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Is it time for the Greens to go their own way?

Written By: - Date published: 1:18 pm, January 11th, 2022 - 122 comments
Categories: activism, greens, Metiria Turei, Parliament - Tags: ,

In the lead up to the 2017 general election, then Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei made a remarkable speech on welfare at the Greens’ AGM, laying out their new policy platform to raise benefits and the minimum wage, and tax top income earners to pay for it. It was bold and beautiful and a long time coming.

In the ensuing months all hell broke loose in a bitter backlash, with the right and the mainstream media going hard not just against this blatant left wing policy but against Turei personally. By the time we got to the election Turei had resigned, and the Greens squeaked back into parliament on 6.3% down from 10.7% in 2014.

A year before, the Green Party had announced their plan to change the government.  They invited Labour Party leader Andrew Little to speak at their AGM, and outlined a collaboration between the two parties that set the stage for Labour leading the government following the 2017 election. This was potent imagery, Labour and the Greens on a stage together.

I’m mentioning this for a number of reasons. One is it points to the long process the Greens went through to get the kind of strong, functional working relationship with Labour that was necessary to change the government.

Those years show that the Greens can do smart, bold and cutting edge. It’s also a reminder that they have the most left wing policies of any party in parliament (with the possible exception of the Māori Party).

But it’s also a reminder that the last time the Greens went bold, they paid a big price. It’s an indicator of what the reactionary powers of the right do when the Greens get too close to real power.

Turei was right, and the Greens shouldn’t regret that speech. The Greens want change not power. They often play the long game, and they are adept at getting policy change even when they have little power in conventional political terms. Shifting the Overton Window on left and green politics has worked and dragging Labour leftwards and greenwards has had some successes. Think climate and welfare (compare Labour’s welfare position before and after Turei’s speech).

But the Greens are paying a difference kind of price for doing this in quasi partnership with Labour. They are being subsumed by Labour’s progressive shifts. Why bother voting for the Greens if Labour are perceived to have similar (but safer) policies?

Even worse, Labour’s very strong political position is watering down Green Party policy and politics, and to such an extent that the Greens’ harshest critics are now on the left. Shifting Labour on climate and welfare might have worked to some extent, but the Greens are now often blamed for Labour’s inadequacy on both those issues. The real kicker here is that the integrity of the Green Party has been undermined.

I’ve previously been philosophical about much of this because I believed the Greens needed time in government to gain Ministerial experience, and to make progress on Green Party policy in those less visible ways eg by being in charge of a government department. Calls for the Greens to man up almost never explain how that might work within the realities of parliamentary politics and governance.

But I think we are now at the point for the Greens to go ‘fuck it, time to go back to our radical roots’.

I started writing this a few weeks ago as a kind of ‘what’s the direction for 2022?’ post, and was pleased to see this week a number of green politicos with more experience than I, speaking up about the problems with the Greens’ current position and direction. This includes former Green MPs Sue Bradford and Catherine Delahunty, as well as “a number of activists have recently stepped away from the party, including former executive and policy branch members“.

Delahunty’s interviews on RNZ and Newstalk are well worth listening to if you want to hear clear, radical, left wing, green party values and strategy being explained in a strong, passionate manner.

A TL;DR Delahunty quote from the RNZ audio,

Main points from Delahunty,

The Green political vision has been lost,

People don’t necessarily want you to be in the tent being quiet, what they want is a vision for change.

The Greens should be a strong voice, and would be much freer separate from Labour,

People are used to the Greens being a strong radical voice. Who’s to the left of Labour now? Who’s challenging Labour to be better? Who’s pushing Labour hard?

On welfare, housing, climate,

We need the Greens to be on the outside of Labour’s narrative, saying this is not acceptable.

That’s not the role of the Green Party, to make everbody happy, the role of the Green Party is to make sure that change can happen because they’re willing to push the boundaries.

The Greens don’t have enough MPs to make being in an agreement with Labour work in their favour,

When your numbers are weak, you have to use the tools you do have, which is your voice.

To my mind, this is the way out for the Greens. It’s not a ceding of power, it’s a stepping into genuine power.

I wish Delahunty was still in parliament, but maybe part of point here is that in the absence of the Green MPs being more free to speak up, we need strong green voices outside of parliament who are free from caucus and party constraints.

Particularly important here are the perspectives of people who understand how the party works internally. RNZ report former policy branch and executive member Megan Brady-Clark,

She said the Greens were failing to push the government in key areas of policy contention, namely the environment and inequality.

“By ostensibly handing over responsibility without the resourcing commitment or power behind the ministerial portfolios and areas of co-operation Labour has managed to silence the Greens on some issues where the Greens should be most clearly and loudly critical of the government,” she said.

“We know from past research the demographics of Green Party supporters and Ardern’s supporters are similar, so from a strategic perspective it’s important to differentiate. It’s not clear that the Greens are currently offering something meaningfully different from Labour. If voters are disgruntled with Labour at the next election, they’re going to be looking for a clearly articulated alternative – where is it?”

Joel, a former branch organiser and executive member,

“The watchword of ‘further and faster’ used last term has been weaponised in a way that kind of scorns explicit critiques. So that even our more critical MPs, like Ricardo [Menéndez March] or Elizabeth [Kerekere], will hear a Labour policy and say ‘this doesn’t go far enough’ instead of ‘this is a bad policy that goes the wrong way’.”

He said dissent existed among members, but there was also a reluctance to debate issues, with many deferring instead to the directions of MPs.

“From what I’ve noticed, the mood has definitely changed on the agreement. I’m not sure how much of the party now supports it. Every time it’s brought up internally it’s kind of kicked down the road a bit, which suits the leadership position.”

(as an aside, for those that see this as a chance to get rid of Shaw, bear in mind: co-leaders are chosen by the party, via a non-swift process. Afaik, the Green Party rules still say that one co-leader needs to be male, so if you want to advocate for Shaw to step down, who exactly should replace him?)

The main issue here, the perennial elephant in the living room, is the climate and ecological crises. We just don’t have time to use conventional politics to address the magnitude and speed at which that tsunami is growing.

It’s clear that the Greens working with Labour will be supporting ongoing, incremental, ‘don’t rock the neoliberal boat’ steps that make progressives think something is being done but really we are still dragging the chain. Labour’s handling of the acute aspects of pandemic has been outstanding, but their inability to shift out of a neoliberal frame for the long haul means we just won’t take the necessary action on climate mitigation and adaptation or ecological regeneration.

There is an option for the Green Party to let go, for now, being in government, and focus instead on being an effective opposition to both Labour and National/ACT on environmental and social justice.

This would free them up to do major public work on their own policies and to hold Labour to account for Labour’s weakness on climate and welfare in particular. Everything else will follow from that.

122 comments on “Is it time for the Greens to go their own way? ”

  1. weka 1

    Apropos,

    Yup, it wasn’t just you. 2021 was officially the country’s warmest on record.

    As Stuff reports, Niwa scientists have revealed New Zealand registered an average temperature of 13.56 degrees – almost an entire degree above the average from 1981 to 2010. That makes 2021 the warmest since records began over 100 years ago, besting the previous hottest year of 2016.

    Luke Harrington, a senior research fellow in climate science at Victoria University, told the Science Media Centre that 16 locations experienced some of their hottest ever days last year. “That about sums up climate change in New Zealand: in the future, every cold record broken will be accompanied by another 5-10 hot records, if not more,” he said. “Things will only improve if we reduce our gross carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions. Permanently, rapidly, and immediately.”

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/live-updates#2021-was-nzs-hottest-year-on-record

    • lprent 1.1

      I have no answers myself for what the greens should do, but I have been pleased that the Greens have been sustaining their vote over last few decades. Especially in the last election where as an governing partner they not only retained and but also increased their vote.

      That is about the first time I have seen any smaller coalition party increase their vote in an election against their major centre party partner.

