The economic treason of the Greens

It is often said that the Green Party are Luddites and want to return us to the stone age. They, of course, mock anyone who says this. I facetiously labelled them the Green Taliban because of their wish to reject modern conveniences in favour of a more forced ascetic existence. Little did I know just how accurate I was in coining the phrase.

But wonder no more if it is true, Treasury has costed the damage that those lunatics would do given half a chance:

An indefinite ban on new coal mines, offshore oil drilling and fracking consents would cost New Zealand more than $15 billion in lost royalties and revenue, as well as shake business confidence and the security of energy supply.

The information is contained in hundreds of pages of information, released today, that Government officials provided to parties during the coalition negotiations that took place after the final vote count.

The release shows while NZ First did not lodge any requests for information itself, Labour lodged several linked to NZ First policies, including the costs of NZ First’s wish for a rail link to Northport to carry freight ? part of its push to move the Ports of Auckland to Northport.

The information sheds light on what was being discussed behind closed doors, and could be seen as an indication of the parties’ wish lists as they discussed the feasibility and affordability of various policies.

The Green Party asked for a number of policies to be costed, among them three-year and indefinite moratoriums on new coal mines, offshore oil and gas drilling and new fracking consents.

The Greens were told that a ban on new coal mines for three years would cost $3 million, while an indefinite ban would see a loss of $271m to $441m, including $71m in lost royalties and revenue from the Energy Resource Levy.

There were no costs for a three-year moratorium for new drilling and new fracking consents, as existing production would continue. But an indefinite ban on new drilling would see a loss of $6.2 billion, while a ban on new fracking consents would cost $8.8b.

That would mean an indefinite moratorium on all three would total over $15b – likely much more as production from potential new discoveries were not included, nor were indirect costs such as the adverse impacts on business confidence and security of energy supply.

“We have not attempted to cost indirect effects such as impact on business confidence in the sector, security of energy supply, or fuel substitution – however we expect there would be material impacts,” said the papers, prepared by officials and released by the State Services Commission.

The ban on fracking included sites that had permits but had not started drilling. It noted that a three-year moratorium on fracking could open the Crown up to compensation claims from companies that had spent $1.14b to develop fields for fracking.

Data was not available to calculate future job losses – but officials estimated coal mining jobs to be in the thousands.

That is a prima facie case for charging the Greens with economic treason. Imagine if they had got a much higher percentage of the vote. The damage would have been enormous.

The Greens did not gain any mining moratoriums in its confidence and supply agreement with Labour, but won broader climate change policies including the introduction of a Zero Carbon Act and setting up an independent Climate Commission.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has indicated that she wants to ban all new mining on conservation land, which raised concerns from the mining industry about job losses in regional New Zealand.

Directly after the negotiations, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand’s future was not in fossil fuels and she will review the annual Block Offer for petroleum exploration.

“Those Block Offers and their popularity have diminished over time. It’s become less economic, particularly for offshore,” she told?The Nation?in October.

“It’s not where our future lies, but my plan is to transition our regions, not to jar them.”

So, Jacinda is an eco-terrorist too!

Honestly, the Greens simply cannot be trusted not to wreck the economy. They would do all of that in a heartbeat given half a chance.

The fact that the PM thinks we can have a future without fossil fuels is dangerous too. So far there are no viable alternatives, either cost-wise or technology-wise. There is plenty more oil in the ground and it is only the carping of eco-terrorists like the Greens that stop us availing ourselves of the natural resources we have in New Zealand.

The Green party really are the Green Taliban.


-NZ Herald