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 john.key@parliament.govt.nz - 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...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another letter posted!

Dan at Freshly Ground has his letter up:

Dear Prime Minister
I am writing to express my concern over the matter of Climate Change, and the leadership role that our country ought to be playing in this, but which it is not...

Nice one!

Even messy hair cannot stop DEMOCRACY!

This is me posting my letter! Notice lack of stamp, because stamps aren't needed to post to Parliament. It feels odd to put something in a letterbox without a stamp, the envelope feels so... naked.

You can read the letter I sent over on my normal blog, if you're so inclined!

Monday, December 1, 2008

NRT's idiot writes a letter!

idiot/savant of No Right Turn has put the letter he wrote on his blog:

"Dear Mr Key,

I am writing to express my concern about your government’s plans to delay the implementation of the Emissions Trading Scheme pending a select committee review of climate change policy. I am concerned that this is a step in the wrong direction which will undermine the credibility of the government’s efforts to put a price on carbon, as well as tarnishing our reputation on the international stage..."

Go see the rest

Sunday, November 30, 2008

NZHerald article: Stop freezing the ETS!

A piece in the NZ Herald today recommends that the govt. should stop freezing the ETS:

"...the decision does harm to New Zealand's clean green brand. It
undermines our environmental integrity and makes us look silly on the
international stage.

In a world sensitive to environmental performance, it may have consequences for marketing of our primary products and could well impact on our attractiveness as an international tourist destination. We really must walk the talk on environmental policy. The Government should think again."

The rumblings are getting louder - get your letter written so the message gets through!

(thanks Stephanie for posting this link to the comments!)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Letter from an expat!

Here's another great letter that has been sent (supplied to us by email):

Dear Prime Minister,
I write as an expat, living and working in London, yet following the affairs of New Zealand with great interest. While I did not vote for your party, I hope that the next parliamentary term will nevertheless deliver some key results that I care about, in this case, relating to climate change.

I was impressed with the swiftness at which you negotiated with the smaller parties and in particular your inclusion of the Maori Party into your coalition arrangements. While I anticipated Act's inclusion, I was concerned to hear of the proposed review of climate change legislation, in particular the ETS. I am concerned because there was an agreement with Act that as part of this review, there will be a review of the basic science of whether climate change exists.

I am convinced through what I have seen in the world's varied media sources that 'disagreement' within the scientific world over the basic science of climate change is manufactured - it is the illusory product of the oft-embraced need to present 'balanced' reporting, that is, contrasting views on a particular subject. I am convinced of the concept of anthropogenic climate change, that is, factors relating to human behaviour that have aggravated environmental cycles on this planet.

New Zealand is a traditional maverick on the world stage in environmental matters: we have distinguished ourselves in our assured departure from ANZUS - to which you referred while here in London - and we capitalise on and encourage our "100%" clean, green image. Not a week goes by without my receiving some sort of recognition of New Zealand's image on the world stage - it is almost invariably one of respect, whether talking about our rugby players, our countryside, or more often (and in sometimes derisory terms), our sheep.

It is therefore most concerning that, at a time when the US president-elect Barack Obama is wielding the spotlight of world attention on to climate change, we should display such petulance and aloofness to assume that global scientists are not in satisfactorily majoritarian agreement of the basic science of climate change, and that a group of politicians from New Zealand should not need to take them seriously.

I would like you to do the following:
- Strike out the review of the basic science
- Insist on a narrow focus - primarily, the cost to New Zealand, economically and politically, of further delays

In light of the environmental demands I am making, I am sure you will appreciate my decision to communicate via email.

Finally, I would like to congratulate you on winning the election - my political beliefs notwithstanding - and I hope that you will provide in your leadership and the policies of your government the surest rebuttal to the National Party's prominent image as a bunch of Hollow Men.

Kind regards,

Friday, November 28, 2008

Another great letter to look at!

Make Tea Not War has put her letter to John Key on her blog!

And a great letter it is too!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Advice from those who know

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn has passed on a bit of advice he has received. It runs like this:

  • The select committee will get set up through the "Business Committee" like normal (or through an informal equivalent if the Biz Cttee hasn't been put together properly yet)
  • That means you can also target the people on the Biz Cttee who will influence things like the size and make-up of the Select Committee!

MPs to write to for this (just stick their name above "Parliament Buildings" and it will get to their desk):
  • Darren Hughes and Steve Chadwick
  • Meteria Turei (we think)
  • Nathan Guy and Craig Foss
  • Te Ururoa Flavell
  • and Lockwood Smith, who as Speaker will chair the Business Committee.
The advice also says that aiming for 12 MPs doesn't go far enough!

"I'd be inclined to go for the full reduction ad absurdam, and not just 12 MPs on the cttee. Go for 24 or even 30! Make a real circus. In the unlikely event it was that big, a) the Nats would have to turn out en bloc every time to make sure they were not outvoted b) it would take up so much of people's time the focus would be narrow, to get the thing finished. "

So there you go - the latest word from those who know!

A letter gets posted...

Photographic evidence of posting a letter! Woo!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Someone blogged their letter!

Stronger Light has blogged the letter they sent to John Key.

Respect! Let's see some more!

Carbon News: NZ now a joke in Europe!

