On that stupid coalition deal…

Written By: - Date published: 7:07 am, September 30th, 2017 - 101 comments
Categories: election 2017, greens, labour, national, nz first - Tags:

Matthew Whitehead from lemattjuste.wordpress.com writes from a Green perspective about the whys and why nots of a National/Green deal.


So, the usual right-wing suspects are fomenting mischief about a possible National-Greens coalition, and it’s definitely not going away, at least not until Peters announces his decision, because it creates a false impression of pressure upon New Zealand First to side with National. Let’s discuss why and why not from a Green perspective, and I promise to take it seriously, possibly more seriously than it deserves. Advance warning: this will be long.

The whys are obvious: you could change the National Party’s trajectory, you could extract environmental concessions, you could prove that you care about the economy. (which is a very blue-green talking point: the Greens do care about the economy, they just disagree with National on what should be emphasized and how it should work)

These are worthy goals I agree with, and I will even concede that in the long term it may be possible to consider that, (probably at the beginning of a National government, however, not at the end) but I think that people who say the Greens should reach out are ignoring some relevant facts in favour of their dream coalition, and for those who voted National, are projecting their own party’s responsibility to develop a fair and just environmental and climate policy onto potential coalition partners.

The why nots, however, are numerous.

Let’s first talk about trust. The Green Party has, in fact, already approached National about working together on issues they can agree on, way back in 2009 when they first became government, (which was the appropriate time to have the discussion on whether and how the two could work together, I will note, something New Zealand First never respects) and managed to briefly convince National to extend Labour’s promise to subsidize insulation of homes, on the grounds that long-term it actually saves money on health spending. A sound investment, a classic win-win-win Green policy that National could share the credit for, and to their credit, they did take the Greens up on it. On that single policy. And then made no effort to continue the relationship, because for National, coalitions and allies are about political expediency, not about building long-term relationships, and it was not politically expedient for them to be seen as working too closely with the Greens. Sure, we now know there are the less-than-1%-of-National-voters signing that petition, but they would be risking a lot more enthusiastic and widespread support from certain businesses and farmers who are enthusiastic donors and volunteers.

Of course, that first failing is minor compared to things like the Todd Barclay scandal, Bill English rorting the rules (and if it wasn’t a rort, why did we change the rules to clarify it shouldn’t be done?) to claim a $48,000 housing allowance and only paying $34,000 back, the numerous instances the government has courted the oil industry, and their continued refusal to phase out fossil fuel power plants and fossil fuel extraction in New Zealand.

If the Greens can’t trust National to honour that agreement and to behave like a reasonable and ethical government, to take opportunities that would make them look centrist and reasonable without committing either party to any type of formal arrangement, how can they be trusted in a coalition?

Next, let’s talk about values/principles, and to be fair, let’s also talk about Labour and New Zealand First, too, because discussion of a National-Green coalition should, reasonably, be taken alongside its current alternative of a Labour-New Zealand First-Green coalition. We’ll return to whether the Greens can trust that alternative coalition at the end.

The National Party states its values here. You will note the strategic lack of mention about their alignment with farmers and business. You will also note that the environment is dead last on their list, with no mention of it “not being least.”

The Labour Party’s principles can be found in §1.2 of this document. (their website is currently still in campaign mode, so their values aren’t easily found) To summarise: democracy, communal ownership of natural resources, economic and democratic participation and access, co-operative economic relations, dignity & work, people over property rights, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, peace and social justice, human rights. These all sound pretty good, but we’ll get back to that.

And New Zealand First’s can be found here. As you’d expect, nationalism is first and populism makes the list, but there’s also some surprisingly progressive stuff in there from time to time, such as on education, health, welfare, and yes, even the environment. On the other hand, they also want lower taxes, a refocusing of foreign policy away from parts of the world outside of the pacific, (yet I’m sure it will still include the UK and US somehow, lol) and more referenda.

For comparison, the Greens’ fundamental values are also available here. (They aren’t yet on the new website, which also means they haven’t been updated to include the fifth fundamental value, Te Tiriti o Waitangi) The Greens keep their list short, but interpret those principles broadly. For instance, non-violence extends into not just supporting peace, but positive political campaigning, too.

Now let’s look a bit more holistically at how each grouping would or wouldn’t be compatible with each other.

National’s values start with “loyalty to our head of state,” an obvious reference to monarchism. The Greens are officially republicans. Not a good start. They continue on to national and personal security, which is coded language for militarism and tough-on-crime policing. Non-violence is right there in the Green charter, hmm, also pretty terrible match. Both parties do agree on equal citizenship, although the Greens want a bit more than “equal opportunity,” they believe in social justice, and that with limited resources on our planet, they must be used in a way that benefits everyone fairly, and this contrasts to a later National value, competitive enterprise. They do, largely, agree on individual freedom and choice, but National feels that this applies to the economy more than society, and the Greens feel the opposite. The Greens believe in consensus decision-making and social justice, and the National Party believes in limited government. They do, apparently, agree in principle to sustainable development, however the emphasis on that one is tricky. The Greens believe in sustainable development. The Nats believe in sustainable development. To me, this looks like a recipe for co-operation from the cross benches at best, until such a time as National modernizes its values further, or proves it can be counted on to prioritize sustainability.

Secondly, let’s look at the “three-headed monster.” On paper, Labour and the Greens are very compatible. Their values look mostly the same. In practice, the Greens’ problem with Labour is one of emphasis, to the point where many Greens view Labour as little better than National, a party changed by decades of compromise away from its values for electoral expediency that isn’t doing enough, and whose voters are targets to become future Green supporters. There is an uneasy peace between the two. Yes, they’re friends now, but that’s only because they’re worried about short term problems. It is an alliance of convenience, with Labour detractors viewing the Greens as too radical, unwilling to compromise and a bunch of dreamers. That’s not to say that there aren’t friendly feelings as well. The two parties are by a large margin each others’ preferred coalition partners, and not all members of either party are skeptics.

New Zealand First and Labour have a lot of commonality, too. They both agree that immigration rules are too loose, despite our immigration policy being so right-wing that US Republicans have it on their wishlist and the German AfD party of neo-nazi nationalists are using it as an example of what they’d like to do. They both agree in state intervention into the economy, in limited but actually effective environmentalism, in retaining state assets, in fighting corruption1, in improving skills for New Zealanders, in revitalizing the export economy, in working out the details of a Pike River re-entry, and in spending more in health and education. They disagree on some details in those areas, pretty substantially on Māori affairs, rights for women and queer people2, and Labour’s will-they-won’t-they flirtations with republicanism. But the big sticking point is probably tax. New Zealand First loves Labour’s economics on expenditure, but hates it on revenue. They are classic Muldoon-style don’t-tax-and-still-spend interventionists, wheras Labour believes in something approaching a fair taxation system, where state benefits accrue responsibilities to the state, and we decide on benefits and responsibilities democratically.

