Progressive?

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, May 4th, 2009 - 95 comments
Categories: greens, mt albert - Tags: , , , ,

It was deeply depressing to wake up this morning to the sound of Russel Norman running National Party attack lines on Radio NZ. For a party that has the best policy by far on how to deal with the huge economic and environmental challenges we face, it’s disappointing to see the Greens voluntarily descend into right-wing smear and misrepresentation. Gordon Campbell sums up my views perfectly:

So David Shearer is to be the Labour candidate in Mt Albert. The claims by Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman on Morning Report that this leaves Norman as the only progressive candidate on offer in the Mt Albert by-election were singularly depressing, as an index of how the Greens plan to fight this campaign. To reach that conclusion, Norman has willingly bought into the distortion of Shearer’s views on mercenaries in extreme Third World hot spots. He has also resurrected the bogey of the right wing leadership of the Labour Party, and claimed Shearer to be the creature of that faction and thus discredited as a ‘progressive’ candidate.

Is it hard to see anything progressive in this array of smear tactics. For one thing, Shearer has spent a good deal of his professional life in humanitarian work in the Third World, some of it while Norman was kicking back safely on Waiheke Island. Secondly, Shearer’s views on private armies have been wildly distorted. In one paper, written 12 years ago, he had been saying that in Sierra Leone the private army involved had helped to end a hideously brutal civil war. Subsequently, Shearer’s position has been that such private armies are a fait accompli that has to be regulated which would mean that the likes of Blackwater could no longer enjoy legal immunity for their actions inside Iraq. That, I would have thought, was a progressive position that Norman himself would endorse.

The only thing I’d add is that Norman’s line about Shearer being imposed by Labour’s central office is a flat out lie, and he knows it. I’ve long been a critic of Labour’s selection processes, but the fact is Shearer’s selection was unanimous among the six delegates on the selection panel (half head office, half local party) and he won the floor vote by a clear majority in a field of eight candidates. That’s a pretty clear mandate by any standard.

Stick to policy Russel, and stop damaging the Greens with your amateurish game-playing. I’m not going to switch to Labour in a hurry, but at the moment I’d rather piss my vote away on the Alliance than support your lot.

[Shearer’s interview is available here. Plunket goes him pretty hard, well worth a listen.]

95 comments on “Progressive?”

  1. Tim Ellis 1

    Interesting point, Tane. I have heard that Shearer didn’t get the floor vote. There certainly were some dissenters who walked out of the selection in a very unhappy mood.

    • Tane 1.1

      Okay, that’s not what I heard. I asked some of my contacts in the party and they told me it was a clear majority in the floor vote. I can’t say whether there were groups who were unhappy with the selection because I wasn’t there, but I’d say it’s to be expected in a tough race like this.

      • Tim Ellis 1.1.1

        I take your word for it Tane. I don’t doubt that your contacts are much better than mine. I heard it from one source and I can’t confirm the veracity of that source, because that person was unhappy with the outcome. But it’s either a yes or a no as to whether Shearer got the floor vote.

        If he didn’t get the floor vote, I think that is a big issue.

        • r0b 1.1.1.1

          Just for the record Tim – is it a big issue that Key is going to steamroller through Melissa Lee as National’s candidate, over local toiler Ravi Musuku? Is that a “big issue” at all?

          • Tim Ellis 1.1.1.1.1

            Key isn’t a delegate, r0b. DPF has a very useful explanation about the Mt Albert selection process.

            There isn’t any steam-rolling going on. Whoever wins tonight, whether it is Musuku or Lee, will be the person who wins the majority of local Mt Albert delegates tonight.

          • r0b 1.1.1.1.2

            That’s not an answer Tim.

            Ms Lee’s candidacy is pretty much a foregone conclusion, as per the media assumptions quoted below. She is being steamrollered through by National head office.

      • TS 1.1.2

        I was there Tane. The poppies on the photos of returned servicement were a nice touch. The lhaksa and the pea and ham soup were nice. The apples were floury.

        No way did shearer win the floor vote. You have been misinformed.

        There were a lot of angry people leaving that hall yesterday. Might as well have been the National party for all the democracy of the selection.

        [lprent: probably there]

      • edoze 1.1.3

        Man you got ripped a new one over at Tumeke.

        Christ Tim’s cool!

        • r0b 1.1.3.1

          Tim (Selwyn) at Tumeke isn’t “cool”. Cool people don’t write things like:

          he deserves to be summarily executed and/or tortured in the same way other victims of the military have under the aegis of his protection – that is the fate he courts. Let that day come soon.

          and so on – see here: http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2009/05/slops/
          The following comments mention Tim’s “outbursts of mysogynism and xenophobia”. Hmmmmm.

    • r0b 1.2

      That’s what you get with a field of excellent candidates and a genuine democratic process Tim.

      National it seems can only muster two candidates, the genuine local one (about to get shafted), and the one picked by Key.

      The interesting selection

      • Daveski 1.2.1

        This four legs good, two legs bad stuff is highly entertaining. Keep it up.

        The selection of the candidate for a high profile by election sends clear messages.

        For Labour, it shows they plan to take on National in the centre, Goff’s natural ground. Goff got his guy (a nice piece of alliteration there!) and clearly he will be judged on his performance.

        The fact that Labour and the Greens (or in fact Labour and any other party) can’t work together doesn’t say much about Labour’s long term aspirations either.

        • r0b 1.2.1.1

          Labour can’t work with other parties? Except for, you know, running successful minority governments for the last 9 years? Do please take time to run a basic sanity checker over your comments…

          • Daveski 1.2.1.1.1

            I think you’ll find that the Greens and particularly the Maori Party would more readily agree with my pov than yours r0b.

            Perhaps “can’t” is a bit strong but certainly Key has shown a refreshing political pragmatism to both Labour and particularly past National leaders.

