Firstly I’d like to say that if you are reading this and want a change of government but think your vote doesn’t matter, it does. The polls have been all over the place, but it’s entirely possibly that this will be a very close election, and every left wing vote will count. So please vote, and encourage those around you who want a change of government to vote too.
You can still vote today if you are not enrolled – you enrol and vote at the same time. Tomorrow you can only vote if you are already on the electoral roll. Details on how and where to vote are here. A reminder also that the party vote determines how many MPs a party gets in parliament, so give that vote to the party you want to have the most influence in parliament.
I’m voting tomorrow, two ticks Green. Here’s why.
Reconciled all three in fact – environment, social, and economy
— George Laking (@glaking) September 10, 2017
The Greens want change not power (h/t Idiot Savant for that gem). So having NZ align with the values of the Greens is more important than power for power’s sake. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter if they’re in government or not. It means that the values are always going to take centre stage and the pragmatics will wrap around that.
The Green Charter has four pillars: ecological wisdom, social responsibility, appropriate decision making, non-violence. With the first two the Greens have had much influence in NZ. We can now talk openly and frankly about climate change. Both Labour and National have set poverty reduction goals. Labour’s election campaign recentred around policy important to the Greens. This is all in part because the Greens have been talking and acting on those things for decades and this has meant other people have had to talk and act on them too. Climate change, ending poverty, cleaning up and protecting rivers.
I want that kind of influence inside government. It’s not enough for the Greens to make 5 or even 8%. We need as many Green MPs as we can get because they are the experts in those areas and we need policy that is kick-arse not simply centre left. On climate change alone we need the most progressive voices we’ve got, but also on rivers and ending poverty, both critical issues in themselves, we need government to go as far as it can with those. But not just those big three, it’s also ending deep sea oil drilling, and making sure all NZers including renters have a healthy and affordable home.
There is something pragmatic there too. The more Green MPs the more Labour can say the Greens made us do it. I’m not being facetious here, this is a good thing. Labour are centre left and while it is hopeful that they will move leftwards, they’re still to a large extent beholden to their more mainstream voters and to the largely establishment MSM.
In this sense I see the Greens as bringing out the best in NZ. Labour have already shifted on rivers, climate change and ending poverty, but we need to the Greens to make that great policy.
Which brings us to the bigger picture around that role. We also need a strong Green Party in government in order to shift the Overton Window. The centre of NZ used to be far more left than it is currently, and Labour will struggle to move the centre leftwards again on its own or if there is a large influence from NZF.
So here’s the other reason.
— Gareth Hughes (@GarethMP) September 10, 2017
The best way to get a strong, progressive Labour government with Jacinda Ardern as PM is to party vote Green. The bigger the Greens the more that Labour are likely to prioritise them in forming a coalition and the less influence Winston Peters will have. The Greens are demonstrably the better partner in terms of government stability – this was a big part of why there was the MoU, to show that the parties were solid even when things were tough.
Back to the Charter. The remaining two principles – appropriate decision making and non-violence are also central to the Greens. Appropriate decision making includes the members being key drivers of policy and big picture issues for the party, but it’s also about wanting NZ to make decision based on the needs and values of the people that are most affected by those decisions. That’s a move to a more democratic society.
Non-violence is seen in the MoU, where relationship building and maintaining is highly valued even where you disagree. It’s the willingness to work with any party on policy. It’s the ability to give mana to people when things are good and when they’re not. One of the best things about this election has been watching the Greens practice this under some pretty extreme conditions. Not taking shit but not throwing it either.
These things are absolutely important in building a strong, sustainably coalition government, and I’ve long expected the Greens to show us new ways of doing things with how government forms. But the thing that really excites me is that the Greens have been dropping hints in the past month that they want to change how politics is done. At the moment they’re just flagging this, there is no detail, but the way I read it is that it’s time to move past the macho driven politics that we’ve had for so long.
This alone would make me vote Green.
There are lots of other reasons – the Green caucus is packed with serious talent. The more MPs that the Greens have the more likely it is that Julie Anne Gender has a shot at Transport Minister or that James Shaw will get a significant cabinet role. Marama Davidson’s mahi on ending poverty would be gold.
The Greens are firmly opposed to the TPPA. Labour are kind of opposed but support in principle if they can renegotiate some of the terms. The TPPA is a battle that if we lose a whole host of other things fall as well, including our ability to deal with all those big issues of climate change, protecting the environment and ending poverty.
And last but by no means least there is this. Metiria Turei and the Greens broke the spell in NZ on welfare. They sacrificed power in order to get NZ to truly face up to what is happening to the most vulnerable people in this country. Labour are starting to make some good noises on welfare, but there is no firm commitment to transform it into the safety net that we all deserve. I will be forever grateful to the Greens for what they did, and irrespective of what happens tomorrow, there is a movement now and the genie can’t be put back in the bottle. But we can make so much more progress on mending welfare and fixing WINZ if we now give power to the people who stood up when it counted.
— Matt Leach (@Not_A_Yoga_Matt) September 8, 2017
So that’s me. I learnt a lot about politics this election, including how to write about it, a big thank-you to the other authors and admin who have far more experience than I do. Still don’t have the knack of writing shorter posts though, but someone did a tl;dr for me,
If you are still making up your mind based on policy and values, here are the past posts on what the Greens want to do for NZ.