Climate Change Minister James Shaw has effectively launched the Green’s election campaign with a Press Release offensive touting ‘the single biggest action an NZ Govt has ever taken to cut emissions in Aotearoa’: $140 million funding for foreign-owned NZ Steel to construct an electric arc furnace which will replace 50 percent of the coal burned at the Glenbrook steel mill.  

This is just the latest project announced under the Climate Emergency Response Fund, but it epitomises all the problems we have with ‘big government’ in New Zealand.

New Conservative Co-leader Helen Houghton explains:

Opposition parties have rightly slammed the project as ‘corporate welfare’ which shows that the Government has ‘got its priorities all wrong’.  Shaw has defended this criticism by saying the funding does not come from taxpayers, but from polluters, via the Climate Emergency Response Fund, which was set up in 2021 with an initial $4.5 billion of the government’s proceeds from the Emissions Trading Scheme.  

Of course, the opposition is right to criticise the government for ‘meddling in particular industries’ and ‘picking winners’ to subsidise.  This is a blatant misuse of public funds that does nothing but distort markets, giving favoured companies a commercial advantage.  A third-world despot would be proud.

But unfortunately for New Zealand, the opposition is unwilling to address the elephant in the room, which is that the government has no business collecting these billions in the first place.

Just because James Shaw says these funds aren’t taxpayers’ money, doesn’t mean it’s true.  The emissions trading scheme, which is supported by every party in Parliament, is nothing but an invisible tax on everything sold in New Zealand, with an extraordinary level of bureaucracy added by packaging it as a ‘trading scheme’.

This tax is:

- unjustified, because the carbon dioxide emissions being taxed are not pollution, and the environment will not benefit from the tax or the spending schemes like this that it funds.

- dishonest, because it is based on the lie that reducing carbon emissions will somehow prevent or reduce a “climate emergency”.

- completely lacking transparency, because consumers generally have no idea that they are indirectly paying this tax, let alone how much they are paying.

- making it harder for New Zealand to compete internationally, because of the unnecessary costs imposed on businesses.

James Shaw wants us to “imagine what’s possible with Green MPs sitting around the Cabinet table”.  There’s no need to imagine because we already know.  Regardless of the exact makeup of government, if the Left retains power the outcome will be more taxes, higher costs, and ever-bigger donations to private business interests.

Sadly, in spite of their rhetoric, the current Opposition largely supports the status quo.  Under a National/Act government, we can expect to see little if any change to the current system when what is needed is wholesale reform and repeal.

New Conservative is the only party committed to ending the Climate Change policy fraud.  

New Conservative will end all climate-focused taxes, subsidies, and regulations, remove New Zealand from the Paris Accord, abandon the ETS, and repeal the Carbon Zero Act.