          • r0b 1.2.1.1.2

            Key’s “refreshing political pragmatism” is not at all new. Labour was entirely pragmatic – working with UF and NZF – doing what it could with The Greens in a context where UF and NZF categorically excluded them. Labour even worked with National on occasion (s59 reform). No, you can’t accuse Labour of not being pragmatic – quite the opposite – a bit too much pragmatism for my taste!

            In short – Helen Clark wrote the book on how to do MMP government. Key is just following the recipe.

        • Tane 1.2.1.2

          For Labour, it shows they plan to take on National in the centre

          That’s the line Farrar and co are pushing, but I wouldn’t be so sure.

          From what I’m hearing from inside the party they’re looking leftwards, just taking their sweet time about it. Of course, anything could change by the time they get their act together.

          • Daveski 1.2.1.2.1

            Obviously, I don’t hear any whispers from that direction 🙂

            Key successfully (at least in November) positioned National more towards the centre. Whether he can continue to do so will be interesting but the extended honeymoon shows that it is possible.

            It will be fascinating to see what happens, particularly if/when Goff goes. Not just for Labour but for the Greens as well.

            For the record, I think Labour simply has to win the by election and Shearer does appear to be a very strong candidate.

            For the record 2, I don’t run Farrar’s lines but if I note something at KB, i will reference that.

          • The Baron 1.2.1.2.2

            Yes well any direction would be a good one. Right now the campaign seems to be a retread of last years…

            It will be interesting to see which way Labour actually plays this one. Acid test for Goff’s leadership, methinks – does he have a new vision for Labour? Will it be articulated in this contest? If so, will the core like it (if not, Russel is a-waitin!).

            Or are we just gonna see a rerun of last year’s campaign? If so, that would beem to me to be a great sign that Goff’s got nothing…

      • Tim Ellis 1.2.2

        A genuine democratic process in which the media are excluded, the floor vote of local party members only counts for one of the seven votes, and the floor vote is ignored, r0b? You really are taking a ludicrous line.

        National’s selection process is decided by 60 delegates. The media is included on selection night.

        • r0b 1.2.2.1

          A genuine democratic process in which the media are excluded,

          The media are excluded from all sorts of things Tim, for various reasons good and bad.

          the floor vote of local party members only counts for one of the seven votes, and the floor vote is ignored,

          If the floor vote counts for one of 7 in what sense is it ignored Tim? It can be a tie breaker. In total the local branch gets 4/7 votes.

          r0b? You really are taking a ludicrous line.

          No, a ludicrous line would be if I tried to present comments from blogs as “evidence” of some political party’s position Tim.

          National’s selection process is decided by 60 delegates. The media is included on selection night.

          The media don’t need to show up – National’s process is so democratic that they already know the outcome – eg here:

          Greens co-leader Russel Norman is standing for his party. Labour selects its candidate tomorrow. Melissa Lee is expected to stand for National.

          here:

          List MP, and this country’s first Korean MP Melissa Lee, is expected to get the nod.

          here:

          Nominations for Labour close on April 22, and about eight people have said they are interested. National is expected to stand Melissa Lee.

          and so on. Why don’t you ask Ravi Musuku if he thinks National’s process will be democratic?

          • Tim Ellis 1.2.2.1.1

            Rob, I didn’t present comments from blogs. I presented comments from Labour Party activists who comment on the Herald’s comments section as evidence of Labour party feeling towards Russel Norman.

            The media aren’t excluded from National Party selection meetings. They are excluded from Labour Party selection meetings. I wonder why?

            Could it be because the floor vote in a Labour Party selection meeting, involving 200 local voters, gets ignored by the head office delegates? Could it be because the Labour Party doesn’t want the public to know that the single local voice is ignored?

            I think so.

            I don’t know Ravi Musuku. Have you got a quote from him that suggests that he doesn’t think that the National Party selection will be democratic? Surely, since you’re making the allegation, it’s up to you to produce evidence of the claim. Didn’t think so.

          • Pascal's bookie 1.2.2.1.2

            How about that Whaleoil saying:

            Ravi needs to get with the programme and fall in behind like the loyal soldier he is. If he plays nice the party will play nice. If he plays dumb he will get mowed down. Simple really

            Sounds awfully grassroots democratic. And Whale actually is a well connected a Nat activist, rather than a random commenter on ‘your views’.

            I’m sure the media will see the party faithful do as they are expected though. They’re tories after all, and they know the party has a veto, mustn’t make a fuss you know.

          • r0b 1.2.2.1.3

            Rob, I didn’t present comments from blogs. I presented comments from Labour Party activists who comment on the Herald’s comments section as evidence of Labour party feeling towards Russel Norman.

            Just listen to yourself Tim!

            The media aren’t excluded from National Party selection meetings. They are excluded from Labour Party selection meetings. I wonder why?

            Because Labour members like to be able to air their views in genuine debate without the media present? If National members don’t have any significant debate then of course they don’t care if the media are there to observe the non event. Similarly Labour members get to develop Party policy in an active process at conference, a genuinely democratic process National abandoned long ago. Similarly Labour is the only major party to publicly publish its accounts each year, as it has nothing to hide (pity National can’t say the same eh).

            I don’t know Ravi Musuku. Have you got a quote from him that suggests that he doesn’t think that the National Party selection will be democratic? Surely, since you’re making the allegation

            I’m making the allegation based on the preordained nature of Melissa’s candidacy, as per the media quotes sampled above. Currently Ravi is palying the good soldier and letting John Key do the talking for him:

            Ravi Musuku says he is keen to have another shot after losing to Helen Clark in 2005 and 2008.

            “I have been working for the past five years in the electorate,” Mr Musuku says.

            But he wouldn’t comment further, leaving it up to National’s leadership to make an announcement in the coming weeks.

            Be interesting to hear what if anything he has to say after he gets shafted tonight.

          • r0b 1.2.2.1.4

            Rob, I didn’t present comments from blogs. I presented comments from Labour Party activists

            Oh and just by the way – speaking of evidence for claims, how about your claim that the commenters are “Labour Party activists”?

