Green Politics

Written By: - Date published: 5:19 pm, September 25th, 2015 - 203 comments
Categories: greens, james shaw, Left, political parties, Politics - Tags: , ,

There are two critical things to understand about the Greens in this matter. One is that they use the term ‘work with’ to mean work on policy. They don’t mean it to support formation of government (either via coalition or Confidence and Supply).

The other is that they are willing to ‘work with’ any party on policy. This means that they’re not partisan when it comes to the flag or climate change or any policy. That however doesn’t mean that they will compromise their core values or even their policy, it just means that being right wing isn’t enough to rule out someone as a partner in co-operation if there is common ground.

With the Green Party’s bill this week on the flag referendum there has been a surge of comments along the lines of the Greens have sold out and this means they can or will do a deal with National come the next election. These comments are to be expected from the right wingers with an agenda to undermine the Greens. It’s more of a worry to hear it from lefties, so it’s timely to revisit the Green Party’s actual position on coalition forming, including the internal processes within the party that govern how such decisions are made.

I’m a non-active Green Party member with no connections into the national GP structure, so this post is constructed from information in the public domain. Any corrections from people who know what they are talking about are welcome.

Both James Shaw and the rest of the Green Party itself have repeatedly stated that they will not form a government with National. The membership developed the current position of the party in 2011 (there is a more recent one that is worded slightly differently).

1. Overall political positioning

Agrees that, until such time as we are in a position to lead a government, the Green Party will campaign on the basis of the following political position:

(i) The Green Party is an independent and distinct party, which in order to urgently advance Green Party policy goals, will attempt to work constructively with, and challenge, whichever party leads the government after an election;

(ii) To enable any party or parties to form a government, we would need significant progress on Green Party environmental, economic and social policies and initiatives that would give effect to the Green Party Charter.

2. 2011 election positioning

Agrees that for the 2011 general election, the Green Party, as an independent party, will campaign on the following political position:

(i) Based on current Labour and National Party policy positions, the Green Party has a preference to consider supporting a Labour-led government in the right circumstances, ahead of a National-led government;

(ii) The Green Party could work with a National-led government to progress particular Green Party policies as we have over the last three years; but based on current National Party policy positions and track record it is highly unlikely that we could support a National-led government on confidence and supply.

That is how the position stands, and it was developed over time and voted on by the delegates representing branch members at the 2011 AGM. It can’t be changed by either leader nor does either leader have the power to make coalition agreements or veto them. Coalition agreements are developed by member representatives, MPs and the National Executive, and sanctioned by the membership

Finally, for those that think this is James Shaw selling out the GP for power, here he is on record (starts at 11mins) with his own personal feelings,

What I said is that, if it was up to me, I would rule out a coalition with National at the next election, and I think that we should go into the next election presenting an credible alternative government to National.

(if it was up to me means that he doesn’t get to decide, the members do).

And here is Shaw on the Green Party view on what would need to change in order for the GP to support a National-led government

“Look, I cannot see, certainly in 2017, how that could possibly function. It will be coming to the end of a third term National Government, we are miles apart (especially on the environment). The underlying economic system that produces the kind of environmental and social costs and consequences that we go on about is core to National’s way of governing. If we wanted to be in a coalition with them we would have to have a conversation with them about the nature of the economy and I can’t see them giving up on the model they’ve had for the last 30 years.

(emphasis added).


[Update/edit/ post script etc. To save Weka repeating ad nauseam – this is not a post for discussion about the flag issue.] – Bill

203 comments on “Green Politics”

  1. sabine 1

    it actually does not matter if the Greens in the end work with this or that party. It is their choice as a party on any given election day in the future to decide with which party to work with. And for what it is worth, they should work with the party/s that will advance their cause the most. Maybe in the future that would / could be a National Party, Labour or any new party that might come along.

    However, as someone who opposed the Flag change purely on fiscal reasons, to me this ‘help’ to the National Government was not needed. In fact, my ire went to both the Labour Party when they were trying to ‘help’ the government out of a pickle re the flag options and it is the same now with the Greens.

    When this country is ready for a frank discussion of the past, the present and the future, when this country is ready to go forward and decide on a constituion and if it wants to be a republic or any other form of democracy, at that stage a flag change would be needed and welcome.

    But to call for the removal of the ‘imperialistic/colonialistic’ flag, while at the same time making knights and dames of robber barons, while at the same time everyone is gushing over the colonialstic first family and their offspring to me seems just a tad dishonest.

    So personally the greens can go and form a coalition with whomever they want, it is their choice as a party, but as someone else said is so much better then me, i want the Opposition parties to put people and country before their party and finally work for the people. And in this case, the Greens worked for National on a process that was and still is so flawed, so wrong on so many levels, the question really remains, Why. Becasue they want to show that they can work together? Really? Really Really?

    • weka 1.1

      “And in this case, the Greens worked for National on a process that was and still is so flawed, so wrong on so many levels, the question really remains, Why. Becasue they want to show that they can work together? Really? Really Really?”

      I don’t know why, you’d have to ask them that (I’d be interested). The reason I wrote the post was because there was too much misrepresentation of the GP position on working with National, and on coalitions.

      I agree with you, the GP decision was wrong, but not because they worked with National (for me too it was wrong because the whole flag thing is wrong, but I really don’t want this thread to be about the flag, there are plenty of other threads for that).

      • sabine 1.1.1

        I did ask, and that was one of the answers n that i got. It is a colonialistic flag from Nandor. Marama Davis said something like oh the flag change is happening anyways so why worry.

        Not good enough for me.

        stupid move. very very dumb move and it takes away from the very important issues of the day.

        • maui

          The Greens go on about the important issues every single other day, as soon as they play nice with the enemy they get jumped on.

    • toad 1.2

      The Greens look at everything from a policy perspective.

      So it’s not just a matter of attacking National because they are a nasty right-wing Government (which they are), but a matter of whether the Greens can work with another Party to improve its policy, as the Greens see it.

      In this instance, Labour were playing a silly political game – they were trying to make their support for the Red Peak flag being included conditional on the Nats including an option that the current flag should be put up against an undecided alternative flag before the alternative had even been decided on.

      That’s just crap in terms of democratic process, and the Greens were right to call it out as such.

      The Greens are not some other Party’s kling-on, be it Labour or National.

      And for those Labour supporters who might be pissed off with this comment, you should be even more pissed off with your own Parliamentary representatives who haven’t yet done jack shit to reverse what Douglas & Prebble did 30 years ago and still often seem to endorse it.

      • sabine 1.2.1

        some of us a. where not here 30 years ago, so we are not pissed of.
        secondly, some of us gave the same shit to the Labour Party for their shenanigans re the stupid flag then they gave the greens.

        this would have been an opportune moment for the opposition (all opposition parties btw.) to show unity – put the election behind and focus on tomorrow.

        but yes, lets talk about feeding the kids, cutting emissions, and stuff…and maybe maybe in a hundered years or so we might be doing it. or not. Cause we can’t find unity.

        • weka

          What I’d like to talk about right now is Green politics and what that means. The Greens function differently than other parties, for important reasons, and this post is explaining part of that.

          • sabine

            Well as far as I am concerned Feed the kids was/is Green Politics. Cutting Emissions is Green Policy. The difference in how the Greens run their stable is, at least to me, the least interesting part of the Party, and i would venture to say to most ‘voters’ that tick a box every three years and don’t care much about politics otherwise.

            What voters want to see is a Party either playing the strong man (which National is doing well) or a Party or Parties that are able to create an alliance to be an effective opposition.

            And unless the Greens pull in the large numbers in any future election they are a. opposition, or b. a coalition partner.

            And that too needs to be accpeted that as of today and in the near future the Greens on their own, very much like Labour, or NZ First, or Mana (should they come back) will not be able to do anything on their own.

            They either get enough votes to go at it by themselves, or they need to start getting support from the other side. And that is not done without unity.

            • weka

              Sabine, please go and read the post properly, because the issues of coalition formation and how to function as a smaller party are in there. The point of me writing the post was to clarify what the GP position actually is (as opposed to what people might think it is).

              I think the GP over a very long period of time has demonstrated that it is willing and able to work with Labour in forming government. I don’t believe that this one act (bill) negates all that work in the past or in the future, but it is interesting to see some people writing off the GP on the basis of something to do with that.

              I believe that the GP will continue to actively seek a working relationship with Labour despite the fact that Labour currently refuses to do this. I think the GP will also actively seek to work with any party on policy.

        • Lara

          “some of us a. where not here 30 years ago, so we are not pissed of”

          That’s an interesting perspective.

          If you don’t know where Labour has come from, you will not know where Labour is going and what they truly are.

          ACT were born of the Labour party. ACT. The most far right party in NZ politics. Came not from National, but from Labour.

          And some of the people who have the ideology espoused by ACT remain within Labour. In it’s caucus.

          If you’re going to comment on and participate in the NZ political scene, indeed, if you’re going to live here and vote, then it might be a rather good idea to be informed about what the parties stand for and what their recent history is.

          To dismiss it is quite arrogant.

      • Bill 1.2.2

        Dammit! Have to dump and run. But I’m getting the whole ‘Fixed Term Parliament Act’ circling in my head again. Thinking the Greens should push for it and end the bollocks of NZs ‘white hat/black hat’ politics for good.

        • weka

          have you done a post on that in the past? I can’t remember.

          • Bill

            I have. Probably hit some time on a dead Saturday morning though – I have a penchant for bad timing 😉

            Seriously thinking I need to re-work and re-post in relation to unfolding ‘stuff”.

          • Bill

            Damn – ran out of time for edit. An incidental thing about fixed term parliaments is that in NZ currently, it would favour lefter leaning parties. Just saying.

      • the pigman 1.2.3

        “In this instance, Labour were playing a silly political game – they were trying to make their support for the Red Peak flag being included conditional on the Nats including an option that the current flag should be put up against an undecided alternative flag before the alternative had even been decided on.

        Bahahaha… oh wait, you’re serious?

        Feel free to run John Keys’ lines for him, but Labour wanted a referendum on whether the country actually wanted a flag change. You don’t need some committee of shills and future/wannabe-OMNZs to dictate 4 pieces of shit (3 based purely on Keys’ stated design brief) to vote on whether you want to change a flag.

        Or do you honestly think you do?

        For the party that supposedly understands and is all about democracy, your blinkered support for Keys’ process is either inept or disingenuous. Which is it?

        • weka

          Pigman, please make an actual political point. If you want to just throw shit around, please go to Open Mike.

