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Challenging the divine right of kingmakers

Written By: - Date published: 12:40 pm, September 1st, 2017 - 123 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, democratic participation, election 2017, greens, Politics - Tags: , , , ,

“We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.” 

That’s a quote from Ursula K Leguin, talking about politics of a different kind but I think of it every time I see people acting as if Winston Peters has some divine right to be kingmaker. I started writing this post some months ago when the Greens first seriously challenged this power in a Sunday morning interview where Metiria Turei happened to call Peters racist. This is where I got to,

This is a post about following on from the GP standing up to Peters. What lefties can do. Change the narrative. Get people out to vote. Push the reality that a vote for Peters is not a vote for changing the govt.

Surprisingly enough, I don’t mind if Peters is part of a leftwing government. I’ve been critical of him over the years, and still credit him with making MMP a clusterfuck of powermongering instead of initial steps towards representative democracy. I do still also believe that people are entitled to representation, so I’m not averse to NZF per se. There’s some decent policy there.

But I’m over the bullshit. Turei broke the spell when she called him racist and then Shaw got up and delivered a speech which said it’s not enough to change the government. If you want a truly progressive government then you have to vote Green to lessen the influence that Peters will have post-election. They will work with Peters if they have to, but would prefer an actual left wing govt.

It was a bold move at the time and I’m not sure how many people realised just what the Greens were doing in shifting the political landscape but I really want to give credit to them for having taken that stand and stuck to their position on this. So many things have happened since then, and the ability to really push the message about NZF vs a progressive government got somewhat lost, but here we are anyway with a chance.

I’ve changed my mind about not minding Peters in government. It’s true in principle but he’s looking politically tired and while I’m all for inclusiveness he’s had decades of opportunity to play well with others and I think it’s time for him to sit this one out. It’s still a volatile election, the Left isn’t out of the woods yet, and Peters might still be a key player in what happens.  But Peters as kingmaker is simply a human power that can be resisted and changed. What we do next is important.

James Shaw was on RNZ this morning reiterating what needs to happen for a progressive government. When asked about supporting a Labour/NZF government he said,

Well that’s not a progressive government. The only way to get a progressive government is to have a Labour/Green government, and we’ve said that we’re open to working with New Zealand First as part of that coalition, there are areas of policy overlap, I guess we’ll just have to see what the numbers are on election night.

Challenging the divine right of kingmakers. Shaw is saying that of course NZF can be part of a Labour/Green government if needed, but let’s not pretend that Peters is the one with all the power. Even if NZF end up with more MPs than the Greens this doesn’t trump the relationship that’s been developed between the Greens and Labour, nor the Memorandum of Understanding, nor the agreement that if they can Labour and the Greens will form a coalition and change the government. The MoU says,

lt is our intent to build on this agreement so as to offer New Zealanders the basis of a stable, credible and progressive alternative government at the 2017 General Election.

This was intentional strategy from both parties and has been clearly communicated to the voting public for well over a a year.

Ardern has said a number of times recently that Labour are still committed to a Labour/Green coalition. But for that to happen they both need the votes, and to get a progressive government we still need maximum Green MPs. So some of the votes are going to have to comes from elsewhere including from NZF.

While I appreciate that Labour are doing what they have to to gain power, it would be nice to see them adopt some NZF policy as well as what they’ve accrued from the Greens, and let NZF voters know that their vote is safe with Labour.

Beyond that, perhaps it’s time to get past the whole kingmaker roll entirely. MMP has so much more potential than this. Imagine what last night’s leader debate would have been like with Shaw included. The FPP duopoly broken, and NZ politics taken out of the combative stance that comes from only two parties in opposition. Instead of politics as a shouty match we could have an engagement of human beings and how they can work together.

Shaw demonstrated this when Paddy Gower cut David Seymour off and asked Shaw a question instead, and Shaw said to Gower that he needed to give Seymour the time he was entitled to. Gower did and later apologised. It was a small thing but it said heaps and people took note. These actions of changing how to do things are happening all the time with the Greens and this is core to the Green Party kaupapa. They are clearing a path to a different kind of politics.

Shaw said at the end of the debate that he’s there to not only change the government but to change how politics is done. Yet another good reason to have strong Green representation after the election.

Twenty-three days to go. The MSM are saying a progressive Labour/Green coalition is possible so it must be a thing now, right?

123 comments on “Challenging the divine right of kingmakers”

  1. Sacha 1

    Still too many supposed journalists last eve missing that Lab+Grn+Maori was a viable governing coalition in that latest poll – instead habitually fixated on Winston First, as you note.

    • weka 1.1

      I’m pretty bad at keeping an overview of the MSM because I don’t read/watch it every day. Is RNZ the only one that got it?

    • dukeofurl 1.2

      Lab + Grn + MP that was 52 +7 +1 =60 seats Thats not a majority Sacha !

      Lab + NZF = 62 . Now thats a majority

      You need to go to specsavers.
      The Governor General would send your combination back and say ‘Try again’

      • weka 1.2.1

        From the RNZ link,

        “If the trend continues through the next three weeks Labour could possibly govern with just the Greens and the Māori Party.”

        Which means that Labour could choose either, not that Labour has to choose Peters. Did you read the post at all?

        • dukeofurl

          He was talking about last nights poll on TVNZ, thats why I used the name Sacha

          In this election we are way past looking at some spiel about ‘trend continues’

          There hasnt been any to speak of, surely you know its some pretty big changes.

          Even the language RNZ used was clutching at straws, buried down in the story even though the headline ran with it- bizarre. ( What journalism school teaches that ?)

          If the trend continues through the next three weeks Labour could possibly govern with just the Greens and the Māori Party.”

