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Some advice for the Greens

Written By: - Date published: 1:25 pm, October 11th, 2009 - 66 comments
Categories: greens - Tags:

The Greens are continuing their idiotic policy of “neither left nor right” today with a calculated smear of Sue Bradford in the Sunday Star Times.

As far as I can see the story has been fed out by someone high in the party as a way of distancing the Greens from Bradford and her Left politics. In classic good cop/bad cop style the anonymous source (who is highly likely to be a senior staffer who is speaking with Norman’s blessing) describes Bradford as “blackmailing” the party while Norman takes the line that social justice is still as important for the Greens as before. He even uses a platitude about not forgetting his working class roots. Does anyone else find this reminiscent of Key’s “born in a state house” shtick?

Aside from the fact “social justice” is a coded way of avoiding (and being seen to be avoiding) the term “Left wing”, the piece is representative of the belief held by some senior party members that Bradford costs them votes.

Unfortunately in true Green style there’s nothing quantifiable that proves this because the Greens don’t do market research. They’re running off gut feelings influenced too heavily by right-wing punditry. And that approach will see them out of parliament in 2011 if they don’t sharpen their act.

I’ve been around the game a long time and right now I’m watching the Greens running a rebranding exercise driven in no small part by the opinions of Norman and a handful of people around him. That would be fine if it was likely to work but the problem is there’s now an echo-chamber in the Greens that is operating without any real-world measurables. That is very dangerous. If the Greens disappear from parliament in 2011 the Left will have a long time to wait until we get back around the cabinet table.

So here’s some friendly advice to The Greens from a long-time supporter:

Before you shift your brand away from the Left any further do some research. Start by surveying your activists (note: your activists are not necessarily your members) then canvas 1000 Green voters nationwide. I’d recommend you use your access to the roll to identify a pool of likely Green voters and ask a series of “on a scale of one to five how important are [insert social justice/environmental policy here]” questions. My gut instinct is that 40-50% of Green voters are significantly influenced by social justice and an even larger percentage of your activists get out there and do your campaigning for the same reasons. If I’m right then your current brand strategy will be deadly to your electoral chances.

When you do this surveying include questions about how your MPs are perceived.

Quit spending so much time listening to the right. It would suit National to see your party disappear and even though they aren’t saying that their proxies are. Their proxies are also running the line that your environmental policies are anathema to business and progress. If you think the support you are going to lose from the left will be replaced by blue-green votes you’re kidding yourselves.

Talk to Labour and the unions. Sue was your strongest connect to both Labour and the union movement and your party has had a lot of informal organisational support from members of both of these institutions. Attacking Sue like this is going to burn that support off very quickly and it’s not going to be replaced by support from organisations on the right.

Do this quickly. Right now Labour will be asking itself whether the best strategy is to help you across the line in 2011 or to cut its losses and try to cannabalise your vote. At the moment you can rely on certain demographics such as students to vote Green but in a few years the face of the Labour Party will be a lot younger and more attractive to these demographics. And they have an organising machine you simply don’t possess. Right now while you’re not doing quantifiable research into how your brand shift is affecting your chances I can guarantee that Labour is (and National will be as well).

Like I said the Greens are a vital part of the Left in this country and if they go under we could be looking at a three term tory government. I was a long time Green supporter and activist and the last thing I want to see is the Greens vanish but I’ve got a feeling that’s an increasingly probable outcome.

And one last piece of advice: you’re not players and counter-productive politicking like today’s attack on Sue doesn’t make you players. Unless you count playing yourselves for suckers.

66 comments on “Some advice for the Greens ”

  1. Jenny 1

    Irish Bill, whoever you are are. You are right on the money. It even amazes me how many times in the past couple of years the Greens have been to the right of Greenpeace.

  2. Bill 2

    Go back to the first time the greens got over the 5%. I can’t remember the year, but I do remember some very pissed off crusties who had worked hard for the Greens election chances telling me how they had turned up for the post election party and been frozen out.

    And that is and always has been the problem for the Greens (I believe). When it comes right down to it they are a decidedly middle class ‘salve your conscience’ party who recoil in horror at the merest whiff of the unwashed masses.

    And the unwashed masses are being increasingly picked up by the right because (1) they feel ( correctly) abandoned and betrayed by Labour and (2) would sooner join a pitchfork and torches posse hunting down middle class Greenies than vote for or be associated with them.

