COMMENT: Why the Greens 'Hey, Clint' moment matters
Has any multi-billion dollar policy ever been made with such an air of frivolity as the Greens/Labour parties' power plan?
The plan – which would involve interposing a government-run wholesaler into the market to set prices – shaved several hundred million dollars off the value of electricity market companies, taking investors in the New Zealand sharemarket by surprise, if not shock.
It has to be one of the most expensive branding exercises in this country's history.
For that is all it is.
The entire purpose of the exercise is to brand the Greens and Labour as distinct from the present government – and also as distinct from the last Labour government.
There is even a neat little distinction, at the detail level, between their two power plans, so as to allow them to brand themselves as different from one another.
You and I are paying for this branding exercise through the cut in value of taxpayer-owned companies in the electricity sector.
Those who invest in the private sector firms – either directly or through KiwiSaver accounts – are also paying for it.
And that is the entire purpose of the Greens/Labour power plan. While it might deliver cheaper power prices in the short term, its chilling effect on private investment is going to cause higher prices over the medium to long term.
There is something essentially frivolous about anyone who would cheerfully rip up the value of some of the country's largest firms, and the value of the investment in those firms, simply for a political positioning exercise.
This is why the exchange caught by TV3 between Green energy spokesman Gareth Hughes and party spin zambuck Clint Smith was so telling.
For those who missed it, Mr Hughes was asked if the party was pleased at the reaction: Mr Hughes paused, turned to Mr Smith and asked "Hey, Clint – are we pleased?"
It was telling that he even had to ask.
But the almost palpable glee coming out of the Green and Labour camps at the destructive impact of their policy is highly revealing.
It underlines – not for the first time – the problem with the makeup of both parties. They are dominated at the MP and the staff level by the sub-genus homo politicus.
That is, they are full of people who have done nothing in their lives apart from politics. All parties have a complement of this group, but with Labour and the Greens the group has reached critical mass.
This group has been involved in politics at university, moved from there to various political/union offices and then into parliament.
There is little real world experience and everything is viewed through a very narrow prism of political advantage.
It's the sort of attitude which means the value destruction seen this week can be just laughed off.
There will, unless we are careful, be more such frivolous policies to come.