The left now has to play its cards carefully. For example, this is not a time for mixed messages. Here’s Phil Goff in The Herald this morning:
The Labour Party says it expects the Government to back off the prospect of mining on Great Barrier Island and in Coromandel in the wake of one of the biggest protest marches in New Zealand’s recent history. … “They [the Government] have got to back down from both Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel,” Mr Goff said.
No! This wasn’t a march about Great Barrier and the Coromandel, this was a march about New Zealand. Phil, don’t dilute the message and leave the Nats with any wriggle room. Labour’s actual position is perfectly clear, from the same article, Labour “has pledged to return any land removed from Schedule Four”. (On Red Alert Trevor Mallard is even more blunt.) So why the mixed messages? There is only one message to take to the public now – no mining on any Schedule 4 land!
There is a tightrope to be walked however. Ideally the political left would stay focused on the issue here, and not turn this into a personality based pissing match. I for one am hoping not to see talk of the government being “defeated” or “forced to back down” or “flip-flopping”. Stay clearly on focus — no mining on Schedule 4 land — but don’t make it personal, or the Nats will dig in (so to speak) for all the wrong reasons. So my plea to fellow lefties, don’t let the desire for a political “win” derail the real goal, a good outcome for the environment.