          • the pigman

            Miss them, weka?

            a) calling Toad out on repeating John Keys’ rehearsed lines about Labour’s “political game-playing”;
            b) challenging the frankly absurd notion that you need 3 ferns and a “Maori choice”, dictated by John Keys’ Fern Selection Panel, to decide whether you want to change the current flag; and
            c) challenging the Greens’ understanding of democracy on that basis, since it’s something Green supporters, yourself included, constantly trumpet as the Greens major selling point.

            Edit: let me add that you’re apparently as thick as toad if you genuinely missed them. Don’t miss an opportunity to harangue a commenter on one of your posts though! Wonder who you learned that trick from?

            • weka

              “Miss them, weka?”

              Certainly, seeing as how they weren’t in the pre-edited comment. Honesty goes a long way Pigman.

              • the pigman

                Certainly, seeing as how they weren’t in the pre-edited comment. Honesty goes a long way Pigman.

                No dishonesty on my part, but you may have a point there. I have a habit of hitting “submit comment” early in the rush-of-blood-to-the-head phase while still digesting a comment I’m responding to then “refining” it during the (generous) edit period, especially when I see something so fatuous from someone I had always presumed to have-a-clue.

                Apologies for the aggro on your post though, wasn’t (intended to be) directed at you.

                • weka

                  thanks, no worries. I also edit quite a bit. Unless I am quick about it, I try and note the edit so anyone who’s already read my comment can see what I’ve done.

      • swordfish 1.2.4

        “Labour were playing a silly political game – they were trying to make their support … conditional on the Nats including an option that the current flag should be put up against an undecided alternative flag before the alternative had even been decided on. That’s just crap in terms of the democratic process, and the Greens were right to call it out as such.”

        The April 2015 Herald-DigiPoll (which found 70% opposed to change / 25% supportive) also found that an overwhelming 80% of people essentially agreed with Labour’s position – that the initial referenda in December should ask if the Public wants to change flags in the first place rather than waiting until the second referendum in March.

    • ankerawshark 1.3

      100% Sabine

    • Clemgeopin 1.4

      I agree with your view, except that I oppose the WAY the Greens went about this issue in quite an underhanded way.

      I disagree with your statement, “my ire went to Labour Party when they were trying to ‘help’ the government out of a pickle re the flag options”

      Labour did NOT go out to help the Nats with no pre-conditions. They put up a highly principled condition of also including a Y/N question in the first referendum which would have been more fair, sensible, democratic and possibly also reduce the criminal waste of public money on a stupid personal stunt by Key.

      The Greens acted like some clueless clowns, dumb arse dunces and far too clever foolish dickies. Those are the facts!

      As far as if the Greens will go with the RW Nats/ACT for a coalition, I don’t know, I don’t care and I have never said they will or they won’t. It is up to them.

      All in all, you have made a very good comment. +1.

      • sabine 1.4.1

        i put help into brackets for that reason.

        again, i am against this farce on fiscal grounds. We have had so many services cut and gutted, beneficiaries rubbished beyond believe and good taste all to save a dime and then we change the flag.

        so when Labour meddled i am against it as muc has when the greens meddle. This is a hole that National should have had to dig on its own and fill on its own.

        Alas. the rest is gonna history, and an excellent moment to unify, and stand in oppositon is gone.

        as for the Greens, they will do as they please, and Labour will do as they please and the others will do the same. the loosers are us, and our young ones even more so.

    • savenz 1.5

      +1 Sabine – I agree. Helping National out is not really advancing Green policies – far from it.

    • Coffee Connoisseur 1.6

      +1 and thankyou for saying it.

  2. But to call for the removal of the ‘imperialistic/colonialistic’ flag, while at the same time making knights and dames of robber barons, while at the same time everyone is gushing over the colonialstic first family and their offspring to me seems just a tad dishonest.

    100%, deserves repeating.

    • weka 2.1

      Thanks Robert. This post isn’t about the flag, can you please take flag focussed comments to Open Mike or one of the other flag threads.

  3. yay for your first (I think) guestpost

    whatever the greens have done or not done in relation to getting the electorate to believe that they would work with anyone under certain conditions they are not working in a vacuum – the gnats will use this for their advantage. And sure they always do whatever is happening and the greens have to look after themselves rather than think of other parties or their agendas.

    As an activist in neither camp I feel that the greater left goals of stopping the juggernaut of the right ethos is most important and, like the greens, I’ll move my support around to whomever is supporting that agenda. I cannot see how this is supporting that agenda.

    • weka 3.1

      thanks marty, it is indeed the first 🙂

      “the gnats will use this for their advantage”

      Maybe, but to what extent is the GP responsible for that? And does that mean that the GP shouldn’t do anything good if that good also happens to benefit National? What if this were a bill that upped the target on climate change emissions and also got National out of a tight spot/clusterfuck? Should the GP not act in that situation?

      “I cannot see how this is supporting that agenda.”

      I’m pretty curious as to how this will play out over time (this being the working with thing).

      • Pasupial 3.1.1

        Congratulations on your first guest post from me too. It’s good to see a longtime commentator like yourself stepping up. Just don’t burn yourself out trying to engage with every single comment.

        I’m still waiting and seeing on the Shaw/ Turei incarnation of the GP, the Redpeak thing isn’t going to influence my assessment much. How Labour and the GP play the Mt Roskill byelection is likely to be much more interesting. Then, of course, there’ll be the response to the TPPA – but I doubt that the agreement will be signed in it’s current form, due to American elections.

        • weka

          cheers for that Pasupial.

          When’s the Mt Roskill byelection?

          • Anne

            Presumably next year when Goff resigns from parliament in order to campaign for the Auckland mayoralty.

            • alwyn

              Why do you expect him to resign from Parliament?
              Jim Anderton didn’t when he ran for Mayor of Christchurch did he? It left him with a trough to wallow in after he failed to win the Mayoralty, didn’t it? Actually, if my memory is correct he wasn’t even planning to resign if he had won the Mayoralty. Someone may have evidence to prove me wrong but I don’t think he ever said he would quit Parliament if he won the Mayoral position.

        • Hanswurst

          I agree. I personally have a distinct dislike of the deal made between the Greens and National, but that is because of my personal political views, not because of any political shenanigans between Labour and the Greens. I have no interest whatsoever in the flag referendum, neither wishing to see the flag changed nor having any desire to retain the current one. Therefore, I also have no interest in the inclusion or otherwise of the Red Peak design. What I see in the Green/National agreement, therefore, is a neutering of an angle that was causing Key to have to justify himself and attempt to articulate his philosophy in headline news. Seeing as he is distinctly poor at doing that, I consider it a wasted opportunity to provide him with a way out and see it shunted out of view.

          Looking at it realistically, however, there is no way that the exposure of Key over the flag either could or should be the defining moment that crumbles his political credibility, so becalming the issue is a shame, but hardly a big one. More importantly, if one does take interest in the flag debate, and feels that the Red Peak design is an opportunity to hoist a flag that provides a feeling of nationhood that the others won’t, then the deal would obviously seem like an important step. I assume that the Green Party felt that way, since I can’t for the life of me see what good they would perceive in wrong-footing Labour for the sake of it.

          What I would say is that it might have been better to co-ordinate with Labour on some level. It’s true that the Greens don’t owe Labour anything, and as has been mentioned above, the Labour Party has been more than ready to bypass the Greens whenever it has suited them. However, just as it may be a bit rich for Labour to complain about this behaviour from the Greens, it is equally rich for Green supporters on here to see no ill in a move that bypasses Labour so brusquely, after having spent years agitating for Labour to work more closely with the Greens in presenting a coherent left-wing alternative to the present government. What’s sauce for the goose is surely sauce for the gander.

          • weka

            thanks, good insight.

            I wouldn’t say my support for bypassing Labour is unqualified, just that I’m reacting to the slap down on the Greens for not doing… what exactly? with Labour.

            “What I would say is that it might have been better to co-ordinate with Labour on some level.”

            I’d love to see some discussion on this and how such co-ordination would work. We do see co-operation from time to time, it just appears haphazard and not too high a priority from one particular side.

            Anne said some great things yesterday about how in her experience (Auckland) Labour members are good with the GP being a natural coalition partner, and a couple of MPs she’s talked to likewise. I think the frustration is that there appears to be little progress on the presenting as a competent government thing. I know that Labour are going through a long process of sorting themselves out, and good on them for doing what they need to do, but there is no guarantee that that will be good for those outside of Labour and in the meantime I think the GP needs to keep its independence pretty clear.

      • swordfish 3.1.2

        Very well-written post, weka. Hopefully they’ll be more.

        I briefly commented on the flag issue (above) but – much like Basil Fawlty and the Germans – I think I got away with it. No ire yet from either you or the ferocious Scots-fellow, Bill.

  4. As many have been pointing out recently, this may well have been a very poor tactical decision on the part of the Greens. Time will tell.

    The idea that this is somehow a betrayal of the Labour Party however is frankly ridiculous. The Greens owe nothing to Labour, as Labour has repeatedly made very clear. As I’ve said previously, there would be zero uproar if Labour had done something like this to the Greens (it wouldn’t even have been discussed in those terms), though many may have disagreed with the decision on it’s own grounds. The fact that this is seen as some sort of gross betrayal is an indication Labour has yet to move past the ‘2005 lock the GP out of government if it’s politically convenient’ attitude.

    • weka 4.1

      “there would be zero uproar if Labour had done something like this to the Greens”

      Such as Labour bypassing the GP for the Intelligence and Security Committee perhaps?

      At core, the GP has to be free to act as an independent party, and it’s still unclear to me whether the ire about the relationship with Labour is because the GP worked constructively with National, or whether it’s because Labour ended up looking a bit foolish.

      • sabine 4.1.1

        Giving the National Party a latter to climb out of the hole they have been digging themselves in is not working constructivly, its giving the National Party a get out of jail card for free. Because i can’t see the National Party give the Greens anything for their ‘constuctive work’.

        • weka

          ok, so let’s say this was climate change and a bill was the constructive thing. This bill also helped National out of a hole. Should the GP not work on the bill with National because as well as helping us deal with climate change it would also benefit National?

          “Because i can’t see the National Party give the Greens anything for their ‘constuctive work’.”

          Have you considered that it doesn’t matter what the National government does, and that getting something in return isn’t why the GP did this?

          • sabine

            are you trying to tell me that the Greens will not ask quid pro quo? Are you trying to tell me the chlimate change and flag change are the same thing?
            Are you trying to tell me the Greens are so holy now they are just in it to be the good guys?

