Jacinda Ardern at UN General Assembly

This does sound like a concerted Ardern versus Trump approach to politics.

Full text: PM’s speech to the United Nations

Jacinda Ardern on ‘Redefining successful government”

In a speech while in New York Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has outlined what she sees as successful government, as in her lofty agenda.

Redefining successful government

Speech at International Conference on Sustainable Development

I began preparing my comments for today’s event while sitting at my constituency office in Auckland, New Zealand…

You could say the artefacts I sit amongst in that office sum up my life in politics.  It started with my family, has been full of role models and support, but ultimately is motivated by the idea that politics is a place you can address injustice.

I was raised the daughter of a policeman, and was a product of the 1980s where New Zealand went through a rapid period or privatisation and economic liberalisation. We called it Rogernomics after our Finance Minister of the time, in America the same phenomenon was called Reaganonmics, and the impact on working families was similar. Jobs were lost, manufacturing moved off shore, regulations removed and the gap between rich and poor rapidly expanded.

Then came the 1990s. A conservative government in New Zealand introduced reforms that brought user pay to the fore and welfare cuts for the poorest.

I was young when all of this was happening around me, but I still remember it. If it’s possible to build your social conscience when you are a school girl, then that is what happened to me. I never looked at the world through the lens of politics though, but rather through the lens of fairness.

And that sentiment captures one of the most pervasive values that we have in Aotearoa New Zealand. We are proud but also self-deprecating. Dreamers but also pragmatists. And if there is one thing we hate, it is injustice.

These are the values I believe we need to display in our politics. Because politics is increasingly a dirty word, but values are not.

An earnest politician would be hard pressed to argue with goals like halving poverty, preserving the sustainability of our oceans or inclusive education.

And we’ve started by redefining what success looks like.

Traditionally, success or failure in politics has been measured in purely economic terms. Growth, GDP, your trade deficit and the level of debt you carry. On those terms, you would call New Zealand relatively successful. But in the last few years the deficiency of such measures has become stark.

So we are establishing brand new measure of national achievement that go beyond growth.

Like many, New Zealand has not been immune to a period of rapid and transformational change these past few decades. Globalisation has changed the way we operate, but it has also had a material difference on the lives of our citizens.

Not everyone has been well served by those changes, however.

While at a global level economic growth has been unprecedented, the distribution of benefits has been uneven at the level of individuals and communities. In fact for many, the transition our economy made in the wake of globalisation has been jarring,

Now as politicians, we all have choices in how we respond to these challenges.

We’re investing more in research and development so that we improve the productivity of our economy, we’re focusing on shifting away from volume to value in our export, and we are committed to lifting wages.

We are modernising our Reserve Bank so that it works to keep both inflation and keeps unemployment low, and we’re committed to a better balanced and fairer tax system.

But we also need to do better at lifting the incomes of New Zealanders and sharing the gains of economic growth.

We are signing pay equity settlements with new groups of predominantly women workers, taking the pressure off families by extending paid parental leave to half a year, closing the gender pay gap and raising the minimum wage.

When fully rolled out our Families Package – a tax credit policy aimed at low and middle income earners – will lift thousands of children out of poverty.

But economic gains and growth matter for nothing if we sacrifice our environment along the way, or if we fail to prepare for the future. That’s why we are transitioning to a clean, green carbon neutral New Zealand.

But of course, we are nothing without our people. We have set ourselves some big goals, like ensuring that everyone who is able is either earning, learning, caring or volunteering – including making the first year of tertiary study completely free of fees.

We’re supporting healthier, safer and more connected communities, ensuring everyone has a warm, dry home, and last but not least, making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.

This agenda is personal to me.

I am the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction.

If I were to sum up our agenda though, it would be simple. I want to demonstrate that politics doesn’t have to be about three or four year cycles. It doesn’t have to be self-interested or have a singular focus.

It can think about long term challenges, and respond to them. It can be designed to think about the impact on others, and show that it’s making a difference. And it can even be kind.

As an international community I am constantly heartened by our ability to take a multilateral approach, to sign up to a set of aspirations that are values based.

But perhaps it’s time to also challenge ourselves to move beyond aspiration to action.

That is what we will be doing in our corner of the world.

And I can assure you we will never, never, never give up.

Highly idealistic. It will be good if some of this can be achieved reasonably well over time.

This is in stark contrast to the succession of problems of competence the government is having to deal with back here while she is away in New York – the realities of politics can be quite different to the lofty speech written rhetoric.

Ardern has already stumbled on her ideal of ‘open transparent government’, this has blown up further in her absence this week.

She has admirable goals, and is adept at talking the talk, but the challenge for her and her government will be walking the walk. They seem to be stumbling somewhat more than she cares to admit.

It will take time to see whether New Zealand will improve noticeably under Ardern’s leadership. If things like inequality, child poverty and climate change are substantially improved she will have done very well, but it will take much more than successful speeches on the world stage.

Trump to UN: “We reject the ideology of globalism and accept the ideology of patriotism”

Donald Trump has just finished his speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

Full text of Trump’s speech here.

Today, I stand before the United Nations General Assembly to share the extraordinary progress we’ve made.

In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.
America’s — so true. (Laughter.) Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay. (Laughter and applause.)

The audience was quite different to his usual self-lauding rallies where his grandiose claims are accepted without question or sniggering.

America’s economy is booming like never before. Since my election, we’ve added $10 trillion in wealth. The stock market is at an all-time high in history, and jobless claims are at a 50-year low.

We have passed the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. We’ve started the construction of a major border wall, and we have greatly strengthened border security.

We have secured record funding for our military — $700 billion this year, and $716 billion next year. Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before.

In other words, the United States is stronger, safer, and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago.

We are standing up for America and for the American people. And we are also standing up for the world.

That’s a bit contradictory.

This is great news for our citizens and for peace-loving people everywhere.

Each of us here today is the emissary of a distinct culture, a rich history, and a people bound together by ties of memory, tradition, and the values that make our homelands like nowhere else on Earth.

That is why America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination.

His attempts at coercion and his threats receive more attention than cooperation.

With support from many countries here today, we have engaged with North Korea to replace the specter of conflict with a bold and new push for peace.

I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken, though much work remains to be done. The sanctions will stay in place until denuclearization occurs.

There is a lot still to be done in US-North Korean relations.

In the Middle East, our new approach is also yielding great strides and very historic change.

That’s highly debatable.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have pledged billions of dollars to aid the people of Syria and Yemen. And they are pursuing multiple avenues to ending Yemen’s horrible, horrific civil war.

The ongoing tragedy in Syria is heartbreaking. Our shared goals must be the de-escalation of military conflict, along with a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. In this vein, we urge the United Nations-led peace process be reinvigorated. But, rest assured, the United States will respond if chemical weapons are deployed by the Assad regime.

Two brutal ongoing civil wars does not look like progress, and that’s just the current violence besetting the Middle East.

Every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must also include a strategy to address the brutal regime that has fueled and financed it: the corrupt dictatorship in Iran.

Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death, and destruction. They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.

No progress there.

This year, we also took another significant step forward in the Middle East. In recognition of every sovereign state to determine its own capital, I moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

That may have been progress applauded by the Israeli government, but it was not widely supported and did nothing to resolve the Palestinian problems.

The United States is committed to a future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That aim is advanced, not harmed, by acknowledging the obvious facts.

Yeah, right.

America’s policy of principled realism means we will not be held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies, and so-called experts who have been proven wrong over the years, time and time again. This is true not only in matters of peace, but in matters of prosperity.

We believe that trade must be fair and reciprocal. The United States will not be taken advantage of any longer.

Instead under trump they are trying to use their size and power to force trade agreements favourable to the US.

For decades, the United States opened its economy — the largest, by far, on Earth — with few conditions. We allowed foreign goods from all over the world to flow freely across our borders.

Yet, other countries did not grant us fair and reciprocal access to their markets in return.

“Few conditions” and the one-sideness of this is debatable.

For this reason, we are systematically renegotiating broken and bad trade deals.

Trade deals done in good faith between the US and other countries.

Last month, we announced a groundbreaking U.S.-Mexico trade agreement. And just yesterday, I stood with President Moon to announce the successful completion of the brand new U.S.-Korea trade deal. And this is just the beginning.

Many nations in this hall will agree that the world trading system is in dire need of change. For example, countries were admitted to the World Trade Organization that violate every single principle on which the organization is based. While the United States and many other nations play by the rules, these countries use government-run industrial planning and state-owned enterprises to rig the system in their favor. They engage in relentless product dumping, forced technology transfer, and the theft of intellectual property.

But those days are over. We will no longer tolerate such abuse. We will not allow our workers to be victimized, our companies to be cheated, and our wealth to be plundered and transferred. America will never apologize for protecting its citizens.

The United States has just announced tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese-made goods for a total, so far, of $250 billion. I have great respect and affection for my friend, President Xi, but I have made clear our trade imbalance is just not acceptable. China’s market distortions and the way they deal cannot be tolerated.