The hardest part of this alliance is New Zealand First and the Greens. Given my rathers, I would prefer that the Greens never had to work with New Zealand First. The parties could not be more different on immigration. This is an extension of the larger problem: Greens are out-and-out liberals, and New Zealand First are the most conservative party in Parliament. Seriously, conservative religious groups endorse them ahead of National and ACT. So a three-party coalition would be a government whose social policy focus was mainly on education and health, the areas where all three agree, with a much larger focus on economic reform away from neoliberalism and towards policies that benefit regional and rural New Zealand, which is the area where strangely, New Zealand First is much more enthusiastic than Labour, and would find the Greens an enthusiastic ally. There would likely be Green concessions on more hawkish immigration policy, in return for Labour and New Zealand First concessions on stronger environmental protections and more urgent action on climate change3. There is also likely to be three-party agreement on rail transport, and most of the core policy to solve the housing crisis, but with a three-way divergence on tax’s contribution to that problem, with NZF ideologically opposed, Labour hesistant, and the Greens ready to plunge in. What looks like an incompatible mess when viewed from both extremes might just be doable with a resurgent Labour Party in the middle to glue it all together.

And here I have essentially moved on to policy concessions. Some of the Greens’ most important policies, such as the Zero Carbon Act, a Capital Gains tax to adjust the housing market in concert with other policies, and so on, only seem realistic right now when negotiating with Labour. The best our happy little mischief-makers suggest that National would give the Greens is their levy on nitrate pollution, (although with no accompanying commitment to spend the results on transitioning to cleaner farming practice like the Greens propose) enhanced funding on predator-free New Zealand, a reversal on their loosening of water standards, and increased “targets” on poverty and emissions reduction. These policy concessions can be dismissed out of hand once we look at the fourth factor.

The Greens, a party run by its own base, have decided democratically to rule out a National coalition before the election, based on their record, and to avoid doubt. This is smart politics. The Greens have been hurt in previous elections by allegations they were considering working more closely with National. Even reaching out for the policy-based MoU was transmuted into a possible coalition by eager commercial political journalists looking to fill column-inches, and significantly confused supporters and hurt the campaign in 2011, which I know first-hand because I volunteered for it.

So, any discussion of a coalition with National also has to discuss the Green Party’s commitments to its own supporters and members, too, as these petitioners and right-wing commentators are suggesting that the Green Party break at least one of those commitments, which would probably result in the party splitting at best, or imploding at worst.

Right-wing commentators (who, conveniently, often have some background connection to groups closely aligned to National or ACT) have suggested that Metiria’s unfortunate resignation will leave James Shaw open to consider a more pragmatic deal. Firstly, that’s insulting to James, who is just as commited to Green values and principles as Metiria was, even if his policy emphasis is in a different area than her, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about her issues and support her stand for better treatment of beneficiaries. Secondly, it misunderstands the Green Party’s internal structure. The co-leaders aren’t elected dictators like in other parties. They formulate tactics and strategy, they lead caucus and are head spokespeople, but they don’t actually make coalition decisions, or decide the party list, or electorate selection, and they consult on those decisions they do make, so that the party is behind them, and their leadership is more about being head candidates rather than actually controlling the party. That work is for the party executive, the policy committees, the various co-conveners (“Co-Cos,” the equivalent of party presidents, branch presidents, and sub-group presidents) and the members.

Any coalition deal must pass a vote at a Special General Meeting. This means every branch sends delegates that are instructed by the consensus of that branch on the issues on the meeting’s agenda. (for AGMs, this includes whether to continue supporting the co-leaders, which is more of a symbolic tradition, as there is a hatred for backroom politics and spills within the party- which is why Kennedy Graham hasn’t been welcomed back immediately despite his credentials. For SGMs, it’s usually exclusively about the Greens’ position on supporting the next government) You need a 75% positive vote to pass, so a deal with National would need to be one with overwhelming support from Green members, not just however many of the 8 thousand-odd petition signers are actually Green members. There is no realistic way that anything National is realistically willing to offer the Greens would survive such a vote, even if we do slightly better policy concessions out of National than Farrar seems to think we would get, which I think probably represents a reasonable guess at National’s best unprompted offer to the Greens.

This isn’t to say that a National-Green alliance is permanently out of reach. But the ball is, and has been, in National’s court if that want to resume a productive relationship right now, not in the Greens’, and it will take longer than the duration of post-election negotiations to conclude. It would require a genuine transformation of the party towards a more blue-green posture, and is why the Green Party and CDU in Germany have been able to work together at the state level- because in Germany, bluegreens are actually influential within their political movement, they are trustworthy, and therefore there was values alignment and trust between the two parties that allowed a coalition to work, so it wasn’t just about a cynical policy alignment, like New Zealand First has previously favoured when working with National.

addition: Oh, and while we’re talking about betraying bases, let’s talk briefly about the Progressive Green Party, a right-wing split from the Greens in the 1996 election. They got 0.26% of the vote. Now, maybe the bluegreens of today are stronger than that, but even if we assume they have twice the votes that their petition indicates they have, they would still struggle to earn a list seat if they, say, split off an electorate MP from the National Party for the 2020 election. So there’s no indication that bluegreens would provide more support to the Greens than sticking to their principles.

1 So long as it’s not appointing their buddies to government jobs, at least. That’s totally not corruption, unless it’s National that does it.

2 Some people prefer the term rainbow, which is fine, they are welcome to use it. I’m quite happy to stick to my reclaimed word, thankyou.

3 The sticking point here is around farmers. New Zealand First will probably want an environmental policy much too friendly to them, despite agricultural emissions being a huge problem, and this is one of the frailties of such a deal.

101 comments on “On that stupid coalition deal…”

  1. Peter 1

    Presumably the Greens will never be the Party with enough votes to lead a government. Given this, what role in Parliament under MMP should they aspire to? Should they wait for a perfect alignment of the stars, or proactively look to work with National or NZ First?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      Have you read the post? Read it again, and this time pay attention to the part where it discusses the Green’s proactive approach to working with National.

      Then you might learn something instead of just looking like someone who’s too lazy to read what’s right in front of him.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        I already banned ‘UpNorth’ for 4 weeks for clearly dashing off a comment without reading the post. Their comment is in OpenMike with the ban attached. Quite apart from anything else the Greens requirement for the SGM with 75% of members voting in favour or any coalition deal was totally ignored.

        This one – I looked at and thought that they could have read the post. I couldn’t disprove it.

        • tracey

          Except that inherent in reading the post was receiving and explanation of their expectations. Although that required more than reading, it required understanding.

          • lprent

            Yeah, but our policies are based around behaviour. Simple stupidity, laziness, and an inability to comprehend what they are reading like Peter seems to display isn’t something I actually look at as a moderator. I couldn’t prove that they hadn’t made the attempt.

            Besides, in some ways, it was a good question. It is something that has been extensively discussed within the Greens over decades.

            However it isn’t something that is that clear to people like Peter outside. There is quite a lot of encoded information in the post that is obvious to anyone who has followed Green politics for a few decades. But not for the casual observers having to see it through the distorted view from the media.

