Missing words: ACT’s campaign against the ETS

From the NBR Twitter:

Hide: Having John Boscawen as Deputy Leader will further elevate ACT’s campaign against the ETS

At first I was like who cares.  Then I realised that there were two words missing, it should read:

Having John Boscawen as Deputy Leader will further elevate ACT’s (economically illiterate) campaign against the ETS

This concerns me a little more.  Before yelling at me for daring to call a right wing party economically illiterate, the discussion of said issues is here and here.  Now you can yell – if I’m honest it was a touch strong 😉

Fundamentally, the existence of the Kyoto agreement creates a liability from carbon production (a liability – not to be confused with the net liability position, like ACT has constantly), and as a result NZ set up an ETS such that this liability is at least partially faced by those who create it – rather than the tax payer.  Sure, we could have a much better ETS, and sure we could leave the Kyoto agreement (if we believe the cost is lower), but ACT isn’t campaigning on this – they are just campaigning against the ETS and so essentially saying we need higher taxes to subsidise industry …

Ahhh, and I see he will be Minister of Consumer Affairs and Associate Minister of Commerce.  Hopefully, ACT show themselves less ideologically blinkered with other economic issues then they are with the ETS.

Note:  I have realised that this week, the more “right wing” parties have really pissed me off.  It is good, I was worried this blog was starting to sound too anti-Green and anti-Labour when it is really just anti-crap policy.

  • I’d be shocked if full withdrawal from Kyoto weren’t ACT’s objective, in which case withdrawal from ETS isn’t crazy. We’d accumulate deficits which would never actually be paid to anybody.

    Depressing change at ACT though – a further push away from the liberal side towards the rightie side.

  • @Eric Crampton

    “I’d be shocked if full withdrawal from Kyoto weren’t ACT’s objective, in which case withdrawal from ETS isn’t crazy”

    I agree 100% but …

    If their goal is a withdrawal from Kyoto, that is what they should be telling the public – as long as we have Kyoto, and it seems like the government isn’t going to back away from the liability, ACT should face the ETS in that same way.

    Acting like we can just say NO ETS and it will be a magical free lunch when talking to the public is dishonest, it is the sort of marketing that goes on in politics that irritates me.

    “Depressing change at ACT though – a further push away from the liberal side towards the rightie side.”

    Agreed, this was really the concerning element for me as well. Don’t like the way politics is going in NZ at present.

  • @Matt Nolan
    “Agreed, this was really the concerning element for me as well. Don’t like the way politics is going in NZ at present.”

    It’s becoming so populist: just representatives trying to pander to and please the people they represent. Hmmm, that didn’t sound as awful as I expected 😉

  • “It’s becoming so populist: just representatives trying to pander to and please the people they represent. Hmmm, that didn’t sound as awful as I expected”

    Populist being the right word. Policy run by how many votes in the next election will this get me, rather than, is this good policy? Politicians aren’t known for good analysis and long term thinking. Their time horizon is the next election and their analysis get little further than “what is good for me?” That did sound as awful as I expected.

  • @rauparaha

    @Paul Walker

    Both important points.

    I would note that in the current context my issue stems with the framing of policy. I feel like they are misrepresenting an important trade-off, and any “mandate” on the basis of purposefully wrong information is not representing the will of the people – and so is abhorent.

    I believe this is a point we can all agree on 😀

  • I agree with Matt: framing the issue correctly is important. But I also agree with me: if the right incentives existed for politicians to frame issues correctly then this wouldn’t be a problem.

    I guess what I’m really trying to say is that we shouldn’t hate the player, we should hate the game. Politicians are known to be good at politics. Why you’d have a problem with people being excellent at responding to the incentives the political system gives them is beyond me!

  • @rauparaha

    “I guess what I’m really trying to say is that we shouldn’t hate the player, we should hate the game”

    I don’t care what the situation says – I hate both.

    Don’t forget that, as well as being a methodological individualist, I’m a Rawlsian – so I have an idealistic view of what government should be, and I get moody when it is not like that.

    As long as I’m honest, surely I’m allowed to express my feelings on occasion 😉