David Seymour, the sole ACT MP in this New Zealand parliament, introduced his private member bill on assisted dying last Wednesday. It passed by 76 votes to 44. Two things caught my eye. One similarity to the UK. And one difference.
The difference is immediately apparent:- this is a suitable subject for parliamentary debate in New Zealand, but it is not even a subject of political discussion in the UK. This bill is very limited in scope. For instance it requires the informed consent of the person dying, and so does not attempt to provide the possibility of a dignified end to life for a person suffering from dementia. It is widely popular amongst the new Zealand Electorate.
The similarity only becomes apparent if you try and check how a particular MP voted. Here is the only record that I can find. In the UK it is also very difficult to find how your MP voted. In the modern age it would be trivial to have a page on the government website that shares this information with the electorate.
In a representative democracy, the people being represented clearly have a right to know their representatives vote in parliament. Why are MP’s in the UK and New Zealand so coy about how they vote?
Jörg Urban, the head of the AfD group in the Saxony state parliament, has come up with one of the all-time great one-liners. He said that, if plans to halt lignite mining went through, Saxony would become “a new, regional poorhouse with no future, but a lot of wolves.” This is right up there with “super cali go ballistic Celtic are atrocious“.
This stems from the convergence of two Green party policies. First, they support the return of Wolves in Lausatia, which is part of Saxony on the Polish border. Second, they plan to ban the mining of lignite (Brown Coal), of which Lausatia has the largest reserves in Germany.
Germany currently uses lignite for 24.4% of its energy production. Following Fukishima, Germany is planning to phase out nuclear which currently accounts for 11.5% of Germany’s energy production. Having its energy mix meet its COPO23 target of reducing Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, relative to the 1990 levels, makes the current coalition negotiations look like child’s play.
The AfD solution is, rightly, to ignore the CO2 emissions. The world continues to prove, to the dismay of Greenies everywhere, that CO2 levels in the atmosphere have no significant effect on global temperatures. Support for COP targets is just the sort of virtue signalling that the better off in society can afford.
What is so delicious about the statement from Jörg Urban is that, for the first time, it depicts the green electorate as a pack of wolves preying on the poorer in society. As with the wolves, we may find this is an image that has legs.
A single piece of excrement, just over an inch long, has sparked a major alert in New Zealand. The reason:- It could be rat poo. And:- it was found on Codfish Island.
Codfish Island is one of three islands where Kakapo survive in the wild, holding the majority of the 154 animals left alive. The Kakapo is a large flightless parrot that has been driven to the verge of extinction by introduced predators, including rats. These three islands are, or at least were thought to be , and were intended to be, predator free.
There is a rather brutal view that the Kakapo is the avian version of the Giant Panda. Which is to say that it seems to have a kind of evolutionary death wish, so spectacularly ill-suited is it for survival. If there were Darwin Awards for animals, these would be two contenders. However; they are important both in their own right, and as indicators for the ecosystems they live in, and as indicators of mankind’s will and ability to conserve the precious genetic diversity of planet earth.
There is a vision of making New Zealand “predator-free” by 2020. What chance of that happening, if we cannot even keep codfish island predator-free? Maybe we can take some comfort from the fact that in New Zealand an inch of possible rat poo is newsworthy.