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: blue-green, simon wilson
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.