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“Is there even a point in having the Greens anymore?”

Written By: - Date published: 12:31 pm, May 17th, 2020 - 104 comments
Categories: election 2020, greens - Tags: , , ,

Well yes Martyn, there is. Last time I looked the Greens were still needed for Labour to be leading our centre/left government.

Labour’s 36.9 + NZF’s 7.2 =/= 50%. It equals 44.1%. Where did the other 6% come from? This is not rocket science, or even particularly difficult maths.

So let’s count up what the Greens have managed to get here.

$1.1b in ‘environmental jobs’, there’s $400m to clean up rivers plus $2.7b for rail (which isn’t directly their own policy) gets us to say $4billion.

That’s $4billion out of a budget of $50billion?

More maths. Funnily enough, $4b is 8% of $50b, so it looks to me like the Greens, on 6.27% of the vote, are punching above their weight. Not that the Greens actually punch in politics, because what’s the point of punching your allies, the ones that you need in order to have any power?

And not that this is the most meaningful way to assess the value of a political party, but here we are. If we’re going to talk using crayons, this is the chunky strokes picture of where we are at: the Green Party enables a centre/left government, and they get more gains than their size would otherwise indicate.

For those interested in the details of what the Greens did for this Budget, here’s a post that explains what we wouldn’t have had if the Greens didn’t exist. That’s a point for the people who think Labour can/should govern alone, or with NZF alone.

Martyn seems to think the Greens should be climbing Mt Everest. I’d much rather they were down on the plains doing some regenag farming. That’s the difference between macho left wing politics and green politics right there, the desire for heroes and warriors vs the need to rebuild and create.

My thanks to Psycho Milt in the comments for this,

Here we go again. Commentators ask what use are the Greens if they aren’t dominating the government’s policy agenda? They never explain how they think a party with 6% of the vote might dominate the agenda, nor explain how discouraging people from voting Green will help the Greens get more influence over policy and spending.

So it’s a stupid question to start with, but if you’re determined to establish what effect the Greens have had on this budget, compare it with the Clark government’s 2002 – 2008 budgets. Those are what we could expect if the Greens weren’t involved.

I never see the how or the rationale explained either*. Maybe there is some special magic wand that macho politics controls, but it’s a well hidden, secret magic wand that no-one seems keen on sharing.

Here’s my challenge to lefties in this election year. If you think the Greens can do better, say how. Specifically. We all have our reckons about what should be, but tell us how those things can be. Bring your good ideas to the table, not just the fantasy, but the plan on how to get there.

Here’s one. It’s really simple. The Greens can have more policy influence on government with more Green MPs in government. Fifteen Green MPs instead of eight would change things like presence in the public eye, MSM coverage, Ministerial positions, resources within caucus and parliament, positions on Select Committees. All of these affect power in parliament (i.e. which shit gets done), but equally important is the increased ability to shift culture, long the secret weapon of the Green Party, to more egalitarian and progressive values.

Voting Green and supporting the Green Party makes a difference. If that seems ethically troublesome for some lefties, or a poor cultural fit, maybe consider what it would be like voting in the US this year and see if that sharpens the mind. If party politics is really too much, put energy into extra-parliamentary movements, there are plenty to choose from. All good change comes from the edge, and we still need parliament to enact that, so vote Green as well.

Some of what should happen this year is squarely on the Greens. The decisions they make as a party and caucus, what their social media team does, how they manage the MSM, their election campaign and so on. There’s important critique to be made here, but it’s time to get past the superficial Green-bashing for the sake of it and instead offer up something that takes us somewhere better than we are.

There is also what the rest of us do. How we vote, how we talk about politics and this election, how we support each other and our natural allies, how we critique rather than bash, how we build and give mana, how we front-foot our values and create change.

2017 NZ Political Compass

*to be fair Bradbury did suggest that having one of your media team become chief press secretary for Labour was a useful way to make policy gains. Neat.

104 comments on ““Is there even a point in having the Greens anymore?””

  1. observer 1

    Yeah, what we need is a well-funded radical left party, with Martyn's wisdom to guide them.

    We could call it Internet Mana. That would deliver big time!*

    (*for National. The people in need, not so much)

  2. Ad 2

    It's up to the Greens and the Green Party to explain how they will do better. It's their campaign after all.

    Particularly your responsibility Weka since you put the post up. Hint: you won't do it quoting maths.

    There's nearly all the voters up for grabs – what's your best shot?

    And if you really want to get your money's worth in government, go into actual government – not the half-pregnant C&S agreement.

