Simon Wilson thinks Epsom could be offered to Blue-Greens

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, February 1st, 2019 - 62 comments
Categories: act, climate change, Conservation, david seymour, Environment, ETS, farming, journalism, Media, national, public transport, same old national, science, transport - Tags: ,

Is ACT finished?

Herald writer Simon Wilson has used his considerable analytical powers to propose a possible scenario for getting the nascent Blue Green Party into Parliament. And that is for National to offer it the seat of Epsom, the same way that National has offered it in the past to ACT.

His rationale is that there is no way that this new party would win 5% of the party vote, therefore it has to be gifted an electoral seat to make it viable. He says this:

Epsom has lots of “blue green” voters – that is, the liberals of our leafiest suburbs, people who care about the environment but are commonly thought to be suspicious of unions and beneficiaries.

Epsom may be already spoken for, but let’s face it, that can’t last. Act has as good a leader as it could ever hope for – Seymour is widely liked as a decent bloke not above making a fool of himself on television, widely admired as a smart guy dedicated to policy reforms – and it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference.

He can’t lift the party vote. He can’t even hold it.

The plain-as-day fact is, there is no support at all for a crusading neoliberal party in this country. Been there, done that, lucky to have escaped. We’ve moved on.

His rather cruel conclusion is that Epsom voters have been and are being toyed with. And he is right.

His comment about the need for a new party is rather cutting.

Many people say we don’t need a new blue-green party because we already have one. Former Greens MP Sue Bradford says it’s called the Green Party. Others say that’s a bit unfair, the true blue-green party is the Labour Party.

Both parties, remember, are committed to debt ceilings lower than any economist says they need to be, despite sometimes desperate calls for greater funding in health, housing, education and welfare.

Social-media wingnuts will disagree, but nobody can seriously argue that either the Greens or Labour are uncompromisingly red.

The Greens especially are often mischaracterised as way red. But despite the apoplexy Marama Davidson generates every time she opens her mouth, it’s James Shaw, her methodical, consensus-oriented, environment-focused co-leader, who is far more influential in setting their direction.

He does not mention Labour’s problems with fisheries policy.  Without commenting on the details this is frankly embarrassing and I wish the Government would sort this out.  Our fisheries resources and threatened species such as Maui’s dolphins are far too precious to risk.

Wilson then says:

Still, the question remains, if you’re any kind of greenish, how could you not find a party to reflect your views from among those four? Where’s the gap?

Which leads to an altogether different question. If there is to be a new kind of green party, will it really be about diminishing the “red” policies?

The Greens, for example, through under-secretary Jan Logie, have a leading role in developing society-wide strategies to address domestic violence: is that what the blue-green proponents are frightened of? Surely not.

Could it be that the true intent of a new blue-green party, policywise, is to water down, not the supposed “red” policies, but the green?

He offers as examples various policy issues where a blue green party would allow National to pretend to be environmentally conscious but could then back pedal on important environmental issues like the provision of public transport, greenwash suggestions that the dairy industry is caring for our waterways and the failure to include agriculture in the ETS.

When you think about it what is being proposed is a new centre of the road party that may move National closer to Labour in environmental policy terms but would never think about going into coalition with anyone but National.  This sounds like a marketing exercise, not the important job of representing Kiwis in our country’s Parliament.

62 comments on “Simon Wilson thinks Epsom could be offered to Blue-Greens ”

  1. AB 1

    “Could it be that the true intent of a new blue-green party, policywise, is to water down, not the supposed “red” policies, but the green?”

    This has always been self-evident, but credit to Simon Wilson for expressing and contextualising it so brilliantly.

    I’d also add that the purpose of a blue-green party is to plant the idea that the red and the green are separable, when in reality they aren’t.

    • soddenleaf 1.1

      Like the socialism for the rich, is also separable?

