Greens going mainstream

Written By: - Date published: 11:57 am, June 4th, 2012 - 73 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, greens - Tags:

There’s been a bit of coverage of this development at The Green Party conference:

Greens launch attack on Bennett and Key

The Green Party has ramped up its personality politics, directly accusing Paula Bennett and Prime Minister John Key of stripping away the welfare and education systems they both benefited from in their youth.

The party insisted it was not indulging in personal attacks but instead holding ministers to account for policies which were harmful and intrusive. But the Greens’ strong rhetoric at its annual meeting, backed by members who hissed at the National-led Government’s policies, marked a slight departure from the party’s usual, more restrained criticism.

After a keynote speech which criticised Ms Bennett for unfairly targeting women and beneficiaries, co-leader Metiria Turei said: “I make no apologies for holding [her] to account.

I was a big fan of the party of Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons. Under Metiria Turei and Russel Norman The Greens have moved towards the mainstream. Some of the radicals are gone, some of the policy is firmed up, the image management is much more professional, the party is (dare I say it) less interesting. Perhaps a more robust line on political opponents is next.

It’s hard to argue with the results (the Greens are doing well, and I for one look forward to a Labour / Green government in 2014). It’s a case study confirmation that the standard political wisdom (stay close to the centre, stay on message, go after your opponents) is “correct”, in that it gets results. There’s a reason that the big parties are the way they are – because it works. I must admit that I find it all faintly depressing. I wish there was more room for variety in politics.

73 comments on “Greens going mainstream”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Some of the radicals are gone, some of the policy is firmed up, the image management is much more professional, the party is (dare I say it) less interesting. Perhaps a more robust line on political opponents is next.

    R0b. Perhaps this is what happens when experienced former Labour Party members and activists join the Green Party en masse.

    • alex 1.1

      Actually being in the audience for Turei’s speech, I have to say the media have spun this one way out of control. The main message of it was what the Greens intended to do if they were in govt, not attacks on the current govt. Still, I guess it doesn’t make as good a story.

      • Generally the media aren’t going to cover things they don’t find “interesting”, which often means you lose an incredible amount of context in mainstream reporting.

  2. fatty 2

    Over the years Bryce Edwards has tracked the Greens movement towards the mainstream.
    http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/green_party/

    Green capitalism is a sham…best summed up by Zizek who was talking about the concept of charity and ‘fairtrade’…but it also applies to environmental concerns:
    “It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property”

    • @ 30 min Captain Paul Watson describes how the green movement has moved to the right etc

    • Vicky32 2.2

      “It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property”

      Seconded! 🙂

  3. Carol 3

    Yes, on open mike today, I have been lamenting that Russel Norman, in the patriarchal tradition of high status going to the financial/economic portfolios, has been picked up (as a kind of de facto party leader) by the MSM and dominant political discourse. This has left Metiria Turei who has focused more on social justice, a bit in the shadow, also undermining her position as co-leader:

    Open mike 04/06/2012

    Turei is the more outstanding performer, IMO, and comes from a more radical left position than Norman. But Norman is more appealing to the centre-ground of politics.

    There’s also many worthy MPs in the Greens – many very good women MPs, and the likes of Darren Hughes.

    Turei made a great speech this weekend:

    http://ht.ly/1N9P8r

    http://ht.ly/1N9P8r
    Many women in Aotearoa are still living in the shadow of discrimination, exclusion, racism.
    […]
    Ours is a country where, for many kids, a pair of new school shoes is a pipe dream.

    * Where, just last month, a Northland doctor wrote of children in his neighbourhood seen scrabbling through a pig slop bucket for something to eat
    * Where Maori kids are 23 times as likely as non Maori to suffer acute rheumatic fever – a third world disease
    * Where poor kids are one-and-a-half times as likely to die in childhood than other children
    * Where four out of five families have struggled at some time to have enough food.

