Laila Harre Joins Greens

When the Rena disaster first hit the headlines I discovered an interesting parliamentary exchange between Laila Harre and Jenny Shipley regarding the planned deregulation of coastal shipping. Interestingly if you remove the references to shipping the two arguments actually sum up National's current approach to governance and the Green Party's concerns:

Laila Harre: How can the Minister ... (insert just about any current National initiative) the total absence of any objective analysis of the costs and benefits of the policy in terms of employment, local business development, and the environment; and is not her answer simply another case of substituting ideology and anecdote (still National's approach) for objective and independent analysis?
Hon. Jenny Shipley: These matters were well traversed at the time that the legislation was passed through the House, and there was a great appeal from the cloth-cap brigade, who argued that no change could be entertained because it would affect different groups of people. What is clear is that new employment opportunities are emerging because of new activity ... Every time we can get a reduction in the costs...., we allow the provinces (and usually just big business) to prosper, and that is one of the goals of this Government.

We all know that it was some time after this exchange that the benefits of National's policies were catastrophically reversed with the leaking buildings ($11.5 billion in costs), the Pike River mine disaster (substantial fiscal and human costs) and the collapse of poorly regulated finance companies (SCF payout of $1.25 billion). The planned sales of our State Assets will do little to reverse these debts and make it less likely we can afford to pay for any future "government initiated" disaster.

I'm looking forward to the added value that Laila's experience, knowledge and undoubted skills will bring to the Greens to support the growing recognition that they are the most credible opposition party.


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