    And the Greens have only themselves to blame.

    So when the parameters of the new orthodoxy born of the capitalist/environmentalist divide have bedded in and the working class has been left right out of consideration; when under instructions from a rising Right Wing they are reaching for those pitchforks and torches then, hell…. anything that burns nicely might well be fair game in my book at that juncture.

  3. George D 3

    I’m not as sure as you about the motivations of this source. They may have thought that they were helping keep the party left by making this public – naively, as the media in NZ are always looking to destroy left-wing politics in favour of the soft-Neoliberalism that Labour and National peddle.

    Norman refuses to make the Greens publicly position themselves on the issues that matter to NZers; their economic security, their health, their children’s education, etc, instead preferring to be a ghetto party. They do care about those issues, they just say that since they’ll be a minor coalition partner it’s best that they concentrate their campaigning on other issues. It’s very stupid – you shouldn’t have to choose as a party and make voters feel like they’re choosing between their wellbeing and conscience issues..

    You can understand the Green conumdrum – distancing themselves from the centre-right uselessness that is the New Zealand Labour Party means they’ve got nowhere to go. I thought that the relationship would repair when Helen Clark left, but instead we got Phil Goff, who is driving Labour even further from being able to work with the Greens.

    Will the Greens disappear? Probably. Parties without coalition partners are usually doomed.

    • IrishBill 3.1

      GD, if they were pro-Left they wouldn’t have used the term “blackmail”. You’re also wrong about the Labour party, the relationship with the Greens was starting to grow nicely at a party and backbench level but a lot of that was to do with Sue. Go figure.

      • George D 3.1.1

        I don’t actually care what the personal level relationship was, to be perfectly honest. I’m no longer in the NZ Greens for a number of reasons, but I was sick of getting on well with Labour activists, and having them say nice things, and then getting shafted on real (not aspirational nice words) policy.

        On most policy issues Labour and the Greens are no closer or further apart than they have been at any time in the last decade, and on a number the gulf has widened considerably.

  4. Monty 4

    Irish – you say “and the last thing I want to see is the Greens vanish but I’ve got a feeling that’s an increasingly probable outcome” – I agree with the second – but not the first part of that statement.

    The Greens will suffer because Labour will take away the necessary 1-2% of their support required for the Greenies to stay above the necessary 5%. I suspect the only reason the Greenies are in Parliament now is because theybenefited from being an alternate to Labour for those who could not bring themselves to vote for National at the last electrion.

    Once Bradford leaves (and Genetic) then the biggest issue for the Greenies will be getting enough oxygen in the media. No Oxygen and the smile on my face will spread from ear to ear as the support base dwindles.

    The future of NZ will be dependant upon no lunitics hi-jacking of a progressive and sensible sustainable economic agenda.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Who’s progressive and sensible sustainable economic agenda are you referring to?

      Labour is decidedly in the capitalist camp and that doesn’t have anything to do with sustainability. Admittedly, the Greens don’t get economics either. Actually, I’m reasonably certain that there isn’t a party that does.

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        Actually, I’m reasonably certain that there isn’t a party that does.

        Can I despair now? Or polish off this remarkably drinkable strawberry wine we found at the local farmer’s market yesterday? Sighs… choices, choices.

      • Ag 4.1.2

        It’s insane, isn’t it?

        It makes me want to start a blog, but then I remember that people don’t care about reason and evidence in politics any more.

  5. Chris 5

    Musing about the fate of the ‘left’ is everywhere these days…

    http://www.energybulletin.net/node/50312

  6. Bill 6

    From the SST “Turei said the party, not the caucus, made the decision over its relations with National and Labour.”

    Can somebody please explain how that squares with the MoU? There was widespread consultation within the party on the detail and broad thrust? Given the hooks in the MoU I doubt it. But I’ll gladly bang my cynicism on the head if corrected.