    • weka 2.1

      I've told you already that I'm not the Green Party, please stop talking to me as if I am. I know that you are partisan Labour and associate with them in that way, but I don't with the Greens.

      This post is specifically for the lefties who are hating on the Greens in the self-defeating way that Bradbury just did. I'm sick of the bashing and superficiality. Put up some decent analysis of what the Greens *can do and I'll engage. 'Blah, blah, the Greens need to do better' is just boring now.

      The post isn't actually about the Greens, it's about the left and what we want and how we think we're going to get it. I disagree with you that this is solely for the GP.

      • xanthe 2.1.1

        We absolutely need a party promoting a holistic environmental policy platform. but first we need to see the demise of the pretenders who call themselves green. only then can we build the groundswell of popular engagement that is essential to actually making the necessary change.

        • Incognito 2.1.1.1

          Which or what pretenders?

          • xanthe 2.1.1.1.1

            Those who promote that particular branch of neoliberalism "identity politics"

            • Incognito 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Still not clear to me. Do you mean within the Green Party or outside it?

              • xanthe

                I am not calling out persons but rather the ideology. anyone can have an epiphany.

                • Incognito

                  Whatever you’re doing, you’re not providing clear answers to simple questions 🙁

                  • xanthe

                    I am not here to play word games with you! You know quite well what I refer to when i write about "identity politics" in the Green movement. if you would rather play games than consider the possibility that "identity politics" has and is undermining the purpose of the green movement and is at the heart of the inability of the greens to gather sufficient support to actually do anything useful then that your privilage. I am just setting out how it looks to me after many years of supporting and actively working for the movement.

                    • Incognito

                      Look, you don’t have to answer anything here. Just remember that many more are reading your comments than just the commenters here and even more than just the one who replies to you. I’m all for clarity of thought and expression. I’ll leave the playing games to others.

                    • xanthe

                      Ok thats fair enough , anyway i think you have managed to tease out my meaning enough for most others to see so all good

  3. RedLogix 3

    One area where Shaw has done particularly well was in building a cross party consensus on climate change over the past few years.

    When you are at 6% (and only 1% from oblivion) taking big standalone policy positions is dangerous. You get results by finding allies, and negotiating effectively with people who might otherwise be opponents. You take the wins where you can get them and then share the credit generously with the people who made it possible. You work to make yourself look like you belong in government, however boring that may feel.

    Any minor party that measures its results by it's own standards of ideological purity is setting itself up for failure.

    • Incognito 3.1

      Any minor party that measures its results by it's [sic] own standards of ideological purity is setting itself up for failure.

      Nice strawman based on an urban myth 😉

      Where would you like to pin the tail: caucus or party?

      Of all parties, I’d argue that the Greens have swallowed more dead rats and made more compromises than any other party. I believe their consensus approach may not always serve their own interests as well as they could or should have. This is not to say that there aren’t any factions within the party that pursue their respective micro-agendas with passionate fervour that borders on ideological orthodoxy and dogmatism; activists are not known for making compromises that would find favour with the establishment and meet with approval from the general public. At least the Green Party stands for something!

  4. Sacha 4

    Maybe there is some special magic wand that macho politics controls, but it’s a well hidden, secret magic wand that no-one seems keen on sharing.

    Some pundits seem to be overcompensating for the discreteness of their wand. 🙂

  5. McFlock 5

    It seems to me that the Greens' main attraction is boldness and ethical integrity.

    There's no reason why they shouldn't get >10% on the night if they plug some strong policies, like they usually put forward.

    The smaller-partner problem remains: the main party in government gets the glory, the smaller parties get seen as lackeys. I suspect that is the reasoning behind Peters picking a fight with China and Shane Jones, well, existing.

    But the Greens have stuck to a clear "shopping list" of policy achievements. They can differentiate themselves by expanding that list into areas Labour would cough at and then try to adopt. Basically, pull a Bernie.

    • weka 5.1

      Their new income support policy is looking nice and Bernie-esque (Green style) (had a quick read yesterday). Presumably announcements about it have been delayed because of covid, I expect this is true of their platform generally. When does the election campaign proper start?

      I'm curious what they will do with the whole small party at the end of the first term thing, and expect them to come up with something new. Not emulating Peters/Jones, lol thank god, but yep, focusing on their boldness and ethical integrity.

      • Incognito 5.1.1

        When does the election campaign proper start?

        For National it started 19 October 2017 😉

        Friday 19 June – The regulated period starts.

        Saturday 18 July – Special rules let you put up signs that are up to 3 square metres in size.