            • Rebecca

              I read the post. It does explain why the trite “why don’t they just” proposals for forming a government with National are detached from reality. However, a good leader also can remind the required 75% that “perfect is the enemy of good.” Also that “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Finally, at the risk of choosing a citation that will provoke, this one is attributed to Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” My intended message from these mismatched citations is that nobody knows what National might agree to, even if it’s likely they won’t agree to everything. There’s only one way to find out and it’s the MMP way, entering discussions with an intention to negotiate best outcomes for NZers, rather than entrenched positions and demands that mightn’t succeed even if it were Labour you’re talking to.

              • lprent

                Why? There is no such absolutely NO requirement in MMP except inside your own head and that of the other social media fools.

                The Greens on the other hand have explicit requirements in their constitution and rules about how such decisions are taken. If national wanted to engage with them then they should have done it long ago. Why should they change those for the benefit of idiots like Farrar, Hooton and others who appear to me to have been paid to run this interesting social media campaign? Just National and their usual Dirty Politics supporters again.

                If morons like you and whoever has been paying for this social media campaign for the benefit of the National party can’t respect the rules and processes of another political party, you are merely demonstrating why the National party is a lousy coalition partner. They simply don’t respect their coalition partners and their processes.

                Clearly National have some way to go on learning how to operate in a MMP environment. In the 2017 campaign starting from last year, they have managed to disrespect the rules and processes of both the potential remain coalition partners. In this interim they and their paid servants appear to be compounding their failure to learn to deal with other political parties with respect.

                Labour does. They fight hard for all their votes, taking up policies from other parties when they feel they are worth while. But they don’t wander around paying for social media shitheads lying and being disrespectful of other party processes. That seems to be something that is a particularly stupid Act+National trope.

                My guess is that National are likely to reap their reward – they lose their warrants. This kind of crap will be too reminiscent of the same style of lying campaign that was run against NZF in 2008 and the whisper campaigns run as recently as last month against the Greens by the same pack of greedy National mouthpieces

    • tracey 1.2

      1. Did you read the post?

      2. Did you understand it?

      3. On what basis do you think the Greens can trust National given only yesterday Bennett was lying to NZers about her relationship with Greens?

      • lprent 1.2.1

        I suspect that your point 3 is the most important one.

        The trust levels of the Green members towards National are at an all-time low, if you count the MOU in 2009 as the high.

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    To secure Green cooperation, National would need to make a number of concessions.

    These might include:

    Retiring Nick Smith
    Sending Bill on a pilgrimage to Rome to pray for forgiveness for failing New Zealand
    Letting Julie Anne Genter fix transport
    Water taxes and river restoration

    To the far right these might seem unreasonable – but they are minimums.

    [lprent: Clearly you haven’t read the Green policies about non-violence. Clearly you should. They align with our policies here as well. This is a warning. ]

    • Stuart Munro 2.1

      It is not the Greens who are knocking upon the Gnat’s door seeking some kind of deal.

      These things are never impossible – but the compromises that would be required would include the reversal of most things the Gnats have done in government.

      I could have analyzed what it would take, but the whole proposal is mischievous. And the Gnats are not non-violent – they would cheerfully throw a number of their colleagues under the bus if that would keep them in office.

      The proposal needs to be rubbished, not analyzed.

      [lprent: Advocating hanging people is like debate between the moderators here about advocating ban periods of years. Even I tend to feel that it is too permanent and disrupts debate.

      But they are equivalent debates. Both remove people from the public discourse.

      But if you insist that it is important to debate on these kinds of societal sanctions, then we could try longer bans here again as an experiment and see how it works out. We could experiment with you as the first volunteer subject. ]

      • The proposal is mischievous. (hence my reference to Farrar’s slogan) I thought analyzing it seriously was the best way to deal with it, as I have been trying out brief ways to deal with it and none have work. None of the blue-greens harping on about this (and I do believe most of the ordinary people talking about it are genuine bluegreens who actually want it) have even been able to tell me how it’s beneficial to the Greens, lol, let alone how it would work, or even articulate any understanding of How We Got Here. They just insist that such a deal is possible and therefore the Greens are Obligated To Try for the good of the country.

        James has said he will listen if National approaches. That’s fair, but it’s all they deserve IMO.

        • Stuart Munro

          I expect Shaw’s position is less politeness than procedural duty to the party. Although his judgment is probably good enough, he would not presume to call the matter without putting it to his colleagues.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Procedurally, he is actively under an obligation not to negotiate with National. Saying he will hear them out is just him finding a course of action that doesn’t violate the MoU resolution not to negotiate them, but still is polite, reasonable, and pragmatic politics. It only hurts to hear someone out when they’re drowning out quieter voices.

  3. invisiphilia 3

    An excellent analysis of the very unlikely coalition deal between the Greens and National. There has been so much hoo ha about Winston being the King or Queen maker. However, in your discussions about the similarities between Labour, Greens and NZ First and the fact that tax would be a main sticking point, you also show the more minor extent to which NZ First would have to back down if they want to be part of a left-leaning coalition.

    Hard to see how the desire for less taxes would sit well with the desire for more accurately targeted immigration and the ban on foreign speculation, should they go into coalition with the Nats. Looking back over the campaign, Labour were clear from the outset that they wanted to do these things, perhaps taking the long view with regards to the fact that they might be in this position post-election, whereas the Nats decided to throw in the appeal on cleaning up waterways at the 11th hour when they saw the writing on the wall…that’s my impression anyway.

    • garibaldi 3.1

      It struck me that English made up a lot of policy on the hoof when he saw that the end was nigh eg his disingenuous target of raising 50,000 children out of poverty simply based on his tax cuts. Then ,of course, they realized that lying about Labour was a better path than trying to be nice.

    • Peters’ public statements indicate he thinks the tax thing is big, and that tax increases need a mandate from the electorate, so he will likely lecture Ardern on her TWG idea that she’s already backed off from. As usual with Peters, some of his party’s policies are pointed criticisms or counter-proposals to things he dislikes about other parties, and taking all of his statements completely seriously risks believing his bluffs for negotiation, too.

      I think for Peters, the rational thing to do is hammer out a deal with Labour and the Greens, especially as it would look mature and statesmanly to bury the hatchet with them after previously locking them out of government, and he is trying to build a legacy now and ensure NZ First’s survival into the future. That isn’t to say it’s what Peters will actually do, of course.

      I think it’s a reasonable assumption that Labour’s pivot on immigration is about aligning with NZ First, as it doesn’t seem to have earned them many votes.

      Ironically, I think the rational thing for Labour and the Green Party right now is to negotiate fairly but to let the talks fall apart while seeming interested. Without careful management, starting a government with Peters is a risky proposition that could backfire, and it’s not really a progressive enough one, and you’re potentially spiking your chance of governing without him in the future. (potentially. It’s possible that credit will mostly go to Labour and the Greens and their numbers will go up, while NZ First is seen as a petulant child that held the country to ransom, but it’s never killed them before) It’s a genuine trade-off between those people who can’t take another 3 years of this failed government and what we have to sacrifice on the altar of Winston, and I think there are valid arguments for both sides, but not taking the poison pill is probably the more valid argument from the “preserving the values and strength of the Labour and Green parties” perspective.

      • Pat 3.2.1

        agree with that line of thought……it is conflicting however as can the country take another three years, though potentially less, of this corrupt government….

