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How to get the progressive government we want

Written By: - Date published: 9:59 am, May 23rd, 2022 - 95 comments
Categories: democratic participation, election 2023, greens, labour, maori party - Tags: , ,

Last week I was listening to this James Shaw podcast from June 2020 where his guest was Doughnut Economics co-originator, English economist Kate Haworth.

I wrote a post Budget Day: there are real alternativeswhich outlined what Doughnut Economics is, and where New Zealand sits in the scheme of things. The Budget later that day was a mix of good and bad, and lefties inevitably arguing about whether Labour had done enough.

One of the things that struck me about the podcast was how positively and cutting edge Raworth saw the Labour government from an international perspective. She talks about the revolutionary nature of shifting economic goals from growth to wellbeing. Many are looking to New Zealand to lead on this. It was eyeopening to get that outside perspective of just how far we have come, and I had a similar sense with the Climate plan release last week.

Actually, our success lies in our wellbeing. And it’s the wellbeing of the people of this place, and it’s the wellbeing of the living world here and the whole living world in which we are embedded

Aotearoa New Zealand has adopted wellbeing economics, one of the few governments in the world saying let’s put a new value at the heart of our politics. That is so powerful! If you think of systems thinking, Donella Meadows, one of the mother thinkers of systems thinking. She says, you want to change a system, you need to go to one of the high level leverage points. And quite near the top of the leverage points is to change the goal of the system. Once you have done that, a lot of other things follow. So that’s the first step. 

Yet here we are largely complaining about Labour. With good reason, but there’s a strange jarring in the two positions that I suspect serves us badly because we risk missing that things are changing and how we can build on that.

More and more I think about Labour being stuck between a rock and a hard place and that instead of lefties throwing shit at them, we could be breaking up the rock.

There are obviously good people in the caucus and party at large, and equally obvious is the intention to make New Zealand a better place via left wing and progressive values and policy. Yet they won’t take the bold steps needed on climate, poverty, housing, environment, and are still firmly wedded to the exact neoliberal model that prevents action.

The left’s default position is defence or condemnation, so I’m going all greenie here and saying there’s a third way to understand and to respond to this.

It’s encapsulated in these three tweets.

It really is that simple. A chunk of current Labour voters voting Green in 2023 and we would get Labour policy plus Green, shift the Overton window, and move faster and better on the stuff that many left of centre New Zealanders say matters.

After years of doing reconciliatory politics, the Greens are being blunt, and many (myself included) will be pleased to see them speaking the truth out loud: this is what the two policy sets look like, this is what we could have.

This is exactly the framing we need. It’s not Labour bashing, but it’s not a political wallflower position either. It shows us how a party can speak up strongly to differentiate itself from its potential coalition partners. This is the politics of MMP from the left rather than the Peters-esque, holding everyone to ransom position of the centre that we’ve come to see as the only way to wield power.

But that’s not all that is going on. A Labour supporter is saying this is why he votes Green. He’s not a Green supporter. And a Green supporter is saying ‘we need Labour too’.

This gets even more exciting when we consider Te Pāti Māori. What if instead of a new left wing party arising that saves us from neoliberal hell, we worked with the three very good parties we already have. This is MMP coming to fruition.

Another theory of change,

What gets talked about in politics matters. The Greens want change not power. They get policies enacted without even being in government. Think climate and poverty, where the narratives have been sufficiently moved to allow Labour to do the work. This is one of the key ways that change happens from the edge.

But it’s true that Labour have also shifted the narrative and changed how the centre think about wellbeing, poverty, climate. This is gold, because it’s the centre that determines elections in New Zealand.

The TL;DR of all this is that we need both Labour and the Greens, but we need more Green MPs than we need more of Labour.

This message needs to be repeated again and again: if we want a progressive government capable of solving poverty, climate, housing, environment, then the Greens enable Labour to do that. The more MPs they have, the more that can happen.

(Green Party policy is here if you want to check out what the Green list above is about)

95 comments on “How to get the progressive government we want ”

  1. Alan 1

    Grant and Jacinda know that the hard left and separatist policies promoted by the Greens and the MP are unpalatable to the centre left and centre right; like it or not, this is where elections are won or lost.

    • roy cartland 1.1

      Congratulations on finding another way of saying whoever gets the most votes wins. The Overton window simply shifts the almighty centre, which is what I understood to be the thrust of Weka's post.

    • weka 1.2

      or to put it another way, Labour rely on the Greens to shift the Overton Window because they're not allowed to do it themselves so overtly.

