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Interview the leaders II: The Greens

Written By: - Date published: 1:26 pm, March 31st, 2008 - 50 comments
Categories: election 2008, greens, interview, progressives - Tags: , , ,

leaders450.jpg

Well, we’ve made our decision on the two questions you wanted asked of Jim Anderton and one of the decisions we made was that we needed three questions. So we’ve picked the following:

For the question that will be asked of all leaders we’ve chosen Wat Tyler’s question as tidied up by Billy:

Of which of your achievements in politics are you most proud?

For the two other questions we’ve gone with Daveo’s question:

Why should left-leaning NZers vote Progressive rather than Labour or Green?

and Gobbler’s question:

Can you demonstrate that Government investment in initiatives such as the ‘jobs machine’ the Ministry of Economic Development or New Zealand Trade and Enterprise generates a greater return to ‘NZ inc’ than say Government investment in a national fibre-optic network and additional overseas fibre optic cabling? – Just as one example

While we haven’t been able to cover everything you asked we have emailed Jim a link to the questions post so he can have a look at your issues. We’re expecting to post his answers on Wednesday Monday April 7.

In the meantime our next leader is Green party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimmons. You can place your questions to her in the comments section of this post.

50 comments on “Interview the leaders II: The Greens”

  1. James Kearney 1

    Considering most Green voters are on the left and your core principles talk about social justice, how can you even consider supporting a National-led government?

  2. what, no “how did you feel” questions!? this’ll never make New Idea.

  3. Julie 3

    Well done, that is a good selection of questions. Will be very interested to read Jim A’s responses in due course.

    Do the Greens get two turns, as they have two co-leaders?

  4. Would you agree with the frequently expressed opinion, that Maori Party voters are better served in terms of their own objectives – if they spilt vote – Maori Party EV, Green Party PV, rather than Maori Party both EV and PV, or Maori Party EV, Labour Party PV?

  5. Tane 5

    Hi Julie, no they just get one turn, and it’s Jeanette.

  6. r0b 6

    Not wanting to argue with the ref, but I think the general question to all is a bit of a patsy (mutter grumble)! Also a bit hard on new leaders like Key who have no significant achievements in politics. Still, I suppose it makes the task of replying not too strenuous for this first “interview” (I hope there are plans to repeat this process closer to the election!).

    But anyway, questions for the Greens.

    (1) Is it worth sticking to all your ideals if it keeps you out of government, or is it worth compromising on some of them to be more effective (in government)?

    (2) If the other parties all go Green and squeeze you out of parliament, is that Green loss or a Green win?

    (3) Under Labour Party proposals would NZ be doing enough to address climate change? What should we be doing it we were serious about the issue?

    (4) Is it time to reconsider nuclear energy in NZ?

    (5) Is your social agenda weakening your core Green message? If it is, should you be doing anything about it?

  7. Ari 7

    Do you think the Maori Party will, Julie? 😉 More likely whichever co-leader has the free time would answer, I would say. That’s probably going to be Russel Norman, as he has no parliamentary responsibilities.

    As for questions for the Green Party, here’s what I would go for:
    “How will you deal with the issue of “Greenwash”- or people claiming to be more environmentally friendly than they actually are- without having to explain detailed science or policy to voters, who mostly aren’t interested in the details?”

  8. Tane 8

    Hey Ari, I’d figured it would probably be Norman too, but apparently Jeanette has said she’ll answer the questions.

  9. IrishBill 9

    Hi Rob, we thought it was a question that is applicable to all leaders and will help elucidate something of their personality as well as their politics. We’re letting leaders know they are dealing with a politically sophisticated audience as well so we expect more than just platitudes.

  10. Steve Pierson 10

    I think the general question will tell us a lot about the nature of the politicians, and if they can’t point to any significant achievements, well that says something in itself.

  11. Sam Dixon 11

    for Fitzsimmons: what should the Government do to speed up development of environmentally-friendly technology?

  12. Daveo 12

    From the mid-80s through the 1990s we saw the effects that radical restructuring have on working people. What will the Greens do to make sure that the end of coal mining and other polluting industries involves a just transition for workers in those industries?

  13. Stephen 13

    What would you do about the lack of uptake of the subsidy available for solar heating?

  14. mike 14

    As nulear energy is the cleanest, cheapest and arguably safest way to meet our growing needs will the Greens ever rethink their anti nulclear policy.

  15. r0b 15

    To: Lprent

    Hi Lynn, just a minor technical request. How about increasing the length of the listing of recent comments (or the number of items returned in the matching RSS feed)? Now that The Standard is so busy, new comments fall of the bottom of that list before I even see them sometimes!

