Green Party co-leader and Wellington local James Shaw sits down with political reporter Jason Walls for a few beers and a chat about how he’s faring as a Minister

James Shaw cartoon by Jacky Carpenter. (c) interest.co.nz

By Jason Walls

On the night of October 20, 2017 Green Party co-leader James Shaw was waiting to see if he had made history.

Never before had the Greens been a part of a Government and, sitting at the party’s headquarters with a beer in his hand and a mouth full of chips, he waited for Winston Peters to make his decision.

Like the pool of reporters eagerly waiting in the Beehive Theatrette and the millions watching around the country, Shaw had no idea which way Peters would go.

But, unlike the rest of New Zealand which was holding its breath until the second Peters announced his decision, Shaw knew slightly ahead of time.

By slightly, I mean by seconds.

“Winston was giving his speech and he used a line that was a modification of one that I had used in my election night speech,” Shaw says as he dipped a chip into a punnet of aioli.

Peters said: “We had a choice, whether it was National or Labour, for a modified status quo or for change.”

“I was sitting next to Annabel (his wife) at the Green Party office, having chips and dip and drinking beer, waiting and I said, “f**k, he’s going to go with us!”

The office “just went nuts” he says.

And it’s not hard to understand why. After a turbulent campaign period, the mood of the party must have been a fusion of jubilation and relief.

For the first time in its history, the Greens had a seat at the government table and Shaw had played a huge part in getting his party there.

He is now the Minister of Climate Change and, along with his team of MPs, provides confidence and supply to the Labour-NZ First Coalition Government.  

Where the rubber hit the road

Shaw does not fit the profile of a stereotypical Green Party member. With his slightly greying but styled hair, coupled with a navy-blue suit and sensible tie, he looks like he would be more at home in a boardroom than at a climate change rally.

As he walks into the bar – conveniently a stone’s throw away from Wellington’s Green Party headquarters – he’s pacing up and down on the phone.

After a while, he sits down to greet me – taking off his tie and folding it carefully as he apologises for being slightly late.

His press secretary is already off getting us a couple of beers, perhaps a nerve-racking task for a man who is widely viewed as a bit of a beer connoisseur.

“That’s probably an overstatement,” he says when I asked about this reputation.

Maybe it’s a reputation that all Wellingtonians get when they’ve lived here long enough. Shaw was born and raised in the capital, going to Wellington High School, then Victoria University after that.

He left in 1997 for Europe and, after a quick stint living in Belgium, moved to London to work with PwC.

At the time, he thought it would be a while before he called New Zealand home again – “I thought I would come back to New Zealand to retire,” he says.

By now, the beer has arrived. It was a hearty IPA, swimming with flavour and character – or at least that’s what I said, trying to earn my Wellington stripes. I actually had no idea what I was saying, but he was happy enough with the pick and nodded along when I attempted to give my two cents worth.

After a long sip, Shaw tells me he arrived at the firm just six-months before the then Price Waterhouse merged with Coopers & Lybrand.

“There is a big lesson about being the right person, at the right place at the right time,” he says.

James Shaw

The merger meant the firm was now asking itself questions like: “who do we want to be? And how do we want to project ourselves and what do we want to be known for.”

Meanwhile, oil conglomerate Shell – PwC’s biggest client at the time – was reeling from some bad environmental disasters.

“They started to say to PwC, well ultimately we have this sustainable supply chain policy and you guys are our auditors and management consultants – we’re going to need you to comply.

“We had nothing,” Shaw says.

It’s there he saw an opportunity and, with a few mates, he pitched the firm’s global chairman a sustainability and change management plan.

“He loved it. He said, ‘come and work in my office for me, you report to me now.’”

Shaw had always been passionate about this area, but this was where the rubber hit the road for him.

Almost 15 years after that meeting, Shaw came back to New Zealand – not to retire, but to stand for Parliament.

A day in the life of James Shaw

The leap between being an Opposition MP and a Minister is huge, Shaw says.

“It is as significant in scale as going from being a civilian to a Member of Parliament.”

He likens being in Opposition to running a daily newspaper, with meetings in the morning about what stories to follow and who’s going to lead them.

