Written By: - Date published: 7:20 pm, August 20th, 2018 - 139 comments
Categories: class war, election 2020, Environment, greens, james shaw, labour, marama davidson, national, nz first, Politics, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: election 2020, green party, national party
The Green Party held their annual conference in Palmerston North over the weekend. I’m told it was actually a pretty upbeat affair and the expected ructions around caucus support for NZ First’s ‘waka jumping’ bill were muted.
That’s good, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s useful legislation. Anything that stops National from buying the loyalty of weak, selfish MP’s, subverting democracy at the same time, is to be welcomed.
Secondly, it shows that the Green Party caucus is united and disciplined. Importantly, it shows they can be relied on as part of a progressive government.
Now for the bad news. National are going to do all they can to destroy the Greens in the next two years. Expect the usual dirty politics and expect the usual personal attacks.
And expect National to sponsor an alternative green party.
Yep. The new partner National needs isn’t going to be found to their right, it’s actually going to be from their left.
If ACT have proved anything, it’s that the eighties are over. There is simply no significant constituency for arsehats in NZ and all ACT do is drain votes from National. Don Brash is still going to make any political vehicle look like a clown car, so there’s no rescue to be found in the racist right.
So, if No Mates National want to magic up a coalition option, it needs to have an ecological bent. Obviously, the Greens aren’t going to back the Tories, so setting up an earth mother alternative is the next best thing.
National need to put the conservative in conservation.
The genius of this is that even if the franchise party – let’s call them the New Greens – don’t make it over the 5% mark, they absolutely will take votes off the current Green Party, possibly dooming them as well.
And that would effectively leave only 3 parties to form a two party coalition.
While Winston Peters is unlikely to want to go with National, he’s going to face significant pressure to consider the option from conservatives in his caucus like Clayton Mitchell, Ron Mark and Shane ‘why use one word when ten make me sound like an orator’ Jones.
I’m told those three, and others, are lukewarm on Labour’s improvements to employment law and are looking to water down the push for industry standard pay and conditions and the right for unions to access worksites.
It would be ironic in the extreme if the Greens and Labour supported NZ First’s waka jumping legislation only to have NZ First jump out of the waka when it comes to workers’ rights.
Ultimately, we need the Greens. They are maddeningly incompetent in so many ways; from admitting benefit fraud in the run up to the last election to reclaiming the C word last week, if there’s a way to alienate voters they’ll find it.
But they’ll need to sharpen up in the next two years because eating the Greens is National’s only path to power.
Edit: Clayton Mitchell, not Mark Mitchell.