Election Double Shot Interview: Russel Norman

Election Double Shot Interview: Russel Norman

By Bernard Hickey

Over the final two weeks of the campaign I interviewed the major party finance spokesmen, including National's Bill English, Labour's David Parker, New Zealand First's Winston Peters and Green Co-Leader Russel Norman here.

I began by asking Norman about the Green Party's monetary policy. He said the Reserve Bank Act would be changed to extend its targets beyond inflation to include either output or external imbalances.

He also preferred the Reserve Bank board rather than the Governor made monetary policy decisions, as was the case with many central banks overseas. It would include representatives of the productive sector.

"That would help give a broader perspective on monetary policy from the Reserve Bank itself," he said.

"Inflation is important, but you've also got to look at the external imbalances."

Asked about the Green policy on money printing or quantitative easing, he said: "I got myself into some hot water by suggesting New Zealand do quantitative easing like everyone else. Clearly there isn't the political support for that so we backed away from that."

Norman said, however, that central banks would probably change their perspective if inflation headed towards deflation again, "even possibly our central bank would change its perspective and adopt slightly more unorthodox approaches, but that would be an issue for the central bank."

Capital Gains Tax

Along with Labour, the Green Party favoured a Capital Gains Tax, although it would prefer one taxed at marginal income tax rates rather than the 15% rate favoured by Labour.

"Why should one form of income be taxed, like wages, but capital gains aren't taxed -- it doesn't make any sense," he said, arguing it also broadened the tax base and would help shift investment choices away from property investment.

The Green policy was for a capital gains tax that excluded the family home, was on realisation (rather than accruals based) and the details would be worked out by an expert panel, including whether or not it was taxed at marginal income tax levels rather than 15%.


Norman said the Green Party supported an auto-enrollment process for KiwiSaver with the power to opt out, rather than the full compulsory scheme proposed by Labour.  Green also favoured a publicly-run KiwiSaver option where the funds were managed by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and the 'front office' administration was done by either IRD or KiwiBank.

He defended the management of the public option by the NZ Super Fund.

"For a lot of people going into KiwiSaver, having a long term perspective is not a bad idea. It would be particularly suited to a young person coming in who was open to a relatively aggressive strategy, given the Super Fund takes a pretty long term horizon, which it should," he said.

Climate tax cut

Norman reiterated the Green plan for a NZ$25/tonne carbon tax (NZ$12.50/tonne for dairy farmers) that paid for a 1% cut in the corporate tax rate to 27% and a tax exemption for all inomes up to NZ$2,000.

A Green Government would also introduce a new 40% tax rate for incomes over NZ$140,000 per annum to pay for a suite of child poverty spending plans. The trust rate would also rise to 40%.

"We had to match it otherwise you open up an avoidance can of worms," he said.

Foreign buying limits

Norman said a Green Government would prohibit foreign buying of land greater than five hectares and would limit buying of standalone houses on land.

"The Chinese Government has a very clear strategy about acquiring vertical integration of food back into China. Makes sense for them. Perfectly rational and not an unreasonable thing to do, but pretty stupid of us to let them do it," he said.

He compared the likes of Auckland with other cities such as Vancouver, London, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore where there was a big element of offshore buying of houses.

"A lot of them have tried to introduce constraints to take some of the heat out of the demand side," he said.

One option was an Australian style ban on sales of existing homes and land, while another option was a Hong Kong-style charge of 15% on offshore buyers.

Auckland housing supply and densification

Norman was sympathetic to Labour's plan to build 100,000 houses in 10 years, but would the Greens would focus more on densification of housing in cities such as Auckland.

"We need Auckland to be our great international city. It needs an absolutely kick arse transport system -- the City Rail Link and so much more -- and it needs to increase densities and we know there's a lot of opportunity to do that within the existing footprint of Auckland, rather than National's approach of endless sprawl. Sprawl is incredibly expensive and inefficient," he said.