    • outofbed 6.1

      I’ll think you will find that MOU squares with the Green party to work with which ever party it could share common ground.
      When they announced the ” league table” of things of policies that could work with with the other parties prior to the election , the press re framed this as the Greens going with Labour as they had more policies is common . This in no way invalidated the original statement
      which was to work on policies with whomever where they could make environmental gains The Mou flowed on from there, totally consistently with the widely canvassed party position.
      It was naive of course to expect the press to report this accurately.
      Which of course they didn’t and the vote dropped 1.5% in the week prior to the election. The lesson of course is not to make nuanced policy statements to the Neanderthal press that we have in NZ

      • Bill 6.1.1

        Nah.
        You miss my point. Sure, work with whoever on whatever issues. But that MoU is a millstone around the neck of the Greens in the parliamentary pond. What, if any, was the consultation process within the party before its signing?

  7. mike 7

    “is representative of the belief held by some senior party members that Bradford costs them votes”

    That’s one of the biggest under statements I’ve heard here. That woman polarised voters and most definitely cost the Greens votes – not to mention her anti-smacking agenda which had a fair bit to do with Labours demise.

    Having said that I think the Greens will continue to disappoint – they are becoming more irrelevant everyday.

  8. outofbed 8

    Interesting take IB
    Lets start with

    Unfortunately in true Green style there’s nothing quantifiable that proves this because the Greens don’t do market research. They’re running off gut feelings influenced too heavily by right-wing punditry.

    I’m sorry that is completely wrong a huge market research study was commissioned and undertaken a couple of years ago at considerable cost
    And as for surveying the Members
    Well a huge survey was sent out to all members earlier on this year and asked exactly the questions you have proposed. It had a really great response rate and there were some really interesting results, if you were a GP member you should have been emailed or snail mailed a copy

    I don’t think you will find there is much tension between the social Justice side and the environmental sides of the part,y certainly a lot less then different wings of other major political parties
    I think there is general agreement in trying to frame the GP as not a leftwing ( in the traditional sense ) Party but as the party of sustainability. I think that reading the GP charter tells it like it is

    Jenny says

    You are right on the money. It even amazes me how many times in the past couple of years the Greens have been to the right of Greenpeace.

    I’m sorry i don’t understand that please furnish some examples to help get a handle on what you are trying to say

    • BLiP 8.1

      Dr’s Brash And Bollard On The Right Track, Says Dr Norman

      • outofbed 8.1.1

        to much wine at sunday lunch BLIP ?

        • BLiP 8.1.1.1

          You’d think so, eh? But in fact that’s the actual headline on a press release issued by the Green Party. I know its supposedly about capital gains tax but its the headline I remember. Funny thing is, having been disenfranchised previously by the MoU what annoys me most is the poor punctuation.

          • outofbed 8.1.1.1.1

            😉

          • George D 8.1.1.1.2

            For goodness sake. The press release was tongue in cheek, because you will find no bigger critics in parliament of the neoliberalism of the Reserve Bank and Treasury that Labour and National have so thoroughly endorsed.

            That Norman agrees with the Reserve Bank on anything is such a rarity that it deserves attention. Cullen and Phil Goff, on the other hand.

            Now, I have criticisms of Norman, but being a neoliberal is not one.

    • BLiP 8.2

      Green & National Parties Announce Shared Policy Initiatives

    • IrishBill 8.3

      Sorry OOB, but a survey of members isn’t a survey of voters. I know for a fact there is tension in the party and that it’s not healthy. I also know there is serious disquiet amongst green supporters. I’ve talked with a couple today who have never been members but who have voted Green since the party began and are concerned about this swing.

      • outofbed 8.3.1

        I know where you are coming from but I would imagine most of the activists are members and they have been surveyed
        And as for surveying voters, I understand this is in the pipeline

        I find it interesting that you make the comment that there is serious disquiet amongst Green supporters.
        I can honestly say that isn’t my experience. There is healthy discourse yes but certainly not disquiet. But then again I don’t get out much.:-)
        However I do agree there is a disconnect with working class,
        Maori and Pacific Islanders. which is strange when one considers the Greens record on workers rights , treaty acknowledgement
        and how AGW adversely will affect many Pacific nations.
        It would seem that most of the Green support comes from the fairly highly qualified middle classes, not a large amount of the population to grow the vote.it would seem

        • IrishBill 8.3.1.1

          In the elections in which I’ve campaigned for the Greens most of the people I’ve been out flyering or putting up hoardings with have been supporters but not members. In fact on most occasions there’s been at least one Labour party member helping out. It might just be the circles I run in but the sense I get is that a lot of the Green’s activists are not members.

          The majority of people I socialise with are also Green voters and many of them have voiced disquiet about the party and the way Bradford has gone. I’d be interested to see if the surveying of voters matches my experiences.