            I think i have some carbon credit to sell to you. No one in politics does something for free, not even the sainted Green Co-leaders.

            • weka

              no, I’m not trying to tell you any of those things, I’m trying to have a conversation with you. If you don’t want to talk genuinely, that’s fine.

            • Clemgeopin

              <i."Are you trying to tell me the Greens are so holy now they are just in it to be the good guys?"

              Bull, they are. Remember how just before the last election, these politically stupid minor party upstarts, put forward IN PUBLIC statements, their arrogant idea that they wanted a Labour-Green coalition government to give the Green leaders, not one, but TWO deputy Prime Ministers posts, as well as for Russel Norman to be made the Finance minister?

              How dumb was that strategy?

              I put it to you that stupid harebrained dumb demands like those, even before the people had voted, that scared off many voters from giving their votes to Labour.

              Greens to Labour are an electoral albatross and a hindrance, not a helpful friend.

              • Stuart Munro

                It might not have been politically easy for Labour – but Russel Norman would’ve been an infinitely better finance minister than Parker.

                Finance is a comparative strength of the left parties – not because they are outstanding, but because the Key government is an outstanding failure. Our growth has flatlined on a rising population.

                Our country’s economic competitiveness is a decade behind where it was when Key took office – due to corruption and laziness. So should the Greens have pushed for the best finance minister, or the one most compatible with the ABC’s egos?

                None of which renders using urgency to pull Key’s flag failures from the fire sensible.

                • Clemgeopin

                  ” but Russel Norman would’ve been an infinitely better finance minister than Parker”

                  I completely disagree with that. Parker is highly competent to hold that post. The very thought of Russel Norman being the possible finance minister and thus the Greens being in charge of the finance affairs of the country, along with their outrageous and stupid idea of wanting their two co-leaders, Russel and Turia as two deputy Prime Ministers in a Labour led government is probably what primarily scared and pissed off a huge chunk of potential voters away from voting Labour and thus sunk the left being in power.

                  • Craig H

                    I agree – whether or not it was fair, Norman mentioned Quantitative Easing and suddenly became the devil incarnate. Like it or not, if a Labour/Green coalition is going to fly with the easily-scared punters (I for one welcome our Red/Green overlords), Labour have to provide the Finance Minister.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Yes – but he was right to mention QE when all the large economies were doing it. We’re still paying the price of finance ministers too stupid to analyse the effects of large scale money printing on a small non printing economy.

                      Parker would’ve run a more conservative version of Cullen – a vast improvement on the blithering incompetence of English or the festering corruption of Joyce – but not a forward looking strategic response to a world economy that is at present remarkably flaccid.

                      QE needed to be discussed.

                      Instead it was rubbished by the infantile gnat failures who have run this country into the ground.

                    • Tracey

                      Norman would have been more fairly criticised for buying into ideology of countries under conservative leaderships like UK and USA, with whom his policy had much in common.

        • ankerawshark

          100% Sabine! Again!

        • savenz

          Agree again with Sabine.

          TV3 Headline has already been Greens wasting another $400k by including Red Peak.

          There is zero benefit for the Greens and a lot of reasons to stay out of it. MSM is now mentioning the Greens into the flag fiasco.

          A big part of politics seems to be when to keep your mouth shut, unfortunately the opposition both Greens and Labour fail again and again on this, and jump into trouble on issues by diluting them, instead of wisely keeping out of it.

          • Tracey

            “For God’s sake Shut up” and “they need to speak out, why aren’t they speaking out?” are two criticisms frequently thrown at both LP and GP on here…

      • Alethios 4.1.2

        Good point weka. Poor wording on my part @ 4.0.

        Nice one getting this post out there in such timing fashion.

  5. weston 5

    since labour is the greens natural coalition partner surely you would at the very least formulated your plans with them first ?Its like having a joint account with your spouse and then going out and buying a farari without saying anything to your significant other !!! labour already had a plan and the greens are the last people to expect to be trying their best to make them irrelevant.No excuses you greens fucked up badly i reckon

    • weka 5.1

      Earlier last year the GP suggested that Labour and the GP present a united front going into the election so that voters would see them working together and get that they were a competent coalition to govern. Labour declined. The GP can’t make Labour work with them.

      What I’m seeing in the past day or so is the idea that the GP should work with Labour, consult with them, make sure that Labour know what is going on, don’t do things that upset Labour or don’t involve Labour, but there appears to be no expectation of Labour doing the same with the GP. Why is that?

      • Enough 5.1.1

        What do you think motivated the Greens’ decision in this instance? Putting aside politics, as they claim?

        • weka

          I think putting aside partisanship is part of it, but I didn’t follow it closely enough as it was unfolding to have a good sense of why they did what they did specifically.

          I’m disappointed in what they did (because, flag), but I like the general thing about working on policy with any party and that does require ‘putting aside politics’ (although that’s probably not the best phrase to use, not least because it’s unclear what it actually means). I also think there are risks in this (as we are seeing today), but I want the GP to change how politics is done and this is something they’ve been talking about for a long time.

          • maui

            My take on it is that the Green’s being progressives probably have a large percentage of voters that want a flag change (compared to other parties). So why not offer them up the most liked flag of a bad bunch of flags. I think that’s all they were trying to do was to serve their membership and do what they think was best for the public.

          • sabine

            so essentially the Greens put a Flag up for vote that is liked by the Green Members?

            Did the Greens ask the members of the public at large? did the Greens ask or consider the people that are against the flag change out of principle or did they just say me we like it, and fudge it? Its time we show National that we are teh nice guys? And also, not partisan? Work together, and kumbaya?

            • weka

              sabine, if you want to talk about the flag, please do that somewhere else (see Bill’s comment at the bottom of my post).

            • Tracey

              The green party promoting the views of Green party members. The bastards.

        • flynn

          It seems fairly obvious to me (but then I’m a Green voter, so I don’t have to run some kind of cross party translation filter).

          The Flag referendum is happening.

          The process was bad and the choices sucked.

          There was a particular design that had gained VERY strong support and a large number of people considered it deserved to be on the ballot.

          There is a chance – however small – that the flag WILL end up changing over this, however unhappy about that people are.

          Therefore, getting the one decent option with major public support onto the ballot meant there is now a CHANCE that if the flag changes, it will be to a flag many people actually want.

          And if it doesn’t get changed, at least people had a change to vote genuinely, so we probably won’t have to endure an immediate repeat of the whole farce.

          As with many other Green Party policies and submissions, the enormous amount of suspicion directed at what is actually a straightforward approach entirely consistent with their party mission, is amazing.

          The Greens consistently support and promote policies that are inline with their beliefs. Sometimes the actual policy may not work as intended, but that’s irrelevant to this particular point (“Getting something wrong” =/= “jumping on a bandwagon for a specific political advantage”).

          They then either get ignored at the time, because they ‘just got on with it’ (e.g. the housing insulation scheme), or are the subject of frenzied speculation about their ‘real’ motives. It’s incredibly boring. I can be as suspicious as the next person of grandstanding and politicking, but it’s really plain to anyone who can emphasise with – or at least comprehend – any Green policies, and has any kind of working brain, that they tend to just support stuff because they actually want that thing to happen.

          • weka

            This (the last three paragraphs). A thousand times this.

            • flynn

              I am sorry for bringing the flag into it again, by the way – it just illustrated the point so perfectly. Everyone’s shouting about the political ramifications, nobody (at least, nobody who’s all worked up and commenting!) really stopped and considered that they just decided it was worth doing for perfectly good reasons (even if there are also reasons against it that doesn’t cancel out the reasons for) and that they just wanted to get on with things efficiently (whether or not Labour could have persuaded National to actually do the same thing or not, it would NOT have been efficient).

              Personally, I think they were being responsible. If I had moderating power over a binding vote, even if I thought the vote was stupid, I would consider it my responsibility to ensure the vote offered the best choices possible for the sake of everyone voting (as well as the ones who don’t even vote but have to live with the result). Improving the voting choices doesn’t mean they approve of anything else. The Greens have limited power, so they generally have to pick their fights (they had no chance of throwing out or overhauling the flag process, for example!), and this usually means either very specific policies, or compromise.

              But they also tend to do their research and stick as closely to that research (scientific, opinion or otherwise) as possible. Most Green policies are well thought out, and are driven and backed by a consistent body of research and supporting ideology and policies, which is one reason they get ‘borrowed’ so much by other parties. Most Green commentary on topics tends to be worth reading – they don’t usually just mouth off because ‘they need to say something’. Compared to Labour, which has watered down research and inconsistent ideology, or …ha, ACT (as it used to be) which has the consistent ideology but not the research. NZFirst is entirely about the airtime, and is inconsistent in all aspects, but can afford to be Really Really Certain, while the bigger parties have to include at least a little research and acknowledgment of their supporters’ ideologies so that they don’t get torn apart, or cause protest marches in the streets.

              The policies that get (at least partially) adopted tend to either:

              – be something another party sort of wants, and the Greens have done all the work for it, so why not?
              – be something so blatantly worthwhile and solid that public opinion pressures the government into adopting it

              And yeah, some of their policies ‘look’ nutty to the casual observer, but they tend to be either fairly harmless and freedom of whatever related (e.g. the whole cannabis thing) or actually not nutty, just not something most people care about until it becomes ‘mainstream’ and loses the ‘crazy hippy’ associations (e.g. Climate change is something they used to be mocked for, but have been consistent about for years). Actually, when it comes to environmental stuff, they have some VERY good policies and a highly evidence based approach. I majored in biological sciences, and the other parties either ignore the entire topic or make me spit tacks due to their overall ineptitude and lack of research.

              Whenever I persuade someone to discuss policies, they generally prefer the Greens’ approach. Whenever they discuss parties, they disregard the Greens completely. Which says a lot, actually.

              • flynn

                To quote myself:

                ” fairly harmless and freedom of whatever related”…

                Basically, including Red Peak. It’s mostly harmless and improves freedom of choice. It’s not really worth much more analysis than that.

                It’s also shifted the ‘story’ of the flag change. The previous options were John Key And His Precious Fern Logo. The new option is The Flag People Wanted And Imposed Themselves With No National Blue At All Even If They Decide Not To Actually Change.

          • Thom Pietersen

            “There was a particular design that had gained VERY strong support and a large number of people considered it deserved to be on the ballot”

            No it DIDN’T – it was a rich mans folly – and internet lobbied bullshit.

            Small things, but.

            Yours Sincerely Now to be Ex Green Voter – Fuck You!

