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{The Listener's opinion of  The Greens(NZ). Jane Clifton's: "The Bouquet Brigade", N Z Listener p.17 10 Jan. '98}

  All credit to the Greens .... for pioneering a gentle style of politics that, although it may go unfathomed and unrewarded by voters, is nevertheless admirable. The Greens managed to leave the Alliance without actually going away, to act independently and as part of a team at the same time, to disagree without contradicting, compete without opposing, split without dividing and generally conduct a life-or-death political power struggle without saying anything horrible to anybody.

  All credit to MMP ... which did us the service of letting new, often feral blood into parliament, loosening the bonds of political patronage, and, via coalition politics, bringing the decision-making processes out into the open for everyone to spew over, rather than just a warped few MPs and bureaucrats.

Top Greens Index

Walking The Talk

- Environmental sustainability exists more in the minds of New Zealanders than in their actions, says Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Morgan Williams, in the inaugural Lincoln University
State of the Nation's Environment address : -

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nzherald99/story.cfm?theClassification=business&theStoryID=15542   is:

Analysis: Filling foreigners' pockets

02/10/99 - By Brian Gaynor

New Zealand has had a comprehensive privatisation programme since 1987.

Over the past 12 years 40 state-owned commercial assets have been sold, realising $19.1 billion. As at August 31, 1999 these assets had an estimated value of $35.7 billion, $16.6 billion above their original sale price.

The sale process is almost complete because the Government's remaining commercial assets have a book value of only $4.6 billion.

The privatisation programme has been a huge windfall for overseas investors. Just over 79 per cent, or $13.1 billion, of the increase in value has gone to offshore interests.

A list of the biggest winners shows that foreign interests fill the top four spots.

At the top is a combined group of overseas institutions with a net gain of $3.8 billion. Telecom has been the main contributor. In the 1991 Telecom share float - which was initiated by Ameritech and Bell Atlantic - foreign investors were allocated two-thirds of the shares at 200c a share.

Ameritech and Bell Atlantic, the two original Telecom investors, are in second and third place with realised returns of more than $3.2 billion each. These figures do not include their share of Telecom's $5.5 billion of dividend payments since privatisation. Ameritech's return is higher by $150 million because the Chicago-based company sold its shareholding at a higher price than Bell Atlantic.

National Australia Bank, which bought Bank of New Zealand, is next in line. It is sitting on an estimated gain of more than $2 billion after buying at a cut-rate price in 1992.

New Zealand investors, including institutions and individuals, are in fifth spot. They have participated in these floats and share sales:

Bank of New Zealand and Petrocorp - new shares were issued to the public by these Government-owned companies.

Telecom, Air New Zealand and Tranz Rail - the new owners of these privatised companies sold shares to domestic and offshore investors.

Auckland International Airport, Capital Properties and Contact Energy - the Government sold shares directly to the public.

The sale of 104.5 million Fletcher Challenge ordinary division shares, 26.1 million forest division shares and 10.4 million Wrightson rights.

The Crown had obtained these shares when Fletcher Challenge exercised a put option associated with its Petrocorp purchase.

The outcome of these share sales has been a net gain to domestic investors of $1.9 billion. This is insignificant compared with the gains made by overseas interests. It is also minuscule compared with the profits realised by Australian investors from their Government's privatisation programme.

Telecom accounts for more than 80 per cent of the domestic investor's profits. Air New Zealand is in second place, followed by Auckland International Airport.

New Zealand investors lost money on the Bank of New Zealand, and at the end of August Tranz Rail was 50 per cent below its 619c issue price. Institutional investors are also well down on their purchase of Fletcher Challenge and Wrightson shares from the Government.

Fletcher Challenge has made an estimated profit of more than $1 billion from its investment in Petrocorp, Rural Bank and the methanol and synfuels plants.

Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite have realised a total gain of $410 million. This is made up of Telecom ($274 million), Bank of New Zealand ($41 million) and Tranz Rail ($95 million).

Alan Gibbs and Trevor Farmer have realised a larger profit from their Telecom investment because they sold their shares at a higher price than the Fay-Richwhite interests.

Brierley Investments' relatively small gain from privatisation is a reflection of the company's poor performance in recent years. The investment group has recorded a $200 million plus gain on its Air New Zealand holding, a small profit from its investment in Petrocorp and a loss on its Forestry Corporation holding.

The country's premier investment group was outmanoeuvred by overseas investors and a number of New Zealand interests when it came to picking winners from the asset sales process.

Edison International, which bought 40 per cent of Contact Energy at 500c a share, is the only investor sitting on a loss of more than $200 million.

The main objective of the privatisation programme is to repay Government debt, particularly overseas borrowings. On the surface this has been reasonably successful.

