If I was a betting man (which in fairness I am at the races from time to time) I would put my money on John Key going to Copenhagen. As Audrey Young points out
Attendance of leaders has become a matter of symbolism, a symbol of commitment to a positive outcome. Key looks like that is not important to him.
But that will be the only reason he goes. Not because he believes that the world desperately needs to come together to address a major environmental issue, or that for the future of New Zealand and our region we desperately need to be part of a positive solution. Goodness, earlier in the week Murray McCully was complaining about climate change taking too much time at CHOGM. Earth to Murray, its kinda the biggest show in town right now.
My prediction is that Steven Joyce will tell Key the optics look bad, and he had better get over there. I am sorry to sound so cynical but this is a bit of a pattern.
Today John Key has dismissed the 2025 taskforce report, in part on the basis that National needs to keep its promises to the electorate on keeping Labour programmes such as Working for Families and Interest Free Student Loans. Great, but we all know what Key and National actually think of those programmes- “communism by stealth” anyone? Its not that Key actually believes this is socially responsible policy, he’s just stuck with it.
Returning to Copenhagen the risk for New Zealand is that all this naked pragmitism is going to be seen as just that. Again to quote Audrey Young
No one will give Key credit for parachuting in for a photo-op once others have done the hard work
Therein lies the problem for New Zealand. Beyond any straight environmental motives, from an economic point of view being dragged kicking and screaming to Copenhagen is a terrible look for an isolated trading nation that has prided (and marketed) itself on its clean green image. Its probably already too late on that score.
I accept that John Key’s pragmatism is playing well with New Zealanders at the moment. Its all very well having good political anntennae, but the long term future of New Zealand suffers if you don’t have a plan as to where you are going. All map, no compass is a very bad recipe for New Zealand.