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Can the Greens rise like the liberal democrats?

Written By: - Date published: 9:56 am, August 4th, 2019 - 71 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, farming, greens, james shaw, sustainability, uk politics, uncategorized - Tags:

Only 6 months ago the UK Liberal Democrat party was at a real low, with their leader resigning and the polls about 7%: same as the last five years.

Fast forward five months from that and the new leader Jo Swinson leads them into being a major party of opposition to the UK’s ruling Conservative coalition.

This weekend the Green Party hold their only annual conference before the New Zealand general election in 2020. They are bumping around 4-7% as they have for years and years, and on current tracking that’s what they’ll get next year.

Is there anything the Green Party can do to rise like the Liberal Democrats?

The reason for the Liberal Democrat transformation is simple: they have successfully ridden Brexit – and were rewarded in the European elections in May, in the wake of Britain’s failure to leave the EU on 29th March. Even at the time of the English local elections held just three weeks before the European contest, the party’s average Westminster poll rating was still no more than 9 per cent.

Now after the recent by-election they hold Westminster on a knife-edge.

Well, there’s no Brexit here, thankfully, to propel and centralize political debate. But there can be.

Many of the minor issues that have kept small slivers of Green voter support alive have been neutralized by numbing policy anesthetic, such as capital gains (or any other tax reform), use of marijuana, euthanasia, conservation funding, G.E., and suchlike. They won’t bring fresh voters. Nor will they get any fresh voters supporting Maori land protests. Righteousness won’t get them over 6%, and 6% provides very little leverage in Parliament.

What we do have is the weather. We remain one of the most weather-reliant developed economies in the world, and most weather-obsessed societies. We have more to lose from a serious drought than most. Rain without snow means no skiing tourists. Rain at volume cuts off whole regions from tourists, and defiles pristine beaches. No rain means reduced dairy and stock farming. All of them act against our economy.

The Greens already own the climate policy frame; they need to own the weather. Their mild reforms in climate change mitigation won’t turn to more votes. But every storm needs to become a Green storm. Every new tropical disease entry a Green-framed anxiety. Every drought or near-drought a Green-focussed policy anxiety with Green popular answers. It’s a sibilant slipperiness between the weather and the climate, ripe for political ownership by the Greens.

The weather, not just climate, is our Brexit. It’s a policy field that will give and give forever.

And yet as it stands the voter field most opposed to them is the field who hate the the Greens the most: rural New Zealand. They hate them because they feel regulated and taxed and under-represented against sneering townie liberals, who are often Green-leaning.

New Zealand First continues to court the rural vote with its massive business funding rollout to businesses. The Greens need to attract candidates who are credible and charismatic farmers. They also need a similar policy to directly help farmers recover from weather events: wider bridges, more sealed rural roads, small-scale electricity generation, generous payout to accelerate coastal retreat, free small dams for towns under 500 people, payouts to convert dairy farms in the North Island to horticulture: show the rural economy that state money is coming their way in great expansive flows, and it has Green means and ends.

And they could do worse than a full-throated attack against the dairy companies and corporations who have locked our farmers into being cheap commodity producers. A big-business attack is clearly impossible from any other party in parliament, and a rural big-business attack is near unheard-of.

A wee way back in history, New Labour was able to stand as a serious contender, and the Alliance with Greens inside them continued this momentum at least into Labour’s first 1999 term.

So political revival can be done here.

The Liberal Democrats are now such a viable option that some Change UK, Labour, and Conservative members are defecting to the Liberal Democrats. People like James Shaw need to enable the Green party to peel off some of the National Blue-Green MPs to their tent and properly attack the otherwise moribund NZFirst rural support. There’s no need for the Greens to be stuck at 6%, and as they are seeing in government there’s no real influence in it either. They simply need to do better and they should be.

To take stock of the comparison, some of the Liberal Democratic gain is brittle. Virtually all of the increase in its support since the spring has occurred among those who voted Remain. Indeed, more generally, the party’s recovery is best described as partial. It is still short of the 23-24% it won in 2005 and 2010. This is a Lib-Dem recovery, rather than a full-throated revival.

