While the Green Party might be upset about the Labour Government scrapping its 'clean car' upgrade policy, that has not stopped it supporting and defending much more damaging policies like carbon offsetting.

LOOKING SUITABLY grim-faced on the six o'clock television news bulletins, Green MPs condemned the Labour Government's decision to 'deprioritise' off its agenda a number of its climate-related policies. The biggest casualty has been the plan to give lower and middle income families cash to buy electric vehicles when they get rid of their old cars. The half a billion dollars earmarked for that scheme will now be principally used to help pay for the Government's cost of living measures. And, as it has been pointed out already, that money is coming the Climate Emergency Response Fund. According to Treasury, the money is only supposed to be used for climate spending.

Despite Green co-leader James Shaw being Labour's Climate Change Minister, this little affair has demonstrated that he and the Green Party have had little real influence on  Labour's climate change policies. Prime Minister Chris Hopkin's never even took the time to consult the Green's on the policy changes - which it was supposed to under the terms of the cooperation agreement signed by Labour and the Green's in November 2020. In other words, the agreement is not worth the paper it is signed on although Shaw described it at the time as a 'win-win' agreement. But it did provide James Shaw and fellow co-leader Marama Davidson with lucrative ministerial salaries.

But the decisions made by the Labour Government are in line with it generally not taking climate change seriously. There has always been something else that has had to take precedence.

This Labour Government has given New Zealand's biggest polluter, the dairy industry, a licence to continue polluting. 

And this is a Labour Government that is using carbon credits as a convenient alternative to reducing the country's own direct emissions and counting it as its own cuts.

Less than fortnight ago Greenpeace NZ's Russel Norman, a former Green co-leader, highlighted this very point. He observed that the government had committed itself to cut New Zealand’s emissions by a 147 million tonnes over the next ten years but had introduced policies to cut emissions by only 44 million tonnes over the next decade.

So how does the Government plan to make up the shortfall?  The answer is that it will buy 100 million tonnes of overseas carbon offsets, at a price of, says Norman, perhaps NZ$100 a tonne. That will have a ten billion dollar price tag, far in excess of the half a billion dollars originally budgeted for the clean car policy.

As Norman commented : 'Instead of cutting our own emissions, the current New Zealand Government says it will pay ten billion dollars over a decade to buy carbon ‘offsets’ from overseas companies. Many of these offsets are worthless... It is a ten billion dollar lie.'

It is greenwashing.

While James Shaw and his fellow Green MP's might be up in arms about the reversal of some of the government's climate change policies, it has still supported - and defended - its ineffectual climate change agenda.

But James Shaw is still trying to make political capital out of the Government's policy reversals. He has suggested that the only way to bring a potential third term Labour Government to heel is to vote more Green Party candidates into office in October:

'What it actually demonstrates to me is that we need to double down, that we need more Green MP's in Parliament, that we need more Green ministers and that we need to be sitting around the Cabinet table - and we'll have a chance to do that this October.'

That might be what it suggests to Shaw. But since he and Marama Davidson have led a Green Party that has been little more than Labour's faithful companion over the past five years, there's zero chance of a new militant Green Party emerging under a third term Labour Government.

The real problem is that the Green Party, like Labour, remains committed to climate change policies that leave the economic status quo undisturbed. 

Marama Davidson yesterday claimed that the Greens 'are the ones who will always prioritise climate change and inequality reduction'. This claim would have substance if she co-led a Green Party that was campaigning for a Green New Deal designed to address climate change and reduce economic inequality. But this is a Green Party still peddling the non-solutions advocated by business interests, under the umbrella of 'green capitalism'. These are proposals sold as pragmatic tools for cutting emissions or reversing ecosystem loss, but which in fact deliver neither.


  1. The answers have to be the same because the causes are the same.

    Already the political class has chosen to ramp-up the necessary division because the wealthy have no intention of changing their profligacy to save the planet and humanity. Instead, without using the words the intention is to feed their greed by sacrificing the poor. Their clean planet will be fertilised with the bodies of the 'useless eaters.


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