Last weekend’s Mediawatch story by Hayden Donnell – it’s really good, please do make time to read it – zoomed in on a particular paradox of our media at the moment.
Which is: while climate change is the overriding story, anything that makes the tiniest progress towards addressing it – like, say, swapping a handful of parking spaces for bus or bike lanes – is still presented as “controversial”.
Almost as if a global phenomenon that’s set to impact life on Earth with the blunt force of a comet strike (and not just someday, but right now) isn’t also, y’know, a little bit controversial. Hold the front page. Or maybe just page 3.
Earth on track to be unlivable. Story, page 3.
You can’t make this up pic.twitter.com/k4LooD1R8x
— Peter Kalmus (@ClimateHuman) April 10, 2022
We’re lucky to have onto-it journalists who provide consistently smart and engaging climate coverage. Under the guidance of Eloise Gibson, the climate team at Stuff has been doing fantastic work for a couple of years now for The Forever Project – covering the banner headlines and the nitty-gritty, inspiring inventions and interventions, and phenomenally beautiful writing on both the human angle and what nature’s up against.
Other standouts in local climate reporting include Marc Daalder at Newsroom; Simon Wilson and Jamie Morton at the NZ Herald; Rebekah White and the whole NZ Geographic team; and senior free-range observers like Bernard Hickey and Rod Oram and David Slack… and I’m sure I’m missing many others.
Stuff in particular has lifted its broader game in reporting low-carbon policy initiatives without always framing them as “controversial”. The recent Reimagining Wellington series was an encouraging example of this.
But as Hayden Donnell pointed out, we still see both kinds of stories – climate coverage alongside headlines that, intentionally or otherwise, undermine the crucial message.
An example of this whiplash effect can be seen in two recent headlines on Stuff about urban planning: one about the climate impacts of urban sprawl (featuring an image of what not to build), and another about ‘controversial’ plans for intensification (with an image of the more climate-friendly future).
The cognitive dissonance is profound, and feels relentless – but this is an editorial choice that can be changed.
What’s even more disorienting is when you’re reading news “brought to you by” certain industries… about climate change also “brought to you by” certain industries. Especially when you know they’ve known the score for at least half a century, but have chosen to resist, bury and muddy the climate message, before finally conceding which way the wind is blowing at the moment it’s almost too late.
Here’s a recent example that made me wonder how and where this all ends.
Last Monday, the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was the top story on Newshub’s evening news. I watched this news bulletin in real time, the old-fashioned way – on a telly, from my couch, like a 20th C person – mainly to see if the story would make the news at all. It was, frankly, thrilling and encouraging to see it given top billing and such a good, clear, thorough treatment.
Reported by Alexa Cook, the story grounded the words of the IPCC report in a local context and noted that New Zealand has some of the highest emissions in the world per capita. The story began with people and places in Aotearoa already badly affected by extreme weather events. Here’s a transcript:
A beautiful slice of coastline now an absolute mess after floodwaters tore through homes, the marae, and urupā at Anaura Bay ten days ago.
“This is our third flooding event in less than a year.” [Hera Ngata-Gibson of Hinetamatea Marae]
The Tairāwhiti region was hit with three months worth of rain in 24 hours.
“Our homes were in about a foot to two foot of silt, right the way through.” [Ngata-Gibson]
Scientists say it’s because climate change increases moisture in the atmosphere.
“It just makes things worse. It loads the dice towards bigger floods, heavier rainfall.” [Professor James Renwick, climate change scientist]
And warn it’s only going to get worse. The IPCC has found that even if all the carbon-cutting policies that governments had put in place by the end of 2020 were fully implemented, the world would still warm by 3.2 degrees C this century.
“Some government and business leaders are saying one thing and doing another. Simply put, they are lying.” [Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General]
It’s now or never if we want to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.
“We are on a fast track to climate disaster. Major cities underwater. Unprecedented heat waves. Terrifying storms.” [Guterres]
To avoid this, report authors say there must be rapid, deep and immediate cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. Recommendations include a rapid shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy, eating less meat, an increase in electric-powered transport, planting more trees, and creating technology to store fossil fuel emissions and even suck CO2 from the air.
That’s just a snippet – check it out, it’s powerful stuff. Kudos to Alexa Cook and Newshub for excellent news-making: not just reporting in the abstract, but showing us how shit is already getting very real, right where we are.
