Key will recall Nick Smith in bid for blue-green vote – pundit

Backbencher Nick Smith
Trade and Climate Change Minister Tim Groser
Federated Farmers President Bruce Wills

Prime Minister John Key says he misses Nick Smith’s experience and know-how on environmental issues.

But for NBR political columnist Matthew Hooton, it is not so much a case of capability as electoral maths.

“John Key will be worried about the effect of Dr Smith’s absence on so-called blue/green voters in Auckland Central, Wadestown, Nelson and Christchurch,” Mr Hooton says.

“Mr Key, Steven Joyce and their pollster David Farrar argue that many of these voters backed National for the first time in 2008 and then again in 2011, because they liked Dr Smith’s world leadership role in implementing the world’s first and only all-gases, all-sectors emissions trading scheme. 

"Add to that Dr Smith’s close friendship with finance minister Bill English and you can see the internal pressure building for Dr Smith’s return.”

You won’t like it – but not enough for National to lose your vote
Mr Hooton says Dr Smith’s return to the environment and climate change portfolios would upset many in the business community. 

But he said Mr Key and Mr Joyce assume they will vote for National anyway so their views would not be a factor in deciding Dr Smith’s future.

Softening up the public
Many in the business community sighed with relief when Emissions Trading Scheme advocate Dr Smith was forced to resigned his portfolios – including Environment and Climate Change – as the ACC scandal unfolded

Trade Minister Tim Groser – seen as much more skeptical on the ETS than Dr Smith – took over Climate Change. Amy Adams took on Environment.

But now it looks like the path is being laid for Dr Smith’s return to his cherished portfolios.

"He's very capable so we miss him," the Prime Minister told media last week.

"He's by far our most experienced person when it comes to the environment."

Mr Key would not rule out a return to cabinet for Dr Smith if he was exonerated by inquiries into the Bronwyn Pullar scandal (now a clear possibility given the ACC’s reversal of fortune).

Mr Hooton says there was no reason for Mr Key to go out of his way to praise Dr Smith, unless he was softening up the public for his return.

Dr Smith fuelled rumours when he quoted Winston Churchill at a Federated Farmers water forum, after being asked whether he would be back in Cabinet.

"Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times,'' he said.

Dr Smith’s fan club
Greenpeace would welcome Dr Smith’s return.

Spokesman Nathan Argent told NBR ONLINE, “It’s fair to say Nick Smith was a very capable minister. He was the one person [in cabinet] who had a handle on environmental issues.”

Dr Smith understood the complex ETS issue very well.

“We've always seen eye to eye with him. He’s the one person we've enjoyed one to one contact with; he's very capable,” Mr Argent said.

However, there were limits to Mr Argent’s expectations for a Nick Smith return.

“In terms of where the government's going, we wouldn't really expect any change in it prioritising economic growth over environmental protection,” he said.

Forest & Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said Dr Smith “is very good at the environment stuff.  He knows the topic backwards. He brought a lot of experience and insight”.

Mr Hackwell wouldn’t be drawn on whether Dr Smith should return to the Environment and Climate Change portfolios.

But he did say that now Mr Key was sending signals about Dr Smith’s possible return, he should make a decision quickly.

There was a danger that Ms Adams could become an unmotivated, caretaker minister, Mr Hackwell said – something he saw as damaging a complex Resource Management Act review and the complex and contentious Exclusive Economic Zone legislation were before parliament.

That scenario would suit Federated Farmers just fine, however.

President Bruce Wills told NBR ONLINE it would be “ludicrous and damaging to our economy if we became the first country in the world to tax animals”.

Fed Famers wants the government to maintain its go-slow approach to emissions trading (as things stand, farming is out of the ETS until at least 2018).

Mr Wills did not want to comment on the merits of Dr Smith vs Ms Adams and Mr Groser in the Environment and Climate Change portfolios.

Whichever minister filled them he confident that a majority in cabinet shared Fed Farmers’ concerns over the ETS.

Punters expect Dr Smith's return
As ever, Mr Hooton has an angle on events.

His iPredict political marketplace is taking bets on the likelihood of Dr Smith's return to Cabinet by January.

As of this afternoon, the backbencher was given odds above 60% of being reinstated to his Environment and Climate Change portfolios, but only a 47% change of being reinstated to Local Government.

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Regardless of ipredict, the idiot Smith is an environmental loon and his role in the ETScam will still be scoffed at in years to come as the whole idealogical spin unravels. Seeing as this country is already heading for a real place economically less than Tasmania, time to start looking for a cave and a few rocks to rub together for heating methinks.


No, we don't want him back! Far too greeny and tree huggy to have the job in a Nats-led Govt


Surely an endorsement from Greenpeace should be the kiss of death to any respectable GNat.


