Cling to power vs the right thing to do

Written By: - Date published: 9:21 am, October 2nd, 2017 - 17 comments
Categories: election 2017, national, useless - Tags: , , , ,

The Nats are desperate to make big concessions for a coalition with the Greens. The establishment is lining up in The Herald to beg for this to happen.

So – Nats will strengthen environmental and social policies in order to cling to power – but not for the last nine long years when it was simply the right thing to do.

Doesn’t that tell you all you need to know about them?

17 comments on “Cling to power vs the right thing to do”

  1. roy cartland 1

    They are still stuck in old-thinking mode.

    Here’s a brilliant speech by George Monbiot to the Momentum group in the UK (the organisers behind Corbyn’s ascendancy).

    It’s 50+mins, but well worth it, he’s an engaging speaker.
    Main points:

    Humans are intrinsically altruistic, far above other species. We are told that we’re selfish and greedy, and that we OUGHT to be this way, but it simply isn’t the case. Many in power may be, but this is not a representative sample. The ideology has become so strong that we are starting to believe it and adapt to it.

    Our success as a species is due to organisation and cooperation. The isolationism that is occurring is counter to our very nature, and benefits a very select few at great cost to us.

    Humans respond much more to narrative than facts – those with the best narrative get the lion’s share of votes. While many agree with facts (climate change, poverty, etc) there are some that will always be in denial because the narrative doesn’t speak to them. (Commenter here Alwyn is a great example: we should eat locally – but why should I give up bananas since I like them.)*

    The social system is more than the two areas of state and economy – it also includes the household (providing huge amount of unpaid labour) and the commons (resources we all ‘own’, benefit from and are responsible for – much of which has been ‘grabbed’ and/or polluted).

    The left needs to find and promote a new narrative that includes all these factors, and shares the wealth and work. We can all be wealthy, all have work and purpose, all be sustainable.

    Watch it!

    * quote paraphrased; here it is:

    The Future of Food

    • Our success as a species is due to organisation and cooperation. The isolationism that is occurring is counter to our very nature, and benefits a very select few at great cost to us.

      Yep. From what I can make out our societies started off as small and communalist – a continuation of how we evolved. As they grew and administration needed to change they shifted to hierarchies which brought about rich and poor.

      The problem being that the people in power (often the greedy, sociopathic ones) used that position of power to shift ever more of the communities wealth into their own hands and control. This eventually collapses the society.

      This collapse is what we’re seeing now as more and more of our wealth gets shifted into the hands of the few via the idea that we need rich people to pay for stuff. Thing is, the rich have never paid for anything. All the resources used are ours. It’s only that governments have been shifting our resources into the control of the few and out of ours that gives the impression that we only live on the sufferance of the rich.

      (Commenter here Alwyn is a great example: we should eat locally – but why should I give up bananas since I like them.)*

      If Alwyn is worried about having bananas he could always move to Northland.

      • Roy 1.1.1

        Yes. And this is where altruism falls down, or at least needs adjusting. If you trust everyone and disengage politically, the sociopaths take advantage, as has happened. That’s another point made in the speech – we need to remain engaged or someone will always come along and take the piss.

  2. Ad 2

    Wouldn’t it be crazy if our parliamentary factions were on a knife-edge, but politics is now so immaterial to daily life that it continued on for weeks and weeks and not enough people cared, and society functioned just fine?

    Seems to be working out for the Dutch.

    • AB 2.1

      Society would function – the “just fine” bit would depend on your perspective.

      I would be more reminded of the lottery in Orwell’s ‘1984’. There is great focus on the lottery leading up to the announcement of the winner’s name. But Winston (!) Smith actually doubts that the winners really exist at all and thinks it’s all made up to keep people amused and distracted.
      Which suggests to me, that if it did happen like you describe, it would be a marker of a sort of hidden totalitarianism we hadn’t even suspected existed.

  3. Wayne 3

    An interesting interview on RNZ at 4.10pm today with Guy Salmon.

    More about the future, say the next 6 years, or two election cycles.

    There can be little doubt that many (possibly most) Greens will find it too difficult to ever do a deal with National, no matter the quality of the deal on the table. From what I read, many Greens view National as irredeemably too “bad” and that is a polite way to describe some of the Green attitudes to National. I put that down to the fact that many Green activists came out of the Alliance Party, or from even further left options.

