A message from the base

Written By: - Date published: 1:39 pm, April 8th, 2009 - 164 comments
Categories: greens - Tags:

As regular readers will know I’ve been an active Green supporter since the Alliance left parliament. I’ve not agreed with all of their policies and over the years I’ve had serious issues with the more amateur aspects of their campaigns but they have been the party in parliament that most accurately reflects what I’d like to see done.

Today that political amateurism has made me seriously rethink my support for the Greens.

By cutting a deal with the National party the Greens have provided National with a smokescreen of centrism that they desperately need right now as the electorate starts to cotton onto their hard right agenda and even the Maori party is turning on them. In short it’s a PR coup for John Key and his government.

And what have the Greens got in return? The home insulation fund that National were already moving toward anyway and some local regulations on health supplements.

Now is the time for the Left to oppose the new Right, not to facilitate them in exchange for stuff that is already being done or rats and mice policies about who licenses ginseng-based penis enhancement pills. But that’s what the Greens have done today and I didn’t spend time and energy campaigning for them for that.

My problem is that I believe that it is the duty of citizens to participate in representative democracy. Not because I believe we have the best system available but because I believe in working with what you’ve got.

I’m currently looking at a Labour Party membership form. I haven’t been a member since the 1980’s and, as you’ll know, I’m not a great fan of them now. I’m gonna have to sleep on it.

Update: Need I say more?

164 comments on “A message from the base”

  1. Tane 1

    I know you’re angry now bro, but just be careful Labour doesn’t catch you on the rebound. Those are always the messiest relationships…

  2. infused 2

    Poor you… Maybe it’s time to start The Standard party? Makes sense really… then you can’t complain 😛

    • BLiP 2.1

      More in-depth analysis from Infused. You know, you really need to pull your socks up.

      • Tane 2.1.1

        I think he was just having a laugh.

      • infused 2.1.2

        Wasn’t an analysis at all. Was a statement. Stop trolling. I really don’t care for the Greens at all… hence my in depth analysis.

        I genuinely think a “The Standard” party is probably a good idea…

        • ripp0 2.1.2.1

          hey, hey Inf — you doing these F-slips about national lacking standard/s is not helpful. Not one bit.. or byte..

  3. archdupe 3

    I wonder what Andrew Little is thinking ?

  4. Gareth 4

    Personally I hope it signals the shift in the Greens from a Left/Right framing, to a Sustainable/Unsustainable framing that Nandor has long espoused.
    However that’s clearly not for you and fair enough.

    It’s a pretty narrow “deal” that sees things that the Greens want to do get done. So long as they don’t feel any more “muzzled” than usual political positioning then go for it.

    • Chess Player 4.1

      I would like to see the Greens make such a move too, however I suspect that as long as Bradford and Locke are involved, they will have a hard time convincing the wider electorate that the Greens are anything other than ‘extreme Left’.

      Having those two involved seems to guarantee the Greens sufficient support that they don’t have to sweat to get over the 5% every 3 years, but also means that many other potential supporters are turned off even though they seem to occasionally have some sensible policies.

      Interesting challenges for the Greens ahead…

      • ripp0 4.1.1

        how ‘left’ and where left are national..??

        would such a party – National (name) certainly implieth a broadness in political discourse if not in fact – hold merger possibs in its left margin..?

    • Lew 4.2

      This is my hope as well. I think they’ve taken a leaf from the māori party’s book and are trying to create a bidding war between the two major parties for their constituency’s favours. Risky game, though.

      L

      • chris 4.2.1

        Exactly, I can’t stand the greens because most of their policies are just far too left for me. If they got rid of the hard left element, reconciled the fact that the market can create real innovation whilst protecting the environment then I think they will connect with a lot more people than the renegade left who support them now. Why the greens have to be a party for labour’s dreggs is beyond me

        • SjS 4.2.1.1

          “the market can create real innovation whilst protecting the environment”

          Any examples of the market doing something that protects the environment without being forced to do so by regulations?

          Captcha: Goodwin Lincoln

          • Chess Player 4.2.1.1.1

            Ever heard of the Body Shop? Or numerous other similar stores….?

            How about shoppers reverting to reusable bags rather than plastic bags?

            How about people voting for the Greens?

            How about all those regular donations to Greenpeace?

            Need any more examples?

            It’s really quite easy once you get past the prevailing dogma on this blog that making a buck is by definition Evil…

          • George Darroch 4.2.1.1.2

            The Body Shop is a scam. A veneer of greenness and social responsibility which have been been pushed from the core of their business model.

            Good moisturisers though.

          • jono 4.2.1.1.3

            Chess player – Sorry – how is a donation to Greenpeace a market innovation? It is actually possible for people to do things without the market being involved. There’s a good article in Prospect about the future of capitalism that may help elucidate the differences between society and the market.

        • ripp0 4.2.1.2

          chris,

          example please of real innovation in the market.. just one will do.. but of course if you have a mind… for more than one feel free..

          • chris 4.2.1.2.1

            hemp based plastics?

            • lprent 4.2.1.2.1.1

              Plastic is a property – means it will deform or bend. Typically made out of longer chain molecules with high degrees of covalent bonds. You can make plastics out of almost anything organic. The oil-based ones happen to have most of the pressure/heat work largely done, so they are cheaper to make.

              • Chris

                exactly, but hemp is proving to be more and more capable of being a good petroleum based lastic substitute, regulations governing the cultivation of hemp crops are dubious though….

          • ripp0 4.2.1.2.2

            addendum for chris’s reply (there’s no ‘reply’ button to his reply)

            hemp-based plastics

            tell me how this is not an oxymoron — hemp is natural – plastics (excepting perhaps biodegradeable polyamides) are not natural

  5. Welcome back IrishBill

  6. bobo 6

    I don’t understand it either, whats in it for the Greens really, no way will National be spending 1 billion on retro fitting.., I wonder if Rod Donald would have done this if he was still around. Could this be a clever double bluff by the greens to walk out on National on some point in the future but somehow I think they are too naive for political posturing, Ryall and Sue Kedgley working together, odd mix I guess stranger things have happened.

  7. DeeDub 7

    Even the Greens seem to want ‘the centre’???!!! Bizarre.

    You have my sympathies Irish . . .

  8. Felix 8

    From the NBR:

    In return the Greens will be asked to “consider facilitating government legislation via procedural support on a case by case basis.’

    Is this any different from how the greens have always voted? I’m finding it difficult to understand what the Greens are bringing to the table apart from lending more legitimacy to the govt.

    And as IB says, even harder to see what the Nats are bringing. Does anyone really believe that the Nats won’t just piss all over the Greens whenever it really matters, just like they do to the maori Party?

    • bobo 8.1

      Golden Shower politics at its best 🙂

      • Felix 8.1.1

        Trickle down democracy?

      • ak 8.1.2

        yep….honeymoon over, roll out the kinky sex with reprobates (and let Culs watch) to keep the marriage alive. Never mind the kids – where can they go? – but I wonder what the spotty teens over at the sewer think of all this…..

        (cap: calarina watching, freakish…)

    • BLiP 8.2

      Nope.

  9. Bill 9

    That MoU is one very fucked up document from a Green perspective.

    Yes. They are ‘allowed’ to say what they want about anything they want.

    But. Not if it involves something both parties are in discussion/negotiation over.

    Because then only joint statements can be released. And where does the power reside?

    The Greens have gagged themselves.

    Sickening idiocy.

    http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/0904/Memorandum_of_Understanding_between_the_National_Party_and_the_Green_Party.pdf

  10. Doug 10

    It?s John Key making Labour irrelevant, will be an interesting few years ahead.

    • vidiot 10.1

      It’s a bloody good example of MMP working.

      He’s (John Key) not showing any of the old FPP mentality that was previously around in previous NZ governments.

      • jono 10.1.1

        I think its more JK telling whatever audience he’s speaking too what ever they want to hear without really meaning any of it.

  11. toad 11

    Not sure what you’re getting so upset about IB.

