New Zealand Zero Carbon Bill Passes


Poor David Seymour. Vehemently opposed to the Zero Carbon Bill, which passed through Parliament yesterday, and in complete denial that man made climate change is a thing, his existence in a Parliament that is slowly awakening to the monster we have unleashed, must be pretty depressing. Sure Mr Seymour can take credit for our attempt to tackle euthanasia, and he might support moves to address cannabis legalisation, but the failure to convince National to pull its support will be viewed as a substantial defeat for the right.

If we put David Seymour aside, this is a pretty encouraging outcome for New Zealand. National’s decision to support the Bill at the Third and final reading was a victory for bipartisan ship and needs to be acknowledged here. If elected Mr Bridges said that his government would make changes, which I expected. No law is perfect either in its design, or implementation. Joe Painter in his 2006 in his 2006 paper “Prosaic geographies of stateness” examined the mundane actions of the state employees who have to give effect to these regulations, such as the police officer who arrests a drunk smashing windows and support diversion, thereby avoiding a conviction. The offender has no criminal record, can still get a passport and hold down a job because those implementing law enforcement did not proceed further.

If we look at this in a climate change context, with our planet understood to be to be in a critical state, how strongly we enforce the regulatory regime will become a major issue. People we call bureaucrats in invisible offices allegedly shuffling paper are actually the ones trying to make sense of our international obligations, our domestic laws, the data being collected by institutions such as National Institute of Water and Atmospherics and trying to turn it into acceptable policy. I have concerns myself, which are quite different from those of National, but they are worthy of mention. I expect that if I entered a word search for  terms such as “biofuel”, “hydrogen fuel cell” or “hybrid”, the results would not be flash. Not because those phrases do not exist – in some form they most probably do, but because they represent a significant departure from this Government’s understanding of what would constitute green technological investment. Context. Aside from the aversion to investing in new technology I have described elsewhere, practical details about how we are going to reconfigure the fuel and energy infrastructure, who will pay for the electrification.

Whilst there is encouragement to be drawn drawn this, there is a long road ahead with obstacles. They include major powers not coming to the party, domestic challenges and potential changes in the science.

David Seymour will be grumpy, as will conservative National members, but there are worse things than having flawed carbon legislation.

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