Green report – climate finance in New Zealand

This morning I asked if the Green Party has any sort of plan for transitioning to a non-fossil fuel New Zealand. I don’t think anyone came up with anything, but coincidentally James Shaw launched a report that looks at financing climate change measures.

The report: Climate Finance Landscape for Aotearoa New Zealand: A Preliminary Survey

This report, prepared by consultancy Mōhio, examines climate finance in New Zealand. It includes a snapshot of key existing climate finance flows and a look at the instruments available to the Government and private sector such as grants, debt and bonds.

The report also outlines the enabling environment required to better facilitate the flows of finance toward low emissions and climate-resilient outcomes. This includes considerations such as information flows, tracking, regulations, organisational forms, and wider alignment across innovation, research and development and other environmental and social outcomes.

Notably it suggests what appear to be public/private partnerships of sorts (but not called that): “Finance is blended in the sense that public investments are used to catalyse private investments (or vice-versa)”.

However even if you have finance available you need to have viable energy alternatives to invest in.

Executive Summary (edited)

The transition by financial markets to a low-emissions global economy has already begun. Global capital is increasingly being channelled in directions that prioritise and enable climate-aligned projects to deliver mitigation and adaptation benefits. These capital flows are what we call climate finance; that is, investment and expenditure – public and private, domestic and transnational – that demonstrably contributes to climate mitigation, adaptation or both.

As a country that operates openly in the global economy, New Zealand faces immediate, medium and long-term decisions about how to engage with this transition toward a low-emissions economy, in a way that maximises the advantages of our unique geographic, cultural and political circumstances. Although this transition will require new kinds of investment, this climate-aligned expenditure provides opportunities to create new jobs and industries, to spur growth in different parts of the economy, and to crowd-in new capital from diverse sources through emerging frameworks of impact investment.

The primary focus of this report is domestic climate finance – that is, finance flows that are internal to New Zealand by having domestic use-of-proceeds for climate-aligned projects and activities. (This contrasts with international climate finance, where investment flows from developed to developing countries to support sustainable, climate-aligned development.)

This report shows that there are already a range of financial flows within New Zealand that meet climate finance definitions that meet climate finance definitions. Nevertheless, there are significant opportunities to increase the volume and effectiveness of climate finance flows in order to better align with New Zealand’s international obligations and expectations, not least the collective agreement to reach global net zero emissions by the second half of this century.

Improving the quantity and quality of climate finance is not only a challenge for New Zealand but for all signatories to the Paris Agreement, due to the major global shortfall of adequate climate investment. However, creating a more enabling environment for climate finance flows will not only help New Zealand to meet its international obligations, it will also position New Zealand favourably within the global economy as the transition to lower emissions activities gathers pace.

This report further examines domestic climate finance through the lenses of natural capital and impact investing.

The potential here is captured by the motto: blended finance for integrated impacts. Finance is blended in the sense that public investments are used to catalyse private investments (or vice-versa); and integrated in the sense that finance is directed towards combined social, environmental and economic benefits.

From this perspective, New Zealand Government can play any combination of at least four roles:

  1. As a direct investor, the New Zealand Government already provides multiple grants in areas like energy efficiency and sustainable land management
  2. An investment manager role would emphasise the importance of financing pipelines for climate-aligned projects and companies to nurture innovation to maturity, to provide growth capital for ideas that work.
  3. A market maker role would recognise the New Zealand Government’s capacity to support climate-aligned projects and companies by being first purchaser, or a large-scale purchaser, of climate-aligned goods and services.
  4. A trail blazer role would recognise the New Zealand Government’s capacity to lead the way globally, especially in those sectors where New Zealand has unique mitigation opportunities, such as land use and transport powered by renewable energy.

To enhance New Zealand’s climate finance system, this report identifies ten recommendations  – from low-hanging fruit to more elaborate interventions – that would create a more facilitative enabling environment for climate finance. These are:

Full report (PDF)

This is a ‘preliminary survey’. I would have hoped plans would have been more advanced on how to finance climate change related projects by now.

Joyce v Robertson finance debate tonight

Stuff are streaming a finance debate from 7:00 pm between Grant Robertson and Steven Joyce. This may be challenging for Robertson in particular after today’s tax u-turn.

