The Greens respond to the Budget

Written By: - Date published: 10:03 am, May 26th, 2017 - 72 comments
Categories: budget 2017, climate change, Economy, election 2017, greens, james shaw - Tags:

From James Shaw’s speech in parliament

The big headline in today’s Budget is a $2 billion Family Incomes Package.

After nine years of increasing hardship for low-income families, now, in an election year, National makes yet another headline-grabbing announcement to make it look like they’re doing something about it.

And it sounds great.

But a quick glance at today’s announcement suggests the following:

On the one hand, they say they’re increasing Family Tax Credits — for some people.

But on the other hand, the abatement rates will be higher and will cut in earlier.

They give with one hand and take away with the other.

The changes to income taxes go well beyond simply resetting thresholds to keep up with inflation.

And, as is always the way with these guys, the largest share of the tax cuts go to those on the highest incomes.

People on more than $127,000 a year get a tax cut $33.22 a week, whilst those on $24,000 a year or less, get only $5.34 a week.

Mr Speaker, this so-called $2 billion Family Incomes package is just another tax cut for the wealthy in disguise.

It reminds me a little of Budget 2015 when they announced benefit increases of $25 a week.

That sounded great too, until we realised later that half of all beneficiary families with children did not get the full $25.

Some got nothing at all.

And that’s the thing about this Government. They are the masters of the shell game.

Can we trust National on the climate?

And what about our children’s future? Can we still trust National to protect our climate and move our economy to a low carbon future?

Sure, National signed up to the Paris Agreement, committing us to a low carbon economy. But at the same time, under their stewardship, New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions have been getting steadily worse.

They’re now 19 percent higher than they were when National came to power and continue to rise and rise and rise.

Budget 2017 makes things worse — they’re still stuck in their 1950s thinking by spending $9 dollars on motorways for every $1 dollar on rail. More pollution, more congestion.

The National Government’s failure to take any meaningful action on climate change means we’re going to have to pay other countries to reduce their pollution so that we don’t have to. And it’s going to cost us a fortune!

The Green Party revealed Cabinet briefing papers this week that estimate the cost of National’s inaction on climate change to be at least $14 billion dollars over 10 years.

That’s nearly $1.5 billion dollars every year just to buy carbon credits overseas.

And that’s at today’s prices. When carbon prices increase, we’ll be stuck with a bill that makes our looming Superannuation deficit look tiny by comparison.

We still have a small window of opportunity left to act. New Zealand’s got the resources and the clean energy expertise to meet the climate challenge and show the rest of the world how it’s done.

This is, in fact, one of the great economic opportunities of our lifetime — one that National is just letting slide on by, while they have their heads buried under the sea…looking for more oil.

If you want to live in a country that isn’t crippled by climate debt, one that is truly sustainable, with innovative, meaningful, well-paying jobs, you need to vote to change the government, before that window of opportunity closes.

The speech also covers rivers, housing, DOC funding, and the unnecessary failure of National’s Social Investment programme.

Mr Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister posted a survey on his Facebook feed asking his followers what sort of pie he should eat today.

The answer is humble pie.

Budget 2017 disappoints in its lack of a big vision for our great nation and a lack of self-belief that we can solve the challenges of our time if we change the direction we’re heading in.

We can have rivers that we can swim in.

We can lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty.

We can fix the housing crisis.

We can show the world what it takes to have a truly sustainable economy that works for and includes everyone.

Budget 2017 will not be the defining political moment of the year. That moment belongs to the people of New Zealand in Election 2017.

After nine years of National, it is time to change the Government.

And change is coming.

Full transcript here

Shaw’s Taxation (Budget Measures: Family Incomes Package) Bill first reading and second reading videos.

Update – The Greens blogpost from Marama Davidson on why they are voting for the Bill and why they think the Bill is woefully inadequate.

Overall the Budget is a huge disappointment and a missed opportunity to make real progress on pressing social and environmental issues. We want more support for those who need it most, and we want that sooner than National.  To make that a reality, we need to change the Government.