    Salmon was of the view that TOP was, in part, a response to the fact that many/most Greens have a “National, no way” perspective. So will TOP, perhaps with a less eccentric public profile (Gareth, you need to be less tone deaf) do better in the future. As an environmental party able to deal with the left or the right.

    No-one could seriously suggest TOP is a creature of the right. Gareth has his own unique interests. Guy thought maybe there would be appeal in such a party, able to work on both sides of the political fence.

    I have always thought there was not space for two Green parties, one the existing Red/Green party, and one a primarily environmental party. The total vote in this election for the Greens and TOP was 8.1%, being 5.9% for the Greens and 2.2% for TOP.

    If that total went up to 10 to12% (where the Greens have been in the past), then I could be wrong. Both the Greens and TOP could get into Parliament.

    It won’t be easy. It is incredibly difficult for a new party to get over 5%. But maybe a year long (or more) carefully designed campaign could do it. TOP is unlikely to be solely an environmental party. Gareth has other interests as well. But it could focus more on the environment than do the Greens and be transparently more of a middle party.

    • Andre 3.1

      Maybe National should sponsor a new party like that. Maybe even gift it an electorate for a term or two to get it established. After all, it’s in National’s interest to siphon voters that prioritise the environment away from the Greens to a party that would be willing to work with the Nats.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2

      You persistently misrepresent the problem: National is the party of degradation and dishonesty. Be the change you want to see.

    • Stuart Munro 3.3

      “I put that down to the fact that many Green activists came out of the Alliance Party”

      An interesting assumption – but it’s more probable that they have a science background, so that the monstrous distortions of data National must perform to justify its gibbering idiocies dissuade rather than persuade Green supporters.

    • AB 3.4

      Right-wing ideology is bad for people and bad for the environment. I’d prefer to try and make it disappear than do deals with it.

    • Roy 3.5

      ‘Irredeemably too “bad”‘.
      Not so much ‘bad’ as selfish, solipsistic, callous and dishonest. These aren’t bad traits to anyone inspired by Ayn Rand, they are simply an individual’s right in order to achieve their ends. NAT might say they aren’t hard right, and occasionally throw a bone to the common good, but their own actions over the last several decades prove otherwise. They know no one would vote for them if they honestly pursued ACT policy, so they pretend that they aren’t that way. Which is worse in some ways, ACT may be discredited and hyper-selfish, but at least they’re open about it.

  4. Wayne 4


    I presume your comment is intended to be ironic.

    Any such party to succeed has to have its own authentic origin. Hence TOP.

    If you are alluding to ACT, remember Rodney actually won Epsom off National in 2005 in a vigorously contested fight. That is what set up the current arrangement. I imagine it will have much less future appeal with ACT now down at 0.6%.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      Why? It’s a convenient way for National to pursue its true agenda without having to be honest about it on the hustings.

    • Andre 4.2

      Is it ironic? I dunno. Probably in the same vein as all the Nat supporters currently trying to tell Greens what to do.

    • Stuart Munro 4.3

      It might be Wayne, that given even Bill is having to come to terms with environmental reality, that this represents an opportunity to create an entrepreneurial environmental party that could work together with National. How this could be less authentic than Failwhale or the Blue Reptilians is difficult to imagine.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 4.4

      Strongly suspect that you’re correct in your contention that “many (possibly most) Greens will find it too difficult to ever do a deal with National, no matter the quality of the deal on the table.” Even political deal-making requires a modicum of trust between parties; a genuine belief that both sides have a tendency to behave ethically – ‘good faith bargaining’ if you will.

      The National party opposed the 2012 recommendation of our Electoral Commission to lower the MMP party vote threshold to 4%. If National wish to ‘green’ their reputation by supporting/wooing TOP, then there’s the option of another Epsom-like deal, or lowering the MMP threshold. Which option might Nationalistas prefer?

  5. Carolyn_nth 5

    very good item on this evening’s Checkpoint (RNZ) – about the history of the Green Party in politics.

    They outlined the bills the Green Party had put forward and got passed, the initiatives they started – all without being in government or having ministers in cabinet.

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