Political Courage

New Zealand Centre for Political Research

The New Zealand Centre for Political Research is a web-based think tank that takes a research-based approach to public policy matters and encourages the free and open debate of political issues. www.nzcpr.com

Standing up to bullies takes courage. That’s true, whether it’s in a school playground, workplace, or a home. Politics is no different. It takes courage to stand up to ideological bullies, especially those with roots in extremist doctrines that are well organised and have strong links to supportive media.

The feminist movement is one such group. Their key goal is the destruction of the patriarchal married family. Major progress towards that goal was made in the seventies when Norman Kirk’s Labour Government was persuaded to introduce the Domestic Purposes Benefit. By giving a secure State income to mothers – conditional upon them bringing up their children on their own, without the help of fathers – the feminists incentivised decades of family breakdown and fatherlessness.

With statistics clearly showing that sole parenthood and fatherlessness are significant contributors to child abuse and neglect, replacing the DPB with support based on work, was one of the key recommendations of the Welfare Working Group – established by National in 2010 to advise the Government on welfare reform. Their advice however, was rejected and instead, the policy – which was tweaked and renamed Sole Parent Support – continues to put children at risk.

When US President Bill Clinton became aware of the danger to children of their stand-alone sole parent benefit in the nineties, he ordered it to be replaced with obligations based on work. In doing so he improved the outcomes of millions of American children and their mothers.

With almost no other countries having in place a policy which is so dangerous for women and children, it’s a tragic state of affairs when no politicians have the courage to stand up to the feminist bullies and call for reform.

Another group of ideological bullies are biculturalists. Their goal of Maori rule is being achieved through the implementation of anti-Government bicultural policies throughout the public service.

The Maori seats in Parliament are their power base. These race-based reserved seats were introduced on a temporary basis in the 1860s to ensure that Maori men could vote. But instead of being removed upon the introduction of universal suffrage, they were retained.

The 1986 Royal Commission on the Electoral System recommended abolishing the Maori seats if MMP was introduced. But while the MMP Bill tabled in Parliament by Jim Bolger’s National Government removed the Maori seats, the Party caved in to the biculturalists’ demands – not only retaining the seats, but changing the system to enable the numbers to increase from four back then to seven!  

At the present time, no party appears prepared to stand up to the bicultural bullies, by promising to hold a binding public referendum on removing the Maori seats in Parliament.

A third group of powerful ideological bullies is the environmental lobby. Many of the extremists within this group are said to have migrated there from other socialist causes. In particular they have seized on climate change and “saving the planet” as the vehicle for achieving their communist ends of curtailing economic freedom and progress.

Like the other groups, they are well-organised and have powerful friends in very high places, who continue to promote their alarmist claims – in spite of real-life evidence to the contrary.

Over the years, New Zealand politicians have pledged to confront these ideological bullies with their dangerous agendas – such as when National promised to abolish the Maori seats during the 2008 and 2011 election campaigns. But time and time again when they are in power and in a position to make the changes necessary, they lack the political courage to follow through.

That’s what makes US President Donald Trump stand out – love him or hate him, he is ignoring the shrill demands of the extremists by delivering on his campaign pledges to the American people to put America first.

His latest move has been to stand up to the environmental lobby and fulfil his promise to pull out of the Paris Climate Change Accord. In announcing this development, President Trump said:

“One by one, we are keeping the promises I made to the American people during my campaign for President… we’re following through on our commitments.  And I don’t want anything to get in our way.  I am fighting every day for the great people of this country.  Therefore, in order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers.  So we’re getting out.  But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair.  And if we can, that’s great.  And if we can’t, that’s fine.”

He explained that the Paris Climate Accord undermined the wellbeing of American citizens by disadvantaging the US “to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers – who I love – and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production”.

He said the US would immediately cease implementing “the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country”, including ending contributions to “the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune”.

The Green Climate Fund’s objective is to collect US$100 billion from richer countries to redistribute to poorer ones. The promise of this money was instrumental in persuading many of the almost 200 nations to sign up to the Paris Accord. But officials have already signalled that $100 billion a year will not be enough and they are looking at increasing their demands to $450 billion a year by 2020.

The President outlined how the energy restrictions of Paris Accord could cost America as many as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025 – leading to “the further decimation of vital American industries on which countless communities rely”. This would put the US at a major disadvantage to other large economies like China and India that have no plans to restrain growth.

