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Nat Green split

Written By: - Date published: 4:01 pm, November 10th, 2009 - 51 comments
Categories: greens, national - Tags:

I’ve been saying for a while now that folks should be reading Pundit. Recent excellent new author there Claire Browning has a real scoop today:

After the honeymoon, divorce: Greens break up with National
by Claire Browning

The Greens have walked away from part of their working arrangement with the government. Jeanette Fitzsimons revealed exclusively to Pundit a relationship breakdown in the energy efficiency and conservation portfolio. … The Greens have concluded that the energy efficiency and conservation part of the relationship is unsustainable, she and Gerry Brownlee cannot work together, and energy efficiency and conservation should, therefore, be deleted from the National-Greens memorandum of understanding (MOU).

Jeanette then added her own contribution:

Ideology destroys energy efficiency

… I have trouble understanding the antipathy of the National Government to standards of this kind. Products have not become more expensive. There is still a huge amount of choice. It seems to be ideological. … With such a retrograde vision of energy efficiency for New Zealand, it is little wonder the National Government didn’t want to collaborate further with the Greens. I can only wonder why they sought to do so in the first place.

This is of course very bad news for New Zealand. The rational input of the Greens stood at least some chance of moderating the worst of National’s blunders in this area, but now that voice won’t be heard. It’s also a wake up call to the Greens. As a Labour Party member who has voted for, worked for and donated to the Greens, I have found the new leadership’s direction very disturbing. The claim that there is no difference between National and Labour (Coke and Pepsi) is silly. The claim (made by some of their activists) that Labour delivered nothing for workers is silly. Contrast the current National split with the record of Green achievements working with Labour. I hope the new Green leaders can draw some obvious conclusions.

And as for National, well, it’s looking like another bad week for the coalition. Both ACT and the Maori Party are mired in controversy, and now this split with the Greens. Maybe instead of checking his shares first thing every morning, John should count his numbers…

51 comments on “Nat Green split ”

  1. Hmmm, I could see at the alter that it would never work out and the divorce lawyers would be needed.

    Good to see the Greens take a stand on principle.

    I wonder what the blue-greens think about this?

    BTW Ian Wishart is on National Radio this afternoon. Just goes to show that we live in a democracy when state radio puts someone like him on.

  2. felix 2

    Maybe there’s hope for them after all.

  3. George D 3

    The hatred of efficiency regulations in National seems to be from a pathological, faith-based love of markets, which requires them to ignore a world of evidence from other countries.

    The stupid, it burns.

  4. Chess Player 4

    Shouldn’t they be, like, forced to go to counselling?

    • Coco 4.1

      My my,

      From an utter pig- to a ‘gameplayer’…..?

      “Instantly cute’

      But can one play a game, if one doesn’t know the rules?

      Not with chess they can’t!

  5. Clarke 5

    My suspicion is that Brownlee will try and paint his gutting of the EECS as another blow against the fearsome nanny state, where in reality it’s an exercise in “taxation by consumption”.

    The effect of inefficient appliances and cars is that everyone pays more to run them, and the resulting higher electricity bills and petrol costs have a direct and positive impact on the Government’s finances. This can be seen in the US, where the lower income from petrol taxes is having a very negative effect on the finances of some government agencies, due primarily to people driving less in a recessionary environment.

    If the vehicle fleet was 30% more fuel efficient – as advocated by the Greens – you can imagine the negative impact on Joyce’s road-building ambitions. So the simple solution is to make sure taxes stay high by opening the flood gates to the crappiest, least efficient imported cars in the world, then gutting the legislation so that consumers don’t have the information they need to make a good purchasing decision – and disguise it as “personal choice”.

    Like I said – taxation by consumption.

  6. tc 6

    Predictable with Gerry Browncoal……ooopps I mean Brownlee as minister for mining….gosh there I go again….minister for energy.
    It’s not about having a vision, it about looking after your mates and backers which means wrecking existing visions and replacing them with a brick tied to a lever…Homer styles.
    I hope they make mileage over yet another broken agreement…..I can see the herald warming up page 28 under the classifieds now.

  7. BLiP 7

    National Ltd® – 100% Pure Bullshit !! No wonder Mogadon John is too ashamed to show his face in Copenhagen.

  8. Gosman 8

    Ummmm…. why should Key check his numbers?

    It isn’t as if his coalition partners would all band together to vote against the Government.

    Isn’t that just another example of more wishful rather than rational thinking on the left?

  9. lprent 9

    It looks like Brownlee and Joyce are the epitome of bad faith bargainers… From the Pundit post.

