Did NZ's School Children Just Get Used for Party Political Electioneering Purposes?
I endorse youngsters trying to make the world better by protesting against the authorities. Heck, this blog, which is read by former students, is about just that - pushing back against the status quo. On this note, regards raising climate awareness, protests have played a big role. Yet last week's ones by Kiwi school students under the Climate Change banner were a Labour-Green set-up. Why? Here are three "demands" of School Strike 4 Climate Aotearoa:
= No new exploration or mining of new fossil fuel resources
= E-bike rebates for low income families
= Lower the voting age to 16
The first shadows existing Labour-Green policy, since those parties have already banned off-shore exploration of fossil fuels. Minister Wood said he supported widening the ban even as the students were protesting. On the other hand, National-ACT are not in favor.
Stopping fossil fuel exploration isn't supported by National-Act for good reason. Economists prefer pricing carbon emissions and are starkly divided over command-and-control rules, like bans. Why? Since bans risk hurting the world's poorest, who presently rely on cheap fossil fuels for cooking & heating. Enabling the poor to keep using these fuels until an affordable, clean, green energy source is developed in the meantime is viewed as socially desirable.
The next demand, E-bike rebates, also aligns with Labour-Green policy. Those parties enacted huge rebates for electric cars in 2021, a policy opposed by National & ACT, which support carbon pricing via the Emissions Trading Scheme.
The last demand, lowering voter age, is of course unrelated to climate, yet again favored by Labour-Greens, not by National-ACT. Why? Since there are votes in that age group for the left. Minister Shaw even met student protestors, shamelessly urging them to support the Green Party, miss their classes & do more such protests this election year.
Meanwhile, a few streets away sat Wellington Education Ministry officials who did nothing to advise schools that their students, if they weren't going to be in the class-room, should be sure to protest for the good cause alone, namely a politically neutral Climate Change call-for-arms, not a call for a specific set policies to help Labour-Greens win in 2023.
For those two parties to take advantage of young children wishing to find out more about the world and understand both sides of every argument is out of order. Maybe our best Climate Change policy is to abolish the Ministry of Education and instead spend the money on making us a world leader in research & development into cheap, green alternative energy sources. Of course, that's one protest "the Ministry" would never allow.