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The rise of the Greens

Written By: - Date published: 7:24 am, November 28th, 2011 - 111 comments
Categories: greens - Tags:

The Greens can be very proud of their achievement this election. With 13, probably to become 14, seats, they have achieved the second-best ever result for a minor party under MMP. They have succeeded in becoming credible to mainstream New Zealand and, in doing so, brought the new economics we need to the fore.

The Greens’ new MPs are an impressive bunch. If you got down to 13-14 any other minor party’s list you would be into the territory of  serious weirdos. With the Greens you have a group of highly intelligent and skilled young women who know politics – many of them are former Green staffers – who aren’t going to be there just to make up numbers for their leader and be headline fodder with their embarrassing antics.

And, sure, this new generation might be more professional in their appearance (or ‘branding’) than the first generation of Green MPs but, actually, they’re from the same backgrounds of student environmental activism. They’re just more sophisicated in their approach.

Whether the new Greens can hold their activist base remains to be seen. But, perhaps the price of being a larger party in MMP is giving up some of the activists to Mana. That’s the joy of MMP too. Parties of the Left don’t have to try to be all things to all people – they can specialise and segment. Contrast that with the Right, which with Banks and Dunne one-man bands in their last terms and the Conservatives likely to fade away, is now monolithic. If National has a bad run in future elections (and their dramatic drop in the last view weeks shows they are finally past their apex), voters will have to go to Labour or stay at home. Parties of the Left can now trade voters, and voters can choose which aspects of leftwing politics they want to emphasise, while still maintaining the size of the Left-wing bloc.

Speaking of which, it has to be disappointing that the combined Labour-Greens vote has shrunk since the last election. Part of that is, no doubt due to lefties backing Peters – ensuring he got over the line was a vote-multiplying tactic for the Left that sees us far closer to a majority against asset sales than would have been the case if NZF had polled 4% – and the lion’s share is due to Labour’s poor performance but I wonder how successful the Greens have really been in taking votes off National. It looks they’ve mainly picked up disaffected former Labour voters who are looking for a more competently run voice against National.

The last time a minor party surged by picking up votes from disaffected Labour voters in opposition was the last time Labour had a result in the 20s, and when the largest-ever minor party result was achieved. The lesson from what happened next is one the Greens should note. In 1996, Peters repaid that anti-National vote by working with National. The result was that New Zealand First was nearly wiped out in 1999. The Greens need to bear in mind that their new supporters, too, have ticked Greens because they want them to oppose National. If that expectation isn’t met, the new supporters will leave as quickly as they arrive (assuming Labour gets itself back on its feet) and, having burned off its activist base the  Greens could find themselves in real trouble.

The opportunity, though, for the Greens is to bed themselves in as a 10% plus party – not just a tack-on to Labour after 2014, but a major partner in the next government. Getting there means foregoing small policy gains from working with National now and keeping the faith with their supporters.

Here’s hoping they’ve got the wisdom to do that.

111 comments on “The rise of the Greens ”

  1. Carol 1

    The opportunity, though, for the Greens is to bed themselves in as a 10% plus party – not just a tack-on to Labour after 2014, but a major partner in the next government. Getting there means foregoing small policy gains from working with National now and keeping the faith with their supporters.

    Here’s hoping they’ve got the wisdom to do that.

    Exactly!
    Now is not the time to cosy up to National for some incremental gain (and thereby validate National’s plans that will destroy the fabric of NZ’s economy and society).

    Now is the time to stand strong for principles and the broader policies campaigned on…. and to mount a significant opposition to National’s destructive and dehumanising policies.

    A new Labour leadership, Harawira, Peters, and a strong Green Party on the opposition benches would ensure on-going opposition to the National agenda that we voted against. And it would surely provide copy the MSM just cannot ignore.

    And congratulations to Green for a very good campaign and their new MPs.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Greens will be on the Opposition benches, but will be closer than ever to National in terms of a MoU and day to day working together.

  3. gingercrush 3

    I think the Greens and their supporters are a hell of a lot more smarter than you give them credit for. The real problem with the Greens is how broad their support is. Yes its far more likely they took votes from Labour but there were people that would previously have voted for National as well or at the least may be more sympathic with a National government than a Labour government. That tension is going to create problems.

    But when your basically getting 8% in electorates such as Clutha-Southland etc. you’re no longer a party that plainly represents left-wing and essentially only have to go to bed with Labour. The Greens did a MOU with National last time and will do one this time. Lets be honest here, this is basically an attack from Labour on the Greens saying if you’re not with us you’re against us. That is just blatant bullshit and tells you one thing. Elements on the left have a serious disregard for the actual meaning of MMP.

    • Carol 3.1

      No, it’s not just a Labour attack. Far from it. I have voted Green for the last few years, and aam concerned about Norman’s role and influence. He seems to be taking the party in some direction that I can’t connect with – away from the party’s core principles.

      I have always been a Turei supporter, and it is her, and many of the other Green MPs/candidates that have kept me voting for them. I liked the way they integrate environmental, economic and social policies and issues as part of an inter-related whole. I also have felt they epitomise my interest in the integration of class issues and gender, sexual and ethnic diversity (though they could up their ethnic diversity). And they also epitomise a good amount of age diversity.

      This mix has set them apart from other left parties for me.

      But, I see no point in Norman dragging them towards the middleground occupied by Labour in recent years. He seems to have had his eyes fixed on becoming part of a government.

      But the left has not been able to form a government. And now is the time we need left opposition parties to mount an effective, strong and sustained opposition, and to forge a different approach to government from the Key/National way and agenda.