            You described one as “a frequent pro-Labour commenter”, not an activist, and you didn’t describe the other at all. So do you have any evidence that they are Labour Party activists, or are you just making shit up (again)?

          • gobsmacked 1.2.2.1.5

            Update from those democratic, transparent Nats:

            Radio Live has just reported (4 pm bulletin) that, ahead of the “selection”, National have accidentally released a document announcing Melissa Lee as the candidate.

            Oops!

        • George Darroch 1.2.2.2

          The media aren’t excluded from National Party selection meetings. They are excluded from Labour Party selection meetings. I wonder why?

          There are plenty of party procedures in other parties where the media are excluded – often so people can speak their minds and act freely. It doesn’t make them any less democratic, and often more so.

    • lprent 1.3

      No-one knows including me. Rose from my sickbed to go there.

  2. George Darroch 2

    Oh dear. When Norman said that Shearer was right, I thought that he had some other evidence, apart from the distorted pieces on mercenaries. It appears not.

    Shearer might be right wing Labour member. He’s a friend of Phil Goff, after all. But I haven’t seen much yet for or against the proposition. Does Norman have unrevealed evidence to support his claim? Unlikely.

    Will somebody please get the Greens some strategists and a proper campaign team?

    • Agreed George

      This debate is somewhat frustrating. Someone spends decades doing humanitarian work overseas in some of the most difficult areas in the world and get branded because of one paper they wrote 12 years ago addressing a humanitarian crisis by means of the use of mercenaries, a few comments in which are taken out of context.

      This does not mean he is right wing. The years of humanitarian work mean that he is very likely to be a solid leftie.

      The right are using the US right’s tactic of running those simple lines to brand someone or an idea and by that means defining an argument.

      We should respond from now on by calling David Shearer “Dave the humanitarian worker” to put some reality back into the argument.

  3. Personally I’d like to have seen Meg Bates chosen as they both appear to be top caliber candidates, sheer how ever more likely to pull a good list placing. Ahh well, I guess now we just sit back and enjoy the ensuing shit fight go on among Nationa.

  4. Kevin Welsh 4

    I am curious, if Melissa Lee is chosen as the NACT candidate, does she have to resign as a list MP first?

    If she does and loses the by-election, is she then out of parliament?

    • Tim Ellis 4.1

      Perhaps Graeme or one of the legal beagles can confirm this Kevin, but my understanding is that answer is no, they do not have to resign from Parliament before the election. A List MP winning the by-election will resign their post from Parliament after the by-election, but before the return of the writ. That will create a vacancy for the next person on the List. After the return of the writ, the former MP will then be sworn in again as an electorate MP.

    • Pascal's bookie 4.2

      No she doesn’t have to resign, if she loses she retains her list seat.

      As I understand it, if she wins, National gets the next person off their list into parliament, (who is that BTW?) Same scenario with the Greens, and ACT.

      • gingercrush 4.2.1

        Cam Calder PB.

        • Pascal's bookie 4.2.1.1

          Thanks ginger

          • logie97 4.2.1.1.1

            How does that affect proportionality in the house – surely it would increase National’s election night majority if they won the electorate seat and added a list MP

          • Tane 4.2.1.1.2

            Yes, it would. Labour would lose one MP (Helen Clark’s seat) and National would gain one MP (Cam Calder off the list).

  5. “I’m not going to switch to Labour in a hurry, but at the moment I’d rather piss my vote away on the Alliance than support your lot.”

    An improvement on your comments recently where you were considering joining Labour after National’s MoU with the Greens. If people keep voting for (or joining) parties in parliament we keep getting the status quo, I’ve never voted for a sitting party and have never pissed my vote away, I always vote for the party who’s views best match my own, if I were to vote for a party that didn’t I would be giving them a mandate to carry out policies I disagree with, the idea of a ‘wasted vote’ is one I’ve only seen pushed by supporters of parties already in parliament, I think its a bigger waste to vote for a lesser evil than it is to vote for policies you want.

    Captcha: dabbed workers

  6. Red Horse 6

    Bates made Shearer look like a bumbling rank amateur at both at the Q and A session and the selection meeting.

    But don’t take my word for it – ask the other candidates. It was pretty obvious.

  7. Jasper 7

    I actually feel sorry for Ravi. There were murmurs last year of moving Chauvel out of Ohariu as he’d not managed to take it in 05, or in 08.
    It seems to be a strange affliction with all political hues, if they lose two, time to try another.
    Good thing with Chauvel is that he’d drastically reduced Dunnes majority. Dunne hosting his “election launch” at a seedy cafe in Auckland didn’t help his vote in Ohariu, considering they’re the only reason he’s still in Parliament. Doofus.

    As for National, If Cam Calder gets in, and then Worth gets fired as he no doubt will… the spectre of Stephen Franks rears his ugly head.
    That is something I’m not looking forward too.

  8. SPC 8

    Greens need progressive Labour votes to contest the seat.

    The question is whether voting for Shearer delivers their agenda or whether voting Green would do it better.

    If National win the seat, but only because of a split Labour Green vote and a large trend to the Greens (on progressive issues such as democracy in Auckland), it might deliver a stronger message than a simple retention of a safe seat by Labour.

    • Tane 8.1

      The question is how much do you actually know about Shearer? I have to admit not knowing much about him myself, but I think it’s extremely naive to base your opinion on a couple of selective quotations from old journal articles that have been dug up by politically motivated National Party operators.

      I’d be interested to see if you have any hard facts to back up your comments.

      • SPC 8.1.1

        Tane are you disputing that Greens need progressive Labour votes to win the seat?

        Are you disputing that progressive Labour voters will have to decide whether to vote for Shearer or send a message by voting for the more progressive party (Greens).

        This is obviously indisputably the case – so what facts are at issue?