      • AB 1.1.1

        @soddenleaf
        Maybe I didn’t make myself clear in terms of the inseparability of the red and green. I was alluding to the comments after the 2017 election suggesting that the the greens should go into coalition with National, and would actually do so if they were a genuine environmental party.
        What this line of thought was (I believe deliberately) obscuring, is that the climate change crisis is the product of a particular way or organising our economic life. The crisis will not be solved without addressing that underlying driver – which is a profit-focused, endless-growth-based and winner-takes-all economic system that disregards (and dismisses as ‘externalties’) environmental, human and ethical factors. i.e. we won’t beat climate change by recycling our rubbish, buying Nissan Leafs, planting some trees in the backyard and otherwise expecting everything to function as normal.
        Because this will soon become blindingly obvious, I’m expecting huge private investment to start soon in the air-capture of C02. For two reasons – massive industrial scale air capture of C02 is the only way the existing economic system can be permitted to continue, and if you own that technology you will also become insanely rich. So rich, you could potentially impoverish everyone else for ever.

    • soddenleaf 1.2

      What about the risk, I know, the right doesn’t assess risk and warning them is like talking to the deaf. But here goes, that being to the left of National a blue tree party would expand its base far too fast with national voters fed up with self victimisation and do nothing pandering to neolib ethics.

    • Rae 1.3

      Yes, I think that is the case

  2. Peter 3

    Seymour had his Dancing with the Bars, opening all hours for the Rugby World Cup, his Dancing with the Stars, twerk jerk, and is their little sweetie in Epsom. The electorate going Blue-Greens is a colour too far.

    • Morrissey 3.1

      You forgot to mention that he’s a bloodyminded champion of people knocking off their sick or depressed relatives.

      What’s the colour of stupid?

      Yellow, in this case.

      • Psycho Milt 3.1.1

        Once again: there’s enough not to like about ACT’s actual policies, so why do you then go and make up lies about them? Chronic stranger-to-truth syndrome or something?

        • Morrissey 3.1.1.1

          I didn’t make it up. He supports the right of people to kill their sick or depressed relatives. With “safeguards” of course.

  3. Wayne 4

    There is zero chance of Epsom being offered Epsom in this way and both MS and Simon Wilson know this. Act has the seat today because Rodney Hide won it off National in 2005.

    • mickysavage 4.2

      He did but that was back in the day when ACT was polling in double digits.

      Are you saying Wayne that the various cups of tea did not have an effect or there is an actual decision by National to gift the seat.

      Question for you, which seat would National gift to the blue greens to get them into Parliament?

      {Edit by “double digits” I mean occasionally more than 2. Clumsily expressed sorry. Me culpa – MS]

      • alwyn 4.2.1

        “which seat would National gift to the blue greens to get them into Parliament?”
        The most likely one would be Mt Albert. Rumour hath it that the current place-holder there is finding things a bit too hard.
        She is apparently going to follow JC’s example and her final speech will include something like.
        “My work here on earth is done. I shall be leaving this House of Representatives and returning to my Father’s House”.
        Not sure what Daddy will say. Still her generation all seem to be boomerang kids.

    • mac1 4.3

      Was that the election where the National candidate was seen removing one of his hoardings from a prime site before the election lest it might influence voters to vote for him?

      I have always said that the National Party lost its right to that name when it started gaming the electoral system by not competing nationally, in every electorate.

      The original intent of the provision to give parties which won an electorate seat was acknowledgment of their true % result, even though it was below the 5% bar for minor parties -not to allow deals between parties such as happened in Epsom (or in the early MMP days with Sydenham and Coromandel).

      It actually defeats the MMP purpose. If there is a 5% threshold, a voter will consider whether he/she may have their party vote lost by voting for a party that does not reach the target 5%. The intent of the electorate vote is to aid the election of the best candidate in that seat, since the voter knows that the party vote will go to their first choice party.

      If a voter votes for a usually unpreferred candidate to facilitate the deal, then their candidate vote has the effect of influencing the eventual composition of the parliament through the quirky provision in paragraph three above. They then cast a party vote for the same purpose.

      I see one of the advantages of the current MMP system is that if a party puts up a real lemon for a candidate, then electorate voters can reject that candidate and vote for a better one; then, by using the party vote still get the party of their choice.

      Would the lowering of the 5% bar down to say 3% or 4% make a difference? Do we need the bar at all? Does NZ in its MMP maturity after eight MMP elections need to fear an Italian or Israeli style plethora of minor parties?

      Removing the quirk would prevent Epsom style deals. Removing the 5% bar entirely also would scotch any such deals, as then the composition of parliament would be settled entirely by the party vote alone, leaving the electorate vote to settle the best candidate for the individual electorate.

