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Time for the Greens to transcend left vs. right.

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 am, March 14th, 2015 - 267 comments
Categories: greens, leadership, Left, uncategorized - Tags:

The co-leadership race within the Greens has shown that they’re alive and kicking – if nursing a few wounds from the last election. Both Kevin Hague and Gareth Hughes have managed to enter the race with minimal belittlement – an impressive feat in itself, for a party as controversial as the Greens. Most interesting of all, however, is Vernon Tava’s announcement that he would be running for co-leader.

Mr. Tava’s decision to stand for co-leader likely came as a surprise to much of the Party, but not for those who know him. He never passes up an opportunity to stimulate debate on the difficult issues. And stimulate debate he did. The Greens allying with the National Party? It’s ridiculous! Absurd. Beyond obscene. Didn’t Vernon Tava get the memo? National is evil, led by the devil himself. The suggestion that it is time that the Greens rethink their position on the Left lit a fire in the party, and social media has been abuzz with debate.

I, for one, am grateful that the Green Party is once again discussing this issue. I have described myself as “so far Left that I’ve fallen off the spectrum,” and socialism is the political ideology I most closely align with. Nevertheless, I mean this full-heartedly: socialism is not enough. It does not have all the answers needed to conquer the problems the world faces. There is no ideology, no person on the planet, who yet has those answers. To pretend otherwise is folly.

As we Greenies are so fond of saying, what is needed is a paradigm shift. But a paradigm shift is not a simple matter of being radical. It means fundamentally changing the way we view the world.la-fi-robots-jobs-20150211

Take, for instance, the issue of work. Socialism empowers workers, and seeks to give them political control. But empowering workers rests on a basic assumption- work needs to be done, so that workers exist. What happens when that work dries up? Much of the work around the world is being made obsolete by technology. In some fields, for instance, robots can do jobs far more efficiently than humans. It is conceivable that in fifty years time, the need for paid unemployment will virtually be non-existent.

You may need a moment to process that. It is, as I said, a paradigm shift. Can you conceive of a world where paid employment is not our primary method of distributing resources? Can anyone? The answer is no. No one on this planet has yet come up with a solution. And so instead of reducing the work, we increase production. More phones need to be created, more television sets, more computers, clothes, accessories, and every meaningless thing. They are designed to wear out quickly, so that we buy yet more, to keep up the ever pressing need for employment. Tim Jackson’s Prosperity Without Growth illustrates this conundrum perfectly, the “iron cage of consumerism.”

The 21st century is going to be demanding of us. We will be facing devastating climates, dwindling resources, a tense global outlook, and countless other problems. All the while, we will not have sufficient information. There will be no clear-cut course, but we will have to forge ahead anyway.

The Greens must face that they may one day be running the country. If that day comes, and the Greens pretend they have all the answers, the Party is lost. Democracy is not just about voting at elections, it is about an engaged citizenry. It is about Parliament opening itself up to ideas from every direction, and following the best ideas- regardless of where they come from.

The challenges facing us require a greater humanity than we have previously seen. We must create a future that is viable for ALL of humankind- whether Muslims or Christians or Atheists, whether Pakeha or Maori or Indian… A vision of our future must include everyone- even National voters.

A million people voted for National. It is easy to dismiss those people as idiots, people who were duped into voting for a party that is no good for them. But that would be naïve. Some voters always allocate their votes poorly, but the truth is there are things National simply does better than every other party. It offers hope of security and stability. It challenges individuals to rise to their own responsibilities. True, these taken to an extreme can be toxic. But they are basic principles that do have value, and we would do well to remember that.

267 comments on “Time for the Greens to transcend left vs. right. ”

  1. Wonderpup 1

    Revolution vs Reform. Discuss…

  2. Gruntie 2

    Well that’s the nail in the coffin for the Green in my book – what a sell out – talk about sleeping with the enemy – how can you support a Govt tha denies climate change, poverty in NZ and calls mass surveillance – “data collection”

    • weka 2.2

      I think the post is unclear. Transcending left/right, and supporting formation of a NACT govt are not the same things, and the post confuses them. This is the same thing that Norman did the week before the election (and most likely cost the GP votes).