            What’s this?… Oh, democracy, transparency… and the rule of law…

            Nope, never heard of it.

            • Clemgeopin

              “Yours Sincerely Now to be Ex Green Voter”

              I doubt if you will be the only one to do so after this shameful and shady episode.

            • flynn

              My mistake. Nobody anywhere liked it because it actually tried to have a story or rallied round it as a protest symbol or proposed it as an example of what the options could have been like or discussed in depth why it had meaning and resonance to lots of people compared to the actual ‘approved’ options. I must have imagined the enormous amount of posts in my various newsfeeds from multiple sources on the subject.

              …seriously, just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or that other people don’t like it.

              Proposing to add something that a lot off people consider a valid option AS a valid option is not a bad thing in itself. And it’s also not the same thing as announcing this Must Be The Only Option. Heck, adding RP to the first referendum means a whole bunch of people can give the finger to the original picks by voting for the only one that ‘the people’ came anywhere close to choosing, feel listened to and engaged, and then happily vote to keep the current flag in the second one. Which is actually what a lot of the ‘this flag should be there!’ is about. It SHOULD be there – or something like it. But that doesn’t mean everyone wants to change TO it, it just means that this is the level of effort, uniqueness and coherency of design that should have been expected from ALL the options for a *national flag* (as far as any flag can have any of those things).

              It’s an incredibly minor thing, the only reason it has so much airtime is because John Key tried to make a big deal about it, because they messed it up so badly, and because people are now excitedly tearing apart the politics of it. Support or reject, either way the Greens would get lambasted for politicking (whether it’s selling out or sacrificing people’s chance to choose between slightly more options for the sake of scoring points).

              This bill is SO minor, other than in the way it shows up that the whole process was a mess to start with, with all the implications inherent in that for our decision making bodies, that I struggle to see how anyone could consider it either a betrayal or a grand stand. It’s just a bill that made sense and cut short a long and tiresome wrangle between National and Labour, and allowed the energy and focus of MPs, media and public to start moving on (FINALLY. While I’ve found the whole messy process entertaining, it’s only in the sort of way a car crash is, and RP was interesting from a design and protest movement point of view). Which cuts down on the whole distraction factor as well. We do have the whole TPPA issue about to hit us, after all – something they have been actively trying to raise awareness about, as well as other issues like the SERCO corruption, state house sell off and upcoming climate change talks.

              But hey, you’re right. Adding another design into a logo voting contest is totally more serious than anything else. It’s clearly not something people have strong enough feelings about to be worth trying to do slightly righter, nope, nobody feels strongly about the flag round here.

              And removing it as a distraction may actually have been the best thing the Greens could have done.

              • Hi floyd,

                That many people rallied around a particular design that was being promoted via social media and even that they did so for ‘protest’ or other reasons does not mean that including it as an option is somehow ‘making the policy better’.

                The policy concerns how we come to a decision about whether or not to change the flag and, if so, to what flag we change it. ‘Good policy’ in that context would be a process that is well-thought through, orderly, transparent and inclusive (given that it has constitutional relevance potentially).

                This bill does not make better policy in that sense. Instead, it introduces yet another bad process into an already badly thought through (and doubtfully motivated) process.

                This should not be like consumer choice – in which having more options is supposedly a ‘good thing’ irrespective of how the choices came to be choices.

                My concern is that, against their explicit policy position on ‘working with other parties to improve policies’ they have done the opposite: Worked with other parties to make a bad policy worse.

                It is bad policy and process to suddenly cut across one poor process of selecting flag options with another poor process for selecting flag options.

                Forget, for a moment, about all those on your ‘feeds’ who like Red Peak. Why should those particular people get their choice on the ballot? Remember, this is meant to be a serious, careful process – or should be.

                And making it more careful and serious is the way to ‘improve policy’ in this case. That hasn’t happened with this bill.

                I hope this comment is not seen as being off topic for the post. The post emphasised the aim to work, policy by policy, to improve things where possible. That was the focus of this comment.

              • swordfish

                On top of what Puddleglum has argued, I’d also take issue, Flynn, with your repeated suggestion that Red Peak has…

                “VERY strong support”

                “A large number of people considered it deserved to be on the ballot”

                was “the one decent option with major public support”

                “a flag many people actually want”

                “The flag people wanted”

                The only detailed Poll carried out on the various (long-list) design options (UMR) found that Red Peak was one of least popular designs.

                Whereas the 2 main Lockwood designs were chosen by 51-53% as among their top 4 preferred alternatives (with 19% and 25% choosing them as their Top choice), less than 2% of people chose Red Peak as one of their top 4 designs and only 0.2% (2 people out of 1000 respondents) had it as their top option.

                Of the 40 designs, only 4 received less top 4 preferences than Red Peak.
                And in terms of which particular option people liked least, Red Peak came third – only 2 options less liked.

                Now, personally, I prefer Red Peak to the other alternatives, but only just. I’d give it 6 out of 10 (and the others anything from 1 (Hypnoflag) to 2 or 3 (the Lockwoods) to 5 (B&W Fern). They’re all inadequate. But let’s be clear that this apparent Red Peak surge comes courtesy of the (until very recently, bearded) young and middle-aged urban hipsters. A signifier of off-beat cool. Don’t mistake it for the population as a whole.

                But the most important point, as Puddleglum has implied, is the way the Greens have essentially lent a veneer of legitimacy to an inherently shoddy process. It’s been said that Labour politicians and activists have tended to see the Greens as fairly amateur operators and this latest move would appear to reinforce the perception.

                • weka

                  “It’s been said that Labour politicians and activists have tended to see the Greens as fairly amateur operators and this latest move would appear to reinforce the perception.”

                  Hmmm. Well, here’s the dilemma. The GP want to do politics differently, so being perceived as amateurs by a group like Labour is only a problem in so far as how it affects the relationship with Labour. In other words it doesn’t mean much that the GP aren’t as savvy at the Game as the bigger players, because that’s not where the GP want to be heading. Professional yes, but adroit at the bullshit, not so much. We need to be careful here, because if the expectation is that the GP become adept in teh ways of the Game that Labour MPs approve off then the GP becomes just another MMP-esque, macho politics player. They’re ever walking that line.

                  As I’ve said, I don’t like the GP decision in this instance, but I would see it as a mistake of them erring on being more like Labour/National rather than less.

                  • Tracey

                    And it never seems to matter if the Labour party does stuff that is a compromise or a cop-out or whatever or even excludes a post election coalition with the Greens.

                    As for the flag, people now have 4 choices (cos 2 of the choices are really 1) instead of 3

                    • lprent

                      Actually no real choices. Aside from my own views about the utility of flags, all of the choices are crap. Red peak included.

                      None of them are any better than the current flag. Can’t see a reason to change.

                • And if part of ‘making better policy’ is providing a group of people with an option they have made clear they want, then why not support the 43,000 people who apparently – according to Trevor Mallard at least – signed an online petition to include that in the first referendum?

                  • that” = “a yes/no option“. Sorry for the mistype.

                  • flynn

                    Probably because they had exactly zero chance of getting that implemented. Or if they supported it, that’s not something that translates into meaningful action so it’s actually irrelevant to whether they ALSO attempt to take any action.

                    They had the option of making a slight improvement or none at all, not an option of a slight improvement or Fixing Everything(TM). They have officially come out and said the whole process is basically a farce and it’s ridiculous that they had to submit a bill to make sure anything happened.

                    And the whole ‘woe, the Greens betrayed Labour! Ha Ha!’ was first started by John Key. So excuse me if I don’t rush to try and believe that (…or care).

                    …especially when Labour’s ‘we’re awesome and support the antiflag poll’ stance is directly betrayed by Labour’s ‘lets try and help improve the process’ stance. At least according to the same logic that claims the Green Party is ‘betraying’ [insert X here] by doing the SAME thing, only with less random commentary and more effectiveness.

                • Clemgeopin



                • Tracey

                  And proven support for all the other designs? Has anyone published the data from the road-show about which members of the public wanted what?

          • Lara

            Yes. This.

            Nailed it.

            From another Green Party member.

            And I just don’t see what’s so hard to understand.

            I think the problem people here and elsewhere in NZ are having about this move from the Greens is they see it in terms of left / right, National / opposition, almost like the FPP system we used to have.

            IMO the Greens are the party who best get MMP. They work on policy. They follow their principles, and they do what’s best for the country.

            • Thom Pietersen

              Green Party – Excellent idea, then became flakey with no rationale and anti technology etc, then started to look balanced and very worthwhile alternative, and now, flakes again. It’s not about FFP / MMP, it’s about supporting or opposing a clear process, not underhandedly modifying it to buy minority voter points.

              • flynn

                Green Party – Excellent ideas and multiple rational policies until suddenly they do something someone random disagrees with then suddenly they’re all irrational, and can’t possibly just be coming at something from another angle or have more (or less) information on that specific topic than the person who doesn’t like their policy.

                As for ‘it’s about supporting or opposing a clear process’…

                They could have all held their breath until John Key decided not to change the flag after all, and all that would have happened is that we’d have the biggest mass suicide in parliamentary history. Sometimes a little realism is required.

                It’s not about supporting or opposing. It’s about RUNNING THE BLOODY COUNTRY and trying to achieve the best outcomes overall. If the only choices are ‘support’ or ‘oppose’ than a) yes, that’s a perfect example of FPP mentality, and b) that’s bloody childish.

              • Tracey

                you are just repeating the memes spat out bu Labour and national and regurgitated by the media, that doesn’t mean the greens are anti technology …

                if supporting the inclusion of the Red Peak is “flakey”, then so is National, right?

            • Tricledrown

              Wasting time over a flag change that 70% of New Zealand doesn’t want.
              I know a lot of former green supporters who are not going to vote green ever again.
              All the hard work others have put in to get the green party to this level of support undone by a dumb tactical mistake.

      • weston 5.1.2

        obviously for a working relationship to work labour would have to come to the party too aint no doubt about that i fail to see why BOTH partys could be so deluded that they think they dont need the other !!

    • Clemgeopin 5.2


  6. Brendan 6

    Can this be sent to Bomber Bradbury, because when it comes to understanding Green Party policy he’s a complete muppet? The whole sell-out to National thing a complete joke that got out of control because narrow-minded idiots on the left can work out everything outlined in this article.

  7. b waghorn 7

    Well done Weka, the fact that some people think minor parties must be subservient to there most likely lead party at all times shows they they still haven’t fully grasped MMP .

  8. TTD 8

    Weka I completely and utterly agree with you.