          • BLiP 8.3.1.1.1

            Yep. I can vouch for that. I’ve voted for them, espoused the policy, spoken on their behalf to friends and family, delivered pamphlets, helped put up hoardings, and have never been a member. All seems such a waste now.

            • Bill 8.3.1.1.1.1

              What is being over-looked is a fairly obvious bias in party memberships. If I’m working class, my time is all used up and so I’m unlikely to be a member of any party.

              But if I’m a liberal minded middle class time to kill type of person, then…

              So the party is extremely bias/weighted to a catered for middle class who treat everything on a feel good theoretical basis rather than on a day to day reality basis.

              Has the Green Party taken this in to account when it claims democratic integrity by protesting that ‘the party decides’?

          • Akldnut 8.3.1.1.2

            Yep Irishbill, I’ve never voted Greens but I’ve dropped off their pamphlets at the same time as Labour pamphlets through-out West Akld 🙂

  9. dave 9

    The Maori Party has filled the gap – and led the way – where the Greens have failed. The Greens did not move to the right because Bradford was there. Now she has gone, it can. So instead of the Greens getting a ministerial post, the Maori Party has two. Sue Bradford appreciates “her opponents” about as much as Don Brash does.Bradford only wants to work with other parties on her terms – and even her own party is not aligned with her terms. So Bradford’s parliamentary term is over now that the smacking issue has died – because its not about her anymore. The smacking issue was a smokescreen to hide deeper party issues.

  10. dave 10

    out of bed
    Great fisk! Best I’ve seen. ( capcha ‘blue” )

  11. outofbed – “I don’t think you will find there is much tension between the social Justice side and the environmental sides of the part,y certainly a lot less then different wings of other major political parties”

    This to me shows you up as a mad spinner, there is a divide and it has been growing over the last 5 years especially. Do not try and avoid the fact, go along to the meetings, hear what members and interested voters have to say, the green leadership cannot sit back and assume the advice they are getting from the staff in Wellington is all they need. Forget the grassroots at your peril

    • outofbed 11.1

      I am not a mad spinner I just haven’t seen that divide that you speak of and i do go to meetings, honest (2 next week in fact)

  12. Adam Jarvis 12

    Bill, your post sums up my thoughts (and i’m sure many others) regarding the Greens lately.

    I voted and campaigned for them last election, but lately i’ve been feeling as if the only way I would considering doing so again is if they came dangerously close to the 5% threshold.

  13. Rex Widerstrom 13

    Anyone who knew Sue Bradford even peripherally would know she’s not the sort of person you put into Parliament and then expect to happily toe the party line on everything… or maybe anything.

    The Greens are Parliament’s most democratic party in terms of their internal workings – leadership selection, list ranking etc – yet it seems even they are inclined toward a tribal “you’re either with us or against us” mentality. And also, it seems, slipping quickly into an insular “professional politician” model.

    Labour, of course, have long been the Parlaiment’s Most Paranoid Party, with instant explusion the penalty for any MP speaking out or voting against a “caucus resolution” (which is why Labour PMs have had top-heavy Executives, stuffed with Ministers outside Cabinet, to ensure Ministers – bound by Cabinet collective – outnumbered backbenchers).

    National will pretend to tolerate a Minogue or a Peters for a while, sending them to Coventry in best public schoolboy style and hoping desperately they’ll spit the dummy and resign so the party can claim to “welcome debate”.

    All of which suggests political parties are an 18th century anachronism, due for an overhaul and perhaps consignment to a period of history when MPs didn’t have the resources or tools to remain connected to their electorates and had to band together against “the enemy”.

    Increasingly however they are the enemy as they behave collectively in ways that we, whom they nominally represent, find unacceptable.

    • BLiP 13.1

      Spot on, Rex.

      Politicians have devolved their role as Leader into one of Manager and whether they know it or not they now sit in Parliament like rows of big-business cock puppets – and the Greens have just joined the circus.

      I will never forget my disgust at a public meeting Otahuhu where Anderton stood up and told us all how it was in the best interests of the people to have our civil liberties stipped away to protect us from terrorists. How long before we all wake up?