      At the present time the GP position is actually very very clear. It will only support govts (on C and S or in coalition) where those govts have values and policies that align with the GP. So it can work with Labour despite there being disagreements on somethings, because there is a general sense of share values and much policy in common. That is simply not true for NACT. To put it another way, the only way the GP can currently support NACT is if NACT changes its stance on AGW, surveillance, poverty etc. Is that likely to happen?

      What I’m unclear on in the post is the debate that’s happened recently, because it’s completely passed me by despite being engaged on twitter and on left wing blogs. I’ll go have a look around, but it would be good if the author could clarify what happened rather than using the left/right meme that just scares a whole bunch of leftie greenies away.

      • Tracey 2.2.2

        ” Transcending left/right, and supporting formation of a NACT govt are not the same things, and the post confuses them. This is the same thing that Norman did the week before the election (and most likely cost the GP votes). ”

        This ^^^^^^^

      • Chooky 2.2.3

        …the Greens have to stay unequivocally Left imo

        ….otherwise they risk their brand Green ( you simply can not be Blue/Green)

        …it is after all runaway Capitalism that is causing the crisis in the environment (and agree this is what cost the Greens votes in the week before the last Election…potential Green voters were confused that by voting Green they were voting for support of John Key Nactional )


        • weka

          transcending left/right does not mean becoming green/blue. Shame so many here are missing that.

          • Chooky

            actually I think quite a few potential Green voters outside of here would find that confusing

            …and it is a small step to think “transcending left/right” = “green/blue”

            • weka

              This post and Tava have put it out there for discussion. Tava is unequivocal that it’s not about being blue green, so I suggest we engage with that rather than talking about blue green.

          • DoublePlusGood

            Well, fundamentally in its principles the Green party are committed to social justice. If it decides to ‘transcend left/right’ it will necessarily be moving away from its core principles, which basically makes it Labour, and we know what happened to them.

            • weka

              That’s actually incorrect. I suggest you read Tava’s posts, he goes into the detail.

          • b waghorn

            There’s only one way the greens could transcend L/R and that is to be the major party in a government ,I don’t see that happening any time soon.
            It will be good for labour if the greens cozy up to the nats but I think it will be better for national.

            • weka

              Tava is suggesting that 20% of the vote would be enough.

              • b waghorn

                The greens would need a very staunch leader to survive 3 years in a nat government even if the power split was 20% green 29% nats .
                Look at what’s happened to the Maori party, its hard to know they even exsist in the last 6 months.

                • weka

                  What makes you think the GP would form govt with National? All the evidence is to the contrary. Too many people in this thread are assuming that not aligning with left wing = right wing. I think you’ve missed the point.

                  (and the Mp are a minor party, that’s why they’re in the situation they’re in).

                  • b waghorn

                    I disagree I think there is a definite push from some in the green world to open the door to the nats at least two of there contenders appear to be wolves in sheep’s clothing to me.
                    At 10% the greens are not far from the minor leaques ,the Maori party had 6 (I think) MPs at the start of key era they are down to 2 that to my eye have become all but invisible .

                    • weka

                      “I disagree I think there is a definite push from some in the green world to open the door to the nats at least two of there contenders appear to be wolves in sheep’s clothing to me.”

                      In the interviews yesterday they were asked directly if the members’ remit should stand. All said a definite yes except for Tava and unfortunately he wasn’t given time to expand on that.

                      As things stand at the moment, the GP can’t form a govt with NACT because of it’s own internal rules. To change that requires a long process via the membership. It can’t be done covertly and it can’t be done quickly.

                      (Interestingly Hughes was the one that spoke most about how he follows the membership, which is something the MSM struggles with I think. Owen kept wanting his personal opinion, and he was trying to point out that the membership drives policy).