Since the asset sales began in March 1987 the total debt has declined from $42.5 billion to $36.0 billion and the public sector's overseas debt has fallen from a high of $26.3 billion in March 1994 to $17.4 billion.

But behind these figures is another story. The sale of assets to offshore interests has led to a huge increase in dividend payments to overseas shareholders. This has a negative impact on the country's current account or balance of payments.

Since privatisation Telecom has paid dividends of $5.5 billion and capital repayments of $1.5 billion, most of which have gone offshore.

These payments compare with estimated interest savings of less than $3.5 billion on the $4.25 billion of overseas debt repayment associated with the Telecom sale.

Offshore dividend payments by former state-owned companies have increased the current account deficit. A current account deficit has to be funded by borrowings and/or the sale of assets. Government debt has fallen since 1989 but offshore borrowings by the private sector have risen by $57 billion.

In the final analysis many of our best and biggest companies have been sold to offshore interests, yet New Zealand's total overseas debt, both private and Government, has risen from $46 billion to $102 billion since the end of 1989.

The privatisation programme, although sound in principle, has had major flaws and wasted opportunities.

Nearly 80 per cent, or $13.1 billion, of the $16.7 billion increase in value of the privatised companies has gone to overseas investors. This massive transfer of wealth to foreigners, which has had a negative impact on the New Zealand economy, has been facilitated by the Government's sale procedure policy. (This was covered in last Saturday's column.)

Nearly $8 billion of the $12.9 billion invested by foreign interests has come from companies with long-term investment horizons. This indicates a strong potential to attract direct investment - investment that builds new factories and creates jobs - yet the Government has made little attempt to encourage this sort of foreign investment.

A number of countries have used, or are planning to use, the proceeds from Government asset sales to promote investment in new, sunrise industries. If carefully organised, this can have a far more positive impact on an economy than a reduction in Government debt.

Other countries are also putting the proceeds of asset sales into dedicated investment funds which will be used to finance future pension or superannuation liabilities. This has a two-fold benefit: it reduces the drain on the exchequer and stimulates investment markets, particularly the sharemarket.

On a scale of one to 10, New Zealand's privatisation policies score no better than three. Hopefully the next Government - whether National or Labour dominated - will adopt a more sensible and realistic approach to the sale of state-owned assets.

No country can expect to generate widespread domestic wealth if it has a deliberate policy of selling its best assets to foreign investors.

Copyright 1999, NZ Herald

The New Zealand environment is at risk from the Government.

[New Zealand in the Pacific - CaPtion
[New Zealand in the Pacific: the Equator is the top line, Papua/New-Guinea and Australia are on the left (west edge). The weather system to the right is a rather larger than usual winter storm. Infra-red photograph, 1131 NZST 18 Sept.98 (dark orange: colder, higher clouds). See: www.ece.jcu.edu.au/JCUMetSat/web/metsat.html]

Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 09:05:48 +1300
To: davd@geocities.com
From: b.m-.-.@auckland.ac.nz (Bera MacClement)

Marine Pollution is at Critical Levels

Tragic symptom of an unsustainable economy The sight of dead sealion pups on Dundas Island, washed up fish along the Wairarapa coastline, and evidence of dioxin contamination in hectors dolphins are tragic indication that marine pollution is at critical levels, Green Party Co-Leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

"Chemical run-off from land based industry, such as timber treatment and paper manufacturing, spray residue from chemical farming, and effluent from ships combine to make a toxic soup to which some species are susceptible."

"It is unlikely that anyone single course will be found for the widespread deaths. We humans have created an unhealthy environment for ourselves and other species. Our society has become heavily reliant on synthetic chemicals and artifical processes. The end result is a polluted planet.

"It is time to reverse the process. The Government's pre-occupation with economic growth will backfire if it simply increases levels of contamination. A sustainable economy demands that every development is checked for its effects on our health, our soils, water, air, and other species. That is what the RMA is suppose to ensure. Clearly, it needs to be implemented more stringently.

Free healthcare for children and bookings on hospital waiting lists are a mockery if they are exposed to more and more poisons. A healthy planet is the birthright of every child. The Green Party is committed to bringing that about," said Mrs Fitzsimons.

Ph: (07) 868-6641 or (04) 470-6665

Taumarunui's force-6.3 deep earthquake, 9:20 p.m on 18 May, 1999 New Zealand's most recent large earthquake,
NW of Taumarunui
in central North Island.