Although he still does do some media, it’s nowhere near as much.

But the bonus, of course, is determining policy; something he says he’s most passionate about and the area where he spends most of his time.

Getting ready for the Zero Carbon Act and implementing changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme are just some of a few areas he’s working on.

But when it came to the Budget, many said the Greens has lost out to NZ First.

It was always assumed the Greens would side with Labour to form a Government, but NZ First was there to be wooed.

It got a $3 billion war chest for bolstering the regions’ economic development, almost $1 billion for foreign affairs and a Deputy Prime Minister out of its deal with Labour.

The Greens, on the other hand, didn’t really receive many new big-ticket items out of the mini, or the full Budget.

“Well…” Shaw says with a sly smile draining the last of the beer as I put this criticism to him.

He has become particularly animated at this point – he has most likely heard this criticism countless times.

“In 1990, Steven Rainbow ran for the Wellington Central seat for the Greens,” he says. This was the very first year the Greens ran candidates as a political party.

He won 15.5% of the vote and came in third, but on what policy did he run on?

“Light rail,” Shaw says, practically beaming at this point.

“We, as a party, have been campaigning on that for 30 years.”

On April 3, 2018 the campaign Steven Rainbow started almost three decades ago finally bore fruit with $4 billion of funding over 10 years going towards light rail in Auckland.

It was part of a $13.5 billion package towards greener public transport over 10 years.

“I’m going to take my $13.5 billion worth of transport, my $1 billion biking and walking fund.”

Blue Greens alliance?

At this point, I was gearing up to ask the big questions. The nitty gritty, scrappy politics side of the interview.

Would the Greens ever side with National?

Its leader, Simon Bridges, made a point of saying his party was going greener and extended an olive branch to the Greens earlier in the year.

Shaw, at the time, was not convinced. But there were still many questions that needed to be asked and answered.

What would it take to get the Greens membership on board? Does he think it was a political ploy by the new National leader? How much consideration had he given to, what was dubbed at the time, the ‘teal deal’?

Before I could ask, we’re interrupted by Andrew Gutsell – a “Kiwi hero” who had just won a Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medal for bravery.

He, alongside Sonam Sherpa – a Nepalese Mt Everest tour guide – worked for almost 20 hours to save people involved in a cargo plane crash near the mountain last year.

They had seen Shaw from afar and wanted to come over for a chat. Their friend, a farmer named Nathan Steel, offers to buy us a round.

Gutsell and Sherpa tell the story of that day on the mountain, as Shaw listens intently.

It can be rare for a journalist to see interactions such as these. Often, the “meeting real Kiwis” is done in front of cameras before an election and never seems all that genuine.

But Shaw’s conversation with the men was as genuine as it gets – he even copped a bit of criticism, which he took in his stride with an understanding nod.

For a moment, I forgot I was sitting with the Green Party's leader and Minister of Climate Change. He didn’t look like a politician; just a guy, in a pub with a beer with his mates.

If the pint drinking, chip eating, suit wearing James Shaw had taught me anything at our time at the pub, it was just that.

Looks can be deceiving.

James Shaw & friends.

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?

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48 Comments

Yes, top of the line Parliamentarian and the insight of most interest above is the comment about that 'leap' to Minister. I wish him well in his portfolios - he needs to temper the 'zealots' and at the same time bring the 'deniers' on board. Having read the MFE consultation document on the the Zero Carbon Act, this notion about net zero by 2050 does worry me... a bit like Smoke Free 2025, and Predator Free 2050, we run the real risk of what I refer to as 'sloganizing' policy development. Time bound regulatory targets... I don't like them and I wonder if we've ever met any of them in the past - or whether this time bound, headline grabbing sort of policy development approach is a relatively recent phenomena in governance.

Seems completely counter-intuitive to time bound an objective/goal when making decisions under uncertainty;

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/decision-making-under-uncertainty

He's got a long way to go, and he isn't helped by the media who control the NZ conversation.

Watch this space, on that......

But the planetary problem for our species is overshoot. That's a combination of resources and draw-down, inevitably linked to population. No Party which puts up a six-children co-leader is there yet - just as no nation which avoids the debate about resources and population, is there.