    • cathy 4.4

      ha ha ha ha ha

    • AB 4.5

      “because Rodney Hide won it off National in 2005”
      Lols – my grand-kids were very happy last Christmas with the new toys they won off me too. National’s bloviating mouthpiece defends electoral corruption.

    • McFlock 4.6

      lols National has been spiking its own candidates to give ACT a seat since 1996 Wellington Central.

      My favourite one was when people put up signs for the nat “candidate”, who ran around pulling them down.

    • Andre 4.7

      “Act has the seat today because Rodney Hide won it off National in 2005.”

      Y’know Wayne, I’ve no idea what you gain from trying to deny what seems blindingly obvious to anyone with even a passing interest in NZ politics.

      But I’m very sure about something you lose. I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one here interested in what you have to say. For the ideas behind your words, not just as an entry to throw abuse at you. Some of us may even be persuadable on a topic now and then. But if you have a Drumpfian habit of denying the obvious, then … nah.

      • Wayne 4.7.1

        The point you are missing is that parties don’t give away seats they already hold. But once a seat is lost (to a party that is an ally) then a deal can be done with the party that holds the seat. Invariably lists in a contested election for the seat.
        The same situation that was the case in Sydenham and Ohariu.
        The commenters hatred of Act blinds them to this obvious fact.

        • Andre 4.7.1.1

          When it comes to seats like Wigram or Ohariu or Te Tai Tokerau where a charismatic* Member moves on from the party whose banner he originally won it under, you might have an argument.

          But in 2005, IIRC there were more than a few signals that National wouldn’t be particularly distraught if Worth lost. Then National went on to blatantly gift it away through the four subsequent elections and two changes of Member. Notably, we’ve got a sample size of one for this kind of behaviour.

          So yeah, nah. To try to paint that as anything other than shameless rorting of the rules is 💩

          *charismatic is clearly not the right word when it comes to Dunne. But a better word escapes me at the moment.

        • McFlock 4.7.1.2

          If the nats hadn’t bumped Richard worth up ten list places between 2002 and 2005 party lists, Worth might have found Epsom a touch easier to hold.

          After an election or two, the nats just stopped trying to hide (heh) their rotten borough.

        • Muttonbird 4.7.1.3

          It’s flat out fibs like this which is why most people find the National Party dodgy and dishonest.

        • swordfish 4.7.1.4

          Wayne Mapp

          So your argument, Wayne, is essentially:

          (1) While, yes, the Nats did do deals with ACT in Epsom at subsequent Elections … that didn’t happen in 2005 … Rodney won it fair and square.

          (2) He won because he was ACT’s charismatic new leader … at the height of his powers … unstoppable … a young man going places and at the top of his game (“Richard Worth tried very hard to retain the seat. He couldn’t, not when was up against Rodney … at his peak.”)

          and presumably the clincher

          (3) Wayne’s Iron Law of New Zealand electoral competition: “parties don’t give away seats they already hold”

          .

          My concise response would be:

          (1) The massive Candidate Vote swing in 2005 by National Party-Voters in Epsom (from Nat’s Worth to ACT’s Hide) came completely out of the blue (no pun intended) and was counter-intuitive given other key electoral trends.

          (2) For a supposedly Unstoppable / Charismatic leader “at his peak”, Hide (the bloke who benefited from this huge, sudden surge in Candidate Vote support in 2005) managed to simultaneously plunge ACT’s Party Vote both in Epsom and Nationwide at precisely the same 2005 General Election. Suggesting his win in Epsom might have resulted from something other than personal magnetism.

          (3) Parties certainly do strategically give away a seat if they believe it’ll be the difference between winning or losing Govt. (which was certainly the case with the Nats going into the 2005 Election).

          Now to demonstrate this in more detail (next comment)

          • swordfish 4.7.1.4.1

            The Candidate Vote swing among people in Epsom casting their Party Vote for National was yuge-mongous !!! Never been anything like it before or since:

            2002 Nats went … Worth 76% … Hide 19%

            2005 Nats went … Worth 38% … Hide 59%

            Wayne suggests all down to Rodney’s elan and pizzazz … but why then did this magnetic personal charm not carry over to ACT’s Party Vote in both Epsom itself & Nationwide ?