      • weka 3.1.1

        “But, I see no point in Norman dragging them towards the middleground occupied by Labour in recent years. He seems to have had his eyes fixed on becoming part of a government.”

        Except that the only reason they have 13/14 MPs now is because they’ve gone towards the middle. How much of that can be ‘blamed’ on Norman, or how much of that is Turei and the wider party I don’t know. But it’s a good move.

        I also feel uncomfortable with some of Norman’s views but think that he is generally good for the party and good for NZ in the sense that we need a Green Party with some political power. I think the solution here is to support the party to make sure that Turei doesn’t get sidelined and that the core values of the Greens remain strong. The Greens run democracticaly within the party and now is a good time to get involved at the local and regional level.

        • ron 3.1.1.1

          I don’t think the Greens have moved to the Centre so much as the issues have.

          Once many of the things they stand for WERE “fringe”. Now they’re mainstream. That is reflected in the qualifications of this new crop. One couldn’t studyt those subjects at Universitry once upon a time because the didn’t exist. So, of course, we are getting a different crop of people. Once committed people working on their own outside the mainstream – now people who have a career in environmentalism. The ideas are the same – the context is different.

          While I agree that Norman better keep his bloody nose out of the Tory trough, I think that what is happening is that the mainstream has come to the Green message – not the other way around.

      • mikesh 3.1.2

        I voted Green in 2005 and 2008 but changed my party vote to Labour this time because I didn’t like the Green’s ETS compromise. I believe that they should have stuck to their guns and voted against an ETS if they thought that a carbon tax would be better.

        • Luke 3.1.2.1

          So you voted Green in 2008 after they reluctantly supported Nationals ETS. Then after they have voted against Nationals watering down of the ETS and critiqued them you switch your vote?

          • Ari 3.1.2.1.1

            Presumably that first National was meant to be Labour?

            And yeah, it seems bloody bizarre to give a vote to Labour, who instigated the barely-functional ETS in the first place, on the ground that the Greens didn’t do enough to stop it.

    • Olwyn 3.2

      The Greens campaigned on both environmental policy and a social policy that has more in common with Labour’s than National’s. The people who voted for them, including those in Clutha-Southland, must have been aware of this. If they were to abandon policy upon which they campaigned, their reputation for integrity would be seriously dented.

  4. I agree entirely Eddie.

    The job for the left is to grown the share of the vote over its current 46% (assuming that NZ First is “left”, a stretch I know).

  5. Gosman 5

    The right being monolithic??? Get real.

    Please advise me why there isn’t room on the right of the political spectrum for a socially liberal and economical conservative party as ACT once was? Certainly National is hardly an all encompassing party for people of a right leaning disposition.

    • weka 5.1

      ACT aren’t socially liberal they’re libertarian.
      I’m wondering what’s happening with the older traditional Nat voters who are economically conservative but support things like a public health system, state owned assets, and even welfare.

      • mikesh 5.1.1

        The natural home of “traditional” National voters would be NZ First, but only if that party was a little less disreputable.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.2

      Please advise me why there isn’t room on the right of the political spectrum for a socially liberal and economical conservative party as ACT once was? Certainly National is hardly an all encompassing party for people of a right leaning disposition.


      Umm. At this point the onus is kind of on you to advise why such a party doesn’t exist. Apart from 1% to act and a few % to Conservative, righties lined up behind National. National has certainly seemed to encompass damn near all of the right Gosman.

      • Gosman 5.2.1

        That doesn’t explain why there isn’t room on the political spectrum for a party economically to the right of National but one that is socially more liberal. All you are highlighting is currently there isn’t an effective presence there. That doesn’t mean one can’t be established in future.

        I met a number of the ACT party activists in Wellington Central during the election campaign. They were young and enthusiastic about the future direction of the party. Their candidate for Wellington Central certainly caught the Green and Labour party supporters off guard when he closed his appearance on Backbenches with an outspoken endorsement for Gay marriage. This is not National party policy territory. The supporters saw the National party as being a more right leaning version of Labour.

        • Pascal's bookie 5.2.1.1

          There is room on an ideological spectrum for any number of parties, but what counts is how many votes there are at that point of the spectrum, and how those voters behave.

          ACT had a run at establishing a right wing alternative to National. It seems to have run its course. Other than that, attempts at alternative right wing parties have been failures. It looks like right voters are happier lining up behind National. That’s just a fact.

          In a different universe, things would be different, that’s also a fact.

          • Gosman 5.2.1.1.1

            Agreed at this point in time. However the National Party is unlikely to keep this broad right coalition together indefinately within it’s own party structures. There are already grumblings amongst some National party supporters that John Key’s direction for the party is too centrist. I know it is hard for leftists to comprehend but there are a number of people out there who don’t think Governments should own any businesses let alone keeping 51% ownership and think our tax structures are too onerous. You might not agree or like these views but they are still valid views to hold unlike say Slavery or Imperialism which are obviously not. My point being is that if there are valid political ideas that appeal to people, (which there are), then there is room for a party to represent them.

            • Pascal's bookie 5.2.1.1.1.1

              I’m well aware that some people think all sorts of crazy things Gos. ACT stood up and asked for the votes of people who believed a bunch of stuff. They didn’t get very many votes.

              I certainly don’t think that the National party doesn’t have factions. It’s fucking riddled with them. But that’s the nature of the beast. Righties, it would seem, prefer to do it that way. Lefties seem to prefer busting things up and putting the factions in different parties.

              Which is what the post was saying, no?