                      Do I think the GP should form govt with National? No. Do I think the GP should be looking at what its going to do to break out of the 10 – 12% bracket? Yes, and I think this post is one way to discuss that. Do I think that the entrenched left/right fight needs to change. Definitely and I’d like to see lefties engage with that.

                      It’s also important to remember that Tava and Shaw, who are considered to be right wing, were the most radical of the four yesterday. The nature’s right issue can’t be right wing. Go read Tava’s blog, he’s highlighting the bit in the GP charter that says we can’t have perpetual growth and appears to want the GP to take that more seriously. Isn’t that what the most left wing people here have been arguing for?

    • KJT 2.3

      As a Green I do not find this author representative.

      I think you will find that the idea of Greens in coalition with National, with National’s current anti-social and anti-environment policies, is against the feeling and principles of most members of the Green party.

      As evidenced by the clear statement of the Greens positioning before the election.
      A statement that came from a consensus of Green party members, by the way.

      There is pressure by a minority to become, as they say, ” more electable” by abandoning principles for pragmatism.

      However I find the feeling of most Green members, from discussions and postings, is that, if you abandon principle for power, as National and Labour have, then you deserve neither. And that National are not even in the same “ball park” as most Greens.

      “but the truth is there are things National simply does better than every other party. It offers hope of security and stability. It challenges individuals to rise to their own responsibilities”.

      Yeah right.

      National is good at the illusion of hope, and shows that individuals that lie, cheat, double diptos, insider trade, steal public assets, and dodge taxes are not only examples of “personal responsibility”, but what we should all “aspire” to!.

      • weka 2.3.1

        I don’t disagree with much of what you are saying KJT, but this,

        “I think you will find that the idea of Greens in coalition with National, with National’s current anti-social and anti-environment policies, is against the feeling and principles of most members of the Green party.”

        Do you believe that the author is proposing a coalition between the GP and Naional as it is currently?

        • KJT

          I believe some people are trying to soften the majority of Green party members, and voters, up to the idea.

          I think it is a bad mistake.

          The Greens would go the way of the Maori Party.

          Unfortunately, even talking about the idea, as we have seen, alienates many who would vote for the Greens. And I believe is currently opposed by an overwhelming majority within the Green party, as shown by our stated electoral positioning. Greens and National are just too far apart.

          It is possible that National party members may get some more principled MP’s in future, that allows for some common ground. Not likely with Nationals current selection process however. Any trace of independent thought, i.e. any future Marilyn Warings, is to be eradicated.

          • weka

            “I believe some people are trying to soften the majority of Green party members, and voters, up to the idea.”

            Can you be more specific? Shaw? Tava? Shanti? Norman? What parts of the party?

            • KJT

              It is a hardy annual that keeps popping up both inside and outside the party, often from new members, who have a lightbulb moment. The “Watermelon” comments.

              About becoming more “Green”, and picking up right wing votes, by downplaying the “social justice” side of the party and concentrating on the environment only. Sort of “Greenpeace” in parliament.

              It has, so far, been roundly rejected, as the consensus appears to be that without social justice there will be no social sustainability, and definitely no environmental sustainability.
              History has shown, if the entire burden of changes is placed on the already disadvantaged, pitchforks are inevitable.

              • weka

                Does that mean it’s not Shaw, Tava, Shanti or Norman and I can look at their arguments in a different light than what you are saying? i.e it’s other, unnamed people, who are pushing the right wing agenda? (I’m talking about members and the party, not outsiders. The outsiders are obvious).

                Tava is explicit that he’s not wanting to sideline social justice. How do you reconcile this?

                One of the problems I have with the arguments in this thread is that they very similar to what was said about Norman when he was becoming leader. Lots of concern about how he was a rightie and this would shift the GP right. Do you think those concerns were well founded?

        • Pascals bookie

          “Do you believe that the author is proposing a coalition between the GP and National as it is currently?”

          I dunno what the are sying tbh. But the post is saying it is the Greens who need to ‘transcend left and right’.

          The fact remains that the National party is what it is. If the ‘transcending of left and right’ is something that can happen without the National party changing, then it is something that can work with the National party as it is.

