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NRT: Fundamental incomprehension

Written By: - Date published: 2:54 pm, September 10th, 2014 - 37 comments
Categories: election 2014, greens - Tags: ,

no-right-turn-256Reposted from No Right Turn

Its a slow news day, so naturally we have the Herald‘s John Armstrong trotting out one of the old media standards: that the Greens need to be able to work with National to gain power:

The Greens face an old dilemma: remain pure but powerless. Or go centrist and compromise and get things done.

If the Greens want to be able to negotiate with National as well as Labour, they are going to have to compromise by putting much of their social justice agenda on the backburner and pushing their environmental credentials harder.

One possibility would be to move to the cross benches and abstain on confidence and supply motions, thus possibly making National less reliant on Winston Peters and New Zealand First.

What the Greens cannot afford is to be sidelined again in 2017 in the way they have been in 2014. Tough decisions lie ahead.

This displays a fundamental incomprehension on two levels. First is the assumption that the Greens want power. They don’t. They want change. Power is just a means of achieving that change – and not worth pursuing if it costs them their policy agenda and their credibility with their voters.

And there are other means. At the moment the Greens are playing a long game of patient advocacy and winning the argument. And its working. Compare the policies of the parties in 2005 or 2008 with what they’re offering now. A lot of the significant changes are Green policies. Labour has basically adopted the Green Party’s agenda on child poverty, on clean water, on public transport, on energy efficiency and rental housing. Even National has been won over on home insulation, and has to pretend to care about the rest. But seeing that requires more than the five-minute attention span of the goldfish in the gallery.

Secondly, there’s the idea that there’s ground for cooperating with National purely on the environment. There isn’t (or rather, they’re so unbelievably narrow as to not be worth the price). This is the most anti-environment government I can remember. Its entire vision of the future rests on drilling, mining, and filling our rivers with cowshit. Its a government which has gutted the RMA, refused to act on climate change, and eroded the Conservation Act to pillage wood from protected conservation land. Oh, it makes a few concessions to public opinion – a marine reserve here, a slight expansion of a national park there – because they have to. But basically they’re a party of orcs, pillaging and destroying. They are unlikely to want to give away their entire agenda, and the Greens will not support any part of it. The idea that the Greens could support such a government is insane. The idea that they could survive it as a party is insaner. But its not because they’re National, or right-wing – its because they don’t pass the policy test.

But that’s the problem with the galley: they don’t think policy matters. They don’t think keeping faith with your voters matters. For them its all a horse race. The idea that some victories aren’t worth winning is something they just don’t understand. But then, should we really expect anything different from people who are just marking time and building their CV before their inevitable shift to a higher-paid job as a government or private-sector PR flack?


lprent: This is something that is quite apparent when you talk to candidates, party members, or just supporters across the decades. Anyone who has actively supporting the Greens for any significant length of time (like more than a decade) are generally moderate, well-informed about green issues, not too bad on the science, and quite uninterested in supporting political games.

They are also, as I/S says, slowly transforming the debate because it is ever more clear that the “tree-huggers” make sense and unrestrained resource usage and pollution of the ‘commons’ does not.

37 comments on “NRT: Fundamental incomprehension ”

  1. crocodill 1

    So if we suspend reality for a moment and imagine (because they are alleged to be up to their necks in DP) that the MSM and people Like Armstrong are good indicators of what is really happening in Team National and spokespeople for Party Power; and also what is really happening with politics inside the corridors of Parliament and talked about between major players via whatever means; then National sounding their (unimpressed?) supporters to consider voting Green paints an interesting picture. It says Labour is no longer a threat, that National are no longer in control of the polls and the Greens are about to experience a potentially decisive lift. If Armstrong is the mouthpiece of the Blue Leaders, the game just changed.

    • Tracey 1.1

      well, that sits with my national voting brothers saying they are party voting Green, something the commentators have never suggested is reflected in the polls. Preferring to assume such votes are lost from Labour

    • karol 1.2

      Patrick Gower has tweeted that tonight’s 3 News poll is/has a big mover – but move from where to were, and by whom?

      Comments under it are worth reading – MSM teaser & spin all in one?

      • Tracey 1.2.1

        I will look out for it with interest…

      • Liberal Realist 1.2.2

        So PGs big mover was ‘Moon Unit’ Craig up to 4.7% in the 3 New Poll…

        Let’s hope that the Conservatives final result on polling day is exactly that – 4.7%!

        • karol

          Interesting that Key now would prefer Conservatives to NZ First, according to 3 News tonight. Even though NZ First was also slightly up and over the 5% threshold.

          Cunliffe’s votes share on the up.

          Greens & Labour holding, solid.

          For a 3 News poll, that’s solid for the left.

          • Tracey

            that is presumably announced today a policy to make prisoners work…. which is close to cccp’s demand for hard labour.

