Michael Cullen says this morning [audio]that National's energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee fails to understand the crucial importance of "efficiency" in measuring the extent of generation required to meet New Zealand's needs.
"Efficiency" is not generation. " 'Conservation' ," as George Reisman points out, "is not a source of energy. Its actual meaning is simply using less. Conservation is a source of energy for one use only at the price of deprivation of energy use somewhere else."
With Gerry Brownlee's announcement of National's energy policy, and particularly the lifting of the ban on new thermal power stations, it almost looks like there's finally a politician who understands that New Zealand's politicians have been enfeebling us of electrical energy for years, leaving us prey to power crises every year we sun shines for more days than average.
Shame he's talking bullshit too.
He says we need more generation capacity, but in the same breath he's promising to introduce an emissions trading scam within nine months of taking office -- a scheme that that will "cap" carbon emissions, and make all new thermal power stations an unfathomable amount more expensive to construct.
He's telling us we need more thermal power stations to provide reliable baseload generation capacity. But in the same breath he's ruling out building new power plants burning coal, of which New Zealand has an abundance, and allowing only power plants burning gas, of which New Zealand now has a limited supply.
This meddling in what are properly decisions for businessmen, not politicians, and the poor quality of the thinking behind that meddling demonstrates that National is unchanged from the bad old days when meddling was Rob Muldoon's middle name, or from the sad old days when it first introduced the RMA.
And on this last point, his promise to "reform" the RMA, Brownlee is talking even more bullshit. The only "reform" the RMA needs is to place the protection of New Zealanders' property rights at its heart -- which would be the legislative equivalent of a stake through its heart. That's a "reform" that is urgently needed. But the only "reform" promised is to make New Zealand safe once again for Think Big -- which means that in the figure of Brownlee and his new energy policy, we see personified the fusion of bad old National with sad old National.
In other words, there's nothing new to see here, move along.