Posting to Top Stories Wire of the NewsRoom 
Staff Reporter: Peter Fowler
Date: Tuesday, 18 May 1999  Time: 9:45 pm NZT
    An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter struck 30 km north-north-east of Taumarunui this evening at 9:20 p.m.
    The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences says it was at a Focal Depth of 343 km and was widely felt in the North Island.
    In Wellington, children could be heard screaming in residential houses shortly after the earthquake, but so far there are no reports of damage.
    The latest from GNS can be found at:

NewsRoom 1999

The newsroom can be found at http://www.newsroom.co.nz

How dust and living things get from Australia to New Zealand. (This is not related to the Rabbit Calcivirus story.) Banned rabbit-killing virus spreads to NZ

By Catherine McCaw
WELLINGTON, Aug 26,1997 (Reuters) - The deadly rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) has spread to New Zealand.
It is believed the outlawed virus has been deliberately introduced, officials said Tuesday. Agriculture officials said the virus had been detected in three dead rabbits taken from the Cromwell area in the South Island. There have been other reports of suspicious deaths, suggesting the disease was widespread on the South Island. Farmers have clamored for RCD's release in New Zealand since it escaped a quarantined trial in Australia in 1995.

The Minister of Biosecurity, Simon Upton, said if MAF was dealing with an illegal introduction, the perpetrators could not have chosen a worse time of year. It is winter in New Zealand.

``I am advised that at this time of the year the virus will have the least impact on rabbits but will increase the chance of rabbit predators switching to endangered native species.''

Upton said the government would review contingency plans prepared by the Department of Conservation to protect native species from predators that might look for different food sources if rabbit numbers declined significantly.

mid-1999 news: evaluating the 2 and 3 year effects in Australia.


Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 11:45:26 +1300
To: davd@geocities.com
From: b.m-.-.@auckland.ac.nz (Bera MacClement)
Subject: Canterbury - NZ's genetic engineering cauldron
Cc: foenz@kcbbs.gen.nz
19 October 1998


Canterbury is becoming New Zealand's genetic engineering cauldron, Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

Supporting a planned protest outside a Monsanto-sponsored genetic engineering seminar in Christchurch tomorrow, Ms Fitzsimons said it was appropriate that such a strong demonstration be held in that region.

"Of the six applications which have arrived in recent weeks for plant genetic engineering work in New Zealand, three are to be based in Canterbury, involving major changes to sugarbeet and potatoes," she said.

"I have already protested that one of the experiments involves a witch's brew of adding toad and silkworm DNA to potatoes."

Ms Fitzsimons said she was disappointed that government agencies were taking such an active part, especially the Institute for Crop and Food Research which was carrying out the potato experiments.

"Right now, before these experiments reach commercial production, is the last chance this country has to say to the world, `We are genetic engineering free, just as we are nuclear free'," she said.

"When the Chernobyl of genetic engineering happens (hopefully overseas and not here) a country that can say, `We don't do it' will have a wonderful marketing opportunity."

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP

07 8686641
025 586 068

Paul Bensemann
Press Secretary
021 214 2665

Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa: WHO OWNS NEW ZEALAND?

Foreign direct investment (ownership of companies) in New Zealand increased from $9.7 billion in 1990 to $46.6 billion in 1996 - an increase of over 450%.

Foreign owners now control nearly 65% of the NZSE40 companies. In 1989, the figure was 19%.

In 1996 alone, the Overseas Investment Commission approved foreign investment totalling $6.8 billion.

            The biggest foreign owners of New Zealand are:
America, Australia, Britain, Singapore, Europe, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan.

Transnational corporations (TNCs) [like Telecom] are making massive profits out of New Zealand. TNC profits can truly be called New Zealand's biggest invisible export and have a major deleterious effect on our balance of payments.



*** Unruly El Nino, scourge of crops, markets, revives (N.Z. affected, but not mentioned).

El Nino, an abnormal tropical Pacific Ocean weather pattern which causes devastating droughts and floods, could become the "climate event of the century" and surpass its devastating 1982-83 episode, scientists said Wednesday. Jagadish Shukla, head of the Washington-based Institute of Global Environment and Society, told a scientific gathering in Geneva that the phenomenon, which disrupts global rainfall and wind patterns, caused sea surface temperatures in July, in the eastern tropic Pacific, to exceed "all previous records."

*** El Nino threatens world weather turmoil.

It has already been dubbed the climate event of the century, unleashing drought, floods and snowstorms, and experts say it is likely to get worse over the next few months. The El Nino phenomenon that brews up in the southern Pacific every three to five years is showing signs of turning the world's weather upside down again. Past El Ninos have unleashed natural disasters around the world. This year the phenomenon is back and scientists say it is shaping up to be the strongest on record, likely to bring more disasters.

Summaries © InfoBeat News


From: Philippa_Stevenson@wilsonandhorton.co.nz
To: davd@geocities.com
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 1997 16:40:36 +1200
© 1997
The NZ Herald
Published: August 28,'97

What is blowing on the wind?


