Home > A Little Blue Marble Called Earth, The Body Politic > National ditches environmental policies

National ditches environmental policies



Continued from: ETS – National continues to fart around


Continuing an analysis of National’s track record on environmental concerns…

“Green Key”

From a speech given by John Key in September, 2008 – about three months prior to being elected Prime Minister,

What global Leaders know, and what the National Party knows, is that environmentalism and a commitment to economic growth must go hand in hand.  We should be wary of anyone who claims that one can or should come without the other.  And we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.

In the years ahead it will be increasingly important that New Zealand marries its economic and environmental policies.  Global climate change awareness, resource shortages, and increasing intolerance of environmental degradation will give environmental policy renewed relevance on the world stage…

… And, in seeking the balance between environmental and economic goals, National will never forget that New Zealand’s outstanding physical environment is a key part of what makes our country special. Kiwis proudly value our forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans.  They are part of our history and they must continue to define our future.

Our environment isn’t just a bonus.  It’s part of being a Kiwi.  It underpins our enviable quality of life. It gives us an in-built edge over many of our economic rivals.  I’m thinking, for example, of what Australia would do for our abundant water resources.  And, increasingly, New Zealand’s environmental credentials will underpin our prosperity and our trade profile…

… One of National’s key goals, should we lead the next Government, will be to stem the flow of New Zealanders choosing to live and work overseas.  We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere…

… Labour has talked big talk on the environment but all too often it has failed to deliver.  

• Labour promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% – but instead they have gone up by 20%.
• Labour promised a target of 90% renewable electricity by 2021 – but the actual proportion of renewables has sunk to an all-time low.
• Labour promised 250,000 hectares of additional trees by 2020 – but the past three years has seen the worst deforestation since records began…

Source:  John Key, Speech: Environment Policy Launch

Key went on to say,

I urge you to read our environment policy in full. But let me pick out some highlights.

First, this policy underlines National’s commitment to addressing global climate change.  We view this as the most serious environmental challenge of our time

National believes that New Zealand, as a responsible international citizen, and as a country that values our clean, green environment, must act to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This policy sets out our commitment to that goal.

National will set an achievable emissions reduction target for New Zealand.  We seek a 50% reduction in New Zealand’s carbon-equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050.  50 by 50.  We will write the target into law.

National will also ensure New Zealand works on the world stage to support international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  We are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations and we will work to achieve further global alliances that build on the goals agreed to at Kyoto.

Our approach to future international negotiations will be to work with fellow countries on finding a pragmatic way to include large emitters like China, the United States, India, and Brazil.  It’s clear that the absence of these large emitters from any post-Kyoto agreement would severely compromise global progress on this issue.

In order to achieve domestic emission reduction, National will pursue sound, practical environmental policies.  We want to reduce emissions in ways that result in least cost to society and the economy.

To that end, we consider a well-designed, carefully balanced emissions trading scheme (ETS) to be the best tool available for efficiently reducing emissions across the economy.

National’s pledge to  “consider a well-designed, carefully balanced emissions trading scheme (ETS) to be the best tool available for efficiently reducing emissions across the economy” has turned into a farce.

Up until April/May 2010, Key maintained National’s position on the ETS,

I’d say it’s unlikely it would be amended.”

“Greenish-grey Key”

But by  November 2011 Environment Minister Nick Smith announced,

… It is not in New Zealand’s interests to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet.

On August of this year,  National introduced legislation to remove agriculture and the egg industry from the ETS, entirely,

…remove a specified entry date for surrender obligations on biological emissions from agriculture”.

See previous blogpost for full timeline: ETS – National continues to fart around


Full story


So there we have it.  From noble promises made in 2008 – to the abandonment of agriculture being included in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Another broken promise from a broken “government”.

Did John Key ever really intend to include agriculture  in the Emissions Trading Scheme? I suspect not. As with so many of  National’s fine-sounding promises, it was all electioneering. They told us what we wanted to hear.

“Coal-black Key”

As if the gradual, covert,  watering down the ETS was not enough – there are now indications that National intends to abandon New Zealand’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol,


Full story


Key seemed more supportive of the Kyoto Protocols  in 2008,

National will also ensure New Zealand works on the world stage to support international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  We are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations and we will work to achieve further global alliances that build on the goals agreed to at Kyoto

So let me be very clear today: National is serious about reducing New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.  We will ensure that a New Zealand ETS is introduced on 1 January 2010.

As usual, John Key and the National Party have been big on rhetoric and promises – but poor on action. Sadly for New Zealand,  the reality of their policies has been a sustained undermining of  environmental protections.

From La La Land…

To really highlight what National thinks of environmental concerns, one need only consider their plans to scrap the  vital State of the Environment Report.

There is an element of absurdity  to this issue that is difficult to fathom,




From the same speech John Key gave in September 2008,

Environmental management has been further compromised by the poor performance of the Environment Ministry and the lack of independent monitoring of New Zealand’s progress towards environmental goals.

National believes Kiwis are ready to do things differently.  We want to strengthen the incentives for co-operation in the pursuit of shared environmental goals. 

So, National will invite stakeholders to work with us to reach agreement on up to 20 national environment goals to be achieved by specific dates, at the latest by 2030. To give those goals some real resonance we will introduce a new Environmental Reporting Act.  This will require the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to conduct independent five-yearly State of the Environment Reports.

