Andrew Dickens: Government's actions on climate change is insignificant

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 1:42PM
James Shaw and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern championed the Zero Carbon Bill. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Andrew Dickens: Government's actions on climate change is insignificant

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 1:42PM

The Government has ordered a review of defence spending.  They say they’re looking for efficiencies and to ensure the spending is of the highest quality and they swear they’re not looking at cutting the defence spend.

The first question you have is; do we believe Grant Robertson?

I ask this because similar reviews of Ministry of Social Develoment spending in 2017 and 2018 ended out in savings of one per cent with little proof the money was in fact re-deployed within the Ministry.

I also ask this because Grant Robertson has been working to build a big pot of money for an election year spend up, and while the perception is that Labour is the spendy party, most will tell you that Grant Robertson guards the taxpayers’ money as hard as any Finance Minister has of any political colour.

You can’t help but feel that at the end of the day there will be less money spent on defence than before.

So I have more questions for you.

If you are a government that believes that climate change is coming.  And if you are a government that believes it can be a world leader in the sphere of coping and mitigating any future climate change.  And if you’re a government that wants to protect the wellbeing of your population.  Then surely you would be a government who want to increase the defence spend dramatically. Wouldn’t you?

Might sound counter intuitive but here’s my reasoning

When you mention defence spending people automatically think of guns and soldiers and bombs and tanks and battlefields and hotpots.  And yet the New Zealand Defence Force has barely been involved in that sort of warfare since last Century and the Vietnam war.

Our modern defence force is more involved in things like rebuilding, such as in Iraq, peacekeeping and defending our borders.  Most notably our economic borders and interests. One of the defence forces longest deployments was patrolling the red zone after the Christchurch earthquakes.

It’s in these areas that we are most likely to come under attack and defending our population is part of our wellbeing.

If climate change lives up to its hype the world will see the greatest migrations of refugees in world history as people leave newly inhospitable lands.  Our temperate, breezy and isolated islands in the middle of a sea will be a very coveted location for this new wave of nomadic people. We need to prepare for this with a vigilant defence force who are also there to help New Zealanders affected by increasing natural climate disasters

This government says it’s a world leader in climate change policy and yet it’s actions all seems to be insignificant gestures.  The conversion of the government’s fleet to EVs will do little to the world’s emissions and yet cost a significant amount.  If you believe that the world is going to become increasingly inhospitable then shouldn’t that money be spent protecting New Zealanders?

Where is the investment in seawalls to protect low lying areas? Where are the subsidies to help people move out of areas under threat from heat, fire and flood?  How about giving induction hobs a subsidy to reduce our usage of gas?

Our climate change policies are the result of what Jordan Petersen calls low resolution thinking. Higher resolution thinking is that to counter the effects of climate change we are going to need a substantial increase in defence spending and we have to start now.