The Green Party’s recent carbon tax announcement has been greeted with very little negative commentary. Some experts aren’t convinced that it won’t be as effective as the Greens expect, and others are concerned that the policy doesn’t include incremental increase in the carbon tax over time to allow for industry adjustment. However, on the whole, the policy seems to have gone down fairly well. The consensus is that the current Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is a dog, and almost anything would have to be better.
The only opposition seems to be from National (who hitched their wagon to the current ETS long ago) and ACT (who don’t believe in climate change to begin with). At least, until today. After three days of closed door ponderings, Labour has this morning announced that it opposes the Greens plan, and would prefer to fix the ETS. That’s fine – a comprehensive “cap and trade” scheme may well work better than a simple carbon tax (see my previous blog post on the issue) – although I would have thought that the carbon tax issue was a prime opportunity for Labour to show common policy ground with the Greens.
Leaving aside Labour’s policy position (and the time it took for Labour to come to it), one of the more amusing results of the Greens’ policy was Martyn Bradbury’s advice to Labour on political positioning. Over at the Daily Blog, Mr Bradbury wrote:
If the Greens are raiding to the Right by using their clever Carbon Tax to woo urban blue-greens, it would be stupid for Labour to double up on that. Better they focus on the missing million with a strong Labour brand than compete again with where the Greens are moving.
The “raid to the Right” is presumably the Greens’ policy of cutting taxes using the proceeds from the carbon tax, to ensure that the average household isn’t worse off as a result of the flow on effects. Given that the Greens expect the average household to be better off by only $319 per year, it’s hardly a tax bribe aimed at the centre-Right swing voter. Quite how Bradbury comes to the conclusion that the Greens are tracking right – on the basis of one policy announcement, which is offset by numerous other far more left wing policies – is unexplained.
Nonetheless, Bradbury sees the Greens as “raiding to the Right”. And his response? Labour should track left. Quite how the Greens’ carbon tax policy is going to snare the Greens 5% of National’s soft vote and eradicate the 10% gap between Labour & the Greens v National is another unexplained phenomenon. Also unexplained is how Labour will pick up support (and not lose its current level of support) by abandoning the centre and attempting to outflank the Greens to the left.
Mr Bradbury, as a devoted Internet Mana supporter, is still grasping at the idea of the so-called “Missing Million”. If Labour would only go far enough to the left, a quarter of the enrolled voting population would suddenly leap from the woodwork, fawning at the altar of Karl Marx or some such…
Mr Bradbury evidently does not believe in bell curves.