    For hundreds of thousands of our littlest people, Aotearoa is empty of the hope that the rest of us base our dreams on.

    But this is not a place where people are poor because they make bad choices, as Key has said.

    We refuse to blame our children for being vulnerable and hungry.
    […]
    What does that mean in practice for our kids?

    * Going to school every day with a full lunch box, good shoes and a raincoat when it’s wet
    * Having the right sports gear to play soccer, netball, hockey or rugby. Having the money to get to music lessons, art class, for supporting their natural talents.
    * Having a warm, dry home so sickness is not a barrier to education and just having some good old fashioned fun.
    […]
    Mums and Dads need to know that when the Greens are in Government in 2014 we will unwind National’s education changes.

    We will restore public schools to their rightful position as places of opportunity and human transformation, not the second tier institutions National want’s to make them.

    We will strengthen our school system, not cut it.

    We will unwind the cuts and protect smaller classes

    We will not force teachers to compete with each other.

    We will make sure our school system moved from being the least equal in the OECD to the most equal again.

    We will improve access to education at all levels and reinstate the training incentive allowance at tertiary level study to provide a real ladder out of welfare like the one that helped me, and Paula Bennett, when we were young mums.

    We see public education as the backbone of a fair and equal society and we will defend it to the hilt.

    We will build more warm, dry homes and insulate the cold damp ones.

    • Dr Terry 3.1

      Yes, Carol, I agree with you entirely in all that you say here. Turei for Leader, for certain! Should there come a Green/Labour coalition, as seems likely, I would still back Turei for Leader.

      • While I agree that Turei is definitely the stronger of the leadership duo, the Greens don’t have one leader. If they want the deputy prime ministership, (which I think is actually not a good thing to aim for, to be honest) they ought to pick whoever has the lightest policy load, (as before, I think Metiria would outperform Russel) and then rotate it to the other co-leader next term if they shoot for it again.

    • It’s GARETH Hughes, Carol 🙂

    • OneTrack 3.3

      Turei for Prime Minister.

    • LoveIT 3.4

      Gosh what rhetorical, floral, hilarious prose! Was this really from a party leader?

      Almost as mindless as the Gnats, you sure can feel some social engineering coming on!

  4. Ad 4

    If you prefer your politics at the wetter end of the moisture scale, go hang out with the Mana Party.

    We’ve got more variety in Parliament than we have ever had, and it gets moreso every election.

    The Greens’ fruity square dancing cost them easily 3 seats for several electoral cycles, and probably the Coromandel seat.

    This site needs to be the “live” forum for rehearsing a Labour-Greens coalition. A hard, compromising and serious business, being in Government.

  5. weka 5

    Reposting this from the Open Mike conversation: I’m not so worried about the Greens selling out on something like this. They still have enough integrity as they move towards the centre, and by the time they get enough power to influence [mining] policy, there will be space on the left for more radical voices again to keep them honest.
     

    R0b, I also sometimes feel sad about what The Greens have had to do in becoming more mainstream, but actually it’s just the ebb and flow of change. Muzza said in the other thread that this is bad because it just means that the mainstream gets kept comfortable. I see it completely differently. I see the Greens as colonising the centre and changing how the country thinks. How amazing is it that a radical like Turei could be in such a position of power? Or that we now have green issues entering centre stage?
     
    The Greens are about to hit their zenith, where they gain enough power to do some real good at the same time as still having their integrity. Later when they get subsumed into the grind of political compromise, we can only hope that the radical left has stepped up to hold them accountable.
     
    The obvious place to look now for the more interesting party is Mana. What does that tell us?

  6. Olwyn 6

    If I have understood you properly, your argument seems to be that sad though it is, the standard political wisdom of “stay close to the centre, stay on message, go after your opponents” is the one that works. There is however, the question of how you cleave to the centre, what the message is, and why you go after your opponents. The Green’s concessions to the centre seem to be to dress more conservatively and to show that they can do sums. Their message does not seem to have changed significantly, apart from their trying to show that they can hold much of their ground and still do the sums. And they are going after their opponents for having been poor themselves and turning the blow torch on poor people, which does not exactly suggest centrism as it is presently construed. .