Ok, I’m getting sick of it already, same old arguments flying to and fro.

Robertson has just interrupted Joyce about five times in a row stopping him from talking. Waste of time.

Joyce is still claiming there is a fiscal hole, but seems to have changed his slant somewhat.

Finance debate impressions

The finance debate in Queenstown last night was not broadcast on mainstream TV so I thought that the audience would be small, but going by the surge in hits here due to the debate there seems to have been a lot of interest.

Stuff Live have a lot of points from the debate.

My overall impressions:

Steven Joyce – a knowledgeable and competent performance generally but struggles to be convincing on housing issues, the government’s big problem. Probably gained and lost few votes.

Grant Robertson – also a competent enough performance, knows his lines well. His big problem was emphasised several times, whether Labour would introduce a Capital Gains Tax or not.

  • Robertson keeps saying Labour is being transparent by not saying what they will do.
  • He says they have been transparent since 2015 on waiting for a tax working group to ‘advise’ at some time in the future, but two years is ample time to have got advice from tax experts.
  • He admitted it will be a political decision.
  • He keeps using the example of National increasing GST after saying they wouldn’t, which suggests an intent to do something different to what they are saying.

James Shaw – a very competent performance from him but the quietest and least prominent. He comes across as knowledgeable and reasonable (whether you agree with his policies or not). He won’t have harmed the greens and may have helped. However the Greens would benefit from having a stronger more charismatic co-leader.

David Seymour – promoted ACT policies well, spoke strongly and well, joked, and kept needling Peters with some success. He usually got a good response from the crowd. He won’t have harmed ACT’s chances but has a battle improving them – his performance will have helped.

Winston Peters – but I think he came across far too doom and gloom and cranky. He preached doom for the country unless he gets to run it, but wouldn’t commit to what he might do on a number of things, including CGT and whether he would go left or right. A number of petty attacks, especially against Seymour. A blustering bullying bullshitting old school politician who contrasts a lot with Jacinda Ardern. I doubt he would have increased his fan base last night.

Debate reports

ODT: Tax main debate topic

On a capital gains tax, Mr Gower asked New Zealand First leader Winston Peters if he would stop the Labour Party introducing one during potential post-election negotiations between the two parties.

Mr Peters avoided the question, instead telling Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson that he should tell the public before the election what rate the tax would be.

On an international tourist tax, Green Party leader James Shaw said his party had a different version to that announced by Labour on Monday, but he was confident any border levy up to about $50 a head would make no difference to tourist numbers.

Mr Peters said the Government should instead return the $1.5billion in annual GST receipts from tourism back to the regions where it was generated.

On the question of a bed tax, Finance Minister Mr Joyce said it was unnecessary because local councils, such as those in Queenstown Lakes and Auckland, effectively already had them in the form of targeted rates on businesses benefiting from tourism.

Mr Peters said he favoured the idea as a last resort if the Government failed to return more of its GST take to the regions, while Mr Shaw said he supported a recommendation for a national bed tax contained in last year’s McKinsey report, and also wanted campervans to be taxed.

But Mr Seymour said Act opposed bed taxes, and councils should instead be able to keep half the GST receipts on construction activity in their districts.

Newshub: Female candidates a sticking point at ASB Great Debate

ACT’s David Seymour, Labour’s Grant Robertson and Green’s James Shaw all amped up the popularity of their female politicians, at the end of the finance debate in Queenstown on Wednesday night.

Newshub:  David Seymour to Winston Peters on pension scandal: ‘Give them the file’

ACT Party leader David Seymour has called for New Zealand First leader Winston Peters to release his original form applying for the pension, after it was revealed he was receiving more than he was entitled to for seven years.

“I know that secret files don’t get out of the Government’s computers and into journalists’ inboxes by mistake,” Mr Seymour said at the ASB Great Debate in Queenstown on Wednesday night.

“One of the best things we could do is Winston, mate, just give them the file, so we can know it really was just a minor administrative error and we can all move on.”

It’s since emerged a number of National Party members were told about Mr Peters’ pension problems, as part of the ‘No Surprises’ policy. National finance spokesperson Steven Joyce, also at the debate, “categorically den[ied]” that a National member was involved in the leak.

Mr Peters argued they shouldn’t have been told at all, as it wasn’t relevant to the Government.