    1) The Greens will continue to vote against National on confidence and supply.

    2) The Greens will continue to vote against any National legislation that moves in a direction contrary to Green policy – including it’s anti-worker and anti-environmental legislation and any moves towards privatisation.

    “…consider facilitating government legislation via procedural support on a case by case basis” means helping them out occasionally in the House when Gerry Brownlee stuffs up procedurally. I can’t imagine the Greens doing this on Bills thay oppose.

    There is no compromise of Green policy involved in this MoU, so as a Green supporter I don’t have a problem with it.

    IrishBill: in a perfect world the detail would be all that mattered. But it’s not. All this does is facilitate National’s right wing agenda by providing them with the appearance of centrism. And it’s been done for very little policy gain. One of the problems I’ve always had with the Greens is their inability to see the consequences of their actions within a broader social and political discourse. Especially since Rod died. Previously this has been kind of endearing in a morris-dance-dressed-as-frogs kind of a way. But in this case it is causing actual political harm to the Left. You may be able to tolerate that but I can’t.

    • Bill 11.1

      The MoU means the Greens are now gagged on home insulation and health supplement regimes.

      All they can say on such issues will now be determined by Nat as per ‘joint statements’.

      In the future, the Nats merely have to engage the Greens in dialogue…go through the motions of cooperation….and the subject of that dialogue cannot be commented on by the Greens.

      Which means that we, the voters get kept even more in the dark than at present.

      I have a deep sense of unease…a sense that the democracy we have ( for what it’s worth) is being subjected to death by a thousand cuts. And the Greens are now complicit in that.

    • ak 11.2

      Agreed Bill: the morris-dancing frogs thing (luv it!) never did a lot for the Alliance, which is when I went right off them…. too naive and middle-class for the real world.
      Top PR coup for the tories, played up by their media. Thanks, Jeanette.

      • frog 11.2.1

        Sorry, IB, I don’t Morris dance! If you don’t think that the consequences of this MoU have been thought out, you’re in la la land. Of course they have.

        One of the consequences is that almost 900,000 kiwi homes are likely to get insulated and energy efficiency retro-fitted. Just in health terms – forget energy – there are over 400,000 kiwis with asthma and COPD who will not be running to the hospital 3 or 4 times each winter and costing us both a bomb in cash and themselves some serious misery. That’s a terrible consequence!

        Another is that OMG! The Australian’s may not in fact be dictating to kiwi supplement firms what they can and cannot do and say. That too would be terrible. We can’t have choice in our own market, can we?

        • IrishBill 11.2.1.1

          The retro-fitting was happening anyway. On your second point I can only say that the freedom of health supplement firms is not exactly the kind of issue I think is worth undermining the broad Left for. If you do then all power to you, but I’m not going to deliver your leaflets or nail up your hoardings next time around.

        • kinoy009 11.2.1.2

          “likely” hmmmmmmmmmmm do you relly beleive that the national party will go through with it? Where is the money coming from you fool…. Do you not listen to John key saying everyday that their is NO more money?

          Cant wait for the green party support to drop…. Good one jeanette!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Russell – your a joke

  12. This is particularly bad timing given the Maori Party’s rejection of the Auckland Governance review decision. Just when a wedge was appearing the Green’s action will ease National’s angst.

  13. Ag 13

    Well, they’ve lost my vote.

    I can’t be arsed voting at all now. It’s a waste of time.

    • Lew 13.1

      Ag: if that’s the case, aren’t the forces of evil winning?

      L

      • Ag 13.1.1

        No. It just demonstrates that democracy isn’t very good at enabling us to solve environmental problems. Any effort to that end would be better directed at influencing government bureaucrats, businesspeople and others in positions of authority, rather than wasting time trying to convince the voting public.

        The environmental stuff is the only genuinely important issue. Everything else is just the usual squabbling.

        • Lew 13.1.1.1

          It just demonstrates that democracy isn’t very good at enabling us to solve environmental problems.

          Or it demonstrates that the environmental movement isn’t very good at turning democracy to its ends.

          Frankly, I prefer to believe that the environmental movement is politically incompetent (that is, unable to use the tools at its disposal) than that it’s politically evil (that is, prepared to abandon democracy as a means to its ends).

          L

          • Ag 13.1.1.1.1

            Nope. Environmental problems are exactly the sort of long term, slow developing problems that democracies are hopeless at dealing with.

            The most obvious example of such a problem is the re-arming of Germany in the 1930s, and the failure of the democracies to do anything other than appeasement until it was too late. It’s just very difficult to get people to give things up now to prevent problems in the future, especially when the evidence is not immediately apparent, as it is in a movie like “The Day After Tomorrow”.

            The environmental movement has scored numerous victories where people did not have to give up much, or the problem was obvious, or there was a cheap solution. Air quality in major cities is an example, so is our ever decreasing reliance on chlorofluorocarbons, and so is increased awareness of problem pesticides and so on.

            Climate change is a much tougher proposition than that. The current political wisdom is to talk big, but do nothing. It’s not anywhere close to good enough, and the people who engage it in will look like the appeasers to future generations.

            People like to blame corporations or propaganda or whatever, but they should really blame their own voting habits.

  14. jarbury 14

    It seems as though all the Greens are “offering” is the potential support for National legislation on a case-by-case basis. I agree with others that’s what they were likely to do in any case.

    The worry is how badly the Greens will be gagged on issues they are working with National on.

    Seems like the Greens get more out of this than National. The wingnuts on Kiwiblog are spitting tacks – which is always a good sign.

    • Tane 14.1

      The wingnuts on Kiwiblog are ideologues who don’t understand realpolitik. Key’s people know exactly what they’re doing.

      • gingercrush 14.1.1

        That isn’t a fair comment when Irishbill himself is very ideological as are others in this thread.

        • Tane 14.1.1.1

          You can have strong political views and still understand realpolitik, but the folks on Kiwiblog don’t. They’re fucking unhinged is what they are.

      • lprent 14.1.2

        ideologues
        idiotlogues

        Damn woke up and found that the world has gone beyond the looking glass

  15. Christopher Nimmo 15

    Irish, the environment is more important than maintaining a class war. This won’t shut the Greens up for one instant

    • Tane 15.1

      I’d say all they’ve done is provide a smokescreen for National’s winding back of the few environmental protections we currently have.

      And I don’t see anything in the deal promising action on the ETS, a backdown on the RMA reforms or anything else meaningful.

      Forget the detail, most people out there will see John Key on the working with the Greens and read it as “National is centrist and cares about the environment”.

      They’ve betrayed the Left through their own stupidity.

      • Chess Player 15.1.1

        And Labour is therefore becoming even more shut out of the picture than now….they really do look ineffectual these days, and National are taking full advantage of that.

  16. tommy onions 16

    I am surprised that anyone is surprised. I see the Green Party as a lobby group more than a political party – so it’s no surprise they’d hop into bed with the Nats albeit they’re claiming they’ll be keeping their knickers on so there’ll be no funny business.

    How can there be any accommodation with the political party that advances the political and economic interests of corporations – which see environmentalism as the last barrier to the complete global domination of free market capitalism?

    Post WW2 corporate activism splintered the political left and broke the back of the Labour movement, then turned its focus on the environmental movement which, without its natural allies, has been consistently out-manoeuvred and outgunned everywhere in the world.

    So, I agree with Irishbill – this strengthens National’s hand in presenting themselves as the ‘natural party of government’ and as guardians of the centre ground – just as the Maori Party support did.

    • Quoth the Raven 16.1

      Post WW2 corporate activism splintered the political left and broke the back of the Labour movement.

      Very very true. But the corporatism started with the disgusting New Deal and people who consider themselves left are still praising that.
      The left has always been more fractious than the right, though.

  17. Tom Gould 17

    Isn’t Russell Norman a closet tory anyway?

    • frog 17.1

      Goodness. On my blog they’re calling him a communist. Make up your minds!

      • Chris G 17.1.1

        saw him labelled as a ‘marxist’ over at kiwiblog. Oh, they also called Cullen that.