              • Gosman

                I disagree. The history of politics in the MMP era suggests that a party on the right of National is possible and support for it varies from just over 1 % ( at it’s lowest) to over 5% depending on what is happening with the National party. I would argue that it is simply bad political management and leadership that is the cause of ACT’s current low standing rather than a lack of support for it’s ideals.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  “depending on what is happening with the National party”

                  Yep. When ACT has done well, it’s been when National has been up shit creek. ACT’s ideas aren’t complex, and they’ve articulated them clearly, and yet, here we are.

                  But anyway, best of luck with the new party. 😉

                • Ari

                  Oh, there’s definitely support for a party rightwards of National, but ACT kinda imploded itself by picking John Bloody Banks as its candidate. Not just because it looked like he might have trouble winning, but also because it turned off a lot of the libertarian supporters of ACT who had already been pretty iffy about the party.

                  As for economically right and socially liberal, that’s a combination that just doesn’t really coalesce into political movements for very long. ACT never pulled it off properly, devolving into factional infighting between the hyper-conservative and libertarians (who I will charitably credit with at least being somewhat socially liberal) in the party, with the hyper-conservatives winning last term.

                  Probably the issue is that you can’t really pull off extreme rightwing policies at the same time as you try for social liberalism, you need to have a more centrist economic policy for the liberal dimension to get a chance. If a party emerged to the centre of National on economics and well to the left of it on social issues, that might attract the sorts of people who’ve voted for UF, NZF, and so on in the past, and would certainly be a moderating influence on National that I would welcome.

                  • Reality Bytes

                    ^this. A lot of my thoughts likewise.

                    Banks is in many ways incongruous to what Act traditionally stands for, and imo him becoming leader of the Act party will be the end of an era, and likely the end of the Act party itself.

                    It’s that libertarian streak that made Act special (at least in principle) and differentiated them from being simply the ‘National version 2, with more rightwing sprinkles’ party.

                    Now they are definitely just the “National version 2, Nats tell us to jump we ask how high” party.

            • felix 5.2.1.1.1.2

              That’s not how you spell “vapid”, Gos.

  6. bob 6

    I see the greens dropping (quite a bit) next election with labours vote rising (I mean it cannot get much lower right?)

    I think the Greens ‘success’ was really more labour people sick of labour as it is now – perhaps if you learn a lesson or two (drop mallard as campaign manager for a start), then perhaps you will get some of them back.

    If you dont – labour risk becoming the third party – because the greens have their shit together – you guys dont.

    [lprent: Read the about and the policy. This isn’t a Labour party site.

    You appear to be somewhat thick, I’m tired of reading your ignorant troll level comments this morning, and it is a Darwin level offence to try to tell us who we are.

    Looking back over your previous trolling under a number of names I can’t see a redeeming feature in your comments – just a whole lot of warnings. FFS: You aren’t even in NZ. It looks like you only come here to troll.

    Blacklist permanent ban. ]

  7. weka 7

    Someone said elsewhere on TS there is an opportunity here with this election. I agree. Labour needs to stop thinking of itself as THE left party that can throw a few bones to potential coalition parties so that Labour can govern. The Left needs to start thinking and acting like a coalition of mutually dependant and supporting parties.

    The great hope of MMP is the development of co-operation politics. We’ve seen some of that with various work done under MMP, but we haven’t seen its potential yet. The opportunity here is to dump the old left/right swing paradigm, and develop new ways of working.
    With the Greens now so strong I think we have the chance for that. Labour will be less in a position to dictate what happens, and we will have three major voices on the left in opposition (it will be interesting to see how the media handles that).
    I also think the Greens and everyone on the left needs to get its act together around tactical voting. If the Greens hadn’t stood a candidate in Waitakere then Sepuloni would be the electorate MP there and Paula Bennett would have to be a Minister as a list MP who had lost her electorate seat. That would have been a big gain for the left especially given how welfare issues are going to be on the agenda. This is one of the big mistakes the left made in this election.
    I don’t understand the antipathy towards parties making those kind of tactical plays. Yes, NACT have shown how to do it badly with Epsom, but it used to be much more common and acceptable early on in MMP and as long as it’s above board and honest I can’t see the problem.
     

    • mikesh 7.1

      If it was essential to get Sepuloni into parliament they could have given her a higher place on the list.

      • weka 7.1.1

        I think you missed my point. I was commenting on the actions of the Greens not Labour.

        • Ari 7.1.1.1

          No, he’s correcting your “point”. It’s not the Greens fault that Labour doesn’t put its best candidates further up its list.

          • weka 7.1.1.1.1

            How would putting Sepuloni further up the list have taken Bennett’s electorate seat from her?

    • Ari 7.2

      The Greens actively tell people they don’t want the electorate vote already- to a certain degree I think they get it from people who are too left for Labour and don’t want to vote for them. Not standing in electorates, however, probably would lower the Green Party vote, so I think that’s a bit of an unfair ask.

      I think this “tactical voting” around electorates is one of the biggest problems with MMP, and the reason I’d want to ditch it in favour of an open list system. (Of course, I voted to keep on the referendum because the other options were far worse) Voting tactically is going to be possible in any system, but it would be better if we had one in which it isn’t so advantageous.

    • ron 7.3

      I think I agree.
      We essentially have a coalition Government now. It doesn’t feel like that because its the tiny influence of ACT and UF holding the Tory block above the left.
      But if I were in charge of the greens OR Labour I’d be working very hard over the next three years to show the voting public that a vote for EITHER is a vote for a better Government – a government of the Left made up of two or three parties of the Left. THAT would be the victory of MMP.
      Key’s bullshit about “stability” is just old fashioned FPP talk.