    On topic, IrishBill, Steve, fair enough (though still difficult for new leaders).

  16. Phil 16

    I’m not convinced that the general question is fair to newer political actors, or those who have spent most/all of their time in opposition.

    JK has been in parliament since 02 (all in opposition) while HC has been there 20 years, in two governments, with 9 years at the helm as PM.

    This isn’t meant as an excuse for JK to come up with something less relevant, but it is an indication that we won’t be comparing apples with apples.

  17. IrishBill 17

    Phil, the question is less about the achievement and more about finding out what each leader finds important. How the question is answered is in many ways at least as telling as what event it focuses on.

  18. outofbed 18

    Jeanette, Do you think for the Election the Green Party could ever enter into some sort of formal arrangement with the Maori Party. given that the two parties have such a lot of common ground?

  19. Billy 19

    I agree with Phil, it’s a pretty lame question, even if it is perfectly correctly expressed from a grammatical standpoint.

  20. Steve Pierson 20

    r0b. I have a technical point of my own. You may have noticed that when Standard writers comment our comments are in grey boxes. So are yours, and only yours, and we can’t stop it happening. Hope it makes you feel special anyway.

  21. Oh dear – you’ve got a chance to put up a question to the leader of the greens and all you do is whinge about the fixed question. That’s bloody typical of the right – all they can do is be oppositional. Nice one boys.

    My question to Jeanette is:

    “If you had the opportunity to implement one core policy without compromise what would it be?”

  22. Matthew Pilott 22

    Talk yourself up Billy 😉 Although I’m not sure about “perfectly correctly expressed”…

    While I see where you and phil are coming from, there’s not a lot you can ask leaders, given their diverse experience, that isn’t going to be a bit of a generalisation.

    There is also potential for some very interesting responses when a fairly easy question is asked – I therefore would hope that the other two are a lot more topical, and ‘uncomfortable’, for want of a better word.

  23. Actually I’ll rephrase that to:

    “If the Greens had the opportunity to implement one core policy without compromise what would it be?’

  24. Rocket Boy 24

    How about asking the Greens if they are always going to remain a party of tree hugging hippies or are they going to evolve into a party that appeals to middle New Zealand?

    I, like most New Zealanders care about the environment but find it hard to vote for the Greens. Many of their environmental arguments are now accepted and are main stream but the Greens are still very much a fringe political party.

  25. Steve Pierson 25

    Rocket Boy. I totally agree with what you’re getting at about the Greens. They’re right on so many impornat policy issues but their image is awful.

    Billy et al. the general question had to be neutral in that it didn’t ask a question that was a base issue for one party, it had to be something that they don’t have a stock answer for, and it had to be something that can be answered in 300 words. I think the one we have will provide new insights into the politicians’ characters.

    captcha: health Tiger. He feels grrreat.

  26. Billy 26

    My questions for the Greens are:

    1. Do you consider it fair or desirable that a country like India is exempt from the Kyoto restrictions and, given its level of emissions when compared to New Zealand’s, what is the point of New Zealanders leading the way?

    2. Did you think the world was going to end as a result of Y2K?

    3. Do you consider the devaluation of forestry land as a result of Kyoto (including, but not limited to, the reduction in value of forestry assets held by Maori) as a worhwhile price for those owners to pay?

    I also have a question for Robinsod:

    Is it tiring being so angry all of the time?

  27. No Billy – hate keeps me alive. Is it tiring being so snide all the time?

  28. r0b 28

    ‘Sod: “If the Greens had the opportunity to implement one core policy without compromise what would it be?’

    Ohhh – like it – gets my vote!

    Steve: r0b. I have a technical point of my own. You may have noticed that when Standard writers comment our comments are in grey boxes. So are yours, and only yours, and we can’t stop it happening.

    It’s a puzzle! I discussed this once with IrishBill, see here:

    And the Nats want this man in parliament?


    and the test that followed.

    Hope it makes you feel special anyway.

    Fer sure!

  29. all_your_base 29

    r0b – good idea re the ‘recent comments’. Will do it right now. Unrelated, do you happen to know why your comments get a grey background like moderators?

  30. r0b 30

    ayb – I’d like to claim that it was in recognition of my elite hacker skills, or my true Bhudda nature or something, but the truth is I have no idea – see:

    And the Nats want this man in parliament?

    If it’s a bother I can move on to another user name.

    (Captha: combination rants – wasted on this comment!)

  31. r0b 31

    good idea re the ‘recent comments’. Will do it right now.