    The art of the possible and the path of least resistance are not the same thing. With the former, you hold a principled position but make concessions and trade offs where it is politic to do so. With the latter, you abandon principles that seem demanding, talk up those that are undemanding and hope that people swallow it. This latter form of centrism, with which Labour appears to be at least flirting, is my eyes disgraceful under the present circumstances. The wheel has turned too far.

  7. Dr Terry 7

    Olwyn. Thanks. All I can suggest is that at least the Greens HAVE a message!! And I think it is looking promising and reading rather well. Yes, agreed about Labour. I absolutely love your words, “The art of the possible”; they give much food for thought. Good thinking on your part.

    • Olwyn 7.1

      Thanks Dr Terry. I would add one of those smiley faces if I knew how to do them.

  8. red blooded 8

    Hmmm… Let’s admit that the Greens are now also making concessions about mining consents and softening up a bit on other issues that used to be at the centre of their message. Haven’t heard much from them recently about legalising or decriminalising cannabis, for example.

    To be fair, I think that the repeated disappointments and the marginalization the Greens have experienced has made them a bit canny. Labour never treated them as allies or included them in government, and now (surprise, surprise) they see themselves as in competition with Labour. They still have a strong identity, and both Norman and Turei are strong thinkers and excellent communicators. I’m also impressed with the calibre of many of their other MPs. Perhaps they are a little more bland than the first generation, but they bring quite an array of previous life experience and expertise into parliament.

    I guess it’s not so different to the process Labour has gone through over the decades – a union-based party focused on the rights of workers becomes a broad-based party with a bit more concern for equity and improving the lives of the underprivileged than its competition. And just imagine the extremes that NACT would be going to now if there wasn’t at least some pull in to the centre!

    Having said that, I don’t think we have to worry too much about the Greens losing their mojo. Let’s remember that they are part of an international grouping of Green parties, and that a long as we have MMP there is room for a party with a distinctive viewpoint, appealing to a particular set of voters. Whether there is room for another centrist party is another matter. Think about United (now United Future) – they thought they were onto a great thing, but I don’t think many of us would argue that they are going to be cannibalising either (or both) of the older parties any time soon.

    • Think about United (now United Future) – they thought they were onto a great thing, but I don’t think many of us would argue that they are going to be cannibalising either (or both) of the older parties any time soon.

      That’s a good point. A centrist common sense party willing to work with the government of the day struggles to attract and especially to hold support. There’s more success being more in a left or right of centre party willing to cover the centre as well.

      I think you may need the perception at least of being to one side to attract activists willing to do the hard slog in the hope a government will favour their ideals.

      Most political activity comes from the sides, most votes come from the middle.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Most political activity comes from the sides, most votes come from the middle.

        The “middle” being the top 20% households by wealth.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2

        A centrist common sense party willing to work with the government of the day struggles to attract and especially to hold support.

        UF may be centre but there’s no sense or principals in it at all. It’s this latter that has it struggling to get any support.

      • Jackal 8.1.3

        red blooded

        Let’s admit that the Greens are now also making concessions about mining consents and softening up a bit on other issues that used to be at the centre of their message.

        Let’s not. There has been no change to the Greens policy concerning mining consents. The Greens want progress… It just so happens that they want clean and sustainable progress instead of the current environmentally destructive “progress” National is promoting.

        Despite what some people believe, you actually need some mining and industrialisation to be able to build things like windmills etc. If anything… Russel Norman was being practical, which is often what sets the Greens apart from the idealogical and unpractical drivel that forms the belief systems of rightwing parties.

        Pete George

        Most political activity comes from the sides, most votes come from the middle.

