A man of principle

This is Rodney Hide’s speech? on the CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSE (MODERATED EMISSIONS TRADING) AMENDMENT BILL Second Reading, the bold parts are my edits

Hon RODNEY HIDE (Leader?ACT): Let me be clear about a number of things. First up we have a very, very good Government. Certainly, we have an excellent Government compared with* the Government that we had for the previous 9 years. But even a very good Government can make bad policy. Even a good Government can make bad policy, and with this Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Bill, we have a very good Government making atrocious policy. Not only do we have a very good Government making atrocious policy but also we have a good Government following an atrocious process. The Ministers of this Government who are voting for this bill and for this process have to accept that responsibility, and so does every member of Parliament who is voting for this legislation today and confirming the process that has been followed. Let me also make it plain that the ACT Party totally opposes having an emissions trading scheme for New Zealand. An emissions trading scheme for New Zealand will hike the costs to business, to farmers, and to hard-working New Zealanders right at the time when we can least afford it. There is no doubt about it, an emissions trading scheme will put up the cost of basic goods and services for ordinary New Zealand families. That is what this bill is doing to New Zealanders, that is what an emissions trading scheme will do, and that is why the ACT Party is the only party prepared to stand up in this House to oppose having an emissions trading scheme. Following the election we had a difficult situation with regard to the emissions trading scheme, because we had National committed to the emissions trading scheme and the ACT Party implacably opposed to it. We agreed to have a comprehensive review through a select committee. What we wanted, and what the select committee was supposed to do, was to do the rational thing for the country: to look at the options and to provide the costs and the benefits. It never happened. To this day this Parliament and the public of New Zealand still have no idea of the cost of this scheme. They have no idea of the cost of an alternative, such as a low-level carbon tax, or the cost of having a simple delay for a couple of years. They know nothing. Then we discovered that the Government had done a deal with the M?ori Party in order to put through the select committee the changes that National wanted to make to Labour?s emissions trading scheme.

Charles Chauvel: Disgraceful.

Hon RODNEY HIDE:
Well, that was not disgraceful; what was disgraceful was what happened next. That was the true disgrace. At that point, I said on behalf of the ACT Party to the Prime Minister and National that we understood that they did not have the M?ori Party?s vote all the way through and that if there was any difficulty with the vote, then they should come and talk to the ACT Party. I said that we opposed the emissions trading scheme, but we were prepared to help the National Government for the good of the country and, indeed, we were prepared to swallow a dead rat. We were prepared to swallow a dead rat in order to get a better result for New Zealand. National never ever* came to the ACT Party in order to discuss the options for the reform or the delay of the emissions trading scheme. National made a decision to commit to the M?ori Party and to lose any negotiating power that it might have had. I accept that it is the prerogative of Nick Smith and the Prime Minister to do that. They are the ones with the votes. They are the leaders of this Parliament and this Government, but I say that the result was bad policy. It was atrocious policy and an atrocious process, and New Zealanders were sold out. What have we discovered? We discovered that all of this had to be done in a great rush, ahead of the rest of the world, in order to be done before the talks in Copenhagen. We are ahead of every other country. We discovered today at question time that this deal with the Treaty clause in it was concluded, according to the Minister, only after 1 o?clock yesterday, which was a couple of hours before it was announced. We know from the Minister of M?ori Affairs that the deal was concluded only at 12 minutes past 3?presumably, that was when he was told that it had been accepted at Cabinet?which was 18 minutes ahead of the deal being made public. The deal with these five iwi and with the Treaty clause will now be passed under urgency, with no proper parliamentary scrutiny and no public input. It was agreed to only yesterday and it will be passed into law today.

Hon Dr Nick Smit:
Tomorrow.

Hon RODNEY HIDE: Oh well, it will be passed into law tomorrow, but I say to Dr Smith that we are in urgency thanks to him. I will read this Treaty clause to members: ?In order to recognise and respect the Crown?s responsibility to give effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.? I challenge the Minister for Climate Change Issues* and the M?ori Party to stand up in this House and put on record in Parliament what the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi are. If we are to have Parliament giving effect to something, then I think it is quite reasonable to ask what we are giving to effect to in this Parliament. We are not giving effect to the Treaty?actually, if we were giving effect to the Treaty, then we would not be having an emissions trading scheme?but we are giving effect to the principles of the Treaty. I would remind the great National Party, our support party, of National?s position in 2005. It is our job to be remind National of its principles, its position, its philosophy, and its policy. Its policy in 2005 was that the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi were to be expunged from all legislation. Why? Because, according to Dr Don Brash, who was the National leader at the time, the principles of the Treaty were undefined and unnecessary. Here is what Don Brash said in 2005, an election year: ?This process??that is, the process of inserting the principles of the Treaty every which way??is becoming deeply corrupt, with some requirements for consultation resulting in substantial payments in a system that looks like nothing other than stand-over tactics.? I am sorry to say this, but the National Government, the Prime Minister, and the Minister for Climate Change Issues have allowed themselves to sell out* their voters and their supporters, to insert in legislation the principles of the Treaty that they were opposed to, and to cobble together this deal in the last few minutes before going public. They are ramming through under urgency, with no parliamentary scrutiny or public input, a deal for consultation for the principles to be given effect to and for regulations down the track to be passed. I say that Don Brash was right when he said that this process is becoming deeply corrupt, with some requirements for consultation resulting in substantial payments in a system that looks like nothing other than stand-over tactics.

Rodney Hide should be given the order of New Zealand for that speech. I personally am disgusted by the ramming through of this legisaltion, especially in light of the growing controversy surrounding the manipulation by scientists of data, the lies and obfuscations of leading scientists and the sheer gall of Nick Smith. My straw poll of National MPs suggests that most are deeply uncomfortable with this bill, the process and even the now the science that this bill is supposed to address.

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