In the first ad break, a commercial for an SUV roared into view. Here we go again, I thought… and then stopped and paid attention, because I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing.
Here’s the ad. Do you see what I see??
Here’s what happens in the ad: the driver of a self-styled “cutting edge” vehicle literally slices her way through road safety infrastructure, including a parking barrier and roadside bollards; people’s possessions and clothing; the road surface. As she travels from the city into the country, the car slices through the very elements of nature itself – water, rock – culminating in a vast swathe of coastline being carved off as the car zooms past, crumbling dramatically into the ocean.
It’s all CGI, of course, although it looks to have been filmed in Wellington. (Not, as far as we know, Tairāwhiti.)
The ad isn’t quite bold enough to show the product slicing through actual human beings – that’s probably too much for prime time. It just casually destroys their accessories, their children’s school uniforms (WTF), and the very whenua they live on.
The clue that the ad might actually be serious about selling cars comes at the end, when we come face to face with the driver (a proxy for the company, but also for the customer). As she steps out of the car and notices what she’s done to the coastline, she smiles, a little guiltily, as if to say: Busted! And then she strolls off into the landscape.
Where on earth is she going?
And what’s going on here?
Is this pure poker-faced climate denialism? Or just a massive wink? Could it be a subliminal cry for climate help, crafted by clever (but cornered) ad-biz whiz-kids? (Or did someone watch the Volvo safety ad, and miss the point?)
It doesn’t really matter, because the ad can have it all ways at once – just as the same car company can sponsor climate coverage in one of our major media outlets.
What can we do, as 21st C citizens confronted with a constant juxtaposition of climate coverage with clickbait “controversy” headlines and compelling ads for cars?
We can at least be aware that this is an awkward and unsustainable frame for information we need to be able to trust. We can also see it for the global phenomenon it is, backed by billions of dollars in deeply vested interests.
Every year, for example, auto makers spend an average of $6.5m to run a high-profile ad during the annual Super Bowl broadcast – brilliantly covered by the must-listen podcast, The War on Cars – and according to Time magazine, 2022 was “the year climate change broke through“. One money-no-object ad by General Motors reunites the cast of Austin Powers, with Dr Evil learning he must save the world (with electric cars), in order to destroy it. Yep. Irony is, if not dead, certainly winged.
This pervasive and expensively produced car advertising is part of a pervasive political economy of car dependence that’s proving awfully sticky, even when we know we need to pull ourselves out of it, and fast. Researchers have started calling for curbs on car advertising – or even outright bans. France offers one model, requiring all car advertisements to mention the vehicle’s CO2 emission level, and include mention of alternative transport options like public transport, walking and cycling.
There’s also the ‘more speech’ option: creative and playful culture-jamming, like the Brandalism approach, as seen in the examples below (via StreetArtNews) or the satirical Serious Man Car ads.
Perhaps one day it will seem as gauche and horrifying to see a car ad pop up in the evening news as it would to see an ad for cigarettes?
Back to the Newshub coverage of the IPCC report. After the initial part of the story, newsreader Mike McRoberts asks: “Are Kiwis getting the message about the seriousness of climate change?” and reporter Alexa Cook responds:
Not all of them, and certainly not all drivers. New figures out today show that Kiwis have been rushing out to buy gas-guzzling vehicles last month before a new fee came into force on Friday under the government’s Clean Cars scheme. More than 21,000 new passenger vehicles were registered last month, that’s the highest ever on record and a 36% increase on March last year.
Now, the top three being sold, they were all utes. However, in at place #4 is the electric Tesla Model 3. So perhaps the message to clean up our act is finally sinking in, for some.
Cars, cars, cars. As Matt noted yesterday, it’s increasingly incomprehensible that e-bikes aren’t part of the government’s clean vehicle policy. Especially when there are already five times as many two-wheeled EVs on the road as the four-wheeled kind – which would suggest that Kiwis are “getting the message” about the more immediately accessible, widely affordable and agile all-ages alternative, even when it’s not as expensively advertised.
The Newshub item finishes – as is traditional for worrying climate stories – with encouraging examples of what individuals can do to help and urging us to “go forth and try”:
- go plant-based
- reduce household energy use
- be more thoughtful about food waste and clothing purchases
- cut down on driving and try other modes of transport.
