New Zealand’s general election has taken on characteristics of a crusade and it was hardly surprising that its start can be traced to the fiery furnaces of an Australian steel works.
Here, government leaders (pictured) with hard hats and hard-line vote harvesting intentions gathered with the steelmakers to consecrate the government’s donation of at least $140 million to assist the works achieve zero goals.
This episode in which taxpayers subsidised a flourishing international steelmaker which records annual profits of several billion dollars might have been greeted with gasps of amazement, especially as it was a Labour government handing over the support.
In steelmaking terms the National Party is the sinter to Labour’s pellets.
Labour knew it had neutralised its opposition with the hand-out to BlueScope subsidiary New Zealand Steel.
The reason is that both parties know that in its donation the government slickly checkmated the Opposition.
Both know that the election is about the 413,000 “missing” National Party voters.
They know too where these errant voters live which is in the upscale city suburbs.
There is the understanding that the New Zealand general election will follow the example of the Australian federal election with its result predicted months before in this news site, see Australia Federal Election looks Weather Dependent.
Usual election considerations though more acute than ever have been brushed aside such as the more than 80 per cent of all homeless people turning up to community emergency housing providers and who are turned away.
The only figures that matter are the 0.15 percent that New Zealand is modelled as contributing to 0.04 percent of the world’s atmosphere in the form of Co2 which is critical to photosynthesis and thus the world’s food supply.
These fractions the main parties believe overwhelm electoral mainstays such as the cost of living which has been boosted by an artificially created energy shortage designed to capture the votes of this already favoured intelligentsia with its need to proclaim its planetary-size conscience.
Teals loom over the New Zealand general election like vultures or doves depending on who is contemplating them.
They were intentionally or unintentionally identified by Christopher Luxon upon his ascension to the leadership of the National Party, all 413,000 of them.
The Australian experience demonstrates that they are female or identify as such.
Their single issue preoccupation means that the government and the opposition share a focus and one which reveals some curious vistas.
One of these is the Let-Them-Eat-Cake one.
Here the government allocates a substantial budget to advertise to its subjects that if they are worried about feeling the pinch of advancing energy costs then they should turn down their heating, and spend less time in the shower.
This is a most revealing glimpse paradoxically magnified by the all-party silence with which it was received.
The political parties know that the blue-green teal bird nesting as it does in the more well-to-do suburbs is a wily bird requiring exquisite feeding and that if this is not forthcoming will fly away in any direction.
A spillway on Auckland’s Kaipara River which has flooded four times in recent months is relentlessly scheduled to be carpeted with a solar power station.
Worries about rare earth’s changing the composition forever of the soil of dairy districts are brushed aside in the rush to plant reactors on any low lying, cyclone-prone, river-girt pasture with ready access to a community sub station.
A New Zealand National Party Farmer Candidate Speaks His Mind
Mike Butterick is remarkable for having sharply identified the flaws or “own goals” as he describes them in the Emissions Trading Scheme and even more remarkable for publicly pointing them out.
Why, he asks, is New Zealand hell-bent on “restricting its export income?”
This is the income that pays for the “expectations” in health, education, and welfare the “teachers, nurses, and police…..”
The ETS, emissions trading scheme, he describes as inflationary in that can “only add costs.” At the heart of the problem is that dividends are paid out only on the first forestry rotation, the first crop of trees.
If the forest remains a forest say after 30 or 40 years he points out, it has also deprived the country of the farm export income that would otherwise have been earned for those same 30 or 40 years.
“The cash flow into New Zealand has been lost for that same space of time.”
Who makes, he asks, “the phone call to the foreign developers when after this period of time they head off into the horizon with their ETS money and the forest still unharvested?”
He adds. “Who says: Hey! You said you would harvest this – and now you have left us instead with a liability?”
It adds up he says to a financial incentive to leave the trees in the ground for as long as possible.
This in turn also deprives the nation of the export revenue it would otherwise obtain from shipping them out even as logs.
Also, he adds, these foreign forestry developers receive as income New Zealand carbon units which are sold in New Zealand.
Thus New Zealanders are paying for something that has not been produced which is inflationary in itself because it is an internal cost.
All this and much else he ascribes to the yearning of politicians to parade the nation and thus themselves “on the world stage.”
Yet he asks “What is the point of being green when the nation is in fact in the red?”
He laments the pervasive impression given by politicians and other authority figures to the effect that in New Zealand money quite literally now “grows on trees.”
It is he reminds us in fact created by the 80 percent of the nation’s earnings derived from food and fibre exports.
Yet there remains he insists a make-believe and deliberately nurtured impression that artificial constructs such as offsets pay for the police, teachers and nurses…
Does anyone, he asks, really, truly believe that offsets “feel right?”
Mike Butterick started as a shepherd in Canterbury. His wife Rachel, a police woman, was assigned to the North Island and the family moved too. Soon after he acquired his own farm outside Masterton.
His experience with irrigation in Canterbury was now applied to the flatland farm and as proprietor he now experienced directly the benefit of accessible aquifers.
He believes that water has become politicised to the point at which only a very few understand that it is the central ingredient of the agri economy.
“We have 12 times the amount of water per head of any population anywhere.
“Yet only two percent of it is used: one percent by the rural population and the other one percent by the urban population.”
It is the application of the nation’s water resources that he insists “de-risks” agriculture.
