Pluck a kiwi , hear the hissing - the NZ carbon tax

5 May 2005
New Zealanders can be a bold and pioneering lot. From participation in the first successful ascent of Everest, leading in the Americas Cup and providing an almost limitless supply of orcs and hobbits, to reducing farm subsidies and reforming fisheries management, this small country has often provided a model that others want to follow. So what about the new tax on carbon?

This is a case where climate policy meets real hard politics, and - not surprisingly - it's kicking up a lot of dust (see New Zealand Herald, 5 May). Business assocations, opposition political parties and others make dire and terrible noises about grave damage to the economy and alienation of two of the country's more powerful friends, Australia and the United States.

Advocates of the new tax regime argue that in the long run everyone will benefit, as businesses and consumers become more efficient in their use of imported fossil fuel energy (helped along, in theory, by subsidies funded by the tax revenues). Will they prevail over those who say they're suffering the immediate pain of small rises in energy prices (for the average household per week, said to be NZ$4 [very roughly US$3 or UK£1.50] per week)?

It won't just be New Zealanders who keep an eye on what happens next.

Caspar Henderson

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

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