      • Pascal's bookie 17.1.2

        Did the people saying that on your blog vote green last year, frog?

        • Macro 17.1.2.1

          Very few who respond on frogblog have even the remotest interest in the environment or social justice, they are simply there to troll. Which is a real pity for they stifle any meaningful debate.

          • lprent 17.1.2.1.1

            Which we don’t tolerate here for any length of time. If you can’t contribute to the debate usefully or be amusing and innovative then my attitude is that I really don’t want to read it – so I ensure that I don’t have to.

  18. chris 18

    Why does the left have to be the custodians of the environment? I think that’s what pisses off a lot of people about the greens. All the wingnut lefties who use the party to further their social cause instead of actually protecting the environment. Why can’t they be like green parties in other countries that are a credible voice on the environment and are able to enact environmental policies accross ideological boundaries?

    • Chess Player 18.1

      “Why can’t they be like green parties in other countries that are a credible voice on the environment and are able to enact environmental policies accross ideological boundaries?”

      Perhaps this is the first move in such a strategy?

      Choice of leadership through this transition will be critical…

      • Tane 18.1.1

        I’ll lay it out simply:

        – Environmental protections cost businesses money.

        – Businesses by their very nature try to reduce costs, which means they tend to oppose environmental regulations.

        – Parties of the Right, such as National and ACT, are the political expressions of business.

        – Therefore these parties tend to oppose environmental protections as much as possible.

        Most of the environmental policy you see from the Right (when they’re not scrapping it) is greenwash to avoid losing the support of voters who are concerned about the environment.

        • Daveski 18.1.1.1

          Perhaps historically Tane but not so in the future.

          Green IT is about smarter business use of technology.

          NZ’s “clean and green” image (however unjustified) will increasingly become a major business differentiator.

          Your fundamental premise is wrong anyway. Business by their very nature try to increase their profits.

          The Greens have stuffed themselves in the past by trying to be left and green. This move allows them to be seen as a genuine green party, not a more extreme version of Labour.

          Frankly, the only real loser out of this is Labour which is why we can expect to see so much angst here.

          • Macro 18.1.1.1.1

            “Your fundamental premise is wrong anyway. Business by their very nature try to increase their profits.” That is the fundamental premise of Tane’s argument! They do this in the short term by ignoring the consequences of their behaviour both environmentally and socially.

    • Chris

      Just look at the RMA reforms and what the Nats want to allow individuals to do to trees on their properties.

      The intention is to allow open slather unless a tree is specifically protected. All apparently in the name of reducing democracy and supporting individual rights.

      And look at what they have already done to biofuels and emissions trading in the first 100 days.

      They cannot be trusted. They try to appear “blue green” but the reality is that they will undermine and did oppose every effective environmental measure that the previous government put up.

      • chris 18.2.1

        my point exactly, if the greens appealed to voters who leaned towards the neo-liberal economically but still appreciated the reality of climate change they may have got more votes and been able to be part of this govt. I’m not a right winger, I voted labour beccause I like their balance. I am something of a fan of Australian Economist Steven Keen. I believe economics is a good framework to analyse policy, good economics, however. neo-liberal supply and demand and it’s demonising of monopoly are complete fallacies but that’s for another time…my point is that if the green party really cared about the environment they would work out that national voters do too and leave the left stuff to someone else (alliance perhaps?) and try and become a cross boundary voice for the environment

        Wishful thinking though.

  19. tommy onions 19

    “Why does the left have to be the custodians of the environment?”

    Um, could it be because the people who are most likely to see the need to protect the environment sit on the left of the political spectrum whilst those on the right are more likely to see the environment as something to be exploited for corporate and/or personal gain?

    “I think that’s what pisses off a lot of people about the greens. All the wingnut lefties who use the party to further their social cause instead of actually protecting the environment.”

    Oh, so if all the ‘wingnut lefties’ went away, the green movement would suddenly become credible and able to cross ‘ideological boundaries’ without being shot at and the public would suddenly see through all that anti-environmentalist propaganda and sign up to become eco-warriors and the Greens would save the world?

    Lovely.

    • jimbo 19.1

      Tommy do you have any views that don’t begin with “people on the right are only interested in money and/or personal gain”?

      • tommy onions 19.1.1

        Jimbo – I doubt I’ve ever actually said anything quite that reductionist. My statement was posed as a question and included the words ‘more likely’.

        I don’t dispute that some ‘people on the right’ may care passionately about the environment and work tirelessly to protect it – I just fail to understand how they can do so and remain right wing. 🙂

        I also accept that some left wing regimes have wrought havoc on the environment – usually in the course of pursuing a western style model of industrialisation – oh and not forgetting the arms race.

        • jimbo 19.1.1.1

          Well I might be wrong but I’m not sure anyone has ever found any statistical correlation between voting “left” and willingness to recycle, for example. In my view, even when you add the word “likely”, you’re simply pulling that characterisation out of your arse. You’ve based in on some sort of Hollywood Gordon Gecko view of what constitutes the Right’s core constituency, and a conversely rainbow-tinted view of what constitutes the typical left-wing voter.

          There was a pretty big swing to the right over the last couple of years – do all those swing voters give less of a sh1t about the environment than you…? Have they suddenly stopped caring now that they abandoned Helen Clark?

          The Left needs to quickly learn that the other side is (generally) not inherently evil, uncaring, selfish or money-driven. A lot of the time, people on the Right simply believe that Left policies DO NOT WORK. HC’s government had lots of great-sounding policies on the environment – but none of them were working.

          The Left needs to start engaging on policy, rather than simply saying: “I am an inherently better person that you because I am left-wing, therefore whatever you say on the topic should be disregarded or belittled.”

    • archdupe 19.2

      [Tane: Higherstandard, you’re still banned under this handle and every other handle you’ve posted under.]

  20. George Darroch 20

    I think that 9 years of being outside the tent has softened the resolve of the Greens. I also think that the composition of their membership has become more conservative. I was mightily frustrated by their refusal to engage with the working families of Aotearoa in the last election, instead trying to be a slick party of ‘middle NZ’.

    Is it too late to change the Greens? I don’t know for sure, but I think it isn’t. Of the MPs there are a few who disturb me with their analysis, but I think that the majority are either sympathetic to the left or can fit within a left party (I’m thinking of new MPs).

    If I was you IrishBill, I’d wait the few months until the new co-leader assumes her role, see what direction the party is headed in, and then leave if things haven’t changed. I’d also group with those in the party who are properly concerned with the issues of workers and poor to see what can be done.

    • IrishBill 20.1

      You might be right George. I must say I’ve missed the Alliance today more than I have since they, well, imploded.

  21. jimbo 21

    This sort of move by the Greens is to be admired. Labour could have formed a relationship (or welcomed into Government) the Greens but it chose not to. Labour assumed the Greens would always support it in a choice between Labour and National (and they would have, if the election had not been a landslide).

    So National is quite sensibly looking to change that situation. National is saying, “Your ‘friends’ Labour ignored you even when they held power. Why not try and work with us rather than simply risking it with Labour. Labour will probably not be back for 6-9 years – do you rekon you’ll survive if you continue to follow them around like a little puppy hoping for a treat?”

    Labour talked a good game on the environment but achieved little. Lets hope National – with Green influence however that turns out – achieves a hell of lot more.

    • George Darroch 21.1

      Yeah, there is a hell of a lot of frustration with Labour and their cheap talk.

      But thus far National have been even worse. I see this as an attempt to stop things getting worserer [sic]. A worthwhile attempt? I don’t know. Pros and cons on either side.

  22. the sprout 22

    there are times when the Greens’ naivity is endearing.
    this isn’t one of them.

    • Macro 22.1

      Well said sprout!
      Yes I have to agree. I fully support the desire to have NZ homes retro insulated and the desirability of having our own regime on herbal suppliments. But while the tactics are good – the overall strategy is lamentable.