      Without the Greens having a place in the electoral system that isn't wasted votes below the threshold, we'd still be still going backwards on a number of crucial policies, like climate change.

      But the Greens do have this basic problem – historically they get their best results only when Labour is weak and managing to seriously piss off part of their base voters.

      I'd suggest that the real question is if the Greens as a party are willing to risk a drop below the threshold and leave parliament fro one or more terms. That has always been the problem.

      Year G / L
      2020 8 / 50
      2017 6 / 37
      2014 11 / 25
      2011 11 / 27
      2008 7 / 34
      2005 5 / 39
      2002 7 / 41
      1999 5 / 39

      (The 2002 spike in retrospect appears to be from the disintegration of the Alliance.)

      As you say, this suggests that (like the current Act and National movement) there simply aren't enough votes to become a major party unless a overlapping centre party (ie Labour) screws up.

      When it isn't then the Greens are way way too close to the margin of staying in parliament.

      Right now the polling shows the Greens consistently over 10% (Roy Morgan below) which provides the required margin to successfully clear the 5% threshold (because Greens typically drop 2-3% under their polling at election time) even if another political mishap happens..

      If the members want to shift the party focus towards a more activist front, the political probability is that it will lose reliable voting support because activism isn't tat good a vote-winner. Ask any activist who has been active in NZ for a few decades. That with the triennial drop in actual support on election day

      It is a nasty balancing trade-off for members. Do they do better with some people pushing from positions inside parliament while pissing off some of their activists, or potentially trying to exert pressure from outside parliament.

      So far, there has been a pretty consistent trend by members towards being in parliament.

      As I'm mostly a Labour voter and support, but occasional Values / Green voter when I don't like the direction Labour is going – I'm going to be fascinated to see what happens.

      devil

      • weka 1.1.1

        I don't think going full activists is the only option here. I see it as more a range of options from staying in the current agreement but speaking out more, to quitting the agreement this year, but other options in between.

        There's a fair amount of reaction under this post that isn't taking nuance into account, and seems to see something like 'holding to account' being something negative. Maybe we blame Peters for that.

        Ultimately this is an internal matter for the party. I think it's useful for it to come up now, as opposed to next year. Still can't believe that some green pol people spent 2020 slagging off the Greens then said in the few weeks before the election that they would vote Green because it was the best on offer. This stuff needs to be hashed out now.

        But the Greens do have this basic problem – historically they get their best results only when Labour is weak and managing to seriously piss off part of their base voters.

        How many terms do you think Labour will get? It would make sense to think they've peaked just because of the pandemic. I don’t mean they’re on a downhill slide, just that the high is probably settling out now and the Greens may pick up votes because people can focus on politics and other issues again.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          also think people are reacting oddly to the radical roots comment. Radical roots isn't suddenly turning into XR. Radical roots is the Four Guiding principles.

          I do however remember the GP in the 90s having a strong activist base that were engaged in the community. Don't know to what extent that is still a thing, but there is more than one way to skin a possum.

        • lprent 1.1.1.2

          I don't think going full activists is the only option here. I see it as more a range of options…

          I was more pointing out the voter risks between current polling (historically v good for Greens), 2 decades of depressing drop off variance between polling to voting, and the dreaded 5% threshold.

          There are only a 2 to 3 percent from what the Greens are likely to actually get at election time based on current polling and the 5% cutoff. Historically most smaller parties would be ecstatic about that in a second term in or supporting a government because they appear to be mostly avoiding the coalition kiss of death.

          As you imply, probably because they aren't 'scaring the horses' as Bill English put it. National, Act, and most of our more trashy media (ie most of what remains) will pounce if they are given an opportunity.

          But it probably does imply some trade-off limits on getting members and MPs to be willing to move a lot. After all it has been decades of work to get to this point. On the other hand it is easy to argue that the Greens should be doing more.

          Our COP26 commitments are more like an abject surrender to lobby groups – after 20 years farming has only managed to increase they total emissions. There, as far as I can see, are no feasible tech that the farming sector can point to as way forward for them. Basically I think we need to start collecting back-ETS tax.

          I'd love to be a fly on the wall because the Green member decisions around this will be intense.

        • lprent 1.1.1.3

          How many terms do you think Labour will get?

          I am sure that they peaked in 2020 – freaking hard to get better than that. However I suspect that they are quite likely to still be in the good position to be the coalition former in 2023.

          Covid-19 will almost certainly be running in 2023 (and it wouldn't surprise me is it widely extant worldwide and a threat hwere as late as 2025).

          Quite simply there hasn't been remotely enough effort to limit the global pandemic, and there still going to be regular variants spreading coming from the under-vaccinated pool of hosts. We’re still in the band-aid mode of dealing with covid-19. Partially effective vaccines, a few partially useful treatments, and health systems unable to deliver those effectively across large parts of the globe.

          National and the right are widely mistrusted on issues about handling covid-19. That is showing no signs of diminishing – even when you ask them amongst the critics of Labour / Green / NZF responses. Plus Nat / Act are still in dreaded political amateur mode.

          Act is disciplined by virtue of silencing their MPs – the authoritarian top down approach seriously impacts on their ability to extend past shallow protest support.

          National is now a by-word for no apparent self-discipline and freakishly bad party discipline.

          Meanwhile, the real economy is performing well compared to our usual comparison. Basically making money from tourism, immigration, and immigration through education has proved to not have a really significant effect on our economic profit as a nation. Revenue, sure. Profit nope.

      • swordfish 1.1.2

        .

        The 2002 [Green] spike in retrospect appears to be from the disintegration of the Alliance.

        That was the widespread assumption at the time .. that deserting Alliance voters were philosophically closest to the Greens … but the 2002 New Zealand Election Study Flow-of-the-Vote stats said otherwise.

        It suggests the Green spike came largely courtesy of Labour deserters … there were significant swings in both directions between Labour & the Greens, but the Greens benefited most with a clear net gain from Labour.

        The overwhelming beneficiary of the Alliance collapse, on the other hand, was actually Labour … (Alliance deserters were around 6 X more likely to swing to Labour than they were to the Greens in 2002) … in fact, more Alliance deserters moved into non-voting than to the Greens … as many went to United Future as to the Greens … & almost as many switched to National & to NZF.

        Dig deep into the New Zealand Election Study stats of both 1999 & 2002 & it becomes clear that Alliance voters were more left-leaning than Green voters on the traditional Left-Right Economic spectrum but noticeably more conservative on the Moral-Cultural spectrum … which possibly explains their reluctance to head toward their former Alliance partners.

        In contrast, it seems that (anecdotally, at least) former Alliance activists (as opposed to the much wider voter-base) were more likely to move to the Greens than Labour.

        • lprent 1.1.2.1

          Interesting. Also likely.

          In contrast, it seems that (anecdotally, at least) former Alliance activists (as opposed to the much wider voter-base) were more likely to move to the Greens than Labour.

          Saw a lot of that. They were pretty noticeable and rather noisy. It a lot of them also went for a plague on everything that wasn't the true New Labour (which didn't exist). Many of them are still around 3 decades later.

  2. Patricia Bremner 2

    Weka, from her speech, it appears a great number of the points have begun to be addressed. Remember, the current climate work is because we have managed covid.

    More businesses are coming on board and in spite of the noisy element most farmers have begun to change their practices.

    The heat of the seas, the fires and the disposal of covid waste plus the pressure of crop failures due to climate change will all impact.

    The Greens have a stable base and may well be in a better bargaining position after election 23.. the Greens don't want to become the voice in the wilderness again. They will be in Government with far more say, fragmenting will suit National and Act that is a certainty.imo.

    • roy cartland 2.1

      Thanks, I needed a dose of that! yes

    • weka 2.2

      Remember, the current climate work is because we have managed covid.