    Coincidentally, on the morning of my meeting with Fitzsimons, Gerry Brownlee released a briefing to me under the Official Information Act dated May 12, 2009 a month after the National-Greens MOU was signed. It’s a twelve-page document from the Ministry of Economic Development, advising on “Options for updating the New Zealand Energy Efficiency Strategy’.

    I took the briefing to our meeting. I had questions for Fitzsimons about it. As it turned out she couldn’t answer them because neither she nor her staff had seen it.

    The briefing sets out official advice and options for updating and joining the New Zealand Energy Strategy (NZES) and the EECS into a single comprehensive government strategy. As such, it falls squarely within the frame of the MOU.

    My bold. Now what is interesting about that is that this is a primary Green party area, and one in which Jeanette has a formidable expertise. it means that Brownlee and Joyce chose not to show it to her from the very beginning of the MOU when it was clearly at the heart of the MOU.

    I have a few questions about that….

    1. Did John Key know of that bad faith during and after the signing of the MOU and did he approve of it?

    2. If not knowing and approving, then why hasn’t he been doing his job? A large chunk of his job is maintaining the coalition agreements.

    3. What similar surprises await the other areas the Greens are interested in, for that matter the same question arises for the Maori Party and even bloody Act.

  10. Outofbed 10

    For the 978th time The coke pepsi analogy is about both parties attitude to growth
    And the difference is between about how the’ bigger cake’ is divided
    Not on sustainably growing the cake

    “I have found the new leadership’s direction very disturbing’

    With the greatest respect, the Green Kaupapa remains the SAME
    The Green leadership is reelected every year by its membership
    so IF the leadership WAS going somewhere where the membership didn’t want, it to go they would be out …if u have ever been to a Green Agm you would know that 🙂
    So in spite of a spate of a ‘where are the greens going unhappy activist posts’ I can honestly report( and I am in regular contact with the activist members up and down the country) , the feeling is good the Green Kaupapa remains the same

    Btw having read Clare Browning for a while She has obviously got some good
    Green contacts and is well informed. A must read

    The Brownlee thing has been brewing for a while I understand, surprised JF lasted this long

    • George D 10.1

      I suspect they didn’t want to be accused of spitting the dummy, being “unreliable” – as they have been labelled in the past.

  11. tc 11

    Bad faith’s a bit strong for this lot……market perception or gosh was that important to you, sorry I forgot to mention it springs to mind.
    Like that line from HHGG….” the plans have been lodged at alpha centauri for 2 millenia…” is very much the MO for this lot.
    yet another brick in the apathy wall of the swinging voter…..it’s very deliberate.

  12. “The claim that there is no difference between National and Labour (Coke and Pepsi) is silly. The claim (made by some of their activists) that Labour delivered nothing for workers is silly.”

    Actually it’s not silly. Its fairly accurate.

    • The Voice of Reason 12.1

      I’ll be as diplomatic as I can about this, leftrightout. You’re an idiot.

      If you don’t understand the difference between left and right political parties, you shouldn’t post on a political blog. If you are unaware of the record of Labour in government, then you shouldn’t post on this particular political blog. If you are ignoring the fact that the Greens supported most of the legislation bought in by the 3 Clark led governments, you’re a disingenuous twat.

      I like my 4 weeks holiday, I like Working for Families. I like extended paid parental leave, my smoko breaks, ACC and freedom from nuclear terrorism. I like so many of the great things Labour have done for NZ in my lifetime. I like fuck all about anything the Nats have done, ever. And I really don’t like ignorant, pompous gits who can’t intellectually reason past the moronic apolitical Tweedledum/Tweedledee argument.

      [lprent: Someone with the same diplomatic views as I have….. 😈 ]

      • Herodotus 12.1.1

        Playing devils advocate, you are happy about User pays, free kindy meaning $3 subsidy, $4b price gouging by SOE in power, tax creep, NZ going backwards OECD rankings, banks exapating billions every year, $8b being lost in finance coys, $12+b in leaky houses, the rick poor gap widening over the last 9 years. Give nats the 2nd term and I will play this game with you again. You can play a Nats supporter & I will play D.A again!!

      • Ari 12.1.2

        TVoR: I don’t think any member of the Green Party disagrees that Labour are preferable to National because of their limited concern with workers within a free-trade capitalist colonial framework. The point is that both Labour and National want to exploit the third world, the environment, want unsustainable growth, and an inflationary economic system based on increasing consumption of resources to last as long as possible. Labour just wants the proceeds to go towards workers and social justice.