        You imply that my line is premised on some view about Shearer himself and his politics – it assuredly is not. No matter whether he is progressive (or not) he would be only one voice in the larger less progressive party.

        If you want my opinion on the privatisation thing – as I have already commented elsewhere. He is for an acceptance of responsibility to guarantee the well being of the public – by the means available. That would mean by public services where available and if not then by another means. That Labour have yet to refute and bury the National line on this is poor media management (and that is not the Greens fault). My opinion on Shearer is that he would be a fine addition to parliament (and a loss elsewhere) and the best Labour campaign line is – you get Shearer and Norman in parliament now by voting for Shearer in the seat.

        But that said the more progressive result would be a strong swing to Greens (nothing personal against the Labour candidate OK).

        • Tane 8.1.1.1

          SPC, my dislike of Russel Norman’s style of politics aside, I’d vote for the Green candidate if I thought they had a good chance of winning. But it seems far more likely that Norman will only make a National victory more likely. I just can’t see any swing for the Greens being strong enough to make a difference in an FPP-style contest.

          That’s the reason I gave my party vote to the Greens in 2008 and my electorate vote to the Labour candidate. It was the more progressive option to vote for Grant Robertson over Stephen Franks. Similarly with Shearer over Melissa Lee, despite the Hooton-inspired nonsense that Russel Norman is spouting.

          Of course, as I’ve already stated Norman has every right to stand even if I personally wouldn’t vote for him. It’s how fully he’s bought into National Party attack lines that’s got to me. How do you feel about his dishonest and sectarian attacks on Shearer? Do you think those are the actions of an intelligent and progressive politician?

          • SPC 8.1.1.1.1

            It’s obvious that many on the centre-left have supported the Greens as a progressive partner for Labour. It has been part of an attempt to have the best of all worlds – a Labour party with enough centrist appeal to win elections regularly while they themslves have a party they have more in common with (can identify with on the centre-left).

            The Greens however do have a policy interest (environment) which they would have to become mainstream (Labour and National governments). This is not about left or right politics – and those who would work with the Greens as a centre-left party need to accept the wisdom of Churchill on this – if it is about achieving ones greater purpose you work with even the political enemy (to Churchill Stalin, to the Greens Key).

            To attack Norman for an agreement with National (or for competing to win an electorate seat) is like attacking the Greens for actually being a “green” party and not sacrificing this for left wing solidarity with Labour.

            It’s like attacking Churchill for working with the enemy against the greater threat – and Greens think there is a threat to the sustainability of our society if we don’t get the Green thing sorted.

          • Tane 8.1.1.1.2

            At the risk of going around in circles, I don’t see the Green deal with National as achieving anything of real substance. For a few crumbs they were going to get anyway the Greens have sold out their principles and emboldened a party that is no friend of the environment.

            The MoU serves no greater purpose than Russel Norman’s ego. If you’re going to make ridiculous WWII comparisons you might as well compare him to Quisling as Churchill. But as I said, that would be ridiculous.

  9. toad 9

    Tane said: It was deeply depressing to wake up this morning to the sound of Russel Norman running National Party attack lines…

    Tane, don’t you see that the political landscape has changed.

    The Greens and Labour are competing for the centre-left vote.

    What do you mean by “National Party attack lines” Tane? From my listening to the interview, it was all Green Party attach lines – which is fair enough by me. There is a byelection going on you know.

    The Greens aim to win the Mt Albert byelection (yes, I know Russel’s the underdog, and so does he) but we’ll give it a good shot. And the Greens aim to significantly increase our vote at the 2011 election at the expense of Labour.

    We can do this in the knowledge that now NZFirst is out of the way and United Future have only one MP each and are unlikely to recover support, Labour have no-one else to turn to but the Greens to form a Government.

    So the Greens can afford to be far more assertive in the way we campaign. We can afford to much more clearly paint Labour as what we’ve always believed it is – much closer to National than to the Greens policy-wise. We can attack them much more strongly where their policies are anti-environment, anti-beneficiary, and inadequately support low-income workers.

    And surely even you admit that the elevation of Goff, who was very close to Prebble and Douglas in the fourth Labour Government, to the Labour leadership is a shift to the right.

    Being Labour’s puppy dog is never going to get the Green vote to the level that many of the policies you and I support will be implemented.

    • Good luck Toad

      At a grassroots level Labour and the Greens have got on quite well over the past 10 years. Auckland City and Waitakere local body elections are examples about what can be achieved by cooperation.

      It works because at an activist level both groups realise that they have a lot in common and given the dynamics of FPP elections cooperation is vital. The Byelection is going to be run on an FPP basis.

      MMP requires a different mindset and some differentiation is possible and understandable. Although progressive parties can afford to be different they did not have to attack each other.

      Things appear to have changed. Greens are meant to be principled gentle dedicated people who want to save the planet. The recent MOU with National and the attacks on Labour suggest that the principle chip has been turned off.

      Being Labour’s “puppy dog” achieved, an Emissions Trading Scheme, a biofuels system, a fund for retrofitting, a ban on the construction of thermal power stations, a significantly enhanced spend on PT, upgrade of Auckland rail and plans to electrify it amongst many other things.

      Being National’s poodle has done nothing to reverse the destruction of these policies and also has given the Nats good publicity on the day they should have been roasted for their Auckland governance decision.

      This is the bit that I don’t understand. You side up with the party that is undermining so many environmental policies and you attack the party that put these policies in place?

      By all means go for it and be as assertive as you want. Do not complain if Labour then seek to get your members to come over.

      • gobsmacked 9.1.1

        Let’s cut to the chase.

        The Greens have decided on a strategy. Fair enough.

        Having decided, they then need to make the facts fit the strategy. So they attack Shearer as Goff-Grey-Right. Conveniently ignoring his entire life story. Under different circumstances, Shearer would be getting public plaudits from Keith Locke. But hey, it’s party politics.