        That’s a vary big claim to make without any evidence apart from the failure of United Future to back it up with. UF’s downfall has been caused by Peter Dunne, who doesn’t particularly stand for anything at all. If it suits his political aspirations, he will even go back on his pre-election promises to support whatever party wins. Most people simply don’t like liars Pete George… why do you?

        • Pete George 8.1.3.1

          UF’s downfall has been caused by Peter Dunne

          That’s an odd claim – what party is still in government (with a pivotal role) and has been a part of government more than any other party since MMP started?

          UFs surge was partly due to attracting significant Christian candidates and votes, and a large part of it’s downfall was nutty Christian candidates.

          Most people simply don’t like liars Pete George… why do you?

          Where did you get the idea I liked you? You keep repeating your claims despite being proven wrong.

          • Jackal 8.1.3.1.1

            Only a truly deluded person would think Untied Future is a political success story.

            Could you explain why you think I’m a liar for pointing out that Peter Dunne said he would not support the privatisation of our water prior to the election, and then turned around and supported asset sales that include huge amounts of our water resources? You’re arguing against facts Pete George.

            • Pete George 8.1.3.1.1.1

              You’re showing a very poor understanding of coalition politics.

              Parties put forward policies before the election, and afterwards if they get the chance to negotiate coalition agreements they get as many of their own policies accepted as possible. A party with 1/61 of the majority vote doesn’t get to include all it’s policies. There are many that didn’t make the cut.

              Dunne made no promise on water resources (you certainly haven’t shown that he did), United Future proposed policies and then pushed for what was important to them and got what they could in their C&S agreement.

              When Greens finally make it into a coalition (if Labour don’t do the dirty on them again) they will have to compromise and let go many of their policies from any agreement. That won’t be lying, it’s a simple fact of how things work.

              So you are either ignorant or you’re the one who’s knowingly promoting lies.

              • Jackal

                Pete George

                Dunne made no promise on water resources (you certainly haven’t shown that he did).

                United Future’s pre-election video:

                So we say there are three key assets that should never be sold; Kiwibank, Radio New Zealand and our Water.

                      ~ Peter Dunne, 21 November 2011.

                There’s a big difference between policy negotiations under MMP and a pre-election promise PG.

                • If that’s the case then Greens told a heap of lies. They proposed many policies, they could have negotiated a coalition agreement and got some agreed to but they didn’t.

                  Using your logic, not only did Greens lie, they deliberately choose not to try and get any of their “promises” implemented.

                  UF said they wouldn’t go in to coalition with Labour, if they had that would have been a broken promise. Greens said they may go into coalition with National but then didn’t even try. That’s far more like an actual lie being broken.

                  You’re confused between proposing policies prior to an election and making promises.

                  • Jackal

                    Pete George

                    If that’s the case then Greens told a heap of lies. They proposed many policies, they could have negotiated a coalition agreement and got some agreed to but they didn’t.

                    Instead there is a memorandum of understanding with National to implement some Green policy… This is in stark contrast to Peter Dunne going back on a pre-election promise just to ensure he is in power. Your comparison is feckless!

                    Using your logic, not only did Greens lie.

                    Using my logic the Greens are liars? You’re ranting now PG.

                    I’m sorry to have to point out that Peter Dunne was being deceptive, and it will mean an end to the UnitedFuture party… but don’t just start throwing unfounded accusations around the place… You’ll just end up losing what little credibility you have left.

                    They deliberately choose not to try and get any of their “promises” implemented.

                    The difference Pete George is that the Greens have not gone back on any pre-election promises just to gain a position in the government… which is something you pointed out with some glee just a few comments ago.

                    You’re basically arguing that the Greens aren’t trying to get enough support to be able to form a government to implement their policy, which I can assure you is not the case. In fact it’s a bit insane to even suggest that the Greens don’t want to be able to implemented their election promises and policy.

                    UF said they wouldn’t go in to coalition with Labour, if they had that would have been a broken promise.