        From that perspective the Green Party represents a very different paradigm to either Coke or Peps- sorry, National or Labour, and it’s far more important for the Greens to strengthen our own agenda than to simply side with Labour against National in order to redirect the gains of an unsustainable economy towards social justice. It’s not enough to try and stop the Nats from pillaging and burning, (although we will, given a chance) we’ve got to find ways to convince New Zealand that the reforms we advocate are necessary. If Labour’s on board with that, great, but based on their previous term in government, there’s a lot of ground for them to cover if they do intend to move towards a just and sustainable society, and Phil Goff doesn’t seem very interested in moving in that direction just yet.

    • Leftrightout

      There was a very funny discussion recently on this very point recently where I thought the coke pepsi argument was buried. The link is here.

      What did (the romans) Labour ever do for (the jews) working kiwis?

      • Herodotus 12.2.1

        I take it that you meant the Monty Python skit. The link given confuses me!
        Or am I not the intended audience so I do not get what you intended?
        Also what no one has ever mentioned, when there is a right wing government, e.g. G.Britain 70’s – 80’s there is great music. The quality of the music produced would never be of such a high calibre if there were left winggers in power

        • The Voice of Reason

          Yeah, Mickey is referring us to the Python riff. It started when I was dealing to the same naivety as shown by leftrightout above. I was obviously in a more charitable mood than tonight.

          Life of Brian is a minter movie, BTW. Also created during the Thatch years, so that might add credence to your otherwise thin argument re: the music.

          • Herodotus

            Off target- but If you were old enough the movies had 2 Monty sketches, a cockroach and a tale of london actuaries, never seen it on dvd since the actuary one was a laugh. will I remember it was.

        • mickysavage


          My html still is not good.

          The link was to (fingers crossed) here.

        • Mac1

          Herodotus, there’s a reason why right wing governments inspire the librettists of the left.
          Who was it said that the right win the wars but the left have the songs?
          And again, I quote Scottish singer/songwriter Dick Gaughan who vowed never to leave Thatcherite Britain to tour whilst Maggie and her ilk was in power. Find and listen to his acclaimed album, “Handful of Earth,” of 1981.

          Of this album Gaughan wrote,” A bit of background to the making of this album. Just before my breakdown, May 79, the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher had won the General Election with a majority in England but a minority in Scotland and Wales and we were saddled with the most extreme Rightwing Government of my lifetime. We had just had the Devolution Referendum debacle and people in Scotland, particularly on the Left, were reeling under the economic consequences of the Thatcher strategy for solving inflation by crashing the economy and creating mass unemployment.
          What seemed to be required was to openly stand up and be counted. Although all my solo albums prior to this had included songs which reflected my political ideas, they had been more as chronicler than as protagonist. It was quite clearly time to stop reporting and start participating.”

        • exbrethren

          Think you might be a bit out on the music thing there. Thatcher came to power in 79, the corporate blandness of the mid to late 80s music was when the right wingers were at their apex. Unless you think early Kylie Minogue and Rick Astley are great music…..

      • George D 12.2.2

        They both believe strongly in a neoliberal economy, and that if we grow that large enough we’ll be able to fund all the things that improve our wellbeing, either privately (National) or mixed state and private (Labour). This is fundamental to the way Cullen operated, and Labour continues to operate.

        • The Voice of Reason

          The late unionist Bill Andersen used to refer to the Republicans and the Democrats as ‘the evil of two lessers’. But the Nats and Labour are a million miles from that political twin hood.

          Labour governments have always been elected under a capitalist framework and no electable political party has ever put revolution on their platform. But Labour have delivered so much that was good for working people, particularity in social policy, it is daft to confuse them with the party of the rich pricks.

          At best it’s ignorant, at worst it’s Trotskyite pompousness.

          • Herodotus

            How come the last 2 labour governments alienated their support base?
            The Labour party of the 80’s and 2000’s is nothing like the Labour party of the past. There has been far too much Chardonnay produced in NZ.
            Much of Labours support base have given unwavered loyality, I believe that much of this support has not been returned in kind, either to Maori and the traditional labour supporter.

            • mickysavage

              The last Labour Government did not alienate its support base. Part of the base got sucked in by the promise of “Labour lite” and “more of the same AND a tax cut”. They will return as time goes by.

              The fourth Labour Government did pi*& its support base off and was threatened by oblivion. It did survive though.

              Maori will return. That part of the electorate is very sophisticated and can see what is happening.

          • George D

            Believe it or not, there are alternatives that lie between singing the Internationale and signing free trade agreements with China.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Definitely, Labour are still far more right wing than left and it shows up in their economic policy. Unfortunately, this means that even when they do get back into power they’re still going to be making all the same mistakes that they have been since 1984.

    • Swampy 12.3

      Would you rather
      (a) support a Labour government that got elected, or
      (b) support some other party that didn’t get into government and therefore any promise they make has no show.

      • felix 12.3.1

        You mean like ACT?