But if the Greens can become the party of the elements and our total structural reliance on them, and indeed railing against all the corporate powers that stop us reacting to major weather events (such as insurers, banks, lazy local governments, and commodity producers), they have a policy field that will lift them beyond the organically-fed urban bourgeoisie and into the towns and farms that need every drop of water, every tourist dollar to sustain them.

The Greens can rise like the Liberal Democrats beyond 6%, but they need much more than they have to offer.

71 comments on “Can the Greens rise like the liberal democrats? ”

  1. MickeyBoyle 1

    As long as Marama wastes her time on trying to reclaim the C-word. Genter continues to demonize old white men. Sage continues to do nothing significantly around water bottling. They allow farmers to frankly pay nothing towards the ETS. Neoliberalism continues with idiotic policies that they fought for like the budget responsibility rules. And they do next to nothing for our poorest and most vulnerable, when they have all the power they need in this government. Then no, they will continue to flirt with political obliteration.

    • Incognito 1.1

      And they do next to nothing for our poorest and most vulnerable, when they have all the power they need in this government. [my emphasis]

      You know this for a fact or is it your opinion?

      For an honest appraisal of what the Greens have achieved, read this interview with the two Co-Leaders of the Green Party: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/114721355/green-party-coleaders-set-to-tell-members-we-want-to-do-more-with-housing-inequality-and-climate-change

    • As long as Marama wastes her time on trying to reclaim the C-word. Genter continues to demonize old white men…

      As long as suckers continue to peddle right-wing talking points, you mean? I don't think the Green Party is under serious threat of losing all those right-wing votes it's been enjoying…

      • KJT 1.2.1

        As an old white man, I don't feel the least bit threatened by any of the young ladies in the Greens. On the contrary, they give me hope for my grandchildren s future.

        • SHG 1.2.1.1

          Unfortunately half of them must be demoted before the next election because gender balance

      • lprent 1.2.2

        As long as suckers continue to peddle right-wing talking points, you mean? I don't think the Green Party is under serious threat of losing all those right-wing votes it's been enjoying…

        As well as that they are partners in a coalition that covers the range from moral conservatives through to the impatient gen zero.

        Politics is a long game where you measure gains in decades not months or years. To achieve it you have to drag the 'centre' or public understanding and acceptance.

        As a political party can usually find that you have it when another political party starts to flog your policies, typically by ‘discovering’ it anew.

        BTW: Peddling daft right wing talking points is just par for the course for some lazy and impatient fools.

  2. Dukeofurl 2

    " new leader Jo Swinson leads them into being a major party of opposition to the UK’s ruling Conservative coalition."

    No evidence of that whatso ever. Winning a by election for a seat they once held and were 2nd highest polling last election doesnt a major party make.

    In the last election with the Lib Dems no longer in Coalition there vote fell -0.5% ,

    labour rose 9.5% and Conservatives 5.5% and that was 'share' of a higher turnout – an extra 2 mill voters went to polls.

    Labours increased Vote 3.5 mill was MORE than the entire Lib dem vote of 2.3 mill.

    Dont give me that 'major party of opposition' stuff – the SNP alone has 3x the number of MPs.

  3. Stuart Munro. 3

    1080 has cost the Greens credibility big time, https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/114664390/ospri-deer-death-numbers-in-molesworth-a-fraction-of-total-bykill-claims-hunter-survey

    along with the many other invidious compromises that have been forced on them in office. The soft pedaling on agriculture won't get them their soft voters back, though there are possibilities in their adoption of tiny houses – votes going begging there if they solve a problem that defied National and Labour.

    • Incognito 3.1

      The soft pedaling [sic] on agriculture won't get them their soft voters back, … [my italics]

      That doesn’t make sense to me; where have these soft voters gone? Can you please explain?

      • Stuart Munro. 3.1.1

        I'm not sure where they've gone Incognito, but 6-7% is not the default Green support level by any means, for years they polled around 11-14%, though that tended to fall off in elections. The soft support would seem to be that which lies between 6 and 14%.

        Perhaps you'd like to characterize a target set back from 2013 to 2025 at a 95% discount differently? It doesn't seem particularly onerous or rigorous to me.

        Getting the Selwyn River back, along with some other waterways lost to dairy intensification is one expectation of responsible governance that might help.

        • Dennis Frank 3.1.1.1

          I joined the Greens after the 1990 election, when they got 7% of the votes. Almost 30 years of the leftist parliamentary alignment has rocketed us all the way up to 6%. So it has worked real well.