                    What’s that got to do with it? Peter Dunne thinks his bouffant looks cool, that would be a lie. Strawman much PG.

                    Greens said they may go into coalition with National but then didn’t even try. That’s far more like an actual lie being broken.

                    The Greens said it was highly unlikely that they could form a government with National, mainly because of the difference in policy direction. Expecting the Greens to try and make a coalition deal with National after the election when it wasn’t even on the table is batshit crazy!

                    You’re confused between proposing policies prior to an election and making promises.

                    Not selling New Zealand’s water was a pre-election promise made by Peter Dunne, which he has broken by voting for the Mixed Ownership Model Bill.

                    You’re welcome to your opinion that it wasn’t a promise, but in that case your opinion wouldn’t be based in reality Pete George… What else is new?

                    • Carol

                      Instead there is a memorandum of understanding with National to implement some Green policy…

                      Actually…. no. Not this time around:

                      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/politics/205409/co-operation-between-parties-not-expanded
                      14 April 2012

                      The National Government’s lurch to the right has scuppered prospects of new policy deals between it and the Greens, the smaller party says – but National claims the Greens wanted policies that were unaffordable.

                      Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei yesterday morning confirmed talks about a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between her party and National had now ended.

                      But this actually supports your main argument, Jackal. The Greens were unable to come to a (minimal) MOU with this National government because of the big gap in policy differences. So any possible coalition was way out of the realms of possibility.

                    • Instead there is a memorandum of understanding with National to implement some Green policy

                      No, there isn’t one.

                      Nats and the Greens – no new deal

                      Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei this morning confirmed talks about a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between her party and National had now ended.

                      Not selling New Zealand’s water was a pre-election promise made by Peter Dunne

                      You have shown no proof of this. Your opinion is not a fact. The UF water policy was a proposed policy only, and like many policies proposed by different parties that don’t make the cut.

                    • Jackal

                      Looks like Carol beat you to the punchline PG 🙂

                      I was under the impression that there was no expansion of the deal, but the Memorandum of Understanding (PDF) between the Greens and National, negotiated in April 2009 was to remain in place.

                      This includes plans to work together on the home insulation programme, non-1080 possum control, cleaning up toxic sites and a regulatory system for natural health products.

                      Pete George

                      The UF water policy was a proposed policy only, and like many policies proposed by different parties that don’t make the cut.

                      When Peter Dunne said our water should never be sold in the pre-election add campaign, Pete George thinks he didn’t actually mean never… All’s well in rightwing deluded land then I guess.

                      So if they were fully honest they shouldn’t have intimated the possibility of one.

                      A political party should not formulate policy in the hope that they will be acceptable to another political party. Policies should be devised through extensive research with an aim to help New Zealand.

                      Pimping out policy as UnitedFuture has done is why they will soon be irrelevant.

                    • Ok, so you still don’t understand how election policies and coalition agreements work.

                      A political party should not formulate policy in the hope that they will be acceptable to another political party. Policies should be devised through extensive research with an aim to help New Zealand.

                      That’s all very well in theory, but in practice for policies to be effective they have to be do-able. That’s something Greens are yet to learn, because they have yet to get into a coalition. Once they do they will learn the hard reality of political compromise and pragmatism.

                      Coalitions 101 – smaller parties have to make their policies acceptable to larger coalition partners or they will get nowhere.

                      And they also have to learn that what they think is the best policy may not be seen as that by the majority of MPs, or voters.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      That’s something Greens are yet to learn, because they have yet to get into a coalition. Once they do they will learn the hard reality of political compromise and pragmatism.

                      Perhaps Peter Dunne can run a class for the Greens at your new School of Political Advice on how to bend over for a few baubles. And how to repeat the same act, term after term after term.

                    • Jackal

                      Perhaps he could call it How to bend over backwards without losing your bouffant.