While the Paris Accord was promoted as a mechanism to save the planet, by requiring countries to lower greenhouse gas production to keep the global temperature rise from 2020 to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – with a goal of 1.5 degrees – its real aim is to curb economic growth and redistribute wealth.

James Hansen, a former Nasa scientist who is considered to be a ‘father’ of climate change, called the Paris Accord a fraud: “It’s a fraud really, a fake. It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words.”

Former Vice President Al Gore, who claimed in his movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, that catastrophic human-induced global warming would destroy the planet by 2016, has described the Paris Accord as ‘symbolic’ – sending “a very powerful signal to business and industry and civil society, and countries around the world.”

So what will withdrawing from the Paris Accord mean for the US?

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Professor Richard Epstein of the New York University Law School, has examined the implications and believes President Trump has done the right thing:

“The Trump administration has bit the bullet, and to the outraged dismay of the political left has withdrawn from the Paris accord.  That agreement, which went into effect on November 4, 2016, just days before Donald Trump’s election is a complex affair in which the United States made the key ‘voluntary’ commitment to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions in the next decade by about a quarter of their 2005 rate, with further reductions to come thereafter. At the recent meeting of the G-7, Trump was the lone holdout against a ringing endorsement of the agreement. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, joined by a cast of thousands, has denounced Trump and the United States for leaving the fold.   

“The President’s instincts were spot on. Notwithstanding the furore, he was right to withdraw the United States from the accord… I see no gain in having the United States participate in a treaty that combines bad science with bad economics. In the long run, the United States will gain in both wealth and influence if it adopts a more restrained approach to climate change. It is fortunate that President Trump did not let himself be scolded to move in a fashionable but unsound direction.”

Through his actions, the President put American jobs ahead of the Paris Accord.

This raises serious questions about the priorities of our Government. Why are they not putting Kiwi living standards and New Zealand’s economic future ahead of posturing on the world stage to impress the environmental movement?

Why is $1 billion a year being allocated in the Budget for the big black hole of climate change, when communities are crying out for more Police and better access to health care?

Most of that funding is associated with the bureaucratic Emissions Trading Scheme, which is New Zealand’s main policy for addressing climate change. Under that scheme, industries – including transport and electricity – buy carbon credits to pay for the cost of their greenhouse gases. However, the cost of this effective ‘tax’ on emissions is passed on to consumers, forcing up the price of all New Zealand goods and services, and putting increasing pressure on household budgets.

Signing up to the Paris Accord will make things a whole lot worse. National has now committed New Zealand to cut man-made greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent of 1990 levels by 2030 – that’s 30 percent below 2005 levels. Achieving this goal withoutcompromising economic growth and reducing living standards will be impossible given that almost half of all New Zealand’s emissions come from livestock, and the only way to reduce those is to cut stock numbers. Further, with most of our electricity generated from renewable resources, the opportunity to reduce emissions in that sector is limited.

As a result, under the Government’s plan, only 20 percent of New Zealand’s Paris target will met by reducing domestic emissions – namely through phasing in electric cars – with the other 80 percent to be met by forcing businesses to buy carbon credits from overseas.

According to documents released under the Official Information Act, the cost to the economy of buying international carbon credits to meet Paris targets will be $1.4 billion a year. This represents a significant transfer of Kiwi wealth overseas, leaving New Zealand highly exposed to any increase in global carbon prices. 

In effect, thanks to Paris, the total cost of climate change policy to the New Zealand economy will be a staggering $2 billion a year – similar to the cost of running New Zealand’s Defence Forces.

Whereas in the US, President Trump is putting America and its people ahead of an international agreement that would undermine their economy, our Government – in order to keep the environmental lobby happy – plans on wasting billions of dollars on a socialist scheme that will damage the economy, reduce living standards, and cost jobs, while doing nothing for the climate.

This is a price households will pay for politicians who lack fortitude.

With the election fast approaching, now more than ever, we need our politicians to find the courage to stand up to the ideological bullies who are damaging our future with their disastrous agendas.

Will any political leader have the courage to stand up to feminists by announcing plans to remove government incentives to break up families?

Is there a leader prepared to stand up to biculturalists, by not only removing their anti-Government propaganda from the public service, but by calling for a nation-wide public referendum to abolish the Maori seats?

And will any political leader be prepared to take a stand against the environmentalists and say no to reducing our living standards by pulling out of Paris – and abolishing the ETS?


Should New Zealand follow the lead of the US and withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord?




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