    • Stuart Munro 1.3

      Hard left pfft – sending financiers to labour camps hasn't been on the menu for half a century.

      Hard left in far right terms is wages keeping pace with the cost of living increases.

      • AB 1.3.1

        The hard left in NZ would barely fill a classroom – both numerically and because they hate each other.

        Unless that is you define hard left as one strand of mainstream western political thought since maybe Aristotle. It's always amusing to see how much the right (hard or not) unintentionally hate 'western culture' – something they completely unironically accuse the left of doing.

  2. roy cartland 2

    With the election across the ditch, it's possible that Oz could soon end up with a more progressive government than us! At a puerile, nationalistic level, that's simply embarrassing. But on more serious level, maybe the fact that 'they' can do it will embolden us to finally allow ourselves to do the same?

    • weka 2.1

      definitely thinking Australia having a centre left govt moving on climate in particular is good for us.

    • Belladonna 2.2

      Well, it's possible, but I'd be surprised. There's a huge degree of institutional inertia, and the ALP didn't exactly get a resounding majority. They'll be very focused on the next election.
      However, doing anything climate focused would be an improvement on the current status quo.

  3. nzsage 3

    The numbers suggest that Kiwis are largely a center-left nation so it makes complete sense for the three parties to work together and give the majority of voters what they want.

    From 2020 Election (Party Vote)*

    Labour 1,443,546
    Greens 226,754
    Maori 33,632
    Total 1,703,932

    National 738,275
    ACT 219,030
    NZFirst** 75,021
    New Cons 42,615
    TOP ** 43,447
    Total 1,118,390

    • The remaining smaller left/right parties are omitted as they generally cancel each other out.
      ** Probably more right than left so included as right

    On those numbers it would take a 21% swing to the right to win the Party vote, that's a large amount by any standard.

    If the left-leaning parties fail to work together then it will take a lot less.

    • weka 3.1

      pretty sure that's evened out after the 2020 high.

      If the left-leaning parties fail to work together then it will take a lot less.

      the challenge for GP and TPM is how to do that and still have their own identity.

    • Belladonna 3.2

      I really don't think that those numbers reflect anything of the kind.

      Even Labour acknowledged that the 2020 election was a referendum on Ardern's leadership through the Covid crisis.

      It had very little to do with the Labour-left legislative programme (which, in fact, was almost entirely invisible during the election campaign).

      It was recognised as an extraordinary result at the time, and is highly unlikely to ever be repeated.

      Indeed, the current polls show pretty much level pegging over a right- or a left- wing government.

      What I think those figures do show, is that there is an uncommitted centre, which can be convinced to vote left, if the policies can be presented in a way which attracts them.

      Of course, this also means that the more radical left elements also have to tone down their expectations – or they'll frighten off the centrist voters.

      Figuring out what is most important and where the policy ambitions of the left-wing parties align, is not an easy or trivial task.

      • nzsage 3.2.1

        I'm going by the real numbers of the last election not the subjective and whimsical nature of polls. However, with a few tweaks I agree you may be right.

        What I think those figures do show, is that there is an uncommitted centre, which can be convinced to vote left or right, if the policies can be presented in a way which attracts them.

        Of course, this also means that the more radical left elements or lunatic right also have to tone down their expectations – or they'll frighten off the centrist voters.

        • Belladonna

          "I'm going by the real numbers of the last election not the subjective and whimsical nature of polls. "

          Great, then you can just sit back and watch NZ consistently vote left for the rest of the century /sarc intended.

          Ignoring reality is a very quick route to the dustbin of history – as every politician knows all too well.

          Yes, of course, the implications of wooing the centrist vote apply equally well to the right, as to the left. However this post was discussing how the left can work together.

  4. SPC 4

    Aspire to be a nation where there is social, economic and political equality.

  5. barry 5

    Yes, the narrative from the budget has been overwhelmingly negative. We expect bagging from the right, but bagging from the left is unhelpful.

    It is important to call out Labour where they let the side down. However the message in the media is Labour bad, let's replace them. But replacing them means a National government. A lot of the people criticising Labour know that National will be much worse. It is important to keep the message positive.

    So, of course call out the shortcomings, but also celebrate the good things that Labour have done. And vote Greens to make them move faster.

    • roy cartland 5.1

      How can you make it into a snappy soundbite though? Not a flippant but a genuine question.

      The RW is so good at sloganeering, even leaning into "explaining is losing".

      • Stuart Munro 5.1.1

        Highlight the secrecy.

        Quote Luxon's evasions – a better Clarke & Dawe impression would be hard to find.

