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The Missing Noun.

Written By: - Date published: 10:09 am, November 8th, 2017 - 88 comments
Categories: accountability, benefits, class, class war, election 2017, elections, greens, james shaw, political parties, politicans, Politics, poverty, Social issues, useless, welfare - Tags: , , ,

The following is an excerpt from a Green Party communication of the 7th November thanking people for donations and anticipating the remainder of this parliamentary term.

We have relied on your support throughout our campaign. You and other Green Party supporters, voters, activists, members and volunteers pitch in whatever you can, whenever you canThank you.

This heartens me [James Shaw] as we gear up to accomplish as much as we can over the next three years – taking action on climate, conservation, women’s equality, transport, and health.

This is not what I voted for.

This is what I voted for. (All excerpts from Green Party communications)

16th October

There is a very real possibility that the Green Party will be part of a new Government – but we are unlikely to know the outcome until next week. We can assure you that no matter what the outcome is, we will continue to fight for action on climate change, clean rivers and poverty. 

11th October

Thanks to you, the environment, climate change, rivers and poverty will be the on top of the agenda for the next Government. […] Whether in government or remaining on the opposition benches, we still have to campaign to address climate change, to clean our rivers and to end poverty.

3rd October

No matter what happens over the next three years, these conversations have started, and we will continue to work on cleaning up our rivers, taking action on climate change and ending poverty.

14th September

Five great reasons to Party Vote Green

If we get into government on September 23 we will:

Help end child poverty

The Green party will increase all core benefits by 20 percent, increase the amount people can earn before their benefit is cut, increase the value of Working For Families, raise the minimum wage by $2, and much more.

I’ve no doubt I could go on, pulling out example after example. But you get the picture.

88 comments on “The Missing Noun. ”

  1. weka 1

    Yep. Two thoughts.

    One is that the C/S agreement didn’t give them much formal power to work on poverty directly e.g. no Ministerial or Associate Minister roles. So any influence they will have on poverty reduction or welfare is going to have to be by less formal ways.

    From what I can tell this means MPs like Marama Davidson working in parliament and the House to advance GP policy e.g. select committees, questions to the Minister.

    Davidson is also freer to critique Labour on poverty and welfare. I’m going to be bloody interested to see how that plays out over time. Probably too soon to expect much though, the focus will be establishing a credible coalition govt.

    Two, the Greens need to held to account for what they will do given they don’t have the power they sought. I agree with you that the messaging and communication on this currently is a concern. If they’re still doing this early next year then that would be a serious problem.

    It has been pointed out to me that the Greens are better off not having formal positions because they couldn’t get their full (or close to full) welfare policy. They’re now free to speak and presumably campaign on poverty without copping the flak for a half arsed policy.

    • AB 1.1

      Yeah – by their fruits you’ll know them. Bill fears the worst but it’s really too early to say.

  2. But you get the picture.

    Nope. You seem to seeing stuff that’s not there.

    Political parties run on donations and the only way to get them is to ask.

    • Yeah i dont get the point either – where is the scandal? Just seems bau to me.

      • weka 2.1.1

        There’s no scandal. Bill is pointing to the Greens post-election media no longer having the word poverty in it.

        • marty mars 2.1.1.1

          Okay ta.

          I can’t tell if Bill has highly tuned radar or jumping at shadows. I spose the answer will come out in the comments. It may be innocent.

          • weka 2.1.1.1.1

            I think it’s worth keeping an eye on. Personally I don’t believe that the Greens have deprioritised poverty and welfare, but there may still be an issue with how much they keep that in the public eye. I think there is an onus on them to do so. But it’s early days.

            • tracey 2.1.1.1.1.1

              My sense is they are highlighting what they can now directly influence. However given the high importance given to poverty during the campaign an explanation, however diplomatic, would have been helpful.

              • weka

                Yes, I think an explanation would be helpful.

              • cleangreen

                Yes I got one of those letters to, although i have not voted for the Greens in 2017, I voted Labour/NZF.

                I think James & Julie Anne are quite rightly targeting the policies they can mostly influence.

                As with ‘transport’ the greens are linking with NZF over regional rail to make a solid voice to get regional rail operating again.

                Using rail as another choice with rail using five to eight times less CO2 per tonne carried, is in line with both parties ‘low climate change emissions’ is very helpful for the export of their producrts through their regions and helps NZ achieve ‘zero emissions’ by 2050.

                http://uic.org/Energy-and-CO2-emissions

              • Matthew Whitehead

                That was my sense, too, however I would have thought it would make sense to say something about “we will be working with the government on x and y, and fighting for them to do better on z,” rather than to leave it out.

