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Rodney Hide Speech: Dump The ETS

Dump The ETS Rodney Hide MP Sunday, September 7 2008

Speech to ACT Upper South Regional Conference; Cotswold Hotel, 88-96 Papanui Rd, Christchurch; Sunday, September 7 2008.

ACT is the only Party that stands four-square for freedom.

Our founding principles are individual freedom and personal responsibility. That makes ACT the only Party serious about cleaning up crime and making our streets and our homes safe - we can't be free living in fear of thugs and bullies.

Our commitment to freedom means we are the only party opposed to Helen Clark's bossy boots nanny-knows-best Government. We don't want the Government telling you what to pack in your kid's school lunch and what light bulb to buy.

Our founding principles make ACT the only Party committed to a prosperous future. The key to prosperity is not clever economic management by government. The key is freedom: the unlocking of our entrepreneurial talent and imagination of what could be, not what is. That means the removal of the heavy yoke of excessive taxation, government waste, suffocating red-tape, and business management by government committee.

ACT's commitment to freedom commits us to something else too - something vitally missing from our politics at the present time - reason. Side-by-side with freedom stands reason - our human ability to think, to discover, to know, and to grow our knowledge by testing our ideas against logic and experience makes freedom possible.

We can't be free without reason and we can't reason without freedom. They are indivisible.

ACT's commitment to freedom, reason and therefore limited government puts us out of favour with our present government.

It means that we want honest government, not dishonest government. We want government policies to be reasoned and our government ministers to tell the truth, not immerse themselves and our government in a web of deceit, deception and downright lies. We want our government limited to what it can do well, and leave us free to do what we do best, and we want our government held to account by the same law that our government would hold us to. Our ministers should tell the truth, be expected to tell the truth, and not be above the law, and that includes the Prime Minister. That's not happening at the present time.

It's ACT that's making sure they don't get away with it. Kiwis want their government honest. That's the standard that ACT is enforcing. We will not be deterred by the bluff, bluster and lies. It's not for nothing that we chose the slogan "The Guts to Do What's Right".

Next week Parliament is poised to pass the wealth-sapping Emissions Trading Scheme. ACT is the only party opposed to the ETS although National's opposing Labour's ETS preferring an ETS of their own making that we have yet to see.

ACT opposes the ETS because we favour reason, freedom and prosperity. The ETS opposes all three.

A warmer climate with more CO2 in the atmosphere is an unambiguous benefit to New Zealand and to the world. I don't know what we are scared of. A New Zealand that was one or two degrees warmer would be a better place to live and better environment for agriculture. The same is true for CO2. We pump the stuff into our greenhouses to stimulate plant growth. It's the number one nutrient with carbon through photosynthesis being the source of all life.

New Zealanders who can afford it go to the Gold Coast for their holidays, not Invercargill. We would like it to be warmer. It seems strange to me that we are rushing to try to stop something that I can't see as bad.

The changes we are talking about are small. The IPCC's best estimate through their computer generated scenarios has the world two to four degrees warmer by century's end and the sea level 20-60cms higher. That's hardly catastrophic. Indeed, dragging New Zealand temperature-wise closer to the Australia would be a good thing.

The world was warmer than today during the Medieval Warm Period, a time when civilisations flourished, the Vikings settled Greenland, the Polynesians explored the Pacific, and Maori sailed to New Zealand.

We should remind ourselves too that while these scenarios are generated by scientists they themselves are not science. They are projections based on computer models. They are educated guesses, not science. Science is about theories and the testing of theories against the facts. It's not lab coats, high speed computers and committees of wise people.

I remain sceptical that we know what the weather will be in a hundred years. I remain sceptical that greenhouse gases are the cause of a global warming. That's because of the facts.

During the past 100 years there were periods, such as 1940 - 1975, when temperatures fell, even though CO2 levels increased. All official measures of global temperature show that temperature peaked in 1998 and has been declining since at least 2002, and this is in the face of an almost five percent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1998.

The facts don't fit the theory.

The ETS creates a market in greenhouse gas emissions and therefore a price to emit. The aim is to change our behaviour as producers and consumers. The aim of all other political Parties bar ACT is to price carbon emissions sufficiently to change every New Zealanders behaviour radically. That's the policy's point. It is a radical policy to reshape our economy and our lives.

It will drive businesses under, farmers to the wall, cost untold jobs, make us much poorer and drive up the cost of everything. That's the policy's purpose.

Oh and it will also subject every part of our lives to government control and regulation because the carbon cycle is central to life, to agriculture and forestry and the burning of fossil fuels drives our industrial economy and our standard of living.

The IPCC models show that none of this will make a jot of difference to world weather. Indeed, we could shut New Zealand down and it would not make a difference. Of course, the policy aim is not to shut New Zealand down. They say that would be silly. The goal is just to half shut us down and render the other half subject to strict government control because of Minister Parker's absurdity that we are now living in a "carbon-constrained world". Nonsense.

The ETS won't work. The market to be created is a cheat market that is entirely artificial that will only exist because of government policy. It will produce scam after scam with New Zealand having to pay big dollars for phoney credits in a world-wide swindle that will make New Zealand First's funding look simple, straight-forward and honest.

I get asked by people why they should give their Party vote to ACT. I say they should Party vote ACT for honest government because they're sick of the lies. They should Party vote ACT because they want a prosperous future with their kids coming home, not going away. I say they should Party vote ACT because they back themselves and don't want to be bossed about by government. I say they should Party vote ACT because they value reason and freedom, just like ACT.

These past couple of weeks have proved once again that ACT is the Party of freedom and reason with the guts to do what's right. Remember: we are the one Party that can stand up proud when we say please give us your Party vote, Party vote ACT.

Thank you.


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