There’s different sides to every story. After Chris Trotter criticism Grant Robertson responds at Red Alert:
For the benefit of Mr Trotter
Posted by Grant Robertson on July 13th, 2012
He chooses to lift out a phrase from the speech about my view that we need to avoid “uncompromising dogma” in some aspects of environmental policies to somehow be my political catch-cry and extrapolates this in a several paragraph bound to a belief that “business as usual” is the way forward in my political universe. I reject that.
In the speech the statement about ‘uncompromising dogma’ relates to the importance of using evidence and science to back up our environmental policies. I use a particular example of the issue for some green businesses that there is some inside the lab genetic modification that is being unnecessarily limited by our current laws. (Current laws I played a part in creating I might add). Sticking to these rules without evidence and standing in the way of safe science that will promote green growth is to me, uncompromising dogma.
Chris then makes a quantum leap that would make Roger Douglas proud, and says this serves as a ‘brutal warning’ to the Greens about what is required if they want a “spot at the Cabinet table”. What absolute nonsense. What it is, is my opinion. It might challenge some people in the Greens, but I am not in the business of issuing warnings or threats to my friends in the Greens.
Leaping onward, and having blithely ignored the several paragraphs in the speech devoted to National’s appalling stewardship of our environment, Chris comes to the view that I accept a “business as usual” approach to the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact a whole section of the speech is devoted to why the way we have treated the planet for so many generations can not go on, and the importance of a global response.
The whole point of the event that David Cunliffe and I organised was to discuss the importance of taking a different approach that draws together the environment and economic development.
I have had a fair bit of feedback about the speech, and I welcome more. A few negative or questioning comments, but far and away many more people appreciating that Labour is taking environmental issues seriously, agreement that as a country and world we do need to do things differently, and excitement that we are going to use evidence and science and that we will make the economy and environment work together. That’s where I am focused, whatever box Chris wants to try to put me in.
Thanks for this response, Grant.
The quote from you about “uncompromising dogma” around which my column is assembled was delivered with particular care precisely because it carried an important sub-text (what some call a “dog whistle”) to its largely Labour audience.
You quite rightly alluded to the battle over GE that divided Labour and the Greens in 2002, signalling with your comment that the strong resistance to Green pressures displayed back then would not be lessened in any future coalition.
I was an eye-witness to the full venom of Labour’s response in 2002 and know from personal experience the lengths to which some Labour people will go to silence and/or discredit their opponents.
You will need to give me considerably more evidence than the above that Labour has changed both its policies and its political praxis on matters ecological before I’m convinced that you and your party have become something more than (at best) “reluctant radicals”.
@Chris. Thank goodness I have you to tell me what I am thinking and unpicking the hidden meaning of my words and tone. I won’t bore the punters with picking over 93, but as I say we have very different perspectives on those events.