                If it’s just a one-time omission I don’t think it’s a huge deal, but if it becomes a pattern it will worry people.

  3. Booker 3

    It’s one email. I don’t think you should read into it that they’ve forgotten about poverty!

    • Bill 3.1

      If it was just one email, and like, I dunno, they had “forgotten” to include mention of climate changeor clean rivers….what would you be saying then?

      Besides, I’ve been voicing a suspicion that the Green Party were shuffling poverty off into the broom cupboard since Shaw’s “re-launch” speech during the campaign. The email I used isn’t something that’s just sitting in isolation.

  4. mauī 4

    My impression was that after Turei stepped down, a lot of the campaigning emphasis on poverty was dropped in order to play it safe and recover their vote. I don’t remember Shaw speaking strongly on poverty after that, on tv at least.

    That could be the reason you’ve spotted discrepancies in written communications.

  5. greywarshark 5

    I’m interested in employment initiatives, micro, mini and small businesses.

    * Here’s from a statement on Greens Sustainable Business Policy –
    This part on staffing.
    Finding and Keeping the Right Staff

    Promote life long training and apprenticeships.
    Raise the current cap on numbers of apprentices.

    Encourage businesses to employ skilled post graduates for research
    and development.
    Support employer of choice programmes.
    Work with and support local economic development agencies to further improve coordination of local employment strategies.
    https://www.greens.org.nz/page/sustainable-business-policy

    I like the apprenticeship bit here. I will be waiting for an announcement soon to
    enable start of training next year.

    * Here is something about business and greens Biz-Pro – dateless, timeless as so much on the web is, but refers to 2016 in part of it.
    https://home.greens.org.nz/Biz-Pro-Greens

    Heavy on new models, sustainability and looking to advance the Green way, but people, workers, employment don’t seem to feature.

    * This is more targeted policy – mentions minimum wage also which has been done.
    Work and Employment Policy
    https://www.greens.org.nz/page/work-and-employment-policy
    We can provide more state assistance for skills training and apprenticeships, and job search support.
    We can help new migrants into jobs, including through providing bridging courses for those with professional backgrounds.
    Government policy can recognise the contribution of volunteering and unpaid work to society and the economy, including the work of parents and caregivers.

    I too didn’t like the lean list of goals –
    This heartens me [James Shaw] as we gear up to accomplish as much as we can over the next three years – taking action on climate, conservation, women’s equality, transport, and health.
    We need to start infusing hope and necessities into PEOPLE, not just doing the necessary for the planet and necessary services. More people stuff please, have something encouraging to turn their lights on internally, and save their energy so they don’t have to shuffle here and there on hopeless interviews, meeting nothing but critical, unhelpful negatives and hostile or disdainful stares, and cold comfort anywhere.

    There are 20 goals noted on my email but when I go to them they do the modern thing and change to present images in colour instead of plain words in a downward list on the screen. No wonder nobody can grasp what is going on these days the modern tech world can only view a preformed image of the matter under consideration, the eye has to be entertained, glancing down and reading a list is too boring for today’s brain.

  6. UncookedSelachimorpha 6

    I worry that both Labour and Green will renege on tackling poverty, because to tackle it requires brave decisions to implement some genuinely redistributive policies, which Labour in particular has shown no appetite for in the last 30+ years.

    Much easier to just smile and wave and announce some shallow “feel-good” policies. For all the talk and smiles, Jacinda Ardern lives in the leafy suburb of Point Chevalier, one of the wealthiest suburbs in the country.

    • garibaldi 6.1

      Exactly US.
      All hell would break loose if we gave some compassion to the unwashed. This is a sad indictment of what we have become as a neolib society.

    • greywarshark 6.2

      Unc S
      +100

    • Sumsuch 6.3

      The Green’s 20% increase in benefits that didn’t come out in the coalition agreement initially disappointed deeply. But Ardern’s taking of child poverty as her special concern– tourism for Key and Arts for Clarke–suggested ‘deep thought’.

  7. adam 7

    But the are our duly elected bourgeois representatives. If they think poverty is a non issue, suck it up for voting for them and their ilk.

    Sorry feel a bit Lucy Parsons about this one Bill.