      Think about it this way. There's a freight train bearing down on us and we're in a car stuck on the railway lines. We've dropped the keys somewhere, and the car is in a mess because we've been unwell. We're trying sitting there trying to find the keys. It doesn't matter what the reasons are for why the car won't go, why we can't find the keys in the mess, the freight train is still going to hit us with catastrophic force. Get out and push the damn car, or run.

      The only way what you just said makes sense is if you believe we still have time on climate. Or, we don't have time but we're still better off steady as she goes until the tsunami hits. I haven't seen any decent argument that supports either of those positions.

      • Patricia Bremner 2.2.1

        Pushing the metaphorical car…. as two teams, bringing the Public with us is surely a better gamble? It is a gamble I agree.. but what is suggested makes me think of toys and cots.

      • Gezza 2.2.2

        The problem is, weka, if the Greens DO decide to advocate far more strongly for more radical climate change mitigation policies – & somehow actually succeed – that bloody freight train is still going to hit us – because what Kiwiland actually does in response to the Climate Crisis doesn’t amount to more than a handful of beans if the really big CO2 & methane-emitting industrialised countries don’t do enuf about it.

        • weka 2.2.2.1

          Hard disagree and I suspect your view is missing what the GP policy and kaupapa is. Even if we abrogate our mitigation responsibilities, things like regenag are central to our actual survival if climate goes over the edge.

          But beyond that, the human world desperately needs leaders who can tell a different story from head in the sand, brown tech BAU or collapse. Part of that story is how we solve a global crisis. We're all in this together. All the small players like NZ add up to something like 25% of emissions. What we do matters.

          We can be world leaders on this: the narrative, the adaptation, and how to mitigate fast.

          The biggest obstacle to climate change is social and political, not technological.

          • Gezza 2.2.2.1.1

            Even if we abrogate our mitigation responsibilities, things like regenag are central to our actual survival if climate goes over the edge.

            Maybe, but if climate “goes over the edge” even regenag may be difficult. I do take your point that work needs to be done on how we cope with the results of runaway climate change. Part of that may be more local & regional regional self-sufficiency in agriculture/horticulture. Are the Greens actually working on that – coping with breakdown of global distribution networks etc?

            All the small players like NZ add up to something like 25% of emissions. What we do matters.

            Yes. You are right about that, provided all the other small players play ball too. If too many don’t, then that 25% isn’t actually worth 25% of solutions.

            We can be world leaders on this: the narrative, the adaptation, and how to mitigate fast.

            Yes. You’re right. If we get there & the solutions are all practical.

            The biggest obstacle to climate change is social and political, not technological.

            Absolutely.

    • weka 2.3

      the Greens don't want to become the voice in the wilderness again.

      Actually that's exactly what they (and we) need to do. Go and stand in the wilderness in solidarity with nature and all of life. Speak from there.

      Do you see the decades of work the GP has done pre-2017?

      • McFlock 2.3.1

        How did that work out?

        The thing about being a voice in the wilderness is that nobody cares what one says.

        A party in government can achieve more than outside of it – but that comes at the cost of losing prominence. If there's no point to being in government, if the bureaucratic power they selected in the deal isn't worth it, then fair enough, go into opposition.

        The question of whether one achieves more by working within a bad system rather than opposing it isn't new to the Greens.

        • weka 2.3.1.1

          How did that work out?

          How did what work out? I don't think the Greens have been in the political wilderness. They've always been strong in parliament no matter which major party is governing. I just wrote a whole post about that, lol

          Yes, it's not new to the Greens, but I think the situation is new. We've not been here before. If the Greens do step away from Labour's agreement, I think they have the capacity to do that well. Time will tell.

          • McFlock 2.3.1.1.1

            I don't think the Greens have been in the political wilderness.

            I'm sure the nats hung on their every word during the Key years.

            "Strong in parliament" is great if you're in government, or boosting an individual MP's profile. But for opposition, most of the time it's the consolation prize instead of actually getting stuff done.

            Whether excoriating the government at every turn (which is how Labour will see it) will increase the Green vote or just marginalise them is a question to which I don't know the answer, but I suspect it would be a high stakes gamble.

            • weka 2.3.1.1.1.1

              I'm sure the nats hung on their every word during the Key years.

              Who gives a fuck? Nat weren't going to take any notice no matter what. What exactly do you think the Greens should have done during those years apart from what they did? Being in opposition isn't a position of political disfavour if you value what the Opposition does. Seem to remember a point where the MSM considered the Greens more of an Opposition than Labour and were giving them more space.

              The Greens had no control over whether Labour or Nat governed in those years, so I don't know what you are trying to say there.

              Whether excoriating the government at every turn (which is how Labour will see it) will increase the Green vote or just marginalise them is a question to which I don't know the answer, but I suspect it would be a high stakes gamble.

              Ah, see, that's the macho politics view. I'm not suggesting they do that, and there's nothing in the post suggesting that either. What I actually said was,

              This would free them up to do major public work on their own policies and to hold Labour to account for Labour’s weakness on climate and welfare in particular.

              • McFlock

                And I said how the government would see it.

                The Greens did a lot of major public work on their GMO policies in 2002(? – corngate election), and it frankly hurt their ability to accomplish much after the election.

                And again, being a good opposition is literally the "also ran" medal. Sure, it's an important job for democracy, but it's not the job that decides government policy.

                • weka

                  twenty years ago, I wonder if the Greens have developed new skills and strategies since then 🤔

                  Sure, it's an important job for democracy, but it's not the job that decides government policy.

                  A common enough belief that isn't born out by what the GP have done in the past decades. Think about how we got MMP. Or the shift in climate consciousness. Or the shift in welfare in recent years. The Greens achieve policy gains without even being in government.

                  • McFlock

                    I wonder that too. There isn't a huge amount of evidence for it.

                    They failed to anticipate the backlash to Turei's announcement, for example.

                    And all of those issues you mentioned involved many more organisations than the Green party, and frankly revolved around trying to get action from the government of the day. Those "policy gains" were not achieved by the Green party alone, and could conceivably have occurred without the Green party's involvement.

                    • weka

                      They failed to anticipate the backlash to Turei's announcement, for example.

                      Probably, but, it was still the right thing to do. They shifted the debate on poverty and welfare.

                      And all of those issues you mentioned involved many more organisations than the Green party, and frankly revolved around trying to get action from the government of the day. Those "policy gains" were not achieved by the Green party alone, and could conceivably have occurred without the Green party's involvement.

                      Of course. That's the point, the Greens aren't macho heroes out there derring do. They're a party whose foundations are consensus and cooperation. There's not really any way to prove that the Green influence has been critical, but given they've led on climate pretty much the whole time including when there was mass denial and then mass pushback and long before Labour were fronting up to it, it would be a bold assertion to say that the Greens didn't affect climate consciousness (and thus policy) in NZ.

                      I think Shaw has probably taken the cooperation ethic too far (see Delahunty's comments on this), and I don't really know what is going on in the party. But I don't think the number of people who are now criticising the Greens can be ignored. Better to address this head on now, than next year.

                    • weka

                      The other way to think about this is that if Labour use the Greens to hold the left wing policies that Labour don't feel they can address directly themselves, what's the best way for the Greens to do that? I'm sure having the Greens where Labour want them suits Labour more, but it's not necessarily best.

                    • McFlock

                      They shifted the debate on poverty and welfare.

                      Oh, please. It helped, sure, but they didn't do it by themselves. A whole bunch of informal groups, NGOs, charities funding research, and even more than a couple Labour MPs are also in on that fight.

                      The other way to think about this is that if Labour use the Greens to hold the left wing policies that Labour don't feel they can address directly themselves, what's the best way for the Greens to do that? I'm sure having the Greens where Labour want them suits Labour more, but it's not necessarily best.

                      Having the Greens outside so Labour can do what Labour wants while the Greens have to support Labour because National would burn it all down is where Labour want the Greens.

                      Basically, leaving government means kissing goodbye to the actual measures they might be achieving at the moment, while maybe allowing for an increased visibility and therefore more votes next election, and therefore a position to effect stronger change.