In the last seconds of the segment, we get a glimpse of a pop-up tactical cycleway.
The smiling rider looks uncannily like the young woman in the prime time ad for the $50,000 car – although she’s slicing nothing and nobody in half. There’s no throbbing soundtrack. No CGI. The bike lane is protected by wooden planters, which add a little greenspace while preserving the integrity of the road surface and the whenua it sits on.
In every sense, this brief moment is the polar opposite of the fancy ad with the “cutting edge” katana-car and the cruelly crumbling coastline. As empowering counter-narratives go… it’s a start.
Are Kiwis getting the message about the seriousness of climate change? And who are we getting it from? Because the good news – perhaps the only good news at this point – is: it’s not too late to do something, which at this point means doing everything. Go forth and try!
Postscript – today in forecast flooding:
Weather warnings are in place for much of the North Island from [Tuesday 12 April] as ex-tropical Cyclone Fili approaches New Zealand – bringing with it heavy rain and severe gales up to 140km/h.
Just two weeks ago the Tairāwhiti Gisborne region was battered with heavy rain and flooding and tomorrow’s weather could see up to 300mm of rainfall in the area over a 27-hour period from 6pm.
MetService said heavy rain could cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, flooding and slips.”
Please make a post (or include it in your Friday overview) about Shane Henderson (Councillor for Waitakere)’s tweet about advocating for a Piha trial bus service and Efeso Collins retweeting it. I can’t drive so it’s impossible for me to get to Piha without relying on friends or family.
So much for being an adult and getting around just fine on my own :(.
…. and Newshub/TV3 is now owned by Discovery Channel …. climate change doco, anybody ?
I cringe whenever that Hyundai ad is on. I just see people being sliced up by it as driving How did that get approved! Although probably will appeal to the typical SUV school run drivers who are only concerned with themselves.
There are otther Adverts just as bad like that Ford Ranger one and even going back to the 60’s they have not changed , so why can they just show people what a vehicle can do by the average person , and not by your stupid idiot that can’t handle a car . ;-
I love it how people complain when a media post features a cyclists on a footpath about how it’s illegal. I don’t see anyone complaining about representation of speeding or blatantly damaging infrastructure.
That’s an interesting point, AA – especially as this one was visibly filmed on New Zealand streets, there may well be a case to answer here, if someone wanted to give it a go.
A pop up cycleway with planter boxes for protection. A bit like this one then.
So much for the climate “emergency” declaration, it’s fallen over at the first planter box.
“The council meeting on Wednesday has endorsed the cycle lane itself, asking for design work to go ahead on a permanent barrier such as gardens or timber constructions.”
The embarrassment must be that they even needed a temporary trial….
Personally I like it when a city moves beyond arguing whether a safe bike route should even exist, to debating what it should look like. Progress, of a sort.
The bad news is that the planter boxes are going to be taken away, for perceived aesthetic reasons and because some motorists can’t avoid hitting them, before permanent protective measures are adopted. And council members have said “no” to more planter boxes elsewhere in Palmerston North. There is also considerable pressure not to have a cycle lane at all.
The fact that motorists keep hitting them is a pretty good illustration of why they are needed.
The media have tried to divide people so they can sell to both sides of the division since the dawn of time. Why would we expect anythnig different?
What I do expect is a Labour / Greens government that has been in term for near 5 years to have made more progress on climate mitigation, climate education and emissions reducton than they have. I expect to see similar Government ads on TV that we’ve seen for Covid for Climate Change.
Government need to set some sort of policy in place that requires the government of the time to continual report via a press confernece to its people regarding its Climate figures etc.
The media will always be the media and there isn’t much e can do, but the Governments have way more levers they can pull than the media when it comes to educating the public (or miseducating as we sometimes see)
Politicians, national and local, are merely reflecting the wants of the people when it comes to inaction on climate change. The government reacted to worrying political polls by making petrol and diesel cheaper. It’s politically expedient to enable our car-dependent lifestyle.
Greens haven’t been part of the government since 2020? And I daresay that NZF being part of the coalition 2017-2020 would have cancelled out some of the Greens influence.