  9. Pat 9

    flag distraction wins yet again

  10. BM 10

    This does rather demonstrate the reason people vote for National instead of the greens/labour/NZ first combo.

    • b waghorn 10.1

      Yes they’ve brought the line that the slick corporate model is what’s best for them .

    • McFlock 10.2

      damned political parties having principles, rather than just wanting the baubles of power.

    • JanM 10.3

      Hee hee true – but only because they’re too stupid or lazy to understand that the majority of them are turkeys voting for an early Christmas.

    • Tracey 10.4

      Didn’t national just flip flop and agree to a law change to include Red Peak BM, or did you sleep through that bit?

      “Asked if he could guarantee it would not be an option on the ballot paper in November, Mr Key said: “I can, because this is the issue, there was a well set out process, the committee decided the four, sent them to Cabinet, Cabinet had the right to overrule them but chose not to, they accepted the recommendations.

      “To accept any other flag – the All Blacks one with the silver fern, any other one – we would have to change the law, and we’re not going back to Parliament to change the law.”” 7 Sept 2015

      “The Prime Minister would vote for Red Peak over the current flag.

      Mr Key has previously said he is not taken with the abstract design, but today confirmed it would still get his vote in a run-off with the existing flag.

      “I think if it got to that point I might vote for Red Peak, but I am keen on changing the flag because I think there is a really strong argument about the future, my preference still very much so remains one of the Kyle Lockwood silver fern ones.”” 25 Sept 2015

      Could the real John Key please stand up… I guess Farrar made some money doing some heavy duty polling from 8 sept to night of 24 sept…

  11. Smilin 11

    I believe i read somewhere that the number of Dysfunctional families
    reported are rising as a result of govt social engineering policies
    Seems logical given the latest issues being dysfunctional govt projects almost pandemonium in the effect of the screaming reality of what is about to happen with the new labour laws
    Maybe the GP and Labour could try to fuck all these feel good projects of the govt and organise some social disobedience to draw us away from even buying into any of the Nationalcorp crap and address a few of the treasonist actions of this govt is engaged in so that will still have a system of govt that is democratic and retain a few key industries that actually produce revenue for the country instead of racking up 100s of millions on nationalistic bs
    There like a beneficiary with their first Q card landing themselves in queer st
    Oh wheres the flag thats right I left it on my dads coffin he fought for it so I didnt have to- Bloody fascist Nationalcorp, I might have to now

    • Rosemary McDonald 11.1


      “Maybe the GP and Labour could try to fuck all these feel good projects of the govt and organise some social disobedience to draw us away from even buying into any of the Nationalcorp crap and address a few of the treasonist actions of this govt is engaged in so that will still have a system of govt that is democratic and retain a few key industries that actually produce revenue for the country instead of racking up 100s of millions on nationalistic bs”


      Exactly what a real and decent opposition party would do…”No, Natz, we’re NOT buying into your game. We’re NOT going to support this gross waste of vital taxpayer funds on a vain re -branding exercise. We’re NOT going to jeopardise our relationship with the only party that could (with our 100% support) overthrow what has become a tyrannical dictatorship.”

      Hats off to you weka for stepping up and explaining the Green Party political positioning and processes.

      But, there are still many of us out here who REALLY believe that this is definitely NOT the time to be changing the flag.

      We can’t afford the $$$.
      We can’t afford the divisive controversy.

      • cogito 11.1.1

        “We can’t afford the divisive controversy”

        The thing about the flag is that it is a symbol of NZ that belongs to each one of us. It should be something that brings us together and that we can each identify with, and that lasts the test of time.

        What Key has done is turn the flag into an instrument of division, political manipulation and controversy instead of one of unity, and for that he should be held fully accountable.

        • Clemgeopin

          <i."What Key has done is turn the flag into an instrument of division, political manipulation and controversy instead of one of unity, and for that he should be held fully accountable"

          Yes, +1

          Key stupidly started this serious issue as a National party issue and a personal ego stunt. How dumb was that!


  12. One Anonymous Bloke 12

    My problem with what the Greens have done is that this process was flawed from the start. Put as many expensive herbs and spices into shit soup as you like, it’ll still taste like shit.

    So on top of Shonkey’s jack-up we now have an alternative design – albeit a good one – shoe-horned into the mix on the basis of a straw-poll. I suspect a number of other designs from the long list could be in the referendum on that basis.

    The bad taste in the mouth will still be there whatever the Greens do, it’s just that now they’re one of the chefs.

    • weka 12.1

      I don’t disagree with much of that. My main reason for writing the post was so that people didn’t go from what you’ve just said to ‘The Greens have been bought/have sold out and will support National’ without thinking that through (myself, I don’t believe it’s possible for the party to be changed that much in the next 2 years). Because whatever the fuckup in what they’ve just done, it’s not because they want National in government and it’s not because they want to be in a National government.

    • cogito 12.2

      “My problem with what the Greens have done is that this process was flawed from the start. ”

      Correct, and the Greens should never have involved themselves in it. That would have been the principled thing to do.

      • Clemgeopin 12.2.1

        Especially with a surreptitious secret deal with Key and costing an EXTRA $400,000 to the public for their dumb ‘deal’! Silly naive numpties.


  13. tangled_up 13

    Giving the National Party a latter to climb out of the hole they have been digging themselves in is not working constructivly, its giving the National Party a get out of jail card for free. Because i can’t see the National Party give the Greens anything for their ‘constuctive work’.

    I agree that this is why it was a poor decision by the Greens.

    I was quite elated when James Shaw became co-leader but since then there’s been a couple of terrible political decisions (the other was allowing JK to be the hero who saved us from the spoilsports that didn’t want us to have a beer while watching the rugby).

    • flynn 13.1

      So, basically, you’re saying they should have sacrificed policy for politicking? While it’s sometimes necessary, it’s not actually a good thing to prioritise.

      As a rule, the Greens take action in order to achieve things, rather than spend energy trying to trip up other people in government. This is why the other parties are scared of them, and this is why they are actually capable of working with other parties… as long as those other parties will support policies the Greens actually want.

      • tangled_up 13.1.1

        So, basically, you’re saying they should have sacrificed policy for politicking? While it’s sometimes necessary, it’s not actually a good thing to prioritise.

        I think that when there’s nothing to gain, then yeah, it is necessary. All helping National here has achieved is to piss of a good amount of their core supporters. Also the RWC/drinking issue was worse because not only did it achieve nothing but it also lost a big chunk of public goodwill that had been building up for years. I think that they should be more pragmatic and pick their battles.

        • flynn

          In this case, I agree with the sentiment, but not the specifics.

          – This achieved something of a chunk of people who
          a) supported Red Peak on it’s own merits (not a lot, but a LOT more than for any of the previous options) and
          b) supported having “anything but the four farces” we were previously lumped with. So they achieved the chance of a sliiightly better outcome IF the flag changes, the chance at slightly better CHOICE – which matters, even if people ‘know’ what the outcome should be (limited options is a way of shutting down choice. Expanding them improves choice. That’s good, especially when there was no real choice before).
          c) helps shut down some of the endless ‘flaaaag!!’ coverage and moves it onto the next, inevitable stage.

          Yes, it’s not much, but neither was (I suspect) the effort required to actually submit and pass this bill. It’s not taking away much from their normal duties.

          – The pub/drinking thing was probably a lost cause from the start, but it’s something that’s potentially very bad, bad enough that taking a principled stand to at least try and do something, or raise awareness a bit, was worth the effort. Refusing to stand up and say ‘we don’t actually agree with this because of Very Good Reasons’ just because you know it would go ahead anyway is… not a good thing. Especially when the Greens tend to be composed of activist-type people who are educated in specific issues and care strongly about them.

          Potential impact versus risk. The flag thing is low impact, and low risk/effort. The drinking thing was higher impact, higher risk/effort.

          Also public goodwill is fickle. Yes, they’ve been trying to get voters to take them seriously, but if sacrificing principles for the sake of avoiding ever looking bad is… well, it’s basically John Key’s governing strategy! Sometimes a party is best off ignoring the polls.

  14. Karen 14

    Thanks for the post Weka. It is good to have the Green policy on forming coalitions spelt out so clearly in a way that makes it easy for anyone to refer back if there is any more misinformation.

    You may be interested in Audrey Young’s column in the Herald this morning where she confirms that Labour and Green leaders have been having regular trust building meetings. Hopefully wise heads will see this as just a blip in the relationship and progress will continue to be made.

    • weka 14.1

      Thanks Karen! I wouldn’t have seen that otherwise.

      Part of the reason for writing the post was to have a linkable reference when people start in on the the whole GP want to be in government with National thing.

  15. Ad 15

    We need more writers like you Weka.
    Keep going.

    You moisties are a necessary corrective to social democrats like myself, especially on this site.

    You’re a good goad to me that I should do the same and support LPrent and crew more often.

  16. Pasupial 16


    I replied to your comment over on TDB; “…could someone please explain the process by which Shaw could override the party, other MPs, the rules and the membership to get the GP into coalition with National in 2017?” – See more at:

    However, my reply vanished as soon as I pushed the post-comment button (not the first time this has happened, usually they turn up after a long moderation period). So I am posting it here (always ctrl-C the text before posting!), as it turned out longer than I intended and I don’t want to have totally wasted that time:

    Shaw has stated repeatedly that he intends to increase the membership of the GP:

    Shaw’s words, just after his election two weeks ago, were: “I want to double the membership of our party this year and then double it again next year.”

    Let’s assume that he is serious in this and not just posturing for the media. Those who will be newly enrolled in the party will have the same voting rights as those who have been there for decades. If those who disagree with the GP’s actions under Shaw’s stewardship choose to withdraw their support, then less of Shaw’s minions are needed to gain control.

    The turnout at Dunedin GP meetings that I’ve been to (not for a year now) were usually attended by the same dozen people – rarely more than ten at a time. The one occasion that I recall more was when the list rankings were being set when there was more than 20. From what I’ve heard, other areas are similar with a theoretical setting of policy by the membership at large, but the same faces being delegates at national meetings. If I was so inclined, I could probably get 20 people together and have them replace Turei with myself as electorate candidate for DN at a total cost of $300 in membership fees (there would have been less than that present in the November 2014 meeting when we selected her unopposed).

    If there are currently 6000 GP members (as the stuff article claims), and a third of them fail to renew due to dissatisfaction, then only 4000 new members would be needed to “double” the membership (really only increase by a third but Shaw is slippery with numbers). It is certainly not impossible for a determined operator to seize control of the GP membership, to validate (through delegates) any policy position or coalition preference required.

