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LB: Greens hit the ground running

Written By: - Date published: 11:50 am, March 13th, 2014 - 35 comments
Categories: election 2014, greens, labour - Tags: ,

The original of this post appeared here at Local Bodies on Monday. It got overshadowed in the news cycle by burst of corrupt stench of self-entitled elitist behaviour from National, but is worth reposting anyway. bsprout (aka Dave Kennedy) is the Green candidate for Invercargill.

I am not sure what circles Josie Pagani circulates in, because they obviously aren’t green ones. In a Pundit post Pagani suggests that the left were caught on the hop with the election announcement and were not able to fully take advantage of it to launch their campaigns. I obviously can’t speak for the Labour Party, but the Greens have been in campaign mode for some time and few will have missed our recent policy announcements regarding our schools as hubs and solar homes initiatives (both very well received). As soon as Key announced the September date the above image was immediately circulated throughout social media.

This is a new era for the Green Party and we are now operating at a level that can clearly compete with National and Labour. Our party machine is no longer reliant on a few volunteers and we now have our numerous committees and networks managed by employed staff.

If anyone should question the ability of the Green Party to govern (or our credibility regarding financial management) they need only see how we manage our campaigns. Without the large corporate donations of National and Labour (we do not accept money from businesses that don’t support our values), we have learned to work efficiently and get the best bang for our buck. In the last election we spent less than half of what the Conservative Party spent and only slightly more than ACT and yet we managed to increase our vote by almost 70%. Far from being the ‘luddites’, as the fossil fueled National supporters label us, we are by far the most technologically adept party.

Our last two election campaigns were praised for having the most effective billboards and sticking to message. Our “Jobs, Rivers, Kids” themed campaign enabled our candidates to stay on message and keep the focus on what was important. This coming campaign will likely cover these familiar themes  (the real issues haven’t actually changed) but the framing will be fresh.

It is unfortunate that our elections have turned into presidential campaigns that have focussed much of the attention onto the leadership of the two largest parties. National have cleverly supported this approach because they never like real scrutiny of their policies (asset sales) and it means that they only have to take advantage of their celebrity styled PM and concentrate on discrediting the Labour leader. It is likely that the media will run with this theme again as it also makes it easy for them.

The Greens probably deserve to be included in the major leader debates (we can no longer be considered a minor party), however we must complicate things by having co-leaders and adding a third party.  This is a pity because both Metiria and Russel have become highly effective and credible leaders.

Russel Norman was first made co-leader of the Greens in 2006, the same year that Key became leader of National. Since 2008 Russel has often been referred to as the real leader of the opposition because of his solid performances in the house and the fact Labour is onto their third leader over this period. Russel has won credibility with his understanding of economics and his focussed questioning. Russel is not afraid to call things as he sees them and his likening of Key’s divisive and dismissive style of politics to Muldoon startled some, as has his firm stand against Colin Craig’s dated thinking. He is also very adept at dealing with a crisis in a very direct and transparent way (the billboard incident last election is a good example).

Metiria Turei is now one of our most experienced parliamentarians, she is into her 12th year as an MP and has been a co-leader for over five years. Her credibility as a hard worker and focused politician is clearly shown through tracking her career. Metiria was brought up in a struggling working class family and found herself in the situation of being a 22 year old solo mother with few qualifications. Ten years later she had a law degree and was elected as a Green MP, at aged 39 she was elected co-leader. Within the party Metiria is known for her sense of humour and infectious giggle, but also as an astute leader with the ability to show leadership in any situation where it’s needed. Metiria’s performance in the house has proved she more than has the measure of Paula Bennet, Anne Tolley and Judith Collins. Metiria has also been a ground breaker for women, being the first to speak on Te Tii Marae.

Perhaps Josie Pagani needs swap her red tinted lenses for green ones and she will then become aware of the strong, stable and dynamic leadership displayed by the Greens and the solid organisation and team work behind them. This spring election campaign will see progressive green messages sprouting through the current dead wood and promising a fresh, green approach to governance.

35 comments on “LB: Greens hit the ground running”

  1. Sosoo 1

    Hippies! 😉

  2. mickysavage 2

    I think it wrong for Josie to be described as having red tinted glasses!

    I read her post and then had a look and could count 3 graphics that had been released by Labour recently and a number of policies, the digital bill of rights being the most prominent.

    There is also a huge gap between beltway politics and retail politics which Pagani ignores.

    • lprent 2.1

      I thought that Labour did pretty well myself in the immediate responses and in what they have been doing since October. But in the aftermath of the 5 years of consistent gaffes both as a political party and by individual MPs, and a caucus attitude of “do nothing much” they are running from behind in this election.