He contrasted National's plan for NZ$14 billion of spending on new motorways with Green's plan to shift NZ$10-NZ$11 billion of that into public transport spending.

Dairying and water

Norman said the Green policy was to target swimmable rivers, although it would take some time to get there. This would effectively place a limit on the growth of dairying.

"Once you put in place environmental limits, which a clean rivers rule effectively is, then it says to the dairy sector that if you want to maximise profit then the path of going down to the last drop of milk off the last blade of grass, that path is reaching its limits, and if you want to increase your profits, you may have to look elsewhere," he said.

Norman said the Green policy was to impose some sort of charge on the commercial use of water for irrigation.

"The reason for that is to drive efficiencies. Prices work. I believe in markets," he said, adding any revenues raised would be used to clean up rivers and lakes.

The price would be negotiated after the election, he said.

Here's the first Election Double Shot recorded with Winston Peters, in which he argues for a new monetary policy, foreign buyer controls and migration limits.

Here's the second Election Double shot recorded with Bill English where he argues for the stability of National to keep the economy growing.

Here's the final Election Double shot with David Parker, who argues for monetary policy reform, a capital gains tax and compulsory KiwiSaver.

See all my previous election diaries here.

See the index for Interest.co.nz's special election policy comparison pages here.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


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See - many hours after this item was put up no body is interested in commenting on this Socialist Green rubbish.

We are just a bit rubbished out. We've had Winstone's, Bill's, David's and now Russel's.
While over in the slightly more real world commodity prices are collapsing and property asset values quietly deflating. 

... they didn't mention " peak oil " either .... is that because the price just keeps going down ? ... no one seems to want the stuff anymore ..... very sad about that .....
It used to be that oil made the world go around !
... prior to that the planet squeaked incessantly ..... drove the neanderthals to despair , keeping them awake at night ...

CGT at your marginal tax rate .... which the Greenies are gonna put up to 40 % .... ouch .... that's going to hurt .... when the Greens become the government .....
..... when ! ..... anytime now .... wait for it ..... keep waiting .... oh shag .... another 3 years then ....

This game isnt over yet, and even if its another 3 years it will happen, its just when.
Then consider just how sick of JK and National ppl will be, so multiple terms of the left in power.

Wrong , the left is hamstrung by its dated philosophies of taxing and impoverishing the middle class and the small business sector  .
Anyone voting to pay more tax is just crazy , we are really struggling to pay the existing taxes
The truth is no one wants CGT or 5 more new  taxes , the exisitng GST and PAYE is already too great a burden for most NZ  businesses .

“property asset values quietly deflating”  ???

 Herald Today:

“House prices in some Auckland suburbs are twice what they were just three years ago as the city experiences a second wave of booming property values. Others are enjoying increases as high as 40 per cent in just two years.”


No need to grace Greens clap-trap any further.

Credibility, Herald => Mismatch!
This may be worthy of your consideration?
Your contribution to the discussion would add considerable value. Thanks.

Certainly not wishy-washy anymore. The greens have grown up a lot. Probably a good alternative to our current PM.

Grown up Matt?  Norman may not be washy washy like their previous lot, in fact he's very good at making the absurd sound mainstream, but they still  expose the same economically damaging stuff they always have. I'd far soon have washy washy and sound economic policy, rather than what this lot trots out. And what's worse, with their growth in the polls Labour's ability to modify that will be much reduced.

I think you need to take off your blinkers.
Economically damaging? hasnt/isnt the financial mis-management of a significant part of the global economy by right wing Pollies like Bushie and JK's banking mates benn severly economically damaging? Look at the mayhem and suffering the Big US banks have caused, all in the name of profit for a few.
Of that National is still stuck in an energy policy that was obsolete 30 years ago, if not 70?
I mean what has the last 20~30 years shown us? that the top 10~20% can be better off in exploiting one time resources while to bottom 20% is worse off is a good result?
I think not.