    Like the illusion people have that the wealthy would let you vote away that wealth. The idea that poverty will be eliminated by the bourgeois parties, is another myth which holds to much currency on this forum.

    • weka 7.1

      Yeah, Marama Davidson is as bourgeois as they come.

      🙄

      • adam 7.1.1

        Edit: Yeah, on that nice fat check from parliamentary services, she what now…

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          So people with good incomes can’t solve poverty and only people with inadequate income can solve poverty? Good luck with that strategy.

          • adam 7.1.1.1.1

            Funny you should say that on this day weka. Do you know any history?

            Because poor people got a huge leg up on that issue 100 years ago today.

            • weka 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Irrespective of my lack of knowledge about history, I still think calling Davidson bourgeois and implying that only people with inadequate incomes can solve poverty is a strategic fail. Because poor people don’t have the resources and well off people need to change if poverty is to be solved.

              • adam

                100 years ago on this day workers and peasants rose up and took control of a series of countries. Some time later the Tsar and his family were dead.

        • Matthew Whitehead 7.1.1.2

          And you get to start saying that sort of thing when there’s ever any evidence she’s forgotten what it was like to advocate against poverty. Do you think Meyt forgot? Do you think she ever stopped listening to people telling her what it was like? Because I doubt Marama will either.

    • Bill 7.2

      Still recovering somewhat from the use of the term “bourgeois” 🙂

      But anyway. If the poor can’t put an end to poverty because they in’t got the resources the wealthy have at their disposal, while wealth only accrues to some by dint of creating widespread poverty (basics of capitalism), then we is kind of stuffed, innit?

  8. weka 8

    These are all post-election,

    https://blog.greens.org.nz/2017/10/26/benefit-sanctions-need-go/

    “There is a very real possibility that the Green Party will be part of a new Government. We can assure you that no matter what the outcome is, we will continue to fight for action on climate change, clean rivers and poverty.”

    https://blog.greens.org.nz/2017/10/16/post-election-update/

    “For example, having a 13 week stand-down period to access a benefit seems unnecessarily cruel and counter-productive when you’re trying to lift people out of poverty.”

    https://www.greens.org.nz/news/speech/climate-change-future-work-and-pay-equity-james-shaw

    “We aspire to an Aotearoa New Zealand where no child goes hungry, our birds and forests thrive, and the rest of the world looks to us as a leader in the fight against climate change.”

    https://www.greens.org.nz/news/press-release/greens-sign-agreement-govern-based-shared-values

    ““The Green Party’s Ministers will work hard alongside our team and the rest of the Labour-led government to ensure we make a positive contribution to the lives of New Zealanders by addressing our priority areas of climate change, clean water, and ending poverty,” said Mr Shaw.”

    https://www.greens.org.nz/news/press-release/green-party-announces-ministers

    “We plan to make a positive contribution to a Government New Zealanders can be proud of. Our commitment to the country is to provide stable Government while delivering on our priority areas of climate change, water quality, and ensuring a social safety net that treats everyone with dignity.”

    https://www.greens.org.nz/news/press-release/greens-join-government-change

    • weka 8.1

      Not saying there is no issues but I don’t think the issue lies in the GP kaupapa and direction i.e. they haven’t resiled from their position on welfare and poverty. The issues for me are what they *can do now within govt and parliament, and what they will communicate with the public and campaign on.

      I think it’s a good sign that they put out that blog post about sanctions.

    • Bill 8.2

      These are all post election…

      Sure. And so are all but one of the cut and paste jobbies of the post.

      My point (reiterated by your pastes – assuming they’re in chronological order) is that we’ve gone from “ending poverty” to “ensuring a social safety net that treats everyone with dignity”.

      Those two things are miles apart.

      • weka 8.2.1

        Nah, the Greens have been using a range of language all year (and longer).

        • Bill 8.2.1.1

          “Ending poverty” or “eradicating poverty” were the oft-repeatedly refrains from the time of Metiria’s speech. From the re-launch onwards, the emphasis on poverty diminished and was replaced by the twin emphases of climate and rivers.

          From memory of the ones I saw, even their election adverts omitted overt references to poverty and its eradication.

          Now their written communications, it would seem and at best, are beating about the bush.

          • weka 8.2.1.1.1

            I suspect I watched a lot more video since Turei’s speech than you and apart from the campaign relaunch I think they’re still on track with the poverty/welfare issues. Shaw made a point of making a point about this often. So, no, I didn’t observe poverty/welfare diminishing and being *replaced by a twin emphasis on climate/rivers.