          Russel Norman boasted about building the Green vote to 11%, but failed to acknowledged that he & Metiria achieved that result as leaders due to their strategy of stealing votes from Labour. Out-flanking Labour on the left seemed a clever response to Helen Clark's antipathy, but playing that zero-sum game wasn't actually clever because it produced Key's govt and enabled climate-change denial to prevail.

          So then Jacinda pulled all those Labour refugees back into the fold. Has the current GP leadership cabal learnt anything from this collective experience? I've seen no evidence that they have. Yet it isn't rocket science.

          • Ad 3.1.1.1.1

            Nudging all the wascally radicals to the Greens has sure made the Labour Party's life easier.

            Stuart's right about latent support growth being possible, but unconverted.

            A new Labour-led government in 2020 is very unsafe without growth in Green vote.

          • Stuart Munro. 3.1.1.1.2

            If you think Jacinda has pulled all the former Labour supporters back you'd better think again, that won't happen till Labour visibly renounces and reverses neoliberalism.

            And characterizing the Greens' stance on the human element of the environment as a cynical vote grab reflects more on you than them – distressed human populations are much less able to contain their environmental impacts than well-supported ones. You want to guess how much respect the foreign slave fishers had for NZ environmental regulations?

            As neoliberalism impoverishes and dehouses more and more New Zealanders every day, the determination of Wellington elites to ignore this becomes less and less tenable. The Greens cannot ignore these impacts indefinitely, however inconvenient it may be for the major parties to acknowledge that their overriding policy concern for the last few decades has been utterly misguided.

            It was neoliberalism that doomed Twyford's kiwibuild efforts, playing to the market, granting concessions to offshore builders that negated any public benefit from their operations. But the problem that necessitated kiwibuild hasn't gone away in the meantime – it's grown worse.

            • Incognito 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Great comment with which I fully agree except for the last paragraph.

              KiwiBuild was always going to be hamstrung (hindered) by a fundamental and structural lack of capacity, which is why the Government had to enlist the [help of] the market (building industry).

              It is the opposite of “build it and they’ll come”.

          • greywarshark 3.1.1.1.3

            DF So the Greens strength for the next election now lies in what direction which will draw in what type of voter?

            • Dennis Frank 3.1.1.1.3.1

              Well I've articulated it here often enough already, but times do change & political context evolves, so I'm presuming you wonder if I've adopted a new perspective. Not really.

              I agree with James that Nat obduracy in general, and Simon's attempt to speak out of both sides of his mouth simultaneously in particular, gives the Greens no basis on which to adopt constructive dialogue with them.

              Doesn't change the winning formula! Centrism as praxis is still the optimal path to the future for the Greens. Learn from how Winston operates that lever (they still haven't). It has always been possible to bridge the left/right divide from that position of strength. Dummies in the Greens leadership cabal just don't get it. They have been undermining James' attempt to build consensus, using their partisan bias against the broader Green movement.

              Two critical bunches of voters are always discriminated against in parliamentary politics: lateral-thinkers (problem-solvers) and tactical swing-voters. I'd advise the Greens to focus on both, because both tend to prefer progress to stasis. Remember the traditional leftist attitude to progress: pretend, don't actually make it happen. Lots of kiwis prefer no bullshit.

              • Dukeofurl

                There are no 'extra votes' to be gained from National from greens moving into a centrist position

                Look at wealthy urban seats like Auckland central 2017 Denise Roche 9%, party vote 14%

                Epsom with Barry Coates 7% and party vote 8%.

                Contrast with a seat like mangere where the party vote was 4%.

                Going more like National isnt going get you more votes in seats like Mangere

                • Dennis Frank

                  Wrong kind of centrism. Why would you expect me to advocate some kind of mainstream political theory?? As if I were the hairdo.

                  It's a psychological thing. Opinion leaders often influence the community via their natural stance. That can derive from intelligence as much as from character. Remember a third of the electorate are now non-aligned, so that's a real big pool in which to fish…

                  • greywarshark

                    So – find the opinion leaders is the best idea for focus is it?