          The Greens cannot change the National party. So if they are to work with the National party, then the Greens will have to change. I can’t see how ‘transcending’ could mean anything else.

          You can construct a castle in the air that somehow gives the Greens, via holding the balance of power in parliament, the ability to ‘transcend’ but that can only happen if National decides to give things up that the Greens really want. But what are these things?

          the National party, and its supporters, really truly have strong and and different views about environmental and social justice issues. the Left and the Right are not marketing positions in a game of samesies, they are genuine differences of belief that are in actual conflict. You cannot transcend a contradiction between world views I suspect. Or at least, I struggle to see what it means in practice.

          • marty mars

            Wise words

            “they are genuine differences of belief that are in actual conflict”

            So true.

            The Greens can do anything they want but the gnats will only move when it is to their advantage and if it is to their advantage it won’t be advantageous for any person with a ‘green’ belief system.

          • weka

            “But the post is saying it is the Greens who need to ‘transcend left and right’.”

            I think the point is that the NZ political system needs to transcend left and right. The GP already do that.

            “The Greens cannot change the National party. So if they are to work with the National party, then the Greens will have to change.”

            I’m not sure I would quite frame it that way (first sentence), but why not? We’ve seen massive shifts in both National and Labour in my lifetime (50 years). I’m not suggesting this as actual strategy, but if National implodes (which is not outside the realms of possibility) they may go through a similar process that Labour is in post-80s.

            The most compelling thing I saw in the interviews yesterday was the stats on who considered voting GP last election. It was something like 28%, with half being Labour and half being National voters. That’s 19% on top of the 11% that did vote GP. Which is 9.5% right wing or swing conservatives.

            If we think the push here is to shift the GP right, shoring up BAU, then it makes sense to react against the idea of transcending left/right. But if we remember that the GP wants change not power for its own sake, it begins to make more sense.

            If NZ is to make the change necessary to face AGW/PO and protect the environment, how is that going to happen without conservative voters?

            • Pascals bookie

              I guess I just don;t really understand what the point is. If the Greens are already in this ‘transcending’ place, then it’s not a change, and so why the big talk about it?

              On that poll, it was interesting, i can;t find the link, but ‘ll look harder in a minute, but someone wrote about it a newspaper. Interesting, from memory was that the Nat voters who thought about voting Green but didn’t, did so because the Greens put too many restrictions on business for environmental reasons, or something like that. I’d suggest these people aren’t really ‘leaning green’ in any way that’s open to paradigm shifts about saving the planet from the outcomes of neo-liberal economics.

              • weka

                Would be interested in the link, and you may be right.

                The question then becomes, if the left/right paradigm still works and the left is the solution to the problems we have, do you think we can shift NZ back to the left or even the middle, and if so, how? That’s the main reason I am interested in this post and what Tava is talking about, I just don’t see the left as having enough something to make the necessary changes in the face of AGW etc (and possibly not even in the face of the social justice issues).

                “If the Greens are already in this ‘transcending’ place, then it’s not a change, and so why the big talk about it?”

                It looks to me like it’s there as a principle but some people think it’s not being put into action enough. I agree with you in that I don’t see how it would work in practical terms, and I think the onus is on people like Tava and Shanti who’ve brought the discussion public to start talking about the pragmatics.

                Beyond that, if the idea is to change NZ and NZ politics then working on the issue loudly makes sense.

              • I guess I just don’t really understand what the point is. If the Greens are already in this ‘transcending’ place, then it’s not a change, and so why the big talk about it?

                This is why do not support Shaw or Tava.

                It feeds into a false narrative, that the “far left” greens are really commies in disguise. And that their policies are not bedded in reality.
                That they need to move from the centre because their policies are derived from ideology, not facts or the application of proven solutions correctly implemented.

                Is anyone able to point out to them that it’s really not helpful to articulate the idea that the Greens are in a crisis of identity, particularly when it’s demonstratively false.
                It also feeds into the idea that the Greens are their leader. And that leader is male.

