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The Cost

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, September 9th, 2017 - 59 comments
Categories: election 2017, Europe, greens, International, Politics - Tags:

The German, Icelandic and New Zealand Green Parties are the only substantial elected green voice on earth. Should the NZ Greens get back in, the global green movement will be watching. Can the NZ Greens live up to their global role model status?

It’s worth checking what happened to the German Greens. They formed in 1979. They opposed pollution, nuclear power, NATO, and industrialisation. They gained support from both protest movements and conservatives. Their four pillars are:

– social justice

– ecological wisdom

– grassroots democracy

– nonviolence

Their conservative faction broke away in 1982. In 1983 the Greens got 5.7 of the Federal vote, and 8.3% in 1987, led by Joschka Fischer. They almost got turfed in 1990, but scraped back with a merger.

In 1998 they went into government with the Social Democrats. Almost immediately they were plunged into crisis by the question of NATO action in Kosovo. Huge internal crises, and a long string of local defeats ensued. Then in 2001 some Green MPs refused to back sending the military to Afghanistan. That reinforced the simmering split between the Realos and the Fundis.

But they did get a commitment to eradicate all nuclear plants, LGBT reform, and got key Ministerial positions.

Their next government was in 2008. Full of tough compromises, the Hamburg State coalition collapsed in 2010. While they’ve maintained state representation everywhere, they’ve never recovered nationally from their only time in government 20 years ago.

The NZ Greens have tasted influence through Confidence and Supply agreements. The Greens have been mayors and councillors here. But never in government.

The lessons from the German Greens are hard and real. The comparisons are not parallel but they are stark. Should the NZ Greens get back in, and should they be invited into power, they will face tests from the world far greater than that which Metiria Turei started –  which they failed.

The NZ Greens must first survive, then choose carefully if they want power, then prepare to take good gains at great cost.

59 comments on “The Cost ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    What a good thing they want change, not power. Pity about that false premise of yours.

    Speaking of change, having many of your policies go from “fringe” to “mainstream” in the space of one generation isn’t doing too badly.

    • Pat 1.1

      or the power to make change..

    • tracey 1.2

      You keep super imposing your measure of success on them. When you talk to Green MPs and members you find we are pleased that our mere existence has seen policy designed and implemented by major parties which before the Greens didnt exist.

      Greens are the consumate collaborators. They have seen their policies taken and claimed by others but remained pleased they were implemented. Insulating homes for instance.

      The Greens will not care that Labour took their 3 pronged tagline as their own post Little, provided Poverty is properly reduced, Climate Change is robustly addressed and the rivers genuinely cleaned up.

      Far from your post representing a Labour view of a partner it appears as a kind of passive aggressive attempt to play a part in a Green Party fail.

      Labour has far more to live up to than the Greens. A Labour/NZF coalition will slow progress of the kind many Labour supporters here have been berating National for slowing or harming.

      Thanks for your concern though Ad.

      • Union city greens 1.2.1

        “it appears as a kind of passive aggressive attempt to play a part in a Green Party fail.”

        You noticed that as well? But then, through his comments, it’s not a secret how Ad really resents the greens.

        He’s the worst kind of labour/nat on the fence voter.

      • red-blooded 1.2.2

        weka, Labour did not “take their 3 pronged tagline as their own post Little” – Labour’s policies and priorities were developed over time, in consultation with Party members, well before Andrew Little withdrew from leadership. They had formed the focus of a lot of the party’s work in the past few years. The Greens aren’t the only ones allowed to care about our environment and about the effects of poverty and they don’t own these issues.

        Back your own party – great. You don’t have to do it through undermining their partners in the MOU, though.

        Ad, there’s a genuine issue lurking somewhere in this post – minor parties can get chewed up in coalitions. That’s not inevitable, though, and if the coalition agreement allows for disagreement in areas other than confidence and supply, that tends to be a protective measure for the smaller party. NZ 1st is still with us, for example, despite being in coalition first with the Nats and then with Labour.

        • weka 1.2.2.1

          I think you mean tracey.