                      But they're not going to get more action on their issues by being in opposition than they will with ministerial authority.

                    • weka

                      Oh, please. It helped, sure, but they didn't do it by themselves.

                      Oh please, I already said they don't do stuff on their own. It's your macho politics that obscures that.

                      There's a dynamic in how social and political change happens. Even within parliament. Turei was a key player in 2017. Obviously Ardern's arrival as leader and then PM was a huge part of it. It's all part of the same shift.

                      When I say the Greens shifted the debate on poverty, you hear 'they did it all on their own' despite me having explicitly said that's not what is is happening. #whatabouttheothers

                      Basically, leaving government means kissing goodbye to the actual measures they might be achieving at the moment, while maybe allowing for an increased visibility and therefore more votes next election, and therefore a position to effect stronger change.

                      But they're not going to get more action on their issues by being in opposition than they will with ministerial authority.

                      Why not? If the primary goal was to accelerate climate action, how is the situation they're in now better than being free from constraints and able to both critique government policy and present better policy.

                      The only way that incrementalism makes sense at this point is if you believe we can take our time on climate action. Or I guess if you think what we are doing is adequate.

                    • McFlock

                      When I say the Greens shifted the debate on poverty, you hear 'they did it all on their own' despite me having explicitly said that's not what is is happening. #whatabouttheothers

                      Yes, because language matters. And frankly, there were so many other actors that the debate would have shifted without the Green party even existing.

                      I don't know much about climate change, but I do know a fair bit about policy change. You don't get it done "critiquing" from the opposition benches nearly as much as you get it done from signing documents at a minister's desk.

        • bwaghorn 2.3.1.2

          As the great Pita Sharples said it's better to be in the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in,

          Although that did kill the party Maori.
          But that could be because it was nationals tent he pissed on .

          • weka 2.3.1.2.1

            In National's tent you die a quick death, in Labour's it's long and drawn out.

          • woodart 2.3.1.2.2

            yes, far better to be in the tent, but too many want to stand outside and be martyrs . standing out in the cold wearing a hair shirt might make them feel nobile , but it doesnt do any good for the majority of green voters . let us know beforehand if we are wasting our votes for hairshirt wearers.

            • Cricklewood 2.3.1.2.2.1

              Sure, but if you are going to be in the tent and having ministerial responsibility for key party platforms you need to be able to make changes you actually believe in not end up selling incremental change that you know deep down is bullshit.

              Labour have effectively managed to muzzle the Greens on Homelessness and Climate change taking away what would have been their fiercest critic in that space.

              • weka

                I think people forget that Shaw is outside of Cabinet and fiscal policy issues.

                Or maybe they like it that way. I can totally see how the arrangement suits centre lefties. But as I said to Patricia, it only makes sense if one things climate/eco crises aren't that urgent. This alone is a good reason for the Greens to free up their voice.

                • Cricklewood

                  It's a distinction that unless you are very into politics is completely lost.

                  • weka

                    Yes, but it's core to what is going on. It's the party that will decide what direction the party goes in, and it's not lost on them.

            • weka 2.3.1.2.2.2

              let us know beforehand if we are wasting our votes for hairshirt wearers.

              do you vote Green woodart?

        • lprent 2.3.1.3

          The thing about being a voice in the wilderness is that nobody cares what one says.

          Actually they do care under MMP – as long as they are over 5% on election day or collect a seat.

          Ask NZF or any of the minor parties. When all a political party is successfully doing is to making party votes valueless – then they aren't listened to.

      • Patricia Bremner 2.3.2

        Change the preposition. From "in" to "for". “Go stand for the Widerness” Clearly advocating from a position of strength from within Government. There is no reason why the Greens can't promote that as part of their re-election programme. There has never been so many pointers to use. Often people need directives.. grow a wid patch in your garden for the bees and insects, plant organic seeds..save seed, get rid of one plastic item from your rubbish each week. Conserve water for the garden.

  3. Tricledrown 3

    The Greens have to appeal to a wider audience rather than be a Fringe party.

    If the Greens get to radical it will be easy for everyone to take them apart.

    Getting other parties to shift their policy is just as effective as pushing them by yourself.

    With Luxon National has a chance to get the Greens onside.therfore Labour will have to give more to the Greens.

    • pat 3.1

      "If the Greens get to radical it will be easy for everyone to take them apart."

      Interesting perspective….as Weka noted in her piece MT was driven out after promoting what could be described as 'retrospective' policies…..progressive taxation and sufficient welfare support (and the unmentioned house price correction)…..policies that were mainstream and widely supported not so long ago.

      Radical?…I don't think so.

      In fact policies that used to be fundamental Labour policies (before Douglas)

  4. roy cartland 4

    Calls for the Greens to man up almost never explain how that might work…

    Totally. And whenever they try it, as per your Meteria example, they'll get hounded relentlessly by the noisy conservative media and the bigmouths like Bradbury.

    The only real way they can do it is by getting votes. That means getting their message out. That means the media relaying that message properly, instead of playing that tired clip of them prancing about last century. That means the media being independent and fair <sigh>. (I've been watching a bit of Succession, you can probably tell.)

    • weka 4.1

      Right, but how do they get votes if they're seen as Labour's underlings?

      We don't have time. The Greens have moved Labour leftwards and greenwards, and shifted the Overton Window on some important issues. Why do they even need to be attached to Labour at this point if this is what they are already doing?

      The Greens speaking out at this point in the election cycle, and making it clear that the cross benches are an option, means they will have more leverage in 2023 if Labour need them to govern.

      • roy cartland 4.1.1

        I agree, but I also agreed with Meteria at the time she outed herself, and that went awfully. IIRC she wasn't even taken down because of what she was advocating, but because of that benefit and eletorate thing? So if it's a unified GP voice, or many GP voices instead of a single one, the MSM has less ability to throw in the dead cat?

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          Pretty sure they were going after her because of the policy, they just trashed her personally to undermine the policy. Imagine if the GP had gotten into government in 2017 with more MPs and the ability to push on welfare.

          So if it's a unified GP voice, or many GP voices instead of a single one, the MSM has less ability to throw in the dead cat?

          I think they have to not be afraid to speak out strongly. If being in government is less important, then the right have less leverage. And, we're not in an election year.

          • Andrew Miller 4.1.1.1.1

            Really? John Campbell was one of the journalists that investigated the background to her admission of ‘benefit fraud’. Am I supposed to believe his motivation was animosity to the policy or a desire to take her down personally?
            You can argue it was a diversion from the point she was raising and the need for the policy platform, but it’s completely naive and disingenuous to not realise:

            1. Any admission of law breaking was always going to be investigated.
            2. Not assuming 1. and having your ducks in a row regarding your story (and there seemed to be credible evidence parts of her story at best stretched the truth) always ran the risk of seeing your narrative derail and stank of really dumb politics.
            3. Operating on the basis that all that mattered was being side of the angels and any pushback had to be illegitimate comes across as both self righteous and poor politics.
              The sad thing is I would have been supportive of the policy, but the whole thing was turned into a massive own goal that did a great job of preaching to the choir (And it would appear there’s still a revisionist narrative sections of the left about the whole episode) but undermined the very thing they were trying to advance.
              Yes, you can make a case for the Greens returning to their radical roots but the difference was in the early days for all their radicalism there was a humility and realism about trying to shift public opinion. With their activist base that’s been replaced by a self righteousness that they’re right and anyone not on board is an uncaring ‘neo-liberal’ (including me a former Green voter. For all their timidity whilst that remains the case Labour will keep getting my vote.
      • woodart 4.1.2

        "crossbenches are an option" stupidest thing Ive read today. as soon as the greens start that bullshit, you will lose votes to other fringe parties and open up the blue-green nats- green party talk, further driving away soft voters.

        • weka 4.1.2.1

          as soon as the greens start that bullshit, you will lose votes to other fringe parties

          Why?