Finding the answer was a challenge for scientists seeking to measure the volume of harmful methane gas belched out by the 47 million (or so) sheep in New Zealand.

Following initial work by scientists from AgResearch and the National Institute for Water and Atmosphere, researchers from Landcare and HortResearch stocked three Manawatu paddocks at 20 sheep a hectare. For two weeks in July they used high tech meteorological gear to sniff out every whiff of methane that gusted their way.
Manawatu was chosen because it was flat, had fresh winds off the sea, and because there was little else that would contribute methane to the atmosphere.

Murray Judd of HortResearch, said the scientists were not interested in flatulence but in what results from inefficient digestion - burps.? A sonic anemometer measured wind speed and turbulence 10 times a second. A gas chromatograph sampled concentrations of methane and temperature at two heights.

So, if anyone asks how much methane three paddocks of sheep stocked at 20 per hectare give off the answer is 0.5 micrograms per square meter per second.

And while the question of belching and burping sheep may sound like a trivial pursuit, nothing could be further from the truth.
New Zealand is unique among developed countries in that methane emission outweighs carbon dioxide in importance.
Ruminant livestock are responsible for 90 percent of that methane, with sheep accounting for more than half. The gas is about 60 times more damaging to the ozone layer than carbon dioxide.

And the next step? Building a computer model of it all....


From ???@??? Tue Sep 30 12:28:59 1997
	by geocities.com (8.8.5/8.8.5) with ESMTP id RAA05442
	for ; Mon, 29 Sep 1997 17:23:41 -0700 (PDT)
Received: (from newsroom@localhost) by lemuria.actrix.gen.nz (4.3.7/4.3.5) id MAA10751;
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 12:18:12 +1200 (NZST)
Message-Id: <199709300018.MAA10751@lemuria.actrix.gen.nz>
Reply-To: The Newsroom Editor 
Subject: Ngai Tahu Agreement receives Sir Geoffrey's Praise
From: NewsRoom@newsroom.co.nz

Posting to Top Stories Wire of the NewsRoom
Staff Reporter: Alastair Thompson
Date: Tuesday, 30 September 1997       Time: 12:17 pm NZT

Ngai Tahu Agreement receives Sir Geoffrey's Praise

Speaking in his regular Tuesday National Radio Bulletin, former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer has described the Ngai Tahu Agreement as an "extraordinary development" in New Zealand law.

The agreement concluded last week is presently before the Iwi for approval.

Highly praising the deal, Sir Geoffrey told Radio New Zealand's Kim Hill the agreement showed a willingness by the government, to share power with Ngai Tahu in certain places in relation to certain things.

The legislation created new instruments of legal relations never seen before in New Zealand, and was a tribute to the Ngai Tahu negotiators, he said.

The Ngai Tahu documents are available now.

govt.FAQs on Ngai Tahu Settlement offer

© 1997 NewsRoom . . The newsroom can be found at http://www.newsroom.co.nz

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: InfoBeat 

Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 17:56:35 MDT

West Coast Edition for Tuesday, September 30, 1997 

                           The Environment
*** Leading scientists call for global warming treaty

Days before a White House conference to fight global warming, 1,500
scientists from around the world Tuesday urged immediate action to
curb man-made climate changes. "Let there be no doubt about the
conclusion of the scientific community: the threat of global warming
is very real and action is needed immediately," Nobel laureate Henry
Kendall said at a conference on global warming. The scientists,
including 98 Nobel laureates, urged world leaders to adopt a strong
treaty to fight emissions of carbon that are changing the climate.

*** Australia an outcast on greenhouse target - WWF Australia risked becoming an "outcast" at the Kyoto climate change summit in December over its refusal to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said Tuesday. Australia's argument that binding uniform cuts in carbon dioxide emissions would cost thousands of jobs and risk billions of dollars was not credible and would sideline Australia in Kyoto, the WWF said. Australia could easily meet the target by reducing bush burn-off. It clears some 600,000 hectares (1.48 million acres) of native vegetation annually.

Summaries © InfoBeat News

Environment report shows the state we're in is bad

1st October 1997

"A concerted government effort across all portfolios is needed to address the issues raised by the
State of the Environment report," said Alliance deputy leader and Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today.