  23. gingercrush 23

    What a strange thread. What strange responses. If anything this week has truly exposed the utter disdain and utter incompetence that is the blogosphere in New Zealand. With the right shrieking at Cullen being put on a SOE board and now with the left decrying the Greens actions today.

    Yet isn’t this what MMP is supposed to be about and surely what most of New Zealand would like. When New Zealand voted to change from a First-Past-the-Post system to a Mixed-Member-Proportional system it wasn’t just to change how we vote and who gets represented in government. It was a response to a parliament that was too partisan, that too quickly allowed ideology to get in the way of actual policy. The public quite rightly expected a change when we got MMP, they no longer wanted a parliament that was adversial but rather a parliament that co-operated. Key has signaled he has the ability to do it. Its no surprise that the media and quite rightly point out how efficient Clark was in managing MMP party relationships. Key has proven himself I think to be even better than Clark was. And while it may upset the real ideologues of the left and of the right. For most New Zealanders it will show that MMP itself has evolved. Co-operation of parties is surely in the best interest of democracy for almost all New Zealanders.

    I also find it ironic. Since whenever I have debates with people over how the Greens should focus on environment issues and not on social justice and other things. I get criticised for not understanding the Greens philosophy. Yet if my understand from that thread somewhere here at The Standard is correct. By the Greens signing a Memo of understanding and further implement Green goals. That by itself is furthering the Greens philosophy, furthering their goals. And by its very nature is what the Green movement is all about in the first place.

    • Tane 23.1

      gc, you seem to misunderstand the criticism being levelled. It’s one that I share.

      The Greens, by signing this deal with National, have gained little if anything in concrete terms. What they’ve done is provide a hugely valuable PR smokescreen for National’s trashing of the few existing environmental protections we have.

      If they’d managed to get a decent ETS in place or averted the worst elements of the RMA reforms I might have some sympathy with your argument. But they haven’t.

      All the Greens have done is strengthen the hand of a government intent on trashing the environment, and that’s far more harmful in the long-run.

      • George Darroch 23.1.1

        Perhaps they think that they will be able to speak about other issues. They will, technically, of course, putting out releases and making speeches.

        But will the media listen to them? Given their current track record of talking about what parties actually do, I’m not very certain of that.

      • gingercrush 23.1.2

        They’re already working on the ETS as there are cross-party talks on it. These are two specific areas where the Greens and National have signed an agreement. As for this being a PR exercise. Everything in politics is effectively PR. This has benefits for National but I actually think it does a lot of good for the Greens as well.

        Personally, I think its great the Greens have signed up to such an understanding. I can understand somewhat why some on the left are disappointed. But I think such moves should be part of MMP and I do believe it enhances democracy.

        • jimbo 23.1.2.1

          Tane – you describe this government as: “intent on trashing the environment”.

          Is that an honestly held view of what the current government’s policy goals are, or is it a little bit of poetic license?

    • Daveski 23.2

      Well said GC

    • Quoth the Raven 23.3

      Ginger – Don’t just to denounce everything because of ideology. People have ideals and beliefs as I’m sure you do. It is ludricrous and disingenous to simply denounce something just because you say it’s “ideological”.
      Environmentalism is an ideology. Simple.

      • gingercrush 23.3.1

        Ideals and beliefs are fine QtR. But blind ideology which I believe to be a symptom of both the right and left are in themselves unnecessary and inherently stupid. Eventually, all ideological positions must undergo negotiation and ultimately involves a compromise.

    • Chess Player 23.4

      “And by its very nature is what the Green movement is all about in the first place.”

      Correct, but it was then gazzumped by the rejects from the Alliance. Even Jim Anderson couldn’t stand them……

      What we see now is, I believe, a good step forward and a very shrewd move to ensure that the Greens get some good publicity over the next 3 years.

      Looks like everyone’s now ‘in the tent’ except Labour……..poor loves…

  24. dave 24

    I think it is as great agreement and good politics. Key manages to get both the Greens and the Maori Party on side at the same time. That’s a bit like Labour getting Act and United Future onside at the same time.

    Clark could never do that. Which makes Key a good Prime minister already. In fact Clarek pissed the Greens and the Maori Party right off. . National are now the natural party of Government. Andrew Little must be really pissed off that hes presiding over a party that is the last cab off the rank – but a cab without wheels.Yussssss! And there’s not much use for a cab with a good steering wheel if it hasn’t got wheels.

    • the sprout 24.1

      ah Dave, Clark could’ve done that, it’s more she wouldn’t do that because she’d be shrewd enough to see it’s political suicide.

      it’s easy enough to get into bed, much harder to make it last without tears – or catching something nasty.

  25. gingercrush 25

    BTW why do you need to consider joining Labour? What about being completely outside any party. That doesn’t mean you don’t participate in representative democracy. By your very nature, as a blogger you consistently uphold left values particular around issues such as workers right.

    • IrishBill 25.1

      I do plenty outside of party politics GC, but I believe in being active in party politics as well. It’s about using every tool at your disposal to drive change and party politics is too big and useful a tool to ignore.

  26. Quoth the Raven 26

    I think this is the time for the left in New Zealand to start seriously advocating participatory democracy. Particularly with the issues on Auckland’s governance and the Green party’s decision. The left ought to call for decentralisation for devolution of powers and for broader participation in governance. Truly principled people of the left should begin to disentangle themselves from party politics. I know this is all far too radical for the social democrats and for the right self-governance and self-ownership are a threat to their interests and privileges.

    • The Baron 26.1

      God, I’m all in favour of participatory democracy, but are you kidding about everyone having a call on the Greens decision here? What exactly would you be putting up for decision – ahh that the Greens need their loyal fans’ permission to make deals in the House?

      Look, the Greens have always been a Green party first, and a left party second, despite what Bradford thinks. They have obviously determined that the best way to advance their green priorities is trading on some of the other stuff – a simple case of expediency.

      If you don’t like it, here’s some options:

      1. don’t vote green next time you have a chance

      2. Or, join the green party and push for change internally. Their structures are oh so ponderously democratic!

      3. Or start your own Green party that stays true to its watermelon-ism…

      You’ve got to give Key credit though – such coalition management used to be a strength of labours… now you seem fundamentally outplayed. And all I see in response here is Labourites freaking out – that ain’t a strategy, team!

      • Quoth the Raven 26.1.1

        I’m not passing judgement on the Green’s decision. Merely noticing that some green supporters are unhappy with the decision of their representatives – hence my call for participatory democracy. To each of your points: I wasn’t even considering voting for the Greens. It is ridiculous to ask someone who doesn’t think much of representative democracy to start with and supports participatory democracy to “start your own green party” or join a party and change it internally.

  27. The Voice of Reason 27

    Got the answer to your difficulties right here, Irish.

    https://secure.labourparty.org.nz/join/

    There is no such thing as an ‘independant lefty’. If you believe in collectivism, joining a party of the left is the best expression of that belief.

    • Quoth the Raven 27.1

      There is no such thing as an ‘independant lefty’. If you believe in collectivism, joining a party of the left is the best expression of that belief.
      This is a statement based on nothing more than your absolute ignorance. Your ignorance of collectivism and your ignorance of the left. Individualism is the domain of the left. The right is characterised by authoritarianism and hence the denial of the individual. There need be no contradiciton between collectivism, if the word is to be rightly understood, and individualism. Individualism does not mean atomism. Humans are social animals and hence work together cooperatively, collectively. To put individualism and collectivism up as an absolute dichotomy is nonsensical. Moreover, many on the left, many more than on the right, detest party politics.

      • The Voice of Reason 27.1.1

        ‘This is a statement based on nothing more than your absolute ignorance. Your ignorance of collectivism and your ignorance of the left.’

        Ooooh, did I touch a nerve? The only absolute ignorance is that which you display by assuming you know anything about me. You don’t. Those who do know me, know that I have an intimate knowlege of collectivism, in all its many forms, and I’ve been a socialist my entire adult life. A bloody well read socialist at that. And well bloodied too, on more picket lines, actions, demos etc than I could possibly list here. I have made a difference, QTR, by being involved, not sitting on the sidelines carping and moaning.