@Steven , you seem to want some kind of Socialist utopia where everyone is the same ( but everyone is poor) .
As it is New Zealand is hoplessly short of Captial , and the lefts policies will ruin any form  of Capital formation needed for development , and  thats why we have such a weak stock market .
We need a robust Capitalist class , that provides the capital for busineses to thrive and grow , and develop and employ people and pay the wages .
Otherwise there is nothing for anyone

I think you live in some sort of far right wing la la land where everyone left of Act is a raving commie loony.
The stock market in NZ has been gutted of value, shares have crazy PtoE ratios, you have to be crazy to play in that game.  Pensions that rely on this are in for big losses, Im long out of owning NZ shares.
You dont need a "capital class" especially at that "class" simply goes for the highest parasitic return it can get no matter what the damage is to NZ and its people.

Capitalism has lifted billions (literally billions) of people out of poverty and ushered in a age of prosperity the likes of which we've never seen.  Things need to be done to curb the excesses of the system but it certainly shouldn't be disregarded altogether. 
Sustainability constraints are a when, not an if, so we need to start preparing now and that's the message the Greens should be focusing on.
Very few people want the type of socialism that steven advocates, just look at Labour's polling. 
Whilst we continue on a doomed debt/growth based system people like me will continue investing in non-productive assets as their increase in value is assured. 

You say 'Literally billions have been saved by capitalism...' What a load of nonsense! I'm not letting you get away with that and am calling you out to show me where? Clearly you've NEVER left New Zealand before... That remains singularly the most ignorant comment i have read on this site for ages!
Instead of trolling anything left of extreme right, try typing poverty or potable water into Google, or go to a library man! Sigh!

That would be America, Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa...actually the entire African continent for those not in Third World poverty and water issues, Europe and USSR.  And now spreading into parts of Asia.

And yes there are capitalists misusing their power...question is why are the local governments enabling this?    And is that why government is allowing misuse of foreign and local capitalist power here in NZ?

And before anyone starts on capitalism as corrupt or perfect and/or not power - or free market.  I'm physically strong, trained in over 50 weapons from nail clippers through to M60s (excluding rockets and mortars), I have _ability_ to apply force to whomever I choose....laws and social rules dictate how and to what ends I can use my force.   So power, be it physical or capital, requires clear guidelines - mine are around person safety and freedom (and not social or financial slavery)

...I just wish the greens would stick to being 'Green'.  Focus on being experts in this area and then aligning with whomever gets elected to get the best deal for the environment.    They are out of their depth in most other areas.

Absolutely Rastus, even I'd contemplate some support if they were a Green Party only as I agree that the focus needs to be there. But the green is very secondary to the red and as such failed policies such as those are the last thing we need. A Green Party working with a competent financial manager would be the ideal, but whatever happens, we're not going to get that, especially with Labour so weak.

Totally agree, sustainability will be the biggest challenge facing my generation in 5, 10 or 50 years time and we need sustainability policies.  The Greens being perpetually in opposition or under Labours thumb will prevent that voice being heard; they need to either take the centre left or partner with National. 

National, JK has said he wont have anythign to do with the Green's, fair enough. I mean National's policies have little in common with being Green or sustainablity being 50 years out of date, stuck in the fossil fuel era.

Labour and National are committed to a debt/growth based economy, it's really just a decision on whether or not you want socialism thrown in as well. 

"commited" indeed both are.  If however you understand that you cannot keep growing for ever on a finite planet, then such a policy is a failure at some point. 
Looking at peak oil, minerals etc its pretty clear we are at it, hence a party/Govn with a different outlook is needed.
Personally I think this is the root cause of Labour's implosion. Enough people who look ahead can see change is needed and are looking to the Green's as there is no other option.

The Green's have a wider outlook.  Out of depth? lol, no.  Both National and Labour are yesterday's men.

Beware the two leaders wearing suits in order to give an air of professionalism. NZ would go down the gurgled if they controlled our economy. They will always be in opposition as the middle realise you need stability and common sense, not wacky left wing ideas.