                    Swordfish below has nailed the past movements with reasons, so it seems that centrist in your interpretation of it, is the way to go. That would seem to match my feeling about many in the Greens, that they are too idealistic mixed with too oriented to environment, nature, wild life and dismissive of the humans, who are seen as the problem for the environment rather than a group needing rehabilitation so that we are again a force in and with nature, not outsiders in Eden.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      "Opinion leaders are seen to have more influence than the media for a number of reasons. Opinion leaders are seen as trustworthy and non-purposive. People do not feel they are being tricked into thinking a certain way about something if they get information from someone they know. However, the media can be seen as forcing a concept on the public and therefore will be less influential. While the media can act as a reinforcing agent, opinion leaders have a more changing or determining role in an individual's opinion or action." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_leadership

                    • greywarshark

                      Who would be opinion leaders that you consider influential Df? I am interested, but if you think it better not to name them in case there is a media campaign mounted against them, then better not to give names.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      The most effective are those not publicly known as such, but you could cite David Attenborough, for instance. The effect works primarily via associations (networking) but there's an operational paradox; works better when the opinion leader doesn't realise they have that role, and consequently performs naturally. When they try to do it, push-back ratchets up…

                    • greywarshark

                      Thanks DF – about the opinion makers. Interesting thoughts.

                      I don't have a reply button for your comment so have gone up to the last one so don't know where this will end up.

          • swordfish 3.1.1.1.4

            Dennis

            Yes, I'd entirely disagree with Stuart when he says

            but 6-7% is not the default Green support level by any means, for years they polled around 11-14%,

            I’d argue the Greens’ base vote is indeed around the 5-7% level.

            Here's their Party Vote:

            1999 … 5.2

            2002 … 7.0

            2005 … 5.3

            2008 … 6.7

            2011 … 11.1

            2014 … 10.7

            2017 … 6.3

            The Greens were simply the major beneficiaries of Labour voter discontent with the leadership / disunity of their Party in 2011 & 2014. Discontent with Goff & Cunliffe saw large numbers of older, morally conservative Labour supporters heading off to Winston, and younger, moral liberals swinging in the Greens' direction. Most still identified with Labour as their main party.

            The NZES flow-of-the-Vote data suggests more than half of 2011 & 2014 Green voters were new (overwhelmingly Labour defectors). Only a core 5% being Green loyalists from the previous Election.

            Jacindamania + the Greens turmoil during the 2017 campaign (esp the former) meant the Party didn't receive the same degree of (significant and vital) Labour-deserter froth on top of that core vote. Just enough to raise it a tad over 6% (including from people like me strategically voting Green for the first (& possibly only) time to ensure they remained in Parliament)

            So, yeah Dennis, you're spot on in your analysis when you argue:

            strategy of stealing votes from Labour … So then Jacinda pulled all those Labour refugees back into the fold.

            As for:

            I joined the Greens after the 1990 election, when they got 7% of the votes. Almost 30 years of the leftist parliamentary alignment has rocketed us all the way up to 6%. So it has worked real well.

            Ha haaa, had precisely the same thought a few days ago looking at a:

            TV1 Heylen Poll from Sep 1977 … Values 6.3%

            … vs …

            TV1 Colmar Brunton July 2019 … Greens 6.0%.

            Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

    • xanthe 3.2

      "1080 has cost the Greens credibility big time"…… absolutely! they very much on the wrong side of history there . Time will tell!

    • 1080 has cost the Greens credibility big time,

      In what way? Your linked article doesn't explain that at all.

      • Stuart Munro. 3.3.1

        It is anomalous for an environmental party to be supporting a relatively unselective poisoning campaign. The same might be said of wilding pines, but they're not as much a part of the popular understanding of the beneficial aspects of the environment as the deer mentioned in the article or other collateral kills.

        You may recall that there have been anti 1080 protests which enjoy a degree of support? Were the policy not contentious there would not have been – these people have environmental concerns that might well see them vote Green absent the poisoning campaign.

        • weka 3.3.1.1

          Have you read GP policy on this? Because it says that the Greens want NZ to use less poison and use more non-poison options. I know it's a big ask to get people to vote on actual policy, but it is there for those that want it.

          People are chipping away at the wilding pines issue, hopefully as climate awareness increases and the public get educated on real world solutions we'll see a change with farmers and local authorities on this.