        Let’s not pretend that it was the other way round, and they based their attacks on the evidence, only once the candidate had been selected. Norman had already announced he was running.

        I’ve got no problem with the Greens playing politics like every other party, but spare us the bullshit about why you’re doing it.

    • The Baron 9.2

      Wow, Toad – if this is for real, then that is a genuinely interesting change of approach…

      The gauntlet is thrown, Labour.

  10. toad 10

    micky, there is no siding up with National. The Greens were always accused by the right of siding up with Labour between 2002 and 2005 too, when we were actually officially in opposition. We’re an independent party who make our own decisions. The fact that there are only three items of substance in the MoU with National actually shows just how vast the policy gulf is between the Greens and them.

    And remember that the arrangements with Labour didn’t prevent us from getting a free trade agreement with China, didn’t get legislation to encourage multi-employer collective agreements, didn’t get the minimum wage anywhere near $15 an hour, didn’t prevent the enactment of the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Act, didn’t stop our streams and rivers being further polluted, didn’t curb massive industrial dairy expansion and its consequent greenhouse gas omissions. Oh, and remember that while Labour was maybe less captured by the road transport lobby than National, they would have blown $3b on the Waterview SH20 tunnel that woaul be completely uneccesary with decent public transport in Auckland and spent a portion of Auckland’s regional fuel tax on PENLINK rather than public transport.

    • r0b 10.1

      Agree with gobsmacked above, the Greens are perfectly entitled to run this hard line strategy, but for goodness sake don’t abandon your damn principles. Parroting dishonest right wing attack lines against Shearer is disgraceful.

      My concern (here) is that there simply aren’t any votes in it for the Greens. 2002 election the Greens ran hard against Labour (the whole GM fiasco) – result, 7%. 2008 elections the Greens almost endorsed Labour (ruled out working with National) – result 6.7%.

      Running hard against Labour is likely to damage the Left vote on the whole, without bringing any more votes to the Greens. United we stand, divided we fall and so on. But if you feel you must run hard, at least be honest.

  11. So Toad

    Why are you attacking Labour and signing MOUs with National?

    Labour may not have been perfect in your eyes but the current Government is far, far worse.

  12. bobo 12

    I think with the supercity debate forefront on voters minds, Labour needed a local candidate to run , I guess this will be an indirect bi-election on Goff’s leadership and I’m curious why would Shearer would want to move from the UN to NZ politics, its hardly Blood Diamond in Mt Albert.. but best of luck to him.

  13. The Voice of Reason 13

    Got a nice letter from Russel the other day, begging for money. I told him to piss off, in a nice way, because of the MoU. The next time he asks I’m going to tell him to piss off in a much less nice way because he is clearly an ego driven twat.

    If, as Toad suggests, the Greens are in competition with Labour for the centre left vote, I’d suggest he has a look at the scorecard. Last time I looked Labour was winning hands down. How many seats have the greeens got? Bugger all. How many will the have in the future? Bugger all.

    Russel may not be a Trot formally anymore, but the Aussie DSP’s line of Labour being the real enemy pervades his recent behaviour. It’s a shame, it’s a fraud and it’s going to set your party back, Toad.

    Labour are going to win Mt Albert comfortably, but the greens have already lost more than they could ever have gained just by pissing off folk like me who are, or at least were, natural allies, regular supporters and occasional voters.

  14. Tom Semmens 14

    toad, I am trying to work out what your post above actually means. Russel Norman seems to have inherited Tariana Turia’s sense of entitlement as well as the massive chip on her shoulder. You guys JUST made it over the 5% threshold at the last election… And the election before that now I come to think of it…

    In terms of policy, you managed to get from Labour exactly what your voting percentage deserved.

    You then have a whine about the China FTA, minimum wage, wah wah wah wah… Yet it seems all the things in your list would have been a lot worse had your new chums in National been in power. So what is your point?

    The Greens want to take on Labour. Fair enough. But know this: The Greens are 20,000 or so votes from electoral oblivion. Labour might need the Greens to actually govern, but the Greens need Labour not to launch an all out attack on them to be in parliament at all.

    Labour made significant policy moves that favoured the Greens and took a massive poll hit over Sue Bradford’s section 59, and yet the Greens are responding with a petulant tanty now.

    To me Russel Norman’s version of the Greens carry on like an ex-hippies emo teenager throwing themselves around the living room because dad won’t lend them the car keys.

    • Kevin Welsh 14.1

      “To me Russel Norman’s version of the Greens carry on like an ex-hippies emo teenager throwing themselves around the living room because dad won’t lend them the car keys.”

      Couldn’t agree more Tom.

      I think the Greens MOU with NACT was a pretty desperate roll of the dice to somehow achieve electorate credibility. They saw the electorate lurch to the right and tried to jump on the bandwagon.

      To the overwhelming majority of voters out there, the Greens are still viewed as slightly lunatic fringe. I feel quite safe in saying overwhelming majority, because the electoral results are the proof.

      To their credit they have a solid core of voters who will continue to back them based on environmental issues, but until they lose the tie-dyed hippie image, they will never get beyond that 7-10% of the vote.

    • bobo 14.2

      Russell Norman has always come over arrogant from what Ive seen of him, is this grudge all because they never got a cabinet position under Labour but still got the ETS and home insulation 1 billion if Labour had got in this time around?

      I’ll admit I voted Greens once as Rod Donald was one of my favourite MPs who communicated clearly and seemed positive and able to talk to anyone no matter their political leanings, Russell Norman seems to have an ego with a high carbon footprint..

  15. toad 15

    TVoR said: If, as Toad suggests, the Greens are in competition with Labour for the centre left vote, I’d suggest he has a look at the scorecard. Last time I looked Labour was winning hands down.

    Which is the problem, TVoR. Many people who post here say they support Green policy over Labour, but still vote Labour. Look at their respective policies. Which is more pro-environment? Which is more pro-worker? If this site purports to be the blog of the Labour movernment, you’ve got to admit the Greens beat Labour hands down on pro-worker policies.