    Ms Fitzsimons welcomed the report which environmentalists have been calling for for two decades, but said there was little hope for real improvement unless all government departments saw the environment as a key issue.
    "For a start Jenny Shipley and the Ministry of Transport must ensure proposed changes for road ownership and management tackle the environmental effects of cars and trucks - the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions, a key greenhouse gas.
    "Transport is also a major source of air and water pollution, yet CNG by the far the cleanest fuel is being phased out.
    "Extinction of marine mammals needs to be addressed by the Ministry of Fisheries with stricter rules for fisheries by-catch.
    "New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions are far worse than the world average and we are on course to fail spectacularly in meeting our international obligations. This is an energy management issue.
    "The recurring theme of the State of the Environment report is: we know very little about the state of our environment. Where we do have the information the news is bad.
    "The report reveals that 1000 of our unique native speices are threatened with extinction. It raises the spectre of a third wave of species extinction.
    "If we are going to resolve this conservation crisis the Government has to put its money where its mouth is and give DOC the resources to do it.
    "Appealing to individuals and corporates to think about their effects on the environment is not going to stop the kiwi from disappearing from the mainland."


Date: Fri, 7 Nov 1997 14:34:25 +1300
To: davd@geocities.com
From: b.m-.-.@auckland.ac.nz (Bera MacClement)
Subject: [GN] Jeanette's speech on climate change

Debate on The Framework Convention on Climate Change

5 November 1997
Jeanette Fitzsimons (Co-Leader Green Party)

Humanity stands on the threshold of fundamentally destabilising the climate that it has known and adapted to throughout recorded history. The consensus by several thousand climate scientists is unprecedented: humans are already altering the climate, but how fast and with what local effects it is still uncertain.

As evidence that the effect has begun, we have had a succession of record-breaking hot years since the 1980s, increasing frequency of severe weather events across the globe including the current El Nino and the spread of tropical diseases to higher latitudes and higher altitudes.

The Kyoto conference a month from now is developing into a self-serving and hypocritical race to be last in taking action. The competitive global economy drives industries and their Governments to ask: "Will climate change improve my competitive advantage by hurting my competitors more than me?''; "If action is costly, can I benefit from acting last and least?''; "At the very least, I will not act until everyone else acts, too.'' In this lowest common denominator approach the United States, which has offered the lowest reductions of all, controls not only its own emissions but those of Europe and other countries that have offered a higher target, but only if everyone else meets it too.

New Zealand must not join this race to be last. Since I began working seriously on climate change, New Zealand has wasted a decade: a decade of Government dithering, a decade in which I participated in workshops to list measures to reduce emissions but where every proposal was knocked down by some vested interest until we were left with just advising on optimal tyre pressures for motor vehicles. That is a true story.

We have had voluntary agreements that have appeared to work, but, because they were set in reductions-per-kilogram of output, if output increased sufficiently, people could meet their voluntary agreement and still substantially increase their carbon dioxide emissions.

We have had a 3-year commitment to a carbon tax if we were not on track to meet our commitment, and that was abandoned earlier this year. We have had the argument about growth or net emissions, which backfired badly when it turned out that 1990 the benchmark year was the year in which our forest sinks were performing comparatively well, and it has been all downhill since then. We have also discovered that our native forests far from being a sink for carbon are a source because of the constant loss of biomass through possum and other pest damage.

We have had a search for the single magic bullet, or economic instrument, to solve climate change forever so that we could remove it from all other economic decisions, like Resource Management Act consents, and, of course, that search has failed.

We have had a lot of ongoing work, which is still going on, on tradable emissions permits tradable between sources and sinks. That system, if it ever occurs, will be fiendishly complex. It will involve land use changes as well as energy emissions. It will be a nightmare to enforce. Imagine having to get a permit every time someone has an unexpected scrub fire on their farm. Imagine what sort of permit will be issued when someone finds that pest damage has decreased the carbon sink value of their forest.

Or, if we do not have that enormous complexity in enforcement then we will have major carbon leakages unaccounted for and we will not meet whatever target we have set. That is leaving aside the equity consideration of asking all energy users to pay the owners of pine forests to plant the pine trees they were always going to plant anyway for economic reasons.

During that decade, while we fiddled around with all these ideas, greenhouse emissions have grown relentlessly. It is not as though we started from a clean, green position. In 1991 when we add together the global warming potential of our carbon dioxide emissions, our methane emissions, and our nitrous oxide emissions we had higher greenhouse emissions per capita than the United States, nearly double the UK, more than double Sweden, and three times the world average. The only country that was worse was Australia.

In the first 5 years of the decade carbon dioxide emission grew by 7.5 percent and especially from the transport sector, which is the hardest one to address. The cleanest fuel we had available in New Zealand compressed natural gas (CNG) that in the mid-1980s reached about 10 percent of our car fleet has been virtually phased out over that period, and this is happening at a time when other countries are specifically encouraging its use.

The wholesale electricity market and the ECNZ split have created incentives to sell more and more electricity, and this has occurred. All the major new power stations recently completed, or under construction, are fossil fired. This is the sorry record we take to Kyoto.