    I’m less convinced than Bradbury that this is indeed what is happening. For one thing, Shaw’s influence is largely localised to Wellington and it would take a nationwide plan to enact such a takeover. I think the Red Peak move was more to do with political opportunism, and possibly ingratiation with a potential donor (Xero/ Drury). However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t occur. Participating in the tedium of party process is the only way to ensure that it doesn’t happen unopposed.

    • weka 16.1

      Interesting article about Shaw and the membership increase. I’ve been thinking about this too and what it might mean and whether the GP has processe and structure in place to prevent hijacking (or whether that’s even needed). I’d like to see some serious analysis on this (maybe with reference to UK Labour/Corbyn), but I’m also inclined to think that the people who are already on the GP mailing list tend to be people who like the GP as it is. Yeah it’s possible that the large numbers who want to vote for the Greens but don’t are largely rightwing, but I think it’s more likely that while some of them vote right, mostly they just don’t see the GP as viable for government (for whatever reason).

      Beyond that, I still don’t see how Shaw could technically hijack the party. Your scenario presumes one of two things. Either Shaw does something so extreme that activists and members walk. Can you give some examples? (the membership has power in a number of ways from what I can tell. Active members who go to meetings and those that become delegates have influence. The members can also be involved in list rankings etc without being so active).

      The other would be that considerably more than 50% of the new members were rightwing voters. I just can’t see that being true. They would also have to get involved at the branch level, or co-ordinate around things like the list selection.

      As for Shaw having a group of people in Wellington who are secretly wanting the party to move right, I haven’t seen any evidence of that (but I’m not part of the beltway) and again I still don’t see how they could technically control the party in the way that people are afraid off. I could be wrong of course, which is why I asked the question. And I don’t think it would hurt for the party to look at this kind of resiliency.

      Shaw could be an outright liar. Or he could be not quite that bad and just manipulating the situation over the longer term. But my understanding of him comes from listening to his speeches and going and reading what he has written and I don’t get that sense. People seem to think that because he’s worked in the corporate world that that means he must be neoliberal and/or right wing. I don’t get that myself, and my question for those people then becomes how do you expect the world to change of the people in power can only ever be neoliberal?

      TDB post didn’t make sense to me. It looks like a lot of speculation which ignores real world things like the GP rules and Shaw’s actual words. I don’t see how that speculation is helpful tbh. It looks to me like it will just feed the Crosby Textor memes designed to lessen the GP vote.

      • Pasupial 16.1.1

        With the list rankings, my experience was that the process was very much guided by the delegate greens; the final list as voted by members (and adjusted to gender/ location/ ethnic parameters) was only slightly different to that proposed in 2014. I doubt Shaw has any great machiavellian scheme to position the GP rightwards either, but I would be surprised if he wasn’t trying to consolidate his position as coleader. However, when I think of what happened to Labour with Douglas and the backbone club, it does seem best to be on guard for such machinations.

        BTW I meant; 2013, not “November 2014” for the DN Electorate Candidate meeting – just a slip of the fingers that I didn’t get the chance to edit. I do remember that there wasn’t many more than the quorum of twelve present; probably partly due to it being out of university term-time, but a contested appointment might have got a bigger attendance. I don’t have any designs on the role myself, but it wouldn’t be that difficult to hijack numbers that small.

        Of course, the E Candidates aren’t likely to make in into parliament without favourable list rankings, but they are a focus for their area’s election campaign. If you want an example of something that could make a large percentage of the membership walk, imagine if Turei was replaced by Hillary Calvert, and Genter by David Hay in their electorate seats by the action of a few dozen infiltrators. Unlikely, but possible, and I’m sure other examples could be conjectured. Once again; participating in the tedium of party process is the only way to ensure that it doesn’t happen unopposed.

        • weka

          I seem to remember the GP dealt with David Hay :twisted:. Ok, let’s say someone manages to get Turei’s selection. How would they get themselves up the list?

          I can’t see members walking away over that, quite the opposite.

          “However, when I think of what happened to Labour with Douglas and the backbone club, it does seem best to be on guard for such machinations.”

          I agree, but isn’t the whole point that the GP has different rules that would make that much more difficult? Plus we have the internet and social media now. I can’t imagine that such an event wouldn’t be resisted massively.

          One thing I’d like to know is if political party rules are enforceable by law. Does anyone know?

  17. Ad 17

    Hey Pasupial break out of Dunedin.

    Come up to Titirangi and Grey Lynn to find good greenies who also hang with labourites. You’ll come back encouraged.

  18. Michael 18

    I think Shaw and the Greens are correct to reject the idea of doing deals with National, as it certainly shows no sign of rejecting neoliberal dogma. OTOH, neither does Labour, which begs the question: where do the Greens, or anyone interested in progressive politics and social justice, go?

    • weka 18.1

      good question.

    • Clemgeopin 18.2

      Greenland? That is a cool place. Will suit them. They could take a very large Red Peak nylon rag imported from China with them. May be even build one very big one with strong concrete on top of a peaky hill and worship it at every night at mid night holding noses and singing kumbumba. I suggest they also take J.Key with them, their newest secret bosom bestie.


      • Tracey 18.2.1

        Bitter much Clem?

        • Clemgeopin

          No, just pissed off and mad as hell with the guileful-gang-greens, is all.
          By the way, in what Key do you sing the kumbumba under a blood moon night?


          • Tracey


            • Clemgeopin


              • Tracey


                • Clemgeopin


                  Here is something to wake you up.
                  Watch this dance of the gang led by the two co-leaders.

                  You are welcome!


                  • Tracey

                    be careful what you wish for with your intense desire to mock the type of Politics the Greens want Clem. You’ll just keep getting National Governments punctuated by a centre-right leaning Labour Party


                    (keep your slave flag)

                    • Clemgeopin

                      No, I do not want a centre right government, and and ingenious to claim that Labour is centre-right leaning. They most certainly are not.

                      Anyway, did you enjoy the caucus singing and trance-like dancing? Cool, yeah? Did you notice they sang and danced with an unexpected and strange Key.

                      [lprent: see here ]

        • weka

          I was thinking bitter too. And nasty. It’s been quite something watching that being sprayed around the site in the past few days. One thing that did become clear is that Clem is one of the Labour supporters who doesn’t want the GP to be in government. That’s useful to know.

          Fortunately there have been other, more constructive Labour supports who’ve pointed out the good things or who’ve been more thoughtful in their analysis of the situation between the GP and Labour.

          • Clemgeopin

            “One thing that did become clear is that Clem is one of the Labour supporters who doesn’t want the GP to be in government”

            Rubbish. That is not true at all. You are mixing up issues and missing the point.

            • weka

              Nothing in what you have said and done in the past few days would convince me that you want the GP in government. You’ve been on a nasty, smeary spree against the GP. The only smidgeon of acceptance of the GP that I can see is that you recognise that Labour will probably not have enough seats or other partners to govern without the GP. That’s not inconsistent with not wanting the GP in government.

              Your own words (people can keyword google for actual comment and context),

              Remember how just before the last election, these politically stupid minor party upstarts, put forward IN PUBLIC statements, their arrogant idea that they wanted a Labour-Green coalition government to give the Green leaders, not one, but TWO deputy Prime Ministers posts, as well as for Russel Norman to be made the Finance minister?

              How dumb was that strategy?

              I put it to you that stupid harebrained dumb demands like those, even before the people had voted, that scared off many voters from giving their votes to Labour.

              Greens to Labour are an electoral albatross and a hindrance, not a helpful friend.


              I was not likely to vote the Greens because something does not endear them to me. I often kind of feel uncomfortable and squeamish about them. After this despicable episode I also feel they are not to be trusted. Now I will most certainly not give my vote to them. It will go to Labour.”


              By this the Greens have shown to be untrustworthy and undependable and have lost some of their dignity, integrity and mana.


              Greens played dirty politics here to make the masters of dirty politics look good.


              The issue is how the backsliding two timers went sneakily about behind the scenes doing a dirty deal with a cunning, crooked and desperate enemy in a deep shit hole. Iscariot would be proud.

              Stopping looking now, and that’s not even focussing on the nasty stuff, just on the bits that suggest what your true feelings are re coalitions. By all means tell us how you can hold those views and still want the GP in government with Labour.

              Of course the big irony here is all the times you complained about people slagging off Labour whereas it’s been rare for anyone to have a go at Labour in such a sustained negative manner as you’ve just done with the GP.

              • Clemgeopin

                My comments were about their past dumb behaviour about baubles of office and their present harebrained secretive deal with Key blindsiding Labour. That makes me pissed off and weary.

                I have no problem in any of the left, left of centre or centre parties being in a Labour led progressive coalition government, be it the Greens, NZF, Maori party, UF or Mana.

                But I am not the Labour party nor its leader. So, rest easy!

                • Chooky

                  +100 Clem…your views shared by many New Zealanders

                  • Clemgeopin

                    Yes, great minds think alike, (fools seldom differ)!

                    Have you seen this? I am thinking of ending all my comments with this small link until the flag stunt is done and dusted. What do you think?

                    Green Politics

                    • Chooky

                      @ Clem…well that is not a bitter nasty song…lol..its a lovely song!

                      but this one is better imo…I LOVE this song!

                      “If there is to be any hope for the world at all, it does not live in climate-change conference rooms or in cities with tall buildings. It lives low down on the ground, with its arms around the people who go to battle every day to protect their forests, their mountains and their rivers because they know that the forests, the mountains and the rivers protect them…

                      Arundhati Roy , 2010

                      Naomi Klein, ‘This Changes Everything – Capitalism vs. the Climate’ (p.291)

                    • Chris

                      How about this one, Ms/Mr “Labourcandonowrong” Clemgeopin?


                    • Clemgeopin

                      I don’t think you have understood what the actual issue is at all.

                      Never mind.

                    • Chris

                      There you go, you do it again. I agree with you that the Greens have stuffed this up big time, and I’m way more likely to vote Greens than Labour. But when faced with a question about something Labour’s done the “Labourcandonowrong” brigade ignore it by either saying nothing or by deflecting. And if you say “what question” I’ll spell out from the photo what that question is, in case you don’t understand:

                      Do you think Labour was correct to allow its MPs to openly support the addition of Red Peak when Labour’s main message was that the process is a farce? If you say yes then it’s you who do not understand the issue. All along you’ve been saying that Labour’s done nothing wrong. If you really believe that then it’s you who do not understand, my friend.