            The language shift around poverty/welfare changes all the time. Half the quotes in my comment above use the word ‘poverty’.

            • Bill 8.2.1.1.1.1

              No, the language around political messaging doesn’t just “shift all the time”. Not for no reason.

              Go back through even your own links and read the difference in the language used pre and post Oct 24 when the coalition agreement was signed.

              Pre is about “ending poverty”

              Post is about “no child goes hungry”/ “a social safety net that treats everyone with dignity”/ “pay equity” and overhauling the welfare system in the way it treats people.

              The post 24th stuff isn’t nothing. But it’s not of the same order as what came before. And that was already less (how to say?) ‘vigorous and focused’ as what came before the campaign re-launch following Metiria’s resignation.

              • weka

                “No, the language around political messaging doesn’t just “shift all the time”. Not for no reason.”

                And yet the language the Greens have used varies depending on the situation. It’s not for no reason, I assume it’s because saying ‘ending poverty’ all the time doesn’t work when you are speaking to different audiences or want to talk about differences. e.g. I tend to use welfare more than ending poverty.

                From what I can tell your argument boils down to two things (please correct me if I’m wrong).

                1. there was a change after Turei’s resignation in how the Greens talked about poverty/welfare, and you think it’s because they’re making it less of a priority.

                2. in the last 3 weeks while the govt was being formed, the Greens have stopped using the word ‘poverty’ and this means something further about their priorities.

                I’ve already said I think there is a post-24th change because of what the Greens were able to negotiate in their C/S deal. I don’t think this means that the Greens have deprioritised poverty/welfare, but I also think it’s worth making visible.

                On the 25th Oct Shaw uses the word poverty 3 times. But I’m not really thinking getting down to arguing over numbers of times words are used is that helpful. I think we both have concerns, and we disagree on the degree. I trust the Greens, you don’t. That’s all ok, I’d just rather look at what we can do now.

                • Bill

                  There is no reason I can see why the Green Party couldn’t just say they failed to have NZ Labour adopt their “poverty eradication” platform, but that they will continue to push for it in select committees and bring it up in the house.

                  The fact they’ve gone kind of mute on it (ie – the basic financial aspects), suggests that rather than simply failing to get their policy platform adopted at this stage, they’ve adopted NZ Labour’s platform – or at least are going to go along with it and not “rock the boat”.

                  But time, as they say, will tell.

                  • weka

                    “There is no reason I can see why the Green Party couldn’t just say they failed to have NZ Labour adopt their “poverty eradication” platform, but that they will continue to push for it in select committees and bring it up in the house.”

                    I agree, and I think it’s not only valid to push the Greens to do that, but imperative.

                    “The fact they’ve gone kind of mute on it (ie – the basic financial aspects), suggests that rather than simply failing to get their policy platform adopted at this stage, they’ve adopted NZ Labour’s platform – or at least are going to go along with it and not “rock the boat”.”

                    Or it’s only three weeks since they got into govt after 3 months of probably the hardest election campaign they’ve fought in which they lost their 3 most experienced MPs as well as being under immense stress, and the kind of govt we have right now is not one we’ve had before and they’re still doing shit like paying off their bills, shifting into their new offices, and getting things up and running on a smaller budget than expected and with fewer people and other resources to help. I gather there’s been staff changes in that time, and they’re also in the process of recruiting new staff now for the new positions.

                    I don’t actually have a problem with them taking time to get things right, because getting those Ministries they do have being established well is bloody important.

                    And sorry, but the idea that they’ve abandoned their policies and taken on Labour’s is just silly. However I’m now also hoping that the Greens will up their comms so that we don’t have to have conversations about Davidson being bourgeois and the Greens being sell outs.

                    I honestly don’t see this as a deprioritising by the Greens at the values level, for similar reasons as Matt outlined the other day about the coalition talks,

                    I’m also with Weka that not only the caucus but the membership is 100% behind a strong push on welfare. I believe the Greens went in just as aggressive on Welfare as they did on Climate change, but had further to move both Labour and by extension NZF on that issue, so weren’t able to get as much traction, wheras on climate there was an alignment on how serious the issue was if not necessarily on the approach, so progress was made easily. If there is ever any evidence that the Greens softballed the welfare aspect of negotiations in any way, it would be hugely damaging for the party and for the caucus, so I honestly don’t believe the negotiating team would be that stupid.