But right now, we are debating National’s family package in Parliament. The Green Party is supporting these changes, not because they’re perfect – far from it – but because we want families to get more support and we strongly believe it is not our role to deny those families that.

With these changes, the Government has turned on the tap that has been long denied to communities for some desperately needed relief. But it’s only a tiny drop. For our lowest income families, these changes are a trickle, and in the words of the Child Poverty Action Group, what is actually needed is a tide.

While we won’t stand in the way of the tax cuts for the lowest incomes, the Greens will keep working for the real changes that are needed to ensure all everyone has what they need to live; good lives, warm secure healthy homes, enough healthy kai and enough to pay the bills.

 

 

72 comments on “The Greens respond to the Budget”

  1. weka 1

    The Greens on other aspects of the budget,

    DOC funding – budget amount doesn’t make up for cuts of last 9 years,

    DOC will have $26 million less this year to invest in protecting nature than it did in 2008.

    https://www.greens.org.nz/news/press-release/nature-short-changed-again-national-budget-2017

    Nationals are spending 63 times the amount of destroying water as they are on trying to clean it up,

    “The Green Party in government will stop subsidies for irrigators, put a moratorium on new dairy farm conversions and stop pollution at its source. We’ll need to spend less on cleaning up pollution if it doesn’t exist in the first place,” said Ms Delahunty.

    https://www.greens.org.nz/news/press-release/waterfall-funding-destroy-rivers-and-drop-bucket-clean-them

    Auckland,

    “National is either ignoring Auckland or they’re cynically holding back funding to offer later on as an election bribe,” said Green Party Auckland issues spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

    “There is nothing in this Budget for the thousands of Aucklanders this afternoon on crowded buses and trains, sitting in gridlock, on their way home to the house that swallows up most of their income.

    https://www.greens.org.nz/news/press-release/budget-disappointment-auckland

  2. bwaghorn 2

    ”stop subsidies for irrigators, ”
    economic development fify

    ”sub·si·dy
    ˈsəbsədē/Submit
    noun
    1.
    a sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service may remain low or competitive.
    “a farm subsidy”
    2.
    historical
    a parliamentary grant to the sovereign for state needs.”

    [I went and found out about John Hart (a bit anyway). I’ll post it when I get the chance. It would have been easier if you’d just said where you got the information from, so we could have an informed debate instead of one based on vague speculation. You’re out of premod – weka]

  3. Sanctuary 3

    James Shaw’s budget speech:

    We oppose this National government budget.

    But we are going to vote for it.

    Which doesn’t mean we support it, far from it, we oppose it with every fibre of our being! it is just we are voting for it because we oppose it. It is a cunning plan, Baldrick.

    We do not agree with the tax cuts, but we will vote for them.

    Just because you vote for something doesn’t mean you actually support it. The peasants of this great land, who are not anointed by the special genius of Green schemes and combinations may be confused, and think voting for something means you support it! HAH! THE GREENS PITY YOU FOOLZ! We can vote for things we oppose and be clear we will still oppose what we voted for.

    We also vote for what we support, although that is meaningless because we are just as happy to support the government by voting for what we oppose, but we have have no real desire to ever be in a position to have a majority to vote for anything we support anyway, and if we did we’d probably be so confused we’d end up inadvertently voting against that and for a National party amendment, just in case National can get us a seat in cabinet, even when they are opposition.

    Since we ARE in opposition, and it looks to me like National might win again in September, I am voting for what we oppose because under my stewardship we’re going form third to fourth in the polls, which means if Labour can cobble together a coalition with NZ First we’ll be out in the cold, unless we can use this budget to show National that while 2nd and 3rd can beat 1st, 1st and 4th can beat them, so then I get a cabinet seat under Bill English, with an enormous salary increase and a nice crown limo and stuff like that. Oh and then I can continue to vote for all those thing that National does I oppose.

    I am a reborn Machiavelli, amiright?

