The BFD transcript Newstalk ZB Tuesday 21 September

Kate Hawkesby speaks to Stuart Smith, National’s Spokesperson for Climate Change


Climate Change Minister James Shaw is wanting to take nine other people with him from Wellington to this year’s climate change talks in Glasgow. Dubbed COP26, it will kick off in early November.

The final contingent will depend on the outcome of MIQ applications which will of course…we will of course, be keeping an eye on that.

The man who found all this out via written questions is the National Party spokesperson for climate change, Stuart Smith. Good morning to you.


Good morning.


The overall consensus of NZ’s climate change researchers…because we tried to get a lot of them on and none of them would come on because they all justify this and say it’s completely necessary when you’re a small country to go to these events in person, and they have no issue with him going and taking an entourage. Do you buy that?


Aah, no I don’t buy it. In fact, James Shaw thought it was too dangerous to go to parliament under Level Four, but he’s going to Scotland with a similar population to New Zealand and yesterday had 3,833 new cases – and two deaths.

So, if New Zealand is too dangerous with about 30 cases a day why is Scotland not dangerous at all with 3,833?


The public consensus is likely to be that he doesn’t need a huge contingent over there but all the academics are busy saying it’s vital. I mean, how do you justify it?

I mean, who are these nine people? I mean, is he taking hair and makeup artists?

What’s going on?


Well, he is taking an event adviser apparently, but…in the list as you will see, but they come from overseas I understand.

Look, I don’t know that it’s necessary, the point is he’s taking up vital spaces in MIQ that people…MPs…electoral MPs anyway are being contacted daily by people trying to get back here.

They’ve all got good stories, they’ve all got good reasons why they are overseas and need to come back home, some for compassionate reasons – and they can’t get in.

Yet it’s…James Shaw and nine officials…they are able to do that, and I think that’s wrong.

It’s turning a deaf ear to the realities of life for Kiwis and I don’t think that’s fair.


How many of these MIQ applications do you reckon will get approved?


I have no idea. The opposition MPs were asked…at least I was asked…and I said I had considered it but I am not going to go and take up MIQ spaces, that certainly would be um, being tone-deaf, as I say.


Would you even be going normally?

Given there’s normally the criticism a climate change minister should be flying places for talks on climate change. You know, there’s always pressure.


Ah well, yes that’s what James Shaw believes that aah…we shouldn’t be flying everywhere except when you want to go to a climate change conference, in fact, some of the people will be going in private jets using a lot more fuel.

Aah but look, that’s umm…normally the opposition MP spokesperson is asked to go, I was asked but I turned it down.


Stuart, thank you very much for a…well done, by the way, for getting this information via written questions – thank God somebody’s asking questions!

And thank you for being with us this morning. Stuart Smith National MP for Climate Change.

I mean we did try to get the Climate Change academics on but they didn’t want to come on because they didn’t think it was a story, because as far as they’re concerned it’s completely legit.

Aah, they do have some support on the text:

“Kate, climate change will be more dangerous than Covid, we probably should be doing what we can.”

Does that involve sending nine people in a plane? Think about carbon emissions…the carbon footprint of that … and on top of that the equal slap in the face of the MIQ spots they’re going to take up from other people.

As I said, it’s the Harry and Meghan approach. You know…I don’t mind if you want to do stuff, but don’t lecture us and then do the opposite because that’s when you look like just an abject hypocrite isn’t it?

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James Shaw Is Tone Deaf


I am happily a New Zealander whose heritage shaped but does not define. Four generations ago my forebears left overcrowded, poverty ridden England, Ireland and Germany for better prospects here. They were...