  2. weka 2

    Spot on write up of both where the GP is at, and what it is about the GP that too many people just don’t get.

    “If the Greens want to be able to negotiate with National as well as Labour, they are going to have to compromise by putting much of their social justice agenda on the backburner and pushing their environmental credentials harder.”

    Gotta laugh at the righties having to promote the GP as an environmental-only party when 10 years ago they are condemning the GP for being an environmental-only party (both times the righties were wrongies).

  3. aerobubble 3

    So NAts are willing to work with Greens, why aren’t Labour?

    Why should you count for half? A vote for Labour
    in the constituency and a party vote Green has
    twice the power of voting Labour in both.

    Why should you count for half when Epsom voters
    are told to payback double, Vote Nat-ACT.

    Payback double. Party Vote Green.

    Why are you a half a Labour voter? Progressive
    party used to exist to provide the ACT on the
    left, but did Robinson tell Shearer, Goff? No.

    And Labour lost elections since. Labour needs
    a list party on the left. Like National have ACT,
    Conservatives, Dunne…

    Nationals mistake is its first past the post belief,
    MMP means lots of parties, some seat parties
    some list parties. Make them pay for their mistake.

    Payback double. Party Vote Green, Labour vote in the seat.

    • lprent 3.1

      One of the things that I find that I have explain to people over and over again is that the Greens are far more of centre party than anywhere on that blasted left-right spectrum.

      They operate orthogonally to the left-right spectrum.

      What look like good solid left/progressive policies from them are actually good solid *green* policies when you analyse them. That is because the Greens run with a longer term focus than the short-term myopia that characterises our conservative and business brethren.

      Essentially people who are poor tend to be dirtier polluters than their more affluent neighbours. Large numbers of poor people pollute exponentially to their accumulated numbers.

      And in the end, those sorts of voting decisions should be left to the voters. It is their vote after all. Unless they are sheeple like some of the National voters of Epsom, then they will get irritated with any political party telling them how to vote.

      I know that is any political party told me how I should vote, then I’d probably withdraw my vote from them. Such stupidity deserves to be rewarded.

      • aerobubble 3.1.1

        While I agree that telling people to vote would wind up people who think that people explaining the effects of split voting is telling them to do something.

        Its still doesnt mean that is what is going on. I agree with you that should you be offended by any party you should let it effect you as much or as little as you think you are supposed to react. Because its something I noticed about people who are accomplished manipulators, they win whether you choose one way or the other, the way to not be manipulated is to go back to you beliefs and work up from there.

        That’s why you view that you should be distracted by people who tell you to do things by doing the opposite, is absurd. Living in a society plagued by ads you cannot serious believe that because you are told coke is better you should rush out an buy a pepsi, or not buy any soda every again.

        Seriously. Split voting is legal, it kept Anderson Progressive in power, its keeps ACT in Epsom alive, its therefore not an affront to suggest Labour voters split vote with Green, especially when most Green voters split with Labour. As is shown in the outcome of the last election, the Labour seat vote rose by the roughly the same number that party voted Green. So you should be thankful to me and Green voters else we stop split voting and Green-Green.

        Oh, on not voting, not voting is a vote for incumbents, as any Anarchist worth his salt would tell you the best way to destabilize the government is to always use the vote to vote out the incumbent. Similarly, youth who are turned off by politics should vote against the incumbent so they wise up and start speaking to them. So not voting makes you irrelevant and not as you presuppose some angry reaction to a party asking you to think more clearly about split voting.

        On anger, I’m not angry, being told stuff, should never cause angry, we should not even be concern that other people are angry, angry people need to be isolated. Angry people are dumb people.

      • Puddleglum 3.1.2

        Essentially people who are poor tend to be dirtier polluters than their more affluent neighbours. Large numbers of poor people pollute exponentially to their accumulated numbers.

        I guess it depends what you mean by ‘pollution’ but it’s pretty clear that people with higher income have greater carbon emissions, largely because of travel habits:

        The new study shows that all income groups are evenly represented when it comes to walking, bicycling and use of public transport.

        But the difference shows up when it comes to driving cars. A doubling of income also doubles the number of kilometres driven on average.

        The link between income and number of flights is even more clear-cut. The number of kilometres flown more than doubles when salaries rise 100 percent.

        These figures include business trips, and it’s fair to assume that people with the highest incomes fly more in connection with their work than others.

        Despite the big difference between amounts of pollution discharged by the top and bottom groups, people in the middle income bracket will also need to contribute to the decrease of emissions, in part because there are so many of them.

        A rise in income is linked to an increase in kilometres driven.

        People in the average income segment of society generated two-thirds of the total emissions recorded in the German study.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      So NAts are willing to work with Greens,

      But only if the Greens are what National wants them to be.

  4. disturbed 4

    Yes my Son has been in Germany for nine years now and tells me that the greens have been in a right wing Government for all that time strangely.

