In the past 25 years, neoliberalism has become economic orthodoxy. In that time, as James McCarthy and Scott Prudham have written, neoliberalism’s “political and ideological projects have successfully masqueraded as a set of objective, natural, and technocratic truisms” (p.276).
Indeed, so pervasively institutionalised have the values of neoliberalism become that it almost seems a throwback to the 1990s even to write about it critically, at least in the New Zealand context that is most familiar to me. Here, as elsewhere, both the dominant political parties – Labour (nominally social democratic) and National (conservative) – support a neoliberal agenda, and all that it entails, in what amounts to a tacit ‘grand coalition’ in a number of policy areas.
In this article I look at the impact of neoliberalism on the environment through both the roll-back of the state and the roll-out of neoliberal policies, taking some examples from recent New Zealand experience.