And any government that brings in migrant populations with the highest birthrates in the world is NOT doing the future of our planet any good.

You imply that these populations will have more babies in New Zealand than they would if they stayed in their countries of origin.

What's your evidence for that?

Zhe doesn't necessarily imply that.
Zhe could be implying that providing an escape valve will enable further unfettered breeding in the countries of origin. I would have thought this is the most likely implication of the statement.

To put a halt to this rampant population explosion in some countries, something will actually need to change. If people just disperse to other less populated regions, the necessary change will never occur until the less populated countries like ours that they disperse to start to run out of resources.

Europe has alarming examples. I also suggest you become conversant with population IQ. Jordan Peterson and Douglas Murray both provide information that we rarely see in our mainstream media.

3.5% of NZ population voted for Greens in 2017 election. And they have (reading between lines as quid quo pro for supporting the venal Peter's waka jumping bill) just negotiated the effective destruction of the oil and gas industry in NZ at the loss of 10's of thousands of high paid jobs and cost of several billion a year in additional overseas borrowing to pay for more oil and gas imports and replace lost export revenue, all with no environmental benefit. Coupled with their toxic identity politics driven worldviews they are an irrational electoral cancer feeding upon low-information emotive naive and economically insulated urbanites. Extremely telling that their biggest vote is garnered in Wellington Central, far removed from the industries that keep them in lattes and smashed avocados.

They are the idiot tail wagging the working dog that is NZ.

24.5% of the NZ population voted for National in the 2017 election. So 75.5% of NZ didn't want National.

The Greens are trying to set NZ up to be part of the global shift to renewables. If we don't invest in the short-term we'll miss out in the long-term.

I think it's very shallow of you to write off the Greens worldview/s so viciously. What's wrong with human rights and treating people with respect & dignity etc? When you call their worldviews "cancer" it makes you sound hysterical. Do you ever pause and think about what kind of future you're working towards for the next generation, or are you a dog-eat-dog kind of NZer?

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The point regarding the 3.5% that chose to vote for the Greens is that they have no wide mandate from heaven or anyone else to smash NZ's economy to satisfy their misanthropic religious convictions.

Identity politics as practised by the Greens and others on the left is a true cancer in the world. It is racism, sexism, ageism and religious persecution all tied up with a pretty pink bow, and unchallenged by the hoards of humanities grads indoctrinated by fiercely dogmatic leftwing academics. Identity politics sees individuals no longer judged and given status by their thoughts actions or deeds, but instead by their membership of genetically defined groups - over which they have no control. Greens drummed out the old white men who displayed a sense of morality from their caucus, but tried to hold on to the admitted fraudster the right ethnicity and sex.

Only the ill-informed and unsophisticated (+young and stupid) can be hoodwinked into believing it is a movement for equality when it patently a vehicle for oppression - to subjugate and denigrate individuals, to remove their individuality and their voice in matters of political treatment and instead treat them as nothing but members of a more relatively evil or virtuous group that they have been assigned to due to an accident of birth and then deal with them on that basis with collective guilt or god-granted privilege as was done so evilly and so frequently in the past before we evolved into modern democracies. We do not need another round of Apartheid, Segregation, Communism, Nazism or Theocratic persecution to learn what a bad idea travelling down the road of enabling and excusing such labelling and preferential treatment or persecution on the basis of birth is (eg source of all Genocides).

Every revolutionary is a closet aristocrat, those pushing identity politics hardest seek unearned supremacy through political machination, not equality through opportunity and effort.

Totally agree Foyle. Identity politics is pushing its way into NZ and it’s not being challenged anywhere near enough. I don’t mind what the greens were founded on but Julie Ann Genter and the identity politics agenda needs to be run out of town.

Could you elaborate a touch on illogical, ill-informed and stupid? How are you defining those?

According to these statistics there's a much stronger correlation between higher education/academic achievement and the Greens than there is for National. In fact of all the parties Green voters are (provided academic achievement is a precursor to logical thinking, intelligence and being well-informed) the most informed, intelligent and logical. http://s3.newsapps.nz.s3.amazonaws.com/andrew_chen/original_visualisatio...