So what needs to come out of the Kyoto meeting? We need binding targets. We need real measures to reach those targets, and they need to be a mixture of short-term measures, because early progress will encourage continued effort, and long-term measures that we need to initiate now for the changes in behaviour and technology that will make the deeper reductions possible in the longer term.

It is no progress at all if we seem to achieve a short-term target because an old polluting industry has closed down, and it is no progress at all, in New Zealand's case, if we seem to be reducing methane because livestock prices have dropped and we have had falling numbers of cattle and sheep. That makes us vulnerable to rising meat prices, rising stock numbers, and a blow-out of methane emissions in the future. I do not agree with the Minister that breeding more efficient cattle and sheep can possibly happen in time to save us from that.

Annex I countries must move first. China's coal may dwarf any progress we may make, but China did not cause the problem and industrial countries have to begin to fix it. However, I agree with the Minister that less developed countries must be brought in as soon as the annex I countries have acted on their commitment.

We need a global centre for technology transfer to developing countries to enable them to use the very best of new technology to leapfrog the fossil-fuel age into the solar age and we need commitment to protect our remaining forests.

The Minister claimed that New Zealand's marginal cost of abatement is very high. I do not understand that and I do not agree with it. If it is true that those who were doing best in 1990 now have the highest cost then we can hardly claim that advantage. We were the second worst in the world in 1991. Our energy efficiency was poor. We have heaps of scope to improve.

It is true that our marginal cost of abatement is high only if we rely solely on pricing to make changes. If we simply introduce a carbon tax and raise it as high as we have to in order to force the change that is needed, that will be a high cost on society. We should instead take an offer to Kyoto that amounts to mining all the small areas of carbon dioxide and other emissions in the economy that can be targeted cheaply and easily by direct measures. They will not be reached by a single economic instrument because of all sorts of market failures, but they can be reached in other ways. The list is enormous but it would include:

These measures should be supported and paid for by a low carbon tax, which also gives an economic signal for the future. I want to know why it is noble for New Zealand to lead the world in removing tariffs, which has been proven to harm the New Zealand economy overall to say nothing of the lives of many New Zealanders, in order to make an international ideological point, but it is not OK to set an example in responding to climate change. The international scene has become bogged down in argument, and someone must take a lead.


From:   js@vislab.usyd.edu.au [SMTP:js@vislab.usyd.edu.au]
Sent:   Friday, 5 December 1997 04:32


Briefing from Kyoto: No 1

Jeanette Fitzsimons

Five thousand delegates from 170 countries have converged on Kyoto, Japan, to attempt to negotiate the first binding agreement among industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gases. It is five years since the nations signed the Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio, in which they promised to try to stabilise their greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2,000. Five years on most countries have not met this target. NZ, for one, is on track for an increase of 22% by 2,000.

If a protocol is signed this week the difference will be that it will be legally enforceable through trade sanctions or other economic means. For that reason most countries are extremely cautious about committing themselves to anything much.

Breathing down the necks of the delegates are the lobbyists. Environmental NGOs are here in force, and so are reps - the first trying to ensure the need to protect climate remains the main agenda, the second insisting that economic growth and the needs of industry come first.

For those not admitted to the closed negotiating sessions (including members of Parliament like myself who are not part of their government's delegation) days are filled with briefings and seminars from this vast array of organisations. NGOs publish daily comments on the progress of the negotiations, details of which seem to leak out quite freely. Yesterday I took part in an OECD discussion on emissions trading, a major issue for New Zealand, and today I met with other members of GLOBE, the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment through whom I am accredited.

The nuclear industry is also here in force, arguing it has the solution to energy production without fossil fuels. It provoked a large demonstration this morning in the street outside from those opposing the growing nuclearisation of Asia.

The issues are hugely complex. Countries must agree not only on a target for reductions, but on a date; which gases will be included; how performance will be monitored and enforced; how soon developing countries will be asked to make commitments; whether forest sinks are to be counted and If so how; and whether countries who exceed the target can trade their entitlements with those who fall short. Future reports will deal with each of these issues.

The real negotiations take place in closed sessions on each of the controversial clauses, so many of them running in parallel that the NZ delegation, with seven members here, has difficulty covering all of them. They report back to plenary sessions. Last night's report back revealed that many are deadlocked in disagreements that cannot be resolved until the Ministers arrive for the top-level negotiations on Monday. Enormous amounts of time are spent on small wording changes.

