The National Party Energy policy is designed to toe a fine line between the desires of industry and the desires of the environmental lobby, in an attempt to gain votes from both groups.
The proposal to remove the ban on thermal generation is a practical response to the reality that New Zealand needs a secure electricity supply. However the promise to introduce an Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) within nine months is aimed at placating the environmental lobby, and does not consider either the severe economic consequences of such a scheme, or whether it would actually help the environment.
The Family Party would establish a Royal Commission of Enquiry into Global Warming, to look at the science from both sides of the debate and decide whether or not humans are actually causing global warming, and if we are, what response would be appropriate. If the Royal Commission finds global warming is incorrect, or that it is correct but we cannot stop it through emissions reductions, then we will be able to ditch both the ETS and the thermal generation ban, saving NZ money and not harming the environment. If it finds we should be reducing emissions, there will be strong justification for such policies. Either way, we would know exactly where we stand and could proceed with practical policies that actually help the environment.
This enquiry could be completed within the nine months National is proposing to put in place an ETS, so would not delay implementation of the scheme if this were deemed necessary.
The Family Party is also concerned about the proposal to end ‘frivolous and vexatious objections’ to RMA applications. We understand the sentiment but are concerned about which objections National would consider ‘frivolous.’ Does their interpretation involve government steamrolling private property rights whenever they consider a project is of national significance? It would be good to streamline the RMA, but the right of affected parties to object needs to be protected.
We welcome however the proposal to simplify building consent requirements for solar water heating installations.