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Gareth Morgan's Opportunities Party wants to wean NZ off fossil fuels, end 'bias' towards roads, and see traffic congestion charges introduced

Gareth Morgan's Opportunities Party wants to wean NZ off fossil fuels, end 'bias' towards roads, and see traffic congestion charges introduced

Gareth Morgan's Opportunities Party wants New Zealand weaned off fossil fuels by 2050, wants to "end the bias" towards roads over rail and shipping, and empower local government to introduce traffic congestion charges in peak times.

These are all aspect of the party's climate change policy.

"If we are smart, we can do this [wean the country of fossil fuels] in a way that improves our overall prosperity," the party says.

The Opportunities Party's other climate change priorities are;

‘Dump the junk’ credits held by the government by cancelling surplus credits as at 2020 and ensuring our Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) stays closed to international trade,

Ensure the Emissions Trading Scheme works properly, ploughing all revenue from a higher carbon price into helping households and businesses become more energy efficient, reducing their costs and emissions. 

Ensure all large new investments take into account our low carbon future.

Reforest 1.1m ha of erosion prone land as soon as possible. 

On agriculture, improving water quality will be our first priority, but this will help reduce nitrous oxide emissions (and possibly methane also).

"The science is clear; climate change is real and as a result we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels by 2050. This is a great challenge for the world, but as a nation we should embrace the opportunity to reduce emissions. After nine years of doing nothing we are slipping behind other countries," the party says.

"New Zealand is an innovative, adaptable nation. We can lead the world on reducing emissions, and even better we can profit from that leadership. Delay will not only load more costs onto future generations, it will also cost us precious opportunities to develop new technologies and markets."

Investment in energy efficiency will save households and businesses money, the party says, plus reducing emissions. Furthermore some 1.1 million hectares of erosion-prone land should be planted in forest as soon as possible to reduce emissions, stop soil erosion and improve the quality of water in rivers and lakes. 

"We will fund this by ensuring that the Emissions Trading Scheme is a true cap and trade scheme. It will remain closed to foreign units, with government auctioning off its allowance. This will push the price of carbon up over time."

Ensuring new investments don’t lock the country into a dependence on fossil fuels past 2050 means "ending the bias" towards roads over rail and shipping, and ensuring all significant new investments take the true cost of carbon into account.

"Local authorities need to be able to implement charges to control traffic congestion in peak times and raise revenue to invest in public transport."

"Regardless of our actions to reduce emissions, some communities such as south Dunedin will be impacted by sea level rise within our lifetime. A large disaster, far greater than the Christchurch earthquake is looming. This however is completely predictable, and as The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment recommends we need to discuss this issue now so that individuals, local authorities and government are all fully aware of their rights and responsibilities," Morgan's party says.

The full policy is here.

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Congestion charges are all well and good but there is a sting in the tail

Firslty , its a tax that is going to be passed on to consumers , whether you like it or not the costs of logistics in getting milk to the bottlers and food to the supermarkets is going to go up . Not to mention the costs of couriers , tradesmen and builders

Secondly , its going to hurt those families on lower incomes , because for example I will not pay the congestion toll , my practice will pay it , so it will make no difference to our lifestyle at all .

Instead we should be sorting out our hoplessly expensive , sloppy, slow and smelly public transport system ( its a system not a service) so that it makes sense to use the system .

How about offering all farmers free riparian planting of high performance manuka trees - help protect waterways, benefits of carbon credits, and UMF honey.... someone can figure out how to stop the electric fencing shorting out by the trees, and stop gorse, blackberry... growing.... minor details....

We have tried seedlings , and plant transplant and it is extremely difficult to get the trees to grow. It grows very well where you don't want it through

Doesnt sound very economic ... for an economist you would think they might see
- put charges on stuff makes things more expensive = deflationary pressure
- weaning off fossil fuels (for an economy) is like doing away with oxygen
- weaning off things is the opposite of economies to scale. Businesses go broke by getting smaller

Fossil fuels are what have delivered prosperity - like it or not. We have to transition off them at some point, but it has to mean lower standards of living. And it wont be a gentle down slope in going backwards

As an economist, it seems perfectly economic to me..
- Putting charges on things is a method of incentive. Simple economic theory would suggest a rational person would choose the utility maximising alternative. In terms of deflation, it is of no consequence; it shifts the demand from one consumable product to another in the medium to long term.
- Weaning off fossil fuels is perfectly economic in our case when we have such a reliance on inefficient fossil fuel usage.
- Economies of scale are only relative to production cost and capacity. And, what costs are increasing? If anything, shouldn't costs decrease in the long term?

You day after day advocate the doomsday prophecy and now you bash on policy specifically addressing your fears of fossil fuel over reliance.

They are understating the deflationary pressure .... even promising Prosperity! ...Maybe they will make good politicians afterall...
I could solve Auckland traffic problems overnight - a flat fee of $500 each time you use your car should do it. And weaning off fossil fuels? ... you mean weaning off plastics, roads, oil, diesel, fertiliser, mining ... I wonder if there would be any unforeseen consequences?
By all means advocate transition policies ... but dont dress it up as prosperity

If fossil fuel usage were inefficient, it wouldn't be happening - greedy, profit-obsessed, capitalist pigs would have every incentive to switch to a more efficient approach.

Inefficiency is not the problem with fossil fuels. The problem is the externality - the impact of fossil fuel use on climate change. The creation of a carbon price through the ETS is a sound, rational economics-based approach to addressing that.

Having said that, banning international participation and making the ETS entirely domestic doesn't make any sense. The global environment does not care where carbon emissions are created; it gets just as much benefit whether carbon emissions are reduced in China or in New Zealand. There is absolutely no benefit, either economic or environmental, in forcing people to achieve a desirable outcome in an expensive way (reduction in NZ carbon emissions) when they could pay somebody else to achieve the same outcome in a cheap way (reduction in Chinese carbon emissions).

We are Sheep and Beef farmers . The response of us if water was charged , is we would have to go dairy farming because it is the only use that could pay for it. Is this what NZ want ?

Maybe TOP could take a look at this scheme ...
"For every pound spent on ‘renewable’ wood fuel, the Northern Ireland government would pay you back £1.60. Even allowing for the initial capital costs of installing your eco-friendly wood-burning boiler, the potential returns were huge: at least £25,000 per boiler, per year — guaranteed, inflation-indexed for 20 years. Few questions were asked about the purpose of these boilers, which meant that canny farmers and businessmen could install them in previously unheated outbuildings and rake in the cash. Northern Ireland’s main Porsche, Maserati and Jaguar dealer, it’s said, has never seen such happy times."