                Anyone noticed the consistent attacks that co-leader Metiria Turei (and no.1 on the list. Hmm, any journalist ever wonder that is?) has been subject to by Fran O’Sullivan?
                One of the great things about co-leaders is continuity. Weird no one is talks about that.
                It’s pretty cool, and the Greens are the only ones that have this structure in place.
                And we get the opportunity to judge a leaders performance in a very accountable way every year.

              • Pascals bookie

                Here’s that link that has some of the poll results;


                Interestingly, the Greens commissioned some polling straight after the 2014 election, in part to understand why their election night vote seemed to fall well short of pre-election polling. But it also threw light on where their vote was coming from, and where it could come from in the future.

                It showed that 39 per cent of those who voted Green cited the environment as the most important factor, with 15 per cent citing poverty and smaller numbers for other “inequality”-related issues. But significantly, 19 per cent of those who said they had considered voting Green, but did not, cited “strategic voting” as the reason they went elsewhere. All of those – not most, but all – voted Labour.

                Of course there as many interpretations of data as there are surveys. But the numbers suggest the Greens’ biggest untapped catchment is not National voters waiting for a greater environmental focus, but soft Labour voters. (They also show Labour dodged an even bigger bullet at the election). Of those who considered voting Green, but ended up with National, one of the biggest chunks cited “too much environmental focus”.

          • greywarshark

            Good point about the differences between left and right in NZ. So often I hear a whine at election time – They’re the same, there’s no difference. When there is, but listening, thinking and evaluating are required but obviously will not be available.

  3. mary_a 3

    As a long time NZ Greens supporter in my late 60s, I’d like to see a government that energizes the people, an inclusive government which consults along the way with the citizenry during the policy making process.

    However, I doubt that will become a reality in my time, but it certainly won’t stop me working towards achieving that aim for my grandchildren and future generations. The Greens to me seem progressive enough to make this style of government happen.

    Another point is if technology is going to make employment redundant, then perhaps the education system should be reviewed. Instead of concentrating on educating towards employment, perhaps something more in order would be teaching young people positive and productive use of leisure time.

    • Colonial Rawshark 3.1

      It’s not leisure time when you are hungry, struggling to afford the rent and keep the power on.

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        But I think mary a has a good point in that we all need to know how to look after ourselves, and to my mind that would be increased time on what used to be called the manual skills, cooking, wood working and working with tools, sewing, knitting, mending. The wealthy kids will not want much of it but the practical middle class and wise lower class will be behind that.

        Also problem solving, basic maths, how to calculate how many litres of paint for a room, how many rolls of wallpaper with an 18cm repeat pattern for a room. What would be useful skills things, as well as ensuring the basics of reading, writing up plans and work diaries even if they don’t want to write about feelings (which I think is often the case with teenagers).

        They could go onto a Junior Council that helps run the school, that would help them understand a lot.

      • KJT 3.1.2


    • Tracey 3.2


      You probably recall, as I do our third form social studies courses where we discussed the future..

      In the early 21st century, we said, computers will make paper obselete, computers and machines will reduce employment hours and give everyone more leisure time (as is being stated int he author’s post) – our predictions have not trasnpired…

      In my opinion this is because of the basic human resistance to change. national and labour (to a lesser extent) thrive on that voter need for comfort/security whether rooted in reality or not. This tends to see reform being used to entrench a version of what exists not to promote real change for real mass benefit.

      Sustainability affects us all, and those who peddle the message disguising this reality are neither reformers nor revolutionsists.

  4. Colonial Rawshark 4

    Unfortunately the author demonstrates a poor understanding of the difference between “work” and a (paid) “job”.

    In very basic terms there is a massive massive amount of work our societies need done but are refusing to do. Work in local hospital kitchens, work in rape crisis centres, work teaching disabled children, work supporting struggling parents, work turning disused land into community gardens.

    When you look around there is absolutely no shortage of work to be done. The author is only looking at a very narrow portion of that – the work structured into paid jobs for company profit.