  4. Andre 4

    “…(probably at the beginning of a National government, however, not at the end)…”

    To me, that’s a key point. Of the Green voters that comment here, I’m probably among the most open to the general idea of Greens working with Nats.

    But not after this election, not with the current crop of Nats who have spent the last nine years working to trash just about everything important to me.

    • tracey 4.1

      And only yesterday Bennett lied about her relationship with Greens in a premeditated and manipulative way. That reinforces the lack of Trust. Even IF Greens set aside trust during the negotiations ( which you probably know I think is impossible), lack of trust will make the coalition partnership untenable.

    • The only way I’d support The Greens going into coalition with National is if Nation showed some responsibility for its policies that have damaged our society and our environment – and I doubt that will ever come. They’re experts at avoiding responsibility for their own actions.

  5. tracey 5

    Great analysis Michael. Has it been distributed to the MSM?

    • My name’s Matthew, as it says at the top. lol

      • tracey 5.1.1

        Sorry. Matthew sticks in my craw cos of that other one…

        • Oh, I understand. I go by Matt usually if that helps, or if you want to call me something else, my nick here used to be Ari, before I went public. (I’m in the relatively rare position of not having any genuine dirt the righties can really dig up on me, and they’d be making it up whether I went anonymous or not, so *shrug*)

          I tend to refer to him as the “notorious name-stealer Mr. Hooton.”

  6. Wayne 6

    At least a more balanced analysis than some.

    On the values. On that first of monarchism, you are not correct. Yes, it refers to the “head of state.” That was a very carefully chosen set of words, that could envisage a future change. The constitution was done during Jim Bolger’s time as leader, and I was involved in constructing the set of values listed. They were the subject of extensive consultation among party members and were voted on by the party members.

    On the relationship in 2008 (home insulation) and why it did not progress further. National was of the view that the Greens did not try and meet National on anything other than that. Virtually every Green debater in the House was highly critical of National and the things we were doing to deal with the GFC.

    There was zero recognition that we had borrowed a lot (several billion) to keep the economy going and to sustain the social fabric. Even some recognition would have helped, say “we see what you are doing but you could do it differently.” But the underlying assumption of the Greens was that we were out to deliberately crush the poor as a class enemy. That was not helpful to a better relationship.

    It led National to conclude the Greens were not interested in any more of a relationship than they had, and even that was proving difficult.

    Long term relationships involving different parties have to involve some acceptable recognition of the philosophical space that each inhabit. It can’t be; “because you are different you are therefore bad.”

    Judging from the comments on this site that seems to be the view that many Greens have of National.

    National can do a lot with the Greens on the environment, but probably not exactly the way the Greens would do it. For instance National would not tax farmers for water use. Rather they would agree to a large fund to help improve waterways. National would clearly do more on alternative transport, but would not agree to end all motorway construction. National would clearly spend more on DOC.

    On the economy National is not going to abandon free trade goals, but it would look to strengthen environmental protections within them.

    There are obviously other areas where progress could be made such as social housing.

    I do see there is a particular challenge for the Greens of making arrangements under the pressure of time. But that is the nature of politics.

    When the Greens have done a MOU with Labour, there are hardly going too be any discussions between National and the Greens in the pre-election period. The Greens had effectively said “no” to National.

    But if the election outcome shows that a National Green arrangement is possible, then that requires flexible thinking under a tight time frame. I can see that is easier for National, but harder for the Greens.

    [“Judging from the comments on this site that seems to be the view that many Greens have of National.” Please don’t conflate commenters with the Green Party. See moderator note below – weka]

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      deliberately crush the poor

      Like when (by your own confession) you deliberately increased inequality.

      Neurobiology provides plenty of evidence to explain how you can believe the staggering pile of steaming lies you right wingers tell one another. That doesn’t mean anyone else has to fall victim.

      • garibaldi 6.1.1

        Wayne , don’t try to tell us that National is trying to help the poor. The facts prove the opposite. Perhaps in your twisted way you think helping the poor means increasing their numbers?

        • Wayne


          Examples of actions to help poor New Zealanders are $25 increase in benefit rates in 2016 Budget. Bill English’s social investment programme. Agreement to whanau ora. The 2017 budget has increased the WFF and reduced tax rates on the bottom two tax rates.

          But more particularly, both you and OAB have rather proved my point that many Green activists think National is ipso facto “bad”, rather than having a different view of the world to the Greens.

          [“both you and OAB have rather proved my point that many Green activists think…” that’s the second time in this thread you’ve tried to connect general commentary about the Greens to the GP itself. I have no idea if OAB or garibaldi are activists for the GP, compared to say Matthew who wrote the post who clearly is (but is still writing as an individual), but there is nothing here to suggest they are. I have a low tolerance for the conflation you are doing because of the amount of lies that get told about the GP, and because it starts to look like you are running specific lines here. Please don’t @ me with semantics, just be clearer in your comments from now on. – weka]

          • Stuart Munro

            ‘Bad’ Wayne? You fall so far short. Try contemptible, backward, corrupt, worthless, irredeemable and stupid.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            1. Delusional and ‘bad’ are not synonyms.
            2. Perhaps you can explain the benign intent behind deliberately increasing inequality. I’m picking you’ll ignore the challenge and/or run away, as usual.

          • weka

            moderation note above for you Wayne, and I’d like an acknowledgement that you understand please.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Examples of actions to help poor New Zealanders are $25 increase in benefit rates in 2016 Budget.

            Which only applied to a very small subset and almost no one from that subset would actually get an extra $25. Meanwhile, people already in poverty are having their benefit cut.

            So, yeah, all National has done is increase poverty, kick the people when their down and then blame the victims of National’s policies.

            It’s your actions that prove National are bad. In fact, it proves National is psychopathic.

          • tracey

            Really Wayne? Do you not know that if you are a beneficiary and something untoward happens outside your usual benefit, WINZ lends you the money and then automatically starts deducting it from your next payment to claw it back thus plunging them into further budgetting nightmares?

            WFF, the “communism by stealth” , that WFF?

            See Key told everyone WFF was a bad bad thing but it turns out, after he won power, that it was a good thing cos he and you and others kept it. Were you all really so poorly informed or did you lie to get votes?

    • Andre 6.2

      “For instance National would not tax farmers for water use. Rather they would agree to a large fund to help improve waterways.”

      See, Wayne, that’s just one good example of the kind of reason I thoroughly distrust and despise the current crop of Nats. Because they will happily reach into the pockets of the rest of the country and suspend democracy in order to fund massive irrigation schemes that benefit their favoured constituents (and allegedly maybe even one or more of those sitting at the table where the decision is made). Which promotes inappropriate and environmentally damaging changes to land use. And then you suggest reaching into the rest of the country’s pockets yet again to pay for cleaning up the mess made by the favoured constituents, rather than requiring those that made the mess to clean it up.

    • lprent 6.3

      National can do a lot with the Greens on the environment, but probably not exactly the way the Greens would do it. For instance National would not tax farmers for water use.

      Clearly you have been drinking the mythic juice again.

      That hasn’t been Green policy. It was a proposed Labour policy.