    I admire the greens now and NZ First both coming forward with real clear environmental /economic strategies to get the provinces going again as they are the export producers

    Gisbrne for instance produces 15% of our entire exports but Government wont spend to reinstate our rail to the rest of NZ.

    HB is also badly affected by no rail freom Gisborne and may loose its remaining section of rail south to Palmerston North if it is not reinstated. Daft NatZ.


    This is supported by labour and the other two parties mentioned rather than as National does just concentrating on Pork barrel politics Auckland and a few choice areas elsewhere, BOP, and the southern lakes.

  5. Tracey 5

    From memory the greens secured 400m worth of home insulation from the nats 2008 term, and the MP about 285m. Armstrong is a little skew-if

  6. Enough is Enough 6

    The Greens are winning the debate on almost every issue they front.

    Labour essentially adopts Green policy 3-6 years after it is released.

    Even National comes kicking and screaming eventually. Heck think a decade ago. Would you have National even talking about dirty rivers. Now they have a freaking policy on it.

    It is remarkable what we have achieved through reasoned debate, without ever holding a ministerial warrant.

    • Tracey 6.1

      The Greens are why MMP is crucial. They have shifted the environmental debate in this country monumentally in the last two decades. Fitzsimons and Donald were consumate leaders who never stooped, despite provocation. Many thought with Js departure and Rod’s death the Greens would fade.

      They have shown through time that the environment is also about humans hence the move to insulation and child poverty and so on is a natural extension.

      That was to under estimate the passion and succession systems at the Greens. A good leader leaves behind an organisation that can continue seemlessly without them.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        The Greens are a case study in how you can change government direction without having to be in government yourself.

        Lobby groups and mass movements can sometimes do similar, from outside Parliament, if they have resources and organisation.

    • Rob 6.2

      Nor in your case, ever leaving your bedroom, amazing!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.3

      Really , name two ?

    • Draco T Bastard 6.4

      Even National comes kicking and screaming eventually. Heck think a decade ago. Would you have National even talking about dirty rivers. Now they have a freaking policy on it.

      Yep, they do – to make them even dirtier.

  7. Sans Cle 7

    Totally agree Tracy. A good leader has selfless succession in operation before they leave….. (on the side, will be interesting to see the implosion on PlanetKey, whenever he decides to kick the political bucket). I am a Green voter, but have the dilemma (besides living in the tongue-in-cheek ‘wonderful’ Epsom) of party vote with my heart (Green), or with my head, Labour, as after reading Dirty Politics, I feel they are more sinned against than sinning…..and have been unjustly implicated or smeared because of it. I will do my bit to rid parliament of Act (incidentally am reading Whyte’s book of 2004)……interesting if he truly believed what he wrote then (about logic) why he would EVER dream of entering party politics.

    • Tracey 7.1

      I am in your boat… in epsom too

      • Sans Cle 7.1.1

        Good….I am not alone! I was beginning to have self-contempt at the disturbing disdain I was beginning to harbour for my fellow electorate/neighbours. I will scowl less around the neighbourhood over the next two weeks! We’re not all mindless sheep!

        • Tracey

          indeed. it sticks in my craw to tick goldsmith who by rights shoukd be in ACT

          • Sans Cle

            I will cross fingers and toes, grind my teeth, as I cast my electorate vote (and by-pass Julie-Anne Genter!)….. Now she is a force to be reckoned with….a person I would like to see debating the ‘big-guns’. I reckon put Julie-Anne Genter head-to-head with John Key, and she would wipe the socks off him. She is smart, on her toes and fights the good fight.

  8. emergency mike 8

    Although I did like Armstrong’s frank and matter of fact admission that social justice and National just don’t mix.

  9. disturbed 9

    This is an example of a community letter going to help voters to decide if they want a safe environment in their residential areas they live in and may actually reflect what is occurring in other regions also.
    To Editor.
    (I have with held names of Environmental centre participants in this open letter.)

    We were four people, all from the Green Party in 2000 that began setting up the Community Environmental Advocacy Centre. Now not green Party members.

    From the charter we had to set the centre to remain non aligned to any political party.

    Our history is long as a 15yr veteran of the battle to save our HB/Gisborne rail, we will vote for those parties who support sensible policies that promote a sustainable safe environment for all of us alike.

    Allow us to explain why,

    This wish to preserve environmentally friendly rail is part of the Centre’s foundation document we entered into as founding members in 2000.

    So far from 2000 to 2014.

    Labour MP Paul Swain, then Mark Goshe, and Pete hodgson, Michael Cullen came to Napier to meet us also along with Jeannette Fitzsimmons then as Co Leader with Rod Donald visited our HB Expressway suburban location and afterwards in the press said it was the most dangerous highway in a residential area she had ever seen. We received three letters from Helen Clark, one was part hand written.

