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New Zealand Votes to Ditch Jacinda Ardern’s Climate Crusade • Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

OK, they ditched Jacinda Ardern back in January. But her successor was a placeholder.

New Zealand elects conservative Christopher Luxon as premier after 6 years of liberal rule

BY NICK PERRYUpdated 1:43 PM AEST, October 15, 2023

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — Conservative former businessman Christopher Luxon will be New Zealand’s next prime minister after winning a decisive election victory Saturday.

People voted for change after six years of a liberal government led for most of that time by Jacinda Ardern.

Ardern unexpectedly stepped down as prime minister in January, saying she no longer had “enough in the tank” to do the job justice. She won the last election in a landslide, but her popularity waned as people got tired of COVID-19 restrictions and inflation threatened the economy.

With all the regular votes counted, Luxon’s National Party had 39% of the vote. Under New Zealand’s proportional voting system, Luxon, 53, plans to form an alliance with the libertarian ACT Party. 

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The new parliament is likely to be a lot less receptive to green causes.

Don’t get me wrong, the new New Zealand National Party Prime Minister Christopher Luxon is useless on climate issues.

If you’re a climate change denier at the moment or even a minimalist, I just don’t understand how you can hold that position to be honest.” – The words of freshly elected New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in February this year.

However Luxon’s junior coalition partners, ACT, are more skeptical of high cost climate policies.

“ACT has welcomed New Zealand Initiative Senior Economist Matt Burgess’s report on climate change policy Pretence of Necessity. It reiterates what ACT has been saying all along, our Government’s climate policies are costly, ineffective, and need to go, … We should set a cap on total emissions in line with the actual reductions of our trading partners, then allow New Zealanders to import high quality foreign carbon credits so we pay the world price, not an artificial price. …” – ACT website.

Obviously as the leader of the senior ruling coalition partner, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will have a lot of levers to use, to coerce his ACT coalition partners into agreeing his terms. But cutting New Zealand’s skyrocketing energy prices and cost of living appears to be a core priority for ACT leader David Seymour, so hopefully ACT will dig their heels in on their key commitments, such as abandoning at least some of the more expensive climate policies of their predecessors.

The other question, what will happen to Jacinda Ardern, the former prime minister whom I believe is largely responsible for New Zealand’s current economic distress?

Jacinda has given us a lot of entertainment over the years, and she isn’t finished yet.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has joined the Harvard University Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Reading her speeches, she appears to think the main reason she failed to transform New Zealand into a green paradise is that there isn’t enough internet censorship. All those evil deniers kept undermining her brilliant plans, by injecting doubts into the minds of voters. Jacinda made an eye opening speech in April, while announcing her new fellowship at the Berkman Klein Center, which attempted to link gun violence atrocities and green policy failures to climate skeptics.

Obviously someone who can make a speech like that while keeping a straight face has a great future at the United Nations, where Jacinda appears to have set her sights. We look forward to reporting on her future bid for the job of United Nations Secretary General.

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