My son works deep in double cab ute country on a sheep and cattle station ten miles out of Wairoa. They had 770 mm of rain in a week and 260 mm in a day. They have lost 30 percent of the pasture area in slips and long stretches of fencing. All the farm trucks are unusable so they are having to use horses for all there work. The forested areas are just as badly affected with heavy pine trees falling down the slope. Areas of native bush is affected as well. The pine and native areas are home to goats deer pigs and possums. The best they can hope for is that the weather pattern will change for a few years while they recover until it happens the next time. Meanwhile electric utes and motorbikes will become available but the community is deeply Conservative so not to sure if there will be a rapid uptake. Many farms have being sold to forestry but it still doesn’t fix the problem of the unstable papa rock and soils. Carbon farming of native speices would require pest control on a large scale but even then the land just can’t handle the share volumes of rain dumped on it.
And that was meant to be farm tracks not trucks although they use motorbikes and horses mostly.
Thanks for relating your son’s situation, Royce. I imagine his life is quite different to the lives of those who comment on this blog. He, and the people around him, are affected by climate change in a very real way. When more New Zealanders are similarly affected maybe action will replace inaction.
The trouble is weather is just so unpredictable then we have the El neno La nima thing going on. It maybe 5 years before the storms start tracking down the east coast again. For instance apparently after the last drought in Aussie Tim Flannery predicted that Sydney would never fill its resorviors again only to be immediately proved wrong by intense storms which promptly did. Who would believe Southland would be in drought and generation at Clutha and the Manapori hydro so low we are back to burning coal and gas. That’s the next news story that hasn’t filtered through to the media yet. I just don’t think the average punter can see through the noise so they can join the dots.
Just echoing Hugh’s gracious comment – I appreciate this exchange (and always look forward to your comments, Royce).
Thank you for sharing this wider perspective. I really hope your son and friends and neighbours come through this week’s storm okay. Nerve-wracking stuff.
Thanks you Hugh and Jolisa one thing about East Coast people is they are resilient. Here’s hoping Fili doesn’t do to much more damage.
Yeah I saw that car ad and had the same reaction! WTF, who on earth thought that that was perfectly fine imagery and messaging to be sending out there…?
Sorry to burst your bubble but it is too late.
You’d better tell the IPCC.
Their next report covers the social reasons why people are not addressing it. They will include analysis by sociologists of the vested interests like the fuel companies and the fossil fuel rich nations. New Zealand’s contribution is to remove the advice to eat a plant based diet. We should change our marketing from 100% pure to ‘exploiting animals for profit since 1882’.
None of that supports your argument that it is too late. It is too late means there is nothing we can do. There is plenty we can do if we just looked up.
Well ok if we stop using carbon now we can still just about get to the 1.5-degrees. But that isn’t happening. We started too late and now it will never happen.
Thank you for reiterating that we are choosing to do too little despite the opportunity to avert catastrophe.
The answer to this question has been the same for literally my entire lifetime. We’ll do something about it / try to reach some ‘goals’ 5 to 10 years into the future.
Only if defeatist attitudes and a refusal to overturn the status quo persist.
Shame on you for implying that we should just let climate change wreak havoc on the planet and people without at least trying to reduce the hugely negative effects somewhat, because of some “it’s not worth doing if we can’t do it perfectly” BS.
Shame on you for implying we should impoverish ourselves while the world’s major polluters carry on doing what they are doing. People have had 30+ years to change and have shown they simply don’t want to. In NZ our emissions have gone up. So get used to it.
Ha! You think that taking action on climate change won’t benefit people? Fewer road deaths, less air pollution, improved mental health, the list goes on.
The fact is that climate action will do the opposite of “impoverish ourselves”. So get used to it, or get on board.
Impoverish ourselves? There will be no economy at all anywhere if we carry on as we currently are
Accepting climate change is inevitable and spending money on dealing with the consequences will benefit people. Pretending we can stop it by wasting money is tilting at windmills. It is simply delusional to think we can stop everyone everywhere from using fossil fuels. Sure we might reduce our consumption a little with the Green Party’s “Welfare for the Wealthy” programs like subsidies for the middle classes to buy a Tesla. But at best that reduces demand for fuel, which lowers the price of fuel, so more gets consumed elsewhere in the world. The BRICS countries have a different agenda to the Green Party. And you can’t change them.
