The death recently of Warwick Rodger, the former editor of Metro magazine during a time when his magazine featured exclusive coverage of what became known as " The unfortunate experiment" is a timely reminder of what can happen when people in authority abuse their position in order to justify an unproven theory.
While this country is indebted to Warwick Rodger, Sandra Coney and others for exposing this rotten episode in our nation's history, it is worth reflecting on whether we have actually learned much from the experience.
Given the freedom given to the Greens as part of an agreement to ensure the Government survives, it would appear that from a political perspective at least, the trifling with people's lives that chacterised Hubert Green's activities is no longer the sea anchor halting any further abuse that we had hoped for.
In fact, l am suggesting today's environment is much, much worse because, unlike the time when Green and Co operated pretty much undetected for a long period, our Government is guilty of knowingly condoning one of the minority coalition party's experiments that has the potential to affect the lives of every man, woman and child in the country. Actually, the Greens aren't the only support party that has licence to introduce such whacky ideas that have little justification based on hard evidence.
The image is of a government out of control.
And for what?
In a nutshell - support for the Greens' proposals is the trade off required to ensure the Government retains the Treasury benches. While the proposals are touted as a necessary social antidote, most of us recognise them as part of a back room deal motivated solely by self preservation.
What is really worrying is that there appears to be no outward signs from any of the Coalition partners that these gambles are in any way viewed as a breach of the faith placed in this Government to govern in the best interests of all the rest of us.
Where is the evidence that the Government's support for the minor partners' poorly researched ideas is even a qualified one. These ideologues appear to be able to operate with no controls no matter how naive the policies or damaging the outcome. They are able to hold the citizens of this country to ransom without ever being held to account. Yet nobody seems to give a damn.
Let's look at the evidence for making these observations.
Obviously, the proposal that has the most potential to destroy significant parts of our economic wellbeing is the carbon tax.
It is important that every Kiwi who is interested in his or her survival should take the time to understand the ramifications of this proposed legislation.
The carbon tax is designed to ultimately reduce our green house gas emissions to zero.
Why is that important and a necessary part of this government's idea of responsible stewardship?
In simple terms, it is important because it is an obligation under the terms of the Paris Accord and necessary only because we are a signatory to that agreement.
I have written before about the likely life expectancy of this Accord, especially given that other signatories are either exiting it altogether (USA), are not restricted by its emissions reduction clauses (China, India) or for internal political reasons have recanted on their promise to have an emissions target introduced as part of its own energy policy legislation (Australia). The bulk of those who remain show all the signs of ignoring their obligations under the agreement just like they did when they signed up to the previous ones. Sadly, we are one of the few countries intent on suffering the self inflicted wounds that this ridiculous membership will ensure.
Where does that leave us?
Perhaps the best way to describe our position is to say we are "up the creek without a paddle" or to use a more accurate description, "we are f....d!" but that would probably see me in court and even at my age, l value what is left of my freedom so we won't go there.
So, let's return to the basic premise for my column.
The proposed carbon tax legislation is criminally bad news for this country Why?
a) The Government have no evidence based documentation to support its claims that this proposal will achieve its main objectives - a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. There is no guarantee that the procedures introduced to achieve these targets will be effective in cutting emissions without serious damage to our economy. The ability to reduce methane emissions from farting and belching animals is untested because there is no known technical method for intercepting and measuring the emissions. So, we must assume that large herd and flock number reductions will be the preferred option for making the cuts.
Consequently, the policy becomes one of trial and error (an experiment) associated with blinkers that block the negative effects from view while the damage to the economy continues unabated.
b) It is morally unsustainable given the difficulty imposing this tax fairly across the nation as a deterrent against the pollution we are collectively responsible for.
Because there is no way to finger individual citizen polluters of waterways flowing from the main metropolitan areas, the tax will be imposed selectively on those of us in the rural communities who can be identified and charged. We will be asked to wear this punitive measure for no other reason than the Government believing it can get away with victimising those who just happened to vote for the other side. There seems to be, even to the casual observer, a fair amount of "Utu" in that sort of warped reasoning.
You probably won't be able to wipe the smile off David Parker's face as he watches his previously abandoned tax become law albeit sponsored by someone else.
He may also relax in the knowledge that he will not have to face the wrath of the electorate when this disgustingly partisan policy is inevitably called to account.
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.