          Another trend they have found!
          “The Greens were 5.6% on the latest average (6.7% in mid-August) and still trending down”

          I would have thought you were about surviving the 5% cuttoff at this stage

          • weka

            RNZ run a poll of polls so I do take them a bit more seriously, but my basic position on polls is that they’re useful frames for putting arguments. The post was about that attempt to change the narrative around kingmakers and to look at a progressive coalition being possible.

            But my response to your comment stands. If Labour have a choice there’s no good reason to automatically choose NZF. So sure, 62 is going to appear more stable to Labour than 60, but there’s still 3 weeks to go and it was just one poll and as you say, things are changing all the time (personally I think there are so many things changing that it’s too hard to attribute events to polling in the way that is traditionally done).

            • dukeofurl

              60 is not a government in a parliament of 121.

              Greens could do a repeat of NZF in 2005. It was 5.7% and 7 Mps. Just a confidence and Supply agreement with a single ministerial post – James Shaw as Minister of Environment or something like that.

              There is no automatic choice- its the numbers that decide results not ‘choices’

              I think Labour has learned that the largest party with much ‘allies’ its best not to have a formal coalition, especially with NZF and Greens.
              ‘keep your ( political) enemies close but not too close’

              • weka

                “60 is not a government in a parliament of 121.”

                Yes, and we didn’t have an election last night, it was a poll.

                “There is no automatic choice- its the numbers that decide results not ‘choices’”

                That’s a given and both the Greens and Labour have been saying this for over a year.

                But if the numbers go progressively and Labour have a choice, there’s no good reason to assume that NZF should predominate.

              • riffer

                A parliament of 121 is a big assumption. Dunne isn’t coming back, and who knows about Seymour?

                • dukeofurl

                  Seymours is coming back , he won by 5000 or so votes last time.

                  Anyway the whole exercise with TVNZ poll result was based on 121 seats. The other numbers would change as well its not just down 1
                  Could we please have some sense in what is written

          • North

            Duke of Earl you’re a nitpicking sourpuss. Does “if” not mean anything to you ? It’s conscious knowledge that any bloody thing can happen. Accordingly all bloody things are legitimately discussed. No need to ‘morph’ into Kelly Anne Conway. The freedom to discuss this most interesting election does not need your stupid hectoring. Kia Ora. Thank You.

    • eco Maori/kiwi 1.3

      I think thestandard has educated many people on the crafty shit that national does to keep in power.
      As you can not find this information in MSM corrupt media.

  2. Bill 2

    …nor the agreement that if they can Labour and the Greens will form a coalition and change the government.

    There is no such agreement.

    Are you getting that understanding or expectation from an interpretation of – “lt is our intent to build on this agreement so as to offer New Zealanders the basis of a stable, credible and progressive alternative government at the 2017 General Election.”?

    The basis from that could be more or less anything (given that NZ Labour views itself as progressive) and absolutely does not commit NZ Labour to include the Green Party in any government they form after Sept 23rd.

    As an aside. I agree with Shaw when he says NZ Labour aren’t progressive – “well that’s (NZF & NZ Labour) not a progressive government”.

    • NewsFlash 2.1


      ” I agree with Shaw when he says NZ Labour aren’t progressive”

      This is the sort of rhetoric that can harm the MoU and turn voters off, Shaw is wrong with that statement.

      I know your skepticism is holding you back, but we live in a democracy, you know, where the majority unfortunately dictate to the minority, it’s the reality.

      For most, changing the Government is the most critical point, and we all need to keep sight of that goal.

      • Bill 2.1.1

        NZ Labour are a party of Liberalism and therefor cannot be either progressive nor left.

        Shaw stating that NZ Labour aren’t progressive is just an observational fact, and as far as I can see it’s a statement that’s got nothing whatsoever to do with the MoU.

        Also, for the life of me I can’t see how it can be said that such a statement could serve to “put voters off”.

        • tracey


          I am taking from some Labour supporters here that the Greens must concede everything to Labour and Labour must concede nothing back. Apparently “might is right” or bullying as it is known elsewhere is ok in this context.

          • Ad

            The MOU isn’t a talisman for the Greens against a poor campaign.

            The Greens have 3 weeks to repair the impression that they have made with the electorate, and get back into parliament.

            The remaining Green supporters are understandably defensive, but they need to concentrate on mobilizing their own voters and not worrying about any other party.

            I support the Labour Party, so trust me I know this:
            sometimes you just suck, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Except your best.

            • tracey


              Even when Greens were polling 15% this election and slightly lower in the last election, labour spoke against them… more so than NZF. That is why my comments that Labour are more interested in maintaining a neo liberal path than some here seem to understand or acknowledge. National covets ACT and Dunne (before resignation) but Labour views the Greens as an enemy, judging by some of their public statements and behaviour

              Reduce Poverty, Climate Change, Clean Rivers

            • weka

              Except they don’t suck. If you look at the policy being released and how how they’re functioning (see Shaw in debates for instance but also what the other MPs are doing), they’re professional, passionate, intelligent and caring, and come across as competent. All things good things for the Greens.

              As Robert points out elsewhere, the purpose of the Greens isn’t to be the most popular so there is always this tension between holding true to values and gaining power. I get the temptation to make it all about campaigning in the game to get the most power, but the Greens simply don’t do that. This doesn’t mean they will necessarily lose though, there are more than two options here.

              I think there have been too many things happening to know why they’ve taken a dip in the polls and seriously doubt that it can be attributed to either one thing (e.g. Turei) or that somehow this is a sign that they’re not good at what they do. Sometimes shit happens and this has been a very chaotic few months.

              • Ad

                No, the Greens need to own this one.
                Policies only make up a wee bit of elections in the last three weeks. Any good campaigner knows that.