When it comes to logic I think higher education has less and less to do with it. Ever heard the George Orwell quote “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” Identity politics is one of them, it purports to strive for equality but is inherently discriminatory.

And based on the Green's policies which are absurd?

They're here in case you need them - https://www.greens.org.nz/policy/our-policy-atoz

Striving for equality is inherently discriminatory, that's an interesting concept, how so?

Important to note I didn't say there policies were absurd, I said identity politics is absurd. What concerns me is that ideas lead to policy, certain members have been vocal along these lines and if this continues they will inevitably form policy according to it. (See their "Woman's Policy" section in your link, that would qualify as identity politics for example)

I also didn't say "striving for equality is inherantly discriminatory" I said "identity politics purports to strive for equality but it (identity politics) is inherantly discriminatory." Big difference, please read more carefully before commenting as these are both unintentional strawmen arguments.

I took a wee bit of poetic license with your last point, so apologies about that, I shouldn't have done it.

Let's crack on with your specific example, "Woman's Policy" qualifies as identity politics, firstly I struggle to see how equality for half the world's population can be bucketed as "identity politics", that aside, are there any points in the below policy that you disagree with?

Structural discrimination against women must be undone.
Women are not a homogenous group and, to achieve equality, programmes and policies will need to be tailored to meet the needs of diverse groups of women.
Acknowledging and honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi is an essential step towards equality.
Women offer unique and valuable perspectives, and the economy and society does better where women and men share leadership roles. Women's participation in such positions must be encouraged.
Women should receive equal pay for work of equal value and women's unpaid work should be valued.
Women with family responsibilities should not be discriminated against, and they should be supported in negotiating the tensions between their paid employment and family responsibilities.
Women's sovereignty over their own bodies should be protected and enhanced and their specific health needs addressed.
Women must be safe from violence, and their freedom must not be restricted by the threat of violence.

All good, I enjoy a bit of poetry from time to time ;). Here’s why “Woman’s policy” is identity politics:
The fact there is a section for “woman’s policy” for starters. Policy for a particular sex is discriminatory and it is based on their gender identity.
Women currently have the same rights as men (that should be where this conversation ends as this is equality) however because they don’t have the same outcomes, the greens perseive this as inequality and have formed their “vision” around this. How will their “equality” be achieved? They will have to force the outcomes as no one is equal (not just men and women) and will not arrive to the same place in life so they will “tailor policy to meet the needs of diverse women.” This advantages a group based on something uncontrollable (gender) over other groups.

What it boils down to is equality is confused with equity. We are all individuals and we will all choose a different path in life, any government is doing us a disservice if it tries socially engineer us to being on the same level especially via race, gender, age etc.

Few examples for you - Women are often paid less for doing the same work https://idealog.co.nz/workplace/2017/09/new-zealands-gender-pay-gap-clos....
Despite the country being roughly 50/50 split, the CEOs of corporations are overwhelmingly male. In the US only 24 of the Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs, I find it hard to believe that men are so significantly better than women at running businesses.

There will always be a pay gap (not an earnings gap) and that isn’t inequality, that’s a difference of choice and interest. here’s an article about the gender equality paradox:
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/02/the-more-gender-equa...
Check out the hilarious graph that shows opportunities for women and stem graduates, the more opportunities for women a country has the less female stem graduates that country has. Areas which attract a high income like stem aren’t of interest to most women. On the more serious side, if we are to achieve your type of equality imagine he social engineering and coercion that would require! (Hence the countries that have more female stem graduates)

For men running companies/CEO’s, masculine traits are more advantageous to get there as it takes a certain type of human to get to be and want to be a CEO. 80 hour weeks, on call anytime of day, perpetual competition.
To just boil things down to there’s 50/50 men and women so there should be 50/50 CEO’s is like saying the earths getting warmer so it must be the sun. If you find it hard to believe why not research why?