Unless they have viable positions on other parts of government, law, health, national security, science, religion, education...and finance/economics to pay for everything  then they'll never get in government/opposition because no-one in government or opposition could realistically call on them to vote on any non-environmentla bull.

Oh so true Rastus , they are hoplessly out of their depth , even on some Green matters such as electric cars .

how so? (electric cars)

Steven , the Greens policy on electric cars is lunacy . If electric cars were economically viable, Toyota would be producing the electric Corrola , Camry and Hilux by the million.
Not one of the worlds major  manufacturers are anywhere close to mass producing electrics  

There is a new invention called Google that you should try before you insert your foot so far down your throat.
Toyota plug in
Volkswagen plug in. Also refers to Nissan and Renault.
General Motors plug in.
Ford plug in.
All available now. Reasonable reports suggest that prices of such cars should be similarly priced to petrol only equivalents by 2020. And still have the massive fuel cost savings, along with significant carbon savings in countries like NZ where electricity is mostly renewables.

Yip , all of these in the test phase , but remain unecomic to mass produce .
Unfortunately fossil fuels will be around a long time yet .

Unfortunately fossil fuels will be around a long time yet .
Err, no they won't! 

Craig - to quote the IEA "Our analysis suggests there are ample physical oil and liquid fuel resources for the foreseeable future" - and by the EIA figures proven oil reserves have gone from 600 million in 1980 to 1.5 trillion today. So Boatman does have a point.

Actually its an accounting fiddle and I have pointed this out to you before.  If you go back to the1980 figures for conventional crude OK 600 Billion plus a considerable amount of heavy oil and tar sands not considered economically recoverable.  Fast forward to today and the IEA lumps all the oil into one number so the total has not changed.  When you look at EROEI tar sands and hevy oil seem to be around 3 to 1 and not 6 ~8 to 1 needed for our modern economy. Hence while technically some of that hvy is recoverable economically not so much. 
On top of that the output in terms of barrels per day will never ramp up to meet the decline of conventioanl crude.
So boatman does not have a point, sure hvy oil might still be around in 2100 maybe even 2150 but its cost ot extract it out weight the economic benefits of doing so.

Still struggling with the concept of proven oil reserves. It is not an accounting fiddle it is an accounting term in itself for oil company valuations. Enron was an accounting fiddle not the IEA. Accounting terms aside Jimmy Carter and his ilk said we would be out of oil by the 80s and the greens are still trying to scare us with this doomster crap.

Unlike you who doesnt understand peak oil is about flow and not about how much there might be, No, not struggling at all, I understand that indeed its an accounting fiddle / slight of hand to keep shareholders and voters happy and consumers locked in.  Of course if as you said you have bought into the oil hype that makes you a vested interest.
Not aware anyone credible ever said we'd be OUT of oil by the 1980s.
In fact Carter's speech says,
"The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are running out. In spite of increased effort, domestic production has been dropping steadily at about six percent a year. Imports have doubled in the last five years. Our nation's independence of economic and political action is becoming increasingly constrained. Unless profound changes are made to lower oil consumption, we now believe that early in the 1980s the world will be demanding more oil that it can produce."
which is flow and not reserves and looks at the USA in particular.
Now sure we swapped from making goods in the developed world that took real energy to finacial instruments of mass destruction and improved efficiency.  Also in that time frame we switched to massive debt in order to keep going. Debt that is not underwriten as there isnt the energy.
Lots of businesses and rural people are finding that wind can generate a substantial income for their communities btw.  Fats becoming a bun fight between big coal and everyone else and coal is losing.

The issue right now is how to make clean and durable batteries for cars.  At the moment Li-On battery is the only option and mining for those chemicals to produce li-on battries leave a massive amount of waste - as well as what to do when those batteries no longer work.  So it's not that clean

Lithium is also pretty much is just one spot on the planet in large quantity (South America) and clean room tech to make, ie not cheap.

