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Heather du Plessis-Allan: Climate change is not the biggest emergency NZ is facing

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 2 Dec 2020, 4:21pm

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Climate change is not the biggest emergency NZ is facing

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 2 Dec 2020, 4:21pm

Bugger it.  I’m just going to say it. 

Climate change is not the biggest problem this country has at the moment. It is not our highest priority 

We are responsible in this country for about 0.17% at last count of global emissions. And yet today, here we have this farce of the government declaring a climate change emergency and instructing the public service to carbon neutral by 2025.

Is that what we want our public service dedicating its time to? Is that the most important thing they could be doing? 

Meanwhile, in other more important news, we have a report out today that says one in five kids in this country live in some form of poverty and it’s going to get worse because Covid’s economic impacts. 

Earlier this week, we had a report out suggesting congestion charging for our biggest city because the traffic jams have got so bad it’s affecting productivity.

Also this week, we've had a warning from a Queenstown business owner that the resort town can't wait much longer for government help.

Can you seriously tell me that this government thinks it is more important to deal with our 0.17 percent of global emissions than it is to deal with kids who don’t get three meals a day?

Or to deal with just building some infrastructure to get cars, busses and trains moving in our biggest city? 

I don’t have a problem with making the world a better place, with cleaning up our air, with cleaning up our water, with trying to avoid burning coal if we can. That makes sense. 

But our politicians and public servants have become completely enthralled and obsessed with being world leading on this one thing, so we can have global accolades and feel smug about it. 

I guarantee that the measures forced on the public service aren’t nearly as virtuous as they’re being portrayed. 

But the fact that our bureaucracy will now spend time ticking boxes and filling in forms over carbon neutrality coals is a waste of time when there are more important things to actually get on and deal with. 

Don’t tell me the government and public service can walk and chew gum at the same time. 

That’s nonsense. There are only so many hours in a working week.  

And goodness only knows how many of them have been sucked up by this ridiculous climate emergency and will now be sucked up trying to meet these globally-inconsequential targets. 

And if they could do two things at once, we wouldn’t still be talking, three years on, about child poverty getting worse. 

A climate emergency should not be the most important thing for this government, so important it had to be one of the first things rushed through parliament. 

You can’t tell me climate change is more of an emergency than hungry kids in this country for example. 


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