Hypocrisy and duplicity – The tale of the two Māori Parties

I’ve always (until now) been a defender of the Māori Party, which is understandable because they have more often than any other political party voted the same way as the Greens in Parliament.

But no more! The position they have taken on National’s Emissions Trading Scheme proposal is nothing short of rank hypocrisy and duplicity. Just compare what they said in their Minority Report [PDF, pages 113, 114] in the Emissions Trading Scheme Review Select Committee report with what they have actually signed up to.

What they said:

At a fundamental level, there was opposition to an ETS which allows sectors to pollute and trade up to the Kyoto target, but which does not include incremental emission reduction targets in its design. With the emphasis on trading—establishing and maintaining the conditions for it— the overarching problem of unsustainable economic growth remains unaddressed. More specifically, we opposed the bill because of its relative ineffectiveness and inequalities, including the subsidisation of the nation’s largest polluters at the cost of households and small-medium businesses.

What they did:

Agreed to subsidisation of the nation’s largest polluters to the extent of $1200m annually until 2015, and $800m annually to agriculture thereafter.

What they said:

The Māori Party continues to oppose the introduction of an ETS on these grounds, and would do so more strongly if a replacement scheme were to be less effective and more inequitable.

What they did:

Agreed to an Emissions Trading scheme that is less effective and more inequitable.

What they said:

We also remain deeply concerned about protections in the form of intensity-based allocations and subsidies, which again distort the market model by allowing protected businesses to increase their emissions without penalty, and to be rewarded for it.

What they did:

Agreed to precisely that which they were “deeply concerned” about.

What they said:

For this reason the Māori Party continues to support the introduction of a carbon tax regime as the best mechanism to introduce a price on carbon. A carbon tax is a simpler regime, which provides certainty on price, and as the report notes, it is more stringent than an ETS when set at a sufficiently high rate, and applied to all sectors—incentivising polluters to change without the option of trading their way out and continuing with business-as-usual.

What they did:

Agreed to a weak and ineffective ETS.

What they said:

The Māori Party strongly believes that more needs to be done. Instead of relying on carbon sinks from forestry or buying credits on the international market to achieve our targets, we need to be focused on decreasing domestic emissions. A commitment to prioritise emission reduction will best serve the climate system and protect New Zealand businesses and taxpayers from market uncertainties.

What they did:

Agreed to an ETS that does precisely that, and is unlikely to reduce emissions at all, let alone to even National’s timid 20% or less target.

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2 thoughts on “Hypocrisy and duplicity – The tale of the two Māori Parties

  1. Disappointing. Is it political naivety, or cowardice, or greed (compromising the rest for the sake of central North Island iwi)?

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