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Turei: Green Party retrospective

Written By: - Date published: 11:26 am, December 19th, 2012 - 44 comments
Categories: business, economy, greens, jobs, Metiria Turei, monetary policy, polls, tax, transport - Tags:

This morning was Metiria Turei’s turn on TV3, to front for the Green Party, looking back at the last 12 months.  This is a welcome corrective to Russel Norman getting the de facto leader tag.  The tone and style of Turei’s presentation was noticeably different from yesterday’s spinmeister Key on speed-dial.  Mr Slippery spin his lines so fast it made it difficult to focus for too long on any one of his distortions of reality.  Turei was calm, direct and clear, and spoke at a normal pace, enabling the foregrounding of the issues she chose to promote.  She was assured, sincere and confident.

RONS Tax

First up Samantha Hayes asked about yesterday’s news regarding the increase in road tax to pay for the government’s Roads of National (in)Significance. (Irishbill posted about it yesterday). Turei said they would provide little economic benefit, and the new tax was because the government was “in a hole” and householders were being asked to pay for it.  Turie added that this is because the government had failed to manage the economy or invest in job creation. (James Henderson posted about the government’s poor job record today.)

They have a worsening current account deficit, and a “wafer thin surplus” (see James  Henderson’s other post today on these issues).  Turei said that the tax is going to be used to build roads that only 4% of New Zealanders will use, and don’t have any economic benefit.

In contrast, she claimed that public opinion had been in favour of the Green Party’s suggestion to use a special levy to help rebuild Christchurch, but the government said “no”.  Turei claimed that this shows the government lack of vision, about what is possible, “when New Zealanders band together for a good project.”

MP Pay Rise

Hayes asked about yesterday’s news of a pay rise for MPs. She asked Turei a few times if she would accept it. Turei repeated the same answer, that it was a decision for MPs to make individually, and that she would be asking her family what she should do. Turei also supported her answer by saying that some people in public service were having their jobs and wages cut.  MPs are also public service workers, and there should be equity across the public services.

The TV3 6pm report on the payrise had ended with the journalist saying the government had tried to slip the news under the radar in a pre-Xmas dump.

The Polls

Hayes said the year was ending with good poll results for the Green Party. Understandably, Turei used the opportunity to promote the Green Party.

I think we’ve been very consistent in our opposition to government. We’ve been very disciplined as a caucus.

She said that they had a big caucus, with half of the MPs being new.

There’s been no scandals or dramas like you’ve seen in other parties over the last 12 months.

The Economy and Printing Money

Hayes responded with the challenge that the Green Party had been heavily criticised for its printing money policy.  Turei responded with,

We suggested a range of tools to help bring down the dollar.  To help manage our exports and make sure that we could keep jobs in manufacturing and that our exporters continue to do good business overseas.

She explained that that the US is printing money, and Japan is doing it for its post earthquake rebuild. Turei argued that the government is refusing to use the tools it has to manage the dollar, and thus help manufacturers. She concluded by saying that there is  support for it in the community, especially business community

Turei’s Party Rating

Turei is not shy in rating Green Party performance between 8-10, saying they had done “ done extremely well” and increased their poll share over the last 12 months, following a record election result:

We’ve been a very strong opposition.

We’ve continued to put both economics and child poverty on the political agenda. And that’s our intention to continue the success next year.  I think you’ll see from us more policy options, more discussion papers like the ICT paper that we released on Monday of this week.  More ideas about how we can transform  this country so that it is a smart, green, and just for everyone that lives here.

Conclusion

Top marks for a clear, down-to-earth, focused and assured performance. The Green Party provides a consistent and focused vision and practical agenda.  I am particularly pleased with Turei’s focus on child poverty, and the need for a more fair and equal society.

However, Turei did not once mention the urgent matter of climate change, possibly under the banner of “green”.  And no green initiatives were explicitly mentioned, apart from the rejection of the RONS tax.

[Update] Metiria Turei has done a couple RNZ interviews in the last 24 hours: Morning Report interview,  in which she explains that green issues are integrated with their other policies.  Checkpoint interview on RONS, and government surplus target.