                    • Clemgeopin

                      @Chris, Ok then. Go home now. Oh, wait! Watch this first.


                      By the way, three points:

                      [1] The process that Key set up is definitely wrong, disgustingly manipulated and complete crap. I agree with that. I think every person of any intelligence will see that.

                      [2] Labour has not made this a party issue. Every member and every MP is free to advocate/support and vote or not vote any way they wish in the referendum. I will be voting like this
                      KOF in both referenda. What about you?

                      [3] I do not speak for the Labour party. I voted for Mana (IMP) at the last election.

                • Chris

                  What about Labour’s numerous and ongoing attacks on the poor while Helen Clarke was PM? And current Labour voting with the government on nasty anti-beneficiary welfare changes? Is that dumb behaviour by Labour?

                  • Tracey

                    Apparently not dumb enough to convince Clem that he shouldn’t keep propping them up with his vote

                    • Clemgeopin

                      You reckon I should consider voting for Greens who do secret surreptitious private deals with Key, help him out of a hole, and cost an extra $400,000 for his and their folly?

                      [lprent: see here ]

                  • Clemgeopin

                    “What about Labour’s numerous and ongoing attacks on the poor while Helen Clarke was PM? And current Labour voting with the government on nasty anti-beneficiary welfare changes?”

                    What are you talking about? Do you have any links for those outrageous statements?

                    [lprent: see here ]

              • Chris

                A Labour supporter saying they don’t trust the Greens? Accusations of buddying up to the nats with a secret neo-liberal agenda? This should be unbelievable but it happens so much now it’s not. It’s called Labour-can-do-no-wrong-syndrome. The symptoms include never accepting any criticism whatsoever of Labour, supporting everything they and particularly its leader says (the exception being when the leader was David Cunliffe), refusing to engage on issues Labour takes a neo-liberal approach to, like its social security policy and treatment of beneficiaries – the vehicle for that refusal being to obfuscate with broad slogans designed to dupe people into believing they’re still the Labour party of old while at the same time voting with Key’s government for law changes that attack the poor. There are plenty more but you get the gist.

          • lprent

            That anti green faction has always been part of the Labour party supporters all the way back to Values party.

            Similarly there is a section of the Greens party supporters who have been willing the Labour party to die ever since the Values party days. I have met enough of them. For a while there before the Maori party and then Mana drew them off, they were damn near all of the Greens supporters that I met.

            This is the nature of political parties. They generally take votes from other parties to grow. I have no idea why anyone would find this surprising.

            That really isn’t that interesting. Normally long term active members don’t give a damn about that. They have more than enough actual work to do helping ‘their’ party getting elected. They figure that other people will do the same.

            In the end, the only things that count are those that constrain coalitions. That is whose bums have seats in the house, and if a reasonable agreement can be organised between the chiefs of staff and the heads of the respective caucuses.

            If a few recalcitant MPs have to get stuck on puppet strings by whips and chief of staffs to make that happen, then that is what will happen.

            Fortunately, I don’t see many remaining in the MPs of Labour, Greens, or even NZ First who do think that way these days. They have largely been winnowed out over the last 8 years.

            • Chooky

              +100… “In the end, the only things that count are those that constrain coalitions”

              To put it very simply:

              many in New Zealand, not necessarily members of political parties, want a working Left coalition… getting rid of this Nact government is the top priority

              when supposedly Left Parties like the Greens undercut and kneecap others on the Left in the interests of jonkey nactional they can expect the ire and odium of the ordinary voting punter

              • Tracey

                So when Labour announced it would go into post election coaltion with the NZF Party (centre and right and left) and not the green party, it wasn’t knee-cappping it was “getting rid of national as a top priority”?

                Fair enough, remind how that worked out again?

            • weka

              I don’t have a problem with either party going after the votes, but there is a line. If it’s all about the votes and nothing else, why not engage in dirty politics? Or employ CT/Farrar etc?

              Also, despite being a GP member I don’t really care that much about how the votes fall so long as we get an actual left wing government. Obviously I believe the best way to do that is to vote GP, but I also know that there are plenty of NZers who are more comfortable voting Labour, so my position is that I want Labour and the Greens to work togther more than they compete. My ideal for MMP is to have 3 or 4 parties on the left and better representation (I don’t feel that well represented by the GP for instance and there are obviously plenty of people not represented by any party on the left).

              More of a concern than Labour vs GP vote is the number of people who now don’t vote or swing between NZF and the left.

              So in that sense I disagree, I don’t think it’s all about each party going after as many votes as possible, I think that co-operation is just as important. That’s part of the GP kauapapa but not Labour’s so much, which is part of the reason we are in this dilemma.

              As an aside to all that, I don’t come across that many anti-the other people in either party. I know what you mean about the anti-Labour Greens, but I just don’t see that many of them around. One of the things I like about ts is that there are far more people interested in working together than winning at all costs.

            • Tracey

              As long as the Green Party is about change (be they in or out of power) and Labour and National are ALL about what they need to do or say to get enough votes to get power, the discussion will rage. It is a fundamental disconnect that many seem unable to grasp, that is deeper than LP or GP supporters loathing each other.

              I don’t loathe LP or their supporters but nor has the LP done anything recently to convince me that they are the people to give lil NZers the future I would like them to have. So, til then I will vote Green to force LP to put through some stuff they otherwise won’t…

              and THAT btw, is the HUGE advantage the Greens give the LP like the ACT Party is to National – to make them seem moderate while enacting some of the so-called fringe policy.

              maybe one-day some LP supporters and LP officials/politicians will work that out.

              • Chris

                “maybe one-day some LP supporters and LP officials/politicians will work that out.”

                Think it’s more a matter of those people choosing to act a particular way. The only thing, it seems, that may help them to act differently is if the UK Labour party acts differently! So if Corbyn does well maybe the NZ “never had an original thought ever” Labour party will begin to think whether it should change, too! There’s no guarantee, however, because there are two differences in the case of the NZ Labour party. One is that there’s nobody to lead them. The depth in this area is pathetically shallow. The second, and this is a pretty important one, is that the current mob are extremely useless at being politicians and are probably too dumb to even know that if they keep doing what they’re currently doing Labour will be in government again.

                • Chris

                  Ooh, meant to say that the current mob are extremely useless at being politicians and are probably too dumb to even know that if they keep doing what they’re currently doing Labour will NEVER be in government again.

    • Ad 18.3

      Give them a break – the NZ Green Party is the most successful Green Party in the world.

      And the last election burnt off anything more left that the current Greens for a very very long time.

      Aint no more multimillionaires burning their wealth off on vanity projects for the perpetually disaffected political outsider set.

  19. Tracey 19

    Thanks for your assessment and follow up comments Weka. Been busy most of the week so couldn’t get in til now, brielfy.

    People find it hard to understand that the Green party is about pushing change. They are not first and foremost and only about doing whatever it takes to get power, they want to influence change in or out of power, and they have done so more than once. It’s not selling out it’s doing what they were formed to do. Part of this is the lack of need within the party to “own” solutions and be applauded accordingly.

    • weka 19.1

      That’s a good description Tracey. It’s a shame that this has come out at a time when the GP have pissed off so many people because there are multiple issues overlapping and many seem muddied. Still, I think descriptions like the one you’ve just made and that others have done in the past few days are going to be useful in building a better knowledge of how the GP works and we can use that in less controversial situations.

      • Tracey 19.1.1

        In the end I guess it comes down to

        1. Have the Greens annoyed any members (and is it enough to lose their votes); and
        2. Have they put off people considering voting for them?

        Not me.

        • weka

          apparently some people are never going to vote GP again. Which I find pretty interesting and have to wonder why they were voting Green in the first place and who they will vote for now.

          I also find it surprising that this particular thing would be the one that would turn them off, which makes me wonder if they are largely ex-Labour voters who were protest voting GP but still really like Labour and now feel upset that Labour has supposedly been treated badly.

          Then there’s the people that believe that Shaw is neoliberal and intent on dragging the party right despite the evidence, but I do think this is a perception problem for the Greens that they need to sort well before the next election.

          • Tracey

            From what I can see it is mostly LP voters who are pissed at the Greens not Green party voters (if this thread is anything to go by). The Left, it seems, must sacrifice all to get the neo liberal centre Labour Party back in power and then trust they will throw a couple of reforming titbits to the real sufferers in NZ

            • Karen

              I think this is a very good analysis by Gordon Campbell who is generally very pro Green.

              I am on the Green mailing list and made several donations to the Green Party before the last election. I have considered joining the party in the past but something has always held me back, even though I agree with many of their policies and would like them to be a strong force in a Labour/Green government. Perhaps just a bit too middle class for me.

              I think their flag business was politically naive, but I doubt it would change the vote of anyone who normally votes Green. It really isn’t that important.

              I gave up reading Martyn Bradbury a year ago. Like Trotter he mostly talks nonsense, and has little real insight.

              • Tracey

                I don’t read Bradbury either. I don’t think there are any winners out of the flag thing. It is such a mess. As someone wrote earlier when our children ask us the history of the new flag (if we get a new flag) what will we say?

              • Anne

                I have considered joining the party in the past but something has always held me back, even though I agree with many of their policies and would like them to be a strong force in a Labour/Green government.

                Me too Karen. In 2012 when the Labour caucus openly gave the membership the fingers, I came close to resigning and joining the Greens. It seemed they were the only principled political party left. Fortunately Lab’s members rose up and gave that caucus a right bollocking by way of a resounding victory over them at the next conference.

                I have the impression Campbell was angry when he wrote that piece – similar to my reaction with Labour. Nothing is worse than when the politicians in the party of your choice stuff up big time. Maybe if Metiria Turei had been around it wouldn’t have happened. I gather she’s overseas at present.

              • Chooky

                +100 thanks Karen for that link to Gordon Campbell…this says it all:

                “So thanks to the Greens, the Red Peak design has now been added to the options for the flag referendum in November. Wow. In one fell swoop the Greens’ Gareth Hughes has (a) rescued Prime Minister John Key from his personal flag fiasco (b) got the government out of a tight corner of its own making (c) agreed to vote with National to block Labour’s attempt to get a yes/no question added to the November referendum and (d) handed the Key government a club with which to beat the only other party – Labour – with which the Greens can hope to form a government in 2017. Was Red Peak such a compelling cause that the Greens needed to expend so much political capital on it?…

                …there is every sign – some of it reflected in polls only last week – that the public didn’t want anyone to ride in and save the flag referendum. They want to bury it. Given the options, the public prefer to keep the current flag, Red Peak or not. And the public really don’t want to pay the full $26 million for the two referendums that the Greens have now ensured they will have to underwrite in full…


          • cogito

            My wife and kids all voted Green last year. Won’t be happening again though, that’s for sure. Absolutely cannot stand Shaw, and we all support the NZ flag, complete with Union Jack.