This is the same pledge, to demand independent five-yearly State of the Environment Reports, that the Minister for the Environment, Amy Adams, now dismisses,

Waiting five years to measure the state of our environment might be good enough for the opposition parties but not this Government.”

See: National scraps crucial environmental report

The absurd irony is  that a National Minister is dismissing a policy that her boss – the Prime Minister – advocated four years ago! The five-yearly State of the Environment Reports was not Opposition policy – it was John Key’s idea!!!

This is Orwellian re-writing of history at it’s most ludicrous and laughable: dismissing National Party initiatives by blaming them on opposition parties!

Folks, New Zealand politics doesn’t get more Monty Pythonesque than this!

100% 48% Pure!

As a result of  National’s covert disregard for our environment, ongoing poor environmental policies and actions have become manifest in ways that are becoming harder and harder to hide from public attention,




What New Zealanders fail to comprehend is that the degration of our environment doesn’t just mean we’ll be able to swim less and less in our once-clean rivers – but that the rest of the world will soon begin to realise that our “100% Pure” and “Clean & Green” image” is bogus.

That’s when our reputation for environmental protection will be revealed as a sham and our exports for  primary produce will begin to be affected.

How long will it be before international media turn their gaze upon our slowly degrading environment?

How long before our rivers are as polluted as China’s?

And how long before international markets turn away from our products, or pay us less for our produce?

If we’re going to treat our rivers as toilets, why should tourists come here to New Zealand?

If anything has demonstrated Dear Leader’s change-of-heart from 2008, it is his ‘sudden’  conversion from Environmental Champion to backer of the minining lobby.

Green Key is gone.

Coal-black Key has arrived.


Full story


Track records, broken records

In 2008,  John Key encouraged,

“I urge you to read our environment policy in full.”

So do I –  Speech: Environment Policy Launch

In doing so you, the reader, will find out for yourself just how dishonest Key and National have been, and how badly our environment – which forms the economic backbone of this country – is now being systematically degraded for narrow, short-term gain.

True to form, even as John Key smiled benignly upon the country – he has let New Zealanders down.

And we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.” – John Key, 6 September 2008





Fairfax Media: AgResearch stalls ‘damaging’ report

Radiolive: Nats are sacrificing our environment… for what?

Other blogs

Tumeke: John Key’s invisible New Zealand

Truthdig: The Fallacy Behind Environmental Protection and Economic Growth



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  1. Matthew
    1 November 2012 at 12:23 pm

    They pushed out compliance with clean air standards from 2012 to 2016 too. Yet on the Blue Greens manifesto they claim air quality as the first thing of importance to the environment. Which suggests to me they are either demented, Machiavellian or shit-face liars. I’m prepared to believe they are all of demented, Machiavellian and shit-faced liars. The National Party is crap, crap, crap, crap, crap in general, and crap, crap, crap, crap, crap specially on the environment. I think everyone who voted for them got it tragically wrong.

  2. S Woo Satya Yuga
    1 November 2012 at 12:56 pm

    our fresh water ranking has dropped from 2nd to 43rd in the world lol. Study conducted by Cambridge University

  3. 1 November 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I concur, Matthew.

    Hopefully, as National’s pathetic track record on the environment becomes more public knowledge, it will affect their poll ratings even more.

    Once National’s environmental policies begin to impact on tourism, horticultural exports, etc, I think even businesspeople will think twice before voting for the Nats again.

    At every level, National is shooting itself in the foot, and damaging our international reputation.

  4. Budinski
    1 November 2012 at 1:00 pm

    More damning evidence of Nationals failure to love up to promises. Well done yet again Frank.

  5. 2 November 2012 at 2:18 pm

    It hasn’t performed Frank. It was never going to perform. I got sucked in by John Key’s “The Three E’s” speech about economy, education and environment in 2007, which sounded like he had a plan. Actually that was as far as I think he honestly bothered to go – creating a nice little sound bite that would play well on the telly and nothing else.

  6. 2 November 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I didn’t vote for National, but had a feeling as early as 2007 that Helen Clark probably would not get a fourth term in office – only wartime Prime Ministers have achieved that – and realised by June 2009 that National probably didn’t have a plan for the recession. It was about that time that Nick Smith attacked Environment Canterbury, an employer I am not sorry to say that I worked for, over the slow rate of resource consents being granted. Dr Smith also attacked other aspects such as the perception Environment Canterbury had no management plan for the Waitaki River – actually it did, but the council never approved it. He also said that the Natural Resources Regional Plan was bogged down and ignored the fact that it would have been operative in the year it was made operative anyway. These whoppers and others were used to justify the sacking of the council and the appointment of Commissioners.

    Since then I have become convinced that this Government’s supposed commitment to the environment is fit for a Tui billboard; that Kate Wilkinson does not care about conservation; and that it sees regional councils as a genuine threat to whatever anti-environmental agenda it has.

  1. 4 November 2012 at 10:54 pm
  2. 9 November 2012 at 5:59 pm
  3. 22 January 2013 at 11:05 am
  4. 27 April 2016 at 11:06 pm
  5. 3 May 2016 at 8:01 am
  6. 5 August 2016 at 8:02 am
  7. 1 February 2018 at 3:30 pm
  8. 5 February 2018 at 8:01 am

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