Several commentators have suggested recently that the Greens have crossed some kind of “credibility threshold” and are poised for a strong performance in November. Here’s John Armstrong:
‘Green Wave’ shows party is serious
… Now comes – for want of a better term – the “Green Wave”. On a roll in the polls and having largely shed their image as a bunch of bicycle-clip-wearing eco-obsessives, the Greens have made their strongest pitch yet to be treated as serious participants in the debate on economic policy.
The party’s economic policy – released yesterday in the guise of a plan to create 100,000 “green” jobs – deserved better than the ritualistic slagging offered up by John Key and Associate Finance Minister Steven Joyce, who fronted in Bill English’s absence.
Sure, the plan’s central element – the creation of up to 81,000 jobs through building a new $6 billion to $8 billion export industry in renewable energy technology – should be treated with the same healthy scepticism as other claims of pending nirvana. But can those scoffing at the Greens come up with anything better?
The Greens get it together
I’ve been impressed with the Greens lately. In elections since 1999 the Greens repeatedly positioned themselves in a way that made joining a government almost impossible. This seemed to be a deliberate strategy to avoid taking responsibility for actually making hard decisions an compromises.
After this election all the original Green MPs will be gone and the party seems ready to get a bit dirty: more serious, less radical, more electable, more capable of compromise in pursuit of tangible gains. …
The Greens have made some hard choices about their priorities. Choosing the issues to campaign on, and what policy they most want to achieve, means being realistic about what you have to say no to, at the expense of maybe disillusioning a few noisy core supporters. … Grouped under the clever slogan “for a richer New Zealand”, they’ve made their top priorities:
- 100,000 kids out of poverty
- Cleaning up New Zealand’s rivers and lakes, and
- Green jobs for New Zealand.
… We’re still waiting for National’s plan.
For myself I have mixed feelings. I was a big fan of the party of Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons, and I’d hate to see the Greens lose their political soul. On the other hand I support any party of the left, and I’m happy so see one doing well (yes even at Labour’s expense, I’d be happy see Labour dragged to the Green / Left a bit!).
I’d be particularly interested to hear what Green supporters think of the party’s “new direction”. The proof of the pudding is coming up in November of course. The Greens always seem to poll better than they perform in the election. Will they break the mould this time?