                At T Minus 21 its mostly just mobilization and media responses.

                They will learn from it.

                They have to. Because there is no “Divine Right of Kings” to say that any party must survive.

                In this election and the last we have seen three parties die: Internet/Mana, Conservatives, United.
                And with Maori Party, Act, and now Greens having near-death experiences.

                Greens must fight for every vote, and take nothing including their very existence for granted.

                • weka

                  Yes, I agree with much of that. From what I can tell the Greens are very well mobilised, and also focussed on the repair via media (mainstream and social). They look to me like they’re fighting for every vote. The person I see in the MSM the most is Shaw, and he comes across well, I think he’s doing his job. Not sure about making him the figurehead, I guess time will tell on that.

                  Pretty sure they’re not being complacent about their situation either, not just the MPs looking at losing their positions in parliament but the whole party given the implications of that.

                  But the point about the MoU isn’t that they’re entitled to anything but that the relationship has been built so that if they get enough votes then Labour has a solid coalition partner in waiting. That was what the MoU was for, to present a govt in waiting. Thus, the push now needs to be to get as many Green votes as possible for the sake of the Greens obviously but also for the sake of getting a progressive govt.

                  For people like yourself who are just as happy with NZF, it’s going to look different.

            • Sumsuch

              ‘Support the Labour Party’, Courageous of you to say, morally.

          • Bill

            The Greens should have taken a very long spoon along when they sat down to sup with NZ Labour. Actually. Had Andrew Little not been deposed, I think things would be no where near as fraught for the Greens as they are now.

            As I mention below, the coup occasioned some fairly immediate triangulating of two out of the three major policies the Greens had already announced (water and transport).

            And then I look at the polling fortunes for those Liberal pretenders to progressive or left causes abroad (they’re tanking) and see tears welling in NZs near to medium term future.

          • red-blooded

            Tracey, who has said that “the Greens must concede everything to Labour and Labour must concede nothing back”?

            Plus, weka, your comment in the post about Labour accruing policy from the Greens needs challenging. Labour has built up its policy platform over a period of years. This has been an independent process, focused within the party. It’s hardly surprising that Labour (who despite the echoing cries of naysayers like Bill, are a progressive party of the left) will have environmental policies addressing issues like water quality and climate change. There were similar sets of policies in previous elections, although they always get tweaked a bit. Surely you don’t believe that only the Greens are entitled to develop serious policies on such issues? Just as any Labour Party member who feels that the Greens shouldn’t be featuring poverty and issues of homelessness in their campaign has to get the message that these issues don’t belong exclusively to the Labour Party.

            • Karen

              +1 red-blooded.

            • weka

              Fair enough rb, I’ll think about how to rephrase it (I think I used ‘accrued’ because I was in a hurry and didn’t want to use ‘steal’).

              It’s not that I think the Greens own the policy, it’s that Labour have made an obvious shift in presentation on those issues as a way of gaining votes. I don’t have a problem with Labour doing this, and I think it’s a win for the Greens if Labour become more overt about CC, water etc, and it opens up a space for the Greens to presented deeper change.

              I still think that the Greens have better policy on those issues in part because it’s their core work and I don’t entirely trust Labour, I think that some of what they are doing is rhetoric (from a green perspective it won’t be enough).

      • tracey 2.1.2

        The MOU is designed to ensure a change of Government. Explain to me how taking the Greens 3 tag lines but stealing none of NZF is any better a strategy?

        • Karen

          I don’t get this accusation of “stealing” policies. Parties develop their own policies and sometimes they overlap. Labour’s policy on clean water and on climate change are much the same as in the last election. The fact that Labour and the Greens have policies that overlap is good – it means that they will be able to work together. Labour also have policies in health and education that are different from the Greens that they are promoting heavily.

          The Green’s policies on benefit reform are the reason I will be party voting Green. I’d be very happy if Labour adopted something similar as it would ensure it happened.

          Labour’s policies are the same as when Andrew Little was leader – the difference in the polls is because Ardern is more appealing to many people as a potential leader than Andrew.

          • weka

            I think it’s more platforms than policies (most parties have a policy on water or CC for instance). But I agree that the word stealing is problematic. I’m happy that Labour have adopted a more progressive stance on the environment, and would also be pleased if they did the same on welfare.

            “Labour’s policies are the same as when Andrew Little was leader – the difference in the polls is because Ardern is more appealing to many people as a potential leader than Andrew.”

            And part of that is the change in how Labour is being presented including policy. There will be people who are more comfortable voting Labour now because of the shift on the environmental stuff, but I think ultimately it’s very hard to pin down exactly what votes have one where and why (far too many variables).

            • NewsFlash

              Yes, but also, Ardhern has made alterations to the some of those policies, put her own stamp on them, to make them more palatable, she is a little more to the left than Little I feel, and this has been successful for her and the party.

              I’m going to repeat this, I hope that Labour and the Greens can Govern on their own, and am positive that the Greens can gain some traction to improve their position to help achieve this outcome.

              • weka

                That’s my hope and belief too 🙂

              • North

                Hear Hear NewsFlash ! That is my hope too. So I decide for now to be less critical. Because critical right now is unfairly negative. Because Honour, Justice, Mana, and Karma say these people can’t be given a fourth term.

            • red-blooded

              weka, there hasn’t been a shift in environmental policy. That policy was already in place under Little and was already being strongly promoted. It wasn’t getting the same cut-though, but it was the same policy platform.

          • NewsFlash

            +1 Karen

            We need to put on a united front, to prove the combination of the two parties can work together, no driving wedges, the MSM will have a field day if they sense problems exist.

          • tracey

            I agree with most of what you say.

            I would prefer to see Labour more neutral toward Greens (in the past overtures have been made to NZF immediately after NZF has said they won’t work with the Greens).