It wasn’t the only clash between Mr Seymour and Mr Peters during the debate, which saw another party representative joke the two were “like a couple of Chihuahuas”.

At one point Mr Peters scornfully pointed out Mr Seymour was talking big talk considering what his party was polling – 0.6 percent, according to the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll – and called him “a National party puppet”.

At another, Mr Seymour criticised Mr Peters’ many “bottom line”, his rules to working in a coalition with any party.

“He’s got more bottom lines than a 100-year-old elephant,” Mr Seymour cracked.

But Mr Peters was the one with the final laugh: “Mr Seymour, let me tell you: I will be there after the election and you won’t be.”

Stuff:  Winston Peters and David Seymour let it rip at debate

1 News: Watch: ‘Chinese sounding name argument’ hits a nerve in finance spokesmen’s debate

National’s Steven Joyce hit back when Labour’s Grant Robertson argued foreigners are speculating on NZ houses.


The Nation: Joyce v Robertson on Finance

The election campaign is getting serious – there will be a debate between the Minister of Finance Steven Joyce and Labour’s finance spokesperson Grant Robertson on The Nation this morning.

This could define National’s approach to combating the resurgence of Labour, and also give us an indication of how well Robertson grasps economic issues.

A key difference on tax.

Robertson says Labour wants to target those who need help the most and it is wrong to give tax cuts to high earners.

Joyce says that Labour’s policy will give ‘baby bonuses’ of $3,000 to high earners and won’t give anything to middle income earners.

I don’t think either argued their tax policies clearly enough, but this is likely to be a big election issue.

There’s a lot of debate about whether the Government is cutting expenditure on health and education, something Labour have pushed for a while, but Joyce claims otherwise. A lot of numbers quoted.

Tax and spending policies can’t be finalised yet.

Until that comes out the amount of money available can’t be finalised. Robertson won’t commit to not raising income tax rates.

Scoop has the transcript:

Nutrition Finance and Government

By Duncan from Sustainable Life NZ

A glance at Nutrition Finance and Government.

As well as regenerating the degraded ecosystems of the world we also need to regenerate the health of the human genome. To understand nutrition today you almost need to be a biochemist It wasn’t always like that.

To achieve regenerating or at least trying to protect the human genome as a species there are many things we have to understand and accomplish, but you can make a difference the moment you choose to wake up. We have been indoctrinated into social systems with diets that favour the acidic spectrum. Any food that is acidic, contains the chemical binding agent starch. Any food that was made by nature, has a complete molecular structure, made by nature, no starch(or less), instead natural enzymes are present. Genetically modified foods are genetically modifying animals and us!

On one level our bodies are electro chemical entities, as such we require a certain electro chemical coherence to efficiently operate mentally, physically and emotionally. Natural alkaline food is bioelectric. There are states of energy within food, dead or alive, distorted or natural, and natural food plays a role in supporting immunity. Part of this immunity is combatting mucous and preventing further inflammation at an intracellular level.

So personally what can you do? Switching to a 70+%alkaline 30-%acid diet including large servings of leafy greens, and a nutrient dense Base Element diet, consisting of a delicious variety of natural foods will provide numerous wonderful health benifits! Detoxifying your body and ridding yourself of as much of the distorted information as you can will allow you to operate more efficiently and decisively. All this is important if you wish to have more clarity and longevity.

Also if you are able to produce your own renewable organic produce or even just purchase from organic local suppliers you will; reduce your waste contribution, not support corporations that put profits over people and environments, grow the industry of local organic produce which arguable has more transparency, improve your health, and potentially provide food security through sustainable organic home production! So while there are a myriad of problems if we can begin to understand the problems we can start working towards effective solutions.

Part of the problem here, is the elite agenda for a hostile corporate takeover of the biosphere. There is a systematic poisoning of the human genome AND the earths ecology. World banks, the federal reserve, International law, world conflict, media, the W.H.O, the U.N, the W.T.O, the industrial military complex and a web of transnational corporations are coercing to centralise control of all W.T.O countries, New Zealand included. Part of the agenda is to use the highly effective control mechanism of money to further instigate the economic slavery of individuals and remove the sovereignty of nations furthering the dissolution of democracy. In part, effectively creating a corporate global agricultural control grid.