                    The Green Party goals in government

                    Obviously they have to reprioritise their time and focus, and I do think it’s interesting to look at how the areas that they don’t have much power to work fit into that. That is an area I would criticise the Greens on, they’re not as open and transparent as I personally would like. Mostly I put that down to them being short on resources and operating in an often hostile environment. I still think there are things they could improve there.

          • mauī 8.2.1.1.2

            These are the topics of the 10 Green Party press releases following Turei’s resignation on August 9. Not much of a poverty focus:

            *RMA Royal Commission
            *Stop seabed mining
            *Learning support
            *Ethical standards for oil industry
            *Gender pay balance
            *Government electric vehicle announcement
            *Community say in water bottling
            *National’s boot camp
            *Pay mental health workers fairly
            *Salvation Army confirms housing crisis

            Davidson was made spokesperson on poverty after Turei and having a look through many of her press releases, the focus is on housing which is a poverty related issue, but doesn’t really get to the crux of this is how much poverty we have and this what we’re going to do about it type talk.

            I’m struggling to find any Shaw press releases from the post-Turei to Election time period solely addressing poverty issues.

            • weka 8.2.1.1.2.1

              Shaw doesn’t cover poverty though, I wouldn’t expect so see him writing about that. Better to look at his speeches and stand ups with the media where he mentioned it pretty much everytime.

              Of the 10 press releases leading up to the day of Turei’s resignation none were about welfare or policy.

              “Davidson was made spokesperson on poverty after Turei and having a look through many of her press releases, the focus is on housing which is a poverty related issue, but doesn’t really get to the crux of this is how much poverty we have and this what we’re going to do about it type talk.”

              Yes, they suddenly lost their spokesperson on ending poverty/welfare who had been working on those issues for 13 years, and under some pretty challenging circumstances. I’m not surprised that there were less Press Releases by Davidson of the kind that Turei had been doing. She already had a full workload. My memory from that time and following her on twitter was that MD was doing a lot on the ground e.g. organising and attending meetings and rallies on ending poverty.

              Priorities right?

              • ropata

                Maybe they don’t need to because it’s an issue near to Jacinda’s heart, having mentioned child poverty as evidence for the “blatant failure” of capitalism

                • weka

                  Fixing child poverty isn’t the same as fixing poverty though, and there are significant differences between the two parties’ policies.

                  Labour will do good things, and they might do some shitty things as well.

  9. Hard to see it as a mistake – probably a softening up process or testing of the waters.

    • Bill 9.1

      Welcome to the point of the post marty 😉

      • marty mars 9.1.1

        I am aware of that thanks. Just because I think you’re excessively morose and pessimistic doesn’t mean you aren’t right sometimes. I’m not sure if that is the case here but you have raised a valid point imo.

    • weka 9.2

      I have no idea if it’s a mistake but hard to see what the intention is if it’s not.

      I don’t see any evidence that the GP have suddenly abandoned their poverty/welfare platform. Plenty of evidence that they haven’t.

      I think it’s more about the difference between their policy and the Ministerial positions they got, and maybe a new person in Shaw’s office writing his emails?

      • marty mars 9.2.1

        Maybe, no one saw the 2 mps leaving before the election either yet those long term members steeped in the ethos of the greens broke the covenant and left. I spose if things were really changing then missing a word out would be a very useless strategy and I don’t think they are useless.

        Anyway I’m sure the reality of having responsibility is hitting home and they have bigger fish to fry – like wtf to do about the tppa and labour and so on…

        • weka 9.2.1.1

          I’d say those two MPs leaving both increased solidarity within caucus and the party, and made welfare/poverty even more solid policy than before (the two who left weren’t as on board).

          If we want to talk about the Greens, their welfare/poverty policy, and what they should be doing now, I really think we have to look at what they *can do. Easy enough to pull them up on some wording, I’d also like to see some analysis on what they could be doing to keep poverty/welfare to the fore front.

          “Anyway I’m sure the reality of having responsibility is hitting home and they have bigger fish to fry – like wtf to do about the tppa and labour and so on…”

          I reckon.

  10. cleangreen 10

    100% weka you are correct.

  11. One Anonymous Bloke 11

    Meanwhile, changes are occurring.

    I can almost hear you saying: “this won’t end poverty, it’ll just reduce the amount of cruelty for a while”. I think it’s a step in the right direction and demonstrates at the very least where the government’s thinks are going.

