Public policy has a major impact on our lives; that goes without saying. If the assumptions upon which policy is based are sound, there is a good chance that the resulting laws and regulations will have a positive influence on the country. But when the assumptions are driven by ideology instead of reason, the outcomes can be detrimental.
Many articles in the Herald have emphasised the dangers of man-made global warming and warned us that extreme measures are needed to save us from this imminent climatic disaster. Almost without exception, the authors have assumed that man-made carbon dioxide causes dangerous global warming, rapid sea level rise and more floods, droughts, cyclones and so on.
‘Green’ ideology is responsible for many of the public policy failures that are evident in New Zealand today. The green way is to create a moral panic to put public pressure on decision-makers to force change. As a result, through green pressure and soft public opinion, politicians will often implement policies that do more harm than good.
It’s been a difficult few weeks for the government. Two developments have been causing headaches. The first, the leaking of documents that raised concerns that New Zealand might be being used as a tax haven. The second was the news that high profile Maori leaders were joining the fight against the Kermadec Islands Ocean Sanctuary.
Last Saturday, National launched their controversial water discussion document at a Party conference at Lake Tekapo. By announcing the major reform of the country’s system of freshwater management at a remote location on a weekend, National will have ensured that that most New Zealanders are unaware that a public consultation and submission process is now underway.
A report on the burden to economies of environmental policies, prepared by the OECD in 2014, ranked New Zealand 28th out of 34 member countries. It highlighted that real problems exist with our system of environmental regulation.
The point is that junk science and hype-driven press coverage, doesn’t just apply to the diet industry. Dubious research can be found in all sorts of areas to justify claims for political or financial advantage. But nowhere is it more evident than in the field of climate change.
There is no definitive scientific proof, through real-world observation, that carbon dioxide is responsible for any of the slight warming of the global climate that has occurred during the past 300 years, since the peak of the Little Ice Age.
The question that really needs to be asked is whether it is prudent for our government to be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on policies based on a theory, since man-made global warming is still unproven.