What a red letter day on Thursday! We saw the introduction of the ETS - the scheme that few understand and that no-one believes will save the planet.

Nick Smith's backflip on this is breathtaking. In 2005 he thundered in what has now become an infamous column: "The madness of the government's new carbon tax is that New Zealanders will be the only ones in the world paying for it. It will drive up the cost of living and undermine the competitiveness of New Zealand for negligible environmental gain."

By 2010, the Climate Change Minister had clearly had a road to Damascus experience. "The ETS is the most efficient and least-cost way to bring emissions under control, meet our international obligations and protect New Zealand's clean, green brand," he claimed this week.

And the reason he can live with this change of heart without looking in the mirror and seeing a weasel is because Labour wanted a carbon tax that was much more punitive on business. This is an emissions trading scheme which is another thing entirely.

Oh, bollocks. It's still a tax for a misguided scheme.

And for the Government to claim that without an ETS we jeopardise our export interests is nonsense. Who are our biggest export markets? Australia. China. Japan. And the US. Not an ETS amongst them.

The Government's guide to understanding the ETS, which you can find on the web, is also a testimony to obfuscation and spin. It claims most New Zealanders won't participate directly in the scheme.

Really? I would have thought paying more for just about everything will be a very direct form of participation. The questions posted are the sort of patsy questions junior MPs ask of their ministers in the debating chamber.

What I do want to know is what the repercussions will be for this country if we don't introduce an ETS until our major trading partners do.

Will the money paid to the Government through the ETS cover the money to be paid to all those with interests in forestry who include the Harvard endowment fund?

The global investment fund of the US university has a big stake in Kaiangaroa Forest and they'll be tickled pink to think they're getting such a splendid return.

The ETS is a crock, but National's gambling on the fact that voters have nowhere else to go except to Act and that may well be a shift to the right too far for most Kiwis.