    I’m really interested – rather than just looking at risk factors that the former Government was – what are the resilience factors, what are the protective factors and how do we put more of a concentrated focus on that to assist with people realising their potential and being successful.

    Carmel Sepuloni.

    • weka 11.1

      Nice one. That alongside them dropping National’s proto-fascist policy of forcing NGOs to share personal data of clients with the govt is a weight off.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1

        Well ok, they stopped stamping on people’s faces. Are they going to burn the National Party’s face-stamping boots? I hope so, but to do so they’ll have to get over the Stockholm Syndrome.

        • weka 11.1.1.1

          For me the question is around best strategy to make that most likely to happen.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1.1.1

            Fire.

            The enemy is entrenched in its position, well resourced and well defended. The government should set a few strategically placed fires (their spies might help with this if they have any loyal ones) in the enemy camp to induce fear and panic, and look for other ways to undermine their ground.

            Do nothing.

            Wait for the National Party’s inherent sadism to turn inwards, and bury the victims in the meantime.

            There are probably more (metaphorical) options. I like fire.

    • Korero Pono 11.2

      ” what are the resilience factors, what are the protective factors and how do we put more of a concentrated focus on that to assist with people realising their potential and being successful”

      Oh great, are the government going for the strengths based approach to managing poverty then? Because if that is so (and bear in mind they do strengths based already), that is like saying…”I know they are poor, but what are the mitigating factors for this person, or that family”….In other words “how can we overlook the negative impact of poverty and just concentrate on the good stuff and paint a fluffy picture and talk about how wonderfully resilient these poor people are”…it’s more of the deny deny deny because these families have so much going for them…let’s ignore the irreversible damage caused by poverty then, shall we?

      I wonder what exactly Carmel Sepuloni means by that statement. How will it influence policy and how does it look in practice? And more importantly, the strengths based approach has been used and abused for years to support neo-liberal policy and propaganda…and I wonder how that’s worked out for the poor?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 11.2.1

        Well exactly: is it an ambulance or a fence? Or neither, but look over here, rhetoric!

  12. CHCOff 12

    Finally, Lab introducing gender equality to all it’s own administrative party areas would in some ways, perhaps, result in a decrease in direct technical competency to practical specifics of mechanics but would increase open communication within their organisational top down structures.

    This would have the effect for them of accomodating or tolerating more dissenting views in house, which would overtime lead to less static blundering, and more coalescing coherence which is increasingly dynamic to situations and maximum solutions as they arise.

  13. Descendant Of Sssmith 13

    Start by increasing benefit rates – simple, easy to understand.

    I’m pretty sure that’s why they got my vote – they were the party saying they would.

    • weka 13.2

      Please explain how the Greens could increase benefit rates at this time? I’m all ears. (and I’m saying that as someone who’s been actively arguing since 25/10 that Labour should increase benefits because unlike the Greens there’s nothing structural stopping them)

      • The Chairman 13.2.1

        “Please explain how the Greens could increase benefit rates at this time?”

        They can talk to Labour behind closed doors and threaten to put the acid on them publicly if they don’t come to the party.

        They can start running a hard hitting poverty advertising campaign, further publicly pressuring Labour.

        Unfortunately, Shaw doesn’t come across as a hard man able to stand up and take it to Labour. The change in language coming from the Greens aligns them more with Labour’s stance and to me, signals their new positioning.

        • weka 13.2.1.1

          In other words the Greens can’t increase benefits at this time, only Labour can.

          Your strategy suggestions are to bully Labour into raising benefits. Like that would ever work, but it’s just not how the Greens operate. It would destroy their working relationship with Labour and undermine the govt for a start.

          The Greens can of course continue to work within govt and parliament on raising benefits, working on changing public perception and Labour’s position over time. Next chance they will have to do anything directly from their policy will be the next election. I think it’s possible that Labour will change in the next 3 years, but I think what we really need is an extra-parliamentary movement.

          • The Chairman 13.2.1.1.1

            “Your strategy suggestions are to bully Labour into raising benefits”

            Not so much bully them, but to first try to talk them around. See if at least they can win some of them over, getting them to apply further pressure from within. If that fails, shame and publicly pressure them.

            Publicly highlight how wrong it is to expect beneficiaries to continue to struggle while all else is prioritised above them. Especially for a party such as Labour, who claims to care about inequality.