          You’ve said this before about Labour, but you’re missing the point. When Little was leader Labour weren’t positioning themselves in the election to be Green-lite. Now they are. I think this is a valid observation and it’s different than saying that Labour didn’t have policy beforehand. It’s about the campaign, not policy content alone.

          “The Greens aren’t the only ones allowed to care about our environment and about the effects of poverty and they don’t own these issues.”

          true, and as I’ve said before I’m happy to that Labour are now front-footing these issues, well done the Greens. But Labour are not the experts in them, and there is a danger that people will vote Labour thinking they will get good action on CC and rivers cleaned up but that these things won’t be prioritised as they would be with a strong GP in govt. That wouldn’t matter quite so much except that we are literally running out of time on CC and water.

          • red-blooded 1.2.2.1.1

            Labour were “front-footing” these issues. They have been for years. People weren’t taking as much notice, but that’s a different matter.

            • tracey 1.2.2.1.1.1

              Maybe provide some links for them front footing these 3 issues as their core issues “for years”

            • weka 1.2.2.1.1.2

              “Labour were “front-footing” these issues. They have been for years. People weren’t taking as much notice, but that’s a different matter.”

              You are still avoiding the point. There was a distinct change when Ardern took over, to position Labour as green. It’s inconceivable that this wasn’t a deliberate campaign strategy. It’s working very well for them. That is all separate from what Labour were doing with policy prior to Little resigning.

            • adam 1.2.2.1.1.3

              I must say, I’d love to see that front footing on this. Especially poverty, a link or ten, yeah ten – it is a nice round number, thanks in advance.

        • tracey 1.2.2.2

          You again miss the point. Is it deliberate? The greens tagline for this election is

          Reduce Poverty
          Climate Change
          Clean Rivers

          Jacinda highlighted, of all Labours policies, those 3 for at least the first 3 weeks. Why hadnt Little, given, as you say, highlighted these 3.

          Of course parties have similar policies. Taglines however? Spooky

    • tracey 1.3

      What a quaintly patriarchal and condescending post that was from Ad. Ad is still in FPP post mode and winning is all that matters. It doesnt surprise me that he doesnt “get” Greens. And he doesnt because he uses his lens on them rather than trying to understand theirs.

      • dukeofurl 1.3.1

        read the rule about not having personal attacks on the person posting.

        • In Vino 1.3.1.1

          That was more an attack upon the post than the person, with reasons as to why the post is flawed. Tracey explained why Ad had written a flawed post. She did not call him a liar or idiot.

        • tracey 1.3.1.2

          You need to understand the difference between challenge the premise of a post and a personal attack. As an author here I sure try hard to not make personal attacks, no matter how much I am provoked.

    • esoteric pineapples 1.4

      I’ve never understood what constitutes a “generation”. If it is from the beginning to end of one’s person’s life then it could be up to 100 years. That would make five generations in 500 years. Or if it is from when a child is born to when they have their first baby then it could be as little as (legally) 16 years.

  2. DSpare 2

    I agree with OAB that enacting policies is more important to the GP than perks and status. It all comes down to the numbers at the election, with NZF currently seeming the more likely coalition partner due to that (first phone calls notwithstanding). However, there will be progressive legislation that Labour wants to enact that is opposed by NZF, and even portions of their own caucus, so a bare majority is unlikely to be sufficient for effective governance. In that case, the GP will be there and hopefully ready to negotiate a price for their votes.

    I see it more likely that the GP will get associate minister positions, than the glamour roles of Ministers. Shaw might get something like Climate Change though, which is a bigger deal to the GP than Labour, and certainly more likely than finance or economic development.

    • Sans Cle 2.1

      Julie Anne Genter for Minister of Transport! She’s smart, knowledgeable and would get this country moving again, with a lighter footprint.

      • dukeofurl 2.1.1

        Yes , she is smart and knowledgeable. But likely Shaw will be the only minister, and an outside cabinet role, Conservation or such, hes a very smart guy too. Gives him a chance to have ministerial experience

        • tracey 2.1.1.1

          Again, most important to the Greens will be negotiating policies not who gets the heated seats in the beemer and the bloated salary

      • Foreign Waka 2.1.2

        Hi Sans, unfortunately there are too many vested interests to have reason get in the way. The first move ought to be to get all heavy vehicle transport onto rail. It reduces congestion, maintenance costs of roads and fuel consumption…… did I mention vested interests?