    • weka 3.1

      I don’t know why political parties do that, the voting for bills they oppose thing. Labour does it as well.

      But it’s not that hard to understand the Greens if you listen to what they actually say. Shaw said unequivocally that the Greens are critical of the budget because it’s targeting the wrong people and going in the wrong direction. He then said that they were voting for the bill because the people that are having the hardest time need all the help they can get and so the Greens support them getting the pittance that National are throwing their way.

      That’s not the same as saying they want the tax cuts. They don’t.

      And I would guess they want to let poor people know that they support them having even this small amount in the absence of anything better. I’m not sure if I agree with that approach, but it’s not that hard to understand, nor is there the kind of incoherent nonsense you just posted. You just made that up and had a hard out unsubstantiated slur of the Greens.

      I will note that in Open Mike you were basically running pro-Labour propaganda lines and telling people to not vote Green and instead vote Labour but that you had to tell lies about the Greens because there is no substance to your argument.

      • Sigh 3.1.1

        Labour is voting against the tax cuts and for our public services. The Greens are voting for the tax cuts and to gut our social services. It’s a pity.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          Post has just been updated with more from the Greens on this.

          • Sigh 3.1.1.1.1

            Reality is they’re voting for just $300m of WFF and a massive $1.8b of tax cuts. Unbelievable when they’re paid for by deep cuts to social services.

            • weka 3.1.1.1.1.1

              yes, but every other action they’re doing is to (a) change the govt, and (b) reverse the damage National have done in that area. e.g. the Greens have a really good welfare policy, including rolling back much of the Bennett reforms.

              The vote is symbolic, but pro-poor people not pro-NACT. They’re not actually going to have any effect on those cuts no matter how they vote, but they will effect those things by their policies and actions and if they get into govt.

              • Sigh

                Green Party themselves admit the tax cut part of the package (which is the bulk of the money) favours top earners. And it is being paid for by savage cuts to health and education and removing the revenue the crown needs to address housing in any meaningful way. Their position on this is utterly incoherent and damaging to the left in election year. Only Labour has a principled position on this budget.

                • weka

                  Actually the Greens’ position is utterly principled, it’s just different principles than Labour. As far as I can tell, the Greens are saying compassion is more important than politics. That is entirely consistent with their kaupapa. Labour are in a different position, because they will form the next govt they need to opposed this budget and present their own version.

                  • Sigh

                    There is no compassion in paying for tax cuts that the Greens themselves say favour high income earners by cutting health and education and doing SFA on housing. Honestly, it just doesn’t make any sense and I haven’t heard anyone from the Greens explain to me how it does. That’s aside from the gift they’ve handed National by looking moderate four months out from an election.

                    • weka

                      There’s a link to Marama Davidson’s blog in the post. You might disagree with what she says, but they have in fact explained.

                      “There is no compassion in paying for tax cuts that the Greens themselves say favour high income earners by cutting health and education and doing SFA on housing.”

                      Just as well the Greens don’t support that then. They voted for the bill solely so that low income people would get some extra money.

                      You do realise the bill would have passed if the Greens voted against it right?

                    • Nope []

                      If the bill had included tax cuts of $100 a week paid for by even more savage cuts to health and education would the Greens have supported it? By your logic they would have.

  4. Sanctuary – can you envisage any scenario where someone might vote for something they oppose? It it at all possible that for some reason, such an action might be the best possible one? Just askin’

    • Sanctuary 4.1

      Not at budget time, no. Cut through the noise and what is the ZM public’s takeaway message from this?

      Everyone supports this budget, except Labour. Ergo, this is a good budget that Labour are just moaning about because politics. It strips the ground from under any meaningful opposition to the government’s fiscal, and therefore policy, agenda.

      The Greens under Shaw have sold out to National’s neo-liberal, radical centre consensus just at the moment in history when that radical centre is facing collapse. They are telling National they’ll support them from fourth place to keep Labour and NZ First out if it means places in cabinet.

