Minister mincing words on meat tax

January 30, 2019

Climate change and health zealotry have merged in a call to ban meat:

A report by The Lancet Commission on Obesity, released on Monday, said a tax on red meat was an example of the urgent action needed to address the greatest threats “to human and planetary health” – obesity, under-nutrition and climate change.  . . 

The idea that a tax on red meat will reduce obesity is ludicrous.

Lean protein, of which red meat is a good source, plays a very important role in a healthy diet. It has a low glycemic index so satisfies for longer and therefore helps in helping people eat less over all.

A meat tax will increase the price, forcing people to look for cheaper alternatives which will have less nutritional value, more calories per gram and be less satisfying.

It will do the opposite of what the Commission wants – contribute to both obesity and under nutrition.

Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter​ said the Government did not plan to tax red meat “at this stage”, but an increase in awareness about climate change was affecting people’s behaviour. 

No plan to tax ‘at this stage’? That’s mincing words when she needs to put a steak stake in the ground for the sake of people’s health and our trade in red meat which not only helps finance first-world necessities, it helps feed the world.

This point is well made by National’s Agriculture spokesman, Nathan Guy:

“The red meat sector is worth around $9 billion of exports. Over 25,000 New Zealanders are employed and will be horrified the Government is not ruling out taxing the red meat industry.  . . “

Our red meat production has one of the lowest environmental footprints in the world.

Even the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs admitted in a report which found Kiwi lamb is reared at such a low intensity that, even after shipping, it uses less energy.

Genter should be championing our chops, not casting the shadow of yet another virtue signaling tax over our food and farms.


Road toll too hard

January 4, 2019

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter says it will be decades before the road toll drops substantially:

The Government announced last month it would invest $1.4 billion in road safety upgrades over the next three years in an effort to reduce the road toll, which ended at 382 for last year.

But Genter says while she expects the number of deaths to come down over the next few years, it will be decades before the number drops significantly. . .

But National’s associate transport spokesperson, Brett Hudson, said the public should get more for the amount invested.

“The immediate question is: What do we get for that $1.4b?

“Is the associate minister saying these things won’t save lives? Are they [the Coalition Government] prioritising that money in the right place, or do they not have confidence in what they can achieve?

“If we’re spending $1.4 billion but it’s going to take decades [to substantially reduce the road toll], the associate minister seems to be saying that $1.4b isn’t actually effective.

“Then shouldn’t she actually be doing something that is?”. . .

Putting fuel tax into roading improvements instead of cycle lanes and public transport would help.

Getting people off roads and onto bikes, buses and trains would reduce the road toll but most goods have to be transported by road, and cycle lanes and public transport are only the answer in some routes in some cities.

Like all people who live in the country, most of my driving is on the open road, from home to town.  In spite of the increase in population in our district, I can still do the return journey of nearly 40 kilometres without seeing more than a very few other vehicles until I get to the main road on the outskirts of Oamaru.

But major roads are much busier.

The state highways I use most often are north to Christchurch, south to Dunedin and west to Wanaka. All of them have far more traffic than there used to be and because of that every trip takes longer than it used to.

Longer trips with more traffic are more dangerous, especially when most of them are on two-lane roads with few passing lanes and without median barriers.

Why has Genter put reducing the road toll sooner into the too-hard basket when part of the solution is simple?

Redirecting money from cycle lanes and trains back into widening the roads, and adding passing lanes and median barriers would make more roads safer, sooner.

 

 


Do as they say not as they do

July 9, 2018

Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter wants more women on boards.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting but this sounds more like a warning:

. . .CORIN Yeah. But are you saying that some of those men have got into that position because they were white men?

JULIE ANNE Well, I think the reason there’s not diversity on boards is because we haven’t actively sought to overturn the status quo, which is the result of historic discrimination and bias and unconscious bias. So we just have to make an active effort to find those talented people. And through attrition, it can happen. You can replace people. I think there’s a role for men to play in terms of identifying people they can mentor and bring on to boards and champion that diversity. And so the key question is, you know, who is going to be responsible for this? And ultimately, the private sector is responsible for making those changes.

CORIN But what you’re saying is that they are going to have to get there themselves. You’re not going to force them to do it. Because that’s the point that I’m trying to make, which is, you know, you are going to get some resistance there. And are you willing to do that?

JULIE ANNE Well, the evidence is mixed on how successful that is. So quotas in some places have been successful, but they also can have perverse consequences. So what I would say is let’s start by putting up the challenge. NZX did have a diversity policy that they released. So they’ve said to their members you have to have a diversity policy or explain why not. That has increased diversity to some extent. We’re awaiting the next report, and I’m keen to see where they get to. But yeah, if they’re not going to make progress, if it’s going to sit there at 19%, then we might have to start thinking about ways government can incentivise them.

CORIN Quotas? 

JULIE ANNE Well, I think there’ll be a range of tools available. But we want to do what’s most effective, right? So whatever’s going to be most effective at motivating that change and ensuring that it doesn’t have any perverse consequences. . . 

Motivating sounds more carrot than stick but whether it would be or not isn’t clear.

But it’s what she seems to forget, or not know that is of most concern.

It’s shareholders who elect directors to the boards of companies in the private sector and what she’s saying suggests that the government might come up with something that would interfere with their right to elect who they want.