Trump has openly precipitated (and bragged about winning) a trade war that may have serious repercussions to trade around the world, including New Zealand. Slapping on massive tariffs is not a great way of “systematically renegotiating” trade deals.

As my administration has demonstrated, America will always act in our national interest.

That’s pretty much the aim of any country.

I spoke before this body last year and warned that the U.N. Human Rights Council had become a grave embarrassment to this institution, shielding egregious human rights abusers while bashing America and its many friends.

So the United States took the only responsible course: We withdrew from the Human Rights Council, and we will not return until real reform is enacted.

For similar reasons, the United States will provide no support in recognition to the International Criminal Court. As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority. The ICC claims near-universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country, violating all principles of justice, fairness, and due process. We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy.

Trump wants no international accountability on human rights and international justice.

America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.

Around the world, responsible nations must defend against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance, but also from other, new forms of coercion and domination.

Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers.

It has been the formal policy of our country since President Monroe that we reject the interference of foreign nations in this hemisphere and in our own affairs.

Highly ironic given the history of US interference in other countries.

The United States is also working with partners in Latin America to confront threats to sovereignty from uncontrolled migration. Tolerance for human struggling and human smuggling and trafficking is not humane.

Illegal immigration funds criminal networks, ruthless gangs, and the flow of deadly drugs. Illegal immigration exploits vulnerable populations, hurts hardworking citizens, and has produced a vicious cycle of crime, violence, and poverty. Only by upholding national borders, destroying criminal gangs, can we break this cycle and establish a real foundation for prosperity.

But it’s not this simple. Many of those trying to immigrate into the US are trying to escape human struggling and suffering. The US has a right to stop illegal immigrants, but that doesn’t address a lot of suffering.

Ultimately, the only long-term solution to the migration crisis is to help people build more hopeful futures in their home countries. Make their countries great again.

A good ideal, but Trump’s actions don’t fit with helping with this.

Virtually everywhere socialism or communism has been tried, it has produced suffering, corruption, and decay. Socialism’s thirst for power leads to expansion, incursion, and oppression. All nations of the world should resist socialism and the misery that it brings to everyone.

That doesn’t fit with “I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions.”

We are grateful for all the work the United Nations does around the world to help people build better lives for themselves and their families.

The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid.

Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends. And we expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defense.

That won’t do anything towards making broken countries ‘great again’.  It exacerbates ‘them versus us’.

The United States is committed to making the United Nations more effective and accountable. I have said many times that the United Nations has unlimited potential. As part of our reform effort, I have told our negotiators that the United States will not pay more than 25 percent of the U.N. peacekeeping budget. This will encourage other countries to step up, get involved, and also share in this very large burden.

Perhaps paying and doing less will leave gaps for other countries to step up into, but I’m not sure that will lead to outcomes that the US will want to see.

Only when each of us does our part and contributes our share can we realize the U.N.’s highest aspirations. We must pursue peace without fear, hope without despair, and security without apology.

One of the biggest problems with the Security Council is the power of veto by the US and six other countries. No sign of addressing that.

The whole world is richer, humanity is better, because of this beautiful constellation of nations, each very special, each very unique, and each shining brightly in its part of the world.

In each one, we see awesome promise of a people bound together by a shared past and working toward a common future.

As for Americans, we know what kind of future we want for ourselves. We know what kind of a nation America must always be.

In America, we believe in the majesty of freedom and the dignity of the individual. We believe in self-government and the rule of law. And we prize the culture that sustains our liberty -– a culture built on strong families, deep faith, and fierce independence. We celebrate our heroes, we treasure our traditions, and above all, we love our country.

Inside everyone in this great chamber today, and everyone listening all around the globe, there is the heart of a patriot that feels the same powerful love for your nation, the same intense loyalty to your homeland.

The passion that burns in the hearts of patriots and the souls of nations has inspired reform and revolution, sacrifice and selflessness, scientific breakthroughs, and magnificent works of art.

Our task is not to erase it, but to embrace it. To build with it. To draw on its ancient wisdom. And to find within it the will to make our nations greater, our regions safer, and the world better.

This sounds very written. It doesn’t sound at all like Trump at his rallies.

To unleash this incredible potential in our people, we must defend the foundations that make it all possible. Sovereign and independent nations are the only vehicle where freedom has ever survived, democracy has ever endured, or peace has ever prospered. And so we must protect our sovereignty and our cherished independence above all.

When we do, we will find new avenues for cooperation unfolding before us. We will find new passion for peacemaking rising within us. We will find new purpose, new resolve, and new spirit flourishing all around us, and making this a more beautiful world in which to live.

So together, let us choose a future of patriotism, prosperity, and pride. Let us choose peace and freedom over domination and defeat. And let us come here to this place to stand for our people and their nations, forever strong, forever sovereign, forever just, and forever thankful for the grace and the goodness and the glory of God.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the nations of the world.

A pity about the God references.

There is a lot of carefully thought through and written rhetoric in this speech. There is nothing particularly new or divisive or derisive. It’s hardly ground changing or world changing.

There is a clash between two things – patriotism and self interests for individual nations (particularly the US), and the need for international cooperation. A functional peaceful world requires a balance of both. I’m not sure that Trump himself understands balance.

 

 

 

Ardern announces in New York an increase in NZ’s Pacific climate commitment

As a keynote speaker in New York at the launch of Climate Week NYC, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced an  increase in New Zealand’s global climate finance commitment “to $300 million over four years”.

When you read through the press release it is clarified as “a significant increase on our existing commitment of $200m in the four years to 2019” – so an increase of $100m over four years, or $25m per year, from an already announced budget.

Beehive: New Zealand increases climate finance commitment to Pacific

The Prime Minister is in New York attending the United Nations Leaders Week and action on climate change is high on her agenda.

The increased investment is being made from New Zealand’s Overseas Development Assistance, which was increased by nearly 30% ($NZ714 million) in Budget 2018 to support the Pacific Reset.

“This funding allocation will focus on practical action that will help Pacific countries adapt to climate change and build resilience. For example, providing support for coastal adaptation in Tokelau to reduce the risks of coastal inundation;  and continuing our efforts to strengthen water security across the Pacific, building on current initiatives such as those in Kiribati where we are working to provide community rainwater harvesting systems and are investing in desalination,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“New Zealand is fully committed to the Paris Agreement and to taking urgent action to support our transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy.

“New Zealand is committing to providing at least $300m over four years in climate-related development assistance, with most of this going to the Pacific.

“We have a responsibility of care for the environment in which we live, but the challenge of climate change requires us to look beyond our domestic borders, and in New Zealand’s case towards the Pacific.

“The focus of this financial support is on creating new areas of growth and opportunity for Pacific communities.  We want to support our Pacific neighbours to make the transition to a low carbon economy without hurting their existing economic base.

“Climate change is a priority area for New Zealand’s Pacific Reset announced by Foreign Minister Peters in February. This commitment of $300m over four years is a significant increase on our existing commitment of $200m in the four years to 2019.

“We recognise our neighbours in the Pacific region are uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This week I will be making a number of representations alongside our Pacific neighbours to ensure the world is aware of the impact of climate change in our region and the cost of inaction.

“This funding will complement our ongoing support to help developing countries in the Pacific and beyond meet their emissions targets through renewable energy and agriculture initiatives,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Ardern’s speech to the opening ceremony of Climate Week NYC:


Kaitiakitanga: Protecting our planet

President Moïse; Secretary Espinosa; Governor Brown

I’d like to begin with a word often used in New Zealand, that you may not – until now – have ever had the opportunity to hear: kaitiakitanga.

It’s Te Reo Māori, a word in the language of indigenous New Zealanders, and in my mind, it captures the sentiment of why we are here.

It means ‘guardianship’. But not just guardianship, but the responsibility of care for the environment in which we live, and the idea that we have a duty of care that eventually hands to the next generation, and the one after.

We all hold this responsibility in our own nations, but the challenge of climate change requires us to look beyond the domestic. Our duty of care is as global as the challenge of climate change.

In the Pacific, we feel that acutely as do countries like Bangladesh where land is literally being lost, and fresh water is being inundated with salt water due to climate change.

There is no doubt that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation.

Whether there will be enough food and freshwater.  Whether our towns and cities will be free from inundation from rising seas or extreme rainfalls and devastating storms.  Whether the biodiversity that lends our planet its richness and its resilience will survive.  Whether the growth and economic development that provided an incredible path to lift people out of poverty will be stunted by the widespread, systemic impacts of climate change.

There is no country, no region that does not already feel the impacts of climate change.  For New Zealand’s neighbours in the Pacific, who are already losing their soil and freshwater resources to salt from the ocean, these are not hypothetical questions.  They are immediate questions of survival.

Although New Zealand accounts for a tiny percentage of global emissions – only 0.16 percent – we recognise the importance of doing our part.

But more importantly we recognise that global challenges require everyone’s attention and action. And we all have responsibility to care for the earth in the face of climate change.

This is not the time to apportion responsibility, this is the time to work across borders and to do everything we can by working together.

We are working internationally and want to do more to share research and ideas, build opportunities together with other nations.