    • Janet 5.2

      I see TOP in the mix as beneficial. It is committed to Climate Change action and what Labour has done re the $350 handout is well on the way to UBI, in fact almost a trial run.. TOP would bring "freshness" to a tired old Labour led government.. Labour needs to rebrand itself !

      • Belladonna 5.2.1

        I really don't think a one-off $350 handout, with strict limitations on the qualifying criteria, is anywhere remotely close to a UBI.

        • Janet

          Well TOP does not seem to agree with you.

          "The $350 cash transfer to people earning under $70,000 will be of great interest to TOP supporters. It’s not quite universal as it excludes those who already receive the Winter Energy Payment. But with 2.1m people eligible, it shows a shift in the direction of universal payments and a path towards a universal basic income.

          It will be interesting to see how the IRD copes with this and how many people actually receive the funds. The cost of living crisis is not going away anytime soon. The Government needs to look towards more structural reforms, rather than trying to address it with ad hoc and short-lived policies."

          • Belladonna

            From your quote, it's really clear that TOP do not perceive the $350 payment as a UBI, but rather as the opening wedge that they can use to get UBI discussed.

            Quite a significant difference.

            • Janet

              Yes a move in the right direction… and I wonder how many of 2.1 mil people eligible are already on some kind of government hand out / benefit.

              • Belladonna

                No one (apart from TOP, according to you) has any perception that this is anything close to, or a move towards, a UBI.

                Just as tax cuts, or petrol price cuts, or the winter energy payment were not perceived to be UBI.

                TOP are trying to use this as an opener to get UBI discussed – and given the lack of coverage of this view in the media, not succeeding….

                • weka

                  I made a comment the other day that it opened the door to a UBI (or something like that). Think unconditional basic income rather than universal i.e. for those getting it there are no conditions. It helps us think about tax free income that has no strings attached which is very different from welfare.

                  WEP is a kind of unconditional basic payment too.

                  I'm not convinced that a UBI should be universal, unless there is also a claw back via tax.

                  TOP's UBI is discriminatory and not even they are proposing everyone gets it. eg their Youth UBI was targeted both by age and by class (beneficiaries were excluded).

                  • Incognito

                    Simplistically, social welfare should also be unconditional with the only prerequisite that it is for a truly basic need and assistance. Problems arise when needing to demonstrate such needs. Rather than universal or unconditional I’d call it unchecked, i.e., no forms or tick boxes required or as few and as little as possible. When somebody is in dire need (e.g., of medical assistance) one doesn’t ask questions (or waits for 12 weeks) but acts and offers help. It seems to me that social welfare has moved a long way away from this vision and mission. One reason is neoliberal reasoning and another is taking advantage or abusing the system. So, checks & boundaries were put in place that have made it such a cumbersome system that needs its own supply of funds to survive.

                    The above needs a re-rewrite, but I don’t have the time right now.

                    • Sacha

                      One brief NZ example of the experience when the hoop-jumping is removed:

                    • Incognito []

                      Let’s face it, we’re a nation of hoop-jumpers and if we have to jump, so do others. I sometimes wonder why the bureaucratic beast becomes so big and unwieldy and seems to be feeding (on) itself: is it to protect our (Taxpayers’) money (‘the precious treasure’), is it the power going to some people’s heads, is it innate distrust of our fellow citizens and thus of ourselves or is it something else?

                    • adam

                      In response to you musings about Bureaucracy – always thought Max Weber had a good take on it.

                      I've been trying to dig out a piece which took his work a step further, and studied the long term effect of bureaucracy, on a bureaucracy and people in it. Really damning of the impact of libertarian/neo-con economics. Also on reform, for reform sake. I'll keep hunting it was a bloody good read. Think in a Sociological journal.

                    • Incognito []

                      I look forward to it and I hope you’ll find it, so thanks in advance.

                      Nowadays, I’m interested in the psychological impacts on us and how we come to accept these things & measures as normal and a given and even consider them necessary and justified without too much questioning other than the occasional moan. It is always eye-opening to find out how certain measures have come into play over time by tracing them back and then suddenly realising it often started with a series of rather innocuous assumptions, premises, and decisions by a handful of people. Working backwards it can then be demonstrated that things are not set in stone, not ‘forces or laws of nature’, and that they don’t have to be the way they are because once upon a time and not even that long ago they weren’t. Same can be said about representative democracy, for example, and for that matter, but I don’t want to see anymore B&W piglets.

