James Shaw, yet again, is showing what I would call leadership.

Leadership is being bold, or brave in slightly awkward or difficult circumstances. Leadership is when you take on a task when you don't necessarily know the outcome. Leadership is trying to bring others along with you, when you start from a place of disadvantage.

Leadership through action is where you, in this specific case, grow your cause and popularity (not to mention credibility) by tossing a bit of caution to the wind. Leadership is when you do something most might not have expected.


Government needs to look at genetic modification: James Shaw

We all know, those of us outside the Green movement, that genetic engineering (GE) is part of science. The sort of science that, more likely than not, is going to solve a lot of the very large problems issues and dangers we have got ourselves into.

In this specific case, the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC) - the Government's climate change group - has suggested that the GE laws in this country are not up to speed and are holding science back.

Why that is particularly important, is that farmers having been dragged into the Emissions Trading Scheme. They're going to be paying a very high price for something that is not really their fault.

Animal gas is nature, not farming. And yet it is the farmer who is stuck with the bill. Further, that bill will be passed on to us, thus making our cost of living more expensive.

And further to that, when they try and pass that cost on to off-shore markets, the markets won't accept it. Because there will be other farmers in other parts of the world that won't be part of an ETS scheme and therefore will be producing product cheaper than us.

It is those farmers that will fill the gap. So our farmers will be paying more and earning less. An economic equation that is simply unacceptable to those of us who see a living as more important than a theory called climate change. Science can help solve that problem.

The Greens hate GE. They hate GE as much as they hate a 6.75-litre V12 in a Rolls-Royce. And yet driven, I am assuming by common sense and a desire to see outside what those around him would be preaching, James Shaw is calling for our laws to be looked at. Good on him.


And in that, hopefully, is political gain. The chance for what I would guess is a not insubstantial group of New Zealanders who are into the environment, have broad-based green principles, but have been turned off over the years by the nutters who are the dangerous mixture of social engineer-come-communist.

A true Green party protects the environment - but not at the cost of jobs and progress. GE is progress. Yes, it's got issues. Yes you need to be careful. But what we are being to this point is unengaged. And like technology, governments are woefully behind the big brains in the sector.

If GE can help farmers it can help all of us. Taxing our way to unemployment is a very blunt instrument to save the planet. Thank God a green like Shaw gets that - and given his position is prepared to show a bit of backbone and do the right thing.