            Indeed, under new leader Hide, ACT’s Party Vote actually plunged like a stoned crow … down 18 points in Epsom (21% 2002 … to … 3% 2005) and almost obliterated Nationwide (7% 2002 … to … 1.5% 2005).

            .

            There was also a markedly similar pattern in electoral behaviour between 2005 Epsom Nats and the Epsom Nats of subsequent Elections (2008-2014) … when the deal with ACT was more overt (at times, of course, bordering on a media circus):

            In all 4 of these Elections, for instance, National easily won the Party Vote in Epsom (59% 2005 / 63% 2008 / 65% 2011 / 64% 2014) with ACT support negligible (3% / 6% / 3% / 3%). And yet ACT won the Candidate Vote in each year with relative ease.

            That tellingly contrasts with 2002 when the Nats were only 9 points ahead of ACT in the Epsom Party Vote … and yet Worth beat Hide by more than 20 points ! (indeed, Hide came a poor third behind the Labour candidate as well).

            That stark contrast between ACT’s Party Vote plunge and Candidate Vote surge in 2005 Epsom points in an entirely different direction to the one favoured by Wayne …

            Isn’t it rather more likely then that this massive swing was a corollary of the Nats giving their core Epsom voters a subtle (or perhaps not so subtle) cue to Candidate Vote strategically for Hide ?

            Especially given …

            … that for the very first time since its foundation, ACT looked like it was about to be catapulted out of Parliament.

            The Party had received a creditable 7% of the Party Vote at both the 1999 and 2002 General Elections. But by 2005, they’d taken a dive in the Polls (hit between the eyes by Don Brash’s Orewa Speech) and were consistently down in the miniscule 1-3% range (in the final 20 pre-Election polls of 2005 … ACT averaged just 1.8%).

            Small wonder then that 2005 Labour and Green Party Voters in Epsom acted as if the stakes were enormously high and well known with a significant minority of them swinging to National’s Worth in the Candidate Vote in an effort to push ACT into the wilderness:

            Candidate Votes for Worth (from Lab & Green Party Voters)
            Lab …. 2002 11% … 2005 24%
            Green 2002 8% …. 2005 36%

            It was almost as if all of the more politically aware voters of all stripes in Epsom were gearing up to vote strategically …

            … in a July 2005 blogpost (King Breaker IIsirhumphreys.blogspot), right-wing political commentator “Adolf Fiinkensein” suggested that – after talking to “far more knowledgable” people than himself (Nat strategists ? or their hangers-on ?) – “it appears … inevitable that National has no real option but to quietly ‘slip’ Epsom to Rodney Hide”.

            The Nats had just opened up a small lead in the most recent Colmar Brunton when Fiinkensein indulged in that consultation with figures on the Right (huge swing from a 7 point Labour lead in May 2005 CB to a 2 point Nat lead in June) and that clearly concentrated the minds of the best and brightest on the Right 🙂

            Fiinkensein’s informants in this little off-line tête-à-tête emphasised that in such a close fought Election, ACT’s survival would probably be the difference between a Nat or Lab Govt. The Right-wing vote couldn’t be wasted. These right-leaning circles also openly speculated about the need to do deals with not just ACT but also the Maori Party.

            So … while there’s no smoking gun … no difinitive proof … a clear signal to core Nat voters in 2005 Epsom on just how crucial it was to vote strategically does seem the more likely scenario (than Rodney’s je nais se quois)

            The final piece of evidence is found in the 2014 Pre-Election Colmar Brunton Poll of Epsom. It suggested that even as late as 2014 … National voters’ core default-setting was still to Candidate Vote for their own kind (respondents chose the Nat Goldsmith 44% over ACT Banks 32%). It was only after prompting from the Pollster (telling respondents that Key was encouraging them to vote for Banks) that loyal Nats swung to Banks (45% against Goldsmith’s 31%).

            That reinforces the gut feeling that 2005 Nats only threw their weight behind Rodders after clear word was passed down the Remuera-to-Greenlane grapevine.