  4. Pat 4

    The Lib Dems in the UK had only slightly more control over their fortuitous poll rise than the NZ Greens have over the weather for it was the actions of others and events that gifted them the surge…..offering that as a strategy is an exercise in wishful thinking and about as useful.

  5. Dukeofurl 5

    More 'fantasy football'

    "People like James Shaw need to enable the Green party to peel off some of the National Blue-Green MPs to their tent and properly attack the otherwise moribund NZFirst rural support.

    Two words will shatter those thoughts.

    Nick Smith

    • Ad 5.1

      Vernon Tava. Kennedy Graham. David Clendon.

      Why not target someone like James Cameron, Rob Fyfe, or Jeremy Moon?

      The whole SBN network awaits.

      • alwyn 5.1.1

        James Cameron might be a bit of a hurdle, if you are trying to get him to stand as an MP.

        Although he once talked about becoming a New Zealand citizen he is, as far as I know, still exclusively a Canadian and therefore can't be elected to our Parliament.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 5.1.1.1

          There's still time. Just imagine someone who could buy and sell Sir John Key ten times over on the Green Party list. Maybe the opposition National party could prevail on Peter Thiel to accept a position on their list?

          "The Cameron's are currently going through the process of applying for New Zealand citizenship and hope to continue to promote positive environmental change in Aotearoa." [17 June 2019]

          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=12241141

          • alwyn 5.1.1.1.1

            I'm not sure whether, at the pace he moves, he has the time. He is in his mid-60s you know. In your link he says

            ""It takes a while. But anything worth having should be earned.".

            He has been talking like this since at least as long ago as 2014. In this story, from October 2014 he says.

            "Asked if he would seek citizenship, he said: "That's the plan.""

            I'm not sure I would hold my breath while I was waiting though. In the same article he said

            "Cameron said New Zealand "really spoke to me" on his first visit here in 1994.

            I kept talking to Suzy about it, that someday we would go and live in New Zealand and I finally took her by the hand and we flew down there and she fell in love with it too. Now it is a done deal . . ."

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/celebrities/10663749/Director-James-Cameron-wants-to-be-a-Kiwi

          • Stuart Munro. 5.1.1.1.2

            I don't think he wants to (a good qualification really) but Sam Neill would be an ornament to any party that got him. Natural communicator with good instincts.

  6. millsy 6

    Moving to a low carbon economy away from fossil fuels needs a Think Big 2.0. The Greens simply aren't capable of coming up with any ideas remotely near this.

    Instead it's basically austerity.

    Also, the Greens may need to have a rethink on GE.

  7. alwyn 7

    Although you might happily try and persuade yourselves that the New Zealand Green Party might be able to follow the path of the UK Lib/Dems they refuse to do so.

    In the UK the Lib/Dems are sitting right in the middle of the spectrum. That is why they are picking up support from the left, Labour, and the right, Conservatives.

    In New Zealand the Green Party insist that they are proudly on the left and will never support a National Government. That makes them totally irrelevant. Labour can ignore them, as they have nowhere else to go. NZF are the ones that Labour has to bow down to, as without them being given a massive slice of the goodies from the trough Labour cannot get, or keep power.

    Given their helplessness in the real world the Green Party are only there to get the perks of Office, not to actually produce anything of value to New Zealand. They won't be in Parliament after the next election so it doesn't matter anyway. When they fail to get to 5% next year the party will splinter. Hopefully we will then get a party that is interested in the Environment, not one that wants to devote its efforts into the politics of the man-hating, racist far left.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1

      "When they [the Green party] fail to get to 5% next year the party will splinter." – Alwyn

      Mischaracterising the Greens as wanting to devote themselves to "the politics of the man-hating, racist far left" doesn't do Alwyn's cause any favours. Can he work out why?

      • Dukeofurl 7.1.1

        hes actually describing the path of ACT… who splintered with Hide as leader even though they were in parliament 2008 with 3.5%.

    • Given their helplessness in the real world the Green Party are only there to get the perks of Office, not to actually produce anything of value to New Zealand.

      Handy hint: false premises lead to faulty conclusions.

    • Ad 7.3

      I think the Liberal Democrats are popular because they are clear about their Brexit positioning from day 1: Remain.

      The Greens aren't firing in the polls, IMHO, because they are focussing more on individual portfolio and policy successes rather than broader messaging. They need a more expansive comms programme to grow their vote base.