Ok, ill have a go...consider this extract from a site called inc...
"Things are developing, albeit slowly. Statistics from the University of New Hampshire 'Centre For Venture' annual reports show that prior to 2014, the number of women seeking angel investment was fairly static at around 15 percent of the total. There was a spike in 2014 with that figure rising to around 19 percent and the current estimate is that female-owned ventures accounted for circa 23 percent of the entrepreneurs that were seeking angel capital."
So women account for about 20% of those applying for venture capital but only about 5% of Fortune 500 CEO's.
Ill let someone else explain the difference.

In the CEO example I'm not necessarily advocating that there should be a 50/50 split, nor social engineering to attain said split, the opportunity to get there should be the same and if that were the case then there would be a more even split (note not an even split)

Here's some cool stuff on CEOs - https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/13/1-in-5-ceos-are-psychopaths-... so maybe those traits you mentioned aren't so admirable after all?

Based on this http://theconversation.com/women-can-be-psychopaths-too-in-ways-more-sub... women are a third as likely to show psychopathic tendencies.

Maybe the split should be 2/3rd psychopathic male CEOs and a 1/3rd psychopathic females? (not being serious here)

To reduce our uncertainty further it may be worth consideing that if they are not pychopaths they are sociopaths, ill dig a little deeper.

If your not advocating a 50/50 split and don’t want to force it then we are good as this is where NZ is at currently. Women have the same opportunities as men and if you don’t think so please highlight any law or policy to the contrary.

Again, if you read my comment, I never said CEO’s traits were admirable at all. They are just traits which help determine success in a certain field. Ego and narcissism also help for example.

So your argument is that we all have equal opportunity? I think we'll have to agree to disagree there, otherwise we'll end up going round in circles. I think we're getting there, but we aren't yet, maybe it's a generational thing and this will be a complete non-topic when my daughters are old enough and thinking about their own careers. I certainly hope so.

Correlation and causation are different and that’s where we are getting tangled. We have the same opportunity but make different choices.

And yes, I believe we will see an organic growth in female CEO’s. It takes a long time to become a CEO and as the quantity and time of women in the workplace increases this will trickle through into top positions. I will eat my hat if it ever reaches 50/50 though.

I'd be surprised to see 50/50 in my lifetime, but as we both agree that is probably generational, 65 year old white man passing the baton to his natural successor - a 60 year old white man, soon there'll be more 60 year old women waiting in the wings. It's been a rather enjoyable discussion, cheers for that.

Haha nice parting shot and thanks to you too. I hope you’ll consider looking into the gender paradox for future reference. Cheers

Here's some other bits, articulated better than I https://www.business.com/articles/why-your-new-ceo-should-be-a-woman/

"women-led companies earned investors a 340 percent return, compared to an S&P 500 benchmark of 122 percent."

I read through the article and it’s anywhere but comprehensive. It is an opinion piece and the article for the numbers she links to (340%) was an algorithm which the author acknowledged its own shortcomings and gave potential explanations for the difference.
What they were really pushing were gender trait defferences in how things were run.

Anyway, to loop back to the gist of the original point. Gender equity should be kept out of policy as we have the same rights and opportunities now. All those companies referenced are private and have the right to choose who they hire, if they don’t choose the best candidate then it’s on them.

Post of the day - you rock. Some of the Greens posters here display levels of zeal that pious religious of old would appreciate. Until they work out how to relate and communicate to a wider audience they are destined to be niche players. Their slavish allegiance to the Left of the political spectrum is as off putting as a potential partner admitting to having genital herpes.

Their slavish allegiance

Coming from the guy who has always voted National, always will, indoctrinates his children to do so and is a paid up member...that's quite the pot calling the kettle black.

Rick, I’m talking about environmental policies. Why should they be packaged with Leftie politics? For me it is akin to an attractive woman with an incurable STD.

FWIW: I keep a garden with a rented beehive, use minimal chemicals, don’t wash the cars where the water can run into local drains, take public transport where feasible and eschew over-packaged goods but I will never vote ‘Greens’ as long as that means supporting socialist mediocracy, like the current COL.

Rexy, despite your protestations, the Greens are social democrats not socialists, there's a huge difference. On the plus side you've shifted your rhetoric a wee bit from communists to socialists, so that's progress.