He believes water gives the agribusiness here the “diversity” (his word) that enables it to “adapt” to the known and the unknown. Water he underlines should be allocated exclusively “on need and nothing else. “
On climate change he comments that the government effort so far to combat nature has been to “stop it.”
The emphasis must now be deployed on “how to adapt to it.” The government’s emphasis he cautions has been on the abstract publicising of the climatic shift instead of on the “practical” measures of coping with the extremes such as the ones being experienced now.
The high profile given to intercepting nature rather than coping with it has given rise to widely held misunderstandings about climate and farming.
The Paris Accords he stresses exclude food production from the climate regime. He adds that New Zealand’s very climate allows the nation to produce food “with half the carbon footprint per unit of production “of any other producer nation, anywhere. And it is unsubsidised
He remains unconvinced by the various computations underpinning New Zealand’s stated contribution to the green houses gases effect.
“As a country we should take into account everything that is accountable.”
He is perplexed by the way in which any “narrative” about climate at all is “required to fit the in-place agenda.”
As someone who has had to produce in three dimensional form whatever he earns, he points out how successive governments raise expectations without any reference at all to how these expectations will be paid for.
Why, for example, is it never explained that the New Zealand economy is “unique” in that it is a developed economy yet one with most of its income deriving from agricultural products, a ratio normally associated with developing countries.
The National Party candidate for Wairarapa, a rural seat, echoes the perplexity of someone from the productive sector contemplating the florid, abstract, yet so often lavish expectations emanating from Wellington.
“I am constantly being told what without a shadow of doubt will happen decades away in the future and what it will cost, when farmers cannot with any confidence predict what will happen even next year……..”
Mike Butterick personifies and symbolises one side of the rural/university-urban divide increasingly looming as the deciding factor in the pending general election.
This is the clash, the contradiction, in which those calling for greater spending on health education and welfare simultaneously openly and determinedly “seek to shrink the earning power of those who pay for it all.”
Gender Definer Revealed Real Urban Mind Set in Oceania
It might have been coincidence but gender arbiter Posie Parker’s incendiary visit to New Zealand was followed by a series of political shifts that starkly revealed a realignment of loyalties that share one single characteristic which is that the institutions involved shy away from discussing them.
Miss Parker’s visit illuminated the intense urban focus on identity sensitivities centred on race and gender at the expense of mundane matters such as the cost of living.
New Zealand’s Labour-led government nearly six years ago inserted itself into Great Power scale moral movements by cancelling the issuance of oil and gas exploration permits thus effectively closing the nation’s only oil refinery and introducing an era of accelerated consumer energy costs.
In the event what sociologists know as situation ethics has captured the urban imagination replacing the quite recent Labour-Green recipe of global virtue known as being on the right side of history.
This shift to urban individual self- determination is the still unrecognised theme of the reaction to the Posie Parker visit.
People took out of it whatever suited their personal preference, whatever made them feel better about themselves.
The stronger they felt about their own reactions to Posie Parker the more the urban university cum public sector class believed themselves to be personally purified.
This is why the National and Labour political parties are now so inner-urban focussed.
This feel-good craving is largely missed by the legacy media both print and broadcasting.
These give pre-eminence to the old trans Atlantic refrain characterised by ETS readings and adding the word “crisis” to any report dealing with the weather.
It took the one year old start up The Platform radio station to spot the trend.
It rammed Posie Parker down the self-regarding throat of the prime ministerial press conference by asking the surprised premier the mild mannered Chris Hipkins to define a “woman.”
Post Posie Parker’s squirmy topic symbolises the new political configuration.
So did the announcement of the president of Federated Farmer Andrew Hoggard to resign and become a candidate for the more conservative ACT party in the pending general election.
In its determination to winkle out the professional class urban vote the National Party, once the farmers party, has abandoned its own constituency.
The twinning of the Covid 19 epidemic and the climate became a weird if curiously embedded duality syndrome in the upper reaches of the international bodies that codify levels of nation-state virtue.
It was said that the experience and the resources used in fighting the Covid virus would be re-deployed to even greater effect in fighting climatic fluctuations.
This giddy chorus was taken up in New Zealand which now officially supercharged its grip on these twin horsemen of the contemporary apocalypse.
The government now introduced the direct subsidy of approved print publications and broadcasters. The government already controlled the main television channel and also the main radio channel anyway.
If any questions did arise as to how New Zealand was to actually cope with this “crisis” when it arrived these questions became utterly submerged under the dogma of the nation’s contribution to this same crisis.
This devolved onto the nation’s modelled contribution to world atmospheric carbon dioxide of 0.15percent (recently boosted to 0.17percent.)
This barely calculable notional figure became weaponised when rendered in terms of gas-per-head of the population of five million.
Utterly pre-occupied with its global positioning “on the right side of history” the government was heedless to the arrival of the actual crisis.
Strategically its emergency services were focussed on eliminating things like homophobia or misogyny. It was blind to the southerly migration of the cyclone belt. Ironically due to the very “warming” that so alarmed the government and its media chorus.
Jacinda Ardern as premier held the institutional media spellbound with her wide-eyed proclamations of global recognition for the nation and its taking its place on Mt Olympus summit reserved for the virtuous.
Posie Parker in her brief appearance in an Auckland public park provided a revelation of the new and rather less glorious aspirations of an urban professional class which is now being so ardently courted by the political parties.