      • Rex Widerstrom 13.1.1

        Disgust but not, I hope, surprise. Look up “control freak” in the dictionary and there’s a picture of Jim (it’s right beneath the entry for “freak of nature” which features a photo of Peter Dunne’s hair).

  14. gobsmacked 14

    Don’t worry, Sue Bradford will soon be treated by the media and opponents as a fine stateswoman, voice of reason, “you knew where she stood”, etc.

    Rod Donald currently fills this role. Every MSM report on the Greens seems to contain the obligatory comment that things were different under Reasonable Rod, how much he is missed, would have sorted out the Greens’ problems in a trice, good ol’ Rod.

    Of course he is missed, very much. But what those media commentaries forget to mention is that when he actually was leading the Greens … well, he was a dangerous, daffy, demented devil and dinosaur. According to the same MSM.

    Basically, 90% of media commentary on the Greens is superficial and predictable, always has been. Ignore it.

    • BLiP 14.1

      Ignore it at your peril. Rather: read it, check the facts, consider opposing points of views, think about it and become active. A passive response to the media is to surrender.

  15. rocky 15

    Great post Irish.

    I can’t believe Sue Bradford threatening to resign if the Greens position were to go with either Labour or National is being called blackmail. I’m a Labour member but have always voted Green, and I wouldn’t vote Green if they took that position. The last thing I want to see is the Green’s propping up a right wing government.

    So if being principled and taking a stand is supposedly now “blackmail”, how can you ensure your party continues moving in the right direction and stays true to its values?

    I’m worried about the Greens. I want them there as a radical left voice pulling Labour in the right direction. But if they continue down the path they seem to be under the new co-leaders, I’m not sure if my support will continue. The Greens really need to find someone to replace Sue Bradford.

    • RedLogix 15.1

      @Rocky,

      Thanks… that articulates exactly my position as well. The simplest and most effective way forward for the left as a whole to thrive (and that is my primary interest)… is for Labour to continue to contest the socially conservative and economic centre vote and to co-operatively work with the Greens to represent those who are firmly left of centre.

      The trick to pulling it off is for the two parties to understand what each is doing, and co-operate wherever possible on a no-surprises basis. Moreover it would be a simple positioning that the electorate could readily understand and accept. So far Russel Norman’s track record in this respect has been very poor, he’s been giving mixed messages, confusing his support base and burning off good-will within Labour. Changes needed.

      • George D 15.1.1

        Why can’t Labour be left wing? (It isn’t, it’s centre right by international standards)

        Or are you saying that New Zealanders don’t want a left wing government?

        • IrishBill 15.1.1.1

          Labour should be Left wing. My impression is that they will become more so over the next few terms. We’ll just have to wait and see though.

          Also George, I’d appreciate it if you had the guts to insult us here rather than skulking over to the Dim Post to take your cheap shots.

        • RedLogix 15.1.1.2

          All I am saying is that the total left vote is probably too diverse a beast to be properly represented by only one Party.

          If Labour swung strongly left, it would merely invite attack from the corporate media and run the very real risk of loosing a lot of swing and socially conservative voters.

          • IrishBill 15.1.1.2.1

            I disagree with you on that Red, especially the “socially conservative” comment. There’s no reason that the socially conservative can’t be brought along with a Left economic swing.

            • RedLogix 15.1.1.2.1.1

              @IB,

              In principle yes, but in practise what I have in mind is the two axis political compass that really spreads Labour and the Greens quite far apart.

              And other ideas like the ‘8 Tribes’ model which would have Labour being the natural home of the Papatoetoe and Grey Lynn tribes, and the Greens corresponding largely to the Raglan and Cuba St tribes. These are all hugely diverse social groups in this country, and I’m not at all sure how one party can effectively connect across such disparate groupings.

        • rocky 15.1.1.3

          Labour need to be left, and most of the time they are. Yes George I agree that there are areas where Labour seems more right than left.

          In any case though, whether Labour is centre-left or centre-right, the reality is they will never be able to be true left and still garner enough support to form a government.

          At the end of the day, when I talk to Labour activists and Green activists, I don’t notice any difference in ideology. The difference lies in the strategy to achieve our aims. In my view, Labour and the Greens are both totally necessary, and as RedLogix said, both parties need to understand what the others purpose is, and cooperate accordingly.

          Of course it has been Labour in my view causing problems in the relationship with the Greens more than the other way around.