        You have misread or misunderstood what I said. Here it is again; ‘There is no such thing as an idependant lefty’. If you style yourself as such (cf Chris Trotter), then you stand aside from those you claim to be part of and you are a dilletante at best and tool of the boss class at worst.

        If there is a union on site, join it. If its a good union, join it to make it better. If it’s a bad union, join it for the same reason. If there is a left party, join it to make it better too.

        I put the link to the Labour party sign up page because I think it’s the right time for Irish Bill to look at putting his political energies into returning a left wing, Labour led government. And the best place for IB, me and most of the saner contributors here is still the NZ Labour Party.

        But as for you, comrade; No more, QTR, no more!

        • Quoth the Raven 27.1.1.1

          Yes, I took it to mean something else, entirely. You touched a nerve because I thought this was the general right wing misunderstanding of indiviudalism vs collectivism. If you’re saying as a lefty you should join a political party that is absurd as I have pointed out – many on the left don’t even believe in party politics. Just like you I would encourage people to join unions &c, but unions and other organisations are not political parties. If you believe in social democratic parties than by all means join the Labour party and support them, but if you don’t think the social democrats have achieved much and have all too often had a cosy relationship with the power structures of big business than don’t. And I would encourage Irish not to join the Labour party. Lastly, there is such a thing as an independent lefty – the man alone, the drop-out, the lifestylers. The left has a long tradition of these sort of people. I think dropping out is useless and doesn’t achieve anything, but saying that there is no such thing as an independent lefty is simply wrong.

      • jimbo 27.1.2

        QTR – you have such an outdated view of what the right is that it’s not funny. To say “the right is characterised by authoritarianism” is simply not correct, unless you believe all right-wing dogma to have descended from Fascism.

        Sure, you can base your worldview on your own position as an anarchist, but the philosophy of “let’s all act in our own self interest (within boundaries) and everything will work out for the best” is certainly not a left-wing position.

        You have to expect to be called out when you say something as patently ridiculous as “Individualism is the domain of the Left”, especially when many of your fellow-lefties often go to great pains to claim the exact opposite.

        • Quoth the Raven 27.1.2.1

          Jimbo – I don’t have an outdated view of left and right I have a view of left and right that many people share. People have different views of left and right and that’s fine. There’s not some clear dividing line between left and right, they’re relative terms and not set in stone, they’re part of an ongoing discourse. You clearly disagree with my characterization of the right. If you wish you can give me a definition of what you think the right wing is. I personally think you’ll have a hard time escaping the label of authoritarian and you can’t just hold some ahistorical view. If you look at history you can take it all the way back to where we get the terms left and right from the French Legislative Assembly after the revolution of 1789. Where those who sat on the right were supporters of the ancien régime – the dethroned monarchy and the aristocrats. On the left sat those opposed to this. On the left you had people like Frédéric Bastiat, a radical laissez-faire advocate and Proudhon, the first self-described anarchist. It’s interesting to me that people like Murray Rothbard, an austrian economist who came from the right to libertarianism, saw his anti-state, anti-authority position as as far left as you could possibly go. He struck up a brief alliance with those in the New Left in the sixties before his opinions changed again. Then there is people like Karl Hess who was a speech writer for the republican party, who became an anarchist and characterised his position as as far left as you could go. Logically then if you take that view, like I do, then as far right as you can go is some authoritarian nightmare. Here is an article by Karl Hess: the Left-Right spectrum – which is basically the view I accept.

  28. mike 28

    Gee wizz Keys good. Phil and Andrew will have to drown their sorrows at Hels leaving bash tonight…

  29. toad 29

    The Greens are not “on-side” with the Nats.

    We oppose the Gnats politically, and we oppose Labour politically. We do that because neither of those Parties has any real environmental analysis. Labour has somewhat of a class analysis, but has progressively lost the plot since, um, actually, since when Joe Savage died.

    Helen got them slightly more on track that they were when Roger and Richard ruled the roost in Labour, but they still made minimal progress on workers’ rights over the 9 years they were in power.

    But Labour never got there, either on the environemnt or on workers’ rights. Just look at their weak emissions trading scheme. Or look at their Industrial Relations policy (if you can find it) and their record in industrial relations. Far less pro-worker than the Greens’ Industrial Relations Policy,

    The MoU with National doesn’t compromise any of that. The Greens will continue to oppose, with all our strength, National’s anti-worker policies.

    The Greens’ aim is to maximise their vote, be it at the expense of Labour or National, so we can implement some of those pro-environment and pro-worker policies that Labour are too scared to go with and National are ideilogically opposed to.

    The MoU with National is a tactic to help achieve that, by showing we can work with either Labour or National on policy areas where there is a common agreement. It doesn’t compromise Green policy, and it doesn’t demonstrate a shift in Green political positioning.

    The vast majority of Greens would prefer to work with Labour (albeit with the Greens as the senior, rather than junior, partner). But in the world of realpolitik, we’re not there yet and have to show we can achieve some (even small, and after all Labour didn’t allow us many anyway) political gains, whoever leads the Government.

    • kinoy009 29.1

      How can you not think your not on side with the nats? Your blind!!!!

      Have you watched the news tonight? or read any online articles?

      The Greens have botched it up….

      Sealed with a Sickly kiss……….

    • But toad the MOU is a gift from heaven to Key.

      It makes him look centrist and able to do a deal with all parties.

      He would have caved in on the retrofitting, the economics are too persuasive, not to mention the feel good factor. And no corporates will be offended because they do not have to do anything except perhaps sell some materials to local builders. The project would have succeeded because it is too logical.

      Now instead of the progressives trying to entice the Maori party over to the forces of good the public perception is that Key has a further alternative and can deal with all parties.

      I like Greens and their principled stand on many issues. There was no principle in evidence today.

  30. toad 30

    Quoth the Raven said: Truly principled people of the left should begin to disentangle themselves from party politics.

    Yeah, and what would that achieve QtR? Silly little sectarian groupings of a few dozen people like the Socialist Action League, Workers’ Communist League and Socialist Unity Party in the 70’s and 80’s that achieved next to nothing politically.

    I’d suggest disentangling themselves from the Labour party might be a good idea for truly principled people of the left (remember the era of Roger and Richard, and even under Helen few of the neo-liberal reforms were reversed, although I will commend the last Government for the ERA (to some extent), and re-nationalising ACC and (eventually) the railways.

    But if you really want a pro-environment and pro-worker party, Green has got to be the way to go!

    I just can’t believe those on this thread who think the Greens are selling out because of a tiny tactical deal with National to progress without compromise a few Green policies are considering the Party that had Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble driving the policy 20 years ago, and in its last term made minimal progress to reversing the damage Douglas and Prebble did, might be a better bet for advancing workers’ interests. Look at the history!

    • IrishBill 30.1

      Toad, you’re talking about a time I am very familiar with. In fact I suspect my political history is a lot longer than yours.

      Was this “tiny tactical deal” taken out to the membership? Did you consult the base? No. And you know it. Let me tell you “principles” are what people in politics start invoking when they know they’ve fucked up. They did it in Labour and they did it in the Alliance. Every prick was talking principles up front while they were desperately running their numbers out back. Stop being a shill.

    • r0b 30.2

      I’d suggest disentangling themselves from the Labour party might be a good idea for truly principled people of the left

      There is, sadly, nowhere in politics for “truly principled” people of any persuasion. The adversarial system brings out the worst in everyone. It all becomes about compromise and “realpolitick”. It’s all rather depressing really.

      IB – much as we’d love to have you in Labour, take a few deep breaths. Yes, The Greens have stuffed up, but we still need them in politics, their overall goals are as crucial as they ever were. Presumably they will come to their senses at some point. You can deliver the message more effectively from within than from without.

      Ag – far above – don’t stop voting! It’s what the bad guys want.