Fossil fuel (crude oil)  is gone by 2050. By 2030 it wont be the engine that drives economic "growth" and in fact that is probably 2020.
EVs will never be economic to produce, ever IMHO.

yes I noticed for all the release information and hype there still isn't more than the occasional Prius around in NZ.   I did put it down to NZ's shocking electricity prices.

The fuels might be, but their use in transport is look less cost effective (movement to renewables)

And what will ppl be driving when the oil is gone?  If you look at credible writers its 2050 and that means gone as in effectively no more to pump out / extract in a technology sense.
If you then consider that about 1/2 way through a resource is the point of maximum production (about now) after that the production declines to zero.  Consider the rationing that has to occur and that it is done via price and what price does to our economy.
Ergo at some point maybe $3 or $4 a litre you cannot afford to drive a conventional car.  In fact for many right now even $2.20NZ is it.
For the lucky few an EV will be their transport maybe the top 20% of the population, the rest will be on shanks pony or PT.
So in order to make EV's more attractive the Green's want to build more charging points. Like a business they are investing before there is a payback as indeed many other Govns have done on a whole range of products before them, and right wing Govns at that, eg Brazil over sugar to fuel and the US over a whole slew of products, eg The Internet.
"Mass production of EVs", indeed it wont ever happen, not like petrol cars, unless we can geta battery 1/4 of the present price and doing 2 to 4 x the distance and last twice as long as they do now.    So instead of $20k for a battery pack, $5k, maybe 8k, that will do 400km not 160km and last 20 years not 12. 

Ah they'll just lift the price of housing.   People will be forced to pay for buses running on renewables, and electric lorries from amazon-style supermarkets and stores to deliver therir few goods that they have have in their apartments.

Because the majority of people will live have to near their workplace, and use tightnit center city Asia style entertainment and social systems, much of the travel mentality we have will disappear.  You will be able to book time in the carefully allocated parks, or watch TV or take up a company sponsorsed sports event like Starcraft or World of Warcraft.

The Greens have one very important issue going for them. As any sensible person must agree, we have to start taking environmental issues more seriously looking forward.  Thats why they will creep up 2 - 3 % every election.  Remember when they were bearly breaking 5%
Thinking green is the way of the future.

Even a 1 to 2% gain per election is a significant increase.  It is interesting how Labour is collapsing, it seems the Green's message is getting listeners.
PS using arguments like "sensible person" or "common sense" shuts down an argument and cannot be justified IMHO, it often isnt.

I thought we all use it now as a piss take of John Key.  I'm sure all sensible kiwis would agree

who pays?

Informative responses are infrequent above. But lots of abuse.
As for the Greens. Internally they seem to have a wide range of membership and views. They have green, (environmental) and red (socialist) Once they actually got some power those schisms would show up and would need to be sorted. Messy for them.
I voted on Saturday, so I am not conflicted about what to do.
But what do people do, who like me have a rightish view on economic matters,and would dearly love to have a planet on which our decendants can survive and thrive.
(and I don't go for the view that to have a healthy enviroment, you have to be left)

A blue/green voter and there are many like you, a big opportunity for the party that realises it first. 

Yet looking throughout the world I see no such option anywhere.  Its either pretty hard right wing with no Green at all or a Green and Red mix.

Right wing ideologies need not be mutually exclusive with sustainability/environmental policies.  Currently a voter only has the sustainability/socialism option which is a problem for any blue/green voter. 
Gen Zero seem to be the only party that preaches solely sustainable policies but they get 0 press (that I can see). 

The only current Blue/Green government (putting aside Scandanvian Countries where people here would consider their Blue to be our pale Red) I can think of is the centre-right Liberal state government of British Columbia in Canada. Five years ago they brought in the carbon tax the NZ Green's policy for this election is based on. It has worked superbly.
This does kind of raise the point though, that since the Green's here are adopting policies put foward by centre-right parties, how Blue would they need to go to get the support of those that consider themselves Blue/Green.