          • RedLogix 15.1.1.3.1

            Of course it has been Labour in my view causing problems in the relationship with the Greens more than the other way around.

            Well I guess everyone is entitled to their view of the story, and trying to sort through the minutiae of the ins and outs of the whole sorry saga would likely be soul destroying.

            In the end, restoring trust and working relationships probably means a few people sitting down to some large helpings of humble pie.

    • Ari 15.2

      Someone to fill Sue B’s ridiculously awesome shoes would be good.

      I really don’t think Sue would have been put in a position where she had to decide that sort of thing any time soon. National would need to make some major concessions to get support votes out of the Greens.

    • George.com 15.3

      I am generally in agreement. Exactly how the Greens and Labour can get themselves sorted out to form strong bonds is for debate. The present economic and envronmental morass and some potential for more, the last we really need is ‘blue-green’. That just means more of the same, business as usual. It doesn’t throw up any great solutions or alternatives. A continuation of the Labour lethargy we saw in some parts of its 9 years of government is not the answer either. ‘Not scaring the horses’ isn’t really an option anymore. Continuing engagement with ‘blue-green’ certainly isn’t the answer.

      Case in point, some people think electric cars is the answer to an oil reduced and carbon reduced future (I am not so sure about that however myself). If it is to be the future answer, where is the planning, where is the debate, where are the estimates, where is the blueprint to infrastructure, recharging facilities, new power plants, forms of electricity generation, pricing incentives to usher it in, concerted energy conservation in other areas of the economy etc? This is the type of project the greens and labour could collaborate on.

      rob

    • QoT 15.4

      Agreed on all counts, rocky.

  16. IrishBill 16

    Red, I don’t put much stock in the 8 tribes stuff. In my experience there are some basic tenets of economic justice that work well across multiple demographics. Except, of course, the unique and tiny demographic that face losing their hegemony if these tenets are put in place.

    The problem is this is also the demographic that has the capacity to make major donations to political parties or buy ink by the barrel. However there are ways around both of these obstacles.

    • RedLogix 16.1

      IB, fundamentally I totally agree with you. We are really arguing, as Rocky sagely put’s it, matters of strategy and style.

      For instance I personally identify myself as a pan-left sort of person. It means I happily donate to Labour, belong to a union (the EPMU) and give cash to back workers in various disputes. When debating here on The Standard I probably feel more at home with Labour Party issues than I do with Green Party ones.

      Yet paradoxically at the same time I’m a paid up member of the Green Party and I vote for them in elections. I do this because I believe in much of what they are trying to do. Go figure this mess.

      Without wanting in the least to gainsay what you are saying IB, I still feel there is a very real place for both parties, and ways for them to work synergistically in the interests of those fundamentals we both agree on.

      • IrishBill 16.1.1

        Red, I absolutely agree with the need for both parties but my fear is that my relegating their Left the Greens may find themselves struggling to survive. That would be a tragedy for the parliamentary Left.

  17. Rob A 17

    I wonder if there has been a survey done in the past few years of National voters who would go with the Greens if they were a true environmental party. I couldn’t find anything on the web but would be amazed if its never been done by anybody.

    • RedLogix 17.1

      Depends what you mean by ‘true environmental party’. One of the fundamental tenets of the Green movement has been the notion that the environment as a whole, the economy and human progress are inextricably linked in a three-way dance.

      By contrast, a failed economic model based on the insane notion of limitless growth, a deeply selfish notion of winner takes all, that leaves billions in the helpless grip of poverty, societies that perpetuate injustice and enforce unwarranted privilege with violent brutal modes of thinking… are all profoundly connected to environmental degradation.

      In many ways the Green model of social justice is a work in progress. It has of course many roots to which it owes it’s heritage.. but none of them seem to link in anyway to the greedy, destructive impulses that motivates the capitalist elites.

  18. Bill 18

    And so what I read from all this at the end of the day is that Sue stepping down from parliament is a cue to reconstitute the true left… the extra-parliamentary left.

    ‘Cause what’s left in parliamentary politics now?

  19. Nanoo 19

    Key will soon appoint former Green Party leader Jeanette Fitzsimons to a prominent position. Its part of an internal National strategy, which has been cooking for a number of years now, to neutralise the Greens, take away some of their ground on environmental issues, and remove some potential criticisms of National and its emissions trading scheme. You heard it here first 😉

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