    • Pascal's bookie 30.3

      Toad, goody, an old fashion internecine stoush, with the dragging out of the long buried corpses and the wailings about what your Hennrietta said to our harold after great uncle Albert’s wedding to that money grubbing two faced cow from up north.

      I’m in. 😉

      It’s a bit rich to try and beat labour over the head with the Roger Douglas angle when:

      1) it was twenty years ago (as you say), and
      2) he’s sitting in the backroom’s of the current government presumably spending some of that leadership council dosh that ACT’s agreement got them for ‘research’.

      Are the Greens going to be in those rooms with him? How exactly are the Greens going to influence what this government does? The MoU seems a bit non committal on this point.

      Good thing you have to keep quite about those areas of discussion with the Nat’s until the Nat’s decide what they are going to do. That part seems concrete.

      What exactly am I getting as a Green voter out of this, because it seems to me all it’s done is shift the center to the right.

      The Nat’s have promised to talk to you, listen to what you have to say, but nothing beyond that. In return, Key gets his centrist credentials polished, (for no policy outcomes, just perception), and the Greens have to keep quiet about whatever the Nat’s tell them, until it’s too late. When they’ll be accused of bad faith if they complain too much.

      The alleged apocryphal blue green voters feel even more comfortable now about voting blue, and the red greens appear to feel like they’ve been kicked in the teeth. Non greens seem to think that the Greens have left aside all that silly ‘leftie’ baggage to focus on the cafeteria green issues.

      From where I’m sitting it doesn’t exactly seem to be made of WIN.

    • lprent 30.4

      …and in its last term made minimal progress to reversing the damage Douglas and Prebble did…

      Bullshit. Looked at the unemployment figures? Changes to employment law? Substained economic growth with the RMA in place? etc…

      The first thing that you have to do with a trauma patient is to stabilize them. That is effectively what was done through the noughts. The economy after the 1960’s was lunging from one crisis to the next and the citizens of this country were getting inter-generational damage to them and their prospects. We are now in a position that we’re likely to handle the economic storm sweeping in from the US and UK without the type of over-reaction that characterized our response to external shocks in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

      What you mean is that Labour have done little for the Greens core policy patch. Yes – I’d agree that they’ve been slow. It is also true to say that they moved the environmental debate along faster than I expected. It is the usual problem that it is bloody hard to get a starving family not to chop down the forest. You have to convince them that it is a bad idea, and it is a lot easier to do when they aren’t starving.

      As you’re probably aware, I’m heavily into both Labour, and some environmental issues. The latter is largely because of my old scientific training rather than the usual emotional responses so prevalent in the Greens, that you articulate so well.

      In the late 90’s it was damn hard to get any Labour (or for that matter New Labour) supporter to get concerned at all about ecological issues if it didn’t directly affect them – ie the difference between conservation and environmentalism. Now they are both aware of the latter and mildly concerned about it.

      But if you really want a pro-environment and pro-worker party, Green has got to be the way to go!

      No – because the party is fundamentally incompetent. Sure there are a few that I have time for because they are able to focus (like Sue Bradford). But generally I’d look at the Greens as being more like Sue Kedgely – scatter-gunning across the policy range and never actually achieving anything.

      It was the reason that I didn’t join Values and never got into the Greens. The likelihood of them achieving something coherent was close to zero. If you want to push environmental issues, then your best bet is to join the Greenpeace. They will help get it on to the agenda doing stunts and endlessly talking.

      If you want to actually get something done about structural environmental issues, then you’d be better supporting Labour and preferably inside the party. Because until you get them on board it is unlikely that anything will change except simple conservation issues.

      That is why the red-green bloc inside Labour is probably larger than the Greens and a damn sight more effective. I’m pretty sure that the Greens are going to get a lot of reaction similar to IrishBill. Thats good, we need more people in Labour supporting environmental issues.

      • chris 30.4.1

        this is a great point lynn. ngo’s have done more for the environment than the greens could ever hope

  31. I had a “WTF?” moment reading your post, but then reading the press release on the Greens web site put it in context and it makes a lot of sense. “Pragmatism and principle” summed it up well for me. This way, the Greens are able to get some good stuff done. They can’t do anything about the other horrendous nonsense National is getting up to in many portfolios with the support of Act and United Future.

    I wonder how Peter D-Who? is feeling right now……..

    • IrishBill 31.1

      The insulation was already going ahead. And I may be wrong but I’m pretty sure National voted with the Greens on the health supplements stuff last time around.

      My only consolation from this is that Kedgley and Ryall now have to work together. Good. They deserve each other.

      • Steve Withers 31.1.1

        The Kedgley / Ryall thing was one of the aspects that made me giggle. Two brittles in the same room will be like walking on a floor covered in broken china plates. I doubt they will have much to do with each other Ryall is the epitome of kiss up / kick down…..and Kedgley will be down as far as Ryall’s concerned.

  32. tommy onions 32

    “The Greens will continue to oppose, with all our strength, National’s anti-worker policies.”

    Well, that’s going to cause John Key to have many a sleepless night.

    You are right that there hasn’t been a viable Labour party in NZ since it was hijacked by the monetarists. But if you think that the Greens are ever going to morph into a viable opposition – think again. I’d rather join Labour and fight to reestablish that as a viable party for representing the best interests of ordinary Kiwis than try to turn what is basically a big lobby group into a political party.

    And it’s not just a tiny tactical deal – it has real political value – TO THE NATS! And I expect there are a lot of Green Party members who aren’t quite as sanguine about who they’ve just woken up next to.

    Consider how effective anti-Green propaganda has been in NZ over the past couple of decades and who has propagated that – and for what purpose.

    It isn’t the Left that has whipped up a frenzy of anti-Green sentiment among people whose best interests lie in a truly sustainable economy not in short term / quick profit exploitation of the environment. It’s the Right that has done that – at the behest and in defence of big business.

    The Right will yield a few small concessions where it suits to buy votes from those environmentalists whose sympathies lie somewhere other than to the Left – but anyone who thinks that there is any sort of compromise with corporate capital is well, downright stupid – or self serving.

    It’s interesting that we have Robber Banker Jennings in town to deliver his pearls of wisdom – ‘you too can be obscenely rich – just do what I did and asset strip a politically weak country – or, in the case of Africa, an entire continent’. And – the first step towards gaining the keys to the gates of Richistan is to stop pandering to minorities (except the smallest minority of all – the obscenely rich) – and that means get rid of MMP..

    So the Robber Banker is opposed to MMP – and so is Totalitarian Talley. The difference is that Jennings gets to deliver his anti-MMP message to an auditorium full of movers and shakers and Talley to a school hall full of sixth formers. 🙂

    Jennings is a great deal more subtle and keeps his cards a lot closer to his chest than Talley who is just an uncouth yob – ‘me big tough guy, eat genetically modified whales and seals for breakfast.’ We can probably ignore Talley but is it an accident that Jennings is invited over to deliver a prestigious lecture and tells a packed house that MMP is bad for BIG BUSINESS – which of course is where the future of NZ lies?

    Oh, and the Greens have just negotiated a principled but pragmatic memorandum with the government. Shame.

  33. dad4justice 33

    Yes, Labour would do well to distance itself from the looney social engineering greens. I am lost for words with the blue green cuddle fest. Who would have ever thought a get together was possible? It does not surprise me, as John Key went with silly Bradford’s anti smacking bill. Socialism is the winner on the day.

  34. Quoth the Raven 34

    toad – I disagree. I think much more can be achieved through direct action, education, and setting up alternative social institutions than can be through parliament (and I’m not saying nothing can be achieved through parliament). I’m not saying don’t vote, although I know that many from my position do. I support reform. I’m not talking about setting up “silly little sectarian groups”. You could easily characterise parliament that way. The fact that two of the groups you mentioned were political parties that contested elections (I don’t know what the Workers’ Communist League was) demonstrates to me that you simply don’t understand or aren’t willing to understand what I’m talking about.

  35. Te PC 35

    I know of right wing people that vote Green (it’s a feel-good lifestyle thing for them I assume).