44 comments on “Turei: Green Party retrospective”

  1. infused 1

    There is no support in the business community for printing money. She is talking out of her ass. It’s the most retarded thing you can do. Especially when NZ isn’t even that bad off like other countries.

    It should be on the list of ‘very last things to do’.

    • Napkins 1.1

      I hear Japan is going to massively increase the printing of money under their new PM Abe. The electorate and the Japanese corporate community are demanding it in fact.

      • Populuxe1 1.1.1

        Japan is in significantly deeper shit than we are

        • bad12 1.1.1.1

          Rubbish, Japan on a per capita basis is in just as much s**t as New Zealand…

          • Populuxe1 1.1.1.1.1

            Well no, Japan is over-capitalised, has a huge aging population, under-resourced, most of it’s money is tied up in overseas investment funds, a very inefficient and rapidly aging infrastructure (mainly because the aging majority don’t like them new fangled computers and credit cards), a contracting GDP shrinking faster than ours…. Stop me when you get tired. So yep, they’re in worse shit (pardon me, but I’m a grown up so I’ll say shit if I want).

            • bad12 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Got a link to any of the hard data which backs your little rant, or is it another of your ‘i thunk it therefor it is raves’…

      • Peter 1.1.2

        NZ with its stand-on-the-sidelines and watch approach is certainly the default winner of a “race to the top” in world currency prices. The Japanese recognise that their manufacturing/export sector has been cleaned out by lower priced near neighbours. There new leader plans to have his hands on the wheel in defiance of their monetary authorities.

        • bad12 1.1.2.1

          The theory is that any country can print and spend into its local economy some quite expansive amounts of dollars and have the local currency slide,
           
          There’s a couple of things need be taken seriously into account, the main one being that the ‘Bean Counters’ need to know in terms of cash injection into the economy what 1% of inflation is in terms of dollars, thus such printed coin need be spent into the economy with knowledge and regards to the Reserve Banks inflation target band,
           
          I can think of ‘a spend’ of such printed money that in terms of economic out-comes would kill about 6 birds with 1 stone providing not only the lowering of the price of the New Zeland dollar but a whole basket full of other positive out-comes,
           
          Build 30,000 State Houses with a view to renting these to those who toil daily at or above the minimum wage,
           
          I am sure you can work out the positives in doing so…

          • Drakula 1.1.2.1.1

            $30,000 houses in every city!! I am right with you there brother what percentage of one’s wage goes to rent or rates? That’s the killer!!!

            • Drakula 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Come to think of it 100,000 State houses would be very welcome in Christchurch !!!!! But that’s a privitised issue that involves land developers and contractors making a killing !!!

    • bad12 1.2

      Yeah sure we all should just sit here watching as the high dollar rips 40,000 manufacturing jobs out of the economy, the cause of the high dollar being that very same money printing going on around the world…

      • Populuxe1 1.2.1

        Yes. Manufacturing, unless high-end items, is a luxury most OECD countries cannot afford. Unless, or course, you want us to go tits up like Detroit.

        • vto 1.2.1.1

          What do you mean “a luxury we can’t afford”?

          • Populuxe1 1.2.1.1.1

            I mean a subsidised albatross around the neck. It is impossible to compete with Asia in manufacturing, and to pretend we can or need to is vain pride. Nor is it a particularly smart way to earn export dollars in a country that more or less jumped from pre to post-industrial without ever having really been industrial in the first place. Da Shiz is in added value to primary production, intellectual property, and specialist high-end or bespoke luxury tech.

            • karol 1.2.1.1.1.1

              My understanding of tghe focus on manufacturing, as I observed at the manufacturing job crisis summit & joint opposition party inquiry, was that the focus is on high end manufacturing – IT etc.

            • vto 1.2.1.1.1.2

              Yeah, well I’m not so sure about that. The entire system doesn’t sit well. We also cannot afford mass unemployment, which reduced manufacturing results in. We should be relatively self-sufficient in most everything, for obvious longevity and sruvival reasons, not relying on Chinese people for our clothing. Then of course is the issue we clashed on couple week ago – taking advantage of what is in many cases slave type labour, for example our fishing companies (owned by iwi many so don’t see how they square all that away in their minds). We are not prepared to make undies for 25c per hour but we are happy for someone else to get 25c an hour.