  8. Morrissey 8

    The most popular leader in Britain is Jeremy Corbyn. Since he became leader, the Labour Party membership has grown so fast that it's now the biggest democratic party in Europe.

    And all this in spite of a determined campaign of belittlement, denigration, and straight out character assassination by the Blairite rump of the party and its media allies.

    • Shadrach 8.1

      "The most popular leader in Britain is Jeremy Corbyn."

      And you said that with a straight face?

      In the IPSOS Mori poll taken from the 26th through 30th July, Boris Johnson's net approval rating was -7%, Jeremy Corbyn's was -50%!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadership_approval_opinion_polling_for_the_next_United_Kingdom_general_election

      Based on that poll, Corbyn is less popular than Nigel Farage, Jo Swinson and Nicola Sturgeon. His net popularity is even less than Theresa May's was before she stepped won as PM.

      Also:
      https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1146529/jeremy-corbyn-poll-approval-rating-low-labour-leader-antisemitism-row
      https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9553821/jeremy-corbyn-popularity-plummet-quit/

      • Ad 8.1.1

        Corbyn is the least popular Labor leader since polling began.

        It's always someone else's fault.

        • Professor Longhair 8.1.1.1

          Under Corbyn's leadership, Labour's membership rocketed. It's now the biggest party in Europe.

          When you say "least popular" you are (perhaps deliberately) confusing normal people with the Blairite right wing rump of the Labour Party.

          • The Al1en 8.1.1.1.1

            Least popular to the respondents of political polls, but clearly not to the momentum infiltrators in the Labour Party that have ensured its unelectability at a time of the greatest Tory party division in memory.

            An alternative government in waiting they certainly aren’t.

          • Stuart Munro. 8.1.1.1.2

            It must be hard for the Blairites, watching someone keep the promises they 'had to' break. They suffer from guilt as well as public condemnation. But Corbyn needs Scotland, the SNP being more fallout from the infinite failures of Blairite Labour, and fratricidal competition there went a long way to letting the Tories govern. Having moved from his 'respect the referendum' to a remain position on Brexit some kind of accommodation may now be possible, but not of course if Labour continues to view those seats as being their seigneurial fiefdom, obliged to support the party even when the party sells them down the river.

          • Andre 8.1.1.1.3

            So significantly less than 1% of the UK population are sufficiently aroused by Corbyn to pony up 3 quid so they could vote for him to lead the Labour party. Hardly the stuff of a mass movement. Especially when a bunch of them mighta been devious Tories with a Machiavellian streak.

  9. chris T 9

    Not when they are splintered into half being wannabe SJWs and half being trying to seem normal, no.

  10. Hanswurst 10

    In summary, then: the Greens should aim for the centre, no matter where it is, so that they can be a big player in government and do stuff, no matter what that stuff is. Colour me surprised.

  11. Drowsy M. Kram 11

    chris T divides the Greens into "wannabe SJWs" and those "trying to seem normal".

    Whereas for National party rwnjs, in thrall to the love of money, 'social justice' is one of many phrases and words that they cannot comprehend in any context other than their hip pocket. 'Sustainability' is another.

    https://www.cab.org.nz/what-we-do/social-justice/

    • chris T 11.1

      I have no idea what the status of the Nats has to do with the Greens.

      But if the answer to the Greens issues is deflection, and ignoring the issues, you are doing fine.

  12. Ad 12

    Curious to see Jack McDonald resigning from being on the list and heading the Greens Policy Council.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/395936/high-ranking-greens-member-pulls-pin-before-election

    Clearly he blames the leadership of James Shaw for being too "centrist". Whereas I view Shaw and Sage as having delivered massively inside government, and Davidson retaining the width outside government to stay radical. Seems like a pretty good balance going into election.

    • Dukeofurl 12.1

      Is it a personal conflict?

      Macdonald was plucked from obscurity and very young age to work in Metiria Turei's office.

      Was he out of a job in parliament for the Greens when Shaw or others passed him over?

  13. swordfish 13

    Ad

    But if the Greens can become the party of the elements … they have a policy field that will lift them beyond the organically-fed urban bourgeoisie and into the towns and farms that need every drop of water, every tourist dollar to sustain them.

    Greens' voting base is certainly Urban … but not as Bourgeois as many assume.

