Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Specific Green Proposals

Continuing from an earlier post.

Energy Efficiency and Solar Initiative

First, four goals are listed:
Significantly reduce the projected $0.5b Kyoto deficit by 2008
Repudiating Kyoto would be an easy way to achieve this considering that the Carbon Tax proposal has been held up by the United Future agreement.
Meet the government’s NEECS target of 2% pa improved energy efficiency
The NEECS homepage is here. Is there some reason why the second target, that of increasing supply of renewable energy by 22%, isn't agreed upon? I suppose it's because the easiest way of achieving this target is damning a few more rivers.
Improve living conditions with warmer, drier homes and solar hot water
I can't help thinking of the leaky buildings fiasco when I read about "warmer, drier homes".
Slow the increase in the cost of oil imports
This is bizarre. If there is a 5% drop in the price of petrol and a 4% increase in the volume of petrol imported then that will qualify as meeting the goal even though it would not be what the Greens intended. Don't they know how to construct watertight agreements? Considering that their agreement ran to over ten pages with far fewer goodies for them to crow about, obviously not.

Then there's the main initiatives.
"Clarify the mandates, working relationships, gaps and overlaps between EECA, the Commission, the Climate change office and Ministry for the Environment"
A.k.a. starting another bureacratic turf-war.
Build capacity in the solar water heating manufacturing and installing industry through economies of scale and bring down the price of units with a bulk order mediated by the government.
How can you build and install stuff through economies of scale? If the government is to bring down the price with a bulk order then it will have to purchase overseas.
Significantly raise the fuel efficiency of vehicles coming into NZ with a mandatory market based mechanism.
Well, at least the raise is supposed to be significant which indicates that the Greens are finally starting to learn how to craft agreements. But the only mandatory market based mechanism that would work would be to subsidize the price of vehicles with good fuel economy.
Increase and extend support for insulating and damp proofing homes.
Subsidize Pink Batts.
Urgently upgrade the building standard for new homes to reflect what is efficient at today’s electricity prices.
What does energy efficiency have to do with electricity prices?
Change the culture of energy efficiency with a greater sense of urgency and drive and spread the message that it has a whole of government support.
A whole what? of government support. The Greens need better proofreaders.
Move beyond research into demonstration and commercial projects in biofuels in co-operation with industry.
So the government has to co-operate with the industry in building bio-fuels? If bio-fuels were so wonderful, the industry would be building them themselves.

Then there is the requirement to progressively increase the budget of the EECA. So all the government has to do to fulfill this oh-so-important level 1 agreement is to increase the budget of the EECA by something like 5% a year. The goals don't have to be met and the initiatives can be lost in the paper shuffle but the requirements, the only thing that the government is bound to do, is easy. I note due to its non-inclusion in the list of Budget initiatives on page 3 of the agreement, the government is not obliged to spend any money in implementing these initiatives.

Buy New Zealand Made

Creating awareness of the employment, economic, environmental and social benefits of buying locally made products and services
They are only worth buying if it is cheaper and/or better than imported alternatives. It is a more efficient use of the resources that the greens are so concerned about to buy overseas if their product is cheaper.
Building brand loyalty for New Zealand made products
What New Zealand made products don't have any brand loyalty?
Reducing imports, especially of consumption goods
Our major imports are machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, oil, electronics, textiles, plastics. The only thing that can be reduced is textiles which means that clothing will become more expensive. Everything else requires a larger manufacturing capacity than we've ever had.
Helping to reduce New Zealand’s trade deficit
The best way to do that would be to make our products worth more. Extensive research and development is the best way to do this. A Buy NZ-made campaign is not.
Helping to increase New Zealand’s manufacturing capability
Oh dear. More manufacturing capacity requires more machinery and more oil imports, thus driving up our imports.
Helping to create employment
Again this is counterproductive. If the Greens want to reduce consumption, then the best way is to make people poorer, not to make them richer.
Helping to reduce fuel consumption
A direct conflict with the desire to increase manufacturing capacity. Don't the Greens ever think about these things?

The main initiatives are:
Media marketing campaign
Investigation of ways of better distinguishing New Zealand made goods from imports
A sticker of label that says this produce is NZ-made is insufficient?
Government leadership through public sector procurement policies and further development of the Industry Capability Network

In other words, the government is going to tell its own people to buy locally, an indirect subsidy.
Audit of New Zealand imports
And what are we going to audit them about?