          • woodart 4.1.2.1.1

            why?, because green voters(most of us anyway) actually WANT to be in gov ,, but if the main green party commits political hari-kari , that will leave many green voters looking around for alternatives. you WONT be the only game in town. I have voted green for the last 6-7 elections, but if you want to waste our votes by being noble losers, please let us know , so we can start looking for alternatives . who was the guy that started the plastic green party? he will soak up some of your voters. not mine, I will go to labour as they DO want to be in gov .

            • weka 4.1.2.1.1.1

              You seem to be missing the point. It's not about not wanting to be in government. It's about reasserting GP kaupapa. That doesn't preclude being in government in the future, it just means that being in government won't be at any cost.

              Fwiw, the Greens aren't currently in government. They have an agreement with Labour that includes Shaw as climate minister, but they sit outside of government (mostly).

              • woodart

                "reasserting g.p. kaupapa" standing outside the tent ,shouting into a void? if thats your version of the greens vision , you are wasteing all of the work put in the last few yrs . booker says it best" the greens worst enemy seems to be other greens .

              • Gezza

                Fwiw, the Greens aren’t currently in government. They have an agreement with Labour that includes Shaw as climate minister, but they sit outside of government (mostly).

                Actually weka, I believe the Greens ARE in government. They have two government Ministers. Davidson (3 portfolios) & Shaw (2 portfolios), They’re just not in Cabinet (except, I assume, for when there are Cabinet items for their portfolios).

                You can’t be a government Minister and NOT be “in government”.

                • weka

                  Why not?

                  The Labour/Green Cooperation Agreement,

                  https://www.greens.org.nz/labour_and_greens_to_have_cooperation_agreement

                  “Labour won a clear mandate to form a majority Government on our own to accelerate our recovery from Covid-19. This agreement respects the mandate voters provided Labour while continuing our cooperative work with the Green Party in areas where they add expertise to build as strong a consensus as possible,” Jacinda Ardern said.

                  “On election night I said Labour would govern for all of New Zealand and continue to build as much consensus as possible – this agreement achieves that objective.

                  “This Cooperation Agreement reflects the positive working relationship between our two parties and our areas of shared interest, while respecting the mandate voters gave Labour to form a Government. It will deliver stability and cooperation in key policy areas while allowing the Greens to take an independent position from the Government on all other matters,” Jacinda Ardern said.

                  “We are proud to have achieved a first in New Zealand political history, where a major party with a clear majority under MMP has agreed to Ministerial positions for another party, as well as big areas of cooperation.”

  5. Tricledrown 5

    Yet when Paula Bennett was exposed for worse exploitation the media covered for her and very powerful lawyers threatened to sue.

    Yet the person who claims bennett abused him took drugs of different types infront of him as a child still has his post up on Facebook no prosecution.

    One rule for the born to rule and another for the rest.

  6. Visubversa 6

    Meteria may have been right in theory – but it was absolutely wrong in practice. Any Political Party that lets its co-leader hang herself out to dry in that manner should go hack to Politics 101. Imagine how things could have been different – if she had stood there with Ann Hartley (the paternal grandmother of her child) and made exactly the same speech, but with Ann there to say "yes, we would have given our last cent for our first grandchild – but the ruinous reclaim system from WINZ would have clawed it all back and there would have been no benefit". The media would not have been chartering planes to pursue the Hartleys all over Great Barrier, and they would not have been doing the research into the New Bond St house that lead to the Election fraud claims. The Hartley family were completely blindsided – and said nothing until the clamour got to much and someone blew the whistle. The message was lost – and so was Meteria's political credibility.

    • Dennis Frank 6.1

      Meteria may have been right in theory – but it was absolutely wrong in practice.

      I declared that view onsite here at the time. I explained why, using my leadership experience creating the consensus decision-making rules for the party.

      One of the two Green MPs who were forced out of the party for disagreeing with her pointed out that she had not secured consensus within the Green caucus before making her stand. Ambushing the others was not only poor internal politics – it was unethical and broke the rules. Gross incompetence in several directions!

      The other basis for my critique at the time was that she apparently hadn't declared her agenda at any prior time in her parliamentary career. I got no disagreement when I asserted that onsite here. If she had had the elementary courtesy to inform her colleagues there would have been no internal shock and disgust.

      Politicians have to learn to be team players instead of primadonnas. It goes with the terrain. She never managed to comprehend that elementary point.

      • weka 6.1.1

        would you mind explaining how that's relevant to the issues raised in the post? It's not about 2017, it's about 2022 and 2023.

        • Dennis Frank 6.1.1.1

          I agree – I was just supporting the lone commenter trying to rectify the disinformation about the history of Turei's stand being spread by a few early comments. Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it, as the old saying goes. Let's not do so! frown

        • woodart 6.1.1.2

          very relevant . turiei shot herself in the foot and nearly killed the green party vote in the process . now you want to go down the same route. what is it about claiming defeat out of the jaws of victory that appeals ?have you NOT learnt ANYTHING from the last 20 years?

      • Visubversa 6.1.2

        I got censored here for telling the truth at the time.

        • Dennis Frank 6.1.2.1

          censored

          I acknowledge how you felt at the time. Sometimes, in the first few years I commented here, I wondered if some such agenda was operating. Eventually I decided it wasn't. Group-think, when it kicks in, has a natural tendency to target perceived outsiders, so it gets down to how many oppose what you write and if they are defaulting to belief-system framing or actually engaging the issue.

          Then skills in language usage & the ability to relate nuances to the big picture become crucial. And empathy. You may know all this already but social media discourse does require suitable skills and each context may challenge us to select the right ones for the issue at the time. smiley

        • weka 6.1.2.2

          People don't get moderated here for telling the truth. They get moderated for stepping over a line that causes problems for the site. You may have been telling the truth when you got moderated, but that's not why you got moderated.

          • Visubversa 6.1.2.2.1

            I didn't say anything different to what I said in my first post on this subject yesterday. The house in New Bond St had been shown on TV. The details of who owned it at the time were on the public record.

    • weka 6.2

      Yes, the Greens made mistakes, but the right and MSM were always going to go hard against her, the party and the policy.

      More relevant here is what could the Greens do now? Stepping outside of the agreement with Labour changes the stakes and lessens the power the MSM and the right have over the Greens. They also need to box clever.

      • Gosman 6.2.1

        If this was accurate then your take on what happened to Turei should not have happened because The Greens WERE independent at the time and not tied to Labour (in fact they were grabbing support from Labour as a result of Turei's initial speech).

        The reality of the situation is that The Greens are treated incredibly well by the MSM and generally get far more positive press than negative.

        • weka 6.2.1.1

          We're talking about in 2017 between Turei's speech and the election.

          Labour and the Greens had a public agreement to work together to change the government. Read the fucking post next time.

          • Gosman 6.2.1.1.1

            They were not linked to Labour because Turei's speech led to The Greens sucking support AWAY from them. Your analysis is completely wrong on that front. There is no indication that The Greens suffer from having agreements with Labour or they are better protected from negative events by being independent.

            • weka 6.2.1.1.1.1

              They were not linked to Labour because Turei's speech led to The Greens sucking support AWAY from them

              Read the post Gosman. If you think Labour and the Greens didn't have a public agreement going into election year, how do you explain the things I wrote at the start?

              The Greens had a bump up to 15% soon after the speech. Hard to tell why, because there's usually a lag between important events and that showing up in the polls. But the Greens getting a bump and pulling some of those from Labour has nothing to do with the MSM and right wing political responses other than egging them on to take the Greens down before they go to popular. That would have happend with or without Turei's history

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Herald has done an editorial on the Greens kerfuffle. I hope someone will copy sections of that here for discussion! I noticed the critique from Sue & Catherine included no reference to the dismal failure of the leftist group within – touted as currently the largest party subgroup – to get it's leftist candidate even up to slightly competitive when he stood for the male co-leadership position at the AGM a few months back.