        What do you mean?

        You despise Labour and the Greens so why shouldn’t people just assume you’re trying to stir shit?

  13. RedLogix 13

    I guess this debate has to be had. It’s stating the obvious, but it’s useful to bear in mind that Labour and the Greens spring from very different places in our national history, and themselves have quite different experiences of politics.

    It is probably fair to describe Labour as primarily a worker’s party, with a social justice agenda reflecting the economic priorities of workers; while the Greens are an environmental party who developed a social justice agenda because poverty and inequality are deeply linked to environment priorities.

    Labour is also a much older party, it’s history lending depth and experience, while at the same time the scars of past mistakes and defeats narrows it’s vision and ambition. The Greens have the luxury of never having been a govt; for them all things are still possible. There is, will remain for the foreseeable future, this gap between the two parties that needs to be understood and respected. It is no use pretending that it does not exist.

    Yet there are plenty of people like myself who support both parties, and wish for nothing more than to see Labour and the Greens look much more like potential coalition partners than they do at present. Much of the electorate can only ever envisage the Greens in govt with a Labour led coalition… and rightly or wrongly, the Green’s readiness to form part of such a govt for the first time ever, will be judged on how effectively they would fulfil such a role.

    captcha, ironic as ever = SPLIT

  14. mike 14

    Gee I hope the Nats can survive this complete political disaster

  15. Lets be clear TVOR, the Labour Party does not have the best interests of workers in mind. This is the party that kicked off Rogernomics and in the last 9 years did nothing to undo it. Wages are still low, housing is still unaffordable, healthcare is still a mess, and the gap between rich and poor is still growing. Working for Families, ACC? What’s the point when the economic system that shafts workers still prevails?

    The factories are closing and where is the Labour Party? Sitting on its hands yelling “John Key this, John Key that”. Why? Because it believes in the same failed neoliberalism the National Party believes in. It doesn’t have any alternative.

    Before you call me an “ignorant, pompous git” I suggest you take a look at a party like the Alliance to see what a genuinely left party looks like.

    • The Voice of Reason 15.1

      I was around for the birth of the Alliance. It was a crock then and is a crock now, because it cannot deliver. And unless the next referendum question is ‘should NZ abandon capitalism’ and it receives majority support, I reckon we are stuck with the current system and the current parties represented in parliament. Plus or minus Rodders and Winston.

      Each Labour government has done good things for working people, including the Lange administration. There is no excuse for Rogernomics, but that is not the defining feature of Labour. Labour is committed to social justice and actually delivers, as best it can in the western democratic tradition we have and under the totalitarianism of unelected capital domination.

      I like the politics of the Alliance, but only in an academic sense, because they are never going to actually achieve anything. This would be a very good time to join Labour, advance those policies and be part of the renewal. In two years or less, we are going to have the chance to remove this dull, witless government. Don’t stand on the sidelines, leftrightout. Do something positive, make a difference. Join the fightback.

      • Ari 15.1.1

        I like the politics of the Alliance, but only in an academic sense, because they are never going to actually achieve anything. This would be a very good time to join Labour, advance those policies and be part of the renewal. In two years or less, we are going to have the chance to remove this dull, witless government. Don’t stand on the sidelines, leftrightout. Do something positive, make a difference. Join the fightback.

        Indeed. If you’re too left for Labour, but don’t want in on the Greens, I strongly encourage you to work on Labour from within in order to get a better political consensus on the left. Sadly the Alliance is done for now, and the Progressives, as useful as some of their economics are, are stuck in a rut. Right now your pragmatic choices on the left are the Greens or Labour.

  16. toad 16

    I think the very next post by rocky highlights one of the differences – between Labour and the Greens.

    The Greens have the internal democratic processes necessary to ensure its policy reflects the wishes of its membership and its caucus stays true to its principles.

    Labour does not, and from time to time can act in a populist and unprincipled manner, as it did with its neoliberal economic agenda in the late 1980s and with the Foreshore and Seabed Act earlier this decade.

    But I suppose populism and lack of principle are, um, popular – which helps explain why Labour has 43 MPs but the Greens only 9.

  17. L 17

    While the Greens might say they are beyond left and right the reality is that while their position might be their policy’s more often that not agree with a centre left position than a right wing one. A strong left requires a spectrum of views. Outlyers like the Alliance, esposing an Ideologically purer but there more unpopular view, parties like the Greens – inside parliament but providing fresh, new ideas and pulling a party like Labour to the left. Labour under MMP is not there as an ideological party but a pragmatic party. A party to walk the line between popular support and ideological purity and hopefully for the left falling enough on the populist side to retain power while not doing to much damage with it’s popularist policys.

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