  8. queenstfarmer 8

    But, perhaps the price of being a larger party in MMP is giving up some of the activists to Mana.

    Yes. The Greens did very well by presenting as a much more focussed party without the inclusion of the likes of Keith Locke and Sue Bradford.

  9. One Anonymous Bloke 9

    As the saying goes, divide and win. No, wait…

    • Blighty 9.1

      within MMP, that’s how it works.

      The Right is now totally dependent on one man keeping the swing vote on side. The Left has 4-5 parties, depending on who you count, which can – if they’re smart – appeal to different swing voter groups and broaden the left vote as a whole.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1

        Blighty, put that way it makes sense, but there are a lot of duplicated resources. The new government’s policies will further erode the social fabric of New Zealand, and a confusion of voices on the left could easily fall into a pit of general apathy and disengagement.

        “There is an alternative” is a lot easier to sell than “there are alternatives”.

        That said I’m all for more co-operation on the left. Labour’s new leadership contest must be the last word on the issue, regardless of the outcome. People’s Front of Judea and all that…

        • Lanthanide 9.1.1.1

          “There is an alternative” is a lot easier to sell than “there are alternatives”.

          Disagree 100%. There are alternatives to fit your particular style of opposition is a lot more enticing than a one-size-fits-all opposition.

          This is why Winston got back into parliament and how Dunne has been hanging on like a grogan for years.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.1.1

            I think that’s true for people who are already going to vote: I’m not sure it works for the disengaged. It’s not really that important to me to be “right” on this point though – the important thing is that the left co-operate a bit more.

            • Ari 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Talking to a disengaged voter is very different than trying to convince someone to vote differently, yes, but it does help having parties that hold themselves to higher standards than National and Labour.

  10. The Greens are moving towards what Labour seem to be pulling back from – the centre. Remaining obsessed with left versus right ignores the fact that most people are closer to the centre than to either polarity.

    While Greens understand this they will have trouble growing their centre support until they add some realism to their policies. I agree with some of the things they want to achieve, but I don’t think they have a credible plan to achieve what they want.

    Green party support in Dunedin was high – about 17%. Major issues in the campaign were sustainability and child poverty. If that interest is harnessed some real progress may be possible, but framing it as a class war, and jumping on anyone who dares criticise any flaws in their religios path, are counter productive.

    • felix 10.1

      I agree Pete, the Greens ought to follow a more “credible plan”.

      Perhaps they should credibly plan to reduce their party vote to within the margin of error, drop 12 or 13 of their MPs, and become a lap-dog for whoever happens to be in govt on a given day.

      That’d be the sensible way to “achieve what they want”, right Pete?

    • Ari 10.2

      Framing it as a class war is only offensive if you’re the one winning, Pete, and let me tell you, the sorts of people represented by the Greens are not winning the class war. They are losing it about fifty times over to National and ACT voters. There’s something to be said for bringing back the word “parasite” into our political discourse for the wealth class that gets paid much more than their work and skill set would justify.

    • Reality Bytes 10.3

      Simply saying look at us, “We are very pragmatic and in the centre” isn’t the be all and end all to become a major party, just ask that Peter Dunne fellow.

      Of course being palatable to the center is crucial to tapping into significant levels of support, but ultimately you gotta fight for something if you want to be a household name, the Greens have done that, and they are getting solid representation accordingly. Just like the Nats and Labour do, they each fight for their beliefs and it’s their zealotry, leadership and principles that earns peoples attention and votes at the end of the day.

      Just being a ‘a vote for me is a proxy vote for so-and-so’ party will never have any chance of being anything significant.

    • KJT 10.4

      “It is a class war, and my class, the rich class are winning”. Warren Buffet.

      Your centre, Pete is way to the right of where the centre should be.

      All the countries that followed the extreme right wing prescription of neo-liberal economics are falling over like flies.

      The impossibility of an exponentially expanding financial system in a finite world is becoming apparent to thinking people.
      Which is why the Green vote is increasing and National and all their sycophants will eventually be seen for the short sighted criminals, they are.

  11. dan1 11

    The Greens ran a good campaign. My disappointment was the local Green candidate, when he did knock opposition parties, focussed on Labour. This is understandable in that they were competing for left leaning voters. But the effect was to get the soft National voters to stay with the Nact party. I wonder how widespread that tactic was, and how much it contributed to the Nats staying higher than some predicted.

  12. Bill 12

    They have succeeded in becoming credible to mainstream New Zealand and, in doing so, brought the new economics we need to the fore.

    What ‘new economics’ is that? It’s exactly the same market economics,the only difference being that more emphasis is given to a desire for so-called ‘green production’. (Not a bad thing in itself, but not ‘new economics’.)

    With the Greens you have a group of highly intelligent and skilled young women who know politics – many of them are former Green staffers –

    Why would you want staffers becoming MP’s? It does nothing for critical analysis or reflection and would seem to encourage or even entrench an insulated culture trundling along on uncritical obedience.

    That’s the joy of MMP too. Parties of the Left don’t have to try to be all things to all people – they can specialise and segment.

    Yup. Which means that in theory a government of the ‘left’ could be better at representing the views of voters….giving appropriate weight to particular sentiments as expressed through the party vote. Maybe. The ‘maybe’ is because the parties are in a competitive environment where where the only option is to form a coalition. Meaning that where policies do not line up…and that will include major or ‘head-line policy… competition will determine what comes to the fore. And that is not necessarily representative of voter sentiment or desire.