              It just doesn’t sit well and I haven’t really explained it that well.

              I guess if we are going to get cheap Chinese people to make all our stuff then what are we going to do with ourselves? And saying high-end doesn’t cut it because even that comes down to capital and labour too – cheapest wins. So it only really leaves being smarter, and I don’t see that anywhere. Who is smarter? And how does that benefit anyone when the smarter ideas only ever manifest themselves at the end of a manufacture process anyway?

              Even value-add primary products… Ever wondered why that has never happenned? Perhaps because it is chaeper to get the Chinese to do the value-add. Oh hang on, isn’t that what they do already?

              So I don’t see it as you do pop. I think the system has some fundamental and major flaws, this globalised system.

              • Populuxe1

                So I don’t see it as you do pop. I think the system has some fundamental and major flaws, this globalised system.
                 
                Well doh! Of course it does. But I’d rather not see the country go down the toilet as we sanctimoniously take the moral high ground because the global economy isn’t going to develop a conscience any time soon,

            • bad12 1.2.1.1.1.3

              What New Zeland manufacturing was ‘subsidized”…

              • Populuxe1

                Didn’t say it was, though farming and forestry certainly were – however to try and keep a lot of low to mid end manufacturing would require subsidies – or at least the sort of economic protection unseen since the Muldoon era.

        • bad12 1.2.1.2

          So previous to the dollar going over the 80 cent against the US dollar value we employed (obviously successfully) 40,000 more people in manufacturing than we do now that the dollar has hit 84 cents against the US dollar,
           
          I fail to see inherent anywhere in that a Chinese person or even the word China, the fact is that it is a mis-nomer to say the New Zealand dollar has gone up in value, it is a fact of the US printing copious amounts of dollars that has caused the US dollar to slide in value, thus by not also printing dollars of an amount so as to dilute the value of the NZ dollar back to a reasonable level of 65-70 cents against the US we have in fact allowed the US to regain some of IT’s competitive advantage while losing our own….

        • bad12 1.2.1.3

          Whatever it is your on must be really strong, tits-up like Detroit??? in the past 2 years as the New Zealand doallr has passed 75 cents and onward to its current 84 cents against the US dollar the country has lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs,
           
          In terms of population that is the New Zeland version of Detroit doing exactly as you have said, perhaps you consider the current level of Government borrowing and unemployment to be sustainable????…

      • mikesh 1.2.2

        To reduce rhe value of the dollar we would need spend more overseas than we are bringing in from exports and borrowing. I don’t see that simply printing money achieves that, though I have nothing against the printing of money in appropriate circumstances.
        Incidentally, Russel Norman seems confused about the difference between quantitive easing and old fashioned keynesianism. What he is suggesting is the latter, not the former.

        • bad12 1.2.2.1

          The value of the dollar is lowered by dilution, printing the stuff just means that there will be more dollars in circulation than there is demand for,
           
          It is not the New Zeland dollar that has gained a huge amount in the past 3 years, it is in fact the US dollar that has slid in value over that time…

    • Flying Kiwi 1.3

      It’s very hard to take advanced-level economic argument from someone with such a limited vocabulary and appalling grammar.
       
      Few would disagree that printing money in the style of Rhodesia or the Weimar Republic is a bad idea but in a limited way and particularly in the situation of a massive unexpected demand such as a rebuild of a city after an earthquake it is one of the first tools a Government should consider when the alternatives are cutting social support programmes, reducing public service wages and cutting back on health, education etc.  Or of course doing nothing at all.
       
      Certainly like any other economic tool “quantative easing” as it’s called these days needs to be handled skillfully, which is why it probably would be better not to undertake it in New Zealand with the current Government and Treasury.
       