    I would suggest Labour focus on winning back the votes it lost to Key last time instead of getting preoccupied with a document between the Greens and National on which we ageree on only three things.

    • IrishBill 15.1

      Toad, I’ve voted green every election since the Alliance folded. I’ve put up Green hoardings, I’ve spent countless hours of my time delivering Green materials and I’ve endorsed the Greens and their policies in repeated posts on the standard.

      I’ve also come to the conclusion that the Greens under Norman have bought into the argument he’s been making for years: that left and right no longer exist nor matter. They do and until he realises this or the Greens get rid of him all those good left wing policies will come to nothing.

      There are a lot of greens like myself who are pretty pissed off about the MOU and see the justification of it under the pre-election vote as an anti-democratic use of a loophole.

      In the old days the ruckus caused by this would have had the Green’s parliamentary arm rushing back to its members to apologise and try to fix it.

      Nowadays you tell us too bad you voted for it and if you complain you’re wrong. That’s not good enough and it could finish the Greens. I sincerely hope it doesn’t but you’ve lost me and a lot of other valuable members and activists.

  16. outofbed 16

    So who now Bill ?
    look at the voting record of the Greens on the other thread
    I think you are over reacting
    Still I do hear what you are saying
    I shall be at The AGM later this month good chance to gauge the feeling.
    could even do a post eh?

    • Tane 16.1

      oob, you’re always welcome to do a guest post. and if you want to defend the mou or norman in mt albert or anything, the floor is always welcome. broad church, comrade.

    • IrishBill 16.2

      Yep, you could. Feel free to do one and we’ll publish it. Have a discussion about whether people think the MOU really fits with the intent of the pre-election consultation.

      I don’t think I’m overreacting. I’ve spoken at length about my concerns with several senior and active green party officials and I’m hearing they share my concerns.

      I’ve also been around long enough to see more than one party I’ve been involved with stray from its members and that’s what I’m seeing here.

  17. The Voice of Reason 17

    “Many people who post here say they support Green policy over Labour, but still vote Labour.”

    I think that should be Green policies, not policy. Some folk round here appear to support some aspects, to a greater or lesser degree. There are some attractive policies within the wider green manifesto, but not enough to sway people to vote Green in preference to Labour, who are the most likely to deliver on their policies because they will always be the major player in any non-right government.

    Labour deliver, with or without the Greens. I hope you keep getting 5%, but with this current level of political immaturity, it’s hard to see how you’ll ever get any major policy taken up by the next Labour led government.

    Captcha: “O’ anthill”. Indeed!

  18. Tane 18

    This is what I’m talking about. From Norman’s Twitter feed:

    Just did interview with mathew hooten and mike king where hooten officially endorsed shearer as the most right candidate. Strange days

    Hooton is obviously being mischevious. Farrar and others in National have been running this line for days in an attempt to open up ground for Norman on the left and thereby split the Left vote. The only reason they’re doing this is because they know that if it works it’ll hand the seat – and the PR victory that comes with it – to National.

    So, is Norman aware of what’s happening but running National’s spin anyway, or is he really that stupid? Either way, it reflects poorly on his judgement.

    • Pascal's bookie 18.1

      “Strange days”. ffs.

      Norman had better of contradicted Hooten right bloody smart.

      If he wants to paint Labour as ‘grey’ and the greens as the true left, he needs to attack National every day, harder than Labour does. Every day.

      His criticism of Labour should be that they are timid, or too soft, or too conservative. That way he takes votes from Labour’s left, while not burnishing National’s centrist credentials, and not pissing off Ex Labour voters that already vote green. This attacking Labour and reinforcing National’s framing just drives Labour sympathetic Green voters back home, and reinforces national’s messages about Labour, driving centrist Labour voters over to National.

      The Greens don’t owe Labour anything. Labour doesn’t owe the Greens anything. But if the Greens want to be in power, ever, they need to a) help Labour win centrist votes by painting National as right wing, and b) take votes from Labour’s left wing by advocating left wing policy.

      In the current recession, with National out of step with international opinion, and preparing it’s environmental reforms, that shouldn’t actually be all that hard. But it will take time. I was actually slightly confident about the lefts chances in the next general. Not so much now though.

  19. SPC 19

    So the National tactic is to allow the Greens to run as the left wing party and Labour as the centrist party. This is after all our reality – so why should not the progressives in Labour accept this and vote Green. A National win in which the Green and Labour share rises from the 2008 vote would be hardly convincing and might even pressure National back to the centre ground.

    • Tane 19.1

      National’s strategy is to split the Left vote in Mt Albert, nothing more, nothing less. It suits Russel Norman’s personal interests to do so and boost his own vote. I don’t think it serves the Left’s if it means National wins the seat.

      When it’s general election time then I’m all for the Greens taking votes off Labour, that’s why I vote for them. I just hope this sectarian crap Norman’s pushing comes to an end, and quickly. Only National wins from the Left being divided against itself.

  20. SPC 20

    Its an MMP parliament – in the end its the growing of the centre left Green and centrist Labour party vote which builds a future government. So what if National win an electorate seat on a split vote, if this shows the two parties on the centre-left are on the way to build up their vote to win power in 2011.

    • Tane 20.1

      That’s where we differ I guess. Aside from the extra seat National would win (could be important in conscience votes) you’ve got the huge PR victory National would get if they won former Prime Minister Helen Clark’s old seat, Labour stronghold Mt Albert. It would be seen as a vindication of everything National has done.

      I don’t see how that is in the interests of progressive voters or helps set up the centre-left for power in 2011. Quite the opposite I’d have thought. Particularly if it comes about from Russel Norman running dishonest National Party attack lines designed to personally smear Labour MPs.

      • Pascal's bookie 20.1.1

        It would be seen as a vindication of everything National has done.

        exactly.