New Zealand is fully committed to the Paris Agreement and we are taking urgent action to transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy.  Our focus is on doing this in a way that creates new areas of growth and opportunity for our communities.

At home, my Minister for Climate Change is this week preparing a Zero Carbon Bill to legislate an ambitious goal that would be fully aligned with the Paris Agreement’s objective for the world to become carbon neutral in the second half of this century. We have already put in place some of the measures to get us there.

We are reviewing New Zealand’s emission trading scheme, to ensure it helps us deliver a net zero-emissions future.

We have a target of planting 1 billion trees over the next decade.

And we are no longer issuing permits for offshore oil and gas exploration.

It has been encouraging to see the groundswell of support for ambitious climate action in New Zealand.  60 CEOs representing half of all New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions have committed to action. Our largest dairy company and major agricultural producers have declared themselves up for the challenge.

Local governments have long-term plans not only to adapt to climate change but to drive deep emissions reductions.  Communities and families are taking up the cause.  New Zealanders understand that it is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.

The conversation has shifted dramatically. It was only 10 years ago that I was asked about climate change in a town hall election meeting. When I spoke passionately about our need to respond to this challenge, I was met with a boo that moved across the entire audience.

Now, the debate is no longer whether climate change is a threat, but how we can use our policies, actions and international linkages to drive the move to a low-emissions and inclusive society.  We know that the scale of this transformation is huge, and we are determined to leave no-one behind.  It will be a ‘just transition’ that works with people who might be affected, and turns this challenge into an opportunity.

In New Zealand’s home region of the Pacific we will work with others to support stronger and more resilient infrastructure, strengthened disaster preparedness, and low-carbon economic growth through both our funding commitments and by bringing good ideas to the table.

To support developing countries respond to the impacts of climate change, New Zealand will spend at least $300 million in climate-related development assistance over the next 4 years, with the majority of this to be spent in the Pacific.

We recognise that climate change poses a security threat to vulnerable nations, including our Pacific neighbours.

We understand that climate change brings new challenges to international legal frameworks.

As climate change causes sea-levels to rise, coastal states face the risk of shrinking maritime zones as their baselines move inward.

New Zealand firmly believes that coastal states’ baselines and maritime boundaries should not have to change because of human-induced sea level rise.

We are beginning work on a strategy to achieve the objective of preserving the current balance of rights and obligations under UNCLOS. Our goal is to find a way, as quickly as possible, to provide certainty to vulnerable coastal states that they will not lose access to their marine resources and current entitlements. We seek your support as we work to ensure that these states maintain their rights over their maritime zones in the face of sea-level rise.

You are all here today because you understand the need for global action to solve this global problem.  My government is committed to leadership both at home and abroad.

On the international stage we are pushing for the reform of fossil fuel subsidies; the $460 billion spent each year that works against climate ambition and could be better spent on building resilient societies.

We are leading research and collaboration on climate change and agriculture, including with many of you here today in the Global Research Alliance.  At COP24 we hope to see many of you at a New Zealand-led event on sustainable agriculture and climate change.  We’re aiming to encourage action to capture the ‘triple win’ – increasing agricultural productivity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthening resilience to climate change impacts.

We are undertaking research in Antarctica to better understand the crucial role it plays in global systems, and the far reaching effects environmental change in Antarctica will have.

We, with the Marshall Islands, Sweden and France are building a Towards Carbon Neutrality Coalition. The 16 countries and 32 cities in the Coalition are developing long-term strategies for deep cuts of emissions in line with the long-term temperature limit goals we all agreed to in the Paris Agreement.

This week President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands and I are hosting the first high-level meeting of the Coalition.  We’re going to launch the Coalition’s new Plan of Action and announce new members.

We are proud to join many of you in ambitious initiatives like the High Ambition Coalition, Powering Past Coal and the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Working Group.

And in the UNFCCC we are strong supporters of the Global Climate Action Agenda, with a special focus on agriculture.

Underpinning all of this action is the Paris Agreement and the critical decisions that will be made in Katowice this December. The rules that are agreed must be robust and credible, so that the Paris Agreement is effective and enduring.  The world can only reach the Paris goals if we have clarity and confidence about each other’s commitments and action.

As I have said to my fellow New Zealanders, I refuse to accept that the challenge of climate change is too hard to solve.  So, I join you today necessarily hopeful.  Hopeful that, if we genuinely commit to finding solutions together, no issue is truly unsolvable.

And hopeful that we, the 193 members states of the United Nations, can work towards solutions that deliver for our people.  Peace.  Dignity.  A good quality of life.  A resilient and sustainable future, and fulfilling the responsibility that is kaitiakitanga.

Ardern: “Working together to build a new economy”

The big news from Jacinda Ardern’s Westpac speech on business confidence this morning to is Ardern announces Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, but there are other things of interest in her speech.

Working together to build a new economy

In fact it wasn’t too long ago that I stood amongst you and spoke about our economic agenda.

I also spoke about the issue of business confidence. I called it the elephant in the room. Well I am here this morning to tell you that I have changed my mind.

Not on our economic agenda – I remain more convinced than ever that it is required, but on the issue of business confidence.

It is not the elephant in the room, it’s a flashing great neon sign with giant lights and fireworks going off behind it. We are all talking about it, and there is nothing wrong with that.

That is why this speech was the first thing I announced the day I returned to work.

Because we have an economic agenda which responds to so many of the issues that have been raised time and time again, and because if there are concerns, or issues, both within our control and outside of our control – then lets tackle them head on, and lets do that together.

The business confidence paradox

When you line up business confidence with key economic performance measures over the last two governments there appears to be an inverse relationship between business confidence and the actual performance of the economy.

For instance, average business confidence scores under the Clark/Cullen Government were much lower than the Key/English Government, despite Clark and Cullen delivering higher average growth, lower unemployment, lower debt, larger surpluses and stronger wage growth than their successors.

We appear to have inherited a similar conundrum, we’ve run a strong surplus, have the best net international investment position ever recorded, stable and low interest rates forecast for some time which ought to spur investment and the lowest unemployment rate in a decade.

That then begs the question, if it’s not the overall economic indicators that is driving these figures, then what is? I have discussed this question with both business leaders and representatives, colleagues and officials. The answers I have had back are almost as diverse as the groups I have asked.

Certainty

As I travel around the country, the issue of certainty is an underlying theme. Whether you are a social service, a health organisation, or a business, knowing what a new government has planned is critical to your eco system. I utterly understand that. In fact, I have considerable empathy for that desire too.

As a politician with quite a diverse government and the scrutiny of a three yearly very public performance appraisal, I will take certainty when I can get it.

From a business perspective, I understand the desire for certainty in order to make decisions big and small, ranging from the risk of taking on an extra hire through to multi-million dollar investment decisions, and you need to understand that the climate you operate in today will be broadly the same tomorrow.

But certainty shouldn’t be confused for stasis and complacency, which are the enemy of progress, and for that matter the enemy of innovation.

The reality is that our economy faces a number of challenges, global in their nature, that by working together we must confront to protect our long term prosperity.

Skills shortages, lack of investment in the productive economy, a shallow national pool of capital, an infrastructure deficit, low productivity, building sustainable business practices in the wake of environmental degradation, and the challenges of what can broadly be called the future of work.

The jarring way in which we came out from under the cloak of protectionism in the early 80s saw over a hundred thousand workers lose their jobs and the genesis of many of the social challenges we are now working to fix decades later. This must not be repeated.

And for that, we need a plan.

It is time to retool our economy to make it work within the limits of our environment, shape it to deliver on the hopes and aspirations of all our people, and for our economic purpose to be bigger than just profit.

From reform of the Reserve Bank where we are including maximum sustainable employment as an objective, to getting active in the housing market, building modern transport infrastructure and setting ambitious emission reduction targets – we are renovating the existing legislative and policy architecture to bring it up to the new code our economy needs.

Government decision making

We are an MMP government at its best and our structure ensures that on every decision a range of views are heard. The outcome reflects the breadth of input and leads to better decisions.

Hardly a model for fast and unexpected change – in fact all change is negotiated, but a model that I believe serves us well.

Business Partnership Agenda

Today we are launching a publication that outlines this agenda and brings together the strands of this Government’s economic strategy.

Our overall objective is to build a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.

On each score we have some way to go. When it comes to productivity, the OECD has said we are “well below leading OECD countries, restraining living standards and well-being”.

We need to transition from growth dominated by population increase and housing speculation, to build an economy, that as I said, is genuinely productive, sustainable and inclusive.

That’s the why. Now what about the how. For that, I want to share with you the top lines of our economic strategy so everyone is clear about our key priorities that you can engage with us, but also so you can hold us to account against some key measurables.

First we want to grow and share more fairly New Zealand’s prosperity.

That means the gap between the highest and lowest income and wealth deciles reduces, real per capita income increases; the value and diversity of our exports grows and home ownership increases.

Second we want to support thriving and sustainable regions that benefit from an equitable share of sustainable economic growth. We want to see key regions show improvement in employment and income distribution figures and the number of businesses in key regions growing.