I put Social Democrats and Socialists in the same broad bucket. It's shades of Leftie Grey.

Not sure I've referred to Communists much in the past, but I could be wrong. I certainly have referred to Taxinda's use of Comrade.

On that point - it's an interesting discussion, really. I would say environmental policies are compatible with Edmund Burke...but I don't see NZ's current nominally Right-leaning parties being particularly compatible with either.

Two reasons, really - the current ideological tendency to view everything as to be "run like a business" and to see resources as something to maximise for profit in the now is too often diametrically opposed to conserving resources. And there seems at best grudging admittance that environmental conservation is important - and at worst, outright rejection of science.

I think there's skepticism out there that the Blue Greens will get any or much air in National, or hold any sway.

However, I do hope it changes. I would like to see greater concern for what's passed on permeate NZ's political spectrum - and a bit more geopolitical awareness to go with it, while we're talking.

I should also point out that you support socialist mediocrity in National, regardless. Just different favourites played.

"...individuals no longer judged and given status by their thoughts actions or deeds, but instead by their membership of genetically defined groups - over which they have no control".

This isn't identity politics it's "Apartheid, Segregation, ..., Nazism" (communism & theocracy are not relevant here); you're talking about "persecution on the basis of birth". The society we live in today is not equal. People are born into circumstances beyond their control, and for being born different are discriminated against in this day and age.

The fact that you think the Green party is about "preferential treatment" and "unearned supremacy", when their policies are about lifting up the disadvantaged, makes it sound to me like you are threatened by the idea of other people being put on an equal playing field with yourself.

You sound like you are very comfortable with the status quo. How blind to the world do you have to be to not see class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc, and keep thinking that everyone is only and has only ever been "judged and given status by their thoughts actions or deeds".

Greens drummed out the old white men who displayed a sense of morality from their caucus, but tried to hold on to the admitted fraudster the right ethnicity and sex.

Err...That does not resemble reality.

Todd Barclay and Bill English lying to NZ about it while National spent taxpayer money covering up a crime. John Key lying to NZ about surveillance of private citizens' private communications. Judith Collins having all appearance of abusing power for personal financial gain, and conducting dirty PR wars not only against political opponents but against regulators investigating her friends.

And you only see the one who admitted to benefit fraud and resigned because of it? Who of National resigned? NONE, not even Barclay.

Are you so ideologically blinded? The last thing National has been across recent years is a example of morality...(Notwithstanding that many on the right have sought to impose their professed morality on others - e.g. homosexuals.)

I do also find it sad how folk so committed to one side of the political spectrum can be so indulgent in adopting stereotyped portrayals of the other side. Show's a religious, group-think like approach, rocking out these absolutely textbook critiques.

This is becoming a bit of a tangent, all the examples you gave about national I agree with but the issue that was raised that you didn’t deal with was about “Greens drummed out the old white men who displayed a sense of morality from their caucus, but tried to hold on to the admitted fraudster the right ethnicity and sex.” Care to comment on that rather than pointing out another parties bad behaviour as an answer of sorts?

Whoops, you're right - I completely misread his sentence. Apologies to all.

I don't know enough about the circumstances of the two who left to comment whether the version portrayed in some statements and media coverage, or Foyle's version that they were drummed out because they were old and white, is true. Occam's razor might suggest they weren't drummed out for being old and white - especially given the Greens are now led by a white, ex-PwC guy.

True and neither do I know the full circumstance, from what I can gather they wanted Metiria Turei out once her crimes came to light and they resigned in protest. I could see how certain decisions in the Green Party (gender quotas and gender based decisions for example) could discourage a white male from being there. We all deserve to be recognised for our actions and character not our gender, race etc.

We should probably add sexuality to that list too, in light of NZ's recent political history and given we're discussing imposition of morals and worldview on others.

Lovely infomercial. Substance ? did not think so.

The so-called 'economy' is actually an energy flow. Given that it was digging into a finite source (fossilised sunlight) for it's energy and doing so at an exponentially-increasing rate, the so-called 'economy' was in terminal trouble increasingly soon, with no intrusion by politicians. Or anybody.