There is evidence that diversity can make a positive difference to governance but that still doesn’t give government the right to second guess shareholders or usurp their right to elect the directors of their own choosing without government motivation or what could well be regarded as meddling.

Before stirring up the private sector, the Minister should start much closer to home by addressing the gender imbalance in cabinet:

Ardern has released a list of 16 Cabinet ministers and five ministers outside Cabinet, including all 12 MPs on its current front bench.

Just seven of the 21 are women, six of whom are in Cabinet.

That is fewer than National which had nine in total, including seven inside Cabinet – and was often pilloried by Labour for its lack of representation.

In a Newshub debate during the election campaign, Ardern had said she believed Cabinet should be 50/50 female and male and would make it a target.

However, even the five ministers outside Cabinet chosen by Ardern herself rather than by caucus included just one woman – Meka Whaitiri. . . 

Genter’s aim for equal representation would look much less hypocritical if Cabinet didn’t show it’s a case of do as government says, not as it does.


Greens go redder

April 9, 2018

If political parties had to adhere to the Trade Descriptions Act the Green Party would be called the Reds and they’ve just voted to go redder:

South Auckland-based MP Marama Davidson will join James Shaw in the role of Green Party Co-leader, after the result of the leadership contest was announced this morning in Auckland.

Ms Davidson secured 110 delegate votes. Julie Anne Genter, the Minister for Women and Associate Minister of Transport and Health, also contested the Co-leadership role and won 34 votes. . . 

The party is split between members with a radical left social and financial agenda and those whose focus is the environment.

Davidson represents the radical left side. She has a lot in common with the woman she replaced, Meteria Turei, and is more likely to reopen the wounds Turei and her departure created than heal them.

Her radical left agenda could also cause more headaches to the government her party supports.

It is also more likely to prove true Heather du Plessis-Allan’s prophesy that the party will disappear in a decade:

 

. . . If you assumed the co-leadership contest between Julie Anne Genter and Marama Davidson was simply about two women interviewing for a job, you’d be wrong. It was so much more than that.

These women are the yin and yang of the Greens. . . 

This leadership battle was really a death match over which is more important to the Greens: the environment or beneficiaries. . . 

This is why the Greens won’t last 10 years unless they make big changes. The split personality can’t go on living together. Not only is the animosity in the party too great, but not all voters who care about the environment also want to give hand outs to beneficiaries. . .

Oddly enough the biggest threat is coming from the party the Greens are mostly likely to hiss at: National.

There’s a long tradition of Blue-Greenness within the Nats and things are really starting to ramp up. In his first interviews in the job, new leader Simon Bridges couldn’t have made it clearer he plans to go greener.

Once all the other parties go green, the Greens will lose their big point of difference. And what are they when that’s gone? . . .

They’re a radical left party as shown by the small group of Young Greens who threatened to resign if Genter defeated Davidson.

Passing quickly over their disdain for democracy, there is an element of karma in that for Genter.

She called for old white men to get of boards . She is white and old (in comparison to the youth wing). But she is 38 and lost to the older (44) brown woman.


Green Minister ageist, racist, sexist

March 23, 2018

Is discriminating against anyone on the grounds of age, race or gender ever okay?

Women’s Minister Julie Anne Genter says old white men need to “move on” from company boards to help close the gender pay gap.

Speaking to students at Christchurch’s Cobham Intermediate School on Thursday, Genter said the private sector needed to address the low level of female representation on New Zealand company boards if more businesses were to be led by women.

About 85 per cent of board members were male, and many were “old white men in their 60s”.

Some of them need to move on and allow for diversity and new talent,” she said, later clarifying she had “no problem with old white men” on company boards generally. . . 

I wouldn’t say 60 is old. Even if it is, ageism, racism and sexism isn’t a good look in a Minister who is supposed to be working towards equality.

It’s worse from someone whose party’s values include :

Engage respectfully, without personal attacks
Actively respect cultural and individual diversity and celebrate difference
Enable participation with dignity and challenge oppression
Encourage new voices and cherish wisdom

Diversity on boards does have benefits.

But a Minister ought to be able to make the case for that without disparaging anyone on the grounds of their age, race or gender.

If discrimination against people on the basis of such factors is wrong for the young, those whose skins aren’t white and/or are women it’s wrong for everyone else too.

If Genter can’t help women up without pulling, and putting, men down, she’s in the wrong job.

If misogyny is a problem misandry is not the solution.


Poor policies add up to recession

January 15, 2014

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce shows how poor policies add up to recession:

It’s important to remember that in 2008 New Zealand was already in recession, thanks to the Labour-led government’s mismanagement.

It left office forecasting a decade of deficits before most of the rest of the world went into recession.

National has turned that around in spite of the natural and economic disasters it’s had to deal with.


Green pot calling blue kettle black

December 3, 2013

The Green Party is complaining about transport costs:

New data shows that families’ spending on transport is skyrocketing, driven by the cost of petrol and cars, and National’s transport priorities is making it worse, Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.

This is very much a case of the Green pot calling the blue kettle black.

Her party would make fuel even more expensive through higher ETS charges.

The Green Party also wants to lower the value of the dollar which would increase the cost of imports, among which are fuel and vehicles.

And the party is campaigning strongly against mineral exploration which has the potential to not only earn export income but also reduce our reliance on imported fuel.


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