                    • KJT

                      Contrast the "no questions asked" subsidies to business during covid , with the myriad hoops and bullshit requirements, to receive welfare. Note. It was much appreciated as it kept our business going. Contrast to the usual grudging and minimal sickness benefit, and all the box ticking to get it.

                      The classist assumption the business owners "are honest while welfare recipients are dis- honest".

                      Despite great expense investigating dis-honesty amongst welfare recipients, greater expense than any welfare fraud found BTW, only a small percentage is found. Indeed a lot of it is found to be mistakes or fraud by WINZ staff.

                      More effort is spent on investigating "Benefit fraud" than tax fraud, even though the latter is far more pervasive and costly to Government and tax payers.

                    • Incognito []

                      The wage subsidy scheme showed that when there’s an emergency of national scale the system won’t cope with urgency and immediate need for relief & assistance. I haven’t kept up with it but IIRC the scale of ‘fraud’ was remarkably low.

                      When it comes to more personal needs of individuals or individual families it is much more common that they get to enjoy the full & complete wrap-around service of our social welfare system. In that case, the systems copes all too well at the expense of the people in need, sometimes urgent need. Same can be said about the Public Health system with Covid-19 as an illuminating example.

                      Paradoxically, perhaps, it can be easier to justify the spending of billions of Taxpayers’ dollars on a large number of people than a measly but much-needed handout to a family fallen on hard times through no fault of their own either. Are these stories really all that different?

                  • pat

                    Remove funds from the equation.

                    Make a basket of goods available to all citizens….dispersed by the private sector, akin to the wartime ration book.

                    i.e. a basic healthy diet (we know what constitutes that) that provides the necessary calories and vitamins….anything else is discretionary and subject to the market.

                    • weka

                      Universal services makes a lot of sense eg dental and healthcare

                      not sure food fits well in that. We don’t know what constitutes a healthy diet which is why the mainstream has been obsessed with low fat for decades , leading to increase in carbs and health problems associated with that.

                      Different people need different food because their nutritional and calorie needs aren’t the same.

                    • KJT

                      Don't trust people to know what they need?

                      "In kind', is just another form of Benny bashing..

                      Assuming dis-honesty.

                    • pat

                      @ KJT…its not not trusting people, it is a potentially efficient mechanism to ensure that everyone has sufficient food.

                      i find it informative that the objection to such a (unlikely to be implemented) plan is not the cost, or the impact on producers or even the implementation but rather it removes choice….if you are hungry (or you are unable to feed your children0 you are a strange individual that dismisses free food because you didnt get to choose what you ate.

                      But, hey that response is sadly expected….id add an expletive but cant be bothered

      • weka 5.2.2

        the risk for the left of voting TOP is that they are fine with enabling a Nat government. I think they will also play the same tired old centrist game as Peters and Dunne. And their UBI policy has some significant holes in it and would be dangerous if paired with NACT (who may use it to dismantle welfare).

        TOP are a better bet for the right.

        • Belladonna

          "play the same tired old centrist game as Peters and Dunne."

          I think this is a real weakness in the left strategising.

          The centrist voters, by-and-large don't like radical change (in either direction), and are highly inclined to vote for centrist parties who actively promote themselves as a brake on the left or right (as appropriate).

          [Peters, the wily political fox, knew this, and played on it to his own benefit]

          Dismissing them (either the voters or the parties) – setting aside @nzsage's extraordinary view of the voting population of NZ as permanently left wing – means that the centrist group is more likely to go with a right wing alternative.

          • Incognito

            It’s a compelling meme that centrist-voters “by-and-large don't like radical change” because the key word “radical” is so ambiguous and acts like a red flag for many. I think it’s more of case of centrist-voters not liking surprises and they like clarity and honesty & integrity, which builds trust. People can handle and tolerate change, wish for and embrace it even, and see the need for change, when it’s framed in an appropriate way, as not to scare the horses and boggle the minds.

            • Belladonna

              Absolutely on the same page, here Incognito.
              Ambushes are anathema to the centrist voter.
              But I do think that incremental change is much more likely to win hearts and minds than giant leaps (if you dislike the word radical).

              Providing pathways rather than express trains.

              • Incognito

                Most socio-political change is incremental or step-wise and even if it is not, the implementation pathways are usually incremental and gradual and spread over time to give systems and people time to adopt & adapt (adjust). No system or collective likes shock waves because they scare the shit out of people. In fact, we have all sorts of systems in place to warn us of shocks and danger coming, e.g., the weather forecasts, seismic warnings (crater lakes), et cetera – last night most of us would have received a Test Message for Emergency Alerts.