            A strong and hard hitting advertising campaign, highlighting the day to day struggles while also using well known and widely respected New Zealanders standing up against poverty will help change public perception.

            The Greens could continue to play nice and wait until next election, but not taking action now risks their support. Next election they will largely be judged on their actions taken (and achievements made) now and throughout this term.

            Of course Labour won’t like being challenged, but somethings required to be fought for. Didn’t the Greens once say they are going to continue this fight/cause?

            It won’t undermine the Government, technically the Greens aren’t the Government. Moreover, voters expect there to be disagreements (and for those disagreements to be aired) from time to time between coalition partners and those that offer confidence and supply.

            Strong relationships can endure disagreements. And just because they fall out in one area, doesn’t mean the relationship will be over.

  14. Cinny 14

    James Shaw has mentioned many times how climate change directly impacts on poverty.

  15. weka 15

    James Shaw’s address to parliament today,

    Well, while the Green Party is in Government, we will be open and honest with New Zealanders about our values and our goals. We are here to support families and to lift children out of poverty. We are here to save our rivers and our endangered species. We are here to solve problems that the market cannot, and the first and greatest of those is climate change.

    One thing I learned in the private sector is that you can only manage what you measure. This is at least as applicable to the public sector, and that is why I am also very proud to serve as the Minister of Statistics. As one wag on Twitter pointed out, the Greens have seized the production of means. The previous Government also knew that measurement is important. That is why they fought so hard against measuring child poverty in New Zealand. They didn’t measure it so they couldn’t, therefore, be held accountable for it. This Government will make the measure and will take the measure of child poverty. This Government will take responsibility for child poverty and this Government will reduce child poverty.

    When I said those things, it being a maiden speech, I was speaking for myself. But to me it also sums up the Green Party’s way of doing politics when we are at our best: seeking to solve the great challenges of our time, putting solutions above partisanship, and focusing on the long term. Being in Opposition or on the cross benches for the entire 18 years of our Parliamentary history gave us a lot of time to get good at that. It is my hope that the new Opposition takes a similar approach—and a similar time scale. If we, as a nation, are to restore and replenish our forests and our rivers and our birds, if we are to end child poverty, and if we are to lead the global fight against climate change, it will take longer than three years. It will.

    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/document/HansS_20171108_057900000/shaw-james

    On the face of it, that reads to me like still a commitment to ending poverty, but framing it around child poverty. Not too happy about that myself because it’s what they were doing up until earlier this year and it’s a step back in terms of focus and framing, but it’s one speech. Let’s see what they do over the coming months.

  16. Foreign waka 16

    How long is the new government sworn in? Not even the best sorcerer can unwind in 5 min the damage that has been done in years past.
    Many, up to this time confidential data will be made available and I for one would prefer that the government ministers take time, think, look, compare, investigate, get all the facts before any half cooked changes are put in place that need tinkering for the next 3 years. On that basis, NZ will have change as wished for but rather then being
    afraid of.

    • weka 16.1

      There’s no sign that Labour will raise benefits. Which is in direct contradiction to GP policy. Therein lies the problem for the Greens, and for those who aren’t part of the political class but who are expected to live in poverty indefinitely. There are whole chunks of society who Labour have no plan for. So while I agree with you about timeframes, I’m also unhappy like Bill with things being left so unclear. We’ve been screwed over before by Labour govts who do other good things.

  17. CoroDale 17

    The new wording is more; positive, pragmatic and principled.

  18. IMESS 18

    Nobody knew that eradicating poverty could be so complicated…

    • Sumsuch 18.1

      As uncomplex as their other statements. The values of our country, which was rightfully proud as to disdain joining inferior Australia in 1907.

  19. the pigman 19

    Wow Bill. You’ve hit 2/2 today.

    The GG in her (the government’s speech) and the main theme of today’s proceedings in parliament was assisting children and families escape poverty.

    But NO! The GP failed to include it in one communication! They’ve clearly abandoned all their principles.

  20. Sparky 20

    Russell Norman really defined the Greens for me. Today they look like a shallow pallid ghost of their former strident selves.

    I would imagine the excuse of course for enduring the unendurable is Labour left them no choice at the negotiating table but to swallow their principles. If they really had the strength of their own conviction they should have told Labour to “go to hell”. I’m equally surprised NZF who I voted for were willing to put up with this compromise, such as it is.