We can made a difference! Money is an illusion. I call it creative wealth. Think of it like this, you reside on the earth, you want to build a house build anything physical, you need produce from your environment. So effectively you are not creating anything new you are manipulating products of the environments natural capital into a more effective use. With money, you are creating something from the non physical because you have bestowed a concept, a set of rules. It is an illusion! Nature doesn’t follow our rules! The Federal Reserve itself which controls the supply and production of money isn’t government owned but owned by a private entity! This technocratic, globalist agenda uses money and control of natural resources to manipulate people and nations, we can use their weapons against them! Create our own resource security and nationalise our assets, whilst boycotting corporations! These systems are the real terrorists, they just hide behind suits and logos.

The point is, the deception of our perceptions that we have undergone requires us to stay blind and adhere to the social norms and control structures that exist in place, so the agenda can be implemented. Through corporate control and deception of our perceptions, almost anything can be instigated, effectively with human ‘permission’.

We need to reclaim our political system. I don’t have all the answers, but I know it can be achieved. We are facing an election in NZ and I’m buggered if I know of any political party that does represent us and isn’t already in the pocket of corporate interests with a healthy amount of conflict of interests (or is controlled opposition). The whole political system has been manufactured to only advance those who don’t make a lot of noise, and are not policy based. The legalised bribery that is campaign contributions needs to end. Otherwise this dissolution of democracy and oppression of rights will continue. Instead of supporting parties support social movements or people with policy that makes sense.

Get engaged! If you can do your own research do so. While the government has you focused on terrorism and whatever other constructed issue, things are being implemented behind the scenes!

If we can’t rely on ‘our leaders’ to represent us we need to represent ourselves, more than a revolution we need an evolution of thought. Much love

People, ecosystems and future generations



Expect radical shift in Labour economic policy

Labour’s finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says we can expect a radical shift in Labour’s economic policy.

A cynic could suggest a radical shift towards common sense would be welcome, but voters tend to be very wary of radical policy suggestions from those who could follow through with them.

Can we also expect a radical shift in primary and secondary education policy?

NZ Herald reports Expect radical changes to economic policy, says Robertson.

Grant Robertson says New Zealanders can expect a radical shift in the Labour Party’s economic policy ahead of the 2017 election as his party looks to prepare workers for huge changes in the labour market in coming decades.

Mr Robertson is in Paris for the OECD’s Future of Work Forum, where politicians, businesspeople and unions are discussing how to adapt to the digital economy and the increasing casualisation of the workforce.

The shadow finance and employment minister is seeking ideas for his Future of Work Commission, a two-year project which will inform Labour’s new economic development policies.

“If we look ahead two decades, there will be enormous change,” he told the Herald from Paris. “Up to half of the jobs in the economy today won’t be there.”

That is because blue- and white-collar jobs are being lost to robotics, automisation and computerisation.

The working environment is becoming more flexible, and people are more likely to have several different career paths over their lifetime.

Mr Robertson said addressing these changes would mean a radical change of direction for his party.

“I do think there will be some big shifts because that reflects the magnitude of the change that is happening,” he said.

The nature of work in New Zealand and around the world has already changed enormously over the past fifty years.

Labour’s Future of Work commission is a good medium term project, focusing on what should be a core policy area for them, labour. It’s the sort of thing that should be done by parties while in Opposition – Labour should have started this sort of thing six years earlier but now is better than going nowhere.

Of course the benefits to Labour and to the country will depend on the quality of the findings of their Commission. Hopefully they will be useful to all parties in looking ahead.

Mr Robertson said New Zealand already had a flexible labour market, but it needed to be balanced with greater security and income support.

“Obviously you can’t take a model and replicate it from one country to another. It’s the principles of it that we are looking at and how something similar could be put in place in New Zealand.”

A less certain working environment meant workers would have to upskill or retrain throughout their careers, Mr Robertson said.

“The idea that you can leave school or go to university and you never have to do anything else is gone now. Whatever system we come up with needs to be linked to the idea that training is an automatic part of your working life.”

Rethinking the amount of upfront tertiary education compared to ongoing training and retraining parallel to careers – most people can now expect to change careers several times through their working lives – is important.

It’s impractical to spend 3-6 years getting degrees and then having to repeat every decade or so.