            To be clear. The Greens announced a pithy election platform… It involved three pillars; Reduce Poverty, Climate Change, and Clean Rivers. Prior to Ardern becoming Leader of the Labour Party, through Little, the party did not express itself this way. By doing this it has left itself open to accusation (such as mine) that its true desire is not to collaborate or partner with the Green party but to bury them. the Greens and Labour reached an accommodation over Ohariu and one that has worked a treat. There does not appear to have ever been a credible suggestion that labour offer a deal to Green party over a seat. It cannot be because it opposes accommodations and depriving the electorate of choice because, well, Ohariu.

            I want Labour to poll high. I want National gone but those who want a left-leaning government or an end to Neo Liberal policies are fooling themselves if they think NZF is the better bet than the Greens. And labour in the past has openly courted NZF far more than the Greens

            • Karen

              “And labour in the past has openly courted NZF far more than the Greens”

              In the past this was true, but it is not true now. As I have said, there are some in the Labour Party who do prefer NZF but they are definitely in the minority and they have been for some time.

              After the election there will only be 4 Labour Party MPs who were in the Clark government. It is time to move on.

              • red-blooded

                Plus, in the past, it hasn’t been possible for a Labour-Green alliance to govern without NZF, and NZF have said they wouldn’t go into any coalition that involved the Greens. Let’s try to make NZF irrelevant by making a coalition of two possible (or 3, if the Māori Party are in the position to play ball). Plus, notice that NZF isn’t being as aggressively anti-Green as they have been in the past.

        • NewsFlash

          You use the word STEAL, that indicates that Labour have some how stolen policies that they didn’t already have, not true, you know there is overlap in policy, that’s why they make such good partners.

          I haven’t seen or heard at any point any commonality between Labour & NZF, apart from reducing immigration, most voting for NZF are to the right, why would they vote for Labour, particularly under the Ardhern badge, which has positioned the party for a more successful outcome, which is what we’ve been seeing.

          You call it a strategy, to steal votes from the Greens, I haven’t seen any evidence of that, but if you can provide evidence, please do.

          What annoys me is that now the opportunity to change the Government is becoming a reality, so many are scorning the very Party that has driven this outcome, I think you’ll find they’re equally surprised at the success.

          The Greens made choices going into this election which unfortunately haven’t panned out for them the way they would of liked, don’t blame everyone else for their demise, it was their call, no one else’s, albeit, the MSM is viscous, perhaps you should look a little closer to home to find out why the voters aren’t supporting the Greens, after all the voters are the ones who get you elected.

          • weka

            Lots of things have contributed to Labour’s turnaround, including the seriously good performance as leader by Ardern. I also think that Turei’s speech was a significant factor because of the Green bump in the next poll and how that shook Labour. It’s a very complex set of dynamics.

            • NewsFlash

              Yes it is a complex set of dynamics, if we new exactly what they were we would reproduce them over and over.

              I will be honest, I don’t think the admission from Turei was well timed, as you know, Kiwi’s have been trained to dislike poor people and bene’s, it’s a sad indictment on our society, but it’s true, by the way, I admire Turei’s honesty and respect her for what she has done, honesty is a rare thing in todays society, and particularly in politics.

              • weka

                I think if she hadn’t done that Labour would still have Little as leader and we’d be losing the election 😉 But that aside, it was the right thing for the Greens to do because it broke the issue open and it won’t be put back now.

                • tracey

                  For over 200,000 children and many adults playing it safe won’t help them out of ill health and poverty. The Greens knew what it was doing and it was totally in accord with their values, Charter and vision.

                  • NewsFlash


                    Neither will not getting into government, you can’t change anything from the cross benches, if you could, it would have already occurred.

                • NewsFlash


                  Quite possibly, but we’ll never really know, I saw Andrew a few days before the announcement and to me he looked ill, troubled and stressed, I think the change was becoming inevitable.

  3. Phil 3

    The Greens won’t get in their hands on the controls. Middle NZ finds them too much of a cult of personality party. The prolonged Turei fraud saga did deep damage which the Greens and a lot of their supporters seem to be almost proud of.

    • Carolyn_nth 3.1

      Seriously!? A “cult of personality party”?

      You mean, unlike Peter’s NZ First, or the recently rejuvenated Labour of Jacinda Ardern, or John Key’s (then popular) National Party?

      I do understand many of the dominant voices in society, politics and the media, do their best to undermine and disparage the Green Party in diverse, and often contradictory ways.

    • Robert Guyton 3.2

      “Almost”! Phil, ya tease! The Greens don’t need the bulk of New Zealanders to vote for them, only those who want a government that’s decent. 5, 8,10,12,15% will do just fine, thanks.

      • xanthe 3.2.1

        sorry but I am with Phil on this. yes there are those who will vote green but there is a larger number who wont vote Labour if they think that means the greens will have a voice in government. The greens have only themselves to blame for this , They need to get leadership that is focused on bringing New Zealanders together around an environmental cause, not self promotion at the expense of social cohesion. I have some hope of this now that Met (and some others) are gone but the public is not going to be convinced in this cycle. They need to sit this one out and sort their shit out

        • Robert Guyton

          The Greens “need to get leadership that is focused on bringing New Zealanders together around an environmental cause…”
          No, they do not, though your simplistic view is common amongst those who will never vote Green nor understand their purpose. In any case, which “environmental cause” do you believe, xanthe, New Zealanders could be brought together around? Water quality? Climate Change? Oil exploration? Protecting sea mammals? Long-finned eels, perhaps – do you remember Metiria’s crusade to save the long-finned eels from destruction? I’d love to hear your suggestion for an environmental cause such as you alluded to.