    The numbers were in fact so pathetic I even felt sorry for the dude. However, as with Jack MacDonald's departure a year or two back, I do empthasise with those who are impatient to make progress. Labour's incrementalism is a handicap for the Greens – even though Winston no longer controls the handbrake, Labour's still pulling on it.

    • lprent 7.1

      Herald has done an editorial on the Greens kerfuffle I hope someone will copy sections of that here for discussion!

      I would, however I dropped the NZ Herald to that I could raise my donation to Stuff and pay for BusinessDesk. NZ Herald were just filling their pages with opining idiots pandering to their ever smaller tabloid loving audience, overseas news that I'd already read the article on one of my other subs.

      Their business pages were also going into the toilet. So I dumped them. The bloody NZME brought BusinessDesk. Now watching BD to see if the crap factless opinion 'news' that NZME seems to specialise in follows their purchase.

      Labour's incrementalism is a handicap for the Greens – even though Winston no longer controls the handbrake, Labour's still pulling on it.

      I suspect that they aren't doing it to piss off the Greens. It is more a matter of not pissing off parts of their voting base. They also have had a few other little issues to deal with since NZF dropped below the threshold.

      BTW
      I’m seriously thinking about simply writing a reformatting wrapper for NZH pages for those times I want to read a particular ‘prime’ article. There simply isn’t enough of any use in their on-line system to be worth paying their price. The online system has really bad curation and most of the writing is as devoid of useful facts as a Mike Hosking rant.

      I’d prefer if I could just buy the odd articles to read. But NZME doesn’t offer that option.

      Worth some of my time to strip and auto curate to something that doesn’t cause my finger to die from scrolling headlines or going into the NZ Initiative stupid propaganda pieces or the ignorant blathering by their radio dipshits.
      /rant

      • Dennis Frank 7.1.1

        I suspect that they aren't doing it to piss off the Greens. It is more a matter of not pissing off parts of their voting base.

        I already had that view. I still rate the personal friendship between Jacinda & James that began when they were both living in London 20 years ago or so as the key to the current govt. Both these folk are managerial in their politics – an asset in getting stuff done but a negative for making rapid progress.

        It's Marama's leadership that puzzles me. She could operate independently of James via mutual agreement. She could play the progressive part. Maybe the deal with Labour makes doing so impossible though. Then it puts the onus on the remainder of the Green caucus I reckon…

  8. Blazer 8

    The Greens need to say they will restore the Kiwi Dream of home ownership.

    It can be done by lunchtime.

    -Tweaking Singapores stamp duties recently increased would be one step.

    -levy on homes ,empty for more than 6 months as per Vancouver.

    -soft loans for first home buyers.

    Gov’t unveils 3 new property cooling measures (msn.com)

    • Cricklewood 8.1

      A progressive stamp duty would fix alot of problems… if you are looking at 10 or more percent on say house number 3, 15 percent on number 4 you all of a sudden price speculators out of the market. It's a very simple fix.

  9. Corey Humm 9

    Yeah it's time to end the cooperation agreement. The greens get nothing but tarred with the same brush of inaction as Labour while Labour gets free reign and no real criticism coming from the left which is what labour hates the most, being bashed by the left, it gets them angry.

    I voted green in 2017 after Metirias speech and then they gave national their questions and I never forgave them for that, I also cannot tolerate how they've ditched the radical somewhat left wing libertarian stance on issues like free speech and protest for this hyper woke, hyper establishment middle class almost authoritarian attitude.

    There is no party on the left that actually defends free speech and there are A LOT of adamantly free speech lefties. Who are politically homeless. A lot of us. The only party defending free speech is a right wing party. There needs to be someone on the left making sure the left wing free speech voters which are a crazy amount of people have somewhere on the left to go.

    If the greens could reinvent themselves as a bit more of a radical party that is distrustful of corporations, certain elements of govt and as a somewhat free speech party that has environmentalism and economic justice at it's core I'd be willing to join the party but I can't see that happen I can only see them being a more a hyper woke to the extent where they borderline on authoritarianism on speech.

    I used to love how the greens freaked out the establishment when I was a kid I loved them cos my nana hated them and they freaked her out.

    Being in govt with labour won't push labour and it won't help the greens. Get out of the cooperation agreement and bash labours inaction atleast they may be able to pick up disgruntled lefties this way atm being in govt means they are seen to support this nothingness.

    Annnnd the greens need to remember, they don't ever have to go into coalition with labour if labour needs their votes but won't give them anything real…. The greens can say to labour "we'll sit in the cross benches and vote on issues we agree with you on a case by case basis and if you don't like that go do a coalition with the National party"

    They do have power. The power to send labour into a minority govt if labour offers them scraps or a majority coalition if labour is willing to see them as an equal.

    • weka 9.1

      Yep. The only reason we've got the current government is because so many liberals voted Labour instead of Green. Fine, if that's what NZ wants, then that's what it wants. But the Green Party has its own mana and can make its own choices, and at this point in time standing in its own power makes sense. It's not like they're going to start slagging off Labour, there will still be working relationships. They just don't have to be subsumed.

      Delahunty's perspectives were liberating.

      Don't know about the woke thing. The Greens aren't the left wing socialist party that some want (they should talk to Labour about that), but then Labour have their own layers of cultural fit issues. Will be interesting to see what happens with the party List in 2023.

  10. Ad 10

    If the Greens split off from this term of government, Labour would go up 3, Greens down 3. Seems fair.

    They were largely responsible for sinking us in 2008. On current polls we'd simply gain gain gain.

    Green MPs would end up in internal leadership contests and 4 MPs would lose their jobs.

    But they'd be able to talk endlessly about what they could have done and be as radical as they want. Which is about perfect for them.

    • weka 10.1

      I wish you'd make up your mind. Do you want the Greens to have a strong voice or not?

      If the Greens split off from this term of government, Labour would go up 3, Greens down 3. Seems fair.

      Wut? The agreement between Labour and the Greens doesn't affect MP numbers either way.

      • lprent 10.1.1

        I think Ad was referring to %

      • Ad 10.1.2

        Let me be clearer then Weka.

        I don't care what the Greens do.

        They are turning into the coalition liability they usually turn into.

        In the 1990s they stood for something, and in Clark's first term did ok. Since then they're just our old pet on a rug.

        Usually when they stabilise at 7-10% they do something stupid rather than build. Looks familiar.

        • weka 10.1.2.1

          I don't care what the Greens do.

          I don't believe you. I've seen you make comment about what the Greens should do many times. Here you are again.

    • Robert Guyton 10.2

      Exactly, Ad.

      Talking endlessly about…might appeal.

      I hope not.

  11. Sanctuary 11

    Here is an interesting artcle on the UK Greens from last October in the New Statesman.

    While it about the UK Greens much of the commentary would equally apply to the NZ Green party IMHO.

    In particular ‘going back to radical roots” will simply condemn the Grrens to political irrelevancy. The article concludes:

    “…The modern German Greens are moderate and pragmatic: they empower their leaders, who are unafraid to shed policies and positions that are likely to alienate the electorate, and they have a realist foreign policy. They want to be a broad church, and at one point earlier this year polled 25 per cent, almost eclipsing the SPD, the historic party of the German centre left. In their present form, England’s Greens have little hope of making such an impact. They will likely disrupt British politics over the next decade, but not change it. The Green moment is here. The Greens are missing it…”

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk-politics/2021/10/why-the-greens-are-missing-their-moment

    • tc 11.1

      Interesting.

      They could adopt some socialist policies labour appear incapable of here and become alot more electorate friendly.

      I could see folk previously dismissing them as 'tree huggers' getting on board as the gaps there to be filled.

    • woodart 11.2

      nailed it as usual sanctuary . yes, the green moment IS here . too hear green party fans say they want to walk from this moment beggars belief .