        Sunday 16 – August Writ day.

        https://elections.nz/assets/Handbooks/Party-Secretary-Handbook-2020.pdf [PDF pg. 6; numbered pg. 4]

        • RedLogix 5.1.1.1

          Sorry I didn't think I was attacking anything much less trotting out a strawman; merely expressing support for what I believe the Greens have been doing rather well, finding common ground and getting stuff done where possible.

          In hindsight my comment above was probably not well constructed. I rather liked the one from Tim O @ 7.0 below; it expresses what I had in mind rather better.

          • Incognito 5.1.1.1.1

            This must be a reply to my comment @ 3.1 😉

            All good, I didn’t say you were “attacking” as such but rather you did appear to subscribe to the common perception that the Greens see themselves as ideologically pure. I think this is inaccurate and leads to all sorts of cheap shots such as ‘holier than thou’, ‘sanctimonious’, and ‘hypocrites’, for example. I could expand on this but time is short 😉

            Yes, I like Tim O’s comment @ 7 too.

    • Grumpy 5.2

      Ha, “ethical integrity”! You do realise the Greens just voted to allow the police warrant less entry into private homes.

      • McFlock 5.2.1

        jeez, I hope they had a world-shaking reason for that /sarc

      • Macro 5.2.2

        So I guess you would be happy for NZ to continue at level 3 for the foreseeable future, until such time as the govt was able to hold select committees and public submissions, and all the rest of normal parliamentary procedure, to ensure that idiots who wanted to transgress the essentiality of limiting social gatherings could be properly controlled.

        BTW Just how do you think people who decide to host large gatherings (against the law), where the risk of COVID-19 spread is vastly increased, should be dealt with?

          • Macro 5.2.2.1.1

            Now that is an extreme example. But yes people flouting the rules like that jeopardise the efforts of us all to eliminate the virus. Just 1 pre-symptomatic person can infect dozens in such a gathering, and then we are all back to level 4.

            The current evidence is that transmission is less likely in places such as supermarkets but in social gatherings of large groups of people not observing social distancing.

            • Grumpy 5.2.2.1.1.1

              We were talking about the Greens voting to have police breaking your door down without a warrant. Much more likely to happen to the average Kiwi than 300 gang members at Matamata.

              • Incognito

                I don’t mind if they break my door as long as they wipe their feet. Let’s call the AOS for children’s birthday parties with 11 or more children especially when they’re having home-made pineapple-spaghetti pizza, which is a severe crime on its own.

              • Macro

                have police breaking your door down without a warrant

                I think you rhetoric is getting a little carried away there. The response of the police over the past month or so has been to firstly educate, and then warn following a repeat offence, and only in the last resort to arrest and prosecute.

                • Grumpy

                  I tend to agree, so why are these powers necessary and why did the Greens vote for them?

                  • weka

                    • left_forward

                      Perfect response to el Grumpo.

                    • Grumpy

                      So we can take it that the Greens agree with police entering private property without warrants when it is " to keep everyone in NZ safe". Does that include terrorist threats, drug trafficking and all those other things that are a threat the Kiwi's safety?

                      Where are the Greens prepared to draw the line – if at all?

                    • weka

                      "So we can take it that the Greens agree with police entering private property without warrants when it is " to keep everyone in NZ safe"."

                      I don't take that.

                      Do you know how parliament works? If the GP didn't vote for this Bill, then it wouldn't have passed, and NZ wouldn't have had the legislation in place to mandate Level 2. Political parties, esp small ones, make compromises like this all the time. If they didn’t, nothing would get done. The Greens did oppose part of the Bill, you can look that up.

                      As it turns out, the Bill did pass and is now going through a Select Committee process. My suggestion is that you follow the GP's actions around that if you want to see what they actually think.

                      You can also follow my twitter link above and see more discussion from CS and Genter, and a link to legal opinion about the Bill. It's interesting.

                      "Does that include terrorist threats, drug trafficking and all those other things that are a threat the Kiwi's safety?"

                      Are you asking if the new Bill allows the police to enter private property without warrants in order to act on terrorist threats, drug trafficking and all those other things that are a threat the Kiwi's safety?

  6. miravox 6

    The first sentence sums up exactly why Labour voters should support a Green Party. Proportional representation requires coalitions, as John Key so clearly understood. Old Labour might not like Greens focus on climate change when it will create job losses, but on practically everything else Greens are a natural ally to Labour. Creating new jobs can be included in that as well. Labour well knows, with all the work they've done on this in the last few years, that jobs, and the meaning of work is changing anyway.

