The Zero Carbon Bill

Essay 1: The Zero Carbon Bill

Barry Brill has given us these eleven essays on the Zero Carbon Bill. Do sample these enjoyable pieces for yourself, with their crisp writing and clear logic. It’s illuminating to absorb Barry’s analysis of the origins of the Bill, its aims, strategies, substantial flaws, and his oh-so-pragmatic strategy to align the Bill with our international obligations without exposing our lower classes to the egregious fanaticism of the coalition’s Green climate dogma.

Barry’s first essay (pdf, 185 KB) opens with the startling news that the Bill is

not only the most expensive (by orders of magnitude) but might also be the most dangerous piece of government legislation ever placed before New Zealand’s House of Representatives. (– emphasis added)

Among its faults, any of which ought to have denied it a first reading, the Bill:

  • Doesn’t admit the obvious fact that shutting down even our total emissions wouldn’t affect the global climate. The Bill and the enormous effort it calls for is no more than a pathetic, expensive signal of virtue.
  • Increases poverty, hitting the poor 20% harder than the wealthy.
  • Embraces enormous economic risk that the rest of the world fails to follow us or the imagined technological developments fail to materialise.
  • Is fantastically anti-democratic and unconstitutional in allowing Minister Shaw to unilaterally impose the largest tax increases in history.
  • Allows Minister Shaw unlimited authority, by himself, to determine climate risks and what to do about them, and it overrides all protections in the RMA or anywhere else in our laws.
  • Establishes government intervention in every aspect of daily life—the economy, society and environment.
  • Drives a wedge between town and country, imposing unattainable planetary cooling obligations on our farmers, contrary to recent science.

Don’t worry, there’s an automatic pilot

During the term of this government, James Shaw will announce the maximum volume of each greenhouse gas that can be lawfully emitted in each year during 2020-2036, along with the government’s plans for enforcing these caps. A new Climate Commission, appointed by the Minister, will identify the level of energy taxes (or livestock tax) required in each year to prevent those caps being exceeded, and will then implement those levels by changing ETS settings.

Once the Minister’s caps are declared, the delivery process is on automatic pilot. Energy price will simply rise to whatever level it takes to become unaffordable for enough people. Petrol will go up by previously unimagined leaps and bounds until a great many New Zealanders can no longer drive their cars. Low-income and fixed-income drivers will obviously be the first to drop out, then it will be the turn of average wage-earners. Rural dwellers will be the hardest hit.

Nobody knows how high the per-litre price might need to go. Personal or family hardship is not a relevant factor and nor is economic damage. But there is no turning back, because the declared caps are legally binding and so entrenched that neither James Shaw nor his successors can change them (except in very narrow circumstances).

But after that the essay gets depressing.

Have you seen the Bill itself?

Read it online or download it (pdf, 312 KB).

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Ian Cooper

I have told anyone willing to listen, and I’ll say it here. The Green Parties of the world are the most dangerous political parties on the planet! I say this as a former Labour Party member at high school, then a Values Party member when my generation of 18 year olds got to be the first of that age to vote in a General Election, the one when Muldoon got in BTW. I considered myself politically active back then but in all honesty I was very naïve as were nearly all of our age group back then. The push by the Greens in particular to allow 16 year olds to vote is just a cynical ploy to manipulate young minds who have an awful lot to learn about the world, and the adults who push the buttons in the background. We weren’t all dummies, but Muldoon in particular taught us all a hard political lesson. The general populace, dare I say it, “Rob’s Mob,” need to be woken from their slumber and informed of the consequences of allowing this bill to proceed. When I think of changes that have occurred since I cast… Read more »


I am speaking and presenting factual information next Thursday in Hamilton on the Zero carbon Bill My main submission deals with stock methane emissions emissions .I have two graphs that show how methane levels flat lined in the atmosphere for ten years till 2009 and then have steadily risen by 10 parts per billion each year. The second graph is world coal production which also flat lined from about 1990 to about2007 and then a dramatic surge of coal mining then took place ,2005 under 5 billion tonnes of coal was mined and in 2015 world coal tonnage exceeded 8 billion tones. I read on the internet that scientist did not know why methane levels were increasing Really? Blame the problem which is methane from coal extraction and leave live stock alone . I will tell the panel that methane from livestock is the only emissions that are not extracted from the earths mantle and livestock emit NO additional carbon atoms to the atmosphere because all the methane they emit comes from plants that have absorbed CO2 is cycled back into CO2 and then grow pasture and other forage . I have then… Read more »


There does not seem to be much interest on this site about the most destructive bill that has ever been proposed in the New Zealand Parliament at least for the last 70 years. We have a minister attempting to put a bill into law that no future government will be able to rescind. This is not democracy in any sense of the word . Have the population had the chance to vote in a referendum ? NO this is a very few select misguided individuals trying to lock this country into a down ward spiral which will do untold harm to our future population and reduce food exports from New Zealand for many people in other countries . We have the Brexit saga in the UK and opposition politicians doing there darnedest to scuttle what the population voted for . The opposition are shouting that Boris Johnson is a tyrant and what he is doing to shut down the UK Parliament for a few weeks is undemocratic and should not be allowed . The electorate voted for Brexit .That is democracy .Has the electorate voted for this Zero Carbon Bill ? No but… Read more »

Man of Thessaly

Gwan: “We have a minister attempting to put a bill into law that no future government will be able to rescind. … if passed by 62 votes it can never be changed.”

You sound a little hysterical, Graham. Calm down, there is no way to do this in New Zealand law. Parliament can make and repeal laws, as has been done many times in the past. That’s why Shaw is so keen to pass this with support from the Opposition: so that they will be less likely to change their mind and repeal it at the next change of Government.

I think all the Select Committee sessions are being broadcast on Facebook. I look forward to seeing yours.


Thank for that Richard ,
This is what I was commenting on and at least some one has noticed and a debate can take place here .
I was commenting on this paragraph that you have just quoted.
If the correct facts are put before the government they will make the correct decision .
unfortunately there is so much disinformation such as methane from live stock being lumped in with coal .
Over 8 billion tonnes of coal burnt last year releasing up to 64 million tonnes of methane and over 22 billion tonnes of CO2,
These are all emissions that have been locked below the ground for millions of years.
On the other hand live stock do NOT emit one ADDITIONAL CARBON ATOM TO THE ATMOSPHERE .
Graham Anderson


Sorry Richard I slipped up there.I was in a hurry as my grand daughter was taking me to the movies for Fathers Day .What I should have said was “they should be able to come to the right decision but they probably won,t .”

Brett Keane

I put forward my submission at the select committee on the Zero carbon bill in Hamilton today .Each submitter had 5 minutes so I had to pick out 5 points to emphasize. 1st The United Nations has stated that countries should reduce GHG emissions in a manner that does not THREATEN food production. The latest report states that 2 billion more people will need to be fed by 2050.It will be disastrous if food exporting nations reduce their output of food in the quest of reducing GHG emissions . 2nd Biogenic methane from livestock is the only emission that does not come from beneath the earths surface and is the only emission that adds NO carbon atoms to the atmosphere. 3rd I produced a graph that showed the atmospheric methane levels at Mauna Loa in Hawaii and below a graph of world coal extraction since 1950 projected to 2050 .Methane levels flat lined from 1999 till 2008 and coal was also static at around 4.7 billion tonnes till around 2007 and then surged to over 8 billion tonnes which could emit up to 64 million tonnes of methane per year as fugitive emissions… Read more »

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