        • DSpare 2.1.2.1

          I was mainly going off Shaw’s spokesperson roles of; Climate Change, Finance and Economic Development; the last two will be off the table (Robertson & Parker), and Climate Change is a bit of a hospital pass (Megan Woods probably isn’t that attached to it given everything she has on her plate). Plus it makes sense to use the knowledge that the Green MPs have in their specific fields, particularly CC where Labour is heavily influenced by the preexisting GP policy. I agree with dou that Shaw will likely be the only full minister, whether inside or outside of cabinet depends on the deal that can be hammered out postelection (ie part of a formal coalition, or supply & demand only). It seems possible that the GP may pick up another ministry later in the term after the other coleader is elected.

          Davidson is second on the list so is probably frontrunner for female coleader (though in 2008; Bradford was third on the list, and Turei fourth – so it isn’t certain), she is spokesperson for; Māori Development, Social Housing, Human Rights and Pacific Peoples. I’d guess she’d be most likely to get something in Human rights given her experience with the HRCommission (I can’t see any specific Labour spokesperson for that – probably comes under Little’s Justice role). Genter is spokesperson for; Health (inc ACC), Transport, Auckland Issues, Youth, Sports and Recreation. I can’t see Wood giving up transport, but Twyford might be busy enough with; Housing & Auckland, that he’d let Genter have associate Transport.

  3. Bearded Git 3

    Don’t worry about the Greens, they know what they stand for. James Shaw is solid. Worry about Labour and whether Ms. Stardust will follow through on policies. I have high hopes she will.

    Party Vote Green for a progressive government.

    Voting starts this Monday.

    • popexplosion 3.1

      Indeed. Split vote. Lab in the constituency and party vote Green. Labour did after all bring us Douglas. Also you are guaranteed two MPs, one for the Labour seat and one Green off the list, however if Lab fail to take the seat and you have voted Lab-Lab then the loser Lab MP may slip back on the Labour list. So splitting means you get winners.
      Say no to slippage split vote.

    • millsy 3.2

      “Ms Stardust…”

      Classic lulz there.

  4. gsays 4

    The biggest threat to the greens, post election is the Labour party.

    Judging by how aunty Helen treated them when she formed a government, plus how the Labour party has treated any party perceived to be to ‘the left’ of Labour.

    I understand ms adern has said she will be on the phone first to the greens, post election, but that doesn’t guarantee anything.

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      Shouldnt you be worrying about making the 5% cut after election day, rather than deciding which bones to pick beforehand.
      You seem to forget the time The greens excluded themselves from Government in 1999 and didnt want to be part of Labour -Alliance government.
      Grievance is an noun not an industry

      • gsays 4.1.1

        Hi duke, the way ‘the vibe’ is trending, 5% is a minimum for the greens.

        Time and time again, since adern has faced English and since Joyce’s holy mouth off, folk on TS have been indicating party vote green-to keep Labour honest.

    • Steve 4.2

      I cannot help thinking, many within the green party have “acted” as their own worst enemy. Perhaps far too many of them were university trained city type folk.They think they helped conserve bush. Truth is the laws they helped to force in, also helped push people who owed bush land, to chop their bush down, so as to turn it into pasture.

      There used to be loads of regenerating native bush around where i live. Once upon a time farmers were able to “afford” to pay the “low land-rates (therefore didn’t stand to foot any great loss) They might have harvested a little timber now and then, to help offset cost of land-rates

      Once the new law were implemented. Due to conservation mania interest that were drummed up by “green party supporting” city folk, often from university backgrounds. The ball game changed.Because due to this “mania” , the land taxes were also going to really rise to become high cost .Meaning bush land owners were going to be faced with a loss, unless they quickly changed the way they managed the lands they owned

      Up and down the coast,down south, many forest land were quickly cut down and were promptly turned into new pasture to run stock on. The farmers made sure, to have “left around 100 meters closest to roads” ,completely untouched . So as to help “appease” the city university folks mania .As what they didn’t see, they also didn’t tend to lose any sleep over either

    • red-blooded 4.3

      gsays, if Labour has a strong enough percentage to govern with the Greens alone (or even with them and the Māori Party), then I think that’s a likely outcome. If NZF has to be included, that’s when it starts to get complicated, given Winston’s disdain for the Greens. In the past, he’s refused to consider any coalition that includes them. It may be that circumstances will force him to reconsider this, or that he’s mellowed (who the hell knows with that guy), but he’s the wild card in the pack.