       

      • bad12 1.3.1

        Indeed and in it’s draft report to the incomeing Government after the 2008 electioin the IMF gave as 1 reccomendation that the Government use the printing of money,
         
        By the time the draft had turned into the full report all reference to using such a tool had disappeared and the Slippery National Government, like a tribe of primitive knuckle-scraping apes, fell all over themselves to borrow away our childrens futures to the tune of 300 million a week,
         
        Would there have been undue inflation should such a pathetic tribe of fools have instead taken that initial advice and instead printed that 300 million bucks a week???the fact is NO, you must understand that the borrowing of the Slippery National Government is simply making up for the loss in Government revenue after the Financial Crash, there is in effect no actual growth being funded from such borrowing and therefor no inflation is evident, the same would would have of course occurred if the same fiscal situation for the Government was reached via printing money…

  2. bad12 2

    Good stuff Metiria, Russell, and the Green Parliament MP’s, definitely a good year and hopefully another good performance from all next year as well…

  3. veutoviper 3

    Turei has also give a couple of very good interviews on RadioNZ National over the last 24 hours.

    Morning report this morning – http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2541998/green-party's-year-ends-on-a-high.asx

    Checkpoint last night – http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2541939/greens-says-chances-of-surplus-more-tenuous-than-ever.asx

    I have been concerned that Norman seems to have had the running over recent months, so it was good to hear her and she was clear, concise and to the point.

    • karol 3.1

      Thanks, veuto.  I’ve updated the post to include those links.

      • Jim Viperald - Once was colonised 3.1.1

        Cool. I did not think, at the time, that Metiria should be the co-leader but that Sue Bradford would be better.

        However, since then, Metiria has shown she can take on the role superbly and has been growing from strength to strength.

        Right this moment, today, she has my support and party vote.

  4. Lefty 4

    Climate change is the elephant in the room for the Greens.

    They can push a traditional social democrat agenda (to the embarrassment of Labour) in every other area, and they are doing this very well.

    But there are no capitalist or market solutions to climate change that will stand up to proper scrutiny.

    The Greens desperately want to be accepted by the ruling class, their media and their institutions.

    They are suceeding at that too.

    Thus the lack of emphasis on climate change apart from a bit of muttering about carbon taxes and smart green capitalism.

    They seem to think they can play this game and still be a force for radical change.

    Its been tried before.

    The trajectory of most of the Green parties around the world has been to move increasingly to the right, gradually selling off everything worthwhile they stood for in exchange for the illusory power of a place or two in coalition governments.

    Ultimately they will end up so watered down they will be about as much use on climate change as Labour is on protecting the working class.

    • Colonial Weka 4.1

      So what do you think they should do instead? Seriously, I’m interested. Be specific about actions rather than just generalities like they should be more radical.

      • Lefty 4.1.1

        I am not criticising the Greens strong stands on poverty, jobs etc. On the contrary I think it is critical the links between  these things and climate change are made, in particular the economic link. What I criticise is after going to all the trouble of making the links the Greens then let themselves down by pretty much advocating for business as usual with a few reforms.

        Its not that the reform ideas they put forward are not worthy – its just that they will not be enough to significantly slow climate change (or even slow it at all) and don’t lead to questions being asked about the way things are done at present.

         
        There was a time when Greens consistently pointed out that continual growth is not possible. They need to keep hammering this message even though it is not popular and despite the fact that it automatically excludes capitalism as a unsustainable economic system.

         
        They should reject market mechanisms which simply lead to those with the most money being able to hog scarce resources whether they put them to a purpose that is beneficial to all or use them selfishly or wastefully. Instead they should push for a future where resources are used based on achieving the greater good and not used at all if there is no real need or benefit to society.

        Unfortunately they seem to be doing the opposite – wanting to put a monetary price on everything including water and carbon. They don’t seem to understand that its ownership and control that counts – not price.

         
        They should be looking carefully at how we distribute wealth, who owns our resources, how we organise work and how to break the effective monopoly on power and decision making  by a few people  (and I’m not talking about silly citizens initiated referenda). Until changes are made in these areas climate change will not be slowed.

        Surely the only reason for people who want to change the world would go into parliament is to use the access this gives to public forums to ask these sorts of questions?

         
        I was once a Green Party activist. I gave up on it after they supported the Labour Party ETS because they did so on the basis that, although they knew it would be useless, they thought being seen to do something that would probably do more harm than good would be better than not supporting it. They knew the truth is  these schemes severly damage the poor of the world, facilitate all sorts of rorts and are ineffective in slowing climate change yet instead of making a stand for the planet they meekly went along with a sham.
         