  12. Dennis Frank 12

    Germany's new foreign minister is the female Greens co-leader. She'll be in the hot seat if war breaks out in Ukraine. But it's worth looking at the policy framework the Greens have entered into in the new govt: https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-spd-fdp-and-greens-unveil-governing-coalition-deal/a-59915201

    What are some of the policies in the deal?

    • Germany will ideally phase out coal by 2030 and commit to 80% renewable energy
    • Increase rail freight transport by 25% and have at least 15 million electric cars on the roads by 2030
    • Push for a European air travel surcharge like the one that is already in place in Germany
    • Immigrants able to apply for citizenship after five years and allowed dual citizenship, a potential big change for thousands of ethnic Turks, many of whom remain foreign nationals after decades in Germany
    • Increasing the minimum wage to €12
    • Plans to legalize the regulated sale of cannabis
    • Build 400,000 new apartments a year to fight a housing crisis,
    • Lower the voting age to 16
    • Create a points-based immigration system to draw in qualified workers

    Perhaps a comparative model for the Greens here? At least they could consider it a template for drawing up their own wish-list as a basis for renegotiation with Labour. That said, I'm not convinced now is a good time for an ultimatum – nor that the Greens can somehow escalate their electoral base whether inside or outside the tent.

    • Ad 12.1

      Most of those are increments on Merkel initiatives. Good politics for Europe's most powerful state.

  13. Stuart Munro 13

    My own feeling is that the Greens need to go to the mattresses.

    I knew what Rod & Jeanette stood for, and to some extent Metiria. But Shaw seems grey to me, all the chloroplasts leached away – and Ricardo seems to be all revisionism.

    There are few votes to be had in abandoning environmental principles as the Greens have done. And there are few votes in the migrant issues in a country that has suffered 4-5 times the per capita immigration levels that made Brexit a certainty in Britain.

    What would Greta say of the Green party? Start there.

    • Dennis Frank 13.1

      What would Greta say of the Green party?

      Blah blah blah. angel

      • Robert Guyton 13.1.1

        She'd say, "They're the best on offer".

        And they are.

        • Stuart Munro 13.1.1.1

          I think she would say "We need to do better than this."

          • roy cartland 13.1.1.1.1

            "do" is the most pertinent word. Not talk, not wait, not try.

            But what this whole thread has been trying to explore is exactly how. Greta would also say, rightly, that's it's not her responsibility to figure that out either. Doesn't stop us having a crack though, eh?

  14. Booker 14

    This seems to be an ongoing problem for the Greens – and it comes as much from it's own membership and other left commentators as it does from the right. Sometimes it feels like there's no worse enemy for left-wingers than other left-wingers. The media loves it when they can portray a picture of a divided Green caucus, never letting an opportunity to put the boot in pass.

    I voted Green in the last 3 elections (at least), and think they've been doing fantastically this term. Why? Because:

    * Labour had no need to partner with Greens in government. Literally none.

    * I strongly believe more has been done with them in parliament than would have if they weren't there.

    People seem to think that since they weren't needed in government they should have stayed out, and it would have been better for them 'politically' to be out of government, as if they could contribute more by 'holding Labour to account' or something similar. Dream on. Complaining isn't power. Power is power. Out of power leaves you just nagging like a crybaby, sounding off about how 'the government isn't doing enough' without actually being able to do anything.

    Take Delahunty's words "what they want is a vision for change". No thanks, I could have visions all day but they wouldn't amount to anything – what is needed is action, not visions, and you don't even get the chance to take action if you're not in power. The Green's making the decision to collaborate with Labour was sound politics. The longer they're in government, getting on doing work, the better for the country and – from a purely political appearances perspective – the less ammunition the media and other commentators have to claim that the Greens lack experience. That accumulated time and experience actually being in government helps solidify them as a continual presence at the table, and demonstrates to voters that they're a sound party they can trust.

    I for one think there's solid progress that's been made this term that wouldn't have been done were it not for the Greens in power. There seems to be an endless parade in media of people thinking they should be doing more, but frankly most of their critics seem to need a reality check – the Greens simply don't have enough seats and share of the vote to push through the 'radical change' that many in the party want. That's the reality of our political system. If the Greens had an outright majority and could govern alone, you would have a right to criticize if change didn't materialize. But clearly they're far from a majority, and in fact right now *aren't even needed to form a majority*.

    How much change does Delahunty expect will come from that? You want more change, get more votes. Delahunty running to the media to present 'a vision' of a divided party isn't going to help that effort at all.

    • Dennis Frank 14.1

      Good to see such a comprehensive well-articulated overview of the situation. Hope you decide to contribute here more often. yes

    • weka 14.2

      People seem to think that since they weren't needed in government they should have stayed out,

      That's not what is being argued though.

      Would you mind saying what your rationale is for incrementalism on climate change? Is it because you don't think the situation is urgent?

      • Booker 14.2.1

        No actually I think incrementalism is disastrous, and even though Labour ran on the promise of climate change being our nuclear free moment, they haven't been doing enough – with or without the Greens.

        My main point is that realistically the Greens have such limited power in today's makeup of government that it's pointless to blame them for not getting enough done. We need votes! My hope would be people in wider NZ society will be getting more concerned about climate change, and will take that desire to see more happen into the voting booth and swing their vote to a party that will do something about it – i.e. the Greens. But if there's too much infighting and the perception's out there that they're a party in disagreement, I fear those votes will just go elsewhere.

        • weka 14.2.1.1

          Completely agree that it's pointless to blame the Greens for not getting enough done. And that they need votes. But progressives and left wing voters have consistently shown they don't want a strong Green presence in government. They definitely want them in parliament, and they want them to be Labour and/or NZ's conscience and they want them to influence Labour, but they don't want them to have real power.

          I'm a fan of the theory that outside of partisan voters, a lot of people vote based on perceptions of competence. So I agree with you about infighting (this is why I didn't go into that side of it much in the post). I assume that the 2017 result was as much to do with the internal party issues as anything (two MPs going against caucus in the middle of an election campaign!).

          There will always be rumours of infighting, but I hope the party can sort this out internally and still address the positioning issues.

          However, if that's all true, that still leaves the dilemma of NZ not acting on climate. What if wider NZ started taking climate more seriously because there was a party that was talking about it all the time and what needs to be done? We don't have that currently. Shaw and the Greens are bound by the agreement with Labour not to speak out on this. That's untenable at this point.

        • Ross 14.2.1.2

          My hope would be people in wider NZ society will be getting more concerned about climate change, and will take that desire to see more happen into the voting booth and swing their vote to a party that will do something about it.

          If you genuinely think that, you’re dreaming. The Greens aren’t getting many votes because voters realise and understand that the Greens aren’t the messiah. They cannot possibly save us.

          How many electric cars and hybrids do we now have in comparison to the number we had 20 years ago? Are we doing more environmentally friendly things today than we did 20 years ago? Are we spending more taxpayers money to fight climate change than we did 20 years ago? If our commitment to ameliorating climate change was non-existent 20 years ago, nonetheless temperatures were lower back then. The more we do to combat climate change – which of course involves spending more taxpayer money than ever – the warmer it gets! Voters recognise this fact and vote accordingly. That should come as no surprise. Now if the Greens promised to spend less…

          • Dennis Frank 14.2.1.2.1

            if the Greens promised to spend less

            They'd be the bluegreens. Who nobody can vote for due to them being part of National. You're a Nat & believe they would? You're dreaming too. Nobody has ever produced evidence of any such voters existing. If they existed, political scientists would measure the proportion of Nat supporters who vote National for that reason, write it up & publicise the percentage.

            I do agree the Greens lack a messiah but not even Jacinda aspires to that level. Salvation depends solely on whatever deity is directing the social darwinist component of democracy governed by capitalism. That deity seems to have set the dial to 1%…

    • woodart 14.3

      great post booker . says it perfectly.

    • Gezza 14.4

      Best comment on this topic today so far regarding whether the Greens are better off in government in cooperation with Labour. A very well-argued case for their being better in than out, imo.