Green’peace’, here are a few choice quotes from this same, and I’ll say EVIL, organisation.

“We need to hit them where it hurts most, by any means necessary: through the power of our votes, our taxes, our wallets, and more.”

“‘We must break the law to make the laws we need: laws that are supposed to protect society, and protect our future. Until our laws do that, screw being climate lobbyists. Screw being climate activists. It’s not working. We need an army of climate outlaws.’

“The proper channels have failed. It’s time for mass civil disobedience to cut off the financial oxygen from denial and skepticism.

“If you’re one of those who believe that this is not just necessary but also possible, speak to us. Let’s talk about what that mass civil disobedience is going to look like.

“If you’re one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments into submission, then hear this:

“We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work.

“And we be many, but you be few.”

Greenpeace Cofounder Says Eco-Extremists Are Antihuman

Patrick Moore, a co-founder of the radical environmental group Greenpeace, long since has abandoned extremist ways in favor of seeking conventional solutions to the often-conflicting demands for timber products and environmental preservation. In a statement picked up by the Nanny Website, Moore laments that the movement he helped launch now has no room for people of all political persuasions and has "taken a sharp turn to the ultra-left, ushering in a mood of extremism and intolerance."

In an analysis that has appeared in various locations on the Internet, attributed initially to Oregon Wheat magazine, Moore spelled out his charges against what he terms "eco-extremism." As one who helped invent the game and who knows the players well, Moore's insider critique would seem particularly valuable to those interested in understanding the movement. Some of its features, he writes, include:

* It is antihuman. The human species is characterized as a "cancer" on the face of the Earth. The extremists perpetuate the belief that all human activity is negative, whereas the rest of nature is good.

* It is antiorganization. Environmental extremists tend to expect the whole world to adopt anarchism as the model for individual behavior. This is expressed in the dislike of national governments, multinational corporations and large institutions of all kinds.

* It is antitrade. Eco-extremists not only are opposed to "free trade" but to international trade in general. This is based on the belief that each "bioregion" should be self-sufficient in all its material needs. If it's too cold to grow bananas, too bad.

* It is antidemocratic. This is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of radical environmentalism. The very foundation of our society, liberal representative democracy, is rejected as being too "human-centered." In the name of "speaking for the trees and other species," we are faced with a movement that would usher in an era of eco-fascism. The "planetary police" would "answer to no one but Mother Earth herself."

* It basically is anticivilization. In its essence, eco-extremism rejects virtually everything about modern life. We are told that nothing short of returning to primitive tribal society can save the Earth from ecological collapse. No more cities, no more airplanes, NO MORE FREEDOM.


What have we come to.....thanks to MMP....when Forest & Bird and, God help us, Greenpeace....which has fig all to do with True Green or'Peace' (haven't seen too many of them in Syria this last few moths. Have you?)
Time for National to free the Western World....which is the only place free and indulgent enough to let Al and the Gorons (rhymes with....), dodgy soft porn actresses, actresses with alcohol problems and the like, mouth on about their 'passion' for a world they are either well-enough off or are 'celebrities' and free-load a lot.
True Green doesn't want to waste money on cycle tracks for people who ride once in a while....and certainly wouldn't be seen dead on a velodrome. True Green wants to clean up the cr8p in local rivers and parks, get noisy vehicles and planes sorted, protect and cherish historical architecture (creatively....not obstructively) etc.
It doesn't have a bar of Dr 'Dick' Smith's ETS or anything vaguely like it....'cos it doesn't see the sense in paying $300-mil to the Harvard Pension Fund, with no strings attached.
It wouldn't sanction a wind'farm' anywhere (noise and visual pollution, expensive and inefficient) or a solar farm other than in Africa or India, and probably nowhere else. But embraces geothermal power and coal seam gas, and nuclear, where appropriate.
Has Key or, more likely, Joyce got the balls to call us from redistribution through pseudo 'green' tyranny and the zillions wasted on keeping it sweet?
I truly hope so.


Don't recall seeing you in Syria either.


what a wierd paradox. Key to bring back Smoth, the most detested Nat "politician" ever, to win votes when said "politician" (or charlatan) implemented arguably the most devious Tax scam, which Key said was a Hoax (2006 & 2008) over said voting electorate - and whom ran around like crazed homo at a hero parade, at the Nat's conference 2009, as if he'd saved the planet (ETS). Just nuts all round.