Finally the requirements are:
Proceed in co-operation with business sector interests, especially Business New Zealand who operate the “Buy NZ Made” brand.
In other words, the Greens are planning a campaign which impinges on already existing intellectual property.
Be consistent with New Zealand’s commitments under ILO, WTO, CER, CEPs and other international agreements.
I thought the Greens were opposed to the WTO and CER? There's about 33 documents on the Green site attacking the WTO including Farmers need to be wary of the WTO and GATS demands would destroy NZ. For CER, there are about twelve documents including CER no level playing field and Twenty years of CER: Counting the Cost. Now the Greens have signed up to an agreement affirming these commitments?


The Nutrition agreement is strange as it is not broken down into specific goals, initiatives and requirements. Instead there is the simple statement that:
The Green Party’s proposal is to expand current government budget and policy health initiatives aimed at improving children’s nutrition by encouraging healthy eating.
How is this to be implemented?
This could [emphasis mine - PHM] be done through a range of initiatives including:
In other words, this is one of the two level 2 agreements that the government has agreed to provide budget initiatives for yet the the government is not committed to providing specific budget initiatives? Sue Kedgely needs an appointment with the cluebat.

The possible initiatives are:
Expanding the nutrition section within the Ministry of Health
The Nutrition section leader can now hire a secretary.
Establishing a Nutrition fund administered by the Ministry of Health to fund initiatives aimed at creating a healthy eating environment. Funded proposals could include:
- High profile, multi-media and other educational campaigns to encourage healthy eating
- Helping schools and other public funding institutions to implement healthy eating guidelines.
- Funding for educational and children’s sports organisations seeking to replace sponsorship of activities presently funded by food companies that promote unhealthy food to children.
This Nutrition Fund which the government could establish has a number of ways listed in which it could spend money. But because the Greens are gullible trusting tools, the chances that any of these things will happen is slim.
Developing and publishing nutritional criteria to identify which food or drinks are considered to be nutritious and would be recommended as a routine part of a healthy, balanced diet, and which would not be recommended as a routine part of children’s diet. While New Zealand has no criteria, much of this work is in development in the UK and New Zealand could draw heavily on this experience.
Ask the UK to send us a pamphlet or two and publish that as our own work.
Producing healthy eating policy and guidelines for schools and other publicly funded institutions, and setting a timetable for their implementation.
Sue may think she's engineering a power-grab over what can or cannot be sold at the tuck-shop but that all important "could" means nothing will happen.
Publishing an annual Children’s Food Promotion plan that sets out how the Ministry intends to develop an environment in New Zealand that supports children to make healthy eating choices. This would involve producing an annual report to Parliament outlining its strategies and plans.
A plan that requires an annual report to be presented to Parliament will only produce toilet paper for Parliament to use after it has passed a motion or two.
Developing recommended daily intakes for children for fat, saturated fat, sugar, salt and key nutrients.
What's wrong with existing recommended daily intakes? This sort of recommendation has been done before.
Developing a ‘traffic light’ labelling system to enable consumers to quickly identify healthy food.
Since KFC, McDonalds and Pizza Hut already use red as part of their advertizing, I doubt anybody will be put off.

Organics Advisory Service

The Green Party proposes to work with the government to better support New Zealand’s organic farmers through increased funding for advisory services for organic farmers. This could include:
They've managed to commit the government to budget initiatives but the "could" makes an appearance here yet again to avoid committing the government to anything specific.
Financial and other assistance to support mentoring of new organic farmers by experienced farmers
I note that the experience farmers are not required to be organic. Oops.
Funding of website or phone advisory service run by experienced farmers
Like the Federated Farmers website?
Education, research, or advocacy services
As well as having the form of an unfinished note composed in haste, the "or" could be interpreted to mean that the government could finance education services or research services or even advocacy services but not any combination of the three. Which only illustrates the perils of signing an agreement full of holes.

Environmental Education

The Green Party proposes to work with Government to build on the Greens' 2002 Budget initiative to enable the implementation of the 1998 national Strategy for Environmental Education and the 1999 Guidelines for Environmental Education in Schools. In particular the project would aim to:
"Would aim to" is better than "could" but not by much.
build capacity in the Colleges of Education and in schools to deliver environmental education, including in bilingual and total immersion schools
Building capacity to teach environmental education in Maori is open to the type of abuse that gave us Te Wanaga blowouts and hiphop study tours.
Co-ordinate the various environmental education initiatives occurring at present
Co-ordinate is a code for power grab.
Develop cross-curricula achievement standards in environmental education.
What's wrong with the NCEA? On second thoughts, forget that I asked.