    Great!

  32. Ari 32

    Tane- Awesome. I think that just shows how much the Greens value grassroots support, and Jeanette has really been on her game recently so it sounds like it’ll be something to look forward to.

    Rocket Boy- Have you got specific problems, or is it just an image thing? Given that I’ve recently joined the Party, I’m certainly curious to know what’s putting parts of public off the party message despite the widespread concern for environmentalism, especially given that as Green groups go, the Party is actually rather moderate and focuses on items of broad appeal, and focusing on maintaining the economy.

  33. Billy 33

    That’s easy, Ari. Some of us are all for looking for the environment, but kind of against mental left-wing looniness.

  34. Rocket Boy 34

    Ari – I don’t have specific problems with the Greens, in fact in the first MMP election I voted for them as I thought we needed a Green voice in parliament.

    Yes there image is a big turn off for me, it the home spun jersey, vegetarian, organic everything way of life that is just not me or I think the majority of New Zealanders. Yet I’m happy to recycle my rubbish, use cloth nappies, energy saving light bulbs, green supermarket bags and downsize my car to something more fuel efficient but I think people and jobs and growth came first and it is hard not to think the Greens want us all to live in huts, shower once a week and generally wind the clock back 200 years.

    I do hope they remain in parliament as they are our environmental conscience but when are they going to get into the 21st century? Get dynamic, young, cool and urban? Public opinion has changed, they are winning the environmental battle but I fear that in the long term they are losing the war and will drop below the 5% threshold and disappear, never to be seen again.

  35. outofbed 35

    I have been to lots of Green Conferences meetings etc and the I don’t think I have ever seen anybody in a homespun jumper. The food is always good sometimes vegetarian sometimes not The frequency of showers doesn’t seem to any different to the general populace.
    But there does seems to be a preponderance of really well qualified really bright motivated people at the conference or meeting.
    They seem to have strong values and have integrity.
    When I read the stereotypes like the ones propagated by the uninformed media or commentators such a rocket boy it makes me really angry.
    I tell you what RB when the Green list comes out look in depth at the top 20. you will be surprised at the quality of candidates.

  36. Stephen 36

    Funnily enough, most of the Greens’ support seems to be amongst the young and urban (if not cool and dynamic). Most of the middle aged/upper middle class-ers I run into think basically the same as Rocket Boy. Was quite funny when they were all sitting around lamenting the state of the rail system and why no parties want to do anything about it…”so vote Green then” lol

  37. insider 37

    Irish Bill

    How many of the leaders have actually agreed to these interviews? Because it appears from what you have written some these interviews might be in the form of unsolicited emails demanding answers.

    If I were National and got such from the Standard, I would probably ignore it, just as Labour should if it got one from DPF. I don’t think it reflects badly on either party to reject approaches by political opponents.

    If your approach is to send unsolicited questions then it seems more like a set up than an “interview”, because the result is likely to be predictable. If you hae managed to get their buy in, well good on you

  38. IrishBill 38

    insider, so far we have firm confirmation from several leaders and expect more soon. There is a lot of work being done to ensure we get the best result possible but, as the recent Greenpeace survey and the recent “kingmaker” debate showed, anything like this is dependent on buy-in from the interviewees. We are also running this over several weeks so there is plenty of time to get remaining leaders on board.

    Let me just say this is not about partisan politics but about showing the blogosphere can provide a forum where leaders can interact with voters such as yourself with a minimum of filtering. I personally am hoping that leaders will take part in the comments sections of their posts for just that reason.

  39. IrishBill 39

    Oh and once again , can I just say how disappointed I am in our resident right-wingers. I would’ve hoped that after all the sound and fury expressed by them about the greens they would have come up with some hard-hitting questions. I guess I gave them too much credit.

  40. Sam Dixon 40

    Jeanette: what are the areas in which the Greens can most improve their performance?

  41. insider 41

    Thanks Bill.

    How about: How many of the environmental calamaties you have predicted in your career have actually eventuated and which ones haven’t?

    You and the green movement has been politically active for nearly 40 years, yet still gain only marginal support (both here and overseas). What is holding you back from greater electoral success (if that is an objective) and what lessons have you learned from that?

  42. Ari 42

    “That’s easy, Ari. Some of us are all for looking for the environment, but kind of against mental left-wing looniness.”

    Billy- Well, the “loony” policies that you dislike are a direct result of the principles that lead the Greens to respect the environment, rather than treating the environment as just another part of the package that they had to tack on when it became a hot issue. I respect that some people aren’t looking for left-wing politics, but the Greens would be even less of a voice in Parliament if they were simply a one-issue party.

