Maori to get Free Insulation for Homes

4
268

At least 2,000 houses owned by Maori are to be insulated by the taxpayer as a result of the deal between the Maori Party and National over the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Maori Party co leader Pita Sharples says that is just one of the concessions made when his party agreed to give National the numbers to pass the new ETS into law.

Dr Sharples says it is a significant breakthrough for Maori who cannot afford the $3,500 they would need over and above the Government grant. He says 500 houses in Northland will be fitted out, 500 on the East Coast and at least a thousand in other parts of the country.

Dr Sharples accepts a rise in benefits to cushion the blow to households of the ETS is now off the negotiating table. It appears he was confused with the automatic increase, which is adjusted for inflation.

Kia ora to- NEWSTALK for this panui

4 COMMENTS

  1. Tapu Misa: Do politicians speak in different tongues?
    Does the Maori Party speak the same language as the Nats? After last week’s disclosures on National’s proposed emissions trading scheme, there’s good reason to suspect not.

    How else to explain the complete disconnect between what co-leader Pita Sharples thought the Maori Party was getting for its support of National’s emissions trading scheme, and the reality?

    First, there were the increases in benefit payments Sharples thought he was negotiating with Climate Change Issues Minister Nick Smith. It turned out National was just talking about the increase in the consumer price index (CPI), on which benefits are based.

    Then there was the free insulation retrofitting that Sharples said had been won for 2000 low-income Maori households across the country. Taihoa on that, too.

    Gerry Brownlee described media reports as “a very, very loose and somewhat interpretive recycle of what Dr Sharples said”, but declined the invitation to be less loose. He wasn’t prepared to say whether the free insulation was in addition to the $323 million already announced in the May budget, only that “well over 2000 Maori households will be advantaged by this scheme over its lifetime”.

    Did something get lost in translation?

    If good communication is vital to a lasting relationship, one would have to wonder about the longevity of the Maori Party’s alliance with National.

    In interviews last week, Sharples clung to the party’s raison d’etre: to get “gains for Maori” that are also good for New Zealand.

    But whether those gains are worth the damage to the party’s credibility is another matter.

    The party has taken care to portray itself as inclusive, non-threatening and principled – and to frame its Maori advocacy as being good for all New Zealanders. The public support it gained for the Maori seats in Auckland shows it was succeeding.

    But its support of National’s ETS, at least until select committee stage, threatens to undo much of that goodwill. For one thing, it saves National from having to engage with Labour to produce a more durable cross-party agreement that just about everyone agrees is better for the economy and the environment.

    And for another, it’s hard to argue that an emissions trading scheme this watered down and costly could be good for the country.

    Sharples says the Maori Party’s support of National’s ETS is at the behest of iwi, who have major interests in the primary industries likely to take the brunt of a stringent emissions trading scheme.

    He says the party wanted to minimise the impact on Maori who are concentrated in high-emitting primary industries, and in low-income households.

    Inconveniently for the party, its minority report to the select committee reviewing the ETS was calling, mere weeks ago, for an emissions regime that was “transparent and fair, and requires polluters to pay”, and arguing passionately that the nation’s largest polluters shouldn’t be subsidised by households and small-medium businesses.

    Now, of course, it’s signing up to a scheme that does exactly that – provides bigger subsidies to polluters, for longer.

    National pitches its proposed ETS as a sensible compromise which reduces the costs to households and the impact on jobs while ensuring New Zealand takes a responsible approach to the global problem of greenhouse gas pollution and climate change.

    According to Nick Smith: “New Zealand needs an emissions trading scheme to discourage carbon pollution, improve energy efficiency and reward afforestation.”

    He fails to mention that’s not what we’re getting.

    The proposed ETS won’t cut emissions in the short term, as Smith has admitted, won’t provide an incentive to polluters to change their ways and become innovative, or to consumers to become more energy efficient. It actually provides a weaker incentive to plant forests than the existing ETS.

    The Business Council for Sustainable Development describes the proposed ETS as “disappointing, costly” and likely to continue uncertainty for businesses.

    It says businesses which aren’t heavy emitters want policy stability based on cross-party support for a sensible ETS – and that’s unlikely under the present arrangement.

    Sharples has said the watered-down emissions scheme will ensure low-income New Zealanders will have three years to adjust to the increased costs of climate change policies. But what it’s actually doing is nannying big business.

    The new scheme shifts the cost of emissions from the polluters to taxpayers. It shelters big business from the realities of our climate change obligations at the expense of households. And the costs are likely to be in the billions. Which is ironic given National’s reluctance to increase payments to beneficiaries, since that would be sending the wrong signals.

    According to a group of Victoria University academics in the Dominion Post last week, the National Maori Party deal raises serious concerns “about the capacity of our democratic institutions to serve the common good of New Zealand and avoid capture by vested interests”.

    They argue that sheltering business from the inevitable is poor economics. Businesses need a chance to apply their skills within the changing world order.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10598546

  2. Maori Party ETS ‘wins’ as clear as mud
    Thursday, 17 September 2009, 3:54 pm
    Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party

    17 September 2009
    Media Statement

    Maori Party ETS ‘wins’ as clear as mud

    The so-called wins made by the Maori Party over the ETS deal appear to be disintegrating by the day and highlight how shambolic the negotiations must have been, Labour’s Associate Energy spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

    “Worse still it appears the Government may have deliberately set out to hoodwink the Maori Party, which is finding itself in the embarrassing position of having to change its story on these so-called gains on a daily basis.

    “First we had the Maori Party claiming it had successfully negotiated some kind of benefit increase with Nick Smith, only for it to be revealed that Minister had only assured them the annual CPI increase to benefits would proceed as usual.

    “Then we had the Prime Minister admitting yesterday that the Treaty clause promised to the Maori Party is still being drafted,” Chris Hipkins said.

    “Then we heard one Maori Party co-leader claiming 2000 Maori households would get free insulation as a result of the deal, then his spokesperson saying the matter was still being negotiated and the other co-leader saying something quite different again.

    “In Parliament today it became clear that the Maori Party appears to have secured no extra funding to insulate households – rather that the ‘negotiations’ are over insulation funding already announced in the Budget,” Chris Hipkins said.

    “Gerry Brownlee ducked and dived before effectively confirming this. His refusal to confirm those negotiations would result in any new funding said it all.

    “His colleague Nick Smith refused to release any details of the agreement with the exception of ‘bullet points’ – an insult to the public and another example of the spin over substance agenda he’s running to try to ram through poor legislation.

    “Of course another key ‘win’ trumpeted by the Maori Party was a commitment by National to consult with the Maori Party over various aspects of the ETS.

    “If this involves the type of consultation we’ve seen this week where Ministers has pulled the wool over the Maori Party’s eyes on several fronts, the so-called consultation won’t be a win at all. It appears the Government’s bad faith negotiations have not been limited to Labour, but have in fact extended to the Maori Party as well,” Chris Hipkins says.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0909/S00257.htm

  3. Supporting this pollution market is backward step by the Maori Party.

    Emissions trading is no solution to climate change. This National-Maori Party deal is particularly bad, but Labour and the Greens are in no position to criticise, as they both support the basic principle of creating a pollution market.

    All pollution markets are based around giving corporate polluters the right to pollute, the right to profit from buying and selling pollution credits and the right to pass any costs they do incur on to their customers.

    All these schemes ignore the fact that to transition to a low carbon economy will require a massive transformation of how we do just about everything. And this will require planning and co-ordination and should require democratic participation, not rising prices and blind faith in the market.

    Insulating a mere 2000 homes is a poor price for supporting a scheme that will cost the earth.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.