                    • weka

                      Colonel Viper, Draco, Jackal, Carol, you do realise that you’ve just spent 18 posts over 3 hours arguing with someone who you think is an idiot. No-one else has entered the debate on Pete’s side, and the four of you seem to all be largely in agreement about the topic. So what is the point? I understand that it’s good to not let people post falsities, but isn’t this getting a bit out of hand when so much of the debate in a thread is taken up by refuting inanity?

                    • Jackal

                      While you’re correct in that it’s largely pointless debating Pete George, and the reiteration of topics that should have been settled long ago is a waste of time, we can but hope that one day Pete George will wake up from his delusions.

                      I guess your advice really amounts to DNFTT. I concur.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Colonel Viper, Draco, Jackal, Carol, you do realise that you’ve just spent 18 posts over 3 hours arguing with someone who you think is an idiot.

                      I responded once @ 3:14. I’ve barely skimmed over this part of the thread since as it just wasn’t worth the time.

                  • The Greens were unable to come to a (minimal) MOU with this National government because of the big gap in policy differences. So any possible coalition was way out of the realms of possibility.

                    Policies were known before the election, so Greens should have known “any possible coalition was way out of the realms of possibility”. So if they were fully honest they shouldn’t have intimated the possibility of one.

                  • weka, you must have skimmed and assumed.

                    Carol was saying the same as me and correcting Jackal. And Jackal couldn’t back up his other claims either because there are no facts to support them.

                    So you added to the thread with unrefutable inanity.

                    • felix

                      According to the interview with Metiria and the ginge on RNZ’s “Focus on Politics” last week, the Greens tried to expand the MoU but National rejected the idea.

                      However the existing MoU remains in place.

                    • tc

                      Wa Wa Wa Wa says PG leaping to defend the hairpiece and his party of one. Sprung again but has a convenient opinion and spin so it’s not his masters fault….pathetic.

    • Carol 8.2

      Having said that, I don’t think we have to worry too much about the Greens losing their mojo.

      I’m glad you think Mojo is in it for the long haul – and she has an important policy role, too:

      http://www.greens.org.nz/candidates/mojo-mathers

      • Carol 8.2.1

        weka @640pm above (run out odf reply buttons there). I’m not sure what I did to be included in your list. I certainly have not spent 3 hours doing what you charge me with. As usual, I actually didn’t read any of the posts you allege I was arguing with, but read and responded to Jackal’s post above.

        • weka 8.2.1.1

          Sorry Carol, I wasn’t meaning to have a go at any of you. It was just disappointing to see yet another thread taken over by Pete and made all about him.

          • Carol 8.2.1.1.1

            Well, I tend to click on the latest posts via the links in the top right-hand corner (usually ignoring PG’s because they have little to offer). So I don’t always see the string of posts above a comment.

  9. lefty 9

    How can anybody possibly say the standard political wisdom is ‘correct’? Just take a look around at the state of the world.

    The standard political wisdom is good for producing the standard political result ie. getting a party elected.

    Swapping between political parties with no real power, who do nothing other than fiddle while the system that breeds impoverishment, environmental degradation and privilige for the few continues unchanged is a distraction from the desperate need for real change.

    The Greens think they have got some smart new ways of saving capitalism. Some of their ideas may work and perhaps sort of green capitalism will open up more opportunities for the exploitation of the many by the few for a period.

    What the hell use is that?

    It is no use to those at the bottom of the heap, or to the environment.

    The Greens have gone from a party that potentially offered the possibility of bringing about change to just another bunch of capitalists who want political office at all costs.

    In doing so they have moved from being a source of hope, to those who desperately need to be able to hope, to just another barrier in the way of real progress.

    The most depressing thing about it is how many people are so desperate for easy solutions they are willing to buy into the crap the Greens are peddling rather than engage in the hard and prolonged political struggle that is required to build a movement of people that will seize real power in order to make real change.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      The majority of voters just want reassurance that the comfortable upper middle class status quo will last just a bit longer. Even if its all lies.