            The fact that I have seen the NZ flag described in this column as a “slave flag” shows how absolutely deluded some of you Greens really are.

  20. Pat 20

    “there is every sign – some of it reflected in polls only last week – that the public didn’t want anyone to ride in and save the flag referendum. They want to bury it. Given the options, the public prefer to keep the current flag, Red Peak or not. And the public really don’t want to pay the full $26 million for the two referendums that the Greens have now ensured they will have to underwrite in full.”

    Gordon Campbell is usually on the money with his articles and I agree he is again….the public didnt want anyone riding in to save the referendum…. and that included Labour’s failed attempt

    • weka 20.1

      Hang on, if the GP had done nothing, how would the referenda have been stopped (thus saving the $26M)?

      • Pat 20.1.1

        it wouldnt have been, as it still isnt …that is not the point…it was a mess of Keys making and NOBODY should have sought to get involved thus allowing the responsibility to fall where it was deserved.

        • weka

          “And the public really don’t want to pay the full $26 million for the two referendums that the Greens have now ensured they will have to underwrite in full.”

          Campbell seems to be implying that the GP are to blame for that.

          • Pat

            no, he is simply observing the fact….polling indicates the public think it is an unnecessary waste of time and resources…an ill timed distraction

            • weka

              What does this mean then?

              “the Greens have now ensured they will have to underwrite in full”

              • Pat

                that by engaging in the farce they have allowed the Nats to continue this farce to its expensive conclusion….the implication being that Labours (equally foolish) attempt may have had a mitigating factor in that it may have saved some monies should they have received the terms they sought… previously stated, BOTH actions were the height of stupidity .

                • Tracey

                  What would the financial outcome have been had the Green Party not sought to get the Red Peak added?

                  • Karen

                    There will be additional cost by adding Red Peak on top of the $26 million, particularly because of using urgency to debate the measure (something the Greens have previously said should not be used except in exceptional circumstances so there is a bit of hypocrisy involved as well).

                    Had The Greens not accepted National’s stipulation to vote against Labour’s yes/no being part of the first referendum then the $26m would have been solely the responsibility of National.

                    It was a politically naive move, but all political parties make mistakes and that’s how they (hopefully) learn. Labour made a bigger mistake IMO with the Chinese name research.

                    • tracey

                      I doubt it is born of naivety. It will have been well discussed and considered, including the consequences. This party is over 20 years old and has some good minds within. “Naive is thrown around too often as to be almost patronising. Call it stupid if you like but don’t suggest it was done with no thought to consequences because I find that highly unlikely.

                  • weka

                    It’s an odd thing for Campbell to have said, right? Even for people who hate what the Greens have done in this instance, it doesn’t make sense to argue that the GP is responsible for the money being spent because the referenda were doing to happen irrespective of what the GP did.

                    • tracey

                      Yes, my very thoughts and odd he didn’t address that.

                      Perhaps the greens (crazy bastards that we all are) wanted people to actually start focusing on WHAT a flag is meant to “say” and represent about ALL New Zealanders. Without Red Peak it was coming down to a choice between the old flag ( it of colonial reference and all that means for Maori and non Maori alike) or a corporate brand.

                      And please Clem, don’t spam the thread with another link to your slave flag

                    • Clemgeopin

                      By going along with Key regarding the Red Peak inclusion without putting/supporting/demanding any sensible pre-conditions such as also including the Y/N question in the 1st referendum as put forward by Labour, the Greens not only helped out Key from the hole he had dug for himself, but also caused an INCREASE in the flag stunt cost by another $400,000! How stupid and naive was that!

                      This has been a KOF and a GOF:
                      KOF=Key’s Outrageous Folly=Key’s Offensive Folly
                      GOF=Greens Obnoxious Folly=Greens Obtuse Folly

                      So, I say
                      KOF for now=Keep Our Flag for now.

                      see THIS!

                    • weka

                      That doesn’t have anything to do with my question.

                    • tracey

                      even following my warning… Clem this is trolling. Stop.

                    • Clemgeopin

                      weka and you are discussing the flag shenanigan. I am making my point about the issue. I want to have that small link in some or all the posts I make about the flag until the referendum is done and dusted.
                      You don’t have to click on the link if that worries you so much and it conflicts with your own personal view about the ‘slave flag’ as you put it.

                    • tracey

                      Clem I am asking you to remember that Weka and I are both Authors here. If you are warned to stop something it might be a good idea to heed it.

                    • Clemgeopin


                      If the Greens had gone along for the Red Peak but with conditions, the ball and the responsibility would have been with Key. Also, then the second referendum could be cancelled by a motion in parliament if the majority vote was for N in the Y/N question.

                      Key did NOT need the Green’s or Labour’s support to include or not to include the Red Peak or change legislation.

                      If Key did not include the Red Peak, it would have saved another $400,000.

                      This whole stunt has been manipulated and a con on the people. I think we should vote to retain the current flag FOR NOW and revisit the issue sometime in the future doing it fairly, correctly, less expensively and honestly, provided….either

                      (1) People show a strong 60% support for change through some public polls
                      (2) We decide to have a formal constitution
                      (3) We decide to become a Republic

                      Also, the referendum should be held alongside a general election to increase participation and save costs.

                      I say, KOF for now.

                    • weka

                      In addition to what Tracey has said, this post is about the GP and Green politics and there is a warning from a moderator/author (Bill) to not use this post to talk about the flag. You are free to comment in Open Mike or the flag threads.

                    • Pat

                      It may be odd as you state Weka, though I understand there will be additional cost to add Red Peak ….perhaps a statement born of the frustration with the opposition parties incompetence?

                    • Clemgeopin

                      You are here in this thread as a participant arguing your point about the flag and your dislike of our current ‘slave flag’. I am arguing my point why we should keep it for now and using a small link to emphasise that point. Now you are trying to restrict my speech/comment using your ‘author’ power stick to warn me. Not good.

                      KOF for now, I say.

                    • Clemgeopin


                      Both you and Tracey and so many other commenters have discussed the bloody flag issue so many times on this thread.

                      [lprent: Nope. They have discussed why the flag wasn’t part of the post and dealt with idiots who don’t appear to have read the post or their comments. Clearly you are ignoring them and have taken it upon yourself to view that as an excuse to be a total dickhead in raising the topic.

                      That is pretty stupid – read the policy. I don’t like authors being ignored in their own posts when they give friendly warnings. Personally I don’t favor being friendly myself.

                      So ignore this… Banned 2 weeks.

                      I’d strongly suggest that in the future that you listen to authors comments about what their respective posts are or are not about. From here on out I start doubling… ]

                    • weka

                      We’ve been talking about the Green Party and green politics, sometimes referring to the Green’s involvement with the flag. That’s different than doing diatribes about the flag issue itself. If you don’t understand where the boundary lies, please take your comments elsewhere. You’ve now had multiple warnings and requests.

                    • weka


                      “It may be odd as you state Weka, though I understand there will be additional cost to add Red Peak ….perhaps a statement born of the frustration with the opposition parties incompetence?”

                      Probably, although I”m still unclear if there was a way that the referenda could have been stopped.

                    • Pat

                      Weka, no i doubt there was any chance the referendum would be abandoned. The Labour proposal if it had been accepted ( we know the result) may have reduced the cost if the second stage was deemed unnecessary… however the thrust of the article was against the engagement per se….I expect had Labour succeeded with its proposal an article similar in tone would have resulted

                    • Clemgeopin

                      Ah? You said I didn’t answer your specific question! That is why I replied and in detail. Now you are warning me for it? What is wrong with you two today?

                      [lprent: Because clearly you aren’t listening. See here ]

                    • Clemgeopin


                      I think every one of my comments, as far as I know, were in RESPONSE to comments about the Greens and/or the flag that the authors had allowed to stay on this thread. in fact, even these ‘authors’ themselves were sometimes making comments about the ‘flag’ rather than about the Greens.

                      Also, their so called ‘warnings’ were not made in the usual ‘BOLD’ and I was not sure if these were serious warnings or just making comments like any other ‘ordinary’ commenter.

                      My final couple of posts were made before I had even seen their warnings.

                      Anyway, thanks for everything.

                      Good bye.

                      [lprent: Not really valid reasons.

                      Weka is a guest author, so she cannot write notes on comments at all. But it was her post, so she can define what the topic is about in the post.

                      Tracey is an author. She can write notes on comments in her own posts, but not in the posts of others – including Guest posts.

                      These restrictions are put in to help authors from making foolish moderating mistakes. They are not put in to provide an excuse for commenters to ignore warnings from authors. The moderators give disproportionate weight to those because we need authors more than we need commenters.

                      Tracey did eventually point out your comments in the backend forum for whichever moderator had time to look at them. That happened to be me about an hour later. Unlucky I know. You could have gotten someone ‘nicer’…

                      Comments about the Greens were fine, and I couldn’t see any warnings about those (lots of noisy robust debate). But the comments about the flag debates were a different matter.

                      When I looked at the various comments, it was pretty apparent that
                      1. Bill had warned in the post about flag comments.
                      2. Various people including weka and tracey were pointing you (and others) towards that and adding their own warnings. These were from a long time earlier.
                      3. I provide at a very high CPU cost, the list of all replies to a persons comments.
                      Of course going on at length in a thread that was maxed at 10 depth does rather negate that.
                      But basically I consider that to be a damn fool thing to do anyway.
                      4. You were ignoring all warnings except to argue against them – which rather negates your point on those as well.

                      You know what I feel about ignoring authors. If you don’t like their restrictions on their own posts then comment on OpenMike or the Review. That is what they are there for. ]

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  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    1 day ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures Conference: Connection...
    Session 4: Pacific Connectivity – Youth, Media and New Opportunities   Kia ora tatou katoa and Warm Pacific greetings to one and all. Representatives of Tainui, the local people of the land, or manawhenua – the indigenous peoples of this area – have welcomed you this morning in accordance with ...
    4 days ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    4 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    4 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    4 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    4 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    4 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    4 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    5 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    5 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    5 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    5 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    5 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    5 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    6 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    6 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    6 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    6 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    6 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    6 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    1 week ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    1 week ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    1 week ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    1 week ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    1 week ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    1 week ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    1 week ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    1 week ago