      • gsays 4.3.1

        I would largely agree with you.
        My suspicion has come from a couple of essays I have read on red line, a contemporary Marxist site, which looked at Labour through the years and how they have behaved historically.
        That and aunty Helen, but granted Winston was in the picture there too.

  5. Steve 5

    “Can the NZ Greens live up to their global role model status?”

    Two elections ago i spoke with both Metiria Turei and Kevin Hague on their election campaign down here in the south Island . I’m a conservationist who owns a bush block.I purchase the block with conservation in mind right from the start.The block consist mostly of regenerating native bush.Therefore none of this bush was planted by myself. I discussed how as far as i’m aware i’m not able to claim the carbon credits for my block (because i had not planted the bush.It was regeneration forest) . The government gets to claim these carbon credits for the regenerating bush on the land on my block of which i now also pay far higher rates for too.I discussed how i’m also forced to deal with complex system for application of any timber cutting ,including salvage timber. I purchased the block, didn’t bother to cut down any left over mill-able trees (even when i saw so many others quickly doing so.Before new regulations came in) hoping surely the government will be careful, to not to punish people who are true conservationist who care.

    I discussed how (unlike myself) many other people i knew, had purposely gone out an slayed the regenerating bush on their land.Quickly reaping any profit they could do, before the new laws were implemented (turning most of this regenerating bush land into grass land, to then run more stock on). These people were the ones (who unlike me) now at least were more able to pay the higher land rates (that quickly rose to high cost as the interest in bush-land and new laws were implemented) as well to, thanks to the stock they were now able to run.

    I told thee green party members about how hard i was struggling.Told them how the stock farmers were now looking to try and get their hands on my land as well too.So that they might also turn it into land to run stock.Knowing full well how much i struggled.

    To this day i have never heard anything more (from either of these two green party politicians.Even though they promised me to look into it for me) . So this is my question. Why would someone like myself, “even bother” to vote for the green party ?

    • popexplosion 5.1

      It’s strange. Recycling means perpetuating the anti zero waste paradigm, and why as a Green i don’t care about recycling as I believe the system won’t change until it tips over, and probably be too late to save civilisation. So in the scheme of things you noted your govt takes credits from the carbon off you bush, and no doubt attracts more good press for the current regime. Look at dairy, had they not regulating runoff pushed the issue of shitty rivers now be creating a Lab-Green govt. Is it too soon for Greens to win? some say not soon enough, some could say they are still to immeshed in the current economics of exploitation. Personally im not expecting much but know Greens need the time in govt to learn. There are three ideological parties, one for finance, one for employees, and one for the environment. Only an alliance between finance and enviroment, will anything change, unfortunately all the fool’s and greedies are lined up at the great trough of finance falsely thinking their wealth is safe. They ain’t changing course anytime soon. So to return to your point, dud you spend your power too soon? Or are you one of the first movers, it’s hard to see yet.

      • Steve 5.1.1

        “They ain’t changing course anytime soon. So to return to your point, dud you spend your power too soon? Or are you one of the first movers, it’s hard to see yet.”

        I’m not sure i understand your question.However i have not voted this time around as yet .Trying to do my best, to be sure to make my vote count as much as possible.If that helps answer ?.

        I’m not university trained (which im picking is likely to already be quite obvious anyways).But i still don’t see that this would need to automatically mean i’m stupid either.I gained some form of knowledge, along the way, through school of hard knocks.There is “personal reason” behind why i had never gained any higher level of education.

        I feel its time that people like myself would be able get together easier, more, with the university trained folk.We should learn how to work together more.Maybe “everyone” could benefit far more from that?

        I lack ability to do paper work very well.Things like that. While maybe “some” university trained folk might lack a little bit in the area of layman “grass root” experience

        Perhaps together we could devise a good plan for all of us?