    All these forged a way to re- instate rail to reduce the freight task unfairly on road.

    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in 2006 released their report on HB expressway in Napier and stated 12 mitigation steps be taken and also and use of rail. bingo!

    From 2002 National candidates of these earlier times included only Anne Tolley, Chris Tremain as our MP in 2012 had visited this area. Anne Tolley said hopelessly “what can I do?”

    Both did visit to Expressway urban location to inspect truck freight impacts same as (Marine Parade public issue.)

    We asked for mitigation against traffic air pollution and noise as we showed in the press release and never got it.

    That is what we have always been engaged in with all areas and MPs Candidates ect’ and this Government is not caring for any public health or environmental issues other parts of Napier Gisborne suffer from, shown clearly in the Dominion Post report from 2003 in areas such as Marine parade.

    National appears to be stuck on aggressively capturing just truck revenues.

    We had sent 54 emails to PM, Transport minster and other national ministers together and never received any responses since three years ago in 2011.

    No support from National led Government and very little communication either.

    The confounding irritating issue we have between every political party now is in the present National lead coalition is that not one of these right centre coalition partners have come out stating that rail is required to save the countless thousands living anywhere near a truck routes and will now suffer an early death from truck noise, vibration, air pollution, and it seems we are all alone in this bid to save the people or reduce our use of fuel and regard for environmental issues.

    We would now need to show the electorate by use our 2003 news article on this serious issue still unresolved.

    The Study report was mentioned in the press in as 2003 as “Pollution regularly exceeds health guidelines” states pollution near the Napier section of the Hawkes Bay Expressway regularly exceeds health guidelines, experts have found.

    The pollution would be having an adverse effect of people living near the expressway, according to independent reports prepared for the Community Centre.

    “Centre Spokesman in Napier have Doctors’ and Public health reports confirming the potential dangers of the pollution is calling for action to reduce the pollution, especially as heavy traffic on the road is predicted to increase.

    In a report to the Centre, National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research scientist Gavin Fisher said that the monitoring seemed to have been carried out correctly.

    “These results indicated levels of exposure to poor air quality that will result in adverse health effects on much of the population in the area” he said.

    Dr Fisher was commenting on analysis carried out by Auckland based Water care Services, results on samples from equipment deployed by us.

    The analysis showed the five of the 12 days monitored between may and October 2002, pollution in the form of small particles exceeded Environment Ministry of 50 micrograms per cubic meter for a 24-hour period.

    The highest reading was 133 micrograms, nearly three times the guideline.

    “Extensive research has shown that exposure to concentrations even below the guideline can have serious effects” Dr Fisher said. The guideline was regarded as an “acceptable risk” level not a totally safe level.

    Dr Fisher called for more monitoring, including checks for other pollutants such as carbon monoxide.

    The group is continuing his readings in the area.

    The community has also recorded recent noise-level readings that reached 73.5 decibels average background noise levels (Leq) when he said the readings should be only around 63 Leq average decibels.

    Water care Scientist Judy Warren said in her report that the particulates “will be creating an adverse effect on members of the public who live and work in the area.”

    “The air quality at this site is unacceptable, by national and international standards and steps should be taken to improve the air quality” Dr Warren said.

    The community is calling for three main measures to reduce the pollution and noise from the heavy traffic, he wants a 70 kmh speed zone instead of 100 kmh, a smooth road surface, to reduce the noise and pollution from tyre particles, and barriers and plantings of dense vegetation.

    Footnote; We asked the current National Candidate Wayne Walford to attend the HB expressway urban location as many had done previously and he declined saying what we have with truck gridlock in urban areas is quote “it is an urban myth”.

    This should give you a clear choice of who to vote for this election as rail will not be around next election if current trends continue. NZ first Green Party and Labour have all pledged to fix our rail and improve the services.

    Finally at a meeting yesterday we were advised a National Party individual drove up to Gisborne from Napier last week and was highly critical of the truck gridlock on the road so we should hope that message gets back to the Government.

  10. Wayne 10

    There will be shortly a post of mine on Pundit where I discuss the convergence of the Greens, Labour and National on dairy farming practices in respect of clean water.

    If you actually take the time to read the polices of each of the parties you will be surprised at the degree of convergence. I did not expect this level of convergence, but I was twigged to this by the Greens announcements in the weekend which seemed surprisingly similar to that of the Nats earlier last week. The Greens have an 18 page paper on the issue.

  11. Macro 11

    It’s not just that the Green policies are fundamentally sound policies, there is also the sound principles upon which the organisational structure and the system of ownership and development of policies is based. Cooperation and respect for all are fundamental to the Party. The Green Party commits to these four basic Principles:
    a.Ecological Wisdom
    b.Social Responsibility
    c.Appropriate Decision-making, and
    They bring a different style of Politics to the House.

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