    The 2014 New Zealand Election Study confirms what I’ve been arguing here for quite some time …

    (eg here … /breaking-news-russell-norman-resigning-from-parliament/#comment-1069442 and here … /the-political-machinations-of-the-flag-debate/#comment-1074477)

    … namely: that – far from being a Party supported largely by the affluent urban middle to upper-middle classes – the Green support-base is, in fact, quite diverse: the party draws fairly similar levels of support from the various socio-economic strata. Indeed, if anything, the 2014 NZES suggests the Greens drew slightly greater support from people on lower incomes with few if any assets than from those on high incomes.

    Which isn’t to say the Green Constituency sees itself as subjectively “working class” exactly … their voters tend to eschew all vestige of class identity.

    (characteristics of the Greens (shrunken) constituency in 2017 not available yet)
    .

    Further, while I’ve always admired your intellectual creativity, I just can't see Farmers suddenly heading to the Greens.

    Farmers:

    Are disproportionately at the opposite end of the Liberal-Conservative Moral Spectrum

    – Have a long history of antipathy to the Left (Historically always the least likely demographic to vote Labour … even in 1935-38 … Labour Mvmt seen as The Enemy)

    – Form the very core of National Party support (together with affluent Urban Private Sector / Self-Employed) & before that of Reform Party support.

    – Are the demographic least likely to vote Green

    I really don't think you can overcome that sort of history, antipathy & mindset … and it's almost certainly a waste of time and precious resources to even try.

    • Dennis Frank 13.1

      We've got one: John Hart. He was a Greens candidate last election. I remember a good conversation with him when he attended his first conference (2015) after I rejoined the Greens. A natural enthusiast, not just a farmer. But even farmers who go Green in their heads and farming practice will find it hard to make the culture shift into Green politics. I'd expect them to support the Bluegreens mostly.

    • Robert Guyton 13.2

      "I really don't think you can overcome that sort of history, antipathy & mindset … and it's almost certainly a waste of time and precious resources to even try."

      That's also the way I see it and reflects my experiences on a farmer-heavy council.

      • Pat 13.2.1

        And also the way I see it…though Swordfish may be being a little generous in his description….my experience would be widespread 'animosity' rather than 'antipathy'

    • Dukeofurl 13.3

      Then why is Green party vote in 2017 14% in Auckland Central but 5% in Mangere. Again 8% in Epsom.

      What is that telling you? [Remember labour gets 25% party vote in Epsom. but gets very high party vote in poorer electorates]

      The core Greens supporter is female younger, urban and middle class. Its not totally that group of course. But look at the urban well off electorates and their vote is higher than in poorer urban electorates. There is another group in rural 'lifestyle areas'

      • swordfish 13.3.1

        Which electorates are they strongest in ? / What is that telling us ?

        The New Zealand Election Study’s Jack Vowles

        Some journalists have also suggested that the Greens’ failure to attract voters on the right was less about the ability to demonstrate a capacity for economic management and environmental pragmatism, and more about how their position on issues of social justice connected or did not connect with their electoral support.

        For example, political commentator Duncan Garner (2014) argued that ‘the Greens talk poverty and social justice, but the poor aren’t listening—and they’re certainly not voting for them’. He identified ‘telling statistics’ from party vote data across electorates: the Green Party polled much better in upper-income electorates than in those with high proportions of people on lower incomes.

        But Garner’s observation is based on what is known as the ecological fallacy: it is dangerous to infer individual behaviour from differences between large groups of people such as those contained in electorates. At the individual level, as Chapter 4 has shown, the Greens were slightly more likely to gain votes from people on lower incomes than those on upper incomes.

        Contrary to Garner’s claims, lower incomes and fewer assets are associated with Green voting. However, as Figure 7.2 shows, Green voters are not working class and do not see themselves as such. They also do not identify as middle class, given the width of the confidence intervals, mainly identifying with no class at all.

        I made essentially the same point as Vowles back in the 2015 thread I Iinked to in my earlier comment /the-political-machinations-of-the-flag-debate/#comment-1074477

        Duncan Garner certainly wasn’t the only journo to rely on seat-by-seat data

        In his 2012 Listener Interview with Russel Norman – Guyon Espiner suggested

        If you doubt the rich bias among Green voters, consider this: in the country’s wealthiest electorate of Epsom, 4424 people gave their party vote to the Greens. That is more than the combined total of Green voters in the poor Auckland electorates of Mangere (962), Manurewa (995) and Manukau East (913)..