          • xanthe

            ” your simplistic view is common amongst those who will never vote Green”
            My point exactly! Why is it that it is acceptable to just discount “those who will never vote Green”? What is it about green campaigning that generates “those who will never vote Green”? When the greens reach out to those people and seek the common ground (there always is if you look!) with them then perhaps they will be ready to be part of government. Until then… nah.
            Just to be clear I was a loyal Green voter and volunteer for many years and would welcome a situation where I could be again so I am not one “who will never vote Green” Just (probably) not this time.

            • McFlock

              “Never vote Green” means “never”. Not if they abandon all social policy, not if they have different leaders, but never. They will never be persuaded to vote Green.

              So why even try to get the unattainable? Just ignore ’em.

            • tracey

              What changed you from supporting the Greens? Were you a disgruntled Labour voter who switched to Green or something else?

            • Robert Guyton

              xanthe – others here are highlighting the faults in your approach pretty well, so I’ll not labour the point. The Greens oughtn’t, in my view, ever become a large party representing the views of the majority – their very purpose would be lost – theirs is not an issue-based kaupapa, but one of position and that will change as the “bulk” move toward where the Greens were. If the Greens don’t move in response, they will be absorbed into the mass and will cease to exist as a unique “body”. Some would like that, I would not. I’m interested though, in why you won’t vote Green this time, when the party needs you most? Have you got the huff because of naughty Metiria? Is James too suited for your taste? What reason do you have/can you give for your failure to support The Greens?

          • Robert Guyton

            Still wondering which environmental cause you are suggesting, xanthe.

        • Carolyn_nth

          Goodness, xanthe. You clearly don’t take notice of what the GP actually do and say.

          xanthe wrote: They need to get leadership that is focused on bringing New Zealanders together around an environmental cause, not self promotion at the expense of social cohesion.

          That is so far off target it’s a joke. Maybe you have been paying too much attention to ant-GP propagandists? try looking at their website! If there’s one thing the GP are really focused on is social cohesion.

          And social justice has always been party of the GP vision, as it does for the international Green movement.

          Look at the GP Charter, Vision, values, etc, and you get an idea of where they are coming from.

          there’s a high value on consensus building, social responsibility and collaborative ways of working.

          • tracey

            I am always surprised by some Labour voters desire to bury the Greens and to swallow whatever the media prints about them.

            Labour has had 4 leaders in 4 years but Greens need to sort their Leadership problems.

            • Karen

              I don’t think Xanthe is/has ever been a Labour or Green voter based on his/her comments over the years.

          • xanthe

            I am well versed in the GP charter, vision, values etc thanks carolyn. I dont believe that they follow them! That to me is worse than not having those values at all!

            • tracey

              Please be specific about them “not following” their charter.

              The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand; recognises Maori as Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand; and commits to the following four Principles:

              Ecological Wisdom:
              The basis of ecological wisdom is that human beings are part of the natural world. This world is finite, therefore unlimited material growth is impossible. Ecological sustainability is paramount.
              Social Responsibility:
              Unlimited material growth is impossible. Therefore the key to social responsibility is the just distribution of social and natural resources, both locally and globally.
              Appropriate Decision-making:
              For the implementation of ecological wisdom and social responsibility, decisions will be made directly at the appropriate level by those affected.
              Non-violent conflict resolution is the process by which ecological wisdom, social responsibility and appropriate decision making will be implemented. This principle applies at all levels.

        • tracey

          I guess that explains Labour stealing

          End poverty. Address Climate change. Clean Rivers from the Greens

          • Bill

            Hmm. Straight after the leadership coup, NZ Labour traingulated the hell out of two of the three major Green policies that had been released.

            They triangulated Green’s transport policy. And they did the Green’s fresh water policy too. But the Green’s policy on poverty? Funnily enough…nah.

            • tracey

              Exactly. labour is tinkering at the edges of poverty in their announcements. Greens propose ways to address it at source.

              • weka

                I suspect compared to the Greens they’re tinkering on water and CC too. We’ll see how it comes out in the wash but I don’t think its a secret that Labour adopted those position from from a lite place.

          • red-blooded

            tracey, that’s just bullshit. No-one owns policy, just as no-one owns votes. Labour has had policy on these issues for years. Get over yourself.

            • weka

              There’s been a very obvious repositioning on water and CC since Ardern took over.

              • Karen

                The policies have not changed since Ardern took over. The difference is that they have had media attention because of Ardern.

                • weka

                  Yes, not policy, but the positioning has definitely changed. Ardern is using lines that previous weren’t being used and are very similar to what the Greens use. Not saying she is wrong to do that (it’s actually smart), but it is happening.

                • tracey

                  Can you point me to links showing the grouping of Poverty, Climate Change and Clean rivers as the lynch-pin of labour policy, prior to Arden’s ascension to the Leadership?

                  • red-blooded

                    Policy doesn’t get released all at once, at the start of a campaign, tracey. Pay attention to the issues Labour has highlighted throughout the last term in opposition and to the suite of policies from the last election. Plus, how about trusting those of us in the party who have participated in the policy development process?

            • tracey

              Thank you for your well-reasoned counter.

            • Robert Guyton

              I agree with red-blooded. Declaring a policy first doesn’t give rights to challenge any other party describing the same policy at a later date. The Greens do without doubt, come up with good policy earlier than any other party, but should keep doing that as the sands shift.; that’s a primary role for the party; preparing the ground. It’s hard work and often goes unthanked, but there are ways of forging change and there are ways.

        • tracey

          Given Labours recent Leadership issues your critique of the Greens is risible.

          • NewsFlash


            I don’t think all of your comments are fair, I’ve watched the Greens grow and evolve over the last twenty years and have a lot of respect for there values, but over the last few years of modernizing the party to make them more attractive to the main stream voters, I feel they’ve lost some of the genuine values that existed prior to the change.