    I have never heard of any right wing people voting Labour.

    The Greens looked far too comfortable with the National/Act overlords.

  36. toad 36

    IrishBill said: Was this “tiny tactical deal’ taken out to the membership? Did you consult the base? No. And you know it.

    The specifics were not, because they are totally consistent with promoting Green policy. But the framework was – extensively – through over a year of consultation with the Green membership before the last election. The culmination of that consultation, endorsed by the 2008 Green Party Conference, was expressed in “this media statement from Jeanette Fitzsimons on 20 October 2008:

    Depending on the outcome of the election, the Greens would prefer to work with Labour to form a Government, as their policies are more closely aligned with our own. But, no matter who forms the Government we will look for areas of common ground where we can work together.

    There is nothing about the MoU that deviates from what has been endorsed by the Green membership.

    Oh, and as for the Douglas/Prebble era in the Labour Party, I can assure you I was very much around politically in those days and know the history first hand. I even (briefly) joined up as an Auckland Central member to try to get Prebble de-selected as their candidate.

    • r0b 36.1

      and know the history first hand

      History is exactly what it is Toad. Times have changed, and if you keep fighting the battles of 20 years ago, you’ll lose today’s battles completely

    • Tane 36.2

      As a Green voter I took that to mean they’d support particular pieces of legislation as they came up and as they fitted with Green policies and principles. I certainly didn’t take it to mean a formal agreement that gives PR cover for National’s hard right agenda.

  37. toad 37

    Hey, IB, on a lighter note, if it pisses off d4j that much, it’s gotta have some merit hasn’t it?

  38. dad4justice 38

    toad the blue coats have a greenish underbelly. It’s a jungle out there!

  39. toad 39

    d4j, you’d know everything there is to know about underbelly I suspect!

  40. outofbed 40

    Don’t worry Irish
    she’s right

  41. dad4justice 41

    toad, as the Amphibian you are truly cold-blooded.

  42. ripp0 42

    Irish Bill,

    have ye turned up the wailings and gnashings here.. from those of little faith.. to those too much.. through those with none at all..

    re the MOU.. surprise me.. would clause 15 amount to a revocation of all preceding clauses.. save itself… and if so.. what do succeeding clauses contain..?

    methinks little hath changed at the political level though I’d prefer surer ground of legal knowledge.. in the circumstances..

    And in the present prevailing and most likely immediate future circumstances twould seem to me that the so-called green political minds have every capability of realising the greater good.. in what they do..

    in effect by no means green or wet behind the ears in action.

    Sleep well IB, awaken wise.

  43. Bill 43

    I’d have thought a vocal opposition was integral to Representative Social Democracy. And that is what is being incrementally muted by the Nats and their various arrangements. The MoU with the Greens appears to give National discretion as to when the gag on issues of common interest will be removed and neuters dissent completely insofar as statements must be joint statements.( ie agreed content).

    In practice that will mean no statements being issued that are critical on matters of common interest and no robust public debate while those matters are being discussed by the parties. (Corridors of power, closed doors and all that jazz.)

    Is it just me, or does that smack of authoritarianism.

    Taking a so-called left example, the USSR had governance that contained party factions. The public were not informed on the positions of the different constituencies within The Party…instead, being fed the Party Line when all was done and dusted.

    I see no reason why parties from across the political divide cannot agree on certain matters and even work in concert. But to set out formal ‘codes of conduct’ that prevent a party from informing the public on where they stand on a particular issue at any given point in time; that effectively ‘turn off the gas’ with respect to the public’s ‘right to know’ and so, by extension parliamentary accountability is simply poison.

    NZ has several parties in Parliament, but with silence being enforced on all but two parties on a range of matters, are we not embarking on a jolly jaunt down a road whose final destination is not too dissimilar to what we might find in a one party state?

  44. gomango 44

    Bill – it can’t be Authoritarianism if the Greens willingly signed up to the deal. Plus they are obviously free to repudiate the deal at any time. That can’t be authoritarianism by any definition. But it may well be completely stupid and naive by a party which has shown a complete inability to formulate a workable strategy for influencing govt in a meaningful way ever since their inception.

    What we are seeing by Key is inspired. He is as effective if not more so than Helen at MMP (so far).

    What odds on the factions within the Greens tearing the party apart over time? I’m guessing there is a large rump within the greens with an anti-tory, anti-business, anti- rational economics, anti-establishment outlook who won’t be very happy with this.

    • r0b 44.1

      What we are seeing by Key is inspired. He is as effective if not more so than Helen at MMP (so far).

      You can say that when he has run 9 years of successful government, Actually, I think Key has already sown the seeds of his own electoral destruction. You can’t treat an MMP partner the way Key has just treated the Maori Party.

      • ak 44.1.1

        Spot on r0b: what we have is Helen-lite leading Labour-lite pedalling cheerily to the brink of a steep economic cliff. The Helen-hate bike they rode to power is starting to squeak already, and both Greens and MP need a divorce by 2011 to ensure their own survival. Seeds indeed.

    • Bill 44.2

      “it can’t be Authoritarianism if the Greens willingly signed up to the deal. Plus they are obviously free to repudiate the deal at any time. That can’t be authoritarianism by any definition.”

      The effect has definite shades of authoritarianism. Less informing of the public by it’s representatives on issues that matter to it as those issues are unfolding. That’s not good for democratic process.

      The public being ‘informed’ after the fact is authoritarian.

      • BLiP 44.2.1

        . . . and the timing of the announcement is near immaculate. Stage managed, perhance?

  45. ripp0 45

    Notable folks..

    What odds on the factions within the Greens tearing the party apart over time? I’m guessing there is a large rump within the greens with an anti-tory, anti-business, anti- rational economics, anti-establishment outlook who won’t be very happy with this.

    Late brain (someone’s and for-others’) take as this thread extends. Relies does it not what hath been uttered prior.. thusly avoiding entanglement with prior hurdles among your goodselves..

    Seen thus so revealingly. And the emphasis on what the object of attack IS rather than what the commenter is..

    The politics of iRonnie so expertly deployed by a latter day student, no doubt.

  46. DavidW 46

    Have to say that the Greens get more out of this than it first appears in terms of increasing their political influence and access to information. Now that the arrangement with Labour that gave them additional secretarial and research capacity have evaporated, there must have been a bit of a vacuum but you gotta recognise that they now have a seat on the SIS oversight committee and I understand that the MOU gives them access to Cabinet Papers. That alone must be worth Gold to a politician to the extent that to get access otherwise would involve constant OIA requests.

    Perhaps the Greens have finally decided that they are, after all, politicians.

    HEH Captcha “nothing Blue”

  47. Paul Robeson 47

    This is a betrayl. I think this would be the fairest way to describe it.

    By doing this the Greens are supporting: private prisons, NZAID being screwed, ACC being screwed, Auckland being screwed, the ETS on hold until the science is settled, the lack of respect for democratic procedure and select commitees shown by the government, the inaction over the recession, the readying for sale of state assets such as TVNZ, the acceptance of pay inequality between the sexes in the public service as a necessary evil of the recession and so on…

    If the Greens wanted to campaign on environmental issues as a centrist party they should have started off doing that. I had little respect for them before, though I had strong environmental values.

    Now with this Australian out front they are allowing anybody who might have voted Key, but been discorncerted by the speed and obvious lurch to the right to be reassured because even the Greens (you know those commie scumbags) like them.

    A centrist green party would be fine. but to do it know is dumb politics. Or what we’ve come to expect from the Greens.

    The Alliance: Kiwibank, 4 weeks paid parental leave. less than a term in government.

    The Greens: Sue Bradford

    Russel Norman’s credibility has to be low and dipping.

  48. jarbury 48

    I think the issue is perception versus reality. We all know that in politics perception is just as important as reality.

    The reality is that the Greens have gained out of this deal. The $1 billion insulation programme will happen now and that is great. They also get some gains out of seeing what cabinet is up to, and have to give little back in response. So the reality is good for the Greens.

