A discussion with David Clark (Labour) and Metiria Turei (Greens), two locally based Members of Parliament.  The event was organised by the Otago Energy Research Centre, the Centre for Sustainability, and the Otago Climate Change Network.

This is the first duet by Clark and Turei in the 2014 elections.  They are singing from the same song sheet.  Despite the differences between their parties’ agendas, which are minor notes, there was plenty of affection and respect between both speakers.  The big debates are yet to come.  Other parties who could have represented a different view voted with their feet and stayed away.

We risk a sea-change of 1.6 metres.  I’m a couple of centimetres over 1.5 metres so that is getting personal.  It affects our harbourside, and South Dunedin, an area of the city for people who can’t afford to move, and often can’t afford to own their own property.  Inequality makes our poorest citizens most vulnerable.  The delay in taking action on climate change is a luxury we can’t afford.  The longer we wait the more we will have to pay.  The small scale of our nation doesn’t stop us from becoming world leaders: it’s not the size of the country in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the country.  So let’s take a can-do attitude.

Labour introduced a Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme and is continuing to push it.  National cannot get out of the scheme.  Iwi have invested in it.  Business is taking an interest and responding well to it.  Under a change in government it has become a protection for pollutors.  The loop-holes need to be tightened up.  The Greens would like to change it for the alternative, a Carbon Tax.  This will take time to implement.  Another three years of the current government will continue in an increase of emissions and environmental degredation.  It is central government that can respond better.  This is why the opposition parties advocate for a change of government.

There are some companies who don’t care.  Time to hunt them down and hurt them in the wallet, that will cause them the most pain.  There is a shift in thinking in the last ten years.  This will continue to develop.  A lot of people want to make a better choice.  As more wealthier households go off the power grid for supply (more solar energy) the stress of maintaining supply shifts onto poorer households.  That’s 50% of the population, the Middle New Zealand.  Change will be supported out of our taxes.

David Clark gets to talk.

David Clark gets to talk.

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