Third we want to deliver responsible governance with a broader measure of success. The Finance Minister is already working on the Government’s measures of success to ensure they better reflect New Zealanders’ lives.

Next year we will be the first country in the world to deliver a Wellbeing Budget. This process is underway and will see an overhaul of how the Budget is written and the objectives that it sets.

Finally this Government is committed to transitioning to a clean, green carbon neutral New Zealand. We plan to put New Zealand on a clear path to a net-zero emission future and a healthy environment.

My message to you all is this – now is the time to be involved and help shape this work for a better economy.

Industrial relations and immigration settings

In amongst this new agenda is also the work that we are undertaking on industrial relations and immigration settings – two areas that do come up from time to time.

I understand the tension that addressing these issues can bring. The reality of making payroll, investing back into the business for future growth and keeping the lights on.

The underlying fundamentals of our industrial laws are working well, but we do need to address some of the imbalances that have been generated over recent years.

A lot of waffle on this.

Then Ardern announces Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.

Conclusion

I am confident that by working together we can overcome the challenges facing our economy and society.

We will not be an idle Government, and I won’t be an idle Prime Minister.

We are promoting change because without change our businesses and our economy are at risk. But change does not need to breed uncertainty, not when instead it can breed opportunity.

I have confidence that our relationship will thrive, that our agenda will successfully tackle the challenges we face, and that our shared achievements for the country will leave a lasting legacy future generations will thank us for.

Now let’s get on with it.

Apart from announcing the Business Advisory Council there doesn’t seem to be much new here, it is largely a promotion of the Government agenda – she used the work agenda 12 times – and trying to promote confidence in the changes they want to make to “successfully tackle the challenges we face”.

I don’t know what business people will take from her speech. There doesn’t seem to be much in specifics.

Full speech notes at Scoop.

Marama Davidson’s conference speech

Co-leader Marama Davidson’s speech at the 2018 Green party conference.

Karanga Hokianga, ki o tamariki, he uri rātou, he mōrehu.

Kohikohia rā, kei ngā hau e wha

Kōrerotia – ko wai rātou.

Kōrerotia – ko wai rātou.

Kei aku nui, kei aku rahi, i te tī, i te tā – tēnā koutou.

Rangitāne, ka tū te manawa i tō whenua ātaahua, i ō manaaki ki a mātou, hei te mana o te whenua – tēnā koutou.

Ki a koutou te hunga kākāriki, nāku te whiwhi kia kōrero atu ki a koutou i tāku hui-ā-tau tuatahi hei kaiārahi takirua o te rōpū nei – tēnā koutou.

Kia ora tātou katoa.

Hokianga Whakapau Karakia

Exactly a week ago I was being called on to my marae in Whirinaki, in Hokianga, by my home people.

They had been planning this event for months to celebrate my election as Co-leader of the Green Party. Their pride in me was humbling.

I was joined by my other hapū from across the Hokianga harbour, Ngāi Tūpoto, and a large presence from the Green Party, including my Co-leader James Shaw.

In my kōrero to my hapū I recalled stories of my childhood.

Of being raised at the foot of my maunga, Te Ramaroa.

Of swimming in my Whirinaki awa.

Of gathering seafood from our Hokianga moana.

Of being sustained and nourished by the bounty of our whenua, our gardens and our trees.

There was laughter across the wharekai as I talked about a bunch of my tutu cousins and I almost setting the hill on fire.

My home peoples’ faces burst with love as I talked about our old people, who have mostly passed on, who cooked for us, looked after our marae, embraced our traditions.

They taught us how to care for our whenua and our water, taught us how to care for each other collectively, ensured that we knew who we were, and how we connected to our place.

I talked about Aunty Josie’s delicious cooking.

And Aunty Lucy’s quiet yet staunch karanga.

And about Aunty Queenie Broughton’s beautiful flower garden.

I recalled Uncle Brian and Aunty Kiri Wikaira taking my whole family into their home because we felt we urgently needed to be back there.

And about my Uncle Nia who is like another father to me, who was always taking a bunch of us Valley kids to kapa haka, to sport, to the Ngāwha pools.

As my home people sat there listening to me I admitted that while I never dreamed of being Green Party Co-leader, being there with them that day made me realise that maybe my tupuna did.

It was these basic things that defined our existence; a need for our river to be clean, a reliance on our moana to be healthy and when one of us needed support, the whole Valley stepped up.

It is those realities that also define my politics.

Those teachings drive my aspirations for our communities, for Aotearoa, for the world.

Planning for future generations

Our country faces huge challenges that we must meet head on.

People are struggling even in paid work to pay their rent and buy healthy food.

More and more rivers are becoming too polluted for us to swim in.

Too many families are continuing to be harmed by persistent violence.

This degradation is the result of a system that pits us against each other and collectively against our earth, for the benefit of the few.

This stands in complete contrast to my upbringing that I just talked about, which made me recognise that our power lies in coming together and understanding our role as kaitiaki of our natural world.

Recalling our ancient wisdoms, harnessing our innovations, and pulling together for the generations ahead, is the only way we will get through.

When my hapū talk about strategic planning we don’t talk about one-year, or three-year, or even ten-year strategies, we talk about planning for seven generations ahead.

Looking at the challenges ahead of us through that lens, we realise just how immense they really are.

In seven generations will my hapū still be able to sustain ourselves from our land and water as we have always done?

Will our indigenous species, such as the majestic kauri trees of Waipoua forest, still exist?

Will we even have a habitable planet to live on?

There is no time for complacency or half-measures.

No time for tinkering around the edges of the status quo.

We know that what is required is transformative and systemic change.

Delivering in Government

In the short time the Greens have been in Government, we have set the country on that path.

We have delivered a fundamental shift in environmental policy in Aotearoa.

In Budget 2018, the greenest Budget in our history, Hon. Eugenie Sage, as our Green Minister of Conservation, negotiated the largest funding increase for DoC in 16 years.

After years and years of neglect, we have a government that is backing nature and investing in conservation.

The dollar figures are huge, an extra $181 million over the next four years is a massive boost for conservation – for DOC to work with hapū and iwi, councils and communities, to turn our predator crisis around and protect our indigenous species and the places they live.

Ending offshore oil and gas exploration has long been a key goal of the Greens.

Before I entered Parliament, I stood with communities in the North, on the East Coast and in Taranaki, to stop oil exploration and drilling in our oceans.

And now we’ve delivered on it, making history.

This Government drew a line in the sand and said no new offshore oil and gas permits.

But the decision to stop new exploration wasn’t in our Confidence and Supply Agreement with Labour.

It was possible because we are partners of this Government, because we are committed to transformational change, and because we can influence what happens at the highest levels.

I want to acknowledge the amazing work of Green MP Gareth Hughes in negotiating this end to offshore oil and gas permits.

And backed up by the sustained and powerful campaigning of tangata whenua, activists, communities and environmental NGOs, change happened.

When the pundits and mischief makers try and tell you the Greens no longer know what it means to be Green, or that we’ve lost our environmental focus, just remind them of this.

In the space of only ten months we have already put an end to offshore oil drilling and stopped an open-cast coal mine at Te Kuha.

We’ve put us on the path to phase out plastic bags, and secured massive funding commitments on conservation, climate change and public transport.

While there is still much work to do to implement that agreement, we are also not content with that alone.

I am so proud of my role as a non-ministerial Co-leader. It is my job to lead our engagement with communities and with our membership – to always be a champion for our kaupapa and the flaxroots of the movement.

We know that in some areas we need to negotiate and work with our Government partners to go even further, to be even bolder.

One of those areas is freshwater – our wai.

Championing freshwater

Our environment depends on it.

It’s the lifeblood of our communities – ko te wai te ora o ngā mea katoa.

The Greens have long championed protecting freshwater and cleaning up our rivers and lakes. We put this issue on the political agenda and now all parties acknowledge it needs addressing.

This term we have already secured a win to wind-down Government subsidies of large-scale irrigation schemes.

It cannot be overstated just how significant this is.

We have negotiated stronger regulatory instruments to deal with pollution, and more funding for freshwater restoration.

And I am proud to say that the Green Party has secured yet another Government commitment to further protect our water.

We heard the calls from communities around New Zealand and have worked with our Government partners to protect our water from sale.

I’m stoked to announce today that the review of the Overseas Investment Act will now look at putting the protection of water at the heart of decision-making.

Changing the law and making water extraction one of the issues to be considered when overseas corporates apply to buy rural land would ensure that this and future governments recognise that water is ours, and that it’s a vital natural asset.

Water should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Changing the law is a key step towards protecting it for the generations ahead.

Minister Sage and I will keep pushing hard to see that this change is included in the reforms that come out of the review.

We need to ensure that we are not giving away water to foreign corporations to bottle, export, and reap profits from, at the expense of New Zealand’s long-term interests.

The Greens leadership is still needed.

Our rivers are clogged with excess nitrates, sediment and e-coli contamination.

They are literally drying up due to over allocation.

The freshwater standards for pollutants need to be drastically strengthened and rigorously enforced.