    You mention the Green PR team – that is my one big problem. Every year they drop all their strategic policies and go in with one over-riding idea that they think will gain traction and it's often half-thought headlines and half-truths. Think their GM campaign a few elections ago (I'm not saying the issues aren't serious, it's the way they campaign on them). I'll be surprised if this year the PR campaign is not off-shore drilling and creating bogey-firms, as is their right, but they won't much go into what the legalities and politics of this is i.e. where the change needs to come from. Of course, oppose, but do the PR with an assumption that people who vote are intelligent.

    Having said that, I'll be keeping an eye on the polls and put my vote where its needed to ensure a leftist government – that and to keep the environment and social values of the Greens high on Labour's agenda.

    • Sacha 6.1

      focus on climate change when it will create job losses

      Yeah nah. Lots of jobs in that transition.

      • miravox 6.1.1

        Yes. The problem for old labour (see the resistance in Westcoast, Taranaki for example) there's not much doubt that if not managed well, there will be structural unemployment and the new jobs are in fields they don't have a connection with. But as I said, jobs are changing anyway, as Labour is fully aware of. But there is some distrust of the Green's agenda.

        • Anne 6.1.1.1

          Yes miravox there is a resistance to the Green Party inside Labour but it is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Many members count among their personal friends active members of the Green Party. Indeed James Shaw and Jacinda Ardern have been personal friends for years. I maybe from 'old Labour' but be assured many of us are very supportive of the Green agenda. It is without question the right agenda.

  7. Tim O 7

    Always feels like a category error to me to judge a parliamentary political party by the same criteria you judge an activist movement. By definition a political party is there to enact change through what can be done through government and legislation – it will always be constrained compared to what an activist movement can do, because it has different goals. The activist movements push opinion and blaze the trails, the parliamentary party is there to lock in the gains as they can be taken.

    You need both.

  8. Cricklewood 8

    I think the comparison is made based on what NZ 1st manages to get across the line in terms of policy gains etc… for better or worse they punch well above their vote share in that regard…

  9. Nice post. My gut feeling is that the next Government will be the same three parties. However, I'm hoping Labour do well enough to be able to force NZ First to accept the Greens as full members of the coalition, not just there as an add on.

    btw, that Political Compass graph is remarkable in that its seems to have got every party in the wrong place. Mind you, it's fundamentally flawed because it seems to think libertarianism is the opposite of authoritarian. The designer's clearly never met a libertarian with a grievance.

  10. Thanks for quoting me! I'm deadly serious about this bit: "….if you’re determined to establish what effect the Greens have had on this budget, compare it with the Clark government’s 2002 – 2008 budgets."

    People pick through the budgets looking for individual items that they can call Green Party "wins" and, not surprisingly, don't find much, not least because Green politics isn't about winning competitions.

    It's the wrong approach. The real question is "What would these budgets look like if Labour and NZF weren't dependent on the Greens to pass them?" And the answer is "They'd look like the Clark government's 2003 – 2007 budgets."

    To the extent that this government's budgets are friendlier towards the environment and the poor than the Clark governments' budgets, that's what the Greens have achieved. I think those achievements are pretty significant.

    • McFlock 10.2

      Yup – especially as what the Greens didn't push for, the Alliance did.

      I don't have too much of a problem with the Lab5 govt, but most of its biggest advances would not have happened without the Alliance or the Greens.

      • Psycho Milt 10.2.1

        Yeah, I was much happier with Lab 5 than the alternative, but following the demise of the Alliance my admittedly-not-crystal-clear memories of it are of a much less left-wing government than during the Alliance coalition years. Ardern and Robertson talk a good game, but so did Clark and Cullen.

        • McFlock 10.2.1.1

          I mean, I also think they play(ed) a reasonably good game. It's just that they need a further-left support party to really get that spark that differentiates a solid team from a winning team.

          • Psycho Milt 10.2.1.1.1

            One might still have the odd slight personal emotional issue re the events of 2001-2002 in NZ politics that probably should have been worked out in therapy a decade or more back, not that a person would admit that in public or anything…

  11. G Harris 11

    This year i am voting green for the first time.

    It is crucial the greens are as strong as possible to give them as much clout as possible.

    • Dennis Frank 11.1

      Good on you. I presume you're young? If not, it'd be interesting to know why you have switched allegiances. I will vote Green for the 11th consecutive general election..

