Q + A
PANEL DISCUSSION 1
Hosted by GREG BOYED
In response to THE ENVIRONMENT
GREG Time to welcome the panel along this morning. Dr Claire Robinson from Massey University, good to have you along with us. Former Deputy Prime Minister in the Labour-Alliance Government, Jim Anderton, welcome. And Fran O'Sullivan, Herald columnist. Good morning and welcome to you all. First of all, Claire, Amy Adams' performance. It was always going to be a tough job. We've gone from first to 14th in a fairly well-known survey. How'd she do?
CLAIRE ROBINSON - Political Analyst
Well, I mean, she started out the interview with a lot of clichés.
GREG I counted 'playing the long game', 'moving forward', 'step in the right direction'. She only missed out 'game of two halves', but I think we heard that later on.
CLAIRE But I think, you know, she got into it at the end. I think the problem for the Government is that this government clearly doesn't have a green economy as its number-one priority. It has economic growth and jobs, and so while it looks to improve conservation, environment, the green economy, it's not its major priority, so it has to be able to try and sort of justify that quite well. But it's not simply this government's issue either. I mean, the last government also didn't prioritise the green economy, the government before that didn't prioritise the green economy, and that's not even a New Zealand issue. No government actually in the OECD prioritises a green economy, so we're all kind of in the same boat together, and I think that's one of the messages from this Rio+20 conference is that, you know, governments really have to do something quite radically different if they're going to make a difference.
PAUL That said, Jim, we do have an ETS. We were the first ones to get an ETS, but we are slipping backwards.
JIM ANDERTON - Fmr Deputy Prime Minister
Well, there's no question climate change is the number-one issue facing the future of the world. I don't have any doubt about that, but you've also got to have the 'glass half empty, glass half full' thing. I mean, our major emitter, methane gas, for example, is our agricultural community. 50% of all our emissions come from there, and this is a very important exporting-food nation, so we live by exporting food, and yet we've got a big problem with the method of doing it. So we're putting a lot of research into that. We're encouraging farmers, and farmers have stepped up to the plate too. I get- As a townie, but former Minister of Agriculture, I get a bit tetchy with the green kind of approach to this - that all farmers are dirty farmers and all the rest of it. They are not. There are thousands of young farming families in New Zealand that are putting their best endeavours into making their streams on their farms fenced off and planted and making sure that their farms are in better shape environmentally than anything they inherited from their parents and grandparents. And sometimes we have to celebrate that instead of bashing into them. And when we get into the clean-energy thing, well, try and dam a river these days. I mean-
GREG Fran, if I can just put it to you, as we heard there, more cows, more drilling, more roads. That's going to be a balancing act we're probably always going to struggle with.
FRAN O'SULLIVAN - NZ Herald Columnist
Well, I think it's great that we're actually doing all of those things, to be honest. If we weren't doing that, what sort of economy would we have. If we weren't-
GREG A very green one, apparently.
FRAN Well, no, we wouldn't have a green economy. That's bullshit. Absolute bullshit.
GREG You can't say that on telly.
FRAN Yes, you can.
GREG Oh, you did.
FRAN I did.
GREG Bullshit. No, I just wanted to get one in as well.
FRAN No, but, I mean, you wouldn't immediately have a green economy. A green economy - what do they actually mean by that? If they mean producing stuff to tackle major markets like China, which has put- you know, the green tech, that side of things. Clean tech is one of their major drivers, and they have to, because the place is hugely polluted. Now, we can build things that actually work for that economy, but, you know, we already have major renewables here on the energy front. And I'm with Jim in that, you know, our problem is the agricultural emissions and the rest of it.
JIM That might be the first time, Fran.
GREG First time for everything, Jim.
FRAN Well, probably. (laughs) So-
GREG On the political side, Claire, this coincides pretty nicely with the rise and rise and rise of the Greens. This is what they're all about, yet we're slipping backwards. What does that say? They're not, sort of, taking care of the knitting. Is that right?
CLAIRE You mean the government?
GREG Well, the Green Party.
CLAIRE Oh, the Green- No, the Green Party is doing really well. I mean, you look at anything, any issue, the Green Party is number one to comment on any issue. But what they have is that they have a philosophical base to any comment they make which is around the predominance of the green economy and sustainability. And I think that what- in the process of seeing Russel Norman step up and comment on everything is you're seeing that those issues and that kind of philosophy is really getting hold in the electorate.
GREG All right, we will leave it there and hope potty-mouth O'Sullivan keeps it together in the next part.