    “Ari – I don’t have specific problems with the Greens, in fact in the first MMP election I voted for them as I thought we needed a Green voice in parliament.

    Yes there image is a big turn off for me, it the home spun jersey, vegetarian, organic everything way of life that is just not me or I think the majority of New Zealanders. Yet I’m happy to recycle my rubbish, use cloth nappies, energy saving light bulbs, green supermarket bags and downsize my car to something more fuel efficient but I think people and jobs and growth came first and it is hard not to think the Greens want us all to live in huts, shower once a week and generally wind the clock back 200 years.

    I do hope they remain in parliament as they are our environmental conscience but when are they going to get into the 21st century? Get dynamic, young, cool and urban? Public opinion has changed, they are winning the environmental battle but I fear that in the long term they are losing the war and will drop below the 5% threshold and disappear, never to be seen again.”

    Rocket Boy- Ah, right, the whole “they’re too racial for me” thing. No, the Greens don’t think you should give up all your mod cons and live in a hovel. That’s about as rubbish as me claiming that National wants all union workers fired, even if they’re both statements that represent the very extremes of each party’s doctrine. The Green Party wouldn’t bother with the most comprehensive renewable energy strategy of any party if they didn’t believe that urban lifestyle were worthwhile.

    All the measures you’ve mentioned taking probably make you interested in exactly the kind of urban lifestyle the Greens would like to promote. Simple things that reduce waste make progress, (it can start as small as turning off lights during the afternoon, or as you leave a room) and if everyone does them, it could make quite a large difference. They don’t want to destroy economic growth- they want to redirect it into being smarter about the amount of waste and pollution we pump out with our current lifestyle.

    Prominent Green Party members aren’t all environmental radicals- have a look at Russel Norman, Keith Locke, or Metiria Turei. Greens run the gambit from those concerned with social policy and human rights, to those concerned with a better energy strategy that will last for centuries instead of decades, to those who are concerned with the environment and climate change.

    Also, it’s actually quite hard for the Green Party to be hugely radical in its policies, as decisions are made by consensus by groups of local members, and those decisions filter up to the top of the Party leadership- policy for the election is determined by these groups electing representatives to go through the same process for the whole nation.

  43. Matthew Pilott 43

    “If society continues to increase consumption (energy, land, resources, food demands) at present rates, what do you see happening to the environment and society in general in 20 years, or 50 years?

    What do you think can be done to mitigate this, and how effective could these steps be?”

  44. redbus 44

    Do you believe that your successor in Coromandel, Nationals Sandra Goudie, has been effective representation over the past six years?

  45. Benodic 45

    Why do you think the Greens’ vote is so low among workers when your policies for working people are even better than Labour’s?

  46. MikeE 46

    a) With Nandor leaving, and greens going after the Soccer Mums vote, will the greens still be putting effort into refroming New Zealand’s terrible prohibitionist drug laws, especially with regards to cannabis and BZP.

    b) Would the greens be interested in working with other pro freedom minor parties to ensure this happens?

    c) Considering Jim Andertons views on such a move, would the greens rule out going into a coalition with Jim Andertons progressives?

  47. MikeE 47

    BTW, I think this is a really good idea, and I hope that you will be asking ALL the parties the hard to answer questions, as opposed to the patsy ones that we see asked in parliament every day.

    If you do this, I think those of all persuasions should be supporting you, regardless of ideology.

    Sometimes the standard fucks up, and it fucks up royally – but in this situation I think you are doing a really good job. Good on you!

  48. Steve Pierson 48

    MikeE. Appreciate the input but we are asking one-part questions, multi-part questions are setups to try to back the answerer into a predetermined final answer, which isn’t the point of the exercise.

    I would have thought a good rightwing question would be along that lines of: ‘How much should humans have to sacrifice for the sake of the environment?’ or ‘would the Greens prefer that Saddam Hussein was still in power in Iraq?’

  49. MikeE 49

    My questions aren’t trying to back the greens into a corner. I support them on this particular issue whole heartedly, and would love to see more rational debate on the topic.

    Feel free to call me right wing if you like… but the shoe doesn’t fit.

    I’m a liberal in all senses. I dont’ like people trying to controll me, be the in national or labour 😛

  50. Steve Pierson 50

    MikeE. fair enough.

    The thing is questions can’t be set ups or patsy’s like redbus’s one on Goudie. they’re not going to bring out interesting responses. handing Fitzsimmons a club to beat National is not the point of the excerise.

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