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  • rmacculloch

Did the NZ Herald just go and libel Chris Luxon by calling him an "insidious" climate denier?

The NZ Herald has been playing at swinging the election (again). A few hours ago it ran a headline referring to the Opposition Leader as an "insidious" climate denier. After putting up that headline with the word "insidious" alongside Chris Luxon's name for hours, probably influencing many voting intentions, the paper appear to have taken it down, changing it to, "Climate change: Simon Wilson-Chris Luxon gets it right & terribly wrong on NZ Steel deal".

The article, however, still states, "It’s an insidious form of climate denialism [for Luxon] to suggest “Kiwi battlers” don’t need climate action and/or don’t need a Government prepared to force, cajole and when necessary bribe the big emitters into it". Luxon is not a climate denier. Radio NZ report how he stated to his caucus in February, "If you're a climate denier or climate minimizer today, that's just not an acceptable position."

So what is Mr Wilson on about? There are different opinions about how to best address climate change. The view amongst most of the economics profession, as well as Luxon, is that pricing carbon is the best way to go, either using a carbon tax or Emissions Trading Scheme (like in NZ). The Herald writer has another opinion and instead supports command-and-control regulations and subsidies, believing that carbon taxes are not high enough.

Those are simply two different opinions regarding how best to cut emissions. For a paper to run an article supporting regulation / subsidies that accuses the Leader of the Opposition who instead supports pricing carbon as taking an "insidious" position is out-of-order. The Herald ran a headline for hours designed to inflict maximum damage to Luxon. Did the paper replace the headline on legal advice? Whatever the reason, the damage was done.



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