    • Robert Guyton 14.5

      Again, well said, Booker! T Yours is clearly expressed, balanced and accurate commentary on the Greens. Thanks.

    • Patricia Bremner 14.6

      smileyyes Well reasoned points Booker.

  15. Robert Guyton 15

    "“Taylor Swift can’t hold a candle to Joni Mitchell.” "

    That is pretty funny, Chris!

  16. Tiger Mountain 16

    The rather twisted good news for NZ Greens is that given Labour’s squandering of its once in a generation MMP majority–yes COVID–is there any doubt that the Greens will be in a stronger Parliamentary position after the 2023 General Election?

    Given the objective reality of Climate Disaster and tipping points, the NZ Green Party could be driving renewed School Climate Strikes, general activism and pushing for 21st century appropriate Eco Socialism, yes, s-s-socialism. But the current dominance of Parliamentary Greens over Green greens and the particular historical trajectory of the party and its inner democracy makes that a long shot indeed.

    I have a friend in the Far North who was part of the EcoNation trust years ago that helped drive the “EcoNation 2020” initiative when Nandor and Sue were still MPs. He just gets on with life these days in his principled, solar powered, Bushland Trust, small business way. Still votes Green as many of us do.

    I take Weka’s point seriously about the right attacking the Greens when they are on a roll. The NZ right have a real thing about the Greens, to the level in my view of the British ruling class belligerence toward Jeremy Corbyn’s “For the many not the few” renationalisation policies.

    • weka 16.1

      The issue of the right and the MSM seems like a strategy and skill issue rather than a positioning one. Social media has changed things since Nandor and Sue's time I guess and Dirty Politics.

      I though the point made by Joel was interesting. If even the radical MPs are arguing a policy doesn't go far enough rather than it being the wrong direction, then where are they actually trying to go? The apparently consolidation of power with the caucus rather than in the wider party is a concern, hard to tell how much that is happening. If Davidson and Shaw did really dismiss the issues raised this week with a 'no, we're fine, everything is good', that's not a good sign.

  17. Robert Guyton 17

    "For people like me who believe MAN made climate change is a scam, I couldn’'t be happier"

    You're yanking our chains, right?

  18. I think that the idea that the Green Party will be more successful if they operated as a strident voice outside government is misguided. The only way that Green Polices can be progressed is through having real power. Labour currently has all the power and 93% of voters didn't vote Green in 2020, so the party currently has minimal influence. To claim that the Party is not effective enough at the moment because of the poor performance of its leadership and MPs isn't recognising this very simple political fact.

    Considering the Greens have no real power, they still have Ministers and influence because Labour sees value in both the competence of their MPs (some of the highest performing Minsters in the previous government were Greens) and the fact that they will probably not have a majority in 2023. Labour needs a coalition partner. Consequently the Green influence still continues in the current government and there have been multiple successes
    https://www.greens.org.nz/our_achievements? https://www.greens.org.nz/our_achievements?fbclid=IwAR2NKIHNdgynsg9Z8vGIgvAfJ-mx1zsemlCM7Zm1M1ntszR-CEa7RCSl0nA

    All the Greens will really achieve as a small independent party that shouts loudly from the sidelines is winning the praise of their hard core base, little else. There are numerous activist environmental and social justice groups who do that important role. The Green Party has to play a smart game inside parliament to shift the thinking of those in other parties they have to work with to push Grteen thinking over the line (that requires diplomacy and compromise). Knowing when it is appropriate to publicly call out other parties or quietly work behind the scenes is what real politics is all about. Sue Bradford actually did a lot of this herself to get her bills passed.

    Government Policy is generally progressed from the political centre and the Greens key job is shifting that centre more closely to its own space. This happens when there is a good deal of voter support and the dominant party in government sees political value in adopting green policies.

    Rather than all this current questioning of Green leadership, which serves little purpose, there should be a more strategic approach to raise the Party's profile with voters for 2023. One of the Greens most attractive campaigns was the Vote for Us one that featured children and the planet. In some ways that campaign was premature because most voters did not understand the underlying reasons, more do now.

    I do not believe the Party has lost its edge when many of our MPs receive death threats for making principled stands and most farmers still see green policies as pure communism.

    In the years when the Greens have minimal power they have always worked with any government to progress what they can, this is nothing new. There have been MOUs with National Governments and in 2005 Jeanette and Rod had Government spokesperson roles. The Party just has to bide its time and ensure that in 2023 they stage a strong, united campaign to get as many MPs as they can to ensure they have enough MPs to establish a really powerful coalition deal. I think around 20 MPs would be great, but it was amazing what was achieved with fewer in the last term.

    Winston Peters always understood that it was the important last few weeks of a campaign that really counted to do well in an election, anguishing now about the Green's current status is next to pointless.

    • Dennis Frank 18.1

      Hi Dave,

      I don't disagree with any of that but it's what you're choosing not to mention that intrigues me. Joel's view that there was an understanding in the agreement with Labour that the Green caucus could express dissent with govt decisions, for instance. He seems to feel the low profile the Greens have had the past year is due to not doing so.

      I get that incremental progress is due to both pandemic & Labour's timidity, but I'm sympathetic with those who are calling for more rapid progress. Like you, I feel the call is misconceived, and a retreat from govt would be a strategic mistake at this point, but the status quo remains unsatisfactory. I see no valid reason for retired MPs to continue making sporadic attempts at interference. Dunno why it isn't obvious to them that some courtesy towards the current co-leaders would be more appropriate decision-making, in respect of that Charter principle.

      But we definitely do need better leadership! To supplement their constructive liaison with Labour, our co-leaders ought to signal our independent view on suitable issues. It would raise our profile in the media. If they do, the young & restless will be likely to become reconciled with the caucus. If not, troubled times ahead…

      • weka 18.1.1

        Staying in the current arrangement, and the non-bound MPs speaking up much more strongly would be a good compromise. And having the debate within the party this year so direction can be clearer for 2023.

        I'm in favour of the ex-MPs speaking up. Even if Delahunty is wrong on what should happen, diversity of views is really important. The GP leadership response of 'it's all fine' is a worry. They should be taking the challenges seriously (even allowing for the politics inevitably involved).

        • Dennis Frank 18.1.1.1

          diversity of views is really important. The GP leadership response of 'it's all fine' is a worry

          I agree with both those points. However retired politicians have put themselves beyond the fray. Sue isn't even in the party. Dunno about Catherine. I bet the co-leaders resent them breaking convention (twice).

    • weka 18.2

      To claim that the Party is not effective enough at the moment because of the poor performance of its leadership and MPs isn't recognising this very simple political fact.

      That's not my argument. I think if the goal is to work within conventional structures and do pretty much what you are arguing, then the leadership is working. Personally, I think there is great value in having Ministerial positions, and MPs being able to work constructively within parliament and government departments. The influence here goes beyond overt policy gains that Labour agree to formally.

      But that goal and strategy is risky. How does it fit in with the urgency of climate action? If it's voters and Labour that are dragging the chain, and the Greens can only do so much within government, where does that leave us? Are we now saying we can't effect the necessary change and instead will settle for whatever degree of adaptation we can eek out?

  19. peter sim 19

    The next election is not looming.. Both the natz and seymour hve some work to do.

  20. peter sim 20

    The Moore, douglas, prebble destruction of nz society was horrendous.

    What remained (post richardson, bolger, shipley) was train wreck.

    Covid and climate change are going to impose enormous strains on all of us.

    I am sick of hearing , and reading about "business " people wanting borders to be reopened so they can keep making profits.

    Sorry. My and my whanau's health is more important than your, and your shareholders bank balance.
    The greens have plenty of room to manouvre

  21. the greens will not even take a stand against the mediocre gang of bureaucrats wanting to defile Robbies Park with a concrete and stainless steel monstrosity. if they cant do that then they cant do anything!

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