            • Pat 4.7.1.4.1.1

              Ah but Wayne was (is?) a politician Swordfish…..facts are not important ….presentation is all

        • mikesh 4.7.1.5

          However, if an overhang situation develops as a result, the major party concerned gains an extra supporting seat. And in fact it can gain many supporting seats, as when Rodney Hide first won Epsom and took another four MPs into parliament with him.

      • OnceWasTim 4.7.2

        Wayne’s quite an interesting specimen really – especially if you have an interest in how fuddyduddery comes about, and especially when the specimen appears to have above average intellect.
        I think it might be more to do with a biologist interests in ‘response to stimuli’, laziness, comfort, and an extremely false sense of loyalty (going forward).
        Stay around please @ Wayne. You’re the decrepit’s amusement park, and on this interwebby thing too.
        It’s a joy to watch.

    • OnceWasTim 4.8

      Whoar @ Wayne. Thanks! Now there’s a business opportunity for me.
      A fashion advisor. Bugger the politics of it all.

      It’d be the difference between a Blue-Green candidate dressed up in blue corduroy with a green kirchief in the top pocket with matching tie, and – well, what we have at present.
      I think I could do a great deal better than whoever it is advising Paula and Soimon, and there’d be a shtload less plastic and grease looking for waste disposal.
      It could be a ‘win win’ situation going forward

      Have you ever considered a little ‘re-imaging’ btw? I mean just to keep current and relevant, and so the MSM will keep offering a few gigs as a political commentator sage from time to time

    • Ad 4.9

      Nick Smith should swap sides and go to lead the Blue-Greens and then take out the Nelson seat. The Green-National numbers are good for it.

      It would not be an easy call for an ex-Cabinet Minister, but IMHO he’s the only guy with the stature to lead a new party and take out a winnable electorate seat for a Blue-Green entity.

      I’m sure the likes of Guy Salmon and Steven Rainbow would be in there boots and all.

      And of course on that rests the only chance National would have a remote chance of taking out Jacinda in 2020. After that Nick Smith retires.

  4. ken 5

    The people of Epsom have shown themselves willing to go along with Nat’s harebrained schemes, but surely this would be one insult to their intelligence too far.

    • Siobhan 5.1

      But Why??
      They get what they want.
      And given that Epsom Central has less than one percent of Auckland’s population they probably feel quite important in the scheme of things.
      Important little drones in the hive I guess, hitting well above their weight in voting impact….There’s nothing harebrained about that
      (well, there may be in the long term, if there’s some sort of Communist uprising,
      the residents of Epsom will be straight to the reeducation camps,
      or, more immediately, their grandchildren may well encourage them to prematurely leave the planet thanks to Act’s Euthanasia bill,
      or, with the Blue Greens they may have to up their smoke and mirrors recycling schemes..but I’m pretty sure they are willing to take that risk)

  5. Could be run as a reality elimination show – I want to be a sock puppet for the gnats. Teams could live in a house together and do challenges and the public could vote them out. Combo survivor and big brother. Win win win for everyone.

  6. Professor Longhair 7

    It was a stroke of editorial genius to place the picture of all those condoms beneath the picture of that simple-minded dolt Seymour.

    scumbag 1) an offensive or despicable person; 2) from US slang scum semen + bag

  7. SPC 8

    The corporates intent on funding the blue greens (opposed to carbon taxes, having no concern for fair pay etc) still need 500 people to be members. It would not be easy to find enough candidates who have bona fide pro environment backgrounds to be involved, let alone members.

    It might be easier to form the Association of Consumers Tax Payers and Environmentalists – ACTE, and thus recognise Seymour as the blue green MP.

    Peter Dunne reinvented his United Party a few times, once with Christians, then with hunters and fishers and ethnic minorities. MaYBE act

    • SPC 8.1

      (lost editing rights) Maybe ACT, if it is not to lose some of its corporate funding to a better coalition patsy for National, needs to do the same.

  8. McFlock 9

    I don’t think the nats will stop propping up ACT in Epsom.

    The ideal electorate for a blue-green shell party would be upper income (because nat) but with some green pretensions. Nelson has been mentioned, but maybe somewhere with young urban professionals/hipsters. Not some rich people and some hipsters, I mean rich hipsters. Parts of wgtn come to mind.