      So what’s an ambitious young political party to do, huh?

      • lefty 9.1.1

        So what’s an ambitious young political party to do, huh?

        Not bother if they have nothing new to offer.

    • Vicky32 9.2

      The Greens have gone from a party that potentially offered the possibility of bringing about change to just another bunch of capitalists who want political office at all costs.
      In doing so they have moved from being a source of hope, to those who desperately need to be able to hope, to just another barrier in the way of real progress.
      The most depressing thing about it is how many people are so desperate for easy solutions they are willing to buy into the crap the Greens are peddling rather than engage in the hard and prolonged political struggle that is required to build a movement of people that will seize real power in order to make real change.

      Seconded!

    • weka 9.3

      The most depressing thing about it is how many people are so desperate for easy solutions they are willing to buy into the crap the Greens are peddling rather than engage in the hard and prolonged political struggle that is required to build a movement of people that will seize real power in order to make real change.
       

      I find that kind of insulting. Personally I vote for the Greens, not because they’re doing what I want, or because I think they’re the great green hope, but because they’re the best chance of slowing down the neoliberal bullshit while other people get on with creating change. Or slowing things down until the shit hits the fan. Either way, they do this country a service.
       
      I also think that the GP has many people dedicated to the long haul, and whose politics are much more radical than they’re allowed to express in their day job. Do you really think that a radical political party would have any chance of power in this country? Would you prefer that the GP became more radical, lost any chance at power, and handed the country back to Labour, NACT and Peters? Really? It’s incredibly naive to think that any radical green party would be able to change things here more effectively than what the GP has done.
       
       
       

    • … build a movement of people that will seize real power in order to make real change.

      Oh, yes, what the country really needs is a bunch of armed loonies seizing power, how could the Greens have been so foolish as to miss that?

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    There’s a reason that the big parties are the way they are – because it works.

    And it works because the MSM doesn’t cover radical parties.

    • I don’t agree, radical politicians get proportionally more coverage than steady reliable hard working politicians.

      That’s a common politician’s dilemma, knowing that to attract media attention they need to speak or act sensationally, but they want to come across as considered, respectable and reasonable.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        I don’t agree, radical politicians get proportionally more coverage than steady reliable hard working politicians.

        We don’t have any radical politicians in Parliament.

        That’s a common politician’s dilemma, knowing that to attract media attention they need to speak or act sensationally, but they want to come across as considered, respectable and reasonable.

        Starting the Pete George School of Political Advice?

        • M 10.1.1.1

          We don’t have any radical politicians in Parliament.

          Hone doesn’t make the cut? I’m thinking that him speaking the truth about poor people would make him way too radical for some of the seat warmers in parliament.

          Starting the Pete George School of Political Advice?

          Lol CV.

          • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.1

            To be honest, Hone is not too far off making the cut. In the ideal world, Hone would be considered a smidgeon Left of mainstream 🙂

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.2

            Seen Hone in the MSM lately?

            • Jackal 10.1.1.1.2.1

              He certainly gets a hard time from the other pleb MP’s, mainly because he doesn’t conform to the capitalist backscratching that’s caused a huge mess all over the world. I’d vote for somebody who puts principles over politics any day of the week.

          • Matthew Whitehead 10.1.1.1.3

            You don’t think that John Banks is a radical social conservative?

        • mike e 10.1.1.2

          CV if you stood in Dunedin North you would get more than 161 votes.

  11. Blue 11

    “It’s a case study confirmation that the standard political wisdom (stay close to the centre, stay on message, go after your opponents) is “correct”, in that it gets results. There’s a reason that the big parties are the way they are – because it works.”

    Exactly. The major parties don’t behave this way because they’re assholes, they do it because they wouldn’t be major parties if they didn’t. Politics is a game, and you have to play the game if you want to win it.