Yet the decisions of these people will affect every human being on the planet over the next few decades. If this conference does not succeed in realistic reduction of climate warming gases coastal communities, especially the low lying islands of the Pacific and several million people in Bangladesh will be flooded and lose their homes. Changes in rainfall patterns will affect food supply in many areas, including the poorest areas of Africa. Tropical diseases will spread to areas not previously affected. Tropical storms may become more extreme and more frequent. NZ will not be immune from these changes.

Many fear that no agreement will be reached, or that it will be so weak that it will result in no improvement over business as usual. Everyone agrees that any agreement that does eventuate will be far too little to prevent climate change and that this conference represents a beginning rather than an end of the process. But a framework for a binding agreement, however weak, provided it has proper mechanisms for reporting, verification and enforcement, will be a stepping stone from which future progress can be negotiated.

This afternoon, Kyoto time, the working groups will report back on the first week's work. My second briefing, tomorrow, will cover progress on defining targets, and how NZ's position stacks up against others.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From:   NewsRoom@newsroom.co.nz [SMTP:NewsRoom@newsroom.co.nz]
Subject:        Kyoto Update

Posting to Politics Wire of the NewsRoom
Press Release:  New Zealand Alliance Party
Date:   Monday, 8 December 1997
Time:   12:52 pm NZT

Kyoto Update

Alliance MP and Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is attending the Kyoto Climate conference as an observer. 'Kyoto Update' is her daily report.

Green members of parliament from five nations met at the climate change conference in Kyoto today to assess progress on the eve of the arrival of Ministers for the final phase of negotiations.
It is disappointing that the protocol, if one is achieved, will fall far short of the proposals agreed on by sixty of the world's green parties before the conference began. The Greens issued a further statement today setting out what could still be salvaged from the talks if parties have the will.

The executive secretary to the conference reported today that two thirds of the protocol text remains in contention. That means an enormous task has to be accomplished in the next three days. However there has been some progress.
Chairman Estrada told us this morning that the debate over which gases to include will probably be resolved by including just the first three in the protocol this year - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - and adding the fluorocarbons at the next stage. This is a capitulation to the refrigeration industry which developed new gases to replace the ozone-destroying CFCs and wants time to pay off its investment, despite the damage the new products can do to the climate.

It is clear that no target that is being seriously considered will be anywhere near enough to stabilise climate, so future revisions upwards will be essential.

There is a growing agreement that the size of the target this time is less important than establishing consistent ways of measuring emissions and carbon absorption across nations, across time and across gases, and ensuring that whatever commitment is negotiated can be enforced. That is a major scientific challenge as in many countries there is little past data and there is still disagreement on how to weigh the relative importance of different gases.

Perhaps the most difficult area to measure is the role of forests and other vegetation in absorbing carbon - known as carbon sinks. Sinks are one of the most contentious issues here and New Zealand is in the thick of the battle.

In fact, we began the argument by insisting from the beginning on a 'net' approach where the carbon absorbed by expanding forest area is subtracted from the carbon emitted from burning fuel. The NZ government was so sure that this argument would save us that it allowed emissions from fuel to rise sharply after we signed the Convention in 1992 in the expectation they would be offset by forests. As methods of counting improved this turned out not to be the case so NZ has one of the worst records of not meeting our 1992 commitments to stabilise emissions at 1990 levels.

NZ is still insisting on including forests in the Protocol and this is being resisted by some other nations who see it as a way of NZ avoiding improving its energy use. It appears now that sinks will be included in some form but it is not clear how the measuring difficulties will be overcome, if at all. Many fear that including forest sinks will look fine on paper but will result in no improvement at all in what actually reaches the atmosphere.

A contact for Jeanette Fitzsimons in Kyoto is available from the
Alliance parliamentary office, (04) 471 9172.


The newsroom can be found at http://www.newsroom.co.nz

Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 11:04:47 +1200
To: davd@geocities.com
From: Judith Lofley  (by way of
 baem@phy.auckland.ac.nz (Dr Bera MacClement))