        Problem i (i feel) come across at present. Is that the people im sent to see, whom are designated to help me, are helping me because its part of their job.Like anyone, they get tired of it.They get bored with it?.The “passion” is missing

        We all lose

    • tracey 5.2

      Which of the other parties meets your environmental desires? Vote for that one.

      • Steve 5.2.1

        Still deciding.But generally iv’e always gone with labor supporter (our local labor party member knows our area best) and then also tried supporting the green party

        This year i’m doing my best, to try and “learn” more, in regard to how to best go about making the very best of my vote.I figure one way to help myelf do that, is to watch and read and learn, and ask question from other folk who likely know far better than i do

    • mauī 5.3

      In my city opinion there’s more money to be made if land is left to regenerate. A few hectares of regrowing manuka is probably much more valuable as a sustainable wood supply and honey producer than some extra pasture on marginal hill country. And you’ve got the added benefit of letting the land repair itself over time.

      I think if your bush is significant enough you can get it covenanted and you’re eligible for rates relief on that land too. Seems like a good deal.

      • Steve 5.3.1

        I agree with you Maui.And its a bonus that “now” honey is proving to be a pretty good earn.

        But for many years ,past, it wasn’t so much.I’m speaking out for all people who had to really struggle through those times.And a number of whom had to give up, and sometimes sell off their land to farming folk with “money” to purchase even more land to convert into stock farm.

        Where were the green party members when we needed their help?.I’m only a grass root hard working laborer, who used to work his “guts out” all day long from day light until dark, in fruit picking seasons.Always a conservationist at heart with the drive to try and purchase land, so as to do my own part to “help” conserve tree’s and bird life, which is hopefully also going to remain beneficial to future generations as well too

        Cannot help feeling a little let down.Also cannot help feeling a little wary now as well too, of how well the green party may “preform” in future

        They already proved i don’t seem to matter.Our (us grass root conservationists) suffering seemed of no concern of their own. I never even seen them “bother” to mention (in parliament) that the government was receiving carbon credits , for land which we were now struggling to pay our rates on

      • Steve 5.3.2

        “I think if your bush is significant enough you can get it covenanted and you’re eligible for rates relief on that land too. Seems like a good deal.”

        Please excuse my double post. I felt need to point out. These are the sorts of information we grass roots folk have long needed help to know how to apply it.I tried to ask so many people how. The green party has been excellent at helping to lock land up. But was pretty much totally useless at helping provide us grass root conservationist with information and help about how to go about doing it

        And yet many of these folk, likely went to university

    • Kevin Hague 5.4

      Hi Steve. I don’t remember the conversation you report from the campaign trail in 2011. If I said that I would get back to you about the issue then I absolutely should have, and I apologise for not doing so. By way of explanation (not an excuse) one of the things that made me leave politics was the constant knowledge of letting people down – there just wasn’t enough time to help all the people I said I would help, let alone everyone who needed it

  6. weka 6

    As others have referred to above, the key thing is how the Greens organise and manage relationships. Processes like consensus and a culture of power sharing are difficult to understand unless you have experience of them. I think this is both the most exciting thing about the Greens being in government and the most challenging, but the MoU is one of the things that speaks to their ability to make this work.

    When you place relationship as a very high priority, not in the Winston Peters/National/ACT ‘this benefits me’ way of doing MMP, but in the kaupapa of all relationship being important, then how you do things changes. This is the big thing missing from the post (haven’t been able to easily find anything online about the German Greens in this regard). The point of relationship isn’t to gain power, but to build and maintain the relationship and share power. That’s radical in a system and society that prioritises gaining and holding onto power.

    Not that the Greens are the only ones with skills in these areas. I see Māori cultures as placing high importance on relationship and giving mana to people as a core practice. And there are sub cultures that have worked with various consensus processes e.g. feminism, the peace movement. Power sharing is also at the centre of solidarity politics.

    Re the post, I also think that given Labour have just adopted a Green-lite policy platform, the Greens’ job got a lot easier once in govt. Critical thing now isn’t whether the Greens can pull this off but whether NZ will give them enough power/MPs do so effectively.