        If “National win the by-election”. That win will be the story, with a side order of “Labour’s vote collapses in Helen’s fortress”. A Green showing of 15 percent or whatever will be on page 6 with Norman skiting about his high profile.

        That doesn’t win centre voters for Labour, nor will the next 6 months of leadership rumours and antics, or the fact that the by-election will be constantly referenced as a part of ‘National’s glorious first year in office where they showed their mastery of MMP by forging deals with all the parties in the house excluding the hapless, friendless left wing Labour Party.’

        If Norman can’t see that script being written already, then he is probably stupid enough to actually believe there is no difference betwixt N and L. It might take a second NACT term with privatisation a go go to make him see it. yay. us.

        And yes I”m a green voter. And no, I don’t like being told to shut up and like it without it being explained, or my worries addressed.

  21. SPC 21

    Is the problem what “National” said, or the lack of response from Labour?

    Greens are perfectly right to wonder out loud about “privatisation” of security – its up to Shearer to (now a candidate to bed the issue). If he cannot do so then the Greens are right to campaign on this. If he can, then the Greens and Labour can campaign together against National on the issue.

    • Tane 21.1

      Did you listen to Morning Report this morning? The interview’s at the bottom of this post. There have been plenty of other explanations elsewhere. Gordon Campbell and Russell Brown have both written pieces putting it into context too. It’s a National Party beatup.

      Norman knows all this, he’s just playing it for partisan reasons and hoping you won’t bother to read any further than Kiwiblog. Have you bothered to read further than Kiwiblog?

      • SPC 21.1.1

        Tane, it is up to Shearer to do so. Failing that, the only other person who can do effectively is Goff – with due respect to “commentators” in the wider media.

        And to suggest that Green supporters are to be associated with Kiwblog when they don’t show subservience to Labour interest is low, very low Tane.

        • Tane 21.1.1.1

          I’m not sure you read my comment properly. Listen to the Morning Report interview I linked to. Read Russell Brown’s piece. Read Gordon Campbell. Don’t rely exclusively on Kiwiblog and Matthew Hooton for your information.

          • SPC 21.1.1.1.1

            Now you claim that I am reliant on Kiwblog and Hooten for my information. FFS nasty Tane.

          • Tane 21.1.1.1.2

            You edited your comment after I replied to it, hence the misunderstanding.

            Feel free to show me where you’re getting your information that Shearer is some right-wing stooge for private mercenaries. If he is the right-wing plant you’re suggesting then let’s see the evidence. I’d sure like to see some before condemning the man.

            As it stands, Russel Norman’s attack lines about Shearer wanting to privatise the army and being a right-winger imposed by some Phil Goff led right-wing faction of the Labour Party are pure Kiwiblog and Hooton. It’s what they’ve been running for days, and it’s this meme that Russel Norman is playing off. You’d have to be blind not to see it.

      • SPC 21.1.2

        As I am unable to find a reply tag for your 9.09 post, I will reply to it here.

        The bottom line for the Greens is that they are Green party – and whether you think home insulation/energy efficiency is important or not (or the health of the New Zealanders in hard to heat homes), they have every right to see sustainability as an issue which they want to mainstream – and to work with left and right wing led governments to achieve this as best they can.

        What a number of people are learning here is that the Green party does not exist to replace the Alliance party as an ally to the left of Labour. It is not just an independent party as the Alliance was with its own interests independent of Labour, it is also a party with an environment purpose also.

        To fail to appreciate that the Green Party has to work indepndently of the left right divide on environment policy at least, is to fail to respect its independence and role.

        • SPC 21.1.2.1

          “Feel free to show me where you’re getting your information that Shearer is some right-wing stooge for private mercenaries. If he is the right-wing plant you’re suggesting then let’s see the evidence. I’d sure like to see some before condemning the man.”

          Now you are confusing me for Kiwiblog Hooton and attributing to me what you claim about them.

          You know damn well what I wrote about this earlier on this thread – at 7.54pm as you replied to it.

          ————————————————————————
          You imply that my line is premised on some view about Shearer himself and his politics – it assuredly is not. No matter whether he is progressive (or not) he would be only one voice in the larger less progressive party.

          If you want my opinion on the privatisation thing – as I have already commented elsewhere. He is for an acceptance of responsibility to guarantee the well being of the public – by the means available. That would mean by public services where available and if not then by another means. That Labour have yet to refute and bury the National line on this is poor media management (and that is not the Greens fault). My opinion on Shearer is that he would be a fine addition to parliament (and a loss elsewhere) and the best Labour campaign line is – you get Shearer and Norman in parliament now by voting for Shearer in the seat.

          But that said the more progressive result would be a strong swing to Greens (nothing personal against the Labour candidate OK
          ————————————————————————–

          “As it stands, Russel Norman’s attack lines about Shearer wanting to privatise the army and being a right-winger imposed by some Phil Goff led right-wing faction of the Labour Party are pure Kiwiblog and Hooton. It’s what they’ve been running for days, and it’s this meme that Russel Norman is playing off. You’d have to be blind not to see it.”

          It is a simple truth that the Green Party has the more progressive policies and that the candidate of the more progressive policy party is Norman.

          You may not like the way Norman works off what is in the media, but Norman and the Greens probably find the media less to their liking than Labur does. He is just taking an oportunity to make his point (in the media the way it is) about being the more progressive canadidate. It was and still is up to Shearer to clarify his own position.

          As you resort to the same political tactics as others, this leaves you no wriggle room on the fact that one is a more progressive candidate than the other and the attacks on Norman reflect the problem for the pro Labour left, this is true for every electorate seat and every party list vote.

          • Tane 21.1.2.1.1

            So you are defending Norman’s wilfully dishonest misrepresenations of Shearer as perfectly acceptable? And you have no problem with Russel Norman running National Party attack lines for short-term partisan gain?

            Fine, you’re welcome to it. But as Gordon Campbell said, I don’t see anything progressive about that.