    Serious question. What does it require for a government to subject a matter to a referendum? Would it be better for all of us if major policy differences within a ‘left’ government were subject to referenda, rather than being subject to parliamentary horse trading and competion?

    • just saying 12.1

      On a not entirely unrelated tangent Bill: I’m still looking forward to your report from the trenches of the transition town movement that you promised a while ago. Hope it’s still on, lots of interesting stuff to discuss there.
      Not telling you what to write obviously. Have read the rules etc.

      • Bill 12.1.1

        It’s coming. I wanted to wait until all the election guff with it’s inevitable 1001 posts per day was out of the way.

    • Ari 12.2

      Zero-growth economics is new, and quite frankly, radical, and it’s still the fundamental building block of Green economic policies, even if in practical terms it rarely gets a foot into the debate.

      • mik e 12.2.1

        That fits very w

        • mik e 12.2.1.1

          my comment didn’t come up in full but what I was saying is that Zero Growth fits very well with National because at 0.1% growth The National parties record for its last five years in office is as close as you can get to greens policy.
          But its a stupid idea growth will be a by product of a rapid change to a green economy in NZ if everything that climate change mitigation requires rapid action not gradual change.

  13. Afewknowtheturth 13

    The Greens will do okay in the short term as long as they don’t talk about any genuinely green policies.

    NZ and most of humanity, on the other hand, will continue on the path of self-annihilation.

    • Afewknowtheturth 13.1

      By the way, perhaps Labour will finally recognise it cannot run with the fox and run with the hounds.

      There is now an opportunity for Labour to kick out the corporatists, get back to its roots and genuinely represent the interests of ordinary folk. (I’m not sure how that would go down with the Rothschilds, Shell, BP, etc.)

      And there is the opportiunity for Labour to disintegrate into two parties; one to genuinely represent the interests of the working class and one to represent the interests of the sector of upper class who like the idea of of talking about socialism.

      The last option is that Labour fades into insignificance (as happened long ago to the Whigs and the Liberals in Britian) as industrial society collapses.

      The next couple of months will be ‘interesting’ and the next couple of years will be very ‘interesting’ in the Chinese curse sense of the expression.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 13.1.1

        By its very definition Labour is a union party- have a look at the people coming in on their list. This is probably why they are likely doomed, NZ simply does not have much manufacturing anymore. More inclusive ‘social network’ parties who can use ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ to get their message out to young voters have a much bigger future.

        • Carol 13.1.1.1

          Unions do not only represent/support manufacturing workers. They have strong support in many retail and public service areas. They are particularly important for supporting low-middle income workers against the power of wealthy interests.

          • Zaphod Beeblebrox 13.1.1.1.1

            Absolutely, but you can see why labour’s provincial vote is collapsing- big manufacturing plants are closing.

            If they want to become more inclusive they need to stop pre-selecting parliamentary staffers and union officials. 

    • weka 13.2

      The Greens do talk about green policies. Perhaps you mean sustainability policies. That word will soon become as useless in real world terms as ‘green’ but will still have political use. Then there are resilience policies, but you ain’t gonna get any party in parliament talking about that (people who talk about that won’t get enough votes). I guess that was your point though 🙂

  14. Richard 14

    There was a deliberate push by National towards isolating Labour and minimizing their ability to get traction in and outside parliament. JK did this by dragging in everyone it could as long as it didn’t cost them too much.
    This appears to have worked as now we see Act, NF, MP and the greens in there again for more mana enhancement and to secure their position at the trough
    I agree with previous commentators in that its time to keep your arse on one side of the fence or the other. If we are ever going to succeed in ousting Nat then its going to take team work cause Labour can’t do it on their own.
    Divided we fall…
    Can’t wait to see Winston start kicking ass

  15. Afewknowtheturth 15

    Bill.

    You made a good point about the Greens not bringing new economics ot the fore.

    New economics is all about:

    1. abandoning the Fractional Reserve Banking (which is a fraud)

    2. abandoning the creation of money out of thin air on the international bond market (which is another fraud)

    3. abandoning the charging of interest on loans (which is the cause of debt slavery)

    4. abandoning the use of fossil fuels (which are wrecking the long term habitability of the Earth, and about to go into terminal decline anyway),

    5. abandoning consumerism (which, along with overpopulation, is causing the rapid depletion of resources and causing the Sixth Great Extinction Event)

    6. abandoning international tourism (which is detroying the upper atmosphere)

    7. abandoning industrial agriculture (which is inherently unsustainabable and is destroying forests, soil, biodivesity and human health, and will soon be in terminal decline anyway)

    and abandoning all the other idiotic activities that make up mainstream culture before mainstream culture kills us all (or our children and grandchildren).

    I think we can rely on the Greens to stay tight lipped on all the above topics and propose the kind of Greenwash that appeals to people who would like to save the habitability of the Earth for their children/grandchildren as long as they don’t have to change their lifestyles.

    • Bill 15.1

      Or, in other words, a democratic economy, no?

      But then, that would consign parliament to the dustbin of historical curiosities. Like the Labour Party before them, the Greens will become part and parcel of the very system of economic management they purport to stand against.

    • Gosman 15.2

      I look forward to any political party of the left advocating policies which deal with those issues. It would be fun to see them being pulled to shreds by the media and other political parties.

      • Draco T Bastard 15.2.1

        Yeah, they’ll be pulled to shreds – and then reality will hit and everyone will be asking why they didn’t listen.

