Why? One very simple reason, says our Leaderene:
"The Labour-led government," says Labour leader Helen Clark, "believes that New Zealand should strive to be the world's first truly sustainable nation."'Sustainable' meaning, in this and every case, both "energy conserving" and "ever more expensive."
Bear in mind that this new increase is on top of the more than 300% increase in the cost of land in NZ cities and towns that have been over-zoned and zoned and ring-fenced by planners under the RMA -- and in the midst of what can only be called a housing affordability crisis.
Does it even make sense as a measure? Well, for my part, I like to encourage clients to super-insulate because it makes a better place in which to live; I like to design houses for the sun because that makes that house a better place in which to live -- but the key word here is encourage. Not force. People are entitled to make their own bloody choices about what it's worth to them. They're entitled to consider their own circumstances when making their own decisions.
Imposing yet another cost and more delays on new houses that are already seriously unaffordable -- that are already over-regulated, over-zoned, and experiencing enormous delays in consent processing -- and all in the name of today's buzzword, sustainability, is just bloody stupid.
As always there's a lesson here: there's something to learn about what this new buzzword means.
As John Brätland explains "sustainable" fundamentally "is a notion of... disciplining our current consumption" -- the "discipline" coming about by enforced sacrifice. Public control of industry and resources in the name of "sustainability," he explains, "is not only contradictory but also self-defeating." We can see that, can't we. Robert Tracinski explains that for environmentalists, the campaign for sustainable development is not motivated by a legitimate desire for development but a respectable veil behind which their anti-development, anti-industry, anti-technology philosophy can hide.
Thus, they tell us that there is something called "sustainability," a magic mechanism that will [allow continued] prosperity -- even as the environmentalists restrict the only known conditions for prosperity: free trade and industrialization.There's nothing magical about "sustainability" that allows us to evade reality -- to think we can prosper while restricting all the conditions that make prosperity possible. The very idea is ludicrous. The idea for example that "energy efficiency" is a substitute for energy production in any industrial nation -- as that nation strives, in the Prime Minister's fatuous soundbite, "to be the world's first truly sustainable nation" -- is just another attempt to evade reality.
Consider for example that in the last dozen years the only thing that's grown faster than the cost of new housing has been the hysterical protests against building new power stations -- as new power plant after new power plant has been refused consent or has had conditions added to consents to make those plants unworkable and increased energy production impossible, we've been continually told that we must all make sacrifices to sustainability, and specifically to conservation of energy. As George Reisman explains, you don't need to look too hard to see either the foolishness of the notion that you can substitute conservation for production, or the the anti-industry philosophy that is concealed behind environmentalists' anti-energy fetish:
The environmental movement has been doing its utmost to sabotage energy production since the 1960s, long before it was able to latch onto the prospect of global warming. Its opposition to atomic power has nothing to do with global warming, nor does its opposition to the construction of dams to provide hydro-electric power. Indeed, if global warming and the consumption of fossil fuels, which it alleges is the cause of global warming, were really its concern, it would be a leading advocate of atomic power and of the construction of new and additional dams to provide hydro-electric power...That is what lies behind sustainability. When energy production decreases and housing gets ever more expensive -- as you're asked to make sacrifice after sacrifice -- to produce ever less and to "conserve" ever more -- just remind yourself that this is what sustainability really means. Sacrifice.
The only sources of power that the environmental movement is willing to allow are wind and sunlight. The first is subject to the proviso that birds are not killed by flying into the propellers of the windmills. The second makes no allowance for all of the times when sunlight is blocked, i.e., in cloudy weather and at night, when the sun has gone down.
Environmentalists like to say that there is a third alternative source of energy: conservation.
“Conservation” as a source of energy is a contradiction in terms. It is not a source of energy. Its actual meaning is simply using less energy. It is a source of energy for one use only at the price of deprivation somewhere else. Moreover, the logic of conservationism is not consistent with using energy saved in one part of the economic system to expand energy use in other parts. Those other parts are also supposed to conserve, i.e., to use less energy rather than more.
The objective of the environmental movement is and always has been simply the destruction of energy production.
And that you lot keep voting for it.
LINKS: Drier homes will drive up building costs - NZ City
Toward a calculational theory and policy of intergenerational sustainability - John Brätland, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics [34-page PDF]
'Sustainable development's unsustainable contradictions - Robert Tracinski, Capitalism Magazine
The buzzword for this morning is sustainability - Not PC
It’s About Energy, Not Climate - George Reisman
Everyone's got an energy strategy: What we're short of is energy! - Not PC