          • weka

            "play the same tired old centrist game as Peters and Dunne."

            I think this is a real weakness in the left strategising.

            The centrist voters, by-and-large don't like radical change (in either direction), and are highly inclined to vote for centrist parties who actively promote themselves as a brake on the left or right (as appropriate).

            I have no problem with this. I want us to have more representation not less. Centrists are part of that.

            [Peters, the wily political fox, knew this, and played on it to his own benefit]

            Peters monkey wrenched MMP early on with all the kingmaker, won't say who I will go with bullshit. He got punished by the voters after he betrayed them by implying Labour and going with Nat, but when he came back a term later he still played the same games. Wily yes, but he also caused political problems for many years.

            The centrists being able to hold so much power for so little vote (think Dunne) is a flaw in MMP. I want to increase representation including centrists, Peters wants to decrease and centralise it.

            Dismissing them (either the voters or the parties) – setting aside @nzsage's extraordinary view of the voting population of NZ as permanently left wing – means that the centrist group is more likely to go with a right wing alternative.

            Where did I dismiss them?

            • Belladonna

              "tired old centrist game" is fairly dismissive…..

              • weka

                it's a short hand description of how Peters and Dunne have played the system. Please don't let phrases like that mean you misinterpret my point.

                • Belladonna

                  OK. But you also need to be aware that that kind of shorthand description comes across as very dismissive to both centrist voters and to any potential political parties that might be established.

                  • weka

                    it's a political blog with a robust debate ethic.

                    • Belladonna

                      Agree. Was pointing out that your language was open to being interpreted as dismissive, regardless of your intent.

                    • weka

                      yeah well, Ad's been running all over the thread most of the day making up shit about my views, and the Greens, so I'm not really in the mood for people not bothering to ask for clarification.

                    • weka

                      and honestly, this was a good post, and you want to nit pick over four words in a comment. I'm so sick of this level of engagement. Even in the comment where I used those four words I made solid political points.

                    • Incognito []

                      Yes, it is indeed a good Post with decent site stats and nobody is going to change that!

                    • weka

                      oh thanks! I will have a look at the stats

          • Sacha

            highly inclined to vote for centrist parties

            Remind us how much of the vote Winston First secured?

            • Belladonna

              When? If you really want to know, I suggest a simple Google search will find you the answer.

              But, it was enough to get him into power, and enjoying the 'baubles' for quite some time.

      • Ross 5.2.3

        what Labour has done re the $350 handout is well on the way to UBI

        I don’t see it anything like a UBI.

        The handout equates to about $27 a week. A UBI wouldn’t be pitched anywhere near such a low rate. Second, the handout will be received by about 2 million people, so the majority of the population won’t be receiving it. Third, the handout is for 3 months. If you applied it at a much higher rate to the whole population for a year, the cost would be unrealistic. And, of course, there would be the inevitable question of why the wealthy should receive a UBI.

  6. Ad 6

    So now that you've found another researcher that says actually New Zealand doesn't need to permanently reassure its ego seeking further foreign budget alternatives, you've decided that the Labour budget was better than when you wrote 3 days ago about the permanent need for alternatives. Make up your mind.

    Greens and Labour have been cooperating in Auckland on elections for over 18 years. It's not apparent you knew that.

    The Greens could start campaigning now on what a decent coalition agreement would look like. Set it out as a draft for the electorate to consider. Martyn Bradbury as you will be aware has been calling for that for a while, as well as the need for the Greens to talk to the Maori Party right now about what they have in common. There are multiple posts on it.

    Beyond that, if the Greens want to do better in government, they need to ask for more and in black and white, just like NZFirst successfully did. It is only the Greens fault that they did not get more of what they want when Labour delivered the strongest majority it's had in multiple decades.

    Why Shaw isn't doing victory laps around New Zealand for getting a bigger budget for climate change than anyone has ever done is incomprehensible.

    As you can see from even the briefest of global political surveys, New Zealand already has the most progressive government in the entire world.

    But 5 years in, the point now is not to tell us all again how to make it more progressive: the point now is to save it.

    • SPC 6.1

      A weak case – NZF had leverage because they could have gone with National – thus could sideline Greens 2017-2020.

      The Greens have no leverage when Labour has an absolute majority 2020-2023. Labour being totally responsible for what they did with an absolute majority could not just give Greens what they asked for – especially when Labour got votes from the provinces (sans NZF) to deny Greens a place in that government.

