The Zero Carbon Bill is a flawed bill. But it's a start.
Climate change is not just another crisis, it's the existential crisis of our species. A friend of mine says that every generation likes to believe they will be the last one ever, well for Generation Z it could be true.
There has always been opposition to New Zealand being a leader when it comes to climate change. The National Government under John Key wanted us to be a "fast follower". This meant we'd wait around until somebody else did something then we might go after them. Except it seemed that the whole world was adopting the fast follower approach, and nobody wanted to be the leader.
And then up stepped the Green Party and Labour. Between the two of them, getting the Zero Carbon Bill agreed to across the House took hard work and negotiation. If James Shaw does nothing else in politics, he will always have this.
While it may not go far enough for the likes of Greenpeace or sections of the Green Party base, or it may go too far for the likes of Federated Farmers and Judith Collins, having it agreed to by NZ First and National means that there will be a Zero Carbon Act in place no matter who is in power after the next election.
This is the sort of certainty that helps businesses and research institutes plan for the future. It means they know what the legislative framework will look like so they can make five, 10 even 20-year plans knowing there is certainty.
This was why the negotiation was so critical. National is to be praised for coming on board. It was wedged on the issue, with its rural and business base strongly anti the bill, but a lot of its urban voters were very strongly in favour.
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I've been told by people from National that they've already had numerous complaints from people in the base, saying they won't be donating to the party or volunteering for them. But some things are bigger than politics and climate change is one of them.
If people are not going to be donating to, or volunteering for, the National Party because it supported a climate change bill, then National needs a new group of supporters.
What the Zero Carbon Bill also showed is what can happen when you have progressive parties pulling together. Labour has been a pretty big disappointment for a lot of progressives, and the Green Party is regularly criticised for not being left enough, but this is actual progressive legislation that was passed in a mature and sensible way.
I like to imagine that legislation like this is a portent of what could be if Labour and the Green Party had a working majority after the next election. There's a chance of that happening, and it would mean actual progressive change for New Zealand.
Hopefully we will be free of the Budget responsibility rules so that the supposed left-wing parties of New Zealand can behave in a left-wing manner. We could see massive infrastructure projects all around the country, serious welfare reform that treats people who need our welfare safety net with dignity and humanity, and laws passed that are for the many, not the few.
Already we have seen the ripple effect from other countries from the passing of the Zero Carbon Act. New Zealand had favourable media coverage all around the world, which will hopefully influence other countries to adopt similar laws.
US Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders praised it and said he would look to adopt similar measures were he to be successful in becoming President. So it seems that National's previous position of New Zealand being a "fast follower" may actually have caused the world to be a stalled starter.