      Personally I’d suggest staying away from Kiwiblog. It rots your brain and you start believing billshit.

      I do see there is a particular challenge for the Greens of making arrangements under the pressure of time. But that is the nature of politics.

      That is because National didn’t bother to set up anything with the Greens before the election. National could have set up formal or informal agreements with the Greens just as Labour did under both Andrew Little and David Cunliffe. It isn’t hard.

      You just have to do it on the Greens schedule rather than trying to retroactively imposing the larger parties ideas about what is permissible.

      The same thing applies to NZ First. NZF and Winston made it clear decades ago about how they would proceed in any coalition arrangements. In fact they pioneered the practices in NZ.

      They have made it perfectly clear that they will do any dickering after the election and will do so with clear results from the election. Like 1996, this election hasn’t produced a clear result on election night, with the previously organised bloc of Labour/Greens being just behind National and subject to considerable movement from the 381 thousand special votes till to be announced. So NZF will wait for final results. It simply doesn’t matter how much whining that National supporters do, that is what will happen.

      Trust relationships matter in politics. But they matter over the longer term rather than the shorter term. The problem for National is that they engender little trust amongst potential allies.

      For instance I just had a look at the 2008 final results vs 2017 prelim results for the National coalition of 2008 and the same parties now.

      The total coalition back in 2008 was 51.8% of the total vote. Now that same coalition would be a remarkable 47.7%. The equivalent for the 2008 Lab/NZF/Grn was 44.8% compared to 49.2%

      But the detail of how National managed to achieve that sustained coalition vote is the interesting bit.

      Back in 2008 Nat/Act/MP/UF, National had 86.7% of their combined vote. Now in the same coalition (if it were possible) Nat/Act/MP/UF, National had 96.5% of their combined vote. The only one now in parliament apart from National is Act, and their ‘weight’ dropped from 7.0% of the coalition to 1.1%.

      Much the same thing kind of dismemberment of coalition parties happened in 1996-1999. Then it was an explicit grab by National for seat MPs from NZF. It looks like these days National concentrates on being a bit more subtle and tries to deliberately pull votes from the coalition partners.

      National is just a lousy coalition partner for any political party that wants to carry on into the future. It sucks the life out of them and eventually discards them like the husk of Act had happen to it.

      • tracey 6.3.1

        Thanks for this post. Especially pointing out Wayne doesnt even know a policy os Labour not Green.

        Credibility issue there.

        Wayne is continuing to say the same thing every day. Changes the words a lil.

        Michael’s was so clear on so many points but Wayne dismisses it and continues his “but I am right” crusade.

    • weka 6.4

      moderator note above, also another one below.

      • solkta 6.4.1

        should i remove the last sentence?

        • weka

          My moderation was for Wayne. If you look at the comment numbers, my comment is 6.4 which is a reply to 6.0 (Wayne’s comment).

          The 6.4 comment is so that the Wayne can see he’s been moderated if he doesn’t go back and look at his own comment.

          There’s nothing in your comment in this thread that’s gotten my moderator attention.

    • RedBaronCV 6.5

      Wayne – if National wanted to do more green issues they could have accepted personal responsibility (they are big on that ) and actually done something over the last 9 years instead of trolling about the greens now .

      As for this disingenuous comment:
      ” zero recognition that we had borrowed a lot (several billion) to keep the economy going”
      that actually went on tax cuts for high income earners nothing to do with the Greens.

      All this looks like a beat up.

      but while you are here Wayne what was Nat policy for the election?? Could you enlighten us please because we didn’t see much.

      And where is the MSM. They should be asking questions of the Nacts as to what were the unpopular policies that failed to resonate with the voting public .
      And why isn’t the MSM asking what will Nact do if they become the opposition. Bailing up some Nact MP’s and asking what their party is doing and what the Nact agenda is should give enough sound bites and infighting to last the MSM for weeks.

    • Virtually every Green debater in the House was highly critical of National and the things we were doing to deal with the GFC.

      Yeah, there’s a good reason for that – National’s policies are damaging to our society and our environment.

      You, and National in general, refused to listen which is another reason why a coalition with them just won’t work. Which reminds me of this which applies fully to National:

      Only the madman is absolutely sure.

      Robert Anton Wilson

      There was zero recognition that we had borrowed a lot (several billion) to keep the economy going and to sustain the social fabric.

      And you could have decreased that borrowing by not giving tax cuts to the rich which has indications of not boosting the economy. Increases inequality though.


      But the underlying assumption of the Greens was that we were out to deliberately crush the poor as a class enemy.

      That’s not an assumption – that’s actually what you’ve and you’ve done it with forethought.

      It can’t be; “because you are different you are therefore bad.”

      The only people who think like that are National. The rest of us look at people’s actions and the results of those actions.

      National can do a lot with the Greens on the environment

      No they couldn’t as National’s entire philosophy is about destroying nature and the environment for profit.

      For instance National would not tax farmers for water use. Rather they would agree to a large fund to help improve waterways.

      Typical National philosophy: User pays (unless it’s farmers and business people).

      National would clearly do more on alternative transport,

      That’s not clear at all. What is clear is that they’ve always rejected and tried to prevent public transport.

      National would clearly spend more on DOC.

      Last time I looked all they’ve done is cut funding to DoC. So, going on past experience, National will continue to cut funding to DoC and everywhere else so that they can give tax cuts to rich people.

      I can see that is easier for National, but harder for the Greens.

      Yes, such flexibility is easy for those people who have no principles and no conscience. In other words, it’s really easy for psychopaths.

    • tracey 6.7

      You make it seem like National is the victim rather than the abuser? This is where one of your biggest disconnect lies. That and that you put little stock in the notion that trust underpins all relationships, successful ones anyway. That you do not get, and do not consider in your posts here that the Greens do not trust National, based on National behaviour and policy outcomes, is your issue.

      Do you think the Greens should trust English on reducing poverty when he only acknowledged its existence late in the campaign cycle and in the face of bouncing polls?

      No matter how “reasonable” you think you are sounding you come across to me as someone who just wants the Greens to get in a room with Nats and then they will see Nats are right.

      Flexibility has only ever been exhibited by National when under pressure to hold power or when lobbied by big business interests or farmers.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.8

      “For instance National would not tax farmers for water use. Rather they would agree to a large fund to help improve waterways.”

      For instance National would not tax farmers for water use, rather they would tax other New Zealanders, to supply farmers with corporate welfare to help improve waterways.


    • I will take the compliment about balance. I tried to be scrupulously fair to National while still not masking my opinions of them.

      The Greens’ opinions of National are rather more vitriolic than I have stated in the analysis. I was holding back, and I am one of the more open Greens to the idea of trying to woo National down a more centrist environmentalist path to open up our options. Right now, however, they are the most effective domestic voice delaying our priorities for the country, and, in our opinion, working actively against its interests. About the only recent Nat I have respect for is Bolger, and that is mitigated by his support for Ruthanasia, although I will acknowledge that at least unlike the current lot, you seem to have real ethics and principles, even if they’re different to mine, I think we’re probably too far away from each other politically for respect, but can at least be rhetorical opponents who value each others’ integrity until such time as our values become more compatible.