      I guess for Labour the lesson is never trust the liberal bourgeoisie, Green or otherwise.

      • weka 4.1.1

        “They are telling National they’ll support them from fourth place to keep Labour and NZ First out if it means places in cabinet.”

        If by that you mean that the Greens will form govt with National, that’s not possible. The membership remit prevents the Greens from doing that. I think technically there is a way that the executive could override that, but it would essentially destroy the party and I can’t see the MPs doing that including Shaw. What would be the point? I suspect you don’t understand how the Greens work internally and how much say the membership has in what the party does. Shaw himself has ruled out working in govt with National.

        Shaw is an easy target because he wears a suit and he talks to business people and his background is in that world. But exactly the same criticism were made of Norman when he first came into power. When you look at what Shaw actually does and says, it’s clear he’s not a neo-liberal intent on ruining the Greens.

        Of course the Greens have become more mainstream, and that’s how they’ve increased their vote. But they’re still to the left of Labour, and their policies speak for themselves for those that want to see.

      • ” what is the ZM public’s takeaway message from this?”

        Is this the measure you use for determining the integrity of political action, Sanctuary? “the ZM public’s takeaway message”?
        Hmmmm…
        I’m pleased James Shaw and the Greens don’t use the same ruler as you. Seems they are smarter than that; that’s what we want, isn’t it, a canny Green Party? I know I do.

        • Sanctuary 4.1.2.1

          Like rugby, politics is a simple game when played well. Affectations of sophistication from clever clogs paper tigers are as likely to fall flat on the hustings as they are on the paddock.

          You would think that the idea that a Green liberal elite playing shell games in the halls of power was anything but an invitation to utter electoral catastrophe would have gone south with the public backlash against the lazy palace politics of Sue Bradford’s section 59 repeal; But it seems the middle class dunderheads of the Green leadership are slow learners.

          • Robert Guyton 4.1.2.1.1

            Rugby is a simple game? Yes, Colin, it was. Not these days though, Tana.
            Clever clogs, multi-coach (one for the fowards and one for the backs! Hell, Zinzan, what’s the world coming to???). James is a smart player, Sanctuary and Green supporters aren’t baulking at his application of smart to the process, as you claim. Breathe easy.

  5. Bill English though, eating humble pie? Ideologically impossible; he’d gag and refuse to swallow.

  6. Sigh 6

    None of this means anything. The Greens are voting for National’s election year Budget in which they are putting in nearly $2b of tax cuts and gutting our health and education systems while doing nothing on housing.

    • “None of this means anything…”
      To you perhaps, Sigh, but the nuanced reader will see plenty of subtlety in Shaw’s and the Green’s actions.

      • Sanctuary 6.1.1

        Did you see the mast head news broadcasts about this tonight? They were straight Labour left isolated, disunity on the left and more kudos to National.

        yup, them Greens are bunch of smart cookies.

        • Robert Guyton 6.1.1.1

          I’m astonished that the news broadcasts would sing National’s praises following a budget in which money was thrown about like confetti – how on earth could that be?? And the Greens were unable to somehow suppress that fervour? What’s wrong with them???

          • Sigh 6.1.1.1.1

            The Greens gave National a cover of compassion while also giving them a stick to beat the Left with. They walked straight into National’s trap. Well done team, well done.

  7. heman 7

    Looking from the outside they look a mess.
    How can they say all they have said and then vote for it.

    Its like the pt england bill to sell a public reserve, they are abstaining because it is messy.

    this is their full stance on it. after first reading it I thought how can they not oppose.
    https://blog.greens.org.nz/2017/04/12/an-almighty-mess-in-the-making/

    My take on it is that they are being sold it as a treaty settlement which is not, or very barely. They oppose it for all their green values that the bill tramples on but the small treaty settlement element weighs heavier in their values or in the current caucus and that and they will abstain, where they will hope to make more substantial amendments.

    The barely treaty settlement part of it, I am not sure if National are being very cunning putting it in there. It would not surprise me.