Yeah it can go both ways really. CO₂ in the atmosphere is rising at about 2.5ppm each year, and that rise is accelerating. Even COVID-19 has done nothing to change this. There is some likelihood that we’ll add another 30ppm in the next 10 years, so we have to know what to do if that happens.
On the other hand how sure are we that those large blocs are not going to change tack? Because they are actually large enough to make a difference, and they can force the hand of smaller countries.
For example Europe had a study done a while ago about what would be the cost of damming the North Sea, so that areas like the Netherlands, or London, don’t sink into the ocean. They may very well figure out that curbing those emissions now is cheaper than dealing with the consequences of not doing so.
There’s another car ad that uses the symbolism of a big cat – basically saying drive this and you will scare everyone out of your way -you will be top dog ( mixing my metaphorical animals). Adverts for cars tend to promote the idea of keeping up ( ahead) of the Joneses, buy this and you will look great, until you need to update the model. I once worked with a class of Enviro Students on creating walking and bike riding adverts for their school that used all the cliches of car adverts – it was pretty obvious that most car adverts are basically saying screw you to everyone and the planet but couched in ideas like freedom, adventure etc.
Indeed, not so much subtext as increasingly the whole story.
I wonder, has a car ad ever shown the driver pulling over to engage, apologise, or even offer someone else a ride?
The opening of Transmission Gully was a case in point,the media falling over themselves, to have timed runs to see which route was quickest,even the PM fell into the trap,suggesting a reduction in emissions.
Ultimately we get what we deserve ,until a decent slice of North Shore cliff,or Wellington hillside disappears into the ocean,nothing will change,the farmers in the Tarawhiti region,and Westport residents are acceptable collateral damage,apparently.
The car slicing a piece of the cliff off as it drives past,is a perfect metaphor,totally lost on the ad makers and their customer.
I moved to New Zealand last year and I feel like Kiwis are doing the “best” of exploiting nature for business. It has worked in the past and still somehow works now but it really relies on sufficient (beautiful) nature being around and for free. In my experience a significant amount of tourist attractions involves quad bikes, motorcycles, jet boating, skydiving, jet skis, helicopter tours and so on. Maybe I just did not notice these activities in Europe so much or they are just not as common. Carpooling seems to be a little known concept as well and it is also often not necessary – because almost everyone owns a car.
I tried to get from New Plymouth to Auckland without a car just after New Year. The buses were not operating on the holidays or would require an 11 hour trip via Whanganui. I ended up taking a plane. The fact that I tried not to fly was considered a “very European thing”.
So yeah, obviously New Zealand won’t save the world by reducing their emissions to zero just because of the small population. But I don’t feel like climate change seems to be an issue even in my bubble where over 90% of the people have at least a Master’s degree…
Welcome, John. Appreciate this perspective – as a returning expat (a decade ago), those insights eventually wear off – so it’s good to have one’s perspective refreshed!
Irony is, New Zealanders are the first to show you their exciting travel pics of themselves enjoying city trams, intercity trains, railways and gondolas to beaches and mountain resorts, and roaming around bustling, built-up, bikeable and walkable towns and cities.
(And then will sadly explain why it will never work here because, New Zealanders just don’t do that stuff.)
Most of us know that any small changes we make are just farting in the wind. Europe likes to make a show of caring while sucking on Russian gas as hard as they can. Every country on the planet exempts their favourite industry from doing anything about it. Here it is farming, in Australian mining and coal, in the USA it is defence. Governments don’t actually care because the people who elect them don’t care, or don’t care enough to change.
A bike lane is a good way of safely getting people around don bikes but it wont do anything meaningful about climate change. Most people can see how ridiculous that is. If you don’t buy the fuel they sell more of it to India and China.
People will start caring quite a lot when we start copping sanctions or tariffs, it makes overseas politicians look like they care about climate change and are doing stuff, brings in protectionism which is often popular.
Even if it’s hypocritical from the various major powers, doesn’t matter, any complaints would be just farting in the wind.