    The author also fails to reconcile a world which is going to be buffeted by GFC 2 and GFC 3, climate change and fossil fuel depletion with a world they are assuming is going to be able to introduce and maintain increasingly high levels of technology, mechanisation and automation of human labour.

    Sorry, my view is that you can’t believe in both scenarios at the same time for an extended amount of time: both a high tech modern society but one where our civilisation is being massively degraded due to climate change, pollution and energy depletion.

    I also notice that the author has said nothing about changing the structures of power
    that the 0.1% oligarchy use to control whole societies and nations. Rather the author appears to want to co-operate with them, in the belief that they will be willing to meet the interests of the ordinary people. So the authors write up is not so much about “transcending” left and right, but finding ways to work with the capitalist power elite in Wellington.

    • philj 4.1

      There is a tinge of blue appearing at the moment with the leadership change in the Green Party. The coverage of this potential issue by the media causes me to wonder a) the Green Party control of their press releases and media
      b) the MSM sudden interest in internal Green political business
      Interested in others thinking about this.

      • KJT 4.1.1

        The leaders have not been elected yet.

        Can’t see either of the “tinges of blue” becoming co-leader.

        There has always been a minority within the Green party who could be called blue/Green.
        Who think, like National, and some in Labour, that we can be environmentally sustainable while continuing their lifestyle by loading the costs of reduced consumption onto the low waged and unemployed poor.

        I joined the Greens because of their bottom line principles.

        Environmental and social sustainability, and democracy/Consensus.

        National has done nothing, since their election, which is consistent with these principles. In fact they have been steadfastly undermining all three.

        • weka

          Can’t see either of the “tinges of blue” becoming co-leader.

          There has always been a minority within the Green party who could be called blue/Green.
          Who think, like National, and some in Labour, that we can be environmentally sustainable while continuing their lifestyle by loading the costs of reduced consumption onto the low waged and unemployed poor.

          I think there is a conflation of things happening around this. Or at least it is unclear if the ideas about transcending left/right are simply wolf in sheep’s clothing ideas from actual right wingers in the party.

          Neither Shaw nor Tava strike me as being people who fit your definition above (continuing lifestyle at the expense of the poor). You probably know them better than I do though, so am I wrong about that?

          • KJT

            It originally was a suggestion from some one who is not a right winger. They said “Greens should be neither left nor right, but out in front”.

            In a way I can agree, but I also think it is too confusing for a TV sound bite, and definitely too confusing for our low IQ media to grasp.

            Especially as it has been seized on by those inside and outside the Greens who think we should become more “electable”. (As well as those who sieze on any stick to beat left parties with) Translation more “mainstream” to the “centre” so as not to frighten the horses. The same pressure that is put on Labour to get big business funding.
            Labour gave in to it and became National lite. No longer credible to centrists or the left.
            I don’t think the Greens should. If we get into Government and abandon all the reasons for being there. Why bother.

            We could of course just do what National and Labour both do. Get the votes first and then when in Parliament just do what they like. (The comfortable rotating Dictatorship). That is a much against my principles however, as giving some one a placebo and telling them it is a cure.

            • greywarshark


            • weka

              Ok, so would it be a fair assessment that some people genuinely want to look at the beyond left/right thing, and others are using it to move the party right?

              “I don’t think the Greens should. If we get into Government and abandon all the reasons for being there. Why bother.”

              I agree. But I also think it’s true that we are in a stalemate re left/right and that that old paradigm needs to die. Plus it’s possibly too hard for the left now to shift NZ back to the centre. Not only am I not convinced there is the political will to do so (looking at you Labour), but we don’t have time in the face of AGW. So I am interested in any lateral thinking to get us out of this mess.

              It’s a shame that Shanti has put this post up and not really engaged to discuss it, because as you point out, the response has been largely either ignoring it, or making people feel like the GP is going to sell out.

              • KJT

                I don’t see the “class struggle” dying anytime soon.

                As Warren Buffet said “there is a class struggle, and my class, the rich class, have won”.

