OPINION: I don't doubt the climate is changing as it always has and that all the current policies and plans the politicians want to implement aren't going to fix their concerns.
We have had two years of the current Government so far, dominated by Covid, with lockdowns, mandates, inflation and tight controls on what you could or couldn't do. This year it looks like Covid along with the impact of climate change policies will continue to play a big part on all th aspects of life for New Zealanders.
We also need to be aware of the Ukraine conflict with Russia and the potential impact of this conflict on our way of life, and be aware of China's desire to dominate the world and the impact these will have on New Zealand into the future. We need a government that has the capability to be able to adapt to a changing world and promote New Zealand as one of the leading countries around the globe.
Government policy should be compared to a three legged stool, where the three legs of the stool represent the balance between social, environmental and economic direction. Overall the most important mission for the next government is to restore the balance between the three legs of the stool (social, environmental and economic) by restoring the need for balance and evidence-based public policy.
There is a need for evidence-based policies (including cost-benefit) that achieve good social policy outcomes, protect our natural environment and also to grow our economic base.
It is critical that government ensures the ability for business to prosper (economics) as this is the only way that we will be able to fund the other two legs of the stool (social and environmental).
With the potential of shortages of food and fuel across the whole world because of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, we need to look at what government needs to do to enable us to have the lifestyle that New Zealanders are used to.
Do we continue to produce food as at present or accept that our lifestyle will have to change as a result of the current Government's climate change policies?
Or, do we change the policiies in relation to food production to ensure that we are able to produce the maximum amount of food possible (as allowed for in the Paris Accord), whilst still maintaining our environment as at present?
A question we shoud be asking is: How much climate change policy or biodiversity is too much? For example, is funding for biodiversity protection more important than well-funded children's oncology or education?
Any new government needs to allow the rural sectors to develop environmentally sustainable and economically viable production methods that will comply with New Zealand's requirements under international agreements. The government will need to develop national environmental standards for agriculture that are based on current rural productive land, not a pristine conservation estate.
So you should study the party's policies before voting but you should be also looking at the policies that PLUG has developed and asking questions of the parties about why don't they adopt them.
Peter Buckley is a member of the Primary Land User Group (PLUG).