      The fact remains New Zealand has never elected a Labour-Green coalition – and the neo-liberal centre that rules this land acts strategically to prevent it. And not just the right of centre Herald.

      Blaming the Greens for this is a form of gaslighting.

      • Belladonna 6.1.1

        The flip side of that, is that the Greens are permanently damaging their chances of ever getting any leverage, by choosing to rule out working with National.

        But Weka's argument seems to be that it's not necessary to be successful electorally, in order to change the Overton window.

        While this is true (creeping normality is present across all cultures and throughout history), I don't think that that obviates the need to shift what you describe as the 'neo liberal centre'.

        Threatening them doesn't work (they vote against you). You (as in the left) need to find a way to bring them with you.

        NZ's recent (as in the last 40 or so years – within the lifetime of most voters) experiments with radical change have not been without consequences (to put it mildly). The 4th Labour government Rogernomics, the Mother of all Budgets welfare cuts and user-pays, and the asset sales of the 5th National government – don't exactly incline middle NZ to look with favour on radical solutions.

        • SPC

          Sure, one could argue that its only when the Teal voters move that the centre does.

          It's also entirely possible that the Green cause might do better under preferential voting than MMP because then the Greens cannot be portrayed as some radical threat if in a coalition government.

          At the moment the Greens are a progressive collective (an outcome of the failure of the Alliance and the rise of a MP which went into coalition with National Party to secure a guarantee of continuance of the Maori seats after the Brash kiwi not iwi period), this guarantees their continued presence in parliament (5% threshold) and permanent support for a centre-left Labour government – but at the risk of Labour losing votes in the centre because of this.

          In a better present we would have a more niche Green Party acting with Alliance Party and MP to place progressive pressure on Labour. Alliance placing the leftward pressure on Labour and the Greens and MP being coalition options in the modernising centre.

          However this may require an easing of the threshold for parties.

          • Belladonna

            Just remember an easing of the threshold for parties, would also bring in some of the other minor parties, like the variety of Christian ones.

            It's also not likely to happen, as it's pretty much been ruled out by all of the major parties, as not in their interest.

            Swarbrick's hold on Auckland Central (if she can maintain it – next election will show if it was a one-off protest vote), gives the Greens insurance against the dropping below 5% threshold.

            Really, I don't think the Green party would have done nearly so well under an STV system, as they have under MMP. There are very few electorates where they are the 2nd running candidate to National (I can't actually think of any) which is the the only way that a STV result could push them over the line – since it's unlikely National voters would give a 2nd preference to a Green candidate, much more likely to go to Labour.
            And Australia shows this – despite the high numbers voting for Green candidates in the past, they have considerably fewer MPs (even in this last election) than we do in NZ.

            I think that STV favours more mainstream candidates, rather than harder left/right ones (apart from significant high profile personalities)

            I don't hold your fond memories of the Alliance, which was IMO a cobbled together arrangement to keep Anderton in parliament with party leader income and benefits. The individual MPs seemed to agree on very little, and when Anderton walked, it fell apart. The subsequent Anderton Progressive Party was even more of a rort. Labour in everything but name.

            And I highly doubt your vision of the MP (at least in its current incarnation) as anything close to a centrist party.

            I would like to see the Greens prepared to work (albeit reluctantly) with National (I'm a firm believer in half a loaf is better than no bread).

            • SPC

              The MP (albeit currently living down their past coalition with National) could/would go with either Labour or National – so whatever you make of their "policy" that makes them part of the political centre.

              It is, after all, what advocate for the Greens, albeit being for progressive change but being open to coalition with National. However the risk of signalling that approach to voters is that progressive left wing supporters may move back to Labour, or another vehicle.

              Yes STV favours more mainstream candidates, but if the objective is change rather than being in parliament, it offers an easier path (albeit Oz is not delivered great results, because it is Oz – mining and the Murdoch media etc).

              As for major parties and their blocking MMP reform, that is what happens when a duopoly forms and there is no oversight to correct it – we all pay the price.

              • Belladonna

                TPM appear (although I'm not certain) to have ruled out any coalition with National/ACT


                Their preference appears to be to remain in opposition


                • SPC

                  They have a problem being in a coalition with ACT alright. Some of their rhetoric indicates whanau ora is at risk let alone a Maori Health Authority.

                  Given how NACT are likely to campaign against partnership in management of the land and water environment (demonising this as some sort of co-governance threat to democracy), yeah I can see why 2023, is for them is about supporting the direction of the current government.

                  However ACT will decline, their regime has had its day. And then that National option will be back for them.

