product of the burning of fossil fuels. Stripped of its worthy glow this means nothing less than a promise for the reduction of industry!

"The greenies' anti-development crusade reached its climax in this country with the RMA, an act making the future construction of necessary infrastructure (like power stations and hydro dams) virtually impossible. The anti-energy crusade has reached its climax with the Kyoto Protocol, promising measures to strangle our existing infrastructure (like power stations and industrial plants). [Auckland's 1998] power crisis offers a precursor of what life will be like as a result of these measures - together, these bureaucratic monsters will act like a calicivirus on industry, and on all who depend on industry for their survival; which means all of us," said Libertarianz Environment Spokesman Peter Cresswell today.

Lest you think the Green Dream Team have throttled industry by accident, allow Robert Bidinotto to try and persuade you otherwise:

Typically, the person who calls himself an "environmentalist" is really just a nature-loving "conservationist." Appreciating the earth's natural beauty and bounty, he is understandably concerned about trash, noise, pollution, and poisons. Still, he sees the earth and its bounty as resources--resources for intelligent human use, development, and enjoyment. At root, then, his concern for the earth is human-centered: he believes that this is our environment, to be used by people to enhance their lives, well-being, and happiness.

But the leaders of the organized environmentalist movement have a very different attitude and agenda.

Their basic premise is that human activities to develop natural resources constitute a desecration of nature--that, in fact, nature exists for its own sake, not for human use and enjoyment. By their theory of ecology, they see man not as the crowning glory of nature, nor even as just another part of "the web of life"--but rather as a blight upon the earth, as the enemy of the natural world. And they see man's works as a growing menace to all that exists.

Their basic agenda, therefore, is to stop the "assault" and "onslaught" of human activity: to place every possible impediment to man's further development of the earth and its resources. They pursue this anti-human agenda tirelessly and consistently. Their fanatical activities have led not just to enormously increased financial burdens on us all, but--demonstrably--even to the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children worldwide.

And the ugliest aspect of all this is that while causing so much harm, environmentalists posture--and are generally accepted--as idealists.

I'm not just talking about so-called "extremists" within the movement: I'm talking about its mainstream organizations, leaders, and spokesmen. Their public faces of moderation mask private attitudes and goals that are radically, irreconcilably opposed to the requirements of human life on earth.

I couldn't put it better myself. Exaggeration? In his evidence for his view, Bidinotto quotes numerous environmentalists including David Graber, a biologist with the US National Park Service:

Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn't true. Somewhere along the line—at about a million years ago, maybe half that—we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth . . . . Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.

Here are some more quotes from anti-human-life luddite whack-jobs. These are the people with whom we are compromising when we give Kyoto house room, when the RMA is tinkered with and not abolished, and when we allow them both to throttle industry. As I said during Auckland's power crisis, "The environmentalists' false claims for disasters that 'might' occur will be dwarfed by the disasters that will occur if we continue to blindly accept their rantings. You think that the loss of power to our industrial capital for nine weeks is bad news? Just wait until the Dream Team kicks in - you ain't seen nothing yet!"I do hate saying 'I told you so,' but don't say I never warned you.

3. Election Bribes for Students

If you're still wondering why Cullen insists his $7 billion surplus is not a surplus, hints are emerging all the time. You might recall some weeks ago it was announced he 'found' an extra $500 million to pay for new roads. Yesterday there was enough left over to pay for $300 million of election bribes so that students can take out no-interest loans at taxpayers' expense.

Labour says it will ease the brain drain. But Dr Brash said the Government could "just as easily give every New Zealander $1000 to stay in New Zealand". "This is the Government that said just a couple of months ago there wasn't enough money for any kind of tax relief for hard-working New Zealanders." Labour's scheme would also cause an explosion in student debt. "Why would you not borrow to the limit of your capacity, to the limit of the rules if you're not going to pay interest on it?", Dr Brash said.

Indeed, why not? The Dominion points out that, so far at least, National promises "more money in the hand through tax cuts": that's your money in your hand (although it is so far not so much a promise as a promise of a promise). Labour's strategy on the other hand is to promise more of someone else's money in your hand, while the government's own hand dives deeper into your pocket.

This won't be the last time this election that election bribes are rolled out, nor will it be the last time you have me reminding you of H.L. Mencken's comment that "an election is an advance auction of stolen goods." Just don't forget whose money it is with which you, or your children, are being bribed.

As one my guest commentators suggested "That's got the students - beneficiaries next !! Won't bother with the tax payers - there aren't enough of them anyway."

That's true! As one of the young intellectual giants interviewed on Campbell Live said, "I don't care about the future anyway." Sadly, there's just too few votes in those that do.


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