Friday, June 8, 2007

Greens: "Cut power prices to aid poor" - Yeah Right!

I don't know why I continue to be surprised by what the Green Party says. They have moved so far away from their traditional roots that they might as well change their name - although no one will vote for the 'Lazy Bums on Welfare' Party.
Cheap power means more power will be used - this will mean that more power needs to be generated - which means the Huntly coal station will be needed - which will pump more CO2 into the air - which is bad. So we give the poor cheap power, or else the Greens will complain; then the Greens complain about the pollution caused by this.
I'm unclear as to whether The Green Party knows what it wants.

The article starts by suggesting "an electricity pricing scheme... so families on tight budgets can afford basic power needs."

Three paragraphs later, it describes "a progressive pricing scheme would give every household a basic block of power units at a low cost each month.
Progressively higher prices could be charged for subsequent blocks of units".

I'm all for the second idea - for ALL households. As a middle class NZer I am extremely sick and exceedingly tired of being expected to pay more and more so that others can become more and more dependent. Why SHOULD I have to pay for someone else's power? So they can play PS3 all day while I'm working? How pathetic.

According to Jeanette 'I've been cooped up in an office with Sue Bradford for so long that I've forgotten what I really stand for' Fitzsimons, "This is a way of making sure households can afford the energy they need to cover their basic needs, but pay more for luxuries or wastage. So if you're using electricity to heat spa pools or have an enormous house with every room heated, or leave lights on all night, then you pay a higher price for that power." That makes sense. Perfect sense. She goes on to explain that "progressive pricing would help people on budgets, such as pensioners, because they could better manage their power use, reducing it when nearing the limit. She said the main cost increase for a large household was in water heating, which could be mitigated by measures such as having children share bath water." Okay, getting close to unhealthy touching issues in later life here but we can ignore that.

The problem I foresee is this - we have a lot of 'poor' families at the school at which I work. I can tell that this is the case because of the number of kids that can't afford to pay their school donation (but it isn't compulsary so it doesn't matter), or to buy a uniform (but we have a 'special fund' to pay for those kids), or to buy school shoes (but we have free shoes for those who can't afford them) or stationary (but we have free stationary for them as well). Many, not all, but many of these kids CAN afford to buy lunch every other day (when I was a kid we bought lunch once a year - on our birthday - and boy did it suck if your birthday was on a weekend!), and wear designer clothing (in violation of the uniform code, for not wearing the uniform they could not afford), and have flash cell phones and MP3 players which shouldn't be at school anyway. Many, not all, but many talk about watching things on Sky, which I can't afford, and playing games on PS3, which I can't afford. Many, not all, but many need to be reminded to turn lights and other appliances off when they leave the classroom. You see Jeanette, this progressive pricing scheme would be great for me, because I try to conserve power. A lot of these families use a hell of a lot more power than you think they do - so this is actually counter productive.

It's okay, go and sit in the nice green room and listen to the tui birdsong you have on CD until you are calm. Just try not to think about how much power the CD player may be using.

Let's face it, the Green MPs need to leave their comfy Beehive chairs, look out over their six-figure salaries and realise that middle NZ is not as rich as they are.
Here's a new idea - why doesn't the Green Party pay for the power bills of the poor. It can come out of their membership dues.

That way, we'll either get rid of the problem of power bills for the poor - or we'll get rid of the Green Party.

Talk about win-win.

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