[GreenNews] media release - Amazon fires

Meanwhile...on planet earth, the crisis continues 26 March 1998 Greens challenge Government to respond to Amazon fires A greater threat than the Asian economic collapse. The Amazon forest fires are a greater threat to the earth and all its peoples than the Asian economic crisis" says Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons. " Yet the Government has committed $US100 million to South Korea, and nothing to the Amazon." Jeanette Fitzsimons has written to the Ministers of the Environment and Foreign Affairs and Trade urging that the New Zealand Government takes an initiative in providing assistance to fight the fires. "The impact of two months of fires is devastating the forest. The livelihood and the lives of the Yanomami Indian, the world's largest stone age tribe, are now threatened along with a huge variety of wildlife, and specific areas of global ecological importance," Mrs Fitzsimons said. "The Amazon rainforest is an essential part of the global eco-system. The region is often referred to as the 'lungs of the planet' because of its vital role in maintaining the life support system of the bio-sphere. Unfortunately, conditions have been worsened by the dryness of the El Nino winds." "This is an area where international co-operation in the form of a rapid response unit for environmental disasters would provide critical support. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirm that they have received no communication from any UN agency about the fires. Yet for the Indonesian fires a co-ordinating committee was established. I have called on the Ministers to initiate the establishment of a permanent co-ordinating unit for environmental disasters which are beyond the capacity of national governments, through the United Nations Environment Programme," Mrs Fitzsimons said. "In the meantime, I have also urged the Government to send money or personnel to assist during the current emergency" "This is not just a matter for Brazil. It is an environmental disaster which will have global impact. New Zealand has an opportunity to provide some environmental leadership on this, and I believe it is our express responsibility to do so" Mrs Fitzsimons said. Ph: +64 04 470-6661

 Press Release: New Zealand Alliance Party
 Date: Monday, 8 June 1998
 Time: 9:24 pm NZT

Eleven-fold increase in dependency

There has been more than an eleven-fold increase in people receiving unemployment, sickness and invalids benefits since 1975, Alliance leader Jim Anderton told a Rotary Club meeting in Taupo today.

Jim Anderton is on a nation-wide tour putting together a coalition of New Zealanders who want better solutions than those in the Government's budget.

He says the same economic policies which have delivered the world's highest real interest rates, the highest debt as a proportion of GDP and slower growth than the OECD average are also producing steadily rising dependency.

In 1975 there were 20,138 people receiving unemployment, sickness and invalids benefits. In 1984 there were 79,775 recipients of the same benefit. By March this year the total had climbed to 232,675 people.
1975 1984 March 1998
Unemployed   2,994 50,136 147,997
Sick   7,830   9,452   35,612
Invalid   9,414 20,187   49,066
Total 20,138 79,775 232,675

"Steadily increasing dependency has coincided with regular cuts to top tax rates and reductions in conditions for low paid workers.
So-called 'trickle-down' economics do not work.

"The economic policies of successive governments have thrown tens of thousands of New Zealanders on the scrap heap and created economic and social costs which are also borne by the rest of us. Growing inequality is incompatible with economic success.

"Three-and-a-half years ago the Economist magazine reported on a study which found countries with wider inequality have more ill-health, social stress and crime. The authors of the study said those factors all hinder economic success. So even if your objective is solely economic success in terms of growth and productivity, more inequality defeats that objective.

"More ill health, social stress and crime sounds like a description of what has happened to New Zealand, particularly since 1984.
If New Zealanders want better health, more social cohesion and less crime, we had better set about creating a more equal country," Jim Anderton said.

 Date: Monday, 8 June 1998
 Time: 9:20 pm NZT

The savings red herring; about
The Current Account deficit

"It's a red herring."

That's how Alliance leader Jim Anderton is describing claims from the Treasurer that the current account deficit exists because we don't save enough.

Winston Peters is blaming New Zealanders' poor savings for the balance of payments deficit, downward pressure on the New Zealand dollar and escalating wholesale interest rates. But Jim Anderton says lecturing New Zealanders about our savings habits is no substitute for sound economic policy.

He says New Zealanders are paying $21 million a day to overseas owners in profits, dividends and interest income at the same time that New Zealand is making a loss on assets it owns overseas.

"$106 billion worth of New Zealand is owned by the rest of the world. In contrast, New Zealand owns $34 billion worth of the rest of the world. This massive imbalance meant we sent $8.2 billion overseas in profits, dividends and interest payments to foreign owners last year. Foreign owners are repatriating 90% of the profits they make in New Zealand. In contrast, New Zealand made a net loss on our investments overseas.

"New Zealanders spend roughly as much overseas as we earn on goods and services, so savings are not the problem. It is the payment of profits, dividends and interest payments that are the problem causing our current account deficit.

"Mr Peters is personally making a massive contribution to that deficit. In the last year he allowed more than $400 million in investments involving rural and sensitive land while just $2.3 million of investment was declined.

"It's outrageous that Mr Peters is blaming ordinary New Zealanders for his economic policy failures which have led to the critical current account meltdown we are now facing.

"If it was true that the critical balance of payments situation was caused by insufficient savings, Mr Peters would have to explain why our savings performance has suddenly deteriorated so badly in just the last three years since the current account deficit started to balloon in 1995.

"Lecturing New Zealanders about saving more is just a red herring. The reason that the standard of living of New Zealanders is declining is not that we are spending too much of our hard-earned cash on ourselves. It's that we're paying our cash to our overseas economic masters," Jim Anderton said.

The newsroom can be found at: http://www.newsroom.co.nz

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