  16. tsmithfield 16

    I think that if the Greens ditched left-wing socialism, and focused on environmental concerns they would have a much broader support base and could likely form a government with either Labour or National.

    • felix 16.1

      Done.

      • tsmithfield 16.1.1

        Well, if they want to stick with left wing socialism, at least they could be honest and change their name to “The Melon Party”.

        • felix 16.1.1.1

          You don’t know what “done” means, do you?

        • KJT 16.1.1.2

          Do you really think we can become environmentally sustainable and still keep an economic system which relies on infinite growth, dumping the poor, working and productive people to unduly reward those in banking and other parisitic ways of extracting wealth and trying to get out of debt by out exporting every other country who is doing the same thing.

          An environmentally sustainable country must have a sustainable economic system.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 16.2

      Then again if Key were to ditch ACT and denounce Economic Rationalism he might be able to do a deal with any other party he chose.

    • Vicky32 16.3

      I think that if the Greens ditched left-wing socialism,

      My problem with them, is that they have ditched socialism!

  17. Anne 17

    I hope the Greens are grateful to the Labour voters who strategically party voted Green in order to ensure a good result for them. It turned out to be at Labour’s expense, but I understand why they did it. I gave it some thought too at one point. What stopped me was Russel Norman’s sniping at Labour for no other reason than personal political gain.

    If the Greens cuddle up to the Nats – and it looks like they might even if it isn’t a coalition deal as such – they will lose the huge amount of good will so patiently built up over the years, and will end up on the same down-hill road as the MP.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 17.1

      Doesn’t that show that Labour have no idea how to win an MMP election? Whilst Labour wasted their time and resources propping up their egos trying to win marginal electorates, the Greens focused on getting the numbers into parliament where it really counts- the list. 

      All those electorate votes for Labour by Greens voters on the list really were meaningless. I’m sure the Greens would not care whether Ardern or Kaye won (they both were going to get back into parliament anyway) when they were able to hoover up 22% of the vote in Auckland Central.

      To me the Greens focus on the list vote is the appropriate one- people vote for the party not the local candidate- which is exactly the opposite of what Labour concentrated on when campaigning.

       The other problem with protecting the electorate MPs is that it ensconces the dead wood (Mallard, King, Robertson) people who are protected regardless of how much rhetoric you provide when you ‘freshen up the list’

      If Labour follow the same strategy next election won’t be long before the Greens become the real opposition. 

    • queenstfarmer 17.2

      The Greens already have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with National – they did that after the 2008 election, and it certainly did not lose them any goodwill. It is very likely they will do the same this time. It makes total sense.

      I would like to see the home insulation programme extended, and also a clean rivers programme.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 17.2.1

        Problem with that is that the Greens want water pricing (user pays). You’d think the parties of the right would be attracted to user pays but somehow I think the NFF might have a word to Key about doing too many deals.

        The good thing for the Greens is that they will have the upper hand with Key this time.  His only coalition options are ‘corpse parties’ now who will stick do his shoes like dog shit!

      • Anne 17.2.2

        The Greens already have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with National – they did that after the 2008 election, and it certainly did not lose them any goodwill.

        No, but that MoU was, as I understand it, about a handful of specific policy points. Since then some of Russell Norman’s rhetoric has suggested they might choose to take that MoU a bit further into the NAct camp. Only time will tell, but if it happens they will pay a very big price at the 2014 election.

        • queenstfarmer 17.2.2.1

          I don’t understand that sentiment. I doubt the Greens would make any agreement that wasn’t environmentally positive (and it’s rare that I would trust a political party that much! But with the Greens I do).

          And there will be no confidence and supply aspect. The Greens will be free to vote against the Govt on every such vote (and probably will).

          • felix 17.2.2.1.1

            The problem, q, is that the Greens’ leadership think we don’t know foreplay when we see it.

            Next time it’ll be “National promise they’ll only put the tip in”.

      • mik e 17.2.3

        Band aid green wash policies
        Like Nationals band aid economic comic policies

        • jingyang 17.2.3.1

          One of the strengths of the Green Party is its active (and no, I don’t mean “activist” here) membership and its highly democratic structure. The co-leader and co-convenor structure is unique in any NZ party.

          The media and many commentators don’t seem to realise that it would be impossible for the Greens to go with National because the membership won’t let the leadership do that. If the Green parliamentary caucus chose to ignore the membership and support unpopular National policies, that would be the end of the Green Party. It is also unlikely that with a larger Green caucus that Norman or Turei could lead the party closer to the Nats without precipitating a caucus split.

          Furthermore, unlike the Māori Party leadership, the Green caucus and membership alike are well aware of the example of New Zealand First in 1996-9. As has also been pointed out, the Greens’ MPs have never been ex-Labour or Nat, they have little ‘residual’ loyalty to those parties because most of them were never their members or supporters. The Greens have not got the legacy of the winner-takes all of FPP tainting their approach either (unike the recent comments of John Key about 48% of votes and no majority of seats being ‘weird’).

          Commenters like mik e really have little idea about how the Green Party really works, and thus can continue to make such ignorant comments, safe in the knowledge that few people will call them on it.

      • Vicky32 17.2.4

        The Greens already have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with National – they did that after the 2008 election, and it certainly did not lose them any goodwill. It is very likely they will do the same this time. It makes total sense.

        I don’t know about that so much – they’ve lost my goodwill! (And that of a lot of others as well)

        I would like to see the home insulation programme extended, and also a clean rivers programme.

        I’d like to see the home insulation programme actually get started! The Greens proudly claim it as an achievement, but it’s an invisible one.