    However, the perception is bad for the Greens. It “looks” like the Greens are now supporting the National government, who they disagree with on about 95% of issues. The perception is that National now have shifted to the centre by getting the Greens’ support, and that the Greens have “sold out”.

    That’s why my brain is happy with this, but my heart hurts.

  49. The Alliance getting stuck into the Nat-Green Toxic Sludge deal.
    A very rare opportunity for the Alliance Party.

  50. mike 50

    Rippo – the word ‘Plastic’ just means “a long chain chemical”. You can get casein from milk – its a plastic – a long chain chemical – and from any carbohydrate you get ‘plastics’ – from corn, rice, wheat, etc, etc.

    Ah – and you can get long chains chemicals from ethylene gas. Its the source that matters you see.

    BUT the BIG problem is that very few people will pay the cost non-oil plastics.

    And there are another few problems – things like corn sourced ‘plastic’ bags are very damaging to the the environment. You see they break down into METHANE -.oil based plastics break down into CO2. Methane is 25 more pwerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2.

    Now – the dilema – look good (good cause marketing) , buy Biodegradable “plastic’ bags and really fuck the environment, or us oil based ones and slightly fuck the environment, or use natural fibre ones and really fuck the water system that is used to produce them.
    Solution – go live in a cave, or use nuclear power to effectively end the production of CO2.

    • sunny 50.1

      Mike, your views sound very familiar…have you been Born Again baptised in Dunedin by any chance? Worked long and hard for Bill English?

  51. Tigger 51

    I feel like I’m at one of those weddings where the girl is marrying some rich, ugly tosser who you know will eventually end up porking some other chick but you can’t say anything at the time because it’s considered impolite but two years later when she leaves him you’ll go ‘I never liked that guy’.

    Even when Jack sold the cow he got magic beans. I mean a few Pink Batts and some rescue remedy is hardly worth getting into bed with the NACTs.

    Definite FAIL.

  52. toad 52

    Paul Robeson said: By doing this the Greens are supporting: private prisons, NZAID being screwed, ACC being screwed, Auckland being screwed, the ETS on hold until the science is settled, the lack of respect for democratic procedure and select commitees shown by the government, the inaction over the recession, the readying for sale of state assets such as TVNZ, the acceptance of pay inequality between the sexes in the public service as a necessary evil of the recession and so on

    Sorry, wrong on every count there Paul. The Greens continue to oppose National on all of these positions, and will do so very strongly and vociferously, both in voting in Parliament and publicly. Green MPs are required to by the policy which, uniquely among political parties, is democratically made by the members, but the MPs are bound to support.

  53. Paul Robeson 53

    Really toad?

    so you are a candidate for the leader of the Greens then.

    You must have heard all the loud and successful opposition the Greens have been raising to these policies trumpeted from every corner of our sycophantic media?

    No?

    Well perhaps the swing voters are only hearing that the Greens are the latest to sign up for mana enhancement-

    they give all these policies respectability as the National government brand is much enhanced by the Greens ‘environmental credibility’ and once bitterly slated ‘left wing’ policies.

    You say the opposition is strong and vociferious. It needs to be succesful opposition or the Greens are propping up the credibility of a government heading right like a T junction.

    perhaps you don’t understand the argument, are stupid, or actually don’t care what happens as long as there is some opposition to quaker like observe a re-run of the 80s and 90s.

    The point is to be seen to be working with the government through an officially announced agreement adds to the fraudulent belief that they are centrist.

    I voted Green once and they did nothing with my vote. Perhaps it is all right though. Perhaps no one apart from Kiwiblog really cares what the Greens do. grrr…

    that may have come out harsh…but really…

    if they are part of a sucessful coalition that protects the RMA, ACC, ETS, the superfund, Auckland’s many different identities, the assets of the country, gets the shameful pay inequality for a 1st world nation back on the agenda after the discarded report, and helps to present an alternative Keynesian option to get us out of this recession great! Until then you are wrong and aiding and abetting all of the above as I previously stated…

  54. Smithy 54

    Paul Robeson, what you’re suggesting is that the Greens be driven only by what our shoddy media says. I think this is wrong, period, but consider at least that a media driven by conflict may well pay more attention to the Greens disagreements with the Nats than ever before.

  55. RedLogix 55

    Someone once said, that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. While I can understand and sympathise with the many Green supporters who feel confused or even betrayed by this MOU with National, I can only suggest that the Party had to do something different in order to move out of the ‘isolated off to the left of Labour’, 6% ghetto in which it has been stuck for three to four elections now. Worse still, doing nothing risked being completely marginalised as Labour’s rump party with no role, or voice in the public arena.

    The simple fact is that not enough New Zealand voters will, anytime in the foreseeable future, give their votes to a Party perceived as well to the left of Labour to ever make an actual role in government a reality. Something has to change.

    Was this the right move? Too soon to tell, but the question does beg another; what other strategic options were usefully available to the Greens? Not many I suggest.

    • Edosan 55.1

      I wonder also whether this term will see a change in the Greens outlook toward a more purely environmental ethic. There seems to be less point in being the party that is more left of the Labour party when the Labour party is in opposition. That would put the Greens evn more on the fringe, a little like Act in the last term, but without a remotely winnable electorate seat. If they define themselves by what environmental measures they can pass, they will do more to turn that growing environmental awareness into a stronger political movement.

  56. SPC 56

    I guess that the first sign that the “billion dollar” investment in home energy efficiency is being delayed is when the Greens should walk away. Who knows, by then the Maori Party might follow.

    After all, National is playing MMP for now, but has future plans for a referendum to move us to SM.

    Just as they say they won’t privatise the SOE – but are moving to enable options such as non voting shareholdings to investors (issuing debt rather than borrowing from banks is now in in the corporate sector) This inevitably results in weakening resistance to share sales the same way foreplay … .

    The MP is promised a continuance of Maori seats while Treaty claims are yet to be finalised – so if National invests in this area its a sign …

    PS As for the Greens and the NZF – the two parties which increased the minimum wage from 9 to $12 over 3 years. National has removed one already. SM would remove the Greens down to two MP’s (if there were 80 electorate seats and 40 supplementary seats at 2.5% of the vote per seat).

    • IrishBill 56.1

      The greens aren’t getting a billion dollar insulation retrofit initiative. They’re not getting anything more than National was going to pony up in the first place. In fact they may even get less now they’ve legitimatised it.

  57. tommy onions 57

    What this MOU does is to leave Labour isolated – actually and symbolically.

    Why not enter into a formal agreement with Labour and build a strategy to pull the left leaners in the MP back into a broad left coalition? It’s what we are going to need to counter the broad right coalition that Key is forming – which will eventually show its true blue colours under pressure from its ‘natural demographic’ and its paymasters (gender specific term used deliberately).

    The one good thing about it – and I’d love to think this was the Green leadership’s real agenda but it isn’t – is that it is causing grave concern amongst the section of Nat supporters who already think Key’s a bit wet.

    Getting into bed with brown AND green people – that’s a couple of steps too far for the rabid right.

    • r0b 57.1

      Lynn – look at the time and position of tommy’s comment (cf yours below) – something is odd with the reply indentation lately (and also noise in the recent comments side bar sometimes I think). Odd.

      Tommy – agreed!

    • Smithy 57.2

      The best way to help Labour get their act together is show them the Greens really are independent. They need this poke in the eye. I only hope its enough.

  58. Allan 58

    Any story that starts with you stating your position i.e. “some of my best friends are gay – but…” generally means you’re full of crap. In your case, “Now i’m as Green as the next guy, but….”

    Can this blog please get over its near psychotic attachment to hard right wing agendas? you’re as bad as the tools from the other side talking about Helen’s secret lesbian socialist agenda.

    Grow up. National at best has no real plan and is making it up as they go along

    🙂

  59. TopKat 59

    I’m a lifelong environmentalist that loathes socialism xxx

  60. TopKat 60

    I’m a lifelong environmentalist who loathes socialism xxx

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