            Just one last comment, and sadly, the Green vote globally, over recent years has been on the decline, note in both Australia and the UK, partially due to voters wanting to address the gross inequality that has been growing under corporate direction, the climate still matters, but more importantly, putting food on the table trumps all else.

            • tracey

              Can you be specific about the values they have lost?

              The Greens have had impact around the world because we see main parties becoming Green. Unlike some parties I believe the Green Party would be thrilled to not exist because all their policies had been adopted. I am not sure I can say that about many parties.

              “Green Party Values

              Green Party

              As a party and as members of that party, we aim to:

              Act according to our Charter
              Respect the planet and the web of life of which we are one part
              Take the path of caution in the face of serious uncertainty about the consequences of human action
              Think long term and holistically
              Make decisions by consensus whenever possible
              Engage respectfully, without personal attacks
              Support ideas on their merit, regardless of where they originate
              Actively respect cultural and individual diversity and celebrate difference
              Maintain a community focus
              Enable participation with dignity and challenge oppression
              Encourage new voices and cherish wisdom
              Recognise our duty of care towards those who cannot speak for themselves
              Foster compassion, a sense of humour and mutual enjoyment in our work”

              • weka

                Less hippy more urban (to grossly generalise). You can see this in the 1080 position, also the focus on science. Not that that is bad, but that there has been a change in the culture and I feel a little bit concerned that something is being lost there. That’s the price for being in a position to change the mainstream though 🙂

              • NewsFlash

                Values, perhaps this is an example of what I’m talking about

                Perhaps it is the individuals that have been forced or jumped from the party over the last 2 or 3 years, strong, long term Green supporters, with very strong values from the old days that no longer align with the current party values, if you’ve been a long time Green party supporter, you will know straight away the individuals I refer to, that’s what I’m referring to.

                The list and charter you kindly presented is admirable and I agree with, but the Greens can not gain sufficient to votes to govern alone, not in NZ anyway, I’m a realist, and want to see a definite change of Govt, and I suspect you do too.

                You indicate that Labour are just another neo lib party, and to an extent that is true, but you know what, neo liberalism can be made to work for society in a positive way, we just need a government to start working for their constituency and not for the corporations, it’s deliberate and unacceptable, but we can only change that from a position of power, by being the government.

                • tracey

                  I know the Greens will never rule alone. I am pleased with Labour’s resurgance. My glasses are not rose tinted.

              • Sans Cle

                And might I say Weka, that you embody this charter so wholeheartedly in your approach and moderation on the Standard.

      • dukeofurl 3.2.2

        Just getting over 5% is the mission now. If it all goes well on election day 6% would be nirvana as the usual Greens dropoff from the polling figures cuts in- that could be 1-1.5% .

        • DSpare

          That is only if you go off the polls immediately preceding the election.
          If you take the ones from a month out, the dropoff was less noticeable in 2014
          (except the 16% Roy Morgan, all the rest are nearer to the 11% the GP ended up with). In 2011 there was actually a surge from a month out, with few of the polls then having them in double digits.

          This time, only Colmar Brunton has them below 8%.

          • dukeofurl

            There are not many polls so far that have captured all the political changes.

            Both polls in the last 2 weeks have them at 4-5% range

            The last poll with Greens on 8% was held 2-8 August- Today is the 1st Sept.
            Its so out of date its ridiculous

            I think there is another 3 Newshub poll coming soon. Well see how the ‘above 8%’ looks then.

            As for last election, you havent looked at the facts
            Greens poll numbers in last month were:

            Actual result was 10.7. Consistently higher poll result for Greens is evident. In theory it should be above and below final numbers.

            2011 had the same result, only one poll had them below final result, last polls were around 2% higher

            • DSpare

              A “month out” not; “in [the] last month”. Also; ” the dropoff was less noticeable”, not undetectable.

              Well if you need someone to do the work for you, in 2011:

              9.5% Roy Morgan 26 September – 9 October
              9.5% Roy Morgan 10–23 October
              9.5% Herald-DigiPoll 20–27 October
              9.4% 3 News Reid Research 30 October
              9.7% Fairfax Media–Research International 27–31 October
              10.1% Herald-DigiPoll 28 October – 2 November
              9% One News Colmar Brunton 3 November 2011
              12% Roy Morgan Research 24 October – 6 November

              You can average across those polls if you like, it is not a practice that I encourage because of the differing sampling methods.

              • dukeofurl

                From the 2011 wikipedia page where you got the numbers

                “Summary of poll results given below up to and including 11 November 2011. … Lines give the mean estimated by a Loess smoother, with shaded grey areas showing the corresponding 95% confidence interval for the estimate. Figures to the right show the estimate from the smoothing line at the date of the most recent poll, with 95% confidence interval. ”

                For 2005 the Loess smoother number for Greens was 8.7+- 1.2% Actual result was 6.72.

                And the Loess smoother number for the Greens in 2011 polls 13+- 1%

                Election result 11%

                The GAM smother number for 2015 was 12.2 +- 0.7% , actual result 10.7

                All results from Wikipedia pages. And the final numbers were specifically for the last polls, We are 2-3 weeks away from getting the polls to compare with final result.

                There is the proof. Its a better than NCEA level 1 methods you used.
                Improve your maths with better ways to understand mixed polling numbers


                • DSpare

                  A “month out” not; “specifically for the last polls”, that; “We are… 3 weeks away” is precisely the point that you so spectacularly missed. Also note than we had an election in 2014 not 2015; even primary school level reading should be able to tell you that (especially if you were cut and pasting from an open Wikipedia tab).