As was highlighted in a report released just this week by Forest & Bird, we cannot only rely on nitrate measurement and farm plans monitored by overstretched regional councils.

Government must actively promote sustainable land use; we need to accelerate riparian planting, and support farmers to shift up the value chain to grow the value of our rural economy.

But we cannot go on the way we are.

I want to acknowledge and celebrate the Government farmer, Landcorp, for their leadership towards a modern greener model of agriculture.

We should be a world leader in organics and in sustainable agriculture.

Our point of difference on the world stage lies in our clean green brand and we can be adding even more value to our exports by following the example of many farmers who have already recognised this.

Clean freshwater is not a nice to have after we make a profit off it, it is life for land and people.

And we must honour the rights, interests and responsibilities of tangata whenua in freshwater.

It should be for hapū and iwi to lead us on what that looks like.

Outright ownership of water is anathema to both Māori and Green values.

If anything, the water owns us.

The Greens recognise the intrinsic value of freshwater and its inalienable right to be protected from pollution and over-use.

But we are also very clear that Māori have rangatira and kaitiaki rights over water, guaranteed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The Crown has a responsibility to work alongside tangata whenua in a spirit of true partnership for the protection and restoration of our water.

On this, the Greens are holding true to our longstanding position.

The Te Awa Tupua Act 2017 received huge international coverage as it set a precedent in law to recognise water, the Whanganui awa, as a living entity, and for mana whenua decision making authority to be recognised as central to its protection and restoration.

We need to build on this work.

Protecting the environment and recognising Māori rights go hand-in-hand.

You cannot achieve one without the other.

As we saw in our Rivers Tour in the last parliamentary term, led by former Green MP Catherine Delahunty, tangata whenua and communities are at the forefront of cleaning up our waterways.

Right around the country it is hapū, iwi and rural communities who are doing the urgent work on the ground; fencing, riparian planting, and pushing for sustainable land use decisions.

As Co-leader and Water spokesperson I will continue to stand alongside those communities in pushing for what’s needed to restore the right of all children in Aotearoa to be able to swim in their local river.

E te whānau kākāriki, as we reflect on nearly a year as a first-time party of government, we have so much to be proud of.

But there’s still so much more work to do.

To restore our natural world, stabilise our climate and bring about economic justice for all people.

We need you, our members, alongside us every single step of the way. James, the MPs and I cannot do this on our own.

It’s going to take every one of us if we are going to succeed in transforming our country and our world.

And there’s no time to waste.

Nō reira, huri rauna i tēnei whakaruruhau o tātou​

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

Shaw speech to IPCC Working Group on Land

Minister of Climate Change James Shaw has given a speech at the opening of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group on Land being held in Christchurch this week.

On Climate Policy:

Our new Government has made the commitment that we here in New Zealand will hit this target by the very beginning of the second half of the Century, in the year 2050.

Across Government we are setting targets for different sectors consistent with this commitment.

For example, we aim to be producing 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035, or sooner.

One recent estimate suggests that $19 billion of assets are at risk from sea level rise and flooding events – including 5 airports, 50 kilometres of rail, 2,000 kilometres of road and 40,000 homes.

Another report estimates that “the costs of weather events to New Zealand’s land transport network alone have increased in the last 10 years from $20 million a year to over $90 million annually.”

Quite literally – we cannot afford to ignore climate change and do nothing about reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

That government report (Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group) I released last year explains why, because, the report says, “Overall, the cost to New Zealand of climate change impacts and adapting to them are expected to be higher than the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

In other words, it’s more cost-effective to transition to a net zero emissions economy than pay for the repairs and clean ups.

So we plan to lock that commitment into law with the Zero Carbon Act.

On land use:

We are a small country with a big reliance on agriculture.

No other countries include agriculture in their emissions schemes so we’re considering largely uncharted territory here.

But when I was at COP23 in Bonn last November, a number of countries, who are starting to realise they’ll also have to deal with agricultural emissions soon, asked me what we’re planning.

Given New Zealand has such significant agricultural emissions, and given we have a long history of agricultural innovation and adaptability, we need to look at the issue and look at it as quickly as possible if we want to catch the crest of that particular wave.

So, we will establish an interim Climate Change Committee to begin work on the agricultural emissions question until we’ve established the full Commission under the Zero Carbon Act around the latter half of next year.

On trees:

We intend to see one billion trees planted over the next 10 years.

It’s about getting the right mix of slow-growing indigenous tree plantations combined with much faster growing exotic species.

The right mix and locations will bring a number of benefits:

  • There’s carbon sequestration. NZ indigenous trees are incredibly efficient as carbon sinks, but they’re slow to get there.
  • Another benefit is restoring biodiversity with the right planting in the right areas.
  • Water quality can be improved and sedimentation run-off controlled.
  • And forestry can stabilise erosion-prone land. Currently we lose 200 million tonnes of soil to the sea every year.
  • Plus, it promises a lot of jobs in parts of New Zealand that need them.

Conclusion:

New Zealand is embarking on the kind of reform and transformation we haven’t seen for more than 30 years.

As Minister for Climate Change, I am proud that New Zealand is hosting you, and I am proud of the work New Zealanders do in the IPCC and other international climate forums.

30 years ago New Zealand took a moral stand against nuclear weapons and has worked internationally since then for international non-proliferation and disarmament.

Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called climate change the nuclear free moment of this generation.

If we want to help lead the world towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, we must create a moral mandate underpinned by decisive action at home to reduce our own emissions.

The science and evidence base that you people in this room build, and the very important work you do to communicate it to policy-makers is fundamental to what I and my political colleagues must do.

The science is settled; largely thanks to the work of the IPCC; both in collating the evidence and in communicating it.

It is now up to politicians, business leaders and communities to make the hard decisions about what to do to reduce emissions and to adapt to the changing climate.

 

Trump’s State of the Union speech

President Donald Trump has given his ‘State of the Union’ speech.

RCP: Full Replay/Transcript: President Trump Delivers 2018 State Of The Union Address

It will please some, who would have been pleased regardless.

It will dismay some, who would have been dismayed regardless.

It will have angered some, who would have been angered regardless.

I really can’t be bothered checking it out, but here’s something on it from Politico: Trump offers same policies in new bipartisan packaging

In his first State of the Union address, the president positions immigration and infrastructure proposals as unifying initiatives.

In his first State of the Union address to Congress, President Donald Trump struck an upbeat, optimistic tone and promised to move forward with a “clear vision and a righteous mission — to make America great again for all Americans.”

Much of the speech sought to paint a portrait of a country moving ahead in a united fashion to ensure Americans a better political and financial future — a contrast in tone to the president’s often divisive rhetoric during the 2016 presidential campaign where his opponents received derogatory nicknames.

But Trump focused largely on familiar policy proposals, including on immigration and infrastructure, which he positioned as common-sense, mainstream ideas — even though Democrats have been cool or outright rejected them.

Nowhere has that been clearer than in the immigration plan outlined last week by the White House, which Trump said “generously” outlines a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants, twice as many as are currently covered under President Barack Obama’s DACA program. He committed to ending the visa lottery system and eliminating immigration preferences for extended family in favor of what he described as a merit-based system, ideas Democrats say upend the tradition of immigration laws in this country.

“It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century,” Trump argued.

But the immigration policy details spoke to the hawkish side of Republican party — breaking with the speech’s theme of bipartisan cooperation.

Trump devoted the first part of the speech to the historic tax legislation passed in December along a party-line vote. He spoke fondly of its details, including a doubling of the child tax credit and an increase in the standard deduction; and of a skyrocketing stock market that he said has helped pad Americans’ 401(k) accounts, pensions, and college savings plans.

“The era of economic surrender is over,” he declared.

Absent from Trump’s speech was any direct mention of his predecessor — even though much of Trump’s work over the past year has involved undoing Obama’s legacy, or defining himself in contrast to his 2016 campaign rival, Hillary Clinton.

Trump also made no mention of Russia or the ongoing investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, a probe that has expanded to include the question of whether Trump or people close to him obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey.

The format of the speech played to Trump’s strengths by blending policy promises and prescriptions with stories of real Americans affected by the changes his administration has made — in an attempt to turn a prime-time speech into one slightly more connected to average Americans.

The Hill: Trump makes case he’s stoking American dream

President Trump called for bipartisan action on immigration and infrastructure in his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, asking a deeply divided nation to come together after a tumultuous first year in office.

The president said his agenda is working, arguing a growing economy that he linked to the tax-cut bill passed by Congress in December has created “a new American moment.”

“To every citizen watching at home tonight, no matter where you have been or where you come from, this is your time,” Trump said. “If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve absolutely anything.”

The address comes against the backdrop of a partisan divide in Washington that has deepened since Trump’s inauguration.

Democrats, many of whom brought “Dreamers” as guests to the president’s speech, booed and hissed when the president mentioned his plans to slash the number of people who immigrate to the U.S. through family connections — a practice Trump has decried as “chain migration.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), a key Democratic negotiator on immigration, shook his head when Trump mentioned his plan to eliminate the via lottery, which allows people

Virtually no Democrats applauded any aspect of Trump’s plan, which he called a “fair compromise — one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.”