                I see if inequality continues to grow and social justice is denied it will, end with pitchforks, and many people, good and bad, will be hurt.

                To preserve an environment that humanity can survive in, collective (Socialist) action is necessary.
                A system that elevates a few accumulating wealth above all, can never be sustainable. The exponential growth of wealth to the top end is inherently impossible, in a finite world.

                The old paradigm will not die because it reflects the tension between those who think they should be able to do as they wish no matter how it affects others (See Rodney Hide’s article about “property rights”. The same argument American South Slave owners used). And those who think that we are all in it together and have a duty to look after each other.

                • weka

                  I think you have misunderstood me KJT. I’m not saying the class struggle will end, or that it’s not important. I’m saying that the way Lefty presented the class struggle as the only valid political analysis is a problem because the class struggle analysis alone will neither save the environment nor solve the social justice problems. Hence my statement about how’s it working out so far i.e. it hasn’t saved the world, so can we please look at what we are doing? I do indeed think the class struggle is important and potent. I just don’t think it’s the only way to understand what is going on nor the only way to respond to the problems.

                  The One True Way approach is a big part of the problem.

                  I’m still curious how we are going to do anything useful about AGW (and other pressing environmental concerns) without conservative votes. No-one in this thread has addressed that despite me asking several times. If you believe that the class struggle will solve the problem then we can have an argument about that, but the other point is this appears to be why there are people saying the GP is stuck and let’s consider some other things. Those people also don’t believe the class struggle will be enough.

                  • KJT

                    I am not comfortable with a misrepresentation of the Green party position.

                    I am careful to show when I give opinions it is speaking as an individual who is a member of the Green party, not the “Green Party”.

                  • KJT

                    If you believe that democracy is a human right, as I do, you know that getting the majority in support is a pre-condition of dealing with environmental and social sustainability.

                    However I do not think that New Zealanders are natural conservatives. Leading the world in social change is our of our DNA.

                    The Neo-liberal experiment was hardly conservative. It was one of the most radical changes in social and economic organisation since the 30’s. Of course with our effective Government by rotating Dictatorship between National and Labour we went further, faster than anywhere else, to our detriment.

                    The paradigm is changing, as evidenced by National voters support for “feed the kids”. And sitters in Kauri trees. I think the Greens can take a lot of credit.

                    We know that faster change is necessary, but as always we do what we can with what we have.

                    • weka

                      Right, so why the reaction to beyond left/right as if it’s equivalent to neoliberal? I chose the term conservative voter for a reason (as opposed to neoliberal voter).

                      It’s pretty easy for conservative voters, or even neoliberal ones to support a kauri tree. Not so easy for them to think ecologically rather than economically. What tempts me about Tava and co’s ideas is that it might be a way to work with old school conservatives in NZ (I disagree about NZ not being conservative, I think we have a mix of natural conservative and liberal that’s been hijacked by the so called neoliberals).

                      I still don’t see a strategy for getting the people not voting GP to vote for them. At the rate we are going it’s simply not going to work. Bugger working with what we have, when we can change instead.

                    • KJT

                      I am pretty well embedded amongst old school conservatives.

                      Actually the idea of stewardship, such as looking after the land for future generations, is not a foreign concept to them.

                      They have bought into MSM memes such as “Greens are anti-farmer”, usually the first thing I hear if I admit to being “one of those”. But, it is surprising how many are receptive to Green ideas such as sustainable agriculture. They know as well as anybody that fertiliser and fuel are going to get much more expensive as resources run out.

                      It is not so much a matter of changing the Greens, but changing how we are perceived.

                      Mixed messages do not help.

                    • greywarshark

                      Okay KJT
                      how does the Green Party get more votes and some power to do essential stuff in NZ? If we party up with National I think this would just muddy the presently clear drinking water. There would be no net environmental gains and we lose some of our clear-sighted vigor, energy and keen supporters.

