Last night, I saw Kevin Hague on the news talking about mine safety – mining, West Coast, labour rights, and no Labour voice. Same with minimum wage and asset sales.
Then there’s Metiria Turei getting the kind of cut through on National’s corporate welfare and class war that Labour has failed to manage over the last 3 years (not least because they’re geeky to use plain and strong language):
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei today lashed out at Prime Minister John Key and his Government for selling out employment, gambling, and ACC law to big corporations at the expense of ordinary New Zealanders and businesses.
In her keynote address to the Greens’ policy conference in Palmerston North Ms Turei contrasted the “astounding” degree of Corporate welfare and largesse extended by Mr Key’s Government “with their penny pinching towards those who need genuine support”.
“You can be sure of a Government hand-out if you are a movie studio, a profitable casino or an irrigation company” she said.
“But if you are a sole parent on the DPB trying to get a degree but needing just a little bit of help to cover childcare, like Tania Wysocki who went public with her case this week, then don’t expect anything.”
Ms Turei said plans to open up the ACC to private competition, allow private prisons, allow privately run charter schools to access state funding, and the “carving off” of Work and Income job services to private companies were examples of the Government’s approach.
“In all of these areas there is no evidence that these changes will benefit the public but it is very clear that they will benefit the bottom lines of corporations.”
A hungry Green Party is leading issues while Labour appears immobilised. The Greens have maintained their small party litheness while benefiting from greatly increased resources. Meanwhile, Labour is still trying to do things in the bureaucratic manner of a government with greatly reduced staff and no strategy. Indeed, I understand they have been struck by a wave of resignations and still haven’t re-appointed any of their staffers beyond the managers.
Naturally, the media are turning to the Greens – they’re the only ones getting their voice inside the newscycle, they have momentum behind them which Labour doesn’t, and they are now seen as far more relevant by the media than they were when they were a 7% party.
No wonder Metiria Turei is saying they won’t play little sibling in the next government. I see them being a third or more of the next governing coalition.
I can imagine Greens 20%, Labour 30% as a realistic result – especially if David Shearer listens to John Pagani and tries some dog-whistling beneficiary bashing, which will drive away liberal and poor voters while not attracting the rednecks because National will always be more credible and more extreme in bene-bashing. And if the Greens can articulate a more credible version of their green economic policy.
The truth is, the Greens have always had the best policies, now they have the best politics too. They are on the rise because they have what Labour doesn’t: a clear vision, a good brand, attractive policies, and likeable MPs.
The only concern now is that the ‘burn the village to save it’ instincts of Labour’s old tuskers will now come to the fore and they will turn their guns on the Greens when, in fact, it’s from National that they need to take votes to win and a strong Green Party may be the best chance of them being ministers again come 2014.