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The Climate Change Commission is out of control

Dear Supporter,

This message is a bit longer than usual, but it's important.

It's about the recommendations of the Climate Change Commission. I'd like to update you on where things are at. It's not good.

Thanks thousands of Taxpayers' Union supporters like you, it is likely a majority of public submissions opposed the Commissioners' radical plans to up-end our economy and reshape our lifestyles. But it appears they've not listened.

It's not yet in the media, but the Taxpayers' Union understands that at noon on Wednesday, the finalised recommendations will be publicly released.

To date, the Prime Minister and Climate Change Minister have said the Government will implement whatever the Climate Change Commission recommends. We have to make them see sense. We have to step up our effort and I am putting the call out to ensure we have a campaign fund to mount this battle.

Countless economists and analysts have tried to explain to the Commissioners that their plans aren't just costly – they won't even work to reduce emissions. When the Government uses regulations to push down emissions in parts of the economy covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme ('cap and trade'), it just frees up credits for people to increase emissions in other parts of the economy – this is the “waterbed effect”.

But the Commission Chair, Rod Carr, looks to have stuck his fingers in his ears and said "I'm not listening".

A scary insight into Rod Carr's thinking

In a blog just published on the Climate Change Commission's website, the Commission Chair doubles down on his decision to abandon a 'least cost' approach in favour of heavy-handed regulation. It leaves no doubt the Climate Change Commission intend to use climate regulation to advance radical social and economic agendas.

Rod Carr writes:

While cost matters, it is only one of the things we need to care about – and it is not the only factor that drives our choices. We need to care holistically about the approach Aotearoa will take to transition to a low emissions future.

We care about risk and uncertainty. About the next generation. About how land and resources are used. And we care about our personal relationships, and relationships between our communities.

"Care holistically" in this case means taking a simple goal reducing emissions and turning it into an excuse to pursue new ideological goals.

These new goals are incredibly vague and subjective. How on earth does an unelected bureaucrat plan to put a value on "personal relationships" and "relationships between our communities"? How is it possible to hold the Government to account according to these priorities?

You can’t put a price on these things.

Actually, you can put a price on risk and uncertainty. Private firms price in risks of their decisions every day. Insurance companies even specialise in this.

Pursuing the cheapest path fails to consider impacts on individuals, communities, workers, businesses, families, and the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Wrong. It is precisely for the sake of these communities that the Commission should minimise the cost of its climate plan. When the economy is derailed, all of us suffer.

Remember, the whole idea of the Commission was to take the politics out of climate change. It seems Rod Carr is determined to undermine it.

We know that the least cost option often creates poor outcomes.

Economic costs are themselves a poor outcome. If the Commissioner wants to damage the economy beyond what is necessary to achieve his zero-carbon goal, he needs to clearly explain why. We're still waiting for that clear explanation.

At the moment, with policy settings in Aotearoa, the cheapest option would be for us to continue planting our land with pine trees.

There's an even cheaper option: use ETS levies to fund tree planting overseas. Carbon emissions are a global problem, so it doesn't matter whether a forest is planted in Eketahuna or Ethiopia. The only reason New Zealand won't do that is because the Climate Change Commission is ruling it out!

Our advice focuses on removing emissions at source, rather than trying to plant our way out of the problem.

Why? It's the net change in emissions that should be relevant here, but the Commissioner's plan focuses on gross emissions, ruling out affordable and innovative methods of sequestering carbon. This has turned the Commission's approach into zealotry, not expert advice.

During our consultation, some questioned why the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) alone won’t meet our emissions reduction goals

Submitters weren't just "questioning" this – they were pointing out that the Commissioner's own data reveals the ETS has already put us on track to reach net zero emissions.

Emissions pricing won’t provide support to people hit hardest by the direct or indirect impacts of climate change–

Wrong. Emissions pricing supports these people by sparing them from the economic destruction advocated by the Commission!

–and it won’t ensure transformation across all sectors.

What's wrong with that? Why is the Commission worshipping at the altar of economic "transformation"?

Our draft advice...looks at how we can enable a transition that is fair and equitable, rather than simply focusing on the cheapest cost.

The safest way to ensure an 'equitable' transition is to minimise costs. That way, if politicians in the future decide a certain group has been hard done by, we'll at least have some wealth left over to address those issues.

If we take responsibility for our emissions now...we can provide ourselves, our children and our children’s children with better opportunities to manage our future world.

Our children won't have better opportunities if they inherit a crippled economy.

One more thing...

Last month, one of our staffers bumped into Dr Carr in the [checks notes] Air NZ Wellington Koru Lounge. We couldn't help but ask his office for comment:


Of course, some would say it is hypocritical for Dr Carr to be telling others not to fly while he himself is a Gold standard frequent flier.

This meme had a lot of comment over on our Facebook page.

Carr graphic

Remember that Dr Carr is not actually adding any harm to the climate domestic air travel is covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme. What that means is that every extra flight will see reduced emissions elsewhere.

And it is there that the hypocrisy lies. He wants the rest of us to fly less (and take a gross emissions approach), but when it comes to his own habits, that's apparently too inconvenient.

So if the media won't hold Rod Carr to account, we will.Donate

Thank you for your support,


Jordan Williams
Executive Director
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union

PS. we'll be working through the detail as soon as the final advice is out and will update you on what, if anything, has changed from the draft. If Rod Carr won't listen, we'd best make sure Jacinda Ardern does! To date the Government has said that they will be implementing whatever Dr Carr recommends. We have to stop them. Chip in to the campaign here.

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