    To me the green values are heavier than the treaty values, after having read the bill. And given my understanding I would have thought they would/should be opposing until substantial amendments can be made. But again that is just my take.

    • weka 7.1

      I haven’t followed the Pt England issues enough to have an opinion, but with the budget bill, Shaw explained reasonably well. They want the people who are poorest in NZ to get at least something. This strikes me as being a message, because in reality the bill will pass whether the Greens vote for, against or abstain. So what is the message there? Is it that they want the poorest people to feel supported? Or at least they don’t want those people to feel voted? Is it strategy for election year? I don’t know and I as I say above, I’m not entirely convinced by it as a strategy, but they did explain what they were doing and why.

      • heman 7.1.1

        I was more referring to what they have said before the budget, and then they oppose it but support it. It’s illogical really? so there is more to it. If it does not make a difference which way they vote, then their position is just a message, but that is open to interpretation.

        Interestingly NZfirst voted for it too, so maybe as sanctuary mentions above, maybe they are keeping their options open as well btw lab and nats.

        re pt eng, they are abstaining because, in short they say it is messy. to me it seems they want it to be more something(treaty) that it is not. and they will abstain until they can get their amendments. but if they do/don’t get their amendments, it will be interesting to see which way they vote.

        here is nicely written description of the pt eng bill:
        http://saveourreserves.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Pt-England-AIDE-MEMOIRE.pdf

        • heman 7.1.1.1

          Jsut got the below from the greens in an email.
          And they voted for this budget. you cannot but wonder!


          The Government hasn’t put anything in here to cut our climate changing pollution and build a clean future for New Zealand either. Instead it’s sending nearly one and a half billion tax payer dollars overseas to pay others to cut pollution on our behalf.

        • weka 7.1.1.2

          Sanctuary is just plain wrong about the Greens hedging their bets re National . I wrote a post about it once (see below). As far as I know nothing has changed since then. The Greens, by their own internal rules, are unable to form a govt with National or support them on confidence and supply even if the MPs wanted to. And there is zero evidence that they want to, including Shaw.

          Green Politics

          • Sanctuary 7.1.1.2.1

            I am sorry, but if this isn’t about positioning then it is even more stupid. At least I ascribed a deeper political motive to the Greens move. Your assertion that they are just idiots without a clue of how the politics of this was going to play out is even more alarming.

            BTW – do you seriously think the top Greens will give a flying fuck what the Green membership says or thinks once Shaw and couple of the other entitled Green MPs get their feet under a ministerial desk?

            • weka 7.1.1.2.1.1

              What are you on about? I didn’t assert they are idiots who don’t understand the politics, in fact I’ve argued the opposite. Did you read Marama Davidson’s post? It’s pretty clear, I’m surprised you can’t understand it.

              “BTW – do you seriously think the top Greens will give a flying fuck what the Green membership says or thinks once Shaw and couple of the other entitled Green MPs get their feet under a ministerial desk?”

              Again, I don’t know what you are on about. If the Greens get Ministerial posts in a L/G govt, why would they go against the membership? If you mean they would ignore the membership and go into govt with National, please explain how that would happen within the GP rules.

    • left_forward 7.2

      Yes, it is difficult to understand why they are abstaining on pt england. I think that they are compromised by the Maori politic here – not wanting to not support a local hapu who also wish to gain financially from the deal. The cost is the loss of such an significant reserve from the commons – while there is pressure to develop housing in Auckland – we need the Greens to protect our common spaces and reserves, particularly with such recreational and conservation value.

      • Heman 7.2.1

        Agree. but if you look at the bill in isolation it is to rezone/sell a public reserve. the iwi are not even mentioned in the bill, although they do stand to benefit from the bill. So that’s another question I have do you just vote for the bill in isolation? Or can you take in other stuff, like the govt intends to sell it to iwi?

        It just seems more green values being definitely abused where the treaty part is possible but has risks. That is why I cannot understand it but like you say its the Maori politic.