        My fear is their committment in other areas is just as shallow.

        The Greens have become a fine centre left party promoting greater fairness within the system and raising the spectre of climate change and I applaoud them for that but they refuse to publicly raise the difficult questions or provide answers to them.

        Ironically, if we look at the Greens in places like Ireland or Germany once they start watering themselves down they seem to find it addictive. In Ireland they supported austerity measures and letting the bankers off the hook after the financial crash, in Germany they have gleefully participated in putting the boot into the unemployed, forcing them to work on their nice little green projects without pay.

        In realise these issues are not simple and being totally uncompromising is a recipe for defeat and I totally understand why people join them or vote for them in this barren political landscape. They also have probably the most committed and hardworking parliamentary team in parliament, apart from Hone who is still a one man band.

        Nevertheles I think the Greens need to ask themselves if their new found popularity among the ruling class because they are making progress in promoting a meaningul green message or is it because they  have changed so much themselves that they no longer pose a risk to the hegemony of the establishment and are simply being absorbed into the mainstream and pose no danger to the business as usual that is destroying the planet.
         
         
         
         
         
         

        • fatty 4.1.1.1

          Quality comment Lefty! Especially the last paragraph…a difficult question to answer. Worthy of an in-depth debate

    • Your comments lack accuracy, Lefty. Climate change does not grab MSM attention in the same way that issues around the economy, jobs and child poverty does, but that doesn’t mean the Green Party has been sitting on its collective hands in this area. Kennedy Graham has been fighting a stong battle regarding the Governments lack of will to address climate change and his speech accussing it of “ecocide” was widely reported. 
      Close scrutiny of the Green’s policies and campaigns (the green jobs package, the home insulation scheme, the ICT package, the campaign against new coal mining and fracking) are all about dealing with the causes of climate change. It is one thing to continually talk about the threat of climate change but another to address the causes. It is far more effective to promote practical solutions then to continually dwell on the dangers. 

  5. Colonial Weka 5

    The Greens are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Makes sense to me that the environment would underpin all their policies rather than being separate. That’s the whole point of having a Green party – that they green up the mainstream concerns, rather than just staying on the margins as an environmental party. It’s actually a sign of success, and a sign that NZ is maturing with regards to the environment. Of course it’s nowhere near radical enough, but that’s NZ’s problem, not the GPs.

    • karol 5.1

      That’s a very good point, weka.  I come  from a social justice, left wing, anti-neoliberal, more than an environmental perspective. I am very happy that we have a left wing party (Greens) that is focusing strongly on issues of income equality/fairness, poverty, job-creation, the economy etc.
       
      And given the current state of dwindling resources, a green element needs to be an integral part of policies.  I don’t see why the Green Party can’t be more up-front in promoting the way all these areas hang together.

      • Colonial Weka 5.1.1

        I also think the GP could be more up-front in promoting how it all hangs together. I’ll be interested to see what they do next year. They’re in a good position this far ahead of the election. Still, I’m glad Bradford has found a home for her more radical voice and I hope to see more of Mana next year too. I hope they learn how to work together.

  6. bad12 6

    Yeah seriously, just how enviromental can the Greens get and remain more than a small party hovering at the margins of 5% electoral support,

    It is obvious that the Greens have been doing a bit of polling research themselves, and i think i heard Metiria speak to this point on RadioNZ National this morning,

    If ‘the economy’ and ‘issues of poverty’ are of more concern NOW to those you see as your core vote as per those hated ‘research polls’ then what is the intelligent course of action for the Green Party,

    Keep banging on endlessly on issues of ecology??? or, having at it’s core a strong bias toward issues of social justice, (an area Metiria was heavily involved in when i met Her 20 odd years ago), would it not be more profitable in terms of electoral support for the Greens to up their performance in the latter areas and leave ecology on the back burner???…

    • Jenny 6.1

      Will the Greens to become just another poll driven party?

      Or will they become a party that drives the polls?

      Are the Greens to become followers?

      Or will they remain leaders?

  7. Jenny 7

    Is ignoring climate change by the Green Party, preparation to become part of an administration that increases CO2 emissions?

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/12/18-1

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escarpment_Mine_Project

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