Agree - and that's my problem with the Greens, like many other people. I actually see their left wing policies as detrimental to the environment. What happens when you incentivise people to have children? More people are born onto this finite planet, adding to the environmental problems.

I agree on the need for population control and a reguarly comment on this to my Green MP(s). 
WFF is for instance wrong, it should be curbed at 2 children, have any more and no increased payments. 

But then Steven, the childern will go to school hungry (and no shoes) and I think they are supporting Labour's free lunch program.

The problem is we cant keep feeding more and more people.  So its a Q of this generation of children or their children that go hungry.  
My problem with WFF is its treating the symptom and not the cause.  So we need to get real and bloody fast.

You're hilarious! Did you not read the top ten today that you commented on? Are you a bot or something?
" The US Department of Agriculture is predicting that this year's harvests of both corn and soybeans in the US will obliterate previous records for both yield per acre and overall production. Record production for crops and animals are being reported in many other countries as well, and prices are falling."
On top of that I hear a lot of traditional grass country is going into soybeans in Brazil this year so roll on cheap feed/milk.

The thing is with climate change we'll see bumper crops when weather events dont wipe the crops out aka Russia.
So with more and more people we'll need bumper crops every year, that also takes water.
If production was so "limitless" why would china etc be so interested in buying agro land everywhere it can?

Population growth is in decline. Net farm area has not increased in the past five years yet record crops. Forest areas increasing. Precision farming doing for ag yeilds what big data did for shale. The sky isn't falling on your head. Will have to find other ways to get people to vote green than future doom fantasys.

well if they buy all the land people are silly enough to sell them.  (beads and blankets)

then like all the rubberware which I'm using (and is produced in a country famed for it's production systems) which is lasting less than a quarter of material 5 years ago, and I now can't even buy a brand of gumboots or shoes that fit properly or last (same country of manufacutre, using different shaped lasts to local manufactures).  and much of the clothing also sourced from same country, despite being made of polyesters and cottons aren't stopping the cold for more than a couple of washes.
And much of the steel items from the same country seem to be just tiniest bit off on the thread tolerances, and extremely prone to metal fatigue under stress, and the bolts which are supposed to be rated as 8.8 tensile strength but I had to replace them all...three times...last season, where the norm was 1 bolt (out of 16 per year)....
Then if our country and our allies had to go into war production for any reason, we have _no_ hard industry.  we have no textile or clothing _industry_.   WEe would have, what, 6 months? a year most of resistance.  And since much of the land is already sold, our allies might think twice before defending such a quisling.

If you ever read/watch Margret Thatcher, she was of the same view.  Sadly her contemporaries like Ronald Raygun have become dominant on the right with it seems no care for the environment or future generations.  To me much of "conservatism" is to conserve for futre generations, right now it seems that is only occuring in the left sphere.
"Messy" not so sure, the party has been such a mix for over a decade.  Now I will agree there will be some conflicts, there always is in all parties.  If you look at the cleanout of the likes of Locke, Bradford etc its pretty clear the red outliers are gone from the Greens and so gone is the rhetoric.  (Now they look to be doing a 5th columist of the Internet party it seems).
"but what do people do"  Before I came here I voted Tory, I know vote green because the conserving influence is not apparant in either major party.  Bear in mind it wont be a Green Government at most it will be 1/3rd Green and hence an influence.  The Green's have some policies I strongly do not agree with like gun control, but I have even more strong more dis-agreements with the rest. 

Bollcks , the US produces less industrial pollution since the Reagan administration than anytime during the past 3 generations .
I am conservative AND very concerned about Environmental degradation  

Three points here, 
a) Provide a URL to back your claim up please.  ie do you count CO2 as a pollutant? or just the "icky" bits?
co2 to 2008 climbing,
global pollution is increasing,
b) Maybe the recession has something to do with less pollution, plus the switch to cheaper Ngas from coal in the US at least.  Driving is also down due to the recession and price, so that isnt a policy win, its circumstances.
c) A lot of goods consumed in the USA are now made in china and that pollution isnt reflected in the US emissions I believe.

