ETS law passed

September 10, 2008

The climate change legislation which includes the introduction of an Emissions Trading Scheme has just been passed.

Labour, NZ First, the Greens and the Progressive Party supported the bill on its third reading.

National, ACT, the Maori Party, United Future and independent MPs Gordon Copeland and Taito Phillip Field voted against it.

Now Helen Clark has rammed through another flawed law she can cut off Winston Peters’ baubles and announce the election date.

As parlaiment has just gone in to urgency that might be sooner than expected.

Peters’ campaign opening

September 10, 2008

Winston Peters evidence to the privileges committee sounded more like a campaign speech than a serious attempt to clear his name.

Tim Donoghue and Ann Aitken Worth report:

Embattled MP Winston Peters has told the privileges committee he wants to be judged “by decent New Zealanders who understand justice” and continued to deny soliciting a $100,000 donation.

Mr Peters gave his evidence to the committee with the knowledge his political future hangs on rebutting expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn’s testimony around a $100,000 donation to Mr Peters’ party NZ First.

 . . . Mr Peters said he wished to be judged by decent New Zealanders who understand justice and the essence of democracy.

“Not bias, prejudice and pre-judgement before any of the fact are even known,” Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters said he had spent his whole political life preserving New Zealand for New Zealanders.

“This is an attempt to undo the people’s will, bring down a government, then govern alone. My enemies and an elite media have surely proven that,” Mr Peters said.

The ODT reports:

When he appeared before the committee tonight, Mr Peters did not back down on any of his previous denials – including the press conference in February when he held up a `NO’ sign.

Mr Peters told the committee, again, that there had been no donation to his New Zealand First Party or to him personally.

“The answer than was no, and the answer is still no,” he said.

“At no time was I in any position to answer in any other way.”

But it’s just his word against Glenns’ and Glenn had phone records and witnesses.

Peters just had his oft-used appeal to New Zealanders and the people to help him defeat his enemies and the media – and in his eyes the media are part of the enemy.




Poor performance lacked conviction

September 10, 2008

Winston Peters has done it so many times before – promised much and delivered little.

He did that again at the privileges committee tonight.

He gave a poor performance, provided no evidence, looked uncomfortable and was far from convincing.

Now it’s up to the committee to choose between Owen Glenn’s word, backed up by witnesses and paperwork or Peters’ word backed up by bluster.

White gold not so golden

September 10, 2008

A fall in world prices for dairy products is making potential investors increasingly shy about putting their money into the sector.

With whole milk powder prices retreating significantly in the past couple of months, market participants are saying demand for rural land suitable for dairy is lessening and linking it to new production investment.

Global Dairy Network director John Shaskey said the latest price being paid for whole milk powder was about US$3000 a metric tonne, a significant retreat from recent peaks.

One set of University of Wisconsin data showed whole milk prices peaking at more than US$5800 about a year ago.

“In the last two months they’ve dropped by about US$1500 … Demand has really softened in key markets, in developing markets,” Mr Shaskey said.

There were also now expectations of “a pretty normal supply year” from Oceania markets, including Australia and New Zealand, where Fonterra was expecting about 10 per cent more production compared with last year’s drought-ravaged supply.

Mr Shaskey, whose company trades and exports on behalf of New Zealand and overseas producers, said the Kiwi dollar would need to retreat even further from its existing levels of US66c-US68c to support Fonterra’s payout plans.

Another industry insider said the price falls had created uncertainty in terms of investment in land and the development of infrastructure for processing milk. “This will have an impact on the payout price by Fonterra- the banks are talking somewhere between $5.50 and $5.80 [a kilo of milk solids].”

In spite of the encouraging propsects of increased demand and diminishing supplies, I knew that the milk payout wasn’t going to keep going up. I didn’t however, expect it to come back down so soon and so far.

The concern is that while the payout has gone up so too have costs and they won’t come down as far or as fast as returns do. That will mean taking a more conservative view on budgets for established farmers and even more serious re-budgeting for new entrants who have paid an inflated price for land based on higher returns than will now be achievable.

In May, Fonterra increased the farmer payout to a record $7.90 for the 2007-08 season, and announced an initial forecast for 2008-09 of $7 a kilo. “This is certainly affecting the economics of people who are looking to enter the dairy industry, and those who have bought land at high prices with an expectation that the high payout prices will continue,” the industry insider said.

Financial players who knew the dairy sector well and knew that demand would continue were now in a wait-and-watch mode, the insider said.

