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Heather du Plessis-Allan

You Can’t Take the Politics Out of Climate Change

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One of the last things Jacinda asked of us in her valedictory speech yesterday was that we “take the politics out of climate change”.

I hope the MPs in that debating chamber completely ignore that.  

Because think about what that means.

What Jacinda asked our MPs to do was to ignore what we the voters want, and just ram through whatever they consider necessary for climate change.

Because that’s what politics is, the contest of the different things that different voters want.

Do you want to know what that would look like, to take the politics out of climate change?

The Government would start charging farmers for their emissions from tomorrow. That would mean up to a quarter of sheep and beef farms could shut down.

It would put the fuel tax back on petrol, so you would pay another 25c per litre effective tomorrow.  

It would drive the price of carbon up to $120 per unit as recommended, pushing your electricity bills up 5 percent, your gas bills up 7 percent, your diesel cost up 8 percent and your petrol up another 5 percent. 

There is a good reason none of that’s happening, because it would hurt us, it would make you and I poorer than we already are.

You can’t take the politics out of something like that, because voters should have a say on whether they want their lives that deeply affected. A governing party can’t just do that to people without their consent.

It’s remarkably hypocritical that she says that on her last day in Parliament, when she didn’t take the politics out of climate change herself.

She could’ve forced the climate levy on farmers when she first announced it, using a hay bale as a podium six months ago- she didn’t.

She cut the petrol price down herself, she didn’t push carbon prices up to crazy levels, that recommendation was already there.

It’s a bit rich to not do something and then try to shame the people you leave behind into doing it.

Jacinda’s not naïve, she would’ve known no one’s going to heed that call. But it looks good in the media, doesn’t it?

Especially for someone off to a position on the board of Prince William’s Earthshot Prize.

So no, let’s not take the politics out of climate change, and let’s see this request for what it is.

It’s a play to get good international headlines, and a bad idea that we should all ignore.