        • jingyang 17.2.4.1

          Vicky:

          The home insulation program has gotten started. I got my home insulated under that policy – $200 to insulate my roof and $1500 to insulate the walls – my home is warm and cosy, I did not have to visit the doctor this winter, and my power bill is about a 1/3 lower. Brilliant.

          • Vicky32 17.2.4.1.1

            The home insulation program has gotten(sic) started. I got my home insulated under that policy – $200 to insulate my roof and $1500 to insulate the walls – my home is warm and cosy, I did not have to visit the doctor this winter, and my power bill is about a 1/3 lower. Brilliant.

            That’s great for you! But for those who rent (as I do) or who can’t afford $1500.00, it’s meaningless… I thought it was about helping people who can’t help themselves? No wonder I hadn’t heard of its actually having started. I don’t know any middle class people.

            • jingyang 17.2.4.1.1.1

              No, there isn’t much incentive for landlords to upgrade their properties – unless they want to retain and attract reliable tenants. It costs landlords money to have a place empty because the tenant moved out due to the place being a slum. Most landlords I’ve had were incapable of realising that simple fact though.

              Making the Home Energy Rating compulsory and a legally required piece of information for any house sale or rental would be a great start to ‘incentivising’ landlords to actually rent out places that are livable.

              Fully enforced legal requirements for rentals to actually be livable housing would be a great policy for any political party, but with the combination of many of Housing NZ’s properties still being substandard and a National government in power, we won’t see anything practical like that happen anytime soon.

              BTW, I’m not sure an income of under $20,000 a year qualifies me as middle-class…

              • Vicky32

                BTW, I’m not sure an income of under $20,000 a year qualifies me as middle-class…

                You own a house and you have $1700.00 to pay for insulation. So, what do you think? 😀

                • jingyang

                  I think that if that qualifies me as ‘middle class’ then this country really is going down the gurgler.

                  • Vicky32

                    It is and it is, sadly… 🙁 F’r’instance, no one in my family, and I mean no one, has a prayer of ever owning a house, and yet we’re most of us, educated and working!

      • mik e 17.2.5

        QSF Bandaid tokenism the insulation program will continue but the clean rivers your dreaming a survey by federated farmers in Southland showed that only 40% of farmers were complying 20% were partially complying 40% were not complying at all Gore Ensign .But the funny thing was that all farmers were telegraphed well ahead of the survey so had time to make things look good before the survey was completed surprise surveys are rare in this sector as its vested interests over reality!

  18. felix 18

    I posted this on another thread in reply to a comment from Carol, I hope it’s ok to re-post it here too as it seems the appropriate thread.

    “There’s too much at stake for such incrementalism and crumbs from the big table, which will ultimately support National’s agenda.”

    Exactly Carol, this is precisely why I have always been critical of the Greens playing mummies and daddies with National via their MoU: because even while achieving a little good here and there, it ultimately supports National’s agenda.

    There is this erroneous erroneous belief held by some in the Greens – apparently including the current leadership – that the only way to give tangible support to a government is through a formal coalition covering confidence and supply, and that therefore any other arrangement they make is politically neutral and leaves their hands clean.

    So naive. What the Green/National alliance does is lend legitimacy to the National govt. It sends a message that National are so fair, so reasonable, so cool to be with that – look! – even the Greens want to hang out with them!

    This is PR so good you couldn’t buy it. And if you find this interpretation difficult to accept, please ask yourself this simple question: What do National get out of this deal? They’re not
    that stupid. They’re not doing it ‘cos they believe in any of the Greens’ policies, and if they did, they could just implement them anyway without the formal public ceremony of marriage.

    Sad as it seems, the Greens are speaking out of both sides of their mouth. They rail against neoliberalism, poverty, and inequality, all the while propping up the image of National and promoting the idea that John Key is good for New Zealand.

    And that’s why I lapsed my membership in 2009, and that’s why I can’t vote for them.

    • Bored 18.1

      See below…..compromise fatal.

    • toad 18.2

      So, Felix, would you rather have families whose homes have been insulated still living in cold, damp conditions and toxic sites remaining unremediated because of a matter of perception?

      • felix 18.2.1

        No toad, I’d rather have a govt that doesn’t subscribe to the free-market bullshit that causes such problems to exist in the first place, and I’d rather not support a party which provides support to such govts.

        Perhaps you missed the part where I noted

        even while achieving a little good here and there, it ultimately supports National’s agenda.

        I’m not denying the good work being done in these isolated areas, but it’d be nice if you acknowledged that the price of doing it is that you’ve given the country a nod and a wink and a “National’s ok by us”.

        You emphasise “perception” as if it’s not relevant, when it’s actually the perception that National are doing OK at running the country that’s just gotten them re-elected, with the help of the Greens providing a perception that the Nats aren’t all that bad after all while they prepare to flush the whole country down the toilet.

        I also not that you’ve chosen not to address the question I posed: What does National get out of the Nat/Green deal? Genuinely interested in your answer.

        • Carol 18.2.1.1

          Agreed, Felix. National can claim they are doing something about housing. But it’s done in a way restricted to one isolated issue, rather than focus on the Greens’ wider manifesto that involves integrating sustainable low cost energy lifestyle with social and income equality, decently paying jobs, adequate childcare provisions etc.

          Are the insulated houses the ones inhabited by the poorest sections of the community?: e.g. I pay low rent, but to insulate this property, it would require major rebuilding, and I’ve no doubt the rent would go up. It’s OK for a single person on a reasonable income, I can live with the cold in winter by using heating as little as possible and wearing more clothes.

