The Dominion Post

Unhelpful attack

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At last a New Zealand Government takes a couple of meaningful steps towards water regulation.

Right on cue, the New Zealand Initiative’s Dr Eric Crampton rushes into print (Sept 6) attacking the new policy because (i) he has a better idea – cap and trade, and (ii) some dairy farmers who have irresponsi­bly over-expanded might go broke (and so should be bailed out by the rest of us).

Take first cap and trade. Yes, it might have been a good idea over the past two decades, when Federated Farmers has had ample opportunit­y to implement it as a self-regulation device, and the NZ Initiative has had ample time to help it design and implement such a scheme.

But no, it’s wheeled out only when it can be used as a roadblock to Labour-led Government policy. If you’re serious about the environmen­t, beware Right-wing lobbyists touting alternativ­e policies.

Second, that issue of compensati­on. Crampton would be on firmer ground had he previously been an advocate for compensati­ng the workers and benefit receivers who were stripped of their life savings, their children’s prospects and health, and their hope of ever getting decently housed without crippling debt, by the unionbreak­ing and benefit-slashing of the 1990s – policies enthusiast­ically promoted and applauded by his organisati­on and its predecesso­r, the Business Roundtable.

Farmers, their leaders, and their bankers have had plenty of warning to get their house in order. Innocent victims they are not. Geoff Bertram, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

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