Un­help­ful at­tack

The Dominion Post - - Opinion -

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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