  9. NZJester 10

    A so-called Blue/Green party will be like nothing more than ripping up the real grass and replacing it with synthetic Astro Turf. It will look like green grass but will be totally artificial and do nothing good for the environment.

    Call them the AstroTurf party.

  10. Visubversa 11

    Interesting demographics in Epsom. 2013 census of a voting age population of 53,150, 22,956 people in the Electorate were not born in New Zealand – 13,092 of them born in Asia. No wonder the Nats are sucking up to the Chinese.

  11. Why would National try to use Epsom for that purpose? It’s currently benefiting from an extra MP thanks to Epsom, so there’s no point in antagonising Epsom voters by pulling an even more blatant electoral rort for a sock-puppet party pushing an ideology much less appealing to those voters than ACT’s one.

    I don’t even see why they’d need to give their new pseudo-green sock puppet a seat at all. Sure, if it’s a success the sock-puppet might bring in several MPs, but it would be a high-risk strategy (because, what if a significant number of Nat supporters in the ‘gift’ electorate don’t like being played that way?). The strategy behind the party is to try and push the Greens under the 5% threshold, and you don’t need the sock-puppet to win seats for that.

    • SPC 12.1

      A blue green party has no chance of getting 5% so it will not attract voters.

      Thus they are only floating the idea because they are looking at providing it with an electorate seat – it will not occur otherwise.

      The intent to get the extra party list seats ACT is not getting and getting the votes off centrist Labour voters and the hunters and fishers and ethnic voters associated with United.

      To take the Greens below 5% would also require them to lose more to TOP and or Labour than they did in 2017 and disenchantment within the activist party membership.

      • Graeme 12.1.1

        It’s a Nat fantasy that a “centrist” green party will pull voters away from the Green Party. Generally voters go Green because they don’t do blue at all.

        If there’s an electorate accomodation it will be shown up as the farce it is and any current Green voters won’t have a bar of it. So the only votes it will pull are right leaning TOP, and left leaning Nat voters, meaning not much gain for National apart from the sort of double dip they currently get from ACT. There may be gain if the blue green thing can get more votes than ACT.

        Another though is it’s an attempt to stem a haemorrhage of soft Nat voters to Labour or Greens.

    • DS 12.2

      Epsom doesn’t gain the Nats a seat. It’s not an overhang, so if National won the seat over ACT, ACT’s 0.5% party vote would be redistributed – which would give the Nats an extra list MP in Maureen Pugh.

  12. Jenny - How to get there? 13

    Simon Wilson drinks and smokes and lends Epsom to other blokes.

  13. cleangreen 14

    Well Micky,

    Jacinda must now honour the promises Labour made to Gisborne/HB in 2016 when Sue Moroney came to a ‘Public rail meeting’ with Winston Peters!!

    Both Parties promised to reopen the rail that National closed in 2012 after they robbed the track funds and the draijns blocked and washed out the 1km track and still it remains closed!!!!

    Later that month then the greens and labour again go public and promise to open the rail also. see it in this link;

    “THE Labour and Green parties last night committed to re-opening the entire length of the Gisborne to Napier rail line but pointed out that would only happen if the National Party was removed from office.”

    http://gisborneherald.co.nz/localnews/2437884-135/labour-greens-united-on-rail

    So Jacinda you are not getting any points here, and you will need to restore the line as your Government promised us all here.

    Dont go to Northland as you are soon and only jhold a ‘media hype’ to push for openning the rail to Marsden Point and the port there!!!!

    Gisborne/HB needs also to get served with your Labour promises made to reopen the rail to Napier, it’s just be rubbing salt into our wounds.

    Honour your promises Sue Moroney as the Transport spokesperson for Labour made in the Gisborne Herald please.

  14. Chris T 15

    Don’t know who the writer is, but he is an idiot.

    They would want ACT and Tava, and would give him another safe seat

    • Andre 15.1

      But which seat?

      Where might you find enough of these elusive blue-greens, enough devoted Nats pliant enough to follow instructions and overcome their tribal loyalty to the Nat vote and tick the blue-green box, that has a big enough Nat majority to make it all work even accounting for those old-skool Nats that are congenitally unable to tick anything other than blue?