      About the only thing that gives some hope is that the party itself is in the process of rejuvenation and that is happening in many cases despite the MPs Wellington obsessions. The results of the list selection looks like it could be an interesting indicator.

      But the Greens have been quietly building their organisational competence, especially since they managed to get a big hike in the 2011 election. They still have quite a number of organisational issues, screwups on how to use people effectively, and haven’t really broken through to a good campaign engine yet. But they’re getting there pretty rapidly. That in a large part is why they have managed to retain their 2011 gains.

      But like you I don’t think Josie was using rose tinted glasses. I suspect that Josie has reflective glasses – mirrored on the outside so that she can reflect on herself better.

      • Dave kennedy 2.1.1

        Actually, lprent, the Greens’ effort during the asset sale referendum signature collecting displayed our organising capacity, we collected more signatures than any other group in the collective. Obviously it would be great to do even better but our on the ground organising of nonmembers (but campaign supporters) was highly effective and this has enabled us to build capacity for the coming election. Probably the most important aspect of this coming campaign will be getting people out to vote and this means having heaps of on the ground supporters. I think Labour used to do this very well but they need to build capacity again.

        I accept your’s and mickysavage’s comments regarding the tinted specs, Josie is often used to comment from a Labour perspective but I often struggle to understand where she is coming from and what she bases her opinions on (most likely a small planet in some outer orbit).

        • Colonial Viper

          yeah, Planet Key

        • Tracey

          Your post and that billboard plus policies are why greens have my vote

        • lprent

          I think Labour used to do this very well but they need to build capacity again.

          Still do in places. But many of the current crop of MP’s didn’t grow through that tradition and simply don’t understand that it is organisation/data driven. They simply don’t understand the processes involved and don’t value it.

          The most obvious aspect of it it is the dumbarse way that they stand up in caucus giving the number of calls and/or people canvassed without any quality checking of how they are sampling the population. Stupid National Standards kind of thinking. The value gets destroyed by the measurement regime.

          But the way that most of them don’t spend time on keeping the organisation running outside of election year really reveals it – dumb. For some egotistic reason many of them seem to think that you can just flash the personality and reactivate it in election year.

          Obviously it would be great to do even better..

          It was a pretty good effort and the right kind of thing to do.

          But the other side of the equation is that you have to rest volunteers otherwise continuous weekends causes their burnout rate to approach unity. I keep running across people who used to volunteer for the Greens.

          The Greens are still carrying some parts of the over-committed ethos. They need to start collecting and using more info on what their volunteers have been doing.

          But I’m a cynic about the actual processes in volunteer organisations and how to maintain them. But the nice thing about it is the way that the left manages to offset the massive donations on the right with a ready supply of volunteers. I just wish they were a lot better at using them effectively instead of undervaluing the freebies. It is all of that semi-latent management training and background with a touch of a puritan dislike of waste expressing in my personality I guess.

          • Dave kennedy

            You are right about the use of volunteers, lprent, there is a clear case of both over use and underuse sometimes. Volunteers also need to have a sense that they are actually valued to maintain the good will that comes with their time. National operates in a culture that supports obedience and service to those above (the authoritarian approach) while the Greens and Labour need to maintain volunteers by working alongside them. As one of our prospective candidates discovered, if you don’t work with other members and have a collaborative approach you won’t have their support when the chips are down.

        • big bruv

          “the Greens’ effort during the asset sale referendum signature collecting displayed our organising capacity”

          More lies from the Greens. You PAID people using tax payer money to collect signatures.

          • risildowgtn

            bullshit……. those of us who collected sigs did it cos it was the right thing to do….. even my tory neighbors signed you loser..

          • karol

            It is not a lie, bb. Your second sentence does not make the sentence you quote a lie.

            ODT on this.

            Some of the signatures were collected with the help of eight full-time staff members, costing taxpayers $75,000.

            The party used the Leader’s Office fund to hire the equivalent of eight full-time staff members in an attempt to force a citizens’ initiated referendum before the Government begins to sell state-owned power companies.

            The payments were permitted under parliamentary rules, but it is the first time the funds were used to gather support fort a party policy.

            The National Party attacked the Greens in June over their use of taxpayer money to collect signatures for a referendum on asset sales – but would not rule out doing the same for its campaigns.

            Dr Norman said the Greens had been transparent about spending.

            He asked a question in the house about how much the National Party had budgeted to advertise and promote its asset sales programme, and said it was about $1.1 million.

    • Tracey 2.2

      Its not how labour reacted its her statement about the greens which h was unfounded and probably unresearched.