            Oh and as for this “blah blah you’re just pro Labour” line you’re running, you’ve missed the point entirely. I’m angry because I support the Greens’ policies. As you’ll know if you read regularly, I don’t have much time for Labour. They’re too cowardly and too commited to neoliberalism for my liking. It breaks my fucking heart to see what’s happening to the Greens. And I’m not the only one.

          • SPC 21.1.2.1.2

            “So you are defending Norman’s wilfully dishonest misrepresenations of Shearer as perfectly acceptable?”

            Am I?

            We all deserve to hear Shearer refute the line of Hooten – more so Labour voters.

            It’s not Norman’s fault if Shearer did not think (or Goff?) doing so would have aided his selection chances in Mount Albert.

            “And you have no problem with Russel Norman running National Party attack lines for short-term partisan gain?”

            I have no problem with Greens trying to win the seat. And that includes asking which party – Greens or Labour was more likely to be involved with privatisation. Which party has a track record – and which does not?

            “Fine, you’re welcome to it. But as Gordon Campbell said, I don’t see anything progressive about that.”

            A bit desperate, but when all your progressive political credibility is tied up in not being National – I suppose Labour apologists do not have not much to go on.

            At least it suggests they want to beat National. Good.

            So the once naive and innocent Greens dare to both stand up for their party cause and also say to Labour we are the real party of the left in opposition to National. Got a problem with that. Get used to it.

          • r0b 21.1.2.1.3

            we are the real party of the left in opposition to National.

            See, that line works a bit better when you aren’t, you know, helping to prop National up, and running their attack lies.

            Got a problem with that. Get used to it.

            Very macho. Feel better? I sincerely hope the Greens are still with us after the next election.

          • SPC 21.1.2.1.4

            “See, that line works a bit better when you aren’t, you know, helping to prop National up, and running their attack lies”

            The Greens as an “environment is important” party cannot refuse to work with any government on this.

            Unlike Labour, Greens are not about winning power but getting the mainstream parties to adopt their environment policies.

            This does not change the fact that the Greens are otherwise a part of the left.

            They are a more effective left wing party for the fact they are as committed to these policies as they are to their environment policy and thus will not moderate or sell out to win power.

            The association of Norman with the National attack line is overdone – perhaps because Labour’s response to it has been so poor.

          • r0b 21.1.2.1.5

            The Greens as an “environment is important’ party cannot refuse to work with any government on this.

            I agree, but they need to get real gains, or they are just being used to “greenwash” a government that stands for everything they are supposed to oppose.

            Unlike Labour, Greens are not about winning power but getting the mainstream parties to adopt their environment policies.

            That might have been true once.

            The association of Norman with the National attack line is overdone

            Is it? Did you listen to Morning Report? The Greens screwed up. Don’t deny it, fix it.

  22. George Darroch 22

    its up to Shearer to (now a candidate to bed the issue).

    It’s up to Shearer to bed the claims that he’s right wing. Being humanitarian is very worthy, and I have a lot of respect for his work – I’d like to congratulate him for that. But he’s not running for a position at the UN, he’s running for a seat in the NZ Parliament, and it’s his positions on domestic issues that matter (although his foreign policy views are sure to have some sway on Labour if he’s elected, and from what I can tell it would be good advice)

    • Tane 22.1

      I agree with you there George. I’m just not willing to convict him as a right-winger based on the politically motivated word of Matthew Hooton and David Farrar. Let’s wait and see what he’s like before accusing him of reactionary politics.Especially when that’s exactly what the Right want us to do.

  23. ripp0 23

    Shearer’s selection was unanimous among the six delegates on the selection panel (half head office, half local party) and he won the floor vote by a clear majority in a field of eight candidates.

    Weere these votes taken independently viz head office wasna known to local party reps and others prior their votes.?

    If not, why not?

    I ask because I believe democracy better served by its due and adjudged process more than position and its influencing.. certainly at that level..

    On the subject of progressive there has been a good deal of off-message from both Norman and commenters here. IMO won’t do an ounce of good for the former who day-by-day hath the appearance of doing exactly another’s bidding in that party’s desired elimination.

  24. outofbed 24

    What i fail to reconcile with Tane and Bills view about “out of control Russ”,
    is the GP caucus. I can’t see them acquiescing to the type of stuff that you attribute him
    Sue would have apoplexy 🙂

  25. BLiP 25

    Interesting to see that however convoluted the election of a candidate is, it is only the National Party that announces the outcome before the process is complete.

    Little wonder, then, the National Party’s behaviour in relation to the Super City. I hear that the City and Ratepayer Councilors are already telling council staff what Hide’s legislation will and will not include.I suppose at least they treat their own with a much disdain as the rest of the country.

    • bilbo 25.1

      You’re a bit behind the times …….

      “….. the paper that’s got it wrong. I’ve got a copy of the official programme and it says:

      Address by Mt Albert’s List MP Melissa Lee.

      Note the difference between Mount Albert candidate which she may or may not be after tonight’s selection, and Mount Albert’s list MP which she is.”

      From Homepaddock blog

      • BLiP 25.1.1

        Wriggling and squirming in the fine print only exacerbates the situation. Didn’t you know list MP’s don’t have electorates?

        • bilbo 25.1.1.1

          What, so Phil Twyford hasn’t been Labour’s list MP for Auckland Central since the beginning of the year?

  26. Kevin Welsh 26

    I am curious…

    Within the topic, but a different tangent, is there likely to be any radical change in the number of MP’s in parliament following the by-election? I do not have time to do the research, but I seem to remember a couple of parties were very close to getting another MP by only a small number of votes.

    • logie97 26.1

      Seems Tane has given the answer to that above. If the Parties standing list MPs win the electorate, the next person on the list comes in. So ACT, National, and Greens all stand to gain an extra MP through the list. That changes the proportionality of the election night result. National, ACT, or the Greens, would have one more seat than their percentage of the vote warrants…

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