If key is chasing votes all he needs to do is wind back the ETS hoax. Simple really


Greensleeze deals? are they mad? Greensleeze does the dirty deeds for the Greens party, so they are really the finance arm of the Greens who have zero money support, only dopers and bludgers who move to towns where there is no work or hope of a job. Or they rally at places where mining would create jobs and mess up their bludging lifestyles.
Smith is the twit that chomped at the bit to get us all shagged by the ETS.
Fortunately in the National party there are those who in a secret vote would keep Nick out. Why doesn't he go and work for NIWA, where all his old mates work off the taxpayer tit?


Key said Smith is our most experienced person on the environment? Really? Give us a break, the ETS is a dumb, stupid, thick and totally nonsensical scam.

How clever is Smith on that basis?


I seem to recall that Nick Smith 'watered down' the original proposal left on the table by Comrade Clark and Club.? A relic of her need to patronise the Green Party in order to hold power.


On the hot-topic website Cindy Baxter of Greenpeace accused me of telling lies. When I challenged her to state what the leads alleged lies were and to provide the evidence that proved they were lies, she disappeared. I challenged her several times but there was not a word.

Gareth Renownden (who runs hot-topic) likewise.

They make serious accusations and then disappear when they are challenged to back them up. Absolutely disgraceful.

Greenpeace is a commercial organisation that makes money out of environmental scaremongering. It is seriously evil.


well, that was a short sabbatical wasn't it? The drongo kid is back in town, soon.


Can't jk stick to any decision?


I'll never vote for National or any of their candidates while they have an ETS of any form. The Nats know it's a conjob, and have admitted to it several times in the past, but rip off their citizens on behalf of the green movement and socialist UN anyway. The NZ govt is supposed to represent the NZ taxpayers, not some liberal, undemocratic international dictatorship.

And speaking of dictatorships, it's worth noting what the UN does with some of the CO2 tax collected:


Key must be bonkers if he really intends to bring that nutcase back into government


ETS was one of the reasons I stopped voting National. Smith was another. With Key a third reason.


Well, that surely was the shortest respite ever!
Now that Key's ETS wizard is back we can on doubt see more foolish legislation like ETS.
Is there any hope for a rational government?


Give Amy Adams a chance!


Stop UN Agenda 21 - So, been to Area 51 lately to chat with your Majestic 12; MiB; and Grey Alien mates?

With your RWNJ mates here slagging of Smith for no other reason than their own, strange, CT ideas, that's a good indication that Smith was doing a good job before Crusher shot him downb in "friendly fire".


What an idiotic comment


The ACC debuncle shows his true ethics


What an extraordinary poll result ! Its not what I was expecting from the typical NBR readers in my select circle. So these subscribers...well I can only guess that they must be a well heeled lot able to be unaffected to the ravages of the etscam or perhaps profiting in some way? Wait till the power bills start hitting, any advance on $1k for next months house electricity bill?


Don't believe the poll for a moment. Now if Winston Peters really wants to get a huge bunch of support, all he has to do is announce that he will undo all ETS taxes.


Both National and Labour led governments have precedent of Ministers, whom have been stood down but subsequently exonerated ,being reinstated to Cabinet. If Dr Smith is exonerated one would expect the same for him. He appears to have supporters in the Enviroment Community and solid experience.In the past he's expressed interest in Building and Construction.He'd be a poor cousin to Maurice Williamson who has led changes for the better in simplified legislation ,leaky homes remediation
and overdue consumer protection.Minister Williamson has taken most in the Building ,Infrastructureand Construction along with him and reconciled competing interests. Dr Smith has an history of legal action, conflict and argument with industry participants and is considered a poor fit . The industry awaits a sizeable pickup in Canterbury and deserves a Minister of Williamson's capability rather than a rerun of Dr Smith's debilitating confrontational style.


why is he back you don't sack people then bring them back 5 mins later . that's what national campaigned again in 2008 that kind of rubbish . its has taken only for years and from Mr key down they are as bent and as twisted as it gets . national the policy of Herbert hoover .they are manipulating you NZ they want to get all the nasty s out of the way hoping you will forget it by 2014. by the way how is business ? .arnt we doing we NZ ? lol lol just elect money bags you said and we will all get rich . that's how it was portrayed in 2008 . you get all you dis serve people you voted for it . take Mr English already a dismal failure under Mrs shiply . only a mad leader would put him back in the same position to do it all over a again . i tip health shares rumor has it miss foreman cant wait to get her hands on your public hospitals . by by for now .


Winnie will revoke all ETS schemes and carbon taxes, and so will Australia, leaving us like some loonies with gunshot wounds in both knees showing how stupid we are on the world stage.
See Winston taking a massive jump in the polls just before the 2014 elections on the madness of the ETS.


For goodness sake, John Key, leave him out if you want to recover your lost ground in the polls.
The only valuable thing he has done is to start the correction of ACC.
However, this was more than offset by his mad pursuit of the Emissions Trading Scam


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