  7. weka 7

    btw Ad, are you in fact voting Green? (looking at the FP image).

  8. Incognito 8

    The German, Icelandic and New Zealand Green Parties are the only substantial elected green voice on earth.

    Is this opinion based on any verifiable facts?

    • dukeofurl 8.1

      But its true !
      outside those countries the Green Mps could be counted on one hand

      • Andre 8.1.1

        Awww, c’mon, that’s not fair. Given the Aussies have a bunch of Green senators and there’s a few Greens in the UK and European Parliament, you’ll need to take your shoes and socks off to count ’em all.

        • dukeofurl 8.1.1.1

          Yes, I underestimated the numbers
          1 UK, 1 Canada, 2 Ireland, 6 MSP in Scotland, 10 in Australian Federal houses of Parliament and various state parliaments

          • adam 8.1.1.1.1

            The majority of the greens in Aussie are in the Senate with 9 members. Only one is in the house of representatives.

            The sit on the cross benches in the senate, which means they are wooed by both sides. Especially at budget time, you might want to have a look what they have got out of both the liberals and labour, interesting stuff.

            I’t’s pretty easy to argue that Syriza are green. So what that, 144 members, and control of parliament.

            The author and yourself appear to be deliberately narrowing the discussion, I’m not sure why, would you care to explain?

            • dukeofurl 8.1.1.1.1.1

              “I’t’s pretty easy to argue that Syriza are green”

              Yet you dont, you just assert, why is that ? if you want to play your silly games

              Synaspismós Rizospastikís Aristerás is a merger of a large number of left groups including some that are left-ecology.
              Greece of course has a separate party who identify as Greens -Prasinoi

              • adam

                I did actually, but then again if you wanna run with being obtuse, let me do the easy bit for you shall we. Syriza is green becasue all members adhere to the eco-socialism.

                Who the hell are Prasinoi? Do you mean the ‘Greens – Democratic Left’ who have no seats, nor have had any seats in the Greek parliament? Because if that is who you are talking about, you are trying to narrow the discussion – why is that?

      • Incognito 8.1.2

        I was more hoping for some facts, e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Greens#Member_parties, which seems to suggest that it is not true!?

    • Sans Cle 8.2

      Green Party in Ireland were in coalition government during the GFC. After the fallout of the govt backing the banks and essentially burdening the taxpayers with debt for the foreseeable ever, the GP paid the price. Green Party took the brunt of it and now only have two MPs; support for main govt party bounced back in subsequent elections.

    • swordfish 8.3

      Icelandic Left-Green Movement = essentially a coalition of Socialist-Left & Green
      Parties (rather than a Green Party per se)

      Whereas in Germany & indeed the rest of Scandinavia – the Green & Left Parties are separate

  9. I think you raise fair questions ad.

    There is nothing so debilitating as getting what you want sometimes.

    The Greens will enjoy being able to see change happen in front of their eyes and I’m looking forward to that shift in the centre of gravity too.

    Any ‘new’ thing (The Greens in Government) has issues – in sales management we had a saying – “the pain of change is forgotten when the benefits of change are realised.” The benefits are world changing and essential and they are coming – so all good.

  10. Poission 10

    It’s worth checking what happened to the German Greens. They formed in 1979. They opposed pollution, nuclear power

    “ein Eigentor schießen”

    http://www.dw.com/image/39972598_403.png

  11. … ” The NZ Greens must first survive, then choose carefully if they want power, then prepare to take good gains at great cost ” …

    No sweat.

  12. cleangreen 12

    100% Poission

    My son is in Germany & the German Green Party are good for forcing out Nuclear power and pollution and are very strong on all the environment issues there.

    The sad thing here is our NZ Green Party hardly discuss all pollution sources now except water pollution sadly, as there are many types of environmental pollution in our food, and consumer products and our air.

  13. happynz 13

    Overseas voters here. One party vote Green from here in the sand box. Another Green party vote by my daughter from the soon to be ravaged state of Florida. I’m working on getting the missus to vote but she’s in an out of the way no-mod-con jungle patch in SE Asia. No way she can download a ballot as there is nobody around with a printer.

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