Representative Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) delivered the Democratic response.

 

James Shaw’s ‘State of the Planet’ speech

James Shaw gave the 2018 Green ‘State of the Planet’ speech yesterday:


 

Five years after the Velvet Revolution that made him President of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic, the former dissident and poet Václav Havel, said that:

“There are good reasons for suggesting that the modern age has ended.  Many things indicate that we are going through a transitional period when it seems that something is on the way out and something else is painfully being born. It is as if something were crumbling, decaying and exhausting itself, while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble.”

I was twenty-one at the time. The Cold War was over. Bill Clinton was President of the United States. Al Gore… was his Vice President. People were talking about something called the World Wide Web. My friend Danyl had told me his workplace – an IBM helpdesk – had something called ‘electronic mail’, which allowed him to write a message on his computer and have it appear instantaneously on the computer of a colleague on the other side of the world.

What a time to be alive.

It seemed to me that Havel’s words were full of a hope that we were on the verge of writing a new chapter in human history, of creating a new, fairer economic system where everyone could flourish without destroying the planet.

Well, I have to say, we’re still waiting. The post-modern ‘sustainable economy’ is taking a jolly long time to arise from the rubble of the modern age. If anything, the rubble of the modern age is accumulating around us in ever increasing piles, threatening to overwhelm us and everything else on the planet, too.

But, although this speech will, at times, foray into the downright bleak, I am enormously hopeful about the future. Because I believe that we, here in little ole New Zealand, have it within our grasp to lead a breakthrough – to finally, actually, put in place the architecture for a truly sustainable economy and to show the rest of the world how it’s done.

Green Party Co-leaders have been delivering a State of the Planet speech just about every year since we got into Parliament in 1999, an eco-centric take on the more ego-centric State of the Nation tradition.

I will start with an assessment of the State of the Planet; and New Zealand’s bit of it. That’s the bleak bit. Then I’ll talk a bit about the latest thinking in sustainable economics – an area of economics that’s becoming mainstream. And finally, I’ll propose how New Zealand can lead the way in moving the theory of sustainable economics into practice – and what a unique opportunity we have, right now, to do so.

By the end, I hope you’ll see that the Greens have a galvanising mission for our contribution to this Government and that you join us in making it happen. I find it is as inspiring as it is urgent. And it is urgent, for the State of the Planet, is, frankly, not good.

PART ONE – ASSESSMENT

We are now living in a geological epoch known as the Anthropocene – so named because the planet’s atmosphere and biosphere have been reshaped by humans at a scale normally reserved for continental realignment, Ice Ages or colossal meteor strikes, every half billion years or so.

One of the defining characteristics of the Anthropocene, as with other epochs, is the extinction of much of the world’s species. It is estimated that by the end of the 21st Century this Sixth Extinction will herald flora and fauna loss of 20 percent to 50 percent “of all living species on earth”. We are overshooting the Earth’s carrying capacity – and simultaneously overloading that carrying capacity – to the extent that we are using the equivalent of 1.6 Earth’s worth of resources every year. Something has to give.

The Earth’s mammals, birds, and fish, have declined by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012. And we’re seeing the largest drop in freshwater species: on average, there’s been a whopping 81 percent decline in that time period. 239 million hectares of natural forest cover has been lost just since 1990.

In New Zealand, three-quarters of native fish, one-third of invertebrates, and one-third of plants are threatened with, or at risk of, extinction. Eugenie, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

OCEANS: More than eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year. New Zealanders use 1.6 billion single-use plastic bags every year, many of which end up in our oceans and on our shorelines.

WASTE: Worldwide, we use one million plastic bottles every minute. On average, each New Zealander uses 168 plastic water bottles a year.

CLIMATE CHANGE: While there have been glimmers of hope with the signing of the Paris Agreement, current atmospheric concentrations of Greenhouse Gases are at 400 parts per million, the highest concentration of these gases in our atmosphere in at least the last three million years. And despite our perception of our clean and green image, Kiwis have the fifth highest emissions per person in the OECD, and our gross emissions have increased by 24 percent since 1990.

All of this means that eco-systems services – those ecological necessities for human life and wellbeing – are also on the decline:

FOOD SECURITY: There is a third less arable land now than 40 years ago, even though global food production will need to increase 50 percent by 2050 to feed a population of ten billion. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that soil degradation trends have left the planet with about sixty years of harvests remaining. Yet it is estimated that about a third of all food produced is wasted.

FRESH WATER: Nearly fifty countries experienced water stress or water scarcity in 2015, up from just over 30 in 1992; that’s an increase of 40 percent in twenty-five years.

The competition for earth’s resources is fierce:

PEACE & SECURITY: There are now 65 million forcibly displaced persons in the world, of whom 22 million are refugees, 40 million are internally displaced within their own countries.

POVERTY: Although the world has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty, the number of people living in extreme poverty remains unacceptably high with 767 million people living on less than two dollars a day. And while poverty in absolute terms has been cut, inequality is increasing at an extraordinary rate. Over the last twenty years, the wealth of the richest 1 percent increased at just shy of 200 times the wealth of the poorest 10 percent. Just eight men own as much wealth between them as the 3.6 billion poorest people in the world do collectively.

According to research undertaken by OXFAM, in New Zealand in 2017 a staggering 28 percent of wealth created went to the richest 1 percent while there are still hundreds of thousands of children growing up in poverty.

PART TWO – SUSTAINABLE ECONOMICS

So far, so bleak. Our existing economic model isn’t working.

I believe that growing impatience with some of the consequences of that model led to the change of government last year. Dirty rivers, polluted drinking water, entrenched poverty, growing wealth inequality, road congestion, house prices, homelessness – all of these contributed.

The Deputy Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Winston Peters, has said that this is the beginning of the end for neoliberalism.

But what is it the start of?

The cognitive linguist George Lakoff says that it is absolutely essential to have a compelling alternative frame if the old one is ever to be debunked. One of the reasons why it’s taking such a long time, I think, to get to a sustainable economy is that, although few people would argue against it, no one has been able to adequately describe it, in ways that sounded more credible than the linear, take-make-waste economy of the status quo.

Until fairly recently that is.

Concepts that were sketched out in the 1970s, like Walter Stahel’s Performance Economy, were built on in the 1980s by Karl-Henrik Robert in his Natural Step Framework, and in the 1990s by Paul Hawken in the Ecology of Commerce.

Michael Braungart and Bill McDonough came through in the late nineties and early 2000s with Cradle to Cradle and Janine Benyus’ Biomimicry was a real breakthrough.

In the last few years the Ellen MacArther Foundation’s work on the Circular Economy has brought all of these ideas together in a coherent whole.

Most of these were micro-economic, looking at how individual firms could redesign themselves to become more sustainable in their own right – and there followed a series of inspirational case studies, like Interface flooring, or, here in New Zealand, EcoStore.

But I think Kate Raworth of Cambridge University has probably been most successful in creating a visual model that can compete with our traditional mental models about the economy.

Essentially, two concentric circles, one inside the other.

The inner circle is the ‘social foundation’ of food, water, income, education, resilience, voice, jobs, energy, social equity, gender equality and health – those characteristics that generally trend towards social harmony and stability.

The outer circle is the ‘environmental ceiling’, the planetary boundaries described by Johan Rockstrom and the World Resources Institute.

These are freshwater use, nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, ocean acidification, chemical pollution, atmospheric aerosol loading, ozone depletion, biodiversity loss, land use change and climate change.

In between these two concentric circles is the safe and just space for humanity – an economy in which prosperity can flourish, within the Earth’s operating limits.

Ms Raworth describes this as, ‘Doughnut Economics’.

There are now some very robust models out there – and enough evidence bubbling up from different companies and countries around the world that have been trying on various ideas – to give us a pretty good idea of what a sustainable economy looks like.

The Greens in Government will be using these new models of economic thinking that balance economic and environmental and social outcomes to guide us in our decision making. We urge others to start doing the same.

Let’s talk about what it looks lik in practical terms for New Zealand.

For starters, all our energy – not just electricity, but transport fuel and industrial heat as well – would be drawn from entirely renewable sources like wind and solar, with zero pollution going into air, soil or water. That’s why the goal of 100% renewable energy generation is in our confidence and supply agreement.

We would have zero waste to landfill: waste would be designed out of industrial processes, and what little waste remains would be captured and reused, refurbished or recycled. Eugenie is currently reviewing the Waste Minimisation Act to achieve this outcome.

In fact, zero would be regarded as the goal in a number of areas – greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, air pollution, chemical pollution, nitrogen and phosphorous loading, zero homelessness, and zero people living in poverty.

We’d be designing industrial processes, products and services that regenerate resources rather than deplete them.

Rather than crossing our fingers and hoping that GDP growth would trickle down into poverty alleviation, we’d be distributive by design, consciously building models of commerce that systematically increase wealth across the widest possible base so all of our people benefit.