  12. Tiger Mountain 12

    I party vote Green, apart from Internet Mana one time, despite their apparent “blue greening” tendency in recent years. With MMP they need every vote they can get and so do the NZ people. I do not excessively diss the Greens but do hope they can get with the “Greta” under 40s programme, and be way more activist.

    Have not voted Labour since 1984 when Roger, and his later soul mate Ruth, swung the neo liberal wrecking ball through the provinces, state sector, and manufacturing. Dirty filthy Blairites still seem to hold sway in the NZ Labour Party when it comes down to it.

    Greens are vital.

    • I Feel Love 12.1

      I'll party vote Green like last election, I've voted Mana & Maori in the past (Maori supporting National made me regret that choice & the Mana Internet debacle made me regret that choice), I've seen the Greens as fairly soft left wing but I've always believed them.

  13. I am donating to both parties green and red, and will vote Labour.

    I think the Green team is a vital balanced connection with the environment and Labour with People, and New Zealand First with big money interests. IMO.

  14. Descendant Of Smith 14

    I switched to Greens mainly due to Labour's attitude towards beneficiaries and workers rights. The Greens are much more coherent and have better policies in these areas.

    You can care more about the enviornment if you are not struggling every day to feed your family / undertaking precarious work.

    Labour talks a good story on these matters but fails to deliver.

    If the WEAG didn't give them the opportunity to lift benefits back to the NZS rate like they used to be I don't know what the fuck will, cause certainly the COVID-19 gave them a second opportunity to fix this to stimulate the economy as those on benefit spend all their money and they didn't take it then either. Labour is a bunch of numpties who have missed two obvious opportunities to change things.

    Here was my comment back in 2012. Reviewing that reminded me how much I miss Xtasy's comments. It may have been co-incidence as well but I remember asking Mike Smith in the year of policy development followed by year of the manifesto why Labour had the 8 hour working day, 40 hour working week as an achievement on the front page of the Labour Party website. Hypocrites. It disappeared a few weeks later. That tells you a lot about the neo-liberal influence within the party.

    "I really enjoy hearing Labour’s leftwing policies articulated in public:

    8 hour working day
    40 hour working week
    Decent minimum wage
    Increased taxation of the well off
    Increasing benefit rates to a liveable amount – at minimum putting the $20-00 per week back on benefits – you know the $20 per week they put back on super and the one they had 9 years to put back on benefits but did not
    Centralised wage bargaining forcing firms to compete on the quality of the product and service not on who can pay the crappiest wage
    Ensuring minimum salaries are say 120% of the minimum wage to stop employers getting around the minimum wage requirements
    Building more state housing and letting people live in their state houses for their entire life if they wish – you know giving people security
    Employing people with disabilites and young people in the public sector to give them an opportunity for a decent life and a good start – cause the private won’t and will never employ them all
    Regional development to support rural areas and not just farmers

    These things were not even “left” when I was growing up they were normal

    Maybe I’ve missed their press releases – don’t tell me Labours not a rightwing party."

  15. G Harris 15

    49 young…

    I am of the view that this country is now a young persons country.

    We.. The older people have done a pretty shit job overall.

    We have made decisions that have made it harder than it should be.

    We have fucked the planet to a point where its hard to see any change being enough.

    The green party in my mind represent the young people and they need to start taking control.

    • Dennis Frank 15.1

      Fair enough. Just keep in mind that only around 90% of old people are mainstreamers – the others did try to provide a positive alternative! Problem is so few people are brave enough to swim upstream against the flow when necesssary.

      I suggest you check the voting proportions of the younger generations at the election. Note how many voted for a better future – you may be surprised at how many younger people stick with the status quo. That sheeple thinking seems to pervade all generations. Hope I'm wrong!

  16. Kay 16

    Like so much in politics it's about perception, and since they moved into Government benches there is very much a perception they have simply 'fallen into line' and become part of the establishment.

    Many I speak to specifically cite their response to the release of the WWG report and Government (in)action. While that report would never have even happened without the Greens, the old Greens would have been screaming from the roof tops at the sheer nastiness of the Government- and they could have, not being part of the coalition- but instead they were seeing schmoozing up to Sepaloni and not a peep.

    Not a great look for one of your major target voting audiences.

    The perception is the only party in parliament who supported low income people/beneficiaries had rolled over and accepted scraps, or had struck some sort of deal to shut up and we'll give you climate change things.