    • “Looking from the outside they look a mess.”
      Looking from a more considered position, it looks strategically sound.

  8. weka 8

    Post updated with Marama Davidson’s blog on why the Greens are voting for the Bill and why the Bill is so bad.

  9. McFlock 9

    I suspect that if the Greens were in a position to change anything, they wouldn’t be voting for it.

    So basically the cynic in me says that they wanted to avoid Joyce saying the Greens opposed increased incomes for poor families (regardless of truth) and the Greens also liked the opportunity to separate themselves from Labour a bit (avoiding the assimilation problem that hurt the Alliance). Although it does look weird that the Greens are supporting a Nact budget against Labour’s nay-vote, one aberration to the right doesn’t a pattern make.

    • Well assessed, McFlock.

      • Bill 9.1.1

        Maybe a part of the reason for their response is that they’re doing a ‘dry run’ for how they’d respond to inadequate Labour Party budgets?

        “Sure, well support this because of this bit and that bit, but

    • BM 9.2

      This is the greens telling labour, “Don’t fuck us over and hook up with NZ First’

      Andrew Little does that and the Greens will start talking to National.

      • weka 9.2.1

        Again, the membership has said no way re supporting a National government, and the MPs don’t want to do that either.

        Green Politics

        If you think I am wrong, tell me how it would happen, and point to the MPs you think want to work with National.

        • BM 9.2.1.1

          Since you’re a green party member Weka, what would you think if Labour went with NZ First as their main coalition partner and told the greens that’s the way it is, deal with it and sign this confidence and supply agreement.

          Would you be happy with that situation? would you feel a bit betrayed, used and abused?

          What sort of contingency plan do you think the greens should have in place to make sure this sort of scenario doesn’t eventuate?

          • weka 9.2.1.1.1

            What do you mean by ‘happy with’? Do you mean would I like that Labour chose NZF? No. Or do you mean would I support the Greens not signing C and S with Labour under those conditions and thus letting National govern? No, I wouldn’t.

            • BM 9.2.1.1.1.1

              So you’d grin and bear a Labour, NZ First coalition if it keeps National out?

              How do you see that working long term with labour if this is what happens?

              • weka

                The biggest thing for me with this election is to change the govt. I’d prefer to change it into something useful, but if it was just L/NZF, then yes that’s better than National. I also think the Greens could be very effective outside of such a govt.

                As for Labour, I don’t know. I like Little and think he would be a decent enough PM. I wouldn’t wish Peters on anyone. It would be interesting to see what would happen the election after. It’s been such a long time since we had a Labour govt and many things have changed including Labour. I don’t know what NZ would be like at the end of their first term.

      • McFlock 9.2.2

        lol you wish.

        I mean, national could suddenly become a party that supports sustainability and socioeconomic equality, but somehow I doubt it.

        • weka 9.2.2.1

          The Greens are lovely and say that if National ever wants to change they would be happy to work with them :mrgreen: 😆

  10. Jeremy 10

    I don’t think we have to worry about paying for overseas carbon credits in the future.

    There are literally mountains of land being used for sheep and beef farming currently, that would make similar returns if used for forestry – without the current carbon credits levels being taken into account.

    Any significant increase in a concrete carbon credit mechanism would likely see NZ as a whole become a credit issuer rather than buyer.

  11. Ad 11

    The Greens look like they can’t decide if they want to shit or piss.

    Marama Davison dares to quote the Child Poverty Action Group who loathe this budget, and Marama herself describes the new WFF $$ as a “pittance”. And thn defends it enough to vote for it.

    How hard would it have been to actually show you are an alternative government-in-waiting with Labour? Despite a mild agreement to work together, in election year, and look to the public like you could finally do it this time?

    Obviously to hard for the Greens.

    • weka 11.1

      What does a government in waiting mean though? Because the Greens are in no way going to be subsumed into Labour, which is why the MoU makes it clear that they are independent parties. Little affirmed this yesterday. Each party is free to do what they like, they’re not a coalition. I don’t think this was a ploy by the Greens, but it doesn’t serve them to agree with Labour against their own principles in order to make political gain.