Oh, can someone give his flag back and keep him happy?

The biggest problem with 'the right' getting their heads around 'sustainability' and environmental protection is that considering the environment requires a philosophical shift in attitude regarding the impacts of their activities, both socially and environmentally. 
The thinking shift is that care for the environment is both a singular and group undertaking. And that some rights, e.g. the right to pollute, right to develop are often counter to protecting the environment. 
I look at National / Act and see a collective group think that isn’t actually able to, somewhat ironically, fiscally, emotionally and culturally account for their damage to the environment that their activities result in. There is nothing even remotely environmentally responsible in nationals policies apart from cynical handwaving. Looking at the Nats, I see that the environment is something to be exploited.
The vast majority of comments in this thread are banal, thoughtless, head in sand, knee jerk comments. As a father of young children, they make for sad reading.

Mythical nonsense repeated enough becomes "fact"
How , pray do tell has the current Government damaged the environment through "their activities"?

  • We have been drilling for oil offshore for longer than I have been alive
  • We have been producing milk for about 100 years , way  longer than I have been alive
  • Coal and gold mines have been a feature of New Zealands landscape for over 100 years .
  • The aluminim smelter was built decades ago
  • Ditto the refinery 
  • National has built no new roads , other than those planned and approved by Helen Clarkes  administration ( in coalition with the Greens) .
  • We have ant-pollution aand anti-fouling laws or waterways , the landscape , etc , and which are enforced


As long as you are convinced.  
Your milk comment smacks of political spin or stupidity.  

Yip  and in 1880, a lunatic called David White predicted we would run out of oil by 1921.
A hundred years later and we are nowhere near peakoil whatever that is  .

I didnt say run out I said peak production.
a) We have a far better understanding of oil and the geology these days. In fact geologically its pretty much a  done deal.
b) It isnt about running out its about how much we can get per day.   In the 1950s a guy called Hubbert predicted that we'd see a peak oil output around 1999. Looks like it was 2005~2006 and considering he couldnt predict the OPEC crisis in the 1970s that greatly effect consumption he was really very close.
"There is a general consensus between industry leaders and analysts that world oil production will peak between 2010 and 2030, with a significant chance that the peak will occur before 2020. Dates after 2030 are considered implausible"
Every finite resource looked at follows this curve, coal did in the UK (it peaked in 1913 and despite a lot of ppl being sent down the mines during the Great War the output never got higher) as have all oil fields so its a Q of when not if.
c) The fly in the ointment is looking to be the maximum price our present world economy can stand as a % of GDP to pay for oil.  This would seem to be about 6% for the USA and 8% for the EU and other more efficient countries.  This seems to equate to $120USD to $150USD a barrel, where we are now pretty much.. This means future oil fields that need $100 and even $120USD a barrel to develop probably wont be.
So the "lunitics" are really the people who think we can just keep on growing no matter what.

Or to quote the Economist "Mr Hubbert’s curve and the peak-oil brigade look out of date".
Yeah UK coal - they only have 3 billion tonnes left the poor buggers.
Then there is the trillions of tonnes under the North Sea to hook into.
What is a peaker to do these days?