                  I can see why they moved from a LOESS to a GAM smoother between 2011 and 2014, it is just a shame that it didn’t work out for them. Having a 5% chance turn up three times in a row does seem to indicate that something is seriously off with political polling in this country (or their analysis). Also, the 2005 numbers you quote are actually from 2008 (that pesky reading again huh? Protip – differently shaped letters and numerals actually mean different things).

                  8.7 – 1.2 = 7.5: 2008 GP Election result 6.7%
                  13 – 1 = 12: 2011 GP Election result 11%
                  12.2 – 0.7 = 11.5 GP 2014 Election result 10.7%

                  • dukeofurl

                    Election in 2014 , yes I made a typo.

                    Im not predicting the final result from the the latest polls, its too changeable over the last 3 weeks to be confident over the next 3 weeks. Taking about trends this year is just high class bullshit.

                    But since we dont have an election this saturday to check the results, Im using previous correlation between final polls and results for previous elections to estimate the bias in current polling to over estimate the Green vote if the vote was held this weekend.

                    In 3 weeks we can do it all gain and see if the same bias occurs but have an actual election result.

                    Your final numbers just prove my point about the overestimate of the Green vote being 1-2%

                    It is what it is .. sigh.

                    • DSpare

                      You started off; “predicting the final result from the the latest polls” for the GP. That is exactly why I have been discussing the period a month out from the election:

                      on election day 6% would be nirvana as the usual Greens dropoff from the polling figures cuts in- that could be 1-1.5%

                      If you’re just going to retrospectively claim otherwise, I can’t be bothered with you anymore.

    • tracey 3.3


  4. tracey 4

    If you just want National gone but dont want real change then wish for Labour/NZF . If you want real change, rebuilt faulty systems, genuine efforts on climate change, then wish for Green/Labour.

    Some of the haters on the Greens suggest to me that many people are happy to keep tinkering around the edges and actually pretty happy with the status quo. Different clothes but essentially the same thinking. NZ needs bigger change. The slow creep of 30 years of current thinking cannot be allowed to keep creeping.

    The Greens are not really on the fringe it is just that the Centre has moved so far right since the 80s… I suspect even Muldoons government would barely be todays Centre(possibly slight left)

    • weka 4.1

      Yep. Those that want change will vote Labour or Green. Those that want serious change will vote Green. The people that are hating on the Greens are interesting. Some are centrist or tribal Labour so it’s understandable although still unfortunate in a kind of shoot yourself in the foot kind of way. But the ones that profess to want serious change and that are hating on the Greens, that’s a real eye opener.

      • xanthe 4.1.1

        Glad your eyes are being opened here weka
        I very much do want social change and i am very much opposed to the neoliberal agenda and I am staunch and understanding environmentalist, and I was a long time supporter and volunteer for the Greens. and I seriously think they are holding back the development of a more egalitarian and just and sustainable future for NZ. That is my view you can reject my view as “an enemy” or you can try to understand how I have (rightly or wrongly!) come to this view

        • weka

          I would try and understand your view if you explained it rather than just asserting things.

          • xanthe

            ahh doing that seems to get me banned usually 🙂 , I have tried!

            • weka

              you don’t get banned by me for doing that. Haven’t noticed other moderators banning for people explaining their politics either.

            • tracey

              It shouldn’t if you use examples and connect it to Green charter/values.

          • xanthe

            Ok one very small step at a time!

            Do you accept that it is theoretically possible to campaign for a cause and make things worse ?

            • Bill

              Focusing on short term gains can kill long term prospects. So yes. (Not that you asked me.) Campaigning for a cause can make things worse.

              • xanthe

                “Focusing on short term gains can kill long term prospects. So yes”
                Thank you Bill I wish i had asked you. You have hit the nail square on the head there!

                • weka

                  what short term gains are the Greens focussing on that are killing long term prospects?

                  • xanthe

                    so you are agreeing that it is possible weka?

                    • weka

                      I have no idea what you are talking about, and if you’re not going to say what you mean or think then this is just another stupid conversation.

                    • tracey

                      Are you alluding to a desire to confront and end poverty with an audience that is uncomfortable with the notion as being a short term notion that will kill the long term prospects of ending poverty?

                      How long do you think the Greens should wait for the mainstream to like the notion of ending poverty. or put another way, how many more people have to die before it is taken seriously?

                      You maybe talking about something else entirely because it is not clear to me what your precise point is.

                      You said
                      “I am well versed in the GP charter, vision, values etc thanks carolyn. I dont believe that they follow them! :

                      I will ask one last time; can you give examples of how they have breached their own vision, charter and values?

                • xanthe

                  So it being the case that it is possible to campaign to negative effect it is proper in entering into any campaign to consider the possible ways you might end up making things worse?

                  • weka

                    One could equally apply that to political debate. Just saying.

                    • xanthe

                      Absolutely! weka , One could and one should

                    • McFlock

                      and at least one doesn’t, it seems lol

                    • weka

                      Lol, I’ve given up.

                    • xanthe

                      So lets consider a form of campaigning that could have negative outcome.

                      Polarization. with polarization (intentionally of unintentionally) you remove the middle ground and force people to “take sides” this is an example of short term gain for longer term loss.

                      lets look at a hypothetical example. you have ten people in a room 1 supports you, 1 opposes, and 8 are uncommitted,

                      now remove that middle ground (“if your not with us you are against us, racist, misogynist, neo-liberal” whatever)

                      now look at the room 3 support us, (short term gain “yay we only needed three more to win the vote”), 5 now oppose us (long term loss), and 2 “will never vote for us!” (disaster that will taint further campaigns!)

                      You can see in this example how using polarization in a campaign may appear to make a gain but actually be a serious long term loss.