      On the relationship in 2008 (home insulation) and why it did not progress further. National was of the view that the Greens did not try and meet National on anything other than that. Virtually every Green debater in the House was highly critical of National and the things we were doing to deal with the GFC.

      Yes, we were, because your party was handling it wrong, and had it not been for your fortune in having an opportunity to drain the Natural Disaster Fund as a(n insufficient) stimulus, the current Prime MInister would be New Zealand’s Herbert Hoover. We will always disagree about economics. We think National’s ideas are fundamentally wrong-headed, and that they are poor economic managers, and we shouldn’t have to apologize for being an effective opposition. We favour tax-and-spend postures proudly as investing in our country and our people, when you think it’s an insult. The grounds for co-operation are on investments in energy efficiency, sustainable treatment of the environment, smart density policies in cities and genuine urban development reform that’s not just cutting all the rules for developers, promotion of renewable energy industry and sustainable technologies, assistance for the software industry, (including reasonable reforms to intellectual property laws that make it easier for them to be creative while still balancing that against a reasonable chance for individuals to benefit from their creativity) and so on. We could genuinely have worked together on that stuff, and the Green policy is always that it doesn’t matter who you are, if we feel your idea is good, it will be treated on its merits. This is one of the difficulties of a relationship across the left-right divide, and we face it with NZ First over the social policy liberal-conservative divide, too. If we’re interested in at least talking with them about what we can agree on, why would our opposition to your party’s economic policies make our posture any different? We would have kept that dialogue open, and if it had brought us to a more compatible position, then maybe the criticism wouldn’t have been as loud, too, because your party might be more open to thinking about the economy in ways we support.

      There was zero recognition of your borrowing because it followed tax cuts structured for the wealthy at a time they could not be afforded and had no justification. If they were an economic measure, they should have been targetted at the poor, to increase circulation and fight the recession. It was pure ideology and it made most of your borrowing necessary, although I would have supported a similar level of borrowing had it been spent effectively on things New Zealand actually needed. Again, this wasteful economic posture would have sent us deeper into recession if not for draining the Natural Disaster Fund, and if National are the competent economic managers they claim to be, they should have known that. They deserve no credit for their difficult starting position given their disastrous approach.

      And no, we don’t think your party was out to deliberately crush the poor. We think you negligently de-prioritized their needs in favour of your own ideology, when evidence shows that your economic approach was not only not compassionate, it was ineffective.

      I support fair trade liberalization, so long as it benefits all parties. This means not only fair environmental legislation, but a commitment to rising wages in the developing world, and to increasing labour protections and allowing unionization. (I know, not your cup of tea, but necessary for upwards pressure in wages that makes for a fair competition between nations rather than a continual race to the bottom with developing countries in terms of wages) I presume you are referring to TPPA? We oppose it for reasons completely unrelated to our posture on fairer trading and removing unnecessary trade barriers- rather, we think it creates unfair trade barriers to fair competition in terms of its bias towards corporations, its frankly ludicrous adoption of US copyright laws, its general assault on good public policy. Its miniscule environmental protections aren’t worth any of the significant sacrifices we’d make for them. I’d go as far as saying we should bin it and start again with the TPPA11 nations. It represents more work but we might actually get a deal worth signing with the US out of the picture.

      The Greens also don’t propose to tax farmers on water use. Our policy is a nitrate tax, fully earmarked for a fund to transition farms to more sustainable practice. (because why clean up rivers before you’ve stopped doing the things that polluted them in the first place? We can think about healing the damage after we stop the bleeding) We do acknowledge the models on nitrates are not perfect, but we thought it would be better to go for it and improve the models to do something about the actual problem, rather than tax water use for farms. Farrar at least agrees to the revenue side of that equation, and probably just didn’t know about the expenditure side, and think he would completely agree in principle, as would most of the nats, that climate and environmental sin taxes should either be used to prevent further pollution, or compensated for by similar reductions in other taxes.

      You may be confused because the Greens agree on a levy for bottled water, at least until such time as the consenting process is rationalized and we stop giving away our most precious aquifers for little to no reason, and Labour, who we were somewhat aligned with in this area, want to tax all commercial water use. We could work with that approach, but don’t think it’s the best way to fight pollution. It needs to be about working with the agricultural sector, a position which at least rhetorically your party agrees with now.

      There is no huge time pressure in terms of making quick coalition arrangements. We arrange things so that the SGM is ready to be called quickly once negotiations have finished. Not sure how that’s relevant to things. We don’t want a reputation like Winston’s, but we would acknowledge that of course, the specials should be in before any deal is finalised, not least because it’s not fair to any parties to a deal that might win more seats from the specials.

      I agree that the Labour-Green MoU constrained those discussions because at that point we had quite publicly told National they were out of the running. Looks like maybe if anyone was genuinely interested, they should have been keeping a dialogue open earlier, eh? 🙂

    • BlueSky 6.10

      The problem for National is they would have to alienate their support base (farmers and business) by making them pay for the resources they exploit through externalising the costs. They’d effectively shot themselves in both feet so it is not going to happen.

    • Carolyn_nth 6.11

      But if the election outcome shows that a National Green arrangement is possible, then that requires flexible thinking under a tight time frame. I can see that is easier for National, but harder for the Greens.

      the election outcome shows it’s perfectly possible for the Green Party to honour it’s promise to GP voters that it would only negotiate to be part of a Labour-led government.

      The outcome also shows that it is perfectly possible for NZF to honour it’s pledge to negotiate with either or both of Nats and Labour.

      The outcome also shows an NZF-Nat government is perfectly possible – and that is the only realistic possibility for a National-led government – so the National Party needs to adapt to that.

      The possibility of NZF as the decider after an election has been flagged by polls and the media for years. Now that it is a reality, Nats look like deer in the headlights – and keep pointing to the GP – “look over there”.

  7. solkta 7

    “(They aren’t yet on the new website, which also means they haven’t been updated to include the fifth fundamental value, Te Tiriti o Waitangi)”

    This statement is COMPLETELY INCORRECT. Te Tiriti o Waitangi IS NOT a pillar of the Charter but rather the preamble to it. The preamble effectively recognises the constitutional framework through which the four pillars will be implemented. The preamble IS THERE:

    “The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand; recognises Maori as Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand; and commits to the following four Principles:”

    THERE IS NOTHING TO BE UPDATED. The Charter is the Charter and is reaffirmed at Conference every year. The only amendment to it that has ever been made was the adding of the preamble in the early 2000s.

    I am disappointed Matthew that you do not understand this.

    • tracey 7.1

      I was confused by that comment too

    • It’s often colloquially referred to as a fifth pillar of the charter. I do understand that it’s not formally in there, but it belongs in any description of our fundamental values.

      I am disappointed that you would value our commitment to the treaty any less than the official four pillars.

      • solkta 7.2.1

        I have never heard it referred to as a pillar of the Charter. IT IS formally in there as the PREAMBLE. No rocket science here.

        It is not a pillar and you misrepresent the Party when you describe it as so. I think you need to directly acknowledge or explain this “haven’t been updated to include” nonsense.