                  • Belladonna

                    Given the rise of right wing parties internationally (cf multiple instances in Europe) I think you're a little optimistic that ACT has had its day.

                    Seymour is certainly outperforming Luxon in critical commentary right now – some would say, that's not hard 😉 – but there's certainly no indication that ACT is a fading star.

                    Historically, turbulent times (economic crisis, war, pandemics) tend to see the rise of more extremist parties on both the right and the left.

        • Incognito

          The flip side of that, is that the Greens are permanently damaging their chances of ever getting any leverage, by choosing to rule out working with National.

          Because of the policy platforms the Greens could never really mimic Winston Peters and his somewhat Machiavellian ploy of refusal to rule in or rule out anything before the people, or voters rather, have spoken. Voters are not that gullible and would consider it disingenuous if the Greens attempted that, in my opinion, and punish them for it in the GE.

          As far as I know, the Greens have always been willing to work with National on policies, but perhaps more on a case-by-case basis than trying to form a viable coalition.


          I’m not ruling it out in future but it seems less likely than a Labour-Greens deal, of course.

        • Sacha

          the Greens are permanently damaging their chances of ever getting any leverage, by choosing to rule out working with National.

          Greens get leverage any time Lab are a minority and do not have other options like Winston and Dunne to turn to instead.

          The Nats will never have a policy programme or culture that fits with the Greens. No point in Grn pretending to be centrist.

      • Incognito 6.1.2

        The outcome of the 2017 GE wasn’t simply a numbers game, it was about policies, common ground, shared interests, bottom lines, and willingness to compromise and make sacrifices. All things (i.e. election results) being equal, the Greens were never or ever will be likely to have the same leverage as, e.g., NZF, TOP, or even MP (TPM). Plus the personality traits of one or two key people, and the internal party politics and decision making, of course, which were completely different with NZF than with the Green Party.

        • Ad

          And yet the Greens have managed to score a most massive budget line and mechanism. It's pretty clear once in power with a Ministry or two they can figure out how to deal. They just need to figure out how to deal when the actual framework of government is being set.

          Why you guys keep weeping about your successes is very hard to fathom.

          • Incognito

            Agreed. But that’s rather different from using one’s political leverage during coalition negotiations and subsequent arm-wrestling and arm-twisting (aka power plays) once the deal has been signed.

            I’m not weeping crying, BTW, nor am I one of “you guys” angry

      • Ad 6.1.3

        Why the Green supporters here think that their shining virtue will do the work for them in a coalition agreement is a very good reason for them to stay on the cross-benches while the rest of us do the actual work.

        Call bullshit on your "neo-liberal centre that rules this land". The Greens are polling stronger than they ever had, have more public sympathy than they ever had, and just had a seriously massive budget win.

        The Greens have been in Parliament for long enough to be held to account, and it's time they showed they can really reach for 15% just like Act recently showed is possible.

        • SPC

          A bit of a scatter gun on Greens as per others doing all the work and they have had a big win. A big win because it is part of international politics which our own neo-liberal centre cannot ignore (one so strong we are the only OECD nation without any of CGT, wealth tax and estate tax).

          And as for criticism of my argument – one does not get to do a coalition deal without having leverage and if the Greens grow their vote relative to Labour the problem of the perceived threat to the neo-liberal centre only grows.

          As for holding them to account for being in parliament, without ever being in a coalition government, well that is just additional gaslighting.

          • Ad

            Just more bullshit. The budget was set by Labour's Minister of Finance, and nothing to do with some woo in international politics.

            You guys just revealing your incapacity to work political leverage is embarrassing yourself.

            Keep quit or follow Bomber's invitation.

            • SPC

              Your words

              The Greens are polling stronger than they ever had, have more public sympathy than they ever had, and just had a seriously massive budget win.

              As for these

              The budget was set by Labour's Minister of Finance, and nothing to do with some woo in international politics.

              So why the moving in line with international politics where there is international agreement to act (you know like commitments), but not locally on CGT or wealth taxation?

              Is ordering people to be quiet part of gaslighting or of a tendency to authoritarianism?

              What is Bomber’s invitation?

          • Poission

            The greens had 4 ministers in the previous coalition (outside cabinet) 2 in this government.

            Outline the great green policy initiatives in the previous government and this.

            • SPC

              Cabinets decide government policy during the term in office, the Greens have not been part of Cabinet. Ministers implement policy determined by Cabinet or by confidence and supply agreements (relevant as to Ministers outside of Cabinet).

              • Poission

                So we paid a lot of money for them to do nothing,is what you are saying.