A good academic grounding is very useful but being able to duck in and out of education or training is becoming essential in many fields of work.

Preparing New Zealanders for the changing workforce will have to begin early – at primary schools – and will prompt changes to the education system and curriculum.

“The more traditional ways of assessing and learning are starting to become less and less relevant,” Mr Robertson said.

“I expect big changes in the education and training system to be one of the things that comes out of the commission,” the Labour MP said.

Is Robertson also hinting at radical changes to primary and secondary level education? That could be challenging given the reluctance of education sectors to relatively minor changes to their comfort zones.

The Future of Work Commission’s findings will be published in November.

That timing is a shame. It is heading into the political dead zone at end of year, and then we will be headlong into election year, so there may be little chance of a decent non-partisan assessment of the results of Labour’s Commission.

Much may depend on how much Labour’s efforts are targeting their election campaign next year and how much is for the future good of the country as a whole.

Genter versus Robertson, Greens versus Labour

David Farrar has also posted on Chris Trotter’s hopes for a Trudeau type leader emerging on New Zealand’s left (see Scouring Labour for some Trubro magic posted here on Tuesday).

In Does Labour have a Trudeau? Farrar talks of an interesting observation:

I was listening to RNZ’s The Week in Politics today while running. It was on the budget surplus. What struck me was that Julie-Anne Genter came across as far more reasoned and logical on the economy, than Grant (Robertson).

He was still arguing that somehow the seven years of deficits were caused by National while also attacking National for not spending more. It was very weak, while Genter actually made quite reasonable arguments.

Green finance spokesperson Genter has always made quite reasonable arguments, especially on her speciality transport. Someone who is smart and eloquent and makes sure they know their stuff can shift their strengths to other issues.

Last week I posted about observations made by Colin James:

Little versus Shaw, plus the Winston factor

Colin James has made an interesting observation about Andrew Little and James Shaw in his latest column. He wonders if Little may struggle to look like Leader of the Opposition alongside Shaw.

Add to that Genter alongside Robertson as finance spokespeople and Labour versus Green could get very interesting.

Especially if Genter is elevated to co-leader alongside Shaw.

The two hands of Robertson’s surplus response

Today’s Herald editorial – Use surplus for benefit of everyone – highlights a contradiction in the opposition response to the National Government finally, after seven years, achieving an actual surplus.

Across the aisle, opposition parties waved their wish-lists with new confidence, calling for the surplus to be spent on child poverty, more hospital operations, more pre-school education … you name it.

At the same time, they predicted the slender surplus would disappear as suddenly as it arrived.

Labour have long criticised National for following their surplus years under Helen Clark and Michael Cullen with a sequence of deficits.

Even now they lambast National because they say the surplus will be short lived due to tightening economic conditions and low inflation.

But Labour have opposed many measures aimed at keeping a tight rein on spending.

They have pushed for more spending.

As soon as the surplus was announced Labour MPs suggested how it could be spent many times over.

On one hand Labour’s finance spokesperson Grant Robertson was highly critical of the meagre surplus:

First surplus a blip on radar screen of debt

by  on October 14, 2015

Bill English’s first surplus is just one black drop in a sea of red, with New Zealanders still paying over $10m a day in interest payments, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

“The Finance Minister has finally found a surplus needle in his haystack of debt. Despite promising a ‘significant’ surplus, it’s just $414m. That’s less than 0.2 per cent of GDP – a rounding error, not a surplus.

“But the surplus show is over before it has begun. With the economy running out of steam, National’s promises of a string of surpluses are extremely unlikely to become reality. That’s poor financial management.

“National’s financial management will go down in history as one small surplus – at the peak of the economic cycle – out of nine Budget deficits.

And on the other hand, on the same day, he issued this complaint about the lack of spending required to achieve the surplus:

Nats sacrifice Kiwis’ health and education for surplus

by  on October 14, 2015

National’s drive for surplus has meant less investment in critical areas like health, education, housing and transport – yet John Key told Parliament today he wants the money for cycleways, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

“The Government’s belated surplus has been partly achieved by dropping spending by $235m in education, $97m on housing and community development, $52m in health and over $300m on transport and communications.