        Apart from falling for the ecological fallacy – what Guyon also conspicuously failed to notice was the marked discrepancy between similarly affluent seats like Epsom (Green 4424 in 2011) … Vs … Wellington Central (10903)

        or

        very Low Income Dunedin North (Green 7010 in 2011) … Vs … either the 3 poorer South Auckland electorates or indeed affluent Epsom.

        The Pasifika dominance in South Auckland and their long-term overwhelming loyalty to the Labour Party should give you a hint … in other words, the 3 M Seats are a bit of a Red Herring.

        I'll just give you one more specific example … Wgtn Central is certainly one of the wealthiest seats in the Country … but the Greens' suburban stronghold there is Aro Valley … very much a lower income area.

        The Green voting-base is definitely Young & Urban, also non-Religious (at least in the conventional sense), & both morally Liberal & economically Left-wing … but otherwise quite diverse, drawing relatively even support from all socio-economic strata.

  14. swordfish 14

    Labour Lead over Lib Dems (July 2019 Polls)

    All Polls (other than YouGov)

    Ipsos Mori 30 July … + 4

    ComRes 28 July … + 14

    Deltapoll 27 July … + 7

    Opinium 26 July … + 12

    ComRes 25 July … + 8

    ComRes 16 July … + 11

    ComRes 11 July … + 13

    Survation 11 July … + 10

    ComRes 7 July … + 12

    Opinium 5 July … + 10

    BMG 5 July … + 9

    YouGov Polls

    30 July … + 3

    26 July … + 1

    24 July … minus 4

    17 July … + 1

    10 July … + 1

    3 July … minus 2

    Certainly something of a collapse in Labour support vis-a-vis 2017, with a swathe of Remainers heading off to the Lib Dems … (just as Tory Leavers headed to the Brexit Party … albeit temporarily for many) … but only YouGov suggests these two Oppo parties (Lab / LD) are neck-and-neck … & even YouGov isn’t indicating some sort of decisive Lib Dem supersession.

    • Dennis Frank 14.1

      Probably best just to deem it a volatile political environment, in which voter preferences are sloshing around in response to the Brexit tsunami. If Boris loses his majority, Jeremy has to be on the ball with a suitable framing, to create the impression in the mind of floating voters that Labour is not entirely clueless. I presume a vote of no-confidence in parliament would be his first step, but would it be likely to succeed?

  15. JohnP 15

    You realise the Lib Dems are rising because they're gaining support from disaffected Conservatives, right? That they took part in the Austerity Govt of 2010 – 2015 and still don't recognise that what they did was disastrous for the country, cost thousands of lives and put it on the road to Brexit? Their new leader voted with the Tories more times than the new Tory leader did, for heaven's sake.

    Lib Dems may be successfully riding the Brexit issue, but with all the challenges the UK faces – they don't believe there's anything substantively wrong with the way the country was being run before the 2016 vote.

  16. michelle 16

    Well there are seven Maori seats up for grabs at the next election let see who wants them and who will do what they have to, to get them

    • Dukeofurl 16.1

      Last time a new party 'grabbed' the Maori seats, they supported National government.

      Oh yes they stamped their feet and said no Kermadec Sanctuary or else, even though their votes werent needed.

  17. soddenleaf 17

    Problem for the libdems is if they become the party of remain and brexit goes ahead, they are left without a issue, vacant. Luckily they can negotiate back into the union, lose the pound and remake the eu removing the histories. All unlikely.

    As for the dullard here who thinks taking party votes off labour is entirely bad for the left, well two parties of the left, greens arguably more so, lose how? Split voting aids the left as Labour become a seat party, and e.g. over hangs.

    Greens however do have opportunities. Business wants to be green, them there's profits in those hills. We are seeing global a population aging globally, which means a population stabilisation, which follows least new housing, higher returns for better protein plant based. The future is sustaining the planet, profits are sideways rather tan bulk commodities, all Green businesses.

    So the question isn't what can the Greens do, it's how to reform the discussion at the expense of neolib cruel selfish rather than self serving economics.

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