PART THREE – NEW ZEALAND AND THE GREAT TRANSITION

So we’ve assessed the State of the Planet and New Zealand’s little bit of it, and the news isn’t all that flash. We’ve taken a look at what the economic response might be to try and turn that around and to create an economy where prosperity can flourish within the Earth’s ecological limits.

I believe that New Zealand has an incredible opportunity to be one of the first countries in the world to transition to a truly sustainable economy and to show the rest of the world how it’s done.

So if you cast your mind back, New Zealand has often been the laboratory of new thinking. We were the first to give women the vote, the first to introduce a welfare state, and leaders in the reforms of the 80s and 90s that gave us today’s crumbling economic system.

We were one of the first countries in the world to put in place the architecture of the current economy. In reality, legislatively, it came down to a handful of Acts of Parliament: The State Services Act, The Reserve Bank Act, The Public Finance Act, The Employment Contracts Act, and The Resource Management Act.

All of these have been tinkered with to varying degrees. The Resource Management Act has been comprehensively messed with by every Government since, the Reserve Bank Act we’re only now about to undertake a review of to see if it’s still fit for purpose. But regardless of how much they’ve been played with, these five Acts, more than any others I think, have shaped the economy of the last thirty years.

The Greens in Government now want to look at what the new cornerstones for the next thirty years might be that reshape the New Zealand economy to be one of the first truly sustainable economies in the world – that delivers for our environment and our people.

One of the key characteristics of the sustainable economy is that we have wider goals than simply achieving GDP growth.

We’ve already signalled we are going to immediately include child poverty reduction targets into the Public Finance Act.

I’m proud to be leading a piece of work to establish a more comprehensive set of social and environmental indicators and developing ways to include them in our economic reporting. For example, this year’s Investment Statement will for the first time include an assessment of our environmental stocks and flows. What we count matters. And in order to change behaviours we need to change what we count.

2018 is going to be a busy year for Green Ministers to start to implement the foundations or cornerstones of a new sustainable economy.

I’ll be introducing the Zero Carbon Act, whilst limited to Greenhouse Gas Emissions, will set the economy on a pathway towards living within at least one of our planetary boundaries. It will be the most significant piece of legislation to protect our environment in the history of New Zealand.

Eugenie’s review of how we use the Waste Minimisation Act will mean a move towards eliminating waste by design, and improving our capture and reuse, refurbishment or recycling of whatever is left. It has the potential to revolutionise how we produce, package and use resources.

Julie Anne and Phil Twyford will be releasing a new Government Policy Statement on Transport which will radically shift investment in our transport systems. Julie Anne will also be leading the project to pay women the same as men for the same work, which in itself will lead to a significant shift in the way our economy works.

I’ll be setting up the Green Investment Bank to stimulate the flow of financial capital towards projects and businesses that reduce our climate pollution. We’ll be calling on the world’s leading thinkers to help us design this shift.

Key thinkers on the sustainable economy will be visiting New Zealand this year. Johan Rockstrom of the World Resources Institute, developer of the planetary boundaries framework, will be here working with MfE and myself. Paul Hawken, author of the Ecology of Commerce, one of the first and most influential books in the field of sustainable business, will be over here in March.

My message to those wishing to engage with the Greens in Government is to engage with sustainable economics. It will be win win for you and our country.

CONCLUSION

My goal for the Green Party, as a part of this new Labour-led Government, is that, by the end of this term of Parliament, we will have put in place the architecture for this great transition to the new economy. That we fulfil Havel’s vision of building something new from the rubble of the old.

This is pretty ambitious for any Government in a single, three-year term. But it is a particularly ambitious goal for a party of just eight MPs out of 120 and only one of three parties in a coalition government. If we’re going to succeed, it’s going to take something of us.

First, we will need to focus unrelentingly on the big things that put this architecture in place and not sweat the small stuff. There are lots of very worthy but small issues that could easily distract us from the already Herculean task in front of us.

Second, we will need to learn the give-and-take of coalition government more than ever before, but also model to our coalition partners the benefits of collaboration. We are not the Government alone, but no party is. On many of the things I’ve mentioned we have a high degree of alignment with Labour and New Zealand First. Regardless, we need them to do the things we want to do, at the very least because their Ministers are responsible for pulling the levers that need to be pulled in order to make this work. We are committed to making this Government work in a sustainable way.

Third, we will need to be in Government again after 2020, and in Government more often than not for the period of the great transition. The reforms we’re going to make in this term we will need to protect and nurture, as well as correct and embellish and add to in the future. The Green Party is the party of the sustainable economy. While the ideas and proposals we’ve put forward and championed for the better part of four decades are now gaining increasing currency amongst other parties, we will need to continue to take the lead if this is going to become a reality over the coming decades.

Fourth, we have to include everyone, including those who, at least for the moment, disagree with us. This is a generational shift we’re talking about and we won’t be in Government for the entire transition. We have to beat swords into ploughshares and make friends of our enemies. I know that there will be many on our side who, with justification, will say, “They had their time – it’s our turn now and time to look after our own, as they looked after theirs”. That is understandable, and tempting. But it is not sustainable.

A feature of the Greens in Government will be to call everyone in, rather than calling them out. An opportunity to build a better future through collaboration and sharing.

This is going to take everyone and it’s going to take everything we’ve got. If we succumb to tribalism over inclusion we will continue down the same path we’re currently on, creating different groups of winners and losers until our social fabric decays under the wear and tear of partisanship. Some of our oldest and closest friends internationally are illustrating just how badly that ends.

Yes, we do need to look after those who have been excluded and marginalised.

We need to look after everyone.

As I said in my maiden speech, “Time is too short for resignation. Things are too bad for pessimism. It is too big a task for petty politics. It’s too important for partisanship. These we must transcend and transform.”

We get to create this future together, or not at all.

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

NZ First campaign launch speech

Winston Peters launched NZ First into the election campaign with a speech in the weekend.

Conclusion

New Zealand First has the policies to turn this country around.

To make it a better place for you and your families.

It’s time for a change.

New Zealand was once called “God’s own country.”

We believe it can be again.

Together we can do it.

Interesting to see “It’s time for a change” in there. That’s similar to what Greens and Labour have been campaigning on (they say ‘change the government’ or ‘campaign for change’).

Full speech:


The regions – Together, for New Zealand

It has been an explosive week in politics.

A week that will go in the history books as the time two Prime Ministers covered up a crime and were party to a payout to buy off a witness.

We have heard the people of Clutha-Southland feel hurt, fragile and let down.

They have every right to be.
While The Barclay Debacle revealed the corrupt inner workings of the National Party machine, it told us also that National Party takes the regions for granted.

One television commentator said National could stand a blue sheep in Clutha-Southland and it would still win the electorate.
The sheep would also be more honest. On television yesterday Mr English said in excusing his behaviour, “I am not a lawyer”. He conveniently forgets the adage, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

This is a sad state of affairs.

“Defibulators” – for National

The National Party Cabinet are into spin, downright deceit and Fibs. As Mr English displayed alongside Paula Bennet and others, they simply can’t tell the truth. So as part of our Heath Policy this election we’re going to order up a whole lot of defibulators and send them to their offices. Every time they tell a lie this machine will give them a shock. It might be painful but that’s what it will take.

Men like Keith Holyoake must be rolling in their graves.
Not only that – National has no sound policies to progress all of New Zealand.

They have let the wealth get sucked out of our regions with little payback.
They have let much of our assets and land be sold off to foreign buyers.
They have under-funded regional roads and hospitals.
They have no coherent plan for our regions just as they have no coherent economic plan for this country.
And they’ve have turned their backs on our young people.

They’ve allowed the situation to descend to the point one economist has said some of our provincial centres are “zombie towns.”

We’ve got zombies alright – but they’re not in our provinces.
They’re in the Beehive.

It is the regions that produce by far most of our country’s wealth.

Our biggest export earners, the sectors that pay our way in the world, are tourism, dairying, meat, and forestry.

We have Queen Street farmers but what are they doing for the wealth of this country?

Within a few years experts tell us more than half of New Zealand’s population will live north of Taupo.

Thats because of a lack of political vision and a contempt for the real wealth creators of this country.

National is most at home when they are in Wellington, among all the shiny suits and bureaucrats, adjudicating on New Zealand from their ivory towers.

Mr English has just finished his speech to the National Party conference. Bereft of ideas and excuses, all he could promise after nine years of National was increased incomes and lower taxes by 2020. Surrounded by all manner of deficits, Canute like he promises surpluses and tax cuts.

The Regions and Reserve Bank Reform

Fundamental to a successful economy – and thriving regions over the long term – is an exchange rate that supports exporters and the regions.

Our Reserve Bank Act is out of date.

We have an overvalued NZ dollar that has been a bonanza for financial speculators and traders but not exporters.

Despite the relatively small size of our economy our dollar is one of the most heavily traded international currencies

We need an exchange rate that serves real economic goals like strong and growing regional exports

The Bank’s outdated focus on inflation must be ditched.

As a small open economy New Zealand is dependent on a competitive exchange rate.

NZ has a persistent and chronic balance of payments deficit – and this shows the New Zealand dollar does not reflect the underlying reality.

