Maybe now is not a good time. I get that. There are idiots beyond belief at the Health Ministry to sort out, and it has to be done at a senior level because the problem is clearly deep and systemic, and you've got to do it. Sure.
Got your box of matches? Saint Ashley Bloomfield and that old sinner David Clark should both be wondering what it's like to feel the flames tickling their feet.
But when would a good time be? My guess is never. After this crisis, the next, and then the next. There will never be a good time to sit back, take a breath and do some essential big thinking. But it has to be done and it has to be done now, so really, now turns out to be a good time after all. Because it's the right time.
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The country, and half the world, is full of people making earnest entreaties that we don't squander this moment. Mostly, all saying the same thing. It's about global warming, but it's not just that we have to slow it right down, right now, because in 10 years it will be too late. That's truer than ever but it's no longer news.
What everyone is saying is that we have the means to do it, if we want to. It's remarkable. There have been so many good ideas, from so many quarters. Business leaders, the farm sector, public service bosses, economists and pundits of almost every stripe have been having their say.
I wrote about three big proposals last week: regenerative agriculture, electric transport and growing high-tech industries on the back of clean energy. All three have the potential to align economic and environmental goals and to radically improve our prosperity. They could open major strategic opportunities for New Zealand for decades to come.
Beyond those three ideas there's a world of others. At an online forum of business leaders and others last week, 85 per cent of participants said they are changing or ready to change their business strategy to embrace lower carbon emissions goals. But they hoped for support from other businesses and the Government. Leadership is required.
And 76 per cent of that same group said they thought the Government was "too timid" on climate change action.
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What's the big idea? 3 proposals for the post-Covid rebuild
What do we lack? Because now's a good time, here are my three questions for the Prime Minister.
1. Where's the climate-change framework to shape the rebuild?
We have some of the elements. Many of the Government's announcements refer to sustainability goals and some of the projects are designed to help meet those goals. Even Shane Jones has been dishing out funds for railways, forestry and other low-emissions projects. From the way he talks you'd think he had personally trashed everything with a whiff of green about it, but it isn't true.
Still, the whole process is piecemeal and mostly disconnected, and Jones and his boss Winston Peters have indeed done some damage.
There's certainly no climate-change filter, to block spending that sidelines green options. There's little sense Cabinet knows that "shovel ready" projects don't have a monopoly on job-creation; that green projects are often far more job rich. Think solar installation and the work on pests, weeds, biodiversity and habitats that could be done by a big new Conservation Corps.
The Climate Commission will do some of the work creating a framework for how we merge economic and environmental planning. But it can't just be farmed out to them. It needs Government leadership.
The entire post-Covid rebuild should take place on that framework.
2. Why aren't you talking about it?
"Time to rethink the economy," says Grant Robertson, the Minister of Finance.
Spell it out. Say more. Change needs to be talked about a lot, so it gets normalised. And it needs imaginative commitment. Language matters.
But from the Prime Minister on down, the Government has been strangely reluctant to talk about climate-related goals. They get mentioned, but from the way most Cabinet ministers talk it sounds like they're viewed as useful add-ons, rather than a core purpose of policy.
If it's good enough for Jones to trash-talk a low-emissions strategy, it should be good enough for Labour Cabinet members to explain, often and inspirationally, why such a strategy is essential. Why it will improve, not ruin, the prosperity of this country.
Ardern reached high with the rhetoric in her "my generation's nuclear-free moment" comment in the 2017 election campaign. More of that, with the actions to back the words, please.
3. Where are the great examples of the change we need?
Theory is hard to understand. Practical steps are easy. So where are the great examples of a low-emissions strategy that we'll all see, understand and appreciate?
So many of the initiatives that do get rolled out are small-scale and hesitant, compromised by inadequate funding and a half-hearted commitment.
If the Government's green policy was an e-bike, it would be proposed by the Greens, built by Labour using cheap materials and then forced to run a gauntlet of NZ First MPs pushing sticks through its wheels.
Let's build a better e-bike. Actually, why not build 100,000 of them and offer a $1000 subsidy for each? That'd force the pace of change, not just to transport, but to how cities work, how kids get to school and people do their shopping. In cities, it'd change everything.
Actually, make it 200,000 and also make public transport free and frequent. You see? Focus the mind.
Better even than bikes, how about a big, easy to understand and non-punitive policy for the rural sector? The call by Greenpeace for a billion-dollar transition fund for regenerative agriculture ticks every box.
"Regen ag" means, at heart, farming to improve the soil. Sustainable, regenerative, nutrient rich, with few pollutants and, in study after study, profitable. It's not coercive, it doesn't mean other ways of farming have to stop. It shifts the balance, and with a transition fund it helps farmers get on board.
Now's a good time Jacinda. It's never going to get easier. What even is the downside?