                • SPC

                  Not much more for a couple as Ministers, than for the lot of them as only MP's.

    • roy cartland 6.2

      Make up your mind.

      I thought it wasn't Standard policy to go telling authors what to write, or is it different for you?

      There's value in seeing the budget in a different light, looking at what can be achieved by it, especially in context with the rest of the world. As commented below, it's not merely a numbers game about who won how much, it's the effect those numbers will have on real action that counts.

      • Ad 6.2.1

        You should do more thinking.

        If the commenters here spent even half their time actually showing the practical effects of this budget on the ground, the entire public would be better informed. Let alone the left.

        At the moment there is more pissing and moaning here than the geriatric wing of Ryman's hospital wing.

        • roy cartland

          I obviously do, because I'm not quite following you; I found this post quite the opposite of pissing and moaning. A way of seeing the recent budget in a more favourable light than many of the lefty whingers. It was actually quite uplifting, for me at least, which is an immediate positive effect. (Also started listening to Shaw's podcasts, which offer even more glimmers of hope).

          And to Weka below, fair enough. Glad you've got the weather for it where you are!

          • weka

            cheer Roy. The Raworth podcast was excellent. I will be listening to the others as well.

            • roy cartland

              I just listened to the David Wallace Wells one. He's the guy that wrote 'The Uninhabitable Earth', a harrowing look at the state of the planet. In fact, he is much more optimistic blue than when he wrote it, in 2017. Still thinks we're headed for massive upheaval, but now we're taking steps to prepare. And we need all the allies we can get, Even those looking to make a quick buck off climate investment, everyone. We've run out of time for trying to convert everyone.

              • weka

                And we need all the allies we can get, Even those looking to make a quick buck off climate investment, everyone. We've run out of time for trying to convert everyone.

                that's a new challenging idea.

      • weka 6.2.2

        I thought it wasn't Standard policy to go telling authors what to write, or is it different for you?

        Some people think the rules don't apply. Moderators respond based on a number of things, in this case I was in the garden and I thought it would be more fun to let it run and people punch back so to speak (by which I mean attack his rather stupid arguments, he’s still protected as an author).

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    Although the Greens have consistently taken some Left positions in the vacuum left by Labour, they do not seem to be the major policy focus, nor are they as, a parliamentary party, seeming to produce either the change or the intellectual leadership on the environment that I expect is necessary to reform and humanise our economy, and to drive rational change with respect to climate and biodiversity issues.

    I'm not sure then, whether they are the vehicle to drive reform, they seem more like passengers, as do a number of other MPs whose contribution seems rather less than the benefits they derive from their positions. That was not my impression under the leadership of Russel Norman, who worked pretty hard on the useless Key government of the day.

    The slide to the Right that has done so much damage to NZ, and to our environment, can, as you say, only be halted or reversed by getting the issues raised. But the Greens are enjoying rather limited success in this, as evidenced by the truly vile heavily biased regressive Right narratives that dominate our media. Because the current media designedly stymies intelligent reform, it is a major stumbling block on the path to a more enlightened future, and reforming it may carry more weight than any single environmental issue. Our system of government relies on on the input of an informed populace, but our media is doing anything but informing us.

    We might want to consider a discouragement of "opinion" writers – their ill-founded speculations are rarely constructive. This need not be heavily policed – but access to state media subsidies could be subject to an "opinion" ceiling.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    Here is an video that should be compulsory viewing for all politicians whatever their leaning.

    I think that overcoming these types of perceptions that are being more and more felt by the voting public should be the first step in producing the type of government we all want.

    This video deals with why people are losing trust in politicians and democracy, and, in a second video, goes on to explain how this loss of trust is why maverick politicians such as Donald Trump can become so appealing.

    Vlad Vexler produces some really thoughtful videos on a number of topics that I think a lot here would really enjoy.

  9. How to get the progressive government we want ?

    Form a new progressive left alternative with a charismatic leader and a progressive agenda that offers an alternative set of priorities that don't get negotiated away and contest the party vote then stand candidates in every seat.

    Be prepared to play the long game and not back down.

    NZLP supports the middle class and property class but still expects the those who are not to support them with their vote which like the Greens they take for granted.

    Nothing will change for those who don't have a voice at the table until an alternative is available and that voice is heard.

    Its time for a real left alternative vision.

  10. Mike the Lefty 10

    They are doing something similar in France, several left/centre-left parties are forming an alliance to challenge Macron's REM Party at the next legislative assembly elections because on their own they stand no chance.

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