      Seriously, Epsom works because it’s not much of a stretch for most Epsom Nat voters to see a benefit to them in having a puppet ACT member. There’s not much ideological distance to bridge. But a fair few Nats are ideological opposed to any environmental protections that might hinder profiteering. That’s a much bigger mental leap.

      • Chris T 15.1.1

        Then if this is the case, there would be no point risking Epsom

        • McFlock 15.1.1.1

          Well, I still don’t believe Epsom is the one, but on the flipside it’s close to half a dozen times that they’ve demonstrated their willingness to vote for whomever the nats want as a supplicant in the House. So it’s not much of a risk. A genuine blue seat with a lot of blue-greens might split its own vote, as a bunch of the blue-green voters flip to the Greens because they don’t like being taken for chumps by the nats.

          The nat voters of Epsom have no such qualms.

  15. DS 16

    The Nats won’t offer a seat to the Blue-Greens. This isn’t about trying to construct a coalition partner (they know they won’t get 5%) – it’s about trying to siphon away enough Green votes to knock them under 5%. National strategy is to knock Greens and NZF out of Parliament – hence this, and hence their relentless attacks on Winston.

    That said, there’d be a twisted irony if the Nats gifted the Blue-Greens Coromandel.

  16. Dennis Frank 18

    Most commentators are getting it wrong. Political representation of the Green movement only works on an authentic basis. That’s why Vernon Tava and Kennedy Graham independently stressed that any new Green alternative to the GP must be centrist, not bluegreen. RNZ’s Brigitte Morten:

    “The battle for the centre of the political spectrum is more likely where a new party will need to focus. They may be able to pick up some swing voters who care about environmental issues but are put off by the Greens’ wider policy platform. For example, a small business owner who wants clear rivers for their kids to swim in. A new centrist party also provides an alternative to the ‘anybody but Winston’ voters – those people who are sick of Winston Peters having the ability to decide who governs.”

    “TOP’s Geoff Simmons wonders if the new Blue/Green Party has a clue on freshwater” https://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/97850/tops-geoff-simmons-wonders-if-new-bluegreen-party-has-clue-freshwater-and-whether-it

    See what I mean? Taking their cue from Bridges’ mistaken framing is inept editorial judgment. Anyone who assumes putative leader Tava will use centrist positioning to cloak a bluegreen agenda is misreading reality. Could be they are just following the Simmons line without engaging brain: “The concept of a blue green party – one that is willing to work with either Labour or National and bargain with both on behalf of the environment – is a sound one. We welcome any party that genuinely shares that goal.” Why not join it then? And what put Tava off joining TOP anyway?

    Simmons responds capably to the emerging threat to TOP’s positioning on Green issues. He hones in on the farming interface with environmental policy: “What has become clear is that the leader of the nascent party in waiting Vernon Tava thinks that our water quality woes are because of poor enforcement, not because of poor standards. We beg to differ.”

    “Enforcement of water quality regulations by Regional Councils is certainly a problem, but not the only one facing our fresh water. In recent times it has become pretty obvious that the water quality standards set by the previous National Government are far too low. The biggest problems in fresh water quality that haven’t been dealt with yet are sediment and nitrogen, and on both counts the current standards need a lot more work.”

    ” All erosion prone land needs to be planted with permanent trees. These could be native trees such as manuka (to yield honey) or if the farmer wishes to continue farming with cattle they could be deciduous trees like poplars. Either way, we should help landowners get them planted and bank the carbon credits.”

    “Nitrogen is trickier because it is a byproduct of our economically successful dairy industry. But again the standards set by the previous National Government are woeful. The bottom line for nitrogen is more than six times what is healthy for the environment. Recent evidence also suggests it is also six times the level that is safe for drinking in terms of the risk of colon cancer. This standard is simply not good enough. The high level of nitrogen was allowed by the previous National Government in order to allow the dairy industry to continue to grow unabated.”

  17. georgecom 19

    Blue Greens/National sounds a bit like Jetstar/Qantas. A cheaper cut price version of the other to try and tap into different ‘markets’. Even better example was some years ago when “Kiwi Air” existed. Air NZ launched “Freedom Airlines” to compete on the Kiwi Air routes. Once Kiwi Air was bankrupt pretty shortly Freedom was wound up and Air NZ resumed, with resultant increases in air fares.

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