Risks abound in the global economy and New Zealand is highly exposed and vulnerable to any volatility.

NZ First is committed to reforming the Reserve Bank Act as a vital step in safeguarding our economic future –and the future heath of regional New Zealand.

The Regions and Small businesses

Small businesses are the engine room of New Zealand’s economy and are critically in regions such as Manawatu.

Ninety seven per cent of all businesses in New Zealand are small businesses. They employ over 2 million people and produce 27 per cent of GDP per year.

By helping more businesses become profitable, sustainable and competitive will ensure they are in the best position to hire new employees and create jobs.
To boost small businesses New Zealand First will in this Campaign, set out its policies, to really help them start and grow by:

•  A wage subsidy for small business that take on job seekers and provide work experience.

•  Real incentives for small businesses to help disengaged youth become work ready and support mature age job seekers back into work.

•  Immediate Tax deductions for every new business asset costing under $20,000

•  Immediate Tax deduction for professional expenses when starting a business, and by

•  Streamlining business registration for those planning to start a business

• And we are going to get Nationals Ninny, Nosey Nannie state off your back.

Virtually overnight, New Zealand’s oldest licenced premises at Russel, The Duke of Marlbourgh Restaurant had to pull a burger that is a cornerstone of its menu –because it offended MPIs food preparation guidelines by the meat being “pink and raw”.

“Basically the Ministry is telling us how our customers need to eat their food”, said the good people at the Duke.

In Wellington now more tedious bureaucrat’s regimes of food preparation are being dreamt up requiring small businesses to pay thousands of dollar to comply or shut down.

You vote for New Zealand First and we’ll put a leg rope on them whilst reminding these bureaucrats who pays their wages.

The Regions and Student debt

Palmerston North is a university town.

Let’s face it there are a lot of hard-up students here, wondering how they’re going to get by with the weight of massive debts on their shoulders.
New Zealand First will get rid of the student loan for Kiwi students staying and working here in NZ after they finish their studies.

The only requirement is that they work for the same number of years as they have studied.

So three years in tertiary education requires three years in the workforce – five years tertiary means five years in the workforce.

But if they leave for a big OE, and decide to work overseas, they will have to pay back the cost of their tertiary education.

Where they have a current student debt then the system changes to our dollar for dollar policy.

For graduates with skills required in the regions, like teachers, nurses, doctors, police and other much needed regional skills, we plan to use a bonding system.

We will also introduce a universal student allowance.

These are our practical solutions to the huge debt students have to grapple with.

Our policies will also address many of the skills shortages we have in our regions.

The Regions and Infrastructure Deficits

If you were at the National Party conference you would have heard the sound of coughing and spluttering. That’s the sound of their Auckland delegates choking under the sheer weight of numbers due to a reckless and irresponsible open door immigration policy.
Billions are being spent to address Auckland’s chronically overloaded infrastructure.
Last weekend marked the official completion of the Waterview Motorway Tunnel in Auckland – the bill $1.4 billion.
The Auckland City Rail link is underway – there will not be any change out of $3 billion when that project is completed.
Yes Auckland’s infrastructure deficit is plain to see.
But what about regional New Zealand?
Regional infrastructure is the poor cousin – it is being overlooked and put at the end of the queue when it comes to funding.
And this is despite the massive growth of tourism – the costs of which fall primarily on regional NZ
The government boasts of a tourism bonanza, which is based in the Regions, and yet gives almost nothing back to the Regions to fund the cost of it.
We have 30,000 Kilometres of unsealed roads, single lanned bridges and a serious lack of toilets, parking and basic infrastructure.
In this campaign New Zealand First will detail how we are going to return the full GST from Tourists back to the regions in which they spent the money. The data, easily accessible which measures this spend already. You make the money here and you’re going to get your fair share back.
NZ First is committed to a massive campaign to seal local roads, improve overall road quality and double-lane bridges where sensible.
The Regions and Rail
Rail has a valuable role to play in the development of regional NZ.
But the National Government has run the railway network down to a neglected and parlous state.
NZ First will give rail a real role in regional NZ by properly investing in the rail system.
And we will stop the made conversation to diesel from electrification.
We will stop National’s Luddite behaviour.
Broadband
Regional NZ also has to deal with the unreliability of cellular services and patchy broadband.
This is another illustration of where the government’s heart lies and it’s not in rural and regional New Zealand.
Regional NZ needs massive infrastructure improvement – urgently.
That will take substantial investment and NZ First is committed to making that happen.

The Regions and Stopping the Selloff of our Country
New Zealand under the old parties has been a soft touch for foreign buyers.
The wealth generated in regional NZ is increasingly flowing into the pockets of overseas owners.
The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) is a facade – a token exercise intended to give the impression that someone actually takes the national interest into account before foreign buyers get the green light.
The losses of land into foreign ownership are staggering 460,000 hectares alone last year.
The deals invariably get the usual Overseas Investment Office rubber stamp.
There is no requirement on foreign buyers to invest locally in downstream production or new technology.
Under our policy the rules would be strict – there would need to be clear, unequivocal and quantifiable benefits to New Zealand before foreign ownership was allowed.
The Regions and Water
A few years ago the Manawatu River was rated the most polluted river in the Southern Hemisphere.
Three hundred rivers and streams across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand were assessed.
And clean, green NZ came up with the worst river of the lot.
Most of the Manawatu River’s was due to nitrogen runoff from farms; but treated sewage discharged by councils was also a major contributor.
No doubt councils and most farmers would accept such degradation of waterways around New Zealand is not acceptable.
New Zealand First is calling for the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management to be reviewed.
We cannot allow our rivers and waterways to descend to the level of cesspits.
New Zealand Frist would ensure that only the sustainable taking and use of water for commercial purposes is permitted by developing a national water use strategy.
Legislation must be in place to make sure that the granting of RMA consents is consistent with the proposed new national policy statement and the Strategy.
But we are going to properly finance rural New Zealand into environmental recovery because we are all in this together.

Royalties to the Regions

NZ First has a Royalties for the Regions Policy.
Under this policy, 25% of royalties collected by the government from enterprises such as mining, petroleum and water stay in the region of origin.

As an example, the government collects over $400 million in royalties.

Under our scheme over $100 million, year on year, would remain in the regions for investment.

That money would help to regenerate regional New Zealand.

It is demonstrably wrong that companies like Coca Cola, Suntory Holdings, Oravida, Fiji Water – can take our water for a pitiful token fee while they make millions of dollars from it.

National says no-one owns the water – so foreign companies can come in and take it.

Do you think that is right? No. And nor does New Zealand First.

National arrogance

As we said at the start, National have been a major disappointment, not just to the wider population of New Zealand but to their own faithful followers.

Arrogant National MPs –  Alfred Ngaro acting like a Mafiosi heavy telling the Salvation Army to shut up or else.

Nicky Wagner tweeting frivolously and insulting the disability community.

Simon Bridges blocking information being released on KiwiRail in reply to an OIA.

And now hush money and a prime minister donkey deep in a cover-up.

The true economic reality

In spite of all the pixie dust Mr English and his colleagues come up with, there is not a lot to be optimistic about.

The government says we have GDP growth rate of 2.8%.
But New Zealand’s population has been growing at 2% annually, mostly from overseas.

So, 2% has to be deducted from GDP numbers before any real growth can be claimed.

The real barometer of prosperity, GDP per person is pitiful – less than 1 per cent a year.

We have homelessness.
Growing inequality.
Thousands of young New Zealanders aimlessly going nowhere.

Record net immigration has now shot up to another record of more than 73,000.

And the government tells us they’re skilled workers and we need them.

Most of them aren’t skilled.

We have a director general of health who can’t get his sums right and a health minister who is so obsessed with taking a hatchet to health, he didn’t notice the funding blunders until it was too late.

Fourteen DHBs overpaid and six under-paid.

This is banana republic stuff.

95% of the NZ banking system is held overseas

NZ’s net debt to the rest of the world has soared up to $156 billion.

We have regions running on empty.

We have unacceptable delays from the Electricity Authority sorting out their pricing methodology creating uncertainty and preventing business owners investing in the regions.

Law and order has fallen apart in many provincial areas with fly-by policing and empty police stations.

These are facts.

The Regions and Personal Security

In the last eight or nine years new Zealanders have been told that crime is falling. It’s a lie of course hidden by the Governments catch and release policy – catch criminals but warn them and not charge them. That’s how National has got lower crime figures but their deceit has been exposed and they’re trying to cover it with and extra 880 police over the next four years. And that’s 1000 short of what’s needed.

New Zealand First will recruit 1800 extra front line police in the next three years. Just like we recruited 1000 front line police the last time we had the power to.

Restoring hope

New Zealand First wants to restore hope in our young people.
Hope so that a job is achievable for them.
Hope so that they can one day own a home of their own.
Hope so they don’t see despair, but a future for themselves, their families and their communities.

And hope in our regions and our whole country.

Conclusion

New Zealand First has the policies to turn this country around.

To make it a better place for you and your families.

It’s time for a change.

New Zealand was once called “God’s own country.”

We believe it can be again.

Together we can do it.