      For me a government in waiting isn’t two parties that look the same. In fact, it has to be two parties that can disagree and still work together. That is the whole point. And there are plenty of other examples of L/G co-operation.

      I’ve long said that when the Greens finally get into a coalition govt they will do that differently than we’ve had before. This is because the kaupapa of the Greens is based on different ways of relating. This is a classic example, different expectations of what working together is.

      • Ad 11.1.1

        They both agreed to the MOU and signed it, in order to show that they are a credible government-in-waiting. That’s the kaupapa.

        If they can’t do that, they should go on tv and just burn that MOU.

        And if they can’t figure out a ‘way of relating’ that involves being in a coalition government, they should simply state that they never want to be in government.

        Four months to go, those people better sort out their shit.

        • weka 11.1.1.1

          But that’s the point Ad, they *are finding a way of being in relationship to form a coalition later that isn’t based on being subsumed by Labour but being in partnership with them. You don’t understand that, that’s fine, but the MoU really doesn’t say what you think it does. For instance neither of the parties want their own kaupapa to be supplanted by the the kaupapa of the MoU. That was clearly stated right at the start. They’re *not in coalition, and won’t be until after the election.

          • Sigh 11.1.1.1.1

            Understand what you’re saying, but. Look at the news headlines. That’s all you need to know. This was utterly predictable the moment they decided to vote for it.

            • weka 11.1.1.1.1.1

              From what I can tell they chose compassion over the politics.

              NZ needs to learn how to see past the media shenanigans. Also, the Greens aren’t going for the votes from all of NZ. They’re after the people that want to vote for them but don’t. I suspect that the Greens know more about how to do that than we do. Which isn’t to say they don’t make mistakes, but I can’t condemn then for placing principle ahead of expediency even though I don’t completely agree with what they have done.

              I completely disagree with people who are saying that the Greens should have gone against their principles to look like they are agreeing with Labour. This is really important, and again NZ is going to have to get to grips with this. The Greens are an independent party and the MoU specifically lets both parties do what they want and to disagree where they disagree. If it wasn’t like that it would be disingenuous.

              • Nope

                Everyone gets that the Greens are not beholden to Labour. The question was about the political smarts of doing this four months out from the election.

                As for the principle: Where’s the compassion in voting for tax cuts that by the Greens’ own admission are weighted towards the top end and will be paid for by cutting health and education? This Budget will make life harder for most New Zealanders, whatever scraps it offers in return. And the Greens have voted to support it.

                • Nope

                  Unless, Weka, you think the Budget as a whole was a good thing for most New Zealanders?

                  • weka

                    No, like the Greens I think the budget is bad for NZ and bad for the worst off in NZ.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  It neatly undermines the vicious dishonest National campaign trash-talk about how the Greens are all left wing extremists. Makes it easier for witless ‘blue green’ dupes to vote for them, might be worth a percentage point or so.

                  I said “might be”.

                • weka

                  “Everyone gets that the Greens are not beholden to Labour. The question was about the political smarts of doing this four months out from the election.”

                  Not sure what you mean there. If the Greens aren’t free to do as they see fit because it’s four months from an election, do you then expect Labour to fit in with what the Greens want? How would that even work?

                  I’ve said above, I think there is value in NZ getting used to two parties disagreeing and still being able to work together. Novel concept for some I know, but it’s still a good thing.

                  • BM

                    I think what everyone is trying to say is that the greens don’t seem to have one iota of political nous.

                    • weka

                      Or they think politics should be done differently. It’s not the first time people have misunderstood what underpins GP actions, but I can see why some would assume it was political stupidity.

                    • BM

                      Or they think politics should be done differently

                      Embarrassingly naive and explains why the Greens are still around 10%.

                    • weka

                      better inside the tent with the baubles of power right?

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