And the problem is best encapsulated here:
https://www.tullettprebon.com/.../1%20-%2021.01.2013%20perfect%20storm%2....

That is regardless of political hue. But then we deal with who gets access to the energy (without which nothing else happens - labour is 0.7% of work done, fossilised sunlight the rest). The US, and adherents, has commandeered supply, and every time a local disagrees they get clobbered. After getting dissed - communist, terrorist, whatever. Try googling 'the Monroe Doctrine'. And cringe. Add propaganda (Saudi America for instance - the US extracts 9.3 mbpd but uses over 19 mbpd), avoid discussing EROEI, and you're in fairy-tale land.

The problem now is that there isn't enough - neither planetary resources nor fossil energy - left for even the first world to continue it's consumption, and the cumulative debt, which is merely a demand for future energy, is unrepayable.

So the fiscal system crashes, when the penny drops en masse. The media are doing a good job of helping kick the can down the road - the Listener and Latta recently on 'investment' and 'saving' - but the realisation has to come. At which point trust implodes and we crash. And it doesn't come back - not enough energy to re-boot, not enough trust to re-trade, and a never-bigger collection of too-complex infrastructure.

At which point the need will be for local food organisation - how do you feed Auckland? - and transition leadership. The Greens should have had that space to themselves, but they dropped the ball. Until we get around to calling a 'housing crisis' a population crisis, and calling 'child poverty' child lack-of-access-to-energy-and-resources, we're wasting time.

And the NZ media could start by asking whether any political leader who has parented six children, is appropriate for a planet that is 5-6 billion overpopulated. Or any ex-leader. But if you put it in front of journalism, they block, parry, obfuscate, and I include the Press Council in that comment.To be fair, they're a result of lifelong conditioning, but journalism should be dispassionate. Until they ask the questions - or allow the questions to be asked - we are reduced to discussing red, blue or green deckchairs while failing to ask why they're getting wet.

Repeat that, PDK. "Labour is 0.7% of work done, fossilised sunlight the rest". Go on, repeat it.

My problem with the Greens at the moment is that they lack the courage to stand by their convictions.

Yesterday's debacle of Minister Sage approving the further bottling of NZ water for export to China in single use plastic bottles was a slap in the face of everyone who voted for them.

Sure, I heard all the bull about there's no provision to decline on environmental grounds, and it could have led to legal action etc etc. Ok sure - then, as the Minister in charge, change the law, go to court, FIGHT for your principles - don't just roll over.

It's so hypocritical - scream for years about issues outside of government, and when they finally get in, its like "ah, we made it" - put the feet up. They have no fight left.

I don't know how people, even their core voters, would ever take them seriously unless they really step up - on this evidence, they're more hot air than typical career swing-vote populist politicos.

I have never voted for the greens but I might in future because i am very concerned with the future of our world's ecosystems. A major problem for the greens is the enormous level of ignorance in our wider population regarding such issues. I also wonder if our high level of immigration is further increasing our populations ignorance.
A particular concern is an indication that the property spruiker cohort herein is part of such ignorance. Indeed, I wonder if far too many of the plebiean investor mentality are lacking interest thus understanding of the threats to our societies that will happen in the lifetimes of their children.
There is enormous evidence that our children will see quite drastic changes in their lifetimes. For example there will be a retreat from the sea (and flood plains) in low lying regions of NZ. As such events impact upon the masses, then attitudes will change. One hopes government will not react with stupid knee jerk responses because events such as storm serges will have more impacts than the slower background (yet flood supporting) rises in sea level.
In the northern hemisphere there is a growing understanding of the recent changes to the polar vortex and its effect on their climate. How many of you even know what the polar vortex is? Will the antarctic vortex also disintegrate?
There are now strong hints that climate change is speeding up. Impacts will surely impact upon ever more younger ones among you. Of course some have already been impacted by storm surges and river flooding. It is going to get a lot worse.

Good to see James has his house in order and is living the zero carbon lifestyle. Must suck drinking flat beer all the time.

Maybe he's British? Saves on cooling the beer too.

My grandchildren, yet alone my great grandchildren WILL see the North Island become two.