    On a personal level, I made a few attempts at email contact with individual Green MPs last year. I am yet to receive even an acknowledgement of receipt from ANY of them, yet alone a reply. I even tried the old fashioned typed and mailed approach to James Shaw- nothing. Now, that sort of behaviour I have come to expect from current Government Ministers, most Labour MPs and the entire National Party. But these are the MPs who are supposed to be the ones still representing us regular folk, and even with their PAs and email auto-replies they can't manage common courtesy? I even emailed their campaign manager with my concerns about this- still waiting for a reply.

    It's absolutely vital to have them in Government, as part of a coalition. For that reason, and that reason only will I continue to vote for them, because life under the other crowd isn't worth living. But they've left me completely disillusioned and I fully understand why people give up voting altogether.

    We know what to expect with the other parties, and what you're going to get if you vote for them. I think most of us expected to see the Green MPs not lose that (relative) common touch, but they clearly have. It's a 2 way transaction this voting thing. I offered some constructive feedback in a very polite way and even the fact I took the time to do so was ignored.

    Perception.

    • Dennis Frank 16.1

      Well, you aren't the first to have noticed that! As a member, I get official emails from head office regularly – often striking a tone appropriate for kindergarten children.

      The authors are apparently so stupid that they don't realise they are bringing the GP into disrepute via such behaviour. I just tell myself "hey, they're leftists, stop expecting them to act like mature adults".

      You get the impression they have a mental age of 13 – but correspondence with members may be a chore performed by naive volunteers. As for the parliamentarians failing to respond to member questions, they could be too busy but that's a feeble excuse really. They closed down the member forums on the party website a few years ago – to prove that they hate democracy, I presume. 🙄

      And they keep asking us for money. Which I stopped supplying when they censored the 80 year old feminist. Still, all the other parties are worse. You can see why so many voters don't bother to vote…

      • Drowsy M. Kram 16.1.1

        "hey, they're leftists, stop expecting them to act like mature adults" – that's a very mature comment Dennis; your mental age is clearly >13. Are you by any chance related to RedLogix?
        Asking because I'd rather not presume laugh

        • Dennis Frank 16.1.1.1

          Yeah, I couldn't help it, it just slipped out. I know it's a banal generalisation. To err is human, and I was momentarily exhibiting my humanity. 😉

  17. Andrew 17

    It never ceases to amuse me to anything associated with NZF described as left or centre/left.

    Being Anti free trade, anti globalisation economic nationalists doesn’t cut it, as it’s essentially the same pitch as Trumps.

    I’m also looking forward to the day almost anyone on the NZ left fronts up to the fact there’s currently two cabinet Ministers who are arguably the two worst racists in NZ politics.
    Says a lot about Bombers values that he’d even consider labour governing with only that ethical cesspit for support.
    Finding a way to remove them from anything resembling power should be a major priority of anyone who serious a government that’s based on kindness.

    • Descendant Of Smith 17.1

      Well that's the problem with labeling everything simply left or right and not thinking people can exhibit a range of institutionilised tendencies.

      Is Labour really left or just a pale shade of blue? From my perspective it has a mixture of left and right wing policies.

      Do they believe for instance in an 8 hour day, 40 hour working week? Something they were so proud of once that doesn't even get a mention. Remember this is the party that destroyed what many of us saw as normal left policies. Better than National of course but nowhere near where they used to be.

      Many of us look at the more left mixed economies of places like Finland and can see much room for improvement in our own. The Greens are the ones pushing us in that direction.

  18. Descendant Of Smith 18

    I'm still a fan of Winston as well – not only for the winebox – without his win in Northland a while back both the main parties would have let the regions die. Remember that happened just after this in 2014.

    https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/nz-has-zombie-towns-need-close-%E2%80%94-economist-ns-159124

    Winston won Northland in 2015 and suddenly regions were important again.

  19. froggleblocks 19

    Why are TOP shown as being almost as far to the right as ACT when they are advocating for a UBI as practically their most important policy?

    • arkie 19.1

      Because their UBI proposes to replace social welfare.

      • froggleblocks 19.1.1

        No it doesn't.

        • arkie 19.1.1.1

          Yes it does.

          The Opportunities Party (TOP) is proposing a fundamental overhaul of the tax and welfare systems in New Zealand to make them modern, simple and fair. This will be achieved by introducing a:

          • $13,000 annual universal basic income (UBI);
          • $2,080 annual child universal basic income (paid to parents);
          • Flat tax of 33% on all income from all sources for all entities; and
          • Risk free return method (RFRM) tax on assets.

          https://www.top.org.nz/universal_basic_income *my bold*

          • froggleblocks 19.1.1.1.1

            No it doesn’t.

