Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Emissions Trading Bill

I begin with two apparently irrelevant sentences.

My Ashburton niece, Janine, sent through by email recent photos of her two young children, Ryan aged three and Taylor aged two months. They look bonny youngsters. Certainly my sister-in-law Margaret is ecstatic about them. Even allowing for the fact that is the nature of grandmothers it is fascinating for me as an educator to follow from afar the development of skills and attributes.

The slave master went below to address the galley rowers. ‘I have good news and bad news’, he said. 'Which do you want to hear first?' ‘The good.’ The captain has ordered a triple tot of rum for each rower. And then some clot called out ‘what’s the bad?' ‘After that the captain wants to go water-skiing.’

It is one of the oldest political tricks, the release of good news to obscure the bad. Social Welfare Minister Paula Bennett fronted with the good news – youth unemployment figures are down and she announced further initiatives. But in question time in Parliament the pack chased another target – the Emissions Trading Bill.

Then in the urgency debate over the bill, Rodney Hide described it as an ‘atrocious piece of legislation by a good government’, Labour said it was a ‘shambles’ and while the Greens were more polite they were just as vehemently opposed. Peter Sharples sat hunched and isolated. The deal hitched between National and Maori would allow the legislation to pass.

It is poor legislation, crashed through without much debate or consultation. It postpones payment. Ryan and Taylor will be paying off that debt for the remainder of their lives. The government tells us that we must cut the debt. It’s downloading this particular debt to generations yet to be born.

I am surprised that the Maori party agreed to such a back-room deal. The outcome will be to increase disadvantage. For a short-term gain the party has made more difficult the lives that their children will face. It would appear the deal is a sweetener for the Foreshore repeal. Can Harawira go on supporting the present policy. After I finished typing this draft I checked the internet. Apparently there is a grass-roots revolt in the party over the deal. Maybe the captain will not go water-skiing.

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