        And there is nothing in what I said that says that I don’t value the Treaty, all I have done is point out fact. You have made a mistake, why not say that?

        • I’ve never heard it referred to as anything but the fifth pillar, if it’s more than a technical mistake then I withdraw and apologize, but I think you would find a lot of the candidates will agree that it has co-equal status with the pillars.

  8. The Greens believe in sustainable development. The Nats believe in sustainable development.

    I’d probably change a word there and say that National believes in sustained development.

    New Zealand First and Labour have a lot of commonality, too. They both agree that immigration rules are too loose, despite our immigration policy being so right-wing that US Republicans have it on their wishlist and the German AfD party of neo-nazi nationalists are using it as an example of what they’d like to do.

    They are too loose to the point where immigration is detrimental to our country. And that comes from Treasury – the most ‘liberal’ institution as far as immigration goes. They really do believe that we need more people and that we’ll never have enough.

    As far as immigration goes, we need to determine how many people our country can sustainably support using present knowledge and work it out from there. Having an open immigration policy is a bad idea.

    • Hah, yes, rhetorically that is better.

      I’m afraid we disagree on immigration. We have to balance the fact that New Zealand’s own population growth is sustainable against the fact that this is because colonialism made us into a more developed nation than many of the under-developed countries. By having a relatively open immigration posture with reasonable restrictions, we simultaneously relieve pressure on overcrowded countries, and move people to an environment where their birth rate is likely to be lower. From an environmental point of view, just like any other point of view, managed immigration is a good thing.

      Most of our emphasis needs to simply be on treating immigrants better and reconsidering parts of our policy that aren’t shown to help society in any way. I think there’s still, ironically, room to shore up the ineffectively managed parts of the immigration system, but it should be from a perspective of treating immigrants as people, not as economic units for the exploitation of existing New Zealand citizens and residents.

  9. Carolyn_nth 9

    Surely the point, at this stage in the electorate cycle, is to do with the GP campaign promise to GP voters?

    The GP website said that a party vote for the Greens is a vote for a Labour-led government.

    For the Nats to now be asking for the GP to add the GP votes to a Nat-led government disrespects GP voters, and is thumbing their nose at democracy.

    • For the Nats to now be asking for the GP to add the GP votes to a Nat-led government disrespects GP voters, and is thumbing their nose at democracy.

      That’s par for the course for National. They really, really don’t like democracy. That’s why Canterbury had their representatives removed from ECan.

    • Brigid 9.2

      They (the nats) aren’t asking. They don’t do ask. They believe it is their right to govern and the Greens need to facilitate this. Simple.

    • tracey 9.3

      Exactly. It appears that anything Nats say in an election campaign is not realky meant, part of the game, apparently.

      That is why Wayne seems so bemused about Greens not going with National. He simply cannot relate to election/campaign promises being binding, cos National is such a contortionist if it means power.

    • Yes, that is what I am alluding to when I said any attempt to move on such a deal would cause a split at best. I ended up cutting things because this was too long, lol.

  10. xanthe 10

    ” the Greens’ fundamental values are also available here. (They aren’t yet on the new website, which also means they haven’t been updated to include the fifth fundamental value, Te Tiriti o Waitangi”

    OMFG is that for real !

    edit: i see this is answered above (“its incorrect”) thanks

  11. patricia bremner 11

    As interesting as this is, I still maintain it is a deliberate “look over there” tactic designed to use energy that should be directed at our possible 3 way coalition.

    While we are distracted the Nats are beginning a “MMP is skewing results” programme.

    They are trying to convince people that MMP has cheated them of their government.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but a number of “journalists” are running with this theme.

    Preparing to have the coalition facing hostility?

    • Perhaps I’m wrong, but a number of “journalists” are running with this theme.

      No, you’re not wrong. IMO, we’re seeing a deliberate ploy by National to undermine our democracy. They tried very hard to replace MMP with an electoral system that would have left them in power permanently.

    • Yes, it is a “look, a whale!” technique, I agree. I just think it’s reached the point of inertia with the ever over-megaphoned blue-greens that it won’t go away without serious discussion now, which is a pity, as it is the correct posture for both parties not to entertain such a notion at this time.

      Yes, the Nats are trying to imply that they have a moral right to govern. It’s nuts, and it’s dirty politics at its worst: while saying they support MMP, they are undermining its very philosophy: that voters decide how they should be represented, and then a coalition of more than 50% is negotiated to govern based on that, or if not, a large minority government makes flexible arrangements.

  12. xanthe 12

    One reason why this canard has legs (to mangle a metaphor) is because the choice the greens will likely face is coalition with national VS confidence and supply outside a Lab NZF government. In that case they will be unable to just stay neutral as to refuse C&S would hand control to a Nat govt or cause a new election.

    Fortunately with Met (and others) out of the picture NZF may now soften their stance on working with the greens

    • Confidence and supply is fine if there are appropriate ministerial positions outside cabinet and policy concessions. It’s being banished to the cross benches by Winston that’s no longer appropriate behaviour.

  13. David Mac 13

    I think the Nats wooing the Greens is for Winston’s benefit. An effort to strengthen the Nat bartering position when sitting down and negotiating with NZFirst. An attempt to imply “You’re not our only option Winston.” A viable Plan B with the Greens weakens NZFirst’s negotiation clout. An unreserved ‘NO’ from the Greens strengthens NZFirst’s position.

  14. CHCOff 14

    IF the Green Party can show it can be in a successful coalition government with NZF, it can take non-left wing environmental votes away from National next time around without disturbing it’s anti-National foundational voting support block and build upon that in being ‘neither left or right’.

    • That’s a really cogent point in favour of pursuing a coalition including NZ First, as they’re definitely not “left,” at least not traditionally so.

      I think some of the “not left or right” positioning is a little too wonky. It’s better to just talk about what we are than what we’re not, and what we are is our own party that wants its own future, not an eternal little sister to Labour.

      • Incognito 14.1.1

        I think it is a little unfair to accuse them of being “a little too wonky” because everything gets framed in terms of Left-Right. You cannot effectively counter that dominant narrative by sticking to the same framing, especially when you don’t fit in it, can you?

        • Except the Greens do fit into a two-dimensional analysis of politics with only a few descriptive additions, like mostly any political party. They are an environmentalist left-liberal party with an emphasis on highly representative decentralized democracy, evidence-based policy, and long-term planning. Did it in a single sentence without any “nots.”

          I am a Green Party member btw, so it’s not criticism of the party, so much as criticism of that particular rhetorical chestnut. It was good as an opening move to explain that the Green Party was not “yet another Labour split,” but we’re past that now.

          (I can also do similar tricks for other kiwi parties. New Zealand First is a nationalistic left-conservative party with an emphasis on low taxes, economic nationalism and assimilation to colonial and indigenous culture, and direct democracy. Oh, they need several descriptors too? Yep. Even Labour and National need them, because there are several political factors that aren’t captured neatly in a left-right liberal-conservative divide, but it’s a great starting point)

          Remember “explaining is losing?” Talking about what you’re not falls under that umbrella, but people will entertain a little bit of talking about what you are, so long as you do it succinctly and you stick to issues they think everyone cares about. I think it’s reasonable to say that the Green Party is its own thing and a unique political movement, but saying it’s not left or right isn’t correct. It is a left-wing party, because that’s where its environmental values and evidence-based approach led it. Talking about what you’re not should only be used to refute the premise of a question.