            A UBI would be paid to all New Zealand citizens and permanent residents over the age of 18. It replaces all benefits of a lesser value (e.g. Supported Living Payments and the Jobseeker benefit). People on higher benefits would be no worse off. A child UBI would be paid to the parent(s) of all children under the age of 18. This would replace Working For Families of lesser value, those receiving higher rates would be no worse off.

            • arkie 19.1.1.1.1.1

              It says it replaces benefits twice in your quote, so yes, it does.

              • froggleblocks

                Ok, so lets go back to the beginning, shall we?

                You said it was a rightwing policy "Because their UBI proposes to replace social welfare."

                I've now quoted text that says NO ONE will be paid less as a result of the UBI. Any additional benefits, including superannuation, are on top of the proposed UBI payment. No one misses out.

                By saying “it replaces social welfare” you were clearly implying that it would be a lesser payment for some people. Yet it is not.

                It includes as a principal means of funding, a wealth tax, which is inherently progressive as those who own the most wealth will pay the most tax.

                So, how again exactly is it a rightwing policy?

                • arkie

                  I don't believe that was the implication I made. I said they propose to replace welfare, and, in fact, they do!

                  It's right wing because replacing welfare while saying 'no one will be paid less' is still replacing welfare, and it's with a one-size-fits-all approach topped off with a flat-tax rate. This is not a progressive platform, flat tax is right out of ACT's playbook, therefore TOP's UBI proposal is right-wing.

                  On top of all that, current welfare is inadequate as it is, swapping it with a UBI that doesn't increase it to livable levels is right wing.

                  • froggleblocks

                    lol

                    1. It's "one size fits all" approach because it is universal. That's what universal means.

                    2. Replacing a system that is clearly flawed and doesn't work well, with a much better system that serves far more people with fewer overheads, isn't a bad thing or inherently right-wing.

                    3. It is a flat-tax because when you combine it with a UBI – which is in effect a negative tax rate – you end up with a tax scale that is perfectly progressive with the amount someone earns. Every dollar is taxed at the same rate so there's never a case with higher abatements like there is now, where when you start earning over a certain amount you lose substantially more money, which acts as a big incentive to not earn above that threshold.

                    4. No, swapping an inadequate welfare policy for the people currently on welfare for a system where those people are NO WORSE OFF – and in fact better off due to getting rid of fierce abatement rates – is at worst neutral, not right-wing.

                    UBI's are inherently left wing policies. Trying to pretend they are right-wing is just stupid.

                    Your definition of right-wing seems to actually be "something I don't like (because I don't understand it)".

                    • arkie

                      You make a lot of assumptions about what I feel about these things.

                      Replacing the welfare system with a negative income tax is an inherently right-wing idea, Hell, Friedman advocated for it in 62.

                      There is no universe where a flat tax is progressive. You seem to misunderstand how current progressive tax rates even work.

                • weka

                  • weka

                    the compass in the pic was from 2017, when Morgan was in charge. He's right wing, and anti-welfare.

                    TOP have made some changes, I think their intentions are good, but they're still see welfare as bad, which I think explains the holes in the UBI policy still.

                    • froggleblocks

                      What holes?

                      Everyone gets at least what they are getting now. Where's the hole?

                      It's a UBI, it's not promised as an overhaul of welfare and increasing benefits for people currently on benefits. That's a different policy. Not all policies solve all existing problems, or even problems adjacent to their core focus.

                    • weka

                      "That's a different policy"

                      Which they don't have. A UBI that doesn't solve welfare is a very poor UBI. Worse, TOP seemed still be ideologically aligned with getting rid of welfare, although they at least acknowledge now that people who can't work need another source of income (which is a vast improvement on Morgan's position).

                      A few holes:

                      1. how to tory-proof their model for when National are in charge again.
                      2. their Youth UBI is actively discriminatory against disabled youth. It literally says give the UBI to all youth on top of existing income except those on benefits. Those on benefits who can't work are some of the most vulnerable NZers. Why design a system that doesn't address their needs but gives additional income to salaried workers?

                        https://thestandard.org.nz/the-failure-of-tops-youth-ubi-policy

                      3. they start with the economics rather than the people, which is why they have a well costed policy but not one that helps people most in need.
    • weka 19.2

      Because of vagaries in economic areas, we’ve avoided placing The Opportunities Party until recently. It appears in the classic libertarian mould — right wing (ie neoliberal) economics coupled with libertarian social attitudes.

      https://www.politicalcompass.org/nz2017

      Also this https://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2

      UBIs can be left or right depending on how they are designed. It's one of the holes in left wing thinking atm, to not take into account what the right will do with a UBI once they get their hands on it.