          While the Nats and Greens are congratulating themselves on some good piecemeal stuff, the wider structural issues to do with housing, an economy and community built on low energy lifestyles, wages, affordable decent housing stock etc are not being addressed. To do this means strongly challenging the basis of National policies, and getting the message out to the public about why this is essential.

          So we can get some short term gains, at the expense of far deeper, broader more significant structural changes.

  19. Carol 19

    Well, if the Greens keep up with this move towards the centre and away from a principled green-left position, and if Labour doesn’t get it’s shit together and ditch neoliberlism, I’ll be looking to vote Mana next time.

    I thought this election was too soon for them to gain much traction and credibility. They now have 3 years to build their suuport. I’d like to see Annette Sykes in parliament.

    • Bored 19.1

      Spot on Carol, you are right that the Greens cannibalized the Labour vote.

      There is a little lesson I learnt about compromise on important non negotiable issues over the years…it goes like this:
      ….yes you can have a Conservation Order on this environmental issue with a minimum of (say) 50 cumecs of river flow after water abstraction.
      ….oh, yes that was 5 years ago, and we needto review the water allocations for dairy and we only want an extra 10 % because we are reasonable….
      …..its now 5 years since we reviewed it and the economy demands that more water is abstracted, yes the minimum flow will be kept to 20 cumecs…
      …what do you mean that 50 cumecs was the minimum for the environment to survive? Well it must be dead now so we might as well take the rest.”

      The above scenario is what happens if you even compromise a little: getting into bed with National is the kiss of death for the Greens on any environmental issue because the Nats mates will demand a percentage and they will come back for more percent later.

      • felix 19.1.1

        Yep, spot on Bored. Get in bed with National and you’re gonna get fucked.

        • Julia 19.1.1.1

          Yes but ever so gently. Some nice seeds are going to be planted about now and carefully tended. Its a long term game….here greeny greeny grenny come to Moma.

          Even a right wing bitch like moi can smile and wear bad taste clothes when i need too….the prize will be worth it hehe

          • felix 19.1.1.1.1

            Right-wing bitches always wear bad taste clothes, Julia. That’s how we spot you.

            [lprent: I was going to say something about this comment, but I see that it is fully in context of the reply…. ]

    • Afewknowtheturth 19.2

      Carol.

      Just think, if you had voted Mana this year (and persuaded others to do so) they would have gained more traction.

      And no, they don’t have three years to gain support. What is on the horizon will annihilate support for most other parties within 2 years. People will finally start to recognise the extent to which they have been lied to by mainstream parties.

      Whether present economic-political arangements will still be functioning three years from now is still open to debate. There are plenty of very credible analysts who say it will all ‘be over’ by the end of 2013.

      I am on record as giving this sytem until 2015 at the latest. Nobody has provided ANY evidence I am wrong.

      Some just say ‘tin foil hat’, ignore all the evidence, and carrying on churning out drivel on blogs. A few say: Absolutely right! Most say nothing.

      • Carol 19.2.1

        In which case, it’s not so relevant how I voted in this election. Anyway, I think the main strugggle is outside parliament now, and on the streets and cyberways.

        • Colonial Viper 19.2.1.1

          Problem is (as you see in Greece and Israel), it doesn’t help at all.

          The banksters continue to pull the levers of state power, and even if a hundred thousand people march on the Knesset, or to Zytegma Square, who cares. The bankster cartel and their politician cronies just keep on doing the same. Only difference is a few more tear gas canisters and rubber bullets might be expended.

    • gingercrush 19.3

      Mana need to ignore South Auckland and Waitakere. I have no idea why they thought they’d be successful in those electorates. Focus on Maori seats and anywhere the Greens do well for that is where a swing vote is possible. South Auckland and Waitakere (the Labour voting areas) are stridently stuck to Labour or they stay home.

    • possum 19.4

      What move to the centre?
      The Greens kaupapa is still the same

  20. Afewknowtheturth 20

    Gosman.

    Your comments really are such a laugh!

    ‘You might not agree or like these views but they are still valid views to hold unlike say Slavery or Imperialism which are obviously not.’

    The essence of National is slavery and imperialism. In NZ we have an intricate system of debt slavery which keeps almost the entire population trapped and working for international money lenders and corporations (plus a small amount of literal slavery), and we have imperialism in the form of so-called defence forces which are sent overseas to participate in looting and control of resources.

    That so many people are blind to it all doesn’t alter the facts.

  21. Carol 21

    Ah, Jeannette Fitzsimmons. Smart woman. There’s a comment from her today under Claire Browning’s blog entry on Pundit:

    http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/towards-a-new-theory-of-the-greens-the-election-campaign#comments

    She first says in an election campaign, parties usually don’t do anything too new/scary, like:

    mention the oil and food and water crises our kids are going to have to live with or the urgency of climate change action or the need to reduce consumption at the same time as greening it.

    She says the first 2 years of a term are used to educate people, then in the election campaign, you remind people of what they have learned. On the radical heritage of the Greens she says, direct action is not appropriate for a campaign, but she hopes The Greens will always indulge in it:

    The problem comes when a lot more people are elected on the “mainstream” message. Will they feel too beholden to the mainstream people who have elected them to tell it like it is now they are there? It’s too early to tell. But I hope that the party will recognise the huge contribution made to our cause by the likes of Occupy and will not denounce its radical roots and the Values analysis.

  22. dad4justice 22

    don’t you mean the rise of rock snot?

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