          • Incognito

            Thank you but I disagree with the premise although it might be foolish to argue with a highly knowledgeable insider 😉

            The third axis (cf. Vote Compass) or dimension is the environmental one where the Green Party is clearly separated from the major parties. This is neither Left nor Right.

            My point is that you can reduce the Green Party to the standard two dimensions and call it Left, which is correct, but this would be a gross simplification IMHO (the technical term is dimensionality reduction or projection) and much more so than is the case with other parties (‘party tricks’).

            The Greens don’t have to explain what they’re not – they clearly have an extra dimension; it’s the other parties who ought to do this explaining as they barely and rarely make it off the standard 2D political plane.

            I also think this goes beyond standard rhetoric and is about the essence of what it means to be a green party.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Yes, my big problem with that talking point is that it’s close enough to being correct to be confusing. We’re not JUST left, but we are left in addition to believing in a different type of environmental and democratic politics. Declaiming being left is incorrect, what we need to say is that we’re left in a way that meets the concerns of centrist environmentalists or others who might consider voting for us but don’t identify that way. We are the left that is pragmatic. We value the economy, because people need livelihoods, but we want an economy that works better for the people and the planet. We’re evidence-based, but we care about what the evidence says about things other than just money. And so on.

              • Incognito

                I can accept that, thank you. I’m still coming to terms with that whole ‘Greens thing’ and try to get my head around it, which is no easy after years of …

  15. Fuck off National .

    Just fuck the hell off.

    Mister Banker
    Mister please, how much does money mean
    Won’t you reconsider mister
    Won’t you do this thing for me
    Ain’t got no house
    Ain’t got no car
    All I got, Lord, is my guitar
    But you can have that mister banker
    Won’t you bury my papa for me
    Oh mister banker please
    Listen to how that sound

    I would not be here on my knees
    But hey mister banker
    It means so much to me
    Oh won’t you reconsider mister
    Won’t you do this thing for me

    I told you mister
    I ain’t got no house
    Ain’t got no car
    I got me a 1950 Les Paul guitar
    Won’t you take it mister banker
    Won’t you bury my papa for me
    Oh mister banker please

    Lynyrd Skynyrd- Mr Banker – YouTube
    Video for mr banker lynyrd lyrics▶ 5:24

  16. tsmithfield 16

    It looks like James Shaw is at least keeping the possibility open of an arrangement of some kind with National:


    This is a smart move from the Green’s perspective. As it stands now, they will likely be shut out of government again because Labour will bend over backwards to accommodate NZ First. A compliant Green party will make it easy for them to do that.

    If for no other reason, this stance from Shaw will help keep Labour honest in their dealings with them. Look how this scenario is playing out with the America’s cup at the moment. Dalton has been clever and has left the possibility open that the cup could go to Italy if the key players in NZ don’t step up.

    • weka 16.1

      So you think because Shaw is being polite about talking to English while at the same time repeatedly saying the GP won’t go with National, that this means that Labour will think that the GP might actually go with National and thus the GP will gain some additional power in coalition negotiations?

      • tsmithfield 16.1.1

        I think if Labour offers a half-decent deal to the Greens, then they will obviously go for that.

        However, if Labour was to basically make no concessions to the Greens and expect their support regardless, and National was offering some substantial concessions for say, abstaining on confidence and supply issues, then who knows. The Green party could possibly go with a deal on that basis as they wouldn’t actually be voting for National, just not voting against in certain circumstances.

        I doubt that anyone really expects that the America’s cup will go to Italy. But the fact the door is open to that possibility means there is pressure on key parties to get their acts together.

        So, I think there is a remote possibility of some sort of deal. I don’t think a formal coalition would be on the cards though.

        • tsmithfield

          And, the fact that Shaw is prepared to talk at all shows there is a probability greater than zero of a deal. Otherwise, why waste time talking at all?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Minor detail: he said he was prepared to listen. “Talking” about anything even remotely substantive would require Party buy-in.


            • Andre

              That detail is slightly more than minor. I’m struggling to come up with anything Shaw might reasonably say to National right now other than a two-syllable phrase that starts and ends with F.

            • solkta

              It would be worth having a listen if for no other reason than the opportunity to piss yourself laughing.

            • tsmithfield

              No point in even listening if there is a zero percent probability of a deal.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Yes there is.

                In the event that the Greens form a government with NZF and Labour, they have information about National’s areas of policy compromise to bring to the table.

    • Ross 16.2

      I don’t think there is any possibility of such a deal and Shaw hinted at that in his interview. National would have to make substantial and meaningful concessions. In the unlikely event that they did make substantial and meaningful concessions, they’d be doing so for one reason only – to cling onto power. There’d be no long-term commitment from National.

      Some on the Right may have forgotten that this Government has been taken to court over its climate change policy.


    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.3

      See 17.

    • solkta 16.4

      “So the door is slightly ajar” “well no..”

      Everybody who knows anything knows that it won’t happen so all the waffle is meaningless.

    • RedLogix 16.5

      In many ways Morgan was right, the presence of NZ1 is toxic to ANY coalition government. This is why National is so furiously signalling to the Greens; they no more want NZ1 as partners than anyone else.

      The core problem is the Nats and Greens are motivated by very different values, and the Nats have a terrible record of consuming their coalition partners. I suppose it cannot be ruled out entirely, and if Shaw does negotiate an agreement with English it would represent a major re-shaping of our political landscape. In some ways there is a radical logic to such a deal, but you’d have to feel for all the party members and supporters in coming to terms with it.

      Because honestly I’m even less impressed with the prospect of a three way with Lab/NZ1/Grn and all it’s policy contradictions.

      There are only two possible coalitions that exclude NZ1; Nat/Grn and Nat/Lab. Maybe we should be thinking about how to make them work, because all other options are worse.

    • tracey 16.6

      Which part of Greens pre election day promise to not form a govt with National is unclear?

      • RedLogix 16.6.1

        It’s been a week now and some cold hard realities are setting in for everyone. This is a tough election outcome and the specials could still surprise. No-one has a simple, magic answer, and fixed positional thinking won’t help.

      • tsmithfield 16.6.2

        I think a coalition deal between National and the Greens is non-starter.

        However, the Greens agreeing to abstain from votes on confidence and supply to allow a National minority government is another matter. This type of arrangement doesn’t require the Greens to vote to support National. Just to not vote on issues of confidence and supply.

        If such an arrangement could be struck with sufficient concessions to the Greens, surely that would be better in terms of the Greens having an impact if it turns out the only alternative is a National NZ First coalition.

        As it stands, the Greens are banking on a three way coalition, or nothing. Doesn’t seem very smart to me.

  17. One Anonymous Bloke 17

    It’s a natural consequence of the way the Greens do politics. A “smart move” made when the party was formed.

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