Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Submit to the Committee!

(crossposted from my normal blog...)

Okay, it's not the climate change committee, its the Emissions Trading Scheme Review Committee. But those terms of reference mean those in denial about climate change will be out in force, trying to convince the committee not to do anything rash because, after all, people who think anthropogenic climate change is real are just crazy religious fanatics really.

That's why it's a good idea to submit. You don't need to have the kind of detailed opinions about the relative merits of carbon tax vs. ETS that, say, Idiot/Savant or Gareth Renowden might muster. All you need is a conviction that something should be done. There will be lots of submitters following Rodney's lead with cranky claims that we should sit back and let things go on their merry way; for a good result in this committee, we have to match that with ordinary Kiwi voices saying "Oi! We need to sort this!"

I just posted my submission off ten minutes ago, and now I get home and find (via NRT) they've pushed the deadline out another two weeks.

So that means you can do something too. My main points were:
* get it done. John Key has promised it'll have a scheme in place by Jan 2010; stick to this deadline.
* risk management common sense is that we should be prudent in the face of uncertainty, i.e. we need to be working with negative scenarios, not best-case scenarios;
* don't get too focused on NZ's economy and competitive situation, because climate change will shake everything up; a global frame is required.

Take a few minutes to tap a few lines, print, put in envelope, send. Postage is free to Parliament, remember. There'll be two weeks worth of extra crank letters; consider being part of the two weeks of extra sanity.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

John Key has made his choice

It isn't terrible, but it isn't great either.

The order paper for today includes the details of the climate change select committee.
  • We wanted a larger committee, and we got that - eleven members. But the committee is stacked rightwards more than we'd like, and it has Rodney Hide on it. And the chair of the committee is Peter Dunne, who is a bit of a Rodney himself! Could be better.
  • We wanted the review of the science to go, and it is gone. Great!
  • We wanted a streamlined terms of reference so we could get through things quickly. No such luck. The terms of ref are basically the same as ACT's proposal, with the exception of the science review. So we're in for a long haul on this committee.
Now it's time to take stock, figure out where our next point of leverage is, and look towards that. I have no doubt that the letters we sent made a difference to this decision. For all of you who got something sent - nice work!

And for those of you who didn't get around to sending a letter - well, you'll have to make it up some other time. There's plenty of good reasons to communicate to government. Find a good one and speak your mind. It really does make a difference.

Send Your Letter Now!

Parliament gets going on Monday Dec 8, so if you want your letter to arrive before the decisions are made, get it sent ASAP! It is unclear when the key decisions will be made, but they'll probably be sorted in the first week...

(There's heaps of example letters down below the instruction-y posts, just scroll down and see 'em. Also photos!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Be Like Barack

not like this guy
yes like this guy

When it comes to climate change, John Key is out of step. He's bowing his head to Rodney Hide and stalling on crucial emissions legislation. But this is no time for waiting around!

The world is watching. On Tuesday 18 November, Barack Obama made a powerful statement that was heard around the globe: "Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all. Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high. The consequences, too serious."

Delay? Denial? He's talking about Rodney!

It's time for the 96% of us who didn't vote for Rodney to speak up. We still have time to make things right - and in his first weeks in the job, we know John Key wiill be listening.

So give yourself a voice, and tell John Key not to be a Rodney - tell him to be like Barack.

Write A Letter

The single most important thing you can do is send a letter - on paper.

No, seriously. Government runs on bits of paper. Paper matters. You should send them a bit of paper with your name on it that says what you think. Because the thing is, they actually pay attention. They do!

And postage? Postage to Government is free. Free! Just write "Parliament Buildings" on the envelope and NZPost does the rest!

So go for it. Cut and paste the stuff below into your favourite typing window, tap away, hit print, wrap it up and send!

Hon John Key
Prime Minister
Executive Wing
Parliament Buildings

Dear Prime Minister

** 1. Tell him why you are writing** [e.g. " I am writing to ask you to show some leadership on climate change" or "I am concerned about your direction on climate change or I am writing to you about climate change"]

** 2. Explain in a bit more detail** [e.g. "I've read that as part of your agreement with the Act party there will be a review of climate change, and that this will include a review of the science on whether climate change exists. I am concerned about this because..."]

** 3. Explain what action you'd like him to take and how this would help ** [e.g. "I think it would be a good idea if you made sure that a review of the science was not included as part of the role of the Select Committee. Taking this off the agenda would help NZ maintain credibility with the rest of the developed world."]

** 4. Maybe add a short personal note ** [e.g. "My family and I saw you at the Taupo markets when you were out campaigning and I'd like to congratulate you on winning the election"]

** 5. Thank him for his time! ** [e.g. "Thank you for taking the time to consider my concerns. I look forward to hearing from you."]



And that is that! Remember -
  • Keep it short! 1 page is enough. 1-2 pages if you have a lot to say
  • Be polite! You want John Key to listen to your views
  • Make it personal - use your own words as much as possible. It is much more effective if the PM receives 200 different letters saying the same thing in 200 different ways, that 200 copies of the same letter
Print it off and post it. You don't need a stamp, it's free to send a letter to Parliament.

(And of course you can email your letter instead, to - and that's still pretty good. But bits of paper definitely hit much harder.)

What Needs Fixin'

In the agreement between National and ACT, John Key signed us up for a Select Committee process to review the Emissions Trading Scheme. That's a done deal. But there are a couple of spots where we can apply some letter-writing leverage.
  • Ask for the select committee to be a large one, not a small one. John Key can influence how big the committee is - and the larger it is, the more voices we have at the table who aren't from ACT! It's also good for democracy to get broad representation from across the House, because we're talking about something that matters to all New Zealanders and for generations to come! (Find out more about select committee size.)
  • Ask for the "review of the science" to get the chop! ACT wants the select committee to examine the science of climate change. This is just embarrassing! Like Barack Obama says, the time for denial is gone. How can politicians in select committee second-guess the Royal Society and the IPCC? Besides, every other government is satisfied about the science - we are being left behind! If this point is left in, there'll be months of delay. Ask John Key to get rid of it! (Find out more about the review of the science.)
  • Ask for a narrow focus! ACT has asked for a big set of jobs for the select committee, which will mean a long, slow process. But time is of the essence! The whole world is shifting into gear on emissions trading, and it will hit us soon whether we're ready or not. The longer we delay, the greater the cost to our pockets in tax. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars! Ask John Key to strip the select committee business down to the bare minimum, so it gets through its business fast. (Find out more about the narrow focus.)
That's it. Those three points are the big ones to hit. Choose just one or mention all three - up to you!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Another great letter!

This one from Trond at meme-hazard:

...From his statements in the house on September 2, it is clear that Rodney Hide, in particular, believes this fiercely. Furthermore, it seems that he was successful in shackling you to what will likely prove to be both a foolish and unpopular policy that, by returning to minority opinions already disgraced in years past, can only undermine you and make New Zealand appear foolish on the international stage...