Sanctions or tariffs? In the real world there are none on fossil fuels. Saudi Arabia does anything it pleases, Russia invades anyone they want and there are sanctions on everything except fossil fuels. Not enough people actually give a shit about stopping climate change. Australia will reelect a tory government because Queenslanders get their power from coal fired power stations. The world’s governments will continue to pretend to care while kicking the can. James Shaw or his successor will fly with all his mates to the next world conference, farmers will create methane, people will drive and Russia will laugh as Siberia gets more productive. Best we can do is prepare ourselves, sell your coastal property, cut your trees down before they fall on you and put in air conditioning because it will be a lot hotter and a lot stormier.
EU countries, for one, will sanction imports from nations flouting climate action obligations, regardless of numpties here who soothe themselves that NZ can’t really make any difference. How you like them apples?
@miffy – I do not want to live in your envisioned future. I’ve had suicidal inclinations during past summers because I am in literal pain any time the temperature gets into the mid-high 20s.
It is a serious concern of mine that I would, in future, consider or attempt suicide in response to increasing temperatures.
There don’t have to be any on fossil fuels. Thats my point. We don’t play by the same rules as big economic players. If we don’t do better, then we will have negative pressure put on us. There is little to no cost to other countries politicians sanctioning us, only really upsides for them. They please their “not enough people” who care about climate, while the people that don’t care do whatever they want and aren’t impacted by sanctions on foreign nations.
The bare minimum we can do is not be the back of the pack.
Matt, that’s terrible. I feel for you. Miffy’s comments are not very wise. Any warming we can prevent we should prevent.
Eu countries will put tariffs on other countries regardless of CO2 because they believe in trade protection. Most people wont lose any sleep over that. these are the same EU countries that have structured their economies to use copious quantities of Russian gas. The won’t ban Russian gas because their industries wont survive without it. A few people care about climate change, a lot more say they care be not enough to change, and a hell of a lot of people dont give a stuff. If they did we would have solved it by now. I am not saying this is a good situation, but it is the reality.
Someone please remind Miffy that science is not a democracy.
If half of all humans don’t care about climate change, those half of all humans are wrong. No other way to slice it.
If we follow Miffy’s envisioned future, the responsibility of the climate catastrophe will rest on the shoulders of the people and mentalities they defend/espouce
@Caitlin W – thank you, appreciate the kind words. I am trying to pursue medical solutions to my heat sensitivity, though so far doctors either don’t take me seriously or blood tests don’t show up with anything. Which is immensely frustrating, because I know I’m not imagining feeling feverishly hot for half of the year.
It has nothing to do with science. That part was done years ago. It has to do with whether or not people will change and that is also fairly well settled. Most countries, including the largest emitters, are not prepared to change anything.
Well no. NZ very high per capita emissions. Add the fact that NZ has the worlds most mild climate and very little heavy industry, they are frankly absurd.
Is that down to the populations activities or due to our productive economy based on agriculture.
It skews our stats due to our small population.
Even if cars were banned it would make very little difference to our ranking.
Stuff has its fair share of fawning reviews for big, heavy off-road vehicles marketed as substitutes for cars. Look at this one for the new Ford Ranger from November 2021
“…a bold new design, a wider stance, more prominent grille and signature ‘C-clamp’ daytime running lamps…The sides are much more squared-off and flatter than the current model, strengthening the “big American pick-up” look of the Ranger…”
Just what we need, yet another vehicle for someone who wants a “big American pick-up” to use for the school run, supermarket trips, and the thousands of other journeys which are simpler and easier to do in a normal-sized car.
So are Ford going to bring them out like this? ;-
The slicer is the second disengenuous tvc by Hyundai. The ist one features Roger the tradie in his van set for lift off. It sort of hints that the van is electric. It certainly looks the part with its solid grille. But look closely and it’s an ICE vehicle. If I had the energy I’d submit an advertising breach complaint.
I agree, Hyundai’s faux e-van is dishonest marketing.
Great post Jolisa. Thanks for this. The media have made big progress fairly quickly though. We now regularly get links between extreme weather events and climate change. Now I’ll be watching out for extreme weather stories (they’re always popular) that link directly to supporting climate action, like removing parking.
And on queue (sigh),
We get this from Luxon today, courtesy Radio NZ.
Main comment from Luxon:
When asked if the cut price, subsidised fares were something he would like to see extended further, National’s Christopher Luxon said he believed services should not have to be propped up by taxpayers.
“There’s a need for us to continue to drive mode shift, I get it, but you’ve got to build good quality public transport options that people choose to use.”