                      As well it is offensive to those who are led by conscience.

                      Do the greens engage (deliberately or not) in polarization? look within yourself for that ! i cant answer for you.

                    • weka

                      No they don’t (I looked inside me), and you still haven’t made any case that they do, you’ve just made some assertion base on your philosophy about polarisation. I could easily point to how and where the Greens don’t do that but it’s a waste of time because you refuse to engage on any actual detail. People have asked you for examples, I can only conclude now that you have none and are instead projecting your own stuff onto the Greens.

                      You probably have some interesting things to say about how people organise but fucked if I know what they are. I remember having interesting conversation with you in the past, but this pattern of insisting that people have to follow your way of debating is problematic because no-one appears to like it. Perhaps you’d be better off putting the theories out in Open Mike as general talking points, because they’re not making much sense here beyond some *very general idea about possible realities.

            • tracey


              You have been asked for examples to back your loss of faith in Greens and the strong statements you have made. I am not going on a question and answer trail with you. The others may choose to but I won’t. State your position, give examples and link to the charter you say has been breached. I know that would help me to unerstand your position. Do or do not. It is up to you.

              • xanthe

                Ok Tracey i wont ask again, you may ignore any ensuing discussion if you prefer.

                • tracey

                  So you are not going to give an example of how the Greens breached their charter and lost your vote? Fair enough.

            • McFlock

              how does that apply to the Greens?

      • DSpare 4.1.2

        The one advantage I can see to voting NZF is that they are solidly against the TPPA, so are the GP of course, but not so much Labour.


        If Labour have the option it would seem most likely to deal with both; the GP (with ground already prepared via the MoU) ,and NZF (whose position is still to talk to the party with best election results first). Finding common ground with the Māori and MANA parties would be sensible too if they get their electorate seats (you don’t want them in opposition after all).

        The problem with the GP for many Labour supporters seems to be the perception that the Greens are taking; “their votes”. Which is ridiculous, as the votes are the voice of the people in a representative democracy. But it is easy when you are looking at endless charts and graphs to confuse numbers and reality. Then again, I’ve noticed that the GP supporters had a tendency to regard the IMPs as stealing “their votes” last election, and similar feelings towards TOP this time.

        Proportionality of representation is important in our democracy. So, it is important that doddering alcoholics with deepseated bigotries have a voice in our parliament, as they are such a large part of our populace. On that basis alone Peters would be worth having around. If every party had lists like the GP then there’d be a disproportionate number of smart and talanted women MPs – but NZF balances that out with only three females in their top 15.

      • red-blooded 4.1.3

        weka, there are a lot more comments on this site from anti-Labour haters than anti-Green. Most of us who defend Labour try hard to do so without attacking the Greens. Doesn’t seem to work the other way, though… I don’t include you in that comment, but others like Bill or tracey just seem to attack. Considering the only way for the Greens to have an input into government is through a coalition with Labour, that seems pretty dumb. It’s also very wearying.

  5. mary_a 5

    The role of supposed “kingmaker” only inflates Winston Peters’ big ego. The power of being in such a position gives fuel to his already arrogant persona.

    I’m looking forward to a Labour/Green (and maybe Maori Party) government after the election. However, like the NZF leader, I can’t fully trust the Maori Party to do what’s best for impoverished Maori, instead of Maori elite, which includes the hierarchy of the party!

    • North 5.1

      Maori Party’d have the shackles taken off them if they coalesced with Labour and Greens. Dame Toryana Torya wouldn’t like it but…….

  6. Whispering Kate 6

    Well for my pennies worth – I am voting for he Green Party this time, Labour needs their support and the Greens certainly need support right now. One only has to look at the news right now and see the seriously horrendous extreme weather events happening right in front of our noses to see that its imperative that the Greens get a voice at the table. We are getting 100 year events now and Houston will take many years to clean the mess up. The India/Bangladesh flooding is disastrous and the loss of life unforgiveable. Even Wellington will sink into the sea at the rate the earth slips almost on a daily basis down there.

    Our kids need to be lifted out of poverty and people need homes and shelter. Labour seems light on poverty but Twyford’s house building is admirable and although I am glad that they are doing well in the polls and the recent debate I feel the Greens are more progressive and will keep Labour honest if they can get back in again.

    • dukeofurl 6.1

      Wellington wont slip into the sea, slips are common on steep slopes.
      The previous earthquakes generally in that area have been lifting the city above the sea level
      On the Kaikoura coast the slips were in the steepest cliffs and the sea coast/beaches was raised up.

    • Sumsuch 6.2

      Enjoyed and agree with your moderate comment.

  7. Incognito 7

    I fully agree with the message of this post that words and the meanings we give to them are so important in the way we conduct politics and public-political discourse.

    The word-concept “kingmaker” is so thoroughly misplaced that one wonders why MSM keeps feeding this meme.

    Obviously, Winston Peters is more than happy to wear this mantle – it bears his initials WRP after all – and claim the titular rights.

    Unfortunately, challenging the dominant narrative meets resistance, sometimes hostile and aggressive in nature. Rather than critically examining all possibilities (or lack of evidence) they try to shoot the messenger and/or query his/her motives.

    To change how politics is done, as suggested by James Shaw, appears to rule out relics from the political past. Perhaps this is one reason why are cynically manipulated to ignore the Greens as a fringe party purely focussed on the environment.

    Anyway, in the meantime, every time I hear “kingmaker” I cringe and every time I hear “Winston” in the same sentence I wince. Populist vs. value-based politics is like comparing ice lollies vs. porridge for breakfast; the former will give you an instant rush that will make you crave for more as soon as the ‘hit’ wears off while the latter tastes great (especially with berries or Manuka honey), once you get used to it, and sustains you for hours.

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