    Personally I would rather see a National minority government than this shameful farce, tha,t at the end of the day, has really undermined if not destroyed the confidence of left leaning voters like myself in the political process.

    Anyway beer, chips and a movie next election unless we have some kind of miracle take place and new left parties emerge from this train wreck.

  21. Sumsuch 21

    Poverty was why I voted for the Greens. Obviously the other prong was climate change. I urged Shaw to lead with poverty. Meteria understood it. He lent his middle-class imagination. Great doubts for ex-Alliance voters about the inheritor of their votes,

    Green members are as middle-class as the 1984 Labour MPs, for our disaster in those days. I keep thinking of moleskin trousers.

  22. Rosemary McDonald 22

    I’m late to this conversation, and I have also been (rather happily) residing transiently in Cyberia. Having no access to the internet and all it’s wonders is somewhat liberating…

    However, I digress.

    Back to Bill’s concerns regarding the apparent de-emphasising of action on poverty by the Greens.

    I too, now, share the same nervousness.

    As someone who spends most of her time living in a converted bus I have an awareness of other vehicle dwellers who do not share my privileged position of being certified self contained and a member of the NZMCA. Both afford a certain acceptability and legitimacy when it comes to parking up for the night…seldom are we hassled or asked to move on.

    Unlike the person living in a small un self contained van devoid of the respectable red ‘wings’ who had all their worldly possessions dumped on the side of the road and her vehicle loaded onto a tow truck and taken godknowshwhere.

    Just the other day.

    In our largest city, blighted with a known housing crisis.

    This particular area was, just a few months ago, one of the ‘homeless hotspots’ featured on our mainstream media….picked up with alacrity by Labour and the Greens as grist to their electioneering mill.

    This area is now being systematically cleansed of the less respectable homeless vehicle dwellers. Some voiced a commitment to making a stand against the authorities (the police seem to feature large on this community’s shit list) and some, like the person I spoke with (as she tried to organise her life minus her van) were resigned to seeking alternatives…

    This person was sober and articulate and their stuff was clean and well sorted. I have spoken with other indigenous van dwellers who were less domestically capable and had obvious challenges.

    Having even my cynical spirits raised over the past few weeks with the formation of this brandspanking new ‘progressive’ government I found myself thinking very negative thoughts against the Incumbents.

    Taking a homeless person’s vehicle from them and leaving them and all their gear on the side of the road is NOT what I expect to see.

    I’ve got no time for that shit.

    Keep reminding them Bill.

    • Bill 22.1

      Is that the park-up that featured on TV with (was it church members?) going out and around with hot drinks or spending a night in vans and cars as a symbol of their supposed solidarity?

      And. Any chance you’d care to collate a few experiences from people you meet and submit them as posts here? (I’d be more than happy to work the formatting…I wouldn’t edit your words.)

      I’ll send you an email from the back-end if you indicate you’d be up for it, aye?

      • Rosemary McDonald 22.1.1

        “Is that the park-up that featured on TV …”

        Sorry, Bill..I haven’t watched telly in years. 😉

        I listened to a Natrad piece during that pre election hub bub and got the impression that they were in a parkside parking area we had noticed a few vans and cars parked up over the past year or so. That area has been purged of these obvious ‘undesirables’…even to the point of removing the rubbish bins…ffs!

        However…the actual park itself is huge, with 24/7 toilets and some rubbish bins. Plenty of spots to overnight and perfectly acceptable if one pays $3 per head and registers with the office. It also has a public effluent dump point for us certified self contained privileged pricks and wealthy tourists in rental motorhomes to jettison our waste.

        But they certainly don’t want indigenous van dwellers hanging around…

        I certainly do have many conversations with a wide variety of folk, and occasionally the opportunity presents itself to inject their stories into an existing conversation.

        Especially when the conversation begins with a post of real substance.

        The day before I offered solidarity to the now even more homeless person I wrote about, I was in conversation with an in-law who I have always felt distant from because of their rather righty politics.

        Well, bugger me. They had voted Labour/Green this time.

        My man and I were uncharacteristically struck damn near speechless with shock.

        Why the lean to the left?

        Because of poverty. And inequality. And ridiculous house prices and resulting homelessness. Because younger folk are working their arses off and getting nowhere. Going backwards even.

        And because National (and that smarmy bastard that was the leader) did fucking NOTHING but make things worse.

        Take note, Incumbents….some made significant changes in their voting habits inspired by those very messages that seem now to have less prominence…

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