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  • Andrew von Dadelszen

Jet-setting Greens' credibility is up in the air - by Heather du Plessis-Allan

8 Mar, 2020 NZ Herald

The Green Party has lost the right to lecture anyone on the climate.It turns out these climate warriors don't practise what they preach. The climate emergency is not such an emergency after all. Certainly, it's not enough of a crisis to stop the Greens from jumping on planes. Lots of planes.The parliamentary expenses released this week show Green Party list MPs clocked up more on air travel in three months than any other party's list MPs. The Greens spent on average $9816 each, compared to New Zealand First's $8509, National's $7332 and Labour's $6499.

If only the Greens could blame all this travel on their busy ministers. They can't. These expenses don't count ministerial travel. This is all Chloe, Golriz, Marama and Gareth.If only they could blame it on electorate work. They can't. None of the Green MPs have constituencies. But they tried anyway, and they even went one better. "The Greens", a spokesperson wrote, "have constituencies all over the country that we engage with". Which I suppose is them trying to say "the whole country is our electorate". Nice try.They tried to blame it on a lack of alternatives. "If there was high-speed rail, we'd catch it," the spokesperson wrote, presumably with a straight face. Well, if there was a cheap electrical vehicle with a range of 1000km at a cost of $10,000 new, I'd buy it. If there were cows that produced the tastiest cuts of steak without producing climate-affecting methane burps, farmers would breed them. But those alternatives don't exist and the Greens want us penalised regardless, while they continue to live their best jet-setting lives.This is a plane (deliberate) and simple case of the Greens being a bunch of outstanding hypocrites. This is the party asking Parliament to declare a national climate emergency. It's the party trying to penalise people who buy petrol cars, asking stretched farmers to pay for their emissions, trying (and thankfully failing) to put a halt to the building of new roads and begging ACC to divest from fossil fuel stocks. Essentially, it's the party trying to force everyone else to sacrifice a little something for the climate, while they carry on working towards another year of Elite Gold Koru Club status. And by the way, how many planes do you have to catch in three months to rack up a bill close to $10,000?The Greens hope it's all okay because they offset their flight carbon by paying for someone to plant trees. Again, nice try. Even the UN says that's no get-out-of-jail-free card. Trees planted today, to quote the UN, can't grow fast enough to avoid what the UN calls "catastrophic planetary changes". Offsetting emissions is like setting a house on fire, giving it a good five minutes to get started, then putting it out and painting over all the damage.You get a sense of how short our Green Party falls when you compare them to the French Greens who want to ban all domestic air travel where trains are available. To which our Greens would probably say "but we don't have high-speed rail", to which we simply reply that it's a climate emergency and emergencies require emergency measures, don't they?The good news for the Greens is that this is more entertaining than it is politically damaging. This is no perk-buster-gets-busted-using-perks case. That's simply because few of us actually buy into this nonsense about a climate emergency. Most voters would know that's hysterical catastrophising. We're just enjoying the spectacle of the hysterics becoming the hypocrites.And good luck to them trying to convince any of us to give up anything on behalf of the planet now. The answer to all eight of them now is, you first.

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