Why the Government has got it right (this time)

Budget 2012 has come and gone. Once again, we’ve got a zero budget. Once again, we’re on target to have a budget surplus by 2014/15. And I do believe that we’re headed in the right direction.

However, the thing I want to comment on mostly is the comment from the Green Party that the Budget is bad because it didn’t mention the environment once. My response to that is that if we are to have sustainable improvements in our environment, we need a sustainable economy first. Let me explain.

In economics, we have inferior goods, normal goods and luxury goods. Inferior goods are things that you buy because you cannot afford the alternatives (a store’s own brand, for example). Normal goods are what you will buy more of when you earn more money (for example, holidays, high-tech goods, etc). A definition for luxury goods is “In general, a good (or service) that is not essential but makes like more enjoyable. Luxury goods are often more expensive and primarily purchased by people with more wealth and income.”

The environment is a luxury good. Once you’ve bought your necessities and you’re enjoying life, you look around and realise that the environment you’re living in isn’t so great. You then start fixing that up. If you can’t afford to feed yourself, it’s not realistic for you to fix up the environment. The left continually go on about how terrible National is for allowing people to starve, but then they say the Government should be cleaning up the environment.

Can someone tell me where the left wants to plant the money tree? I might head there and grab a clipping.


About Daniel Farrell

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Posted on May 24, 2012, in New Zealand Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. No Daniel… just no… you say some pretty far out stuff, but the environment, a luxury good? Please tell me you’re trolling…

    The environment is not a luxury good. It’s not even a good. It’s not something there to “make life more enjoyable” for us, it’s not there for us to consume… The environment is a given. It was there long before us, and it’ll be there long after we’re gone. Coincidentally, it also happens to be where we live, and the thing on which ALL of our economic growth depends on one way or another, not vice versa.

    On the other hand, the answer to environmental degradation is not to throw money at “environmental protection”. You can’t draw a line around the environment and say “protect”. Sustainable economic development, now there’s an idea… but that’s a discussion for another day!

  2. You misunderstand me. I am for sustainable economic development. You on the other hand are for status-quo economic development and environmental protection.

    Environmental protection is a nice idea but it doesn’t work. You can’t draw a circle around the environment and say you’re protecting it while changing nothing else of the way you seek to develop the economy. To do so would be to deny there is a link between economic development and environmental degradation.

    This approach is the one taken by the RMA and is the main reason why it hasn’t actually achieved any real results for the environment.

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