Mr Shaskey said that in the longer term there could be a significant realignment of high land prices, given retreating commodity prices and the probability of more overseas supply coming into the market.

But the creation of new processing facilities and land conversion would probably continue, given prices were above historic levels.

“People need to be cautious around their numbers, and not budget on $7 [a kilo] plus payouts … because they’re not the norm.”

Another view in the market was that a US dairy herd expansion had driven up supply but that now some of those farmers were leaving the business – a positive for New Zealand producers.

Conversion to bio-fuels has led to an increase in the costs for US dairy farms which use grain to feed their cows. It’s possible some of those farmers will find more lucrative uses for their land than dairying which will provide a gap in the market for us.

But the short term outlook isn’t nearly as good as it was and if the Emissions Trading Scheme passes its third reading then more of the shine will go off our white gold.

Bradford to Peters: do right thing

September 10, 2008

The Hive  has posted a copy of an email from former cabinet minister Max Bradford to Winston Peters:

From: Hon. Max Bradford
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:30 a.m.

Subject: Doing the Right Thing at a Late Stage

I appreciate the extraordinary pressure you must be under at the present time. It appears the Prime Minister is about to use the axe on you, if the kites being flown by the 9th floor at the media are any guide.

Can I make a suggestion to you?

I am sure the country would think far better of you if you were to withdraw NZ First’s support for the Emissions Trading legislation at the Third Reading stage. It is a terrible piece of proposed law with far reaching impacts on New Zealanders, and in particular on your support base, the elderly.

It isn’t that NZ doesn’t need a well thought-out policy on climate change. But the Bill before Parliament, which your Party is currently supporting, isn’t it.

For Labour to expect that the legislation will work for ordinary Kiwis when they have to introduce 785 amendments at the Committee stages of the bill, after hundreds following the Select Committee examination, is mind boggling proof that the government is going to get it wrong. It’ll be ordinary people who suffer, not the Labour ministers and their supporters who’ll have departed the scene by then.

So I urge you, even at this late stage, to withdraw support for the Bill . Let Parliament have a more rational and considered look at the best policy for NZ in the early stages of the next Parliament – perhaps you’ll be part of that process too.

If you do so, the public will think better of you when – or should I say if – Helen Clark wields the axe in the next few days.

Her action will then look like a vindictive response to your principled withdrawal of support for legislation that is inimical to everybody’s interests in this country.


Hon. Max Bradford
Bradford & Associates Ltd
Level 8, 90 The Terrace
P O Box 8040
Wellington 6145

I think Bradford used to flat with Peters. Regardless of twhether I’m right about that, they were certainly National Party colleagues and I’d like to think this plea to do the decent thing might be heeded. But I won’t be holding my breath.

While attention’s diverted…

September 10, 2008

Keeping Stock wondered on Monday what Labour might come up with to divert attention from Owen Glenn.

Today he makes the point that the donatons debacle is diverting attention from the third reading of the legislation which will introduce the Emissions Trading Scheme:

This is the ultimate abuse of the Parliamentary process by Helen Clark. Unless the Greens have a sudden attack of principles, Clark will have her flagship legislation. National and Act can filibuster all they want this afternoon, but all they can do is delay the inevitable. Unless Winston Peters throws his toys and withdraws from his agreement with Labour, or unless the Greens stand up for what they must know is right, Helen Clark will indeed wield absolute power this evening. And as Lord Acton so famously said, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

That Clark is rushing to pass the legislation is evidence she doesn’t believe she’ll be leading the next government because if she was there would be opportunity to give the bill the measured consideration it requires after the election.

That explains the rush but doesn’t excuse it. The legislation has had more than 700 ammendments since it was introduced and it is being bulldozed through the house; but far worse than this is the fact it will not achieve its aims.

The economic and social impact of the scheme will damage New Zealand and that high cost will not result in any reduction in global carbon emissions.

Matthew Hooton  suggests National could delay the bill until Thursday after which Peters would be sacked and the other New Zealand First MPs might withdraw their support. It’s a long bow but it’s definitely worth drawing it.

Who do you believe?

September 10, 2008

The Stuff poll asks:

Who do you believe?

Winston Peters (1388 votes, 12.0%)

Owen Glenn (8927 votes, 77.4%)

I’m not sure (1226 votes, 10.6%)

Stuff polls are not scientific and reflect the opinions of only those internet users who have chosen to participate
Thank goodness this isn’t scientific. If it was there would be grave concern that 12% of respondents still believe Peters. Accepting there are 1388 people who do so is bad enough without extrapolating that out to the total population.

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