The second lecture I attended this week: Generation Zero’s live-feed from their candidates meeting in Auckland.

While the attendance in Auckland looked thin on the ground, as it did in the lecture theatre in Dunedin, it filled up in the Auckland auditorium.

The event was presented and chaired by Samantha Hayes, a journalist and news presenter from TV3.  She volunteered her time, introducing the speakers and spreading the questions around.

Most of the parties were in attendance.  Act and the Conservatives were not in attendance, which kept the conversation away from chem trails. 

The debate was conducted on the assumption that the causes of climate change were resolved in the rational world.  (Where assumably rationality is not applied to climate change deniers.)

If we are not world leaders in climate change action then we are still batting above our weight class.  We have been foot-dragging to become pioneers under the government of the last six years.  This doesn’t mean that we are not concerned.

Tracey Martin showed that there is more to New Zealand First than yes men to Winston Peters.  In the conversation over transport she argued that the conversation needs to be extended from talking only about metropolitan Auckland to include connectivity to Auckland’s satelite towns.  She cited her constituency Warkworth, a community which is also home to the largest migrant Kiribati population in New Zealand.  There is more to New Zealand First’s immigration policy than just being opposed to New Zealand becoming a bolt-hole for Chinese millionaires.

If New Zealand First goes through a leadership change during the next term and people like Tracey Martin step out of the media shadow cast by Winston Peters then that party could prove to be interesting to watch.

Transport needs to be more than feeding roads.  It needs to be about improving networks.

Tim Groser: “Have you seen us abolish the ETS?” (Emissions Trading Scheme)  David Parker and Russell Norman: “Affectively Yes!”  I’m pretty sure that they both chorused that response.

The government is reliant on the high level of renewable energy (70%) to justify reducing incentive to take action to go further to higher levels of renewable energy.

Tracey Martin jumped in again to say that National and Labour think they know everything, both supporting the ETS while a group of smaller parties favour the Carbon Tax.  The two biggest parties need to be less arrogant.  She is really earning her pay-check this week.

There is a role for the Centre-Right parties to carry their people to act on climate change.  Tim Groser may look like an obstacle in this forum; addressing a room of 200 farmers he becomes an advocate for acting on climate change.  It was pointed out by the panel after the main event that he didn’t play the ‘environment-is-nice-to-have-but-we-can’t-afford-it’ card.  The National Party still needs to watch out, especially if the fiscal conservative faction becomes the dominant faction in that party.

Climate Voter