  3. tricledrown 3

    Sosoo jealous envy.
    Yesterdays man ssoooo.
    Yesterday you were saying your not a National supporter So who do you support .
    ,Surely you can come up with something a bit more original.
    Probably not that would put you in the Act camp re deberoh codington a former ACT candidate party member has renounced their outdated policies calling their members dinosaurs.

    • Sosoo 3.1

      Are you typing on a phone or on crack? 😉

      I have not cast a party vote since 1996. I’ve cast one electorate vote since then, in 2008, to help out a family friend. I have never cast a vote for a right wing party or candidate. I’ve never belonged to a political party or been involved in any political campaign.

      I read blogs. Is that a crime?

      • Pasupial 3.1.1


        “I have not cast a party vote since 1996”; that makes you rather irrelevant in an election year, doesn’t it? Is it just that you can’t be arsed making up your mind (as your pseudonym suggests), or do you have some Exclusive Brethren-y aversion to the process?

        Also; “on crack?”, you really are in a 90s timewarp aren’t you? 😉

      • lprent 3.1.2

        I have not cast a party vote since 1996. I’ve cast one electorate vote since then, in 2008,
        I read blogs. Is that a crime?

        Nope. But you do read like a dead weight critic. Pretty useless for listening to.

  4. JK 4

    I thought Josie’s glasses were tinted lite blue !

  5. vto 5

    I have never heard anything from Pagani that is worth listening to.

    Why does she have a voice?

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Because the NAT favouring media thinks that she’s a great person to represent the centrist political party that is Labour.

  6. vto 6

    The Greens should use the old trick of accusing your opposition of the thing they accuse you of. For example, last week Key did this with Cunliffe by labelling him tricky.

    The Greens should accuse their opposition of being luddites and having loony economic policies.

    Try it – you’ll like it.

    • I’m already doing that vto :-) Surely it is a luddite who sticks with the fuel and technology of the industrial revolution and the progressive thinker is one who embraces high tech solutions and clean, sustainable energy. The World Bank and the IMF have embraced the green economic revolution why should our country be the last cab off the rank? National is currently open about wanting to be a follower, not a leader, in the new green economy. They also want to play with the ‘Big Boys’. http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2013/08/big-boys-club-membership-achieved.html

  7. Chooky 7

    Metiria and Russel are looking fantastic ….and they are way more professional, talented, moral and principled than NACT….this is the New Zealand we want…

    ..a CORRUPT FREE New Zealand !


  8. Pasupial 8

    Apropos of “hit[ting] the ground running”; Genter’s “Safe to School” policy was announced today. The goal is to take half of the money budgeted for pedestrians & cyclists, and spend it on improving infrastructure specifically around schools:


  9. Stuart Munro 9

    The Greens are certainly a class act: active, principled, democratic & lovely people too.

    Josie’s column was interesting in that she is part of the inactive left she was excoriating – so it was a bit of an own goal – an example of the Peter Principle in action I guess.

  10. Gyn_Nag 10

    If you claim to be the most technologically adept party, why are you prepared to hold back biotech research that will lead to important and cheap medical breakthroughs?

    • Pasupial 10.1


      What biotech research do you refer to specifically? Also, if it’s really research, then how can you definitively state beforehand that it “will lead to important and cheap medical breakthroughs”; surely the point of research is to determine facts.

      Green Party Environment Policy allows:

      9.1 “The use of genetic science as a tool in diagnostics, understanding of heredity, and development of medicines, provided any genetically engineered organisms are completely contained in an indoor laboratory.”


  11. Murray Olsen 11

    Jan Logie is also putting the case for beneficiaries who are treated badly by WINZ. This is an area where Labour has been noticeably absent since at least 1984. Of course, once you believe in standard capitalism, you accept the need for the reserve army of Labour. You are unwilling to admit that it is a necessary part of the economy you promote, so you make it a personal failing on the part of the beneficiaries. This leads to WFF, dragging people down from the roof, and policies that are hardly even NAct lite. Thank god for the Greens and Mana, because in their absence, Labour would be planning statues of Milton Friedman, Sir Roger, and Allan Gibbs in a threeway handshake.

  12. Philj 12

    Labour is confused. Shearer, as leader was unsure. DC is in danger of falling for the same trap.

  13. lefty 13

    The only thing I would disagree with in this post is the point about Russel’s economic ability.

    Now and then Russel puts forward green Keynsian ideas.

    They just sound silly. What didn’t work in the past won’t work now just because you call it green.

    Mainly he recyles neo liberal free market economics with a green spin.

    This is downright dangerous.

    Green capitalism is crap.

    A different face shoveling the same old shit under a different label doesn’t turn it into gold.

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