“These are critical areas. Too many students are failing NCEA, dilapidated state houses are making people sick, patients are waiting far too long in hospital emergency departments and regional roads and internet services are in desperate need of upgrades.

“It also appears that $444m has been taken out of the EQC claims budget. No one in Canterbury waiting for repairs or needing their repairs redone would think that money isn’t needed.

“The next time Kiwis find themselves waiting for an operation, getting sick in their home, worrying about their children’s performance at school, or nearly crashing on a dodgy road they can thank their lucky stars Bill English has a surplus and John Key has his cycleways,” Grant Robertson says.

This is Opposition opposing gone mad – criticising National for finally, only just achieving a surplus but hammering them for not spending more. For not spending a lot more.

On one hand he criticises years of deficits, but he wants to hand out heaps more money with his other.

The Herald wrote:

If the surplus in the final account for the year that ended on June 30 can be sustained in the current year and projected to continue, the best use of it would be to reduce debt more quickly. The next best use would be to resume the contributions to the NZ Super Fund that the Government suspended six years ago.

The level of debt and stopping contributions to the Super Fund have also been criticised by Labour.

If Robertson ever becomes Minister of Finance it will be interesting to see how he goes about balancing the books.

Time for Russel Norman to prove he can do Finance

Russel Norman is openly challenging Labour, that’s a good think because Labour seem to be taking it for granted that Greens will give them the numbers to lead a coalition while the run a series of attacks on the presumed partner. Norman took Labour to task in an op-ed in the NZ Herald: It’s Green Party versus National, but where is Labour:

Labour MP Shane Jones has been vocal in the pages of the New Zealand Herald over recent weeks, criticising the Green Party over our concerns about the serious environmental impacts posed by deep-sea oil drilling off our coasts and the use of slave labour on foreign chartered vessels in New Zealand waters.

Given that Labour has been supportive of some environmental and worker protections in the past, we have to ask if these repeated outbursts from one of their senior MPs are simply the views of an individual, or something more.

The free rein given to Mr Jones to attack the Green Party on environmental issues suggests the latter. I hope this isn’t the case.

It’s well known that the environment is a strength part of the Greens. But Norman has set his sights higher – finance minister. Patrick Gower on 3 News reported:

Greens co-leader Russel Norman wants to be Minister of Finance, and is demanding his MPs make up to a third of the Cabinet.

“It’s one of the portfolios that will be on the table,” says Dr Norman. “It will be part of the negotiating mix.”

Yes, that’s right: Dr Norman wants to control the country’s finances. He would be in charge of the Budget.

“It will be one of the possibilities. It will certainly be on the table.”

But Norman has a herculean task if he wants to position Greens as a serious co-Government party with a top role in finance.

It’s two years out from the election. That gives Norman plenty of time to prove he has sufficient ability and expertise. He hasn’t done that yet. In the same Herald op-ed he said:

Green development and green jobs provide a clear vision and economic direction for our nation. We can have good jobs without destroying the environment, and we can take advantage of the huge green economic opportunities overseas to supply exports with a premium. That’s what smart green economics is all about.

Greens have a reputation for slickly presented slogans like this. Some are buying the pitch, but there is no detail that explains what the actual product is.

Norman knows what smart green marketing is. But if he wants to sell himself – to Labour and to the country – as a heavy duty number cruncher he will have to displays his smarts on financial policy. He needs to come up with numbers that pass serious scrutiny.

If he doesn’t prove he understands the numbers and can add them up to credible answers he will feed a common fear of the Greens – most people are happy for them to have a presence in parliament but dread them getting a big say in Government.

And there’s more at stake. If Norman makes a major bid for finance and it scares the voters it may impact on more than Green ambitions.

It could drag Labour hopes of success down – they have clearly hitched their propsects of success to a Green assist, and if the country decides the Greens are too big a risk in major roles on Government and Finance then it may severely hobble Labour as well.

It would be fair to expect the media to ask Norman to show us the numbers before Key gets a chance in the 2014 campaign.

Norman’s op-ed closed:

National has failed to create jobs for the 175,000 unemployed New Zealanders. Labour and the Greens owe it to those workers, and those whose jobs are at risk, to work together to build a clean, green economy that delivers prosperity for everyone.

The Greens owe it to prospective voters to prove there is more to them than clean green bullshit.