The contradictory policies of the Green Party
Much has been written about the dysfunction within the Labour Party over the past seven years. Changing their leader, from Goff to Shearer to Cunliffe to Little. Changing their policies - being for then against a change of flag, for then against free trade agreements, for then against a new electricity pricing model, for then against a capital gains tax.
Far less has been written about the Green Party policies and the competing factions and conflicting goals that they have.
The Green Party has two conflicting groups.
The first group is focused on the redistribution of wealth amongst New Zealanders. They are strong advocates of increasing the minimum wage to about $20 an hour. This is a worthy long-term goal, and a goal that can be achieved as the New Zealand economy becomes more productive, earning more export dollars from the goods and services that we sell abroad. Unfortunately, this same group does not support free trade agreements, hence a conflict between their goals and their policies.
The second group say they are focused on protecting the environment. They advocate taxpayers subsidise and fund solar panels, and prefer we have windmills on our roofs. Solar is a choice that people have, but public funds should pay for our hospitals and schools not expensive pieces of kit like solar panels.
The second group would love to put the brakes on dairy and sheep farming. That would kneecap Wairarapa towns. Farm incomes would drops and service industries would dry up.
They want to ban mineral exploration and scale back the logging of our pine trees. That would take away economic opportunity and jobs from our region. The minerals will be left in the ground and the trees left on the hills.
So the second group’s policies wreck the rural economy. The second group claim to support the environment, but by taking their extreme view, the economy is destroyed, jobs are lost and towns are deserted. The first group’s goal, to increase minimum wages to $20 an hour in a healthy economy becomes an impossible dream.
Only a strong economy allows communities to afford a cleaner environment. Economic growth encourages and develops new technologies, so that productivity is increased. These new technologies are continually being developed to reduce emissions from cars, and methane from cattle.
Conversely, weak economies and poor countries cannot afford to be clean and green. Green policies are not affordable in developing countries. Green policies cost money and lost opportunity that these countries cannot afford to ignore.
Strong economic growth allows for an improved lifestyle and is a pre-requisite to achieving higher environmental standards. Environmental improvements cost money, and need to be executed in a sensible and balanced fashion. The extreme policies of the Greens wreck our economy and contradict their wishful goal of increasing the minimum wage.