Chauvel: Speech at March for Planet A
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“Keep the pressure on” – speech at March for Planet A, Wellington
December 5, 2009
My name is Charles Chauvel. I’m Labour’s Climate Change Issues Spokesperson. I just want to say on behalf of my Labour colleagues – including Grant Robertson, the MP for Wellington Central – thank you very much for marching today. Thank you for coming to Parliament to make your voices heard, and thank you for 'Signing On' because that's a fantastic thing to do make your voices heard.
Over the course of this year, this National Party/Maori Party/ACT/Peter Dunne Government has been going backwards on climate change. Since they took office they've just shown that they don't take this issue seriously. Just a fortnight ago, it put in place an emissions trading scheme as their major solution to climate change. Do you know what the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment told us? That emissions trading scheme will see pollution rise. Shame. Not only will it see pollution rise, according to Parliament's own expert in this area, but at the same time you and me as taxpayers will be transferring massive amounts of wealth over the next forty years to polluters. The amount that they're going to add to the national debt to fund their ETS is around one hundred and ten billion dollars. That's seventy five years of policing, or ten years of health spending that they want to give to help to help polluters continue to pollute. You tell me what makes sense about that – that's right, nothing.
Worse than that, we're seeing New Zealand's international negotiators team up with the wrong countries. We're acting as a really bad neighbour to our Pacific Island country partners who are going to be the first to feel the effects of climate change most drastically. We are doing the wrong thing and teaming up with the wrong people internationally, and this Government is going badly backwards.
Earlier this year, Keisha Castle-Hughes called on John Key to Sign On. Do you remember what he said? He said: “stick to acting, don't give up your day job”. Let's tell John Key who's getting bad advice. It wasn't Keisha giving him bad advice, it was him getting bad advice from Nick Smith, Tim Groser, Murray McCully and all the big-business interests that he is now going to subsidise to pollute for many years to come. Shame on John.
He had to apologise to Keisha. But you heard from Jim Salinger before – a Nobel laureate – how a couple of weeks ago on the steps of Parliament he came along with Lucy Lawless the fantastic New Zealand actor. They came with a cheque and a boarding pass for John Key. They wanted him to go to Copenhagen. They raised the money, the five thousand dollars in that cheque, from cake stalls, sausage sizzles and community donations. Do you think John Key would come down from his office to talk to them? No. Just like John Key had to apologise to Keisha, he owes an apology to Jim and to Lucy Lawless. I'm not holding my breath.
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The bad news today is that nothing is being done quickly enough to confront the problem of climate change. The bad news is that John Key is going to Copenhagen, but do you know how long he's going for? A day. He's flying across the world to go to the Copenhagen conference for a day, the ultimate in gesture politics. An absolute waste of money, and can you imagine the carbon footprint?
The good news is that by participating in these marches, by emailing your MP, by recycling and by using public transport, you've sent a powerful message to the Government. You've shown that people care. It's you who forced John Key to go to Copenhagen, even though he isn't going for long enough. So my message to you is keep the pressure on. At the next election, only vote for political parties who share your concern about the climate. I'll see you at the next march, and the next one, and the one after that, because we're going to keep doing this until this Government listens and until it takes this issue seriously.
But the good news is that by signing on, by participating in marches, by emailing your MP, by recycling and by using public transport, you have sent a message to the Government. You have shown them that people care. You forced John Key to go to Copenhagen. Keep the pressure on. At the next election, only vote for political parties that share your concerns about the climate. I’ll see you at the next march, and the next one, and the one after that - because we are going to keep doing this till the Government finally starts taking this issue seriously.
Kia ora, kia kaha to you all. It's an honour to stand with you.