While it had been a helpful to help people right now with the “cost of living crisis”, it needed to be revisited, Luxon said.
“But ultimately, public transport needs to stand on its own feet. It can’t be subsidised or underwritten … it has to be able to build on its own case,”
Hello, Mr Luxon, former leader of one of the chief Carbon Emitters in our Transport fleet – Air New Zealand.
How much of a subsidy do you think PT got before Covid? Clue. It wasn’t Zero, and hasn’t been Zero for years.
And how much of a subsidy do you think your transport industries and all your mates have been receiving for even longer? Clue. Its not Zero either, and its also shit tonnes more than PT ever got, or will ever get.
Yes, PT is considered a public good, that is paid for in part out of rates and taxes.
Just like Social Welfare, Working For Family Credits and Superannuation.
We as a country and a society actually need a lot of these so called “bad” subsidies, and we could also do with a lot fewer (usually invisible) subsidies going to the Carbon emission causers and their enablers, like Air NZ, transport companies and the oil companies.
Let alone Nationals old favourites – The Farmers.
Of course, when the corporates and farmers get a subsidy, its called an incentive.
Rather than what it really is – corporate welfare.
Anyway, any half decent news reporter would you think, immediately jump on Luxon and show how out of touch with reality this guy and his party are.
But for now its just a headline “Luxon says: All PT subsidies: bad”.
While also promoting Luxon’s unsaid belief that “Enabling even more (of the same) driving: A lot less bad”.
And interesting comment attributed to Deputy PM, Robertson is also mentioned in the same story.
“In a speech last month, Minister of Finance Grant Robertson said the government would “progress work to ensure we are not at the whim of international oil prices in future, through greater investment from the Climate Emergency Response Fund”, in the May Budget.
“These investments will boost our plans for New Zealand to increase energy security and independence by decarbonising our transport fleet and reducing our reliance on volatile global energy markets.”.
Man that feels really, really, familiar, a lot like watching a teenage Marty McFly racing around the town centre in 2015 on a Hoverboard in Back to the Future II.
Leaving us asking, hey haven’t we seen this movie before?
In Robertsons case it seems its almost 100% channelling of Robert Muldoon and his words he used in his many speeches to justify his Governments proposals for all those Think Big Projects 40 years ago.
Which was about the last time we had racing oil prices, major inflation, some sort of major unrest in the northern hemisphere.
And probably also the last time we had a serious opportunity to actually do something significant to try and avert the very future we were warned would soon occur. The very one
that we now find ourselves in.
But of course, its not the same movie, its totally different!
Because Luxon says, we now have a “cost of living crisis” (or some other crisis – choose your poison on that one) that prevents us from you know, doing anything concrete towards solving the real crisis – the existential one, that some call the “climate crisis”.
Silly me, I thought decarbonising the planet in everyway possible was a good thing.
Clearly when it involves taxpayer subsidies, or picking winners and losers or doing things you know, differently or heaven forbid, making corporates address the many environmental issues they cause? – then its not OK?
“you’ve got to build good quality public transport options that people choose to use.”
Which, ironically, National won’t do either. Given that their transport spokesperson spends most of his time on Twitter whinging about light rail without ever proposing alternatives or directly criticizing things like cost & route, I think this National Party is stacking up to be one of the most anti-PT yet.
This gets much more depressing once you realise they hope to score roughly half of the votes, and they are probably going to achieve that.
Yes what is this weird anti-PT National party thing. From what I understand other countries are not like this.
The problem as I see it is that many who pay lip service to the need for real change in order to ensure human survival will be the same ones who will be on the front lines of the insurrection against authoritarian controls on our behaviour. Because I don’t see voluntary action happening on any significant scale – people are just too damned selfish. You only have to look at the reaction to controls on what we can/can’t do for covid – climate change will impinge on our “freedoms” in a far more serious way, and the required behaviour changes will be permanent. When people vote, they’ll vote for the short term, and anyone suggesting long term restrictions on our activities will not stand a chance. Sadly for humanity.
Maybe it’s because we’ve seen these apocalyptic predictions before that have never come to pass?
And you can pry my car keys from my cold dead hands.
I’d rather hand you the keys to a much lighter, more efficient car that was built to protect others as much as to protect you.
We all die, but I’d rather not today.