NZ Farmers Weekly reports that opposition to the ETS is fuelling discussions on the formation of a rural party.
It’s only talk and I hope it stops there because it would do more harm than good.
Rural people are not only a minority, we’re diverse. The only thing which unites us is geography – we don’t live in towns or cities – and that isn’t enough on which to base a viable political party.
The Outdoor Recreation Party should serve as a warning.
In spite of the hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy the great outdoors it got nowhere at its first election. It then merged with United Future which went backwards at the next election.
I understand the opposition to the ETS and until recently I might have supported it. But I’ve accepted the fact that it is now law which will come into effect on July 1.
A show of hands at the National Party’s Northern convention yesterday suggests that is the majority view. A discussion on the issue, which showed strong opposition, concluded with a request for a show of hands on whether the ETS should be delayed. I reckoned fewer than a third of the delegates put their hands up for a delay and Audrey Young thinks it was only 20%.
I suspect that 20% was more rural than urban but that’s not grounds for trying to form a rural party.
It wouldn’t be difficult to muster the 500 people needed to form a party, they might even get a few candidates willing to go to the expense and trouble of standing for parliament. If they did they are more likely to take votes from National than any other party and what would that achieve?
At best a weaker National led government. At worst a Labour led one which would include a strong Green element. Both those parties’ plans for the ETS are more radical and expensive than National’s and their other policies are a lot less rural-friendly too.
Those opposing the implementation of the ETS are making a lot of noise but they don’t have the numbers and strong as the anti-ETS is it’s not enough to make a foundation on which to build a viable political party which would be able to make a positive difference to rural people.