Giving it away

Carbon News reports:

THEY’VE declared a climate emergency and now the government is taking steps to ensure we can continue to drink chilled Sauvignon Blanc in a warming world.

Agriculture minister Damien O’Connor has announced the government is investing in a seven-year programme led by Bragato Research Institute to help future-proof the sustainability of New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc grapevines.

“Sauvignon Blanc comprises 87% of our wine exports. This new $18.7 million grapevine improvement programme will introduce genetic diversity into our vines, and ensure they continue to thrive in New Zealand conditions,”  O’Connor said.

“Many of our existing vines will need to be replaced in 10 to 15 years in order to avoid a loss in productivity.

“The new variants could also lead to new flavour and aroma profiles, resulting in exciting new styles of wine that will add further value to the sector.”


The government also gifted invested another $7.5 million through another MPI programme.

What is the problem the government thinks it is solving here? Does it think the horticulture sector has not heard of climate change? That growers could not possibly work out a way to cope with gradual changes in the distribution of temperatures, rain and humidity without someone to hold their hand?

“Anticipated climate change impacts require action now to ensure New Zealand continues to be considered the world’s Sauvignon Blanc capital.”

I’d guess there will be no shortage of action if the alternative is growers lose money or go out of business if they do not adapt to changing weather patterns.

If the standard for getting $26 million out of the government is that you might be affected by a changing climate – who does not qualify?

Of course, the problem the government is solving with its seemingly endless parade of nonsense on climate change is its own re-election in two years.

There is a fundamental problem across all of the government’s thinking on adaptation. The government is making no attempt to isolate the problems that property owners are not going to solve themselves.

Managed retreat from low lying land is a horribly exaggerated response to a problem that should mostly take care of itself. From the government’s perspective, 99% of the problem is going to be solved automatically by property owners responding to inundation risks. Nobody is better placed to weigh costs and benefits and tradeoffs between competing land uses than land owners.

The government’s magic bullet in all of this is finding a way to solve the commitment problem: the promise not to bailout wealthy landowners who suffer losses. Is there anybody in government thinking about adaptation in such gravy-free terms?

One thought on “Giving it away

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s