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Greens/Maori Party cooperation good for the Left

Written By: - Date published: 4:05 pm, February 7th, 2008 - 31 comments
Categories: greens, maori party - Tags: ,

The Maori Party and the Greens are discussing an informal alliance ahead of the election. This makes a lot of sense. The two parties vote together on most issues (more than they vote with any other parties) and have fundamental principles in common.

Either major party will probably need the support of one or both of them to govern after the election. By undertaking to negotiate with the major parties together, the Greens and the Maori Party will present a solid bloc that will ensure their policies are taken into account no matter which major party governs.

The Greens and Maori Party have so much in common because they represent strands of left-wing ideology and although they both differ strongly with Labour on a number of important issues they share fundamental ideals . It is not realistic to think they could work with National, no matter how much John Key practices his hongi. The Maori Party and the Greens have very little common ground with National and both parties would face internal collapse if they did a deal with the Right. So, a Green/Maori Party alliance is likely to end up supporting Labour in government. In doing so, it would serve as a valuable counter-weight to Labour’s tendency to be timid and take half-measures.

31 comments on “Greens/Maori Party cooperation good for the Left”

  1. Tane 1

    Agreed, but I think the more significant point here is that if (and it’s a very big if) the two parties pull this off it will effectively mean the end of hard right neoliberalism in New Zealand.

    We’d have two kinds of government in New Zealand – on the one hand a more assertive and left-wing (dare I say even radical) Labour-led government, and on the other a lame duck National-led government unable to carry out its right-wing agenda.

    Of course, this all relies on the Greens and the Maori Party being able to hold it together and that’s something I’m not too hopeful of. There’s also the matter of the inherent class contradictions of an ethnic party, but that’s another issue altogether…

  2. Steve Pierson 2

    I wonder if a Maori Party/Green hui would be anything like Parihaka. That would be worth getting along to.

  3. All of the above sounds rather like leftwing wishful thinking. In particular, the following few crucial lines aren’t really backed up with any evidence: “It is not realistic to think they could work with National, no matter how much John Key practices his hongi. The Maori Party and the Greens have very little common ground with National and both parties would face internal collapse if they did a deal with the Right.” There’s nothing intrinsically leftwing about the two parties (even if there are currently some good lefties involved), and the trajectory that both parties are on is clearly towards the centre. And the leaders of both parties are increasingly pragmatic about wanting to hold the balance of power. There’s no real concept of “the balance of power” if these parties aren’t willing to negotiate with parties to the right of Labour.

    There’s more discussion of these issues over on Frogblog:
    http://blog.greens.org.nz/index.php/2008/02/07/did-the-greens-and-maori-party-talk-at-waitangi/

    In particular, the Greens put forward a very clear policy about post-election negotiations whereby the party is willing to support into government *any* party if it is willing to advance the Greens’ environmental programme. A deal with National is therefore entirely possible.

    Bryce

  4. gobsmacked 4

    Bryce, I never quite know if you really mean the stuff you come out with. I hate to resort to the “ivory tower” stereotpye, but you don’t half make it tempting.

    Have you ever met any National Party activists? Ditto, Greens? And what do you think they want their parties to do, if they get power?

    Of course the Greens need to keep their options open. Basic negotiating strategy, maximise leverage. But in the end, a National caucus of the right (and a party base further right still) is not there to do nothing, while waiting for defeat in 2011. They have an agenda, and what part of it do you think the Greens are going to support – even tacitly?

    I’d love to see the items on that list.

  5. r0b 5

    A deal with National is therefore entirely possible.

    Bryce, what, in your considered opinion, would be the response of the supporters of the respective parties, if National formed a government with Green / Maori?

  6. outofbed 6

    I think it the National Party supporters who would be the most pissed
    As the Greens/Maori price would be VERY high indeed ,it would have to be to sell it to their supporters. I wouldn’t rule it out though
    but Tane is right it would be the end of the Neo right in NZ
    and probably the National party would implode
    I don’t know why they don’t spilt into the two wings anyway it would be more honest

  7. Mike 7

    If National only ends up needing 5 or 6 seats to form a government, why would the Maori Party join up with the Greens?