    There is a role for minor parties, Rob. They represent a constituency, they act as Parliament’s ‘conscience’ as Garth George once put it. But they will always be small fish for choosing to opt out of playing the game.

    It’s hard to stomach for those who want lofty ideals about standards of behaviour to prevail in politics. The ones who trot out those old chestnuts like ‘ordinary people are sick of polticians attacking each other’, trying to say that parties would get more votes if they were nicer. It’s crap, and it’s always been crap. I’ve always said that if pollies being ‘nice’ was what the public wanted, then the Greens would be the Government.

    The reality is that the public don’t want nice. They want effective.

    • Jackal 11.1

      However corporation leads to efficiency, whereas our current system of “Gotcha” politics leads to inefficiency. I would prefer politicians concentrated on solutions instead of how big their egos are.

    • mouse 11.2

      Blue, “Nice” and “Effective” are not mutually exclusive concepts… It’s possible to be both at the same time. 

  12. gobsmacked 12

    The Greens have – quite legitimately – criticised Key and Bennett because of their policies. The fact that Key and Bennett are now dismantling the same structures that helped them so much is entirely relevant, and hardly “personality politics”.

    Examples of idiotic and ill-focused “personality politics” would be Labour MPs like Hodgson and Mallard going on (like parrots on P) about the DPS protection for Key, or Simon Lusk, or some other private obsession. A line of attack of no interest to Labour voters, and which has won the party no votes whatsoever. The sort of “personality politics” that Anthony Robbins objected to … er, never.

    The Greens have a coherent world view, and they articulate it. If only Labour could do the same. And if only Labour supporters – not least on the Standard – could tell them bluntly that they’re doing a lousy job. Then we might see some change in their failed tactics, and their feeble results.

    • To be fair, this is actually criticising an intersection of personal life and policy, not just policy itself- namely that National politicians are happy to take advantage of the leg-up that social welfare policies provide, but want to pull the ladder up after them when they get a chance to actually set policy.

      This is the same sort of “personal” attack as pointing out that it’s base hypocrisy for divorcees and cheaters to oppose queer civil rights on some ridiculous justification like the “sanctity of the family”. Your personal life is open for valid criticism when your political life contradicts your own experience.

      Of course, that’s a subtle nicety that I don’t expect right-wingers to generally understand, especially given that their version of personal-political criticism is the idea that choosing not to have children made Helen Clark somehow not an actual woman and unable to talk about women’s rights.

    • tc 12.2

      Plenty of posters here tell labour they are doing a crap job but as a party when you go back to the architects of your worse results in decades (mallard and pagani) and allow them another go at it, which includes having a big say in who is leader, there’s not a lot of hope for you is there.

  13. Even if Greens eventually become a part of a coalition government the realities of power (and a probable minority vote) it will be difficult for them to implement any major policies let alone a whole range of polices that they want to put into place.

    The realities of power are yet to be experienced by Green MPs. It won’t be easy for them once they get there. It could be quite frustrating. Greens: environment an economic argument.

    • felix 13.1

      Doesn’t have to be frustrating. As Dunne has shown it’s quite possible for even a miniature pretend party to stay in government by simply supporting the largest party on whatever they want to do.

      And that’s with only one seat. The Greens will be able to offer 15 times as much slavish subservience.

      • weka 13.1.1

        I expect the Greens to keep increasing their number of MPs over the next few decades. I think we can give up this idea of Labour or National being supported by a small party, we’re getting past that on the left now. Labour are going to have to get to grips with co-operation politics if they want to be in government.

  14. My conclusion of the Greens conference is that they say they intend to go as far mainstream as they possibly can, and as quickly as they can, whilst Labour is still consolidating.

    By attacking both the Nats and Labour, anyway possible, they expect to be in a significant coalition role with Labour in 2014.

    Their policies are this is what we say YEA Yea —- (but not what we really will do).

    Anything to attain power, at anybody elses cost.

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