Scoop carries a press release from Carbon News, a website full of detailed info about the financial carbon trading markets. The world doesn't like the signals from Rodney-ised John Key:

“We have just fallen off the radar in Europe,” he said. “They are saying ‘all you do is talk. You’ve been talking since 1992. You are all talk and no action. You maintain that you are so clean and green and try to be leaders and all you do is nothing. You make a decision and then you change your minds. How can we do business with people like that? We can’t take your seriously’.”

There's more, pointing out that the economics of the world are shifting and we have to start catching up:

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner and sustainability specialist Julia Hoare says New Zealand business will have to account for its carbon – regardless of whether it is through an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax.

“The sooner New Zealand businesses understand what a price on carbon means – whether it’s delivered through an ETS or through a carbon tax – the better... Whatever the politics and mechanics of it might be, we are moving into a carbon-constrained world, and business has to understand that.”

Brian Rudman

There was a great piece by Brian Rudman in the Herald last week:

Ditch fruitcake views on climate change

"Obviously new Prime Minister John Key felt he had to toss these trinkets to Act to ensure its support in propping up his Government.

Of more concern is his indulging Mr Hide in his fruitcake views on global warming. As part of the deal, Mr Key has agreed to a climate change select committee.

Attached as first appendix to the coalition agreement is Act's terms of reference, top of which is a requirement that the scientific case be relitigated.

It reads: "The committee shall hear competing views on the scientific aspects of climate change from internationally respected sources and assess the quality and impartiality of official advice."

The small print of the coalition agreement says these "terms of reference" are "an initial basis for discussion", but the fact that Prime Minister Key is happy to give official credence to this nuttiness risks making New Zealand, and him, a laughing stock."

There's lots of good stuff in there - read the rest. I especially like the final point:
National campaigned on reviewing the way New Zealand meets our Kyoto treaty obligations to reduce our carbon footprint. That's fine. Act's global warming denial policy was not part of the deal.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ask for a narrow focus!

In their agreement with National, ACT proposed some Terms of Reference for the Select Committee. They said, "here's what we think the SC should have to work through!" and John Key said, well, we'll have to see about that.

You can see ACT's proposal for yourself as Appendix 1: find it here.

John Key has explicitly said this is a starting point for negotiation. We want to influence that negotiation. What we want is for that big long list to be stripped down the bare slender minimum, so the SC can get through its work super-fast.

So -

  • no investigation of science - we've covered that one already.
  • no investigation of whether we should do anything at all - we've made an international commitment to reduce emissions, and we should be sticking to it.
  • no time spent second-guessing the future - we already know what direction the world is going in, we need to start going there too
  • no waiting for Copenhagen 2009 - same reason as above!
  • no wasting time on an "adaptation approach" - this just means, "we'll do nothing and then try and cope as the world around us goes down the toilet". We need to start making changes!
  • etc. etc.
Instead of all this guff, the SC should focus on identifying the best way to reduce emissions and minimise the cost to the taxpayer (and that means, how to tweak the ETS to improve it). We don't need anything else.

In fact, a lot of that nonsense could be replaced by one entirely new point. You might want to ask for something like this in your letter:
"As a first priority, the select committee should consider the costs to New Zealand's international standing and economic wellbeing of further delays."

Because the bottom line is this: we have obligations now, and they are costing us money now. We can't escape that fact. So we need to get this done and dusted fast.

And that is why you should ask for a narrow focus.

Ask for the "review of the science" to get the chop!

Rodney Hide thinks that climate change is all a big scam.

He's wrong. Straight-up wrong, no two ways about it. There is massive agreement that climate change is real, and it is caused by our lifestyles - and particularly by our carbon emissions.

The climate scientists agree. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an enormous, reputable, incredible project that has run for many years to cautiously review knowledge in dozens of fields about climate change - and it all shows that climate change is real. NZ's own science organization, the Royal Society, say the same thing.

But it isn't just them. Politicians agree, too. Barack Obama agrees. So does Kevin Rudd. That's the US and Australia, our major trading partners, sorting themselves out while we lag behind.

Who else? Well, Arnold Schwarzenegger! And Tony Blair! And pretty much everyone, everywhere, who has power and responsibility.

And who else? Why, only a particular chap named John Key:
The scientific consensus is clear: human-induced climate change is real and it’s threatening the planet. There are some armchair sceptics out there, but I’m not one of them.

Ultimately, we don't need a review of the science, because the Royal Society and the IPCC have done all that hard work for us. The select committee should just get on with asking, what next?

And that's why we think the review of the science should get the chop!

(Note: If you want to get into the actual science of it, I recommend kicking off at NZ's very own clearing house for climate change knowledge, the Hot Topic blog by Gareth Renowden.)

Ask for a large Select Committee!

We here at "Don't Be A Rodney, John Key" reckon that you should ask for a large select committee, rather than a small one.

Select Committees are groups of MPs who get together to work through particular issues. There are rules in place about the size of the SC and which parties the members are from. There are some tricks to this though...

As far as possible, the SC membership must be in proportion to the House, but this counts across all the various SCs, not in each one. So if we get a small committee (7 members), it will be possible to stack it in an uneven way, perhaps to keep another small party away from the table.

If we get a large committee (12 members), though, we get representation from every party. That will make sure that everyone has their say, in particular the Greens, who you can count on to say "stop wasting time on this nonsense, let's save the planet already!"

And that's why we want a large committee.