    If the past week’s U-Turns are anything to go by, Key looks like he’d be more willing to give in on some of the Maori Party’s more outlandish demands than Our Great Leader Helen would.

  8. If National only ends up needing 5 or 6 seats to form a government, why would the Maori Party join up with the Greens?

    Because they might be reluctant to put into govt a party that wants to eradicate their power base (the Maori seats)? Because National would have scant sympathy for Turia’s Third World tribalist affectations, whereas the Greens will lap it up?

  9. J 9

    The big thing at stake in this election is the future of the national party, if they lose we may see the end of them and alternatively see the rise of progressive rational parties who would focus on ramping up the pedestrian parts of labours agenda.

    I’m voting ABN (ANYONE BUT NATIONAL) for the democratic health of this great country.

  10. The big thing at stake in this election is the future of the national party

    Why yes, yes it is – I suspect that another term out of power might just gut them. All of their ideologue cheerleaders are getting near the grave and their “new blood” are more akin to the National Front (if the kiwiblog right are anything to go by). I reckon if Labour had just pushed the discourse a little further left we would’ve seen the end of it last election but perhaps a GLM govt might do so.

    Oh and so many of that kiwiblog right have started proclaiming they’ll leave the country if we get another labour-led govt that I think I’d vote left even if I was a national party supporter… (what really surprises me is they seem to think we’d be sad to see them go).

  11. Billy 11

    Surely you’d miss me, ‘sod.

  12. Wendigo Jane 12

    Ha ha – will they leave and go to Australia, where – oh but hang on a minute – DAMN….

    [lprent – suspiciously like d4j? Nope]

  13. Phil 13

    Robinsod, nice little fantasy that one.

    I suspect that if you want to look for the next political ‘gutting’ you need look no further than the former darlings of Labour – their Maori MP’s.
    If the Maori Party turns out a good result this time, I have no doubt the Maori wing of the Labour party will crumble. The most talented and politically minded activists will flock to a party that carries brand, appeal, and mana, while labour will be left as a hollow shell of unionists and neuve-riche ‘positive racists’.

  14. Steve Pierson 14

    Bryce – I know its very tempting for you as an academic just to see parties as power structures interested only in gaining more power but parties are elected by people, and the people who vote Green will not back a National government. Remember these are people who find Labour centrist. They are idealistic and leftwing to the core they will not consent to their party getting into bed with National, and if they believe that is what will happen they will not vote Green.

    The same applies, but perhaps less so, for the bulk of Maori Party voters.

    Any alliance would decrease the chance of the Maori going with National.

  15. Draco TB 15

    I don’t know why they don’t spilt into the two wings anyway it would be more honest

    Because, despite their protestations against collectivism, they know damn well that they wouldn’t get anywhere if they didn’t act collectively. It’s a lovely exercise in irony that the so called collectivist left have far more parties showing their differences than the individualist right.

  16. outofbed 16

    If Chris Trotter is Right
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4392654a1861.html
    And the Nats are drawing up legislation to repeal the F&S act
    Then that appears to be a fucking big rat indeed
    too big a risk to take I would say, but could be clever politics

  17. Richard 17

    The most recent Herald digi-poll had some interesting results on minor party supporters, and who their desired coalition partners were. Does anyone have the numbers? I can’t find this particular element of the poll on the Herald website.

    I seem to recall that Greens supporters were around 80-90% in favour of going into coalition with Labour. The graph was a bit weird – the bar for Maori Party supporters showed 62% (I think that was the number) wanted Labour, but the rest of the bar was blank. Not sure what this meant – no explanation was given. Perhaps the other 38% was for those who didn’t favour coalition with any major party.

    The party vote for National in the Maori seats was about 3-4% by the way.

