If you are left wing and concerned with climate change, then Labour is not for you. I’m looking at Young Labour in particular, who made climate change one of their top policy priorities at their conference in October 2013.
Young Labour are concerned with climate change, but the party leadership is not. People concerned with climate change will have serious difficulty convincing senior MPs to take meaningful action. Let’s take offshore drilling as an example – David Cunliffe, Shane Jones, Andrew Little, and David Parker are all pro-drilling to some extent, with Jones’ and Cunliffe’s positions the best known. This means that Labour’s leader, deputy leader, and spokesperson for regional development are all in favour of offshore drilling.
Some of Labour’s other MPs have even worked in the oil and gas industries, including Labour’s climate change spokesperson Moana Mackay. Mackay was an analyst at Mobil Oil‘s Technical Services Laboratory from 1996-1999. Chris Hipkins was employed to provide industry training for several large oil companies. Clayton Cosgrove also worked in oil and gas as a corporate affairs manager for the Churchill Group. It will be interesting to see whether these MPs’ time in the oil and gas industries has made them more sympathetic to its concerns. Backbencher Raymond Huo is also “economically right”, and thus more likely to favour a free market approach. This is to say nothing of senior Labour figures outside caucus who are involved in the industries, such as senior advisor John Pagani, who now works for Oil and Gas NZ.
Senior figures in caucus may have some concerns about harm caused by drilling accidents, but they they seem to have little concern about harm caused by continued emissions from oil and gas.
I’m not saying Labour should not discuss climate change. I’m saying that if you are seriously concerned with climate change, you should support a party that shares your views.