      • weka 19.2.1

        Re TOP, bear in mind this was from 2017, Morgan was still in charge, and he is right wing. TOP currently have changed from of their policy, I expect their position on the compass will change, but they're still centrists not left wing.

        • RedLogix 19.2.1.1

          I expect their position on the compass will change, but they're still centrists not left wing.

          Indeed that is true on the left/right economic axis, but on the libertarian/authoritarian axis TOP and the Greens are in exactly the same place.

        • froggleblocks 19.2.1.2

          Right, the presence of Mana on there should have tipped me off.

          Note that my question was not "why aren't TOP on the left", my question is "why is TOP almost as far right as ACT".

          I think even given their 2017 policy platform, somewhere between National and Labour would be more appropriate – a bit to the right of UF.

  20. Roy cartland 20

    Thanks weka, a great post. Articulates very well what my "poison rant" in the comments of that earlier post failed to.

  21. Bearded Git 21

    Imagine this scenario…

    Labour 43.0

    Greens 4.8

    Nzf 4.8

    Nats. 41.0

    ACT 4.0

    Wasted vote 2.4

    Simon is PM. This is entirely feasible. This is why any labour voter with the slightest green tendancy should tactically vote green.

  22. gsays 22

    While G.E., mining on or off conservation land, water quality degradation etc are important, I would like to see/hear The Greens stand for something.

    Something big picture, unifying and with CC in mind.

    Organic Aotearoa 2025. Weaning our agriculture and horticulture sectors off the crack pipe of phosphate, nitrate, rinse repeat at increasing amounts. Soil health first and foremost.

    Permaculture and biodynamics are other fields that can be invested in.

    • weka 22.1

      Interesting. I see them standing for things eg Genter's work on public transport, and Davidson's work on mending welfare. But if we look at the environment, I''ll keep an eye out now on their framing, you may be right that it's defensive rather than proactive. Would also love Organic Aotearoa 2025, or RegenAgAo 2025. I think they do better with this in their election campaigns.

  23. common sense 23

    I used to fiercely debate my grandfather who was a national voter at the merits of voting labour party.

    The greens influence means that there is no vote for the labour party, its to tainted with green craziness.

    Even my brother who is a DOC worker is sick of the greens and he is about as green minded as it gets.

    We can all agree that we need to look after the environment but it has to be practical and it needs to be grounded in common sense

    I will vote no confidence rather than see a labour green alliance .

    How bout instead of having to lean on other parties we get our shit together to get higher voter turnout and appeal to more people by governing competently

    Having to lean on others is weak and a sign of incompetence .
    Good policy with precision execution should be the goal, not hoping someone else can drag us over the line

    • KJT 23.1

      Showing that "common sense" is really not that, "common"!

    • Ad 23.2

      The poll out tonight shows Labour so far out in front that they don't need anyone.

      The Greens will need to work hard to just get back in.

  24. esoteric pineapples 24

    If the Green Party did not exist, there would be thousands of New Zealanders who felt there was no party in the political spectrum that represented their point of view. I don’t vote Green because I hate Labour. I vote Green because I prefer the Green Party to the Labour Party. Voting Green is a positive choice for me. Voting Labour would be a negative choice for me. I would be voting for Labour only because they were the best of the rest.

  25. Ad 25

    Greens at 5.5% on the new poll will need to step up to even get back in.

  26. Jum 26

    Voters are fickle and open to manipulation and nacts are good at that. Did Greens ever admit that they were Labour's strait jacket to bring in S59 because that had an effect on voters or that lighting choices were about them? No. I certainly voted for that then, but Key won the lie. Greens can own that now, but in 2008 the time was about individualism over people and people hated taking responsibility for their country. They demand recognition for wins but ignore damage to left leaning brands.

    They've done nothing publicly about animal welfare or beauty without cruelty lately. Mojo Mathers I miss you.

    A simple lesson: greed does not care about people. It will do anything to reel them in. Religion does not care about women; it will do anything to destroy a woman leader. Large poll results for Labour are highlighted to manipulate voters into thinking they do not have to vote. That is dangerous thinking. Greens supporting Labour Well-being and enforcing that thinking in print is the better path.

  27. The headline is pub talk bait. Lift your game.

  28. Rae 28

    ACT are a big fat fraud. When they formed, the position they took on the spectrum would have been as far right, if not further than TOP but quite considerably more libertarian. It has gone from a libertarian party to a conservative one.

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