  18. Santi 18

    Do I detect a whiff of desperation on the part of the Labour supporters?

    Are you now putting your faith in the hands of the Green and Maori parties to get together, so they can keep you in power? What concesions and sweeteners are you prepared to offer?

    Losing your confidence, uh?

    Don’t be shy. Also aim for Peter’s NZF and Dunne’s UF, those two bastions of integrity and decency.

  19. Tane 19

    Santi, some of us are Green supporters. I’m primarily interested in the fortunes of the broader Left and see political parties merely as vehicles. If the Greens and the Maori Party can help the fortunes of the Left and put a bit of spine into Labour then that’s something to be welcomed.

  20. lemsip 20

    What did people say about a NZ First Labour arrangement prior to the 2005 election? Umm most people thought it was highly unlikely. NZ First and Labour, for all their differences, have managed to create a working relationship.

    And what do you think NZ First and Labour activists thought of each party? Hmmm

    more to the point- National under Key has been able to swallow some “dead rats” to gain what they want in he short term – don’t you think National may also be able to accommodate some Green and or Maori requests if National can maintain most of its core agenda?

  21. Phil 21

    A Green-National coalition would truly be in the realm of “hell freezes over” probability.

  22. lemsip 22

    doesn’t have to be a coalition Phil merely an arrangement on confidence and supply with some policy concessions given to a minor party in exchange for their abstaining on some key policy goals of the governing party or parties. The Greens and/or Maori could reserve the right to criticize a National government outside of certain agreed policy areas. Perhaps we could have a Maori party representative as an Associate Minister or Minister of Race relations or treaty settlements or a Green rep with a similar post in regards to transport, nutrition, or whatever. With all the tensions these possible arrangements might enail, it wouldn’t necessarily be a comfortable time for the participants but it could happen. But I agree it’s a good strategy for left activists to make it appear impossible.

    However, lets just remember Labour only has one coalition partner – the Progressives. It merely has differing forms of arrangements with the rest.

  23. For fuck’s sake – I can’t believe you can seriously consider the greens would do even a confidence and supply deal with national. You are truly fucking delusional. What a waste of words…

  24. lemsip 24

    I’m as pertubed as you sod but here’s something from the horses mouth – so to speak. Could be all smoke and mirrors…

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4230132a11.html

    Then there’s the Ewen-Street debacle…

  25. Dude that’s so much a beat up. I know MT and she’d never go national – I’d say she’s just trying to be an operator (she’s never been much good at it – to her credit). I’d keep an eye on her as potential leadership though. But given what’s happening in the greens at the mo’ it might be a while ’til they sort their house out.

  26. outofbed 26

    The Greens working with Mr Smith eh The very person who wants to “take them out” and has been developing stratergies to do just that.
    I wouldn’t trust that slimy bastard in any way shape or fashion

  27. Wendigo Jane 27

    It’s nouveau riche – like the Jonkey.

  28. Murray 28

    You lefties are welcome to them – should such an unholy alliance eventuate, kiss goodbye to more productive kiwis who will become aussies

  29. Weather Eye Of The North 29

    National will need to win first past the post to be other than a lame duck government. Mind you, since they still understand, at least subliminally, that they’re “Born To Rule”, maybe that will suit them…..for a while.

    Turn around on the Maori seats ? “Born To Rule” could rationalise that I suppose. Christ, imagine reaction from the farting Brownlee and the screeching Herr Ryall !

  30. Phil 30

    National “Lame Ducks”?… Hmm…

    ACT will have at least one seat, maybe more if Nationals drift further toward centre remains credible.
    UFNZ will also have one.
    NZF will get some seats (Immigration, post-Blenhiem Air Incident, will be an election issue again – discount Winston at your own peril)

    Doesn’t sound like a lame duck at all.

  31. For what it’s worth, I’ve elaborated on my statement above where I argue that the Steve’s post is wishful thinking.

    See: Why the Maori and National parties fit together at:
    http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2008/02/why-the-maori-a.html

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