economists are not oil-geologists. I dont even consider most of them competant in economics let alone areas of expertese they have no idea about. I mean how may saw the GFC coming? a few handfuls.  Not sure what that link is btw, looks more like a comment than an actual article. it also refers to the US oil output and if you look at that graph the output drops away again before 2020, circa 2016 which is well commented on. So the US enjoys a 4 or 5 year resurgance of oil output and then declines again, in between a huge cost making whether its profitable or not questionable.
On top of that Hubbert's curve is about conventional crude oil output as that is the easy and cheap stuff, his theory about crude is proving accurate. What the economists and indeed yourself seem unable to grasp is we have some un-conventional "addons" such as shale and hvy oil which are giving us a wee bit more time, nothing significant in terms of back to BAU and the old growth model. This doesnt invalidate Hubbert's work.
Again coal production in the UK was conventional coal  and that output peaked in 1913 and I think was gone in the 1980s~90s. What we see here again is a difference and and an un-conventioanl resource you seem unable to understand the difference on reserves v output per day. 
On top of this,
a) it is a vested interest hyping up business, in a pro-coal publication so should be taken with a pinch of salt and not believed to be gospel. 
b) it isnt as yet a proven technology, let alone economic, its a pilot to see if it works.
but if you believe in it, invest.....could be agreat opportunity for you, or maybe lose your shirt.

- ok so don't get info about coal out of coal industry magazines. got it.
- disregard Economist magazine also but take your quote from wikipedia(!!!). got it.
- UK coal is gone? Last time I looked there was still over 3 billion tonnes left then they found a few trillion more a few months back (if you believe coal industry magazines).
- you must be losing your shirt on oil futures five odd years now you've been harping out about only two years of oil left. Must be very frustrating.
- Wolfcamp shale plays are returning 63% ROI and will still make 30% ROI if oil hits $60. You can pick up a lot of shirts with that sort of money and wolfcamp is a monster field possibly the biggest in the world.

  • We have been drilling for oil offshore for longer than I have been alive

But not at the depth recently proposed. The risks greatly increase with depth. The Rena was / is a wakeup call that NZ is woefully under prepared for any major spill.

  • We have been producing milk for about 100 years , way  longer than I have been alive

Not at the scale it is currently produced at. 

  • Coal and gold mines have been a feature of New Zealands landscape for over 100 years .

They have. Ask the good people of Te Aroha how they feel about their rich mining past.

  • The aluminim smelter was built decades ago

And your point is here?

  • Ditto the refinery 

And again here?

  • National has built no new roads , other than those planned and approved by Helen Clarkes  administration ( in coalition with the Greens) .

Lab / Greens have only enjoyed a supporting role in the 99 electoral term. Never a coalition. 

  • We have ant-pollution aand anti-fouling laws or waterways , the landscape , etc , and which are enforced

We have some rules yes. How many of these rules are actually the result of a National government? Last time I looked the National GVT was busy weakening the RMA and passing water quality legistlation of dubious value.
The crux of your argument seems to be 'well these things happened in the past, so they can continue into the future'. They can't. We live on a finite planet, with finite resources. I've yet to hear a good argument that right wing parties are capable of encompassing environmental protection and sustainability in their policies. Perhaps you could give it ago?

You shouldn't be trying to make this an old left V right insult fest, there are many people on this thread saying we have right ideologies re free market, small govn, etc but would be happy to see sustainability policies in place. 
Labour is a party born in west coast coal mines and would lead any centre left govn; you're deluding yourself if you think they would behave any different to National re the environment.  The best thing for the environment in NZ would be the Greens dominating the centre left. 

"you're deluding yourself if you think they would behave any different to National re the environment. "
Agree, Labour wants a "just" environmental policy, ie do nothing if it costs jobs.
Not an option.

It is called cognitive dissonance. The right don't want to give up their Range Rovers but still want their trout fishing waters pristine.

The Greens have a problem. When population is an issue they turn left. Hence (like National) they deny a link between immigration and house prices.
They are silly onthe Treaty of Waitangi (recall #5's maiden speech). As Matt Nolan pointed out land taxes could be problematic under the treaty. ... where does that leave us?

Thank you JH , for pointing out the Emperors clothes!
Its foolhardy to suggest the scale of  immigration we have is not a a major driver of house prices.
1000 net a week , every week , over and over again .

Actually I dont think they do.

Okay , so if immigration is not fueling demand for housing , along with low interest rates , and the stranglehold  on land , then what is ?