                      Do we bang on to UNACTs who are supposedly literate and proclaim themselves intelligent and are capable of thinking and critiquing and analysis. What percentage would we need to get the Greens into a position of viability to change stuff and influence important policy measures? Can we find a matching percentage of UNACTs who aren’t suffering from twig and branch die-back..

                      Then Labour are on a sacred quest looking for the Lady of the Lake who will hand them the sword Excalibur which in turn will give them the power to lead NZ into the light of a restructured socialism with management and technology rampant and well-paid. (Sir Humphrey couldn’t have said that more smoothly and urbanely.) Then for skilled and other workers there will be efficiency and safe workplaces for all. Every one will have housing with room for a bit of garden and a wage that allows small pleasures after work, and good street lighting for those shift workers returning after dark. They have modest plans and schemes such as proposing to tie their shoe laces All On Their Own.

                      They are strong, unswerving left wing warriors who know The True Way to be and won’t brook any disagreement from nay-sayers.
                      Anything that doesn’t fit their paradigm will result in furious discussion which will, in a clever use of modern technology, result in an energy output that will be trapped and used to heat the meeting room at the Trades Hall, a traditional old building hallowed by the photographs of past union and Labour leaders. So if nothing useful comes from the discussions, at least they will be warm and that will be a positive mark on the country’s Energy Saving scale which illustrates their environmental forward-thinking and that they don’t need Greens hanging around Thank You Very Much.

                    • KJT

                      Well. If I had all the answers to this, I would be the Green’s campaign manager.

                      However I think that all the vitriol from National and Labour comes from knowing that the Green’s are a real threat to their cosy entitled duopoly. Just as Hone and Mana had to be belittled and minimised. And Winston Peters is being attacked now.

                      Green’s have the polices that Labour should have had, in the last 31 years, and Labour know it.

                      We need to put more time and effort into speaking to people such as the Young Farmers, Rotary and Chambers of Commerce. Russell was starting to do that.

                      And getting to more young people, especially the ones that have been effectively dumped by the polices of the last 30 years.

                      There are also many boomers who do not own 6 houses. They are sitting in dead end minimum wage jobs or the casual jobs that have replaced real jobs. After being made redundant in the 80’s 90’s. Living on their savings. Including the ones that started businesses with their redundancy money, that were killed by the worlds highest interest rates, competition from large overseas monopolies and inflated exchange rates.
                      They will never vote Labour again, after the 80’s.

                      We need to show them that voting Green is much better for their kids.

                      The right wing is good at quoting memes until even those that should know better start repeating them. We need our own memes.

                      Democracy, Transition Towns, inclusive society, opposing environmental vandalism, real equality of opportunity that does not depend on your parents wealth, for a start.

    • weka 4.2

      Sorry, my view is that you can’t believe in both scenarios at the same time for an extended amount of time: both a high tech modern society but one where our civilisation is being massively degraded due to climate change, pollution and energy depletion.


      It’s probably a more important divide amongst greenies than the left/right one.

      • Colonial Rawshark 4.2.1

        yep it’s a physical reality we are experiencing even now, and over the last 2 decades or more of economic stagnation, regardless of what ones political philosophy is.

    • shantiahluwalia 4.3

      Thanks for bringing up the “work” and “paid job” issue, as that was one of the things i wanted to elaborate in the post, but decided was too off topic.

      I agree with you, many people conflate the obvious need for “work” (doing all these positive things like teaching disabled children or creating community gardens) with an obvious opportunity for more paid employment.

      This of course does not work due to the nature of paid employment. A job is doing work for someone who has the money to pay you to do it. That means either supporting the consumption of those who have money, or doing work for the government/charity. Work for the government or charities is derived from work to support consumption; taxes and donations can only* come out of the larger pie of consumption. We are stuck in a paradigm where the primary motivation for people is paid employment, which significantly narrows the scope of human activity. I’m hoping we’ll eventually break free of the economic growth model entirely, as it is strongly tied to this issue, but that’s several posts in and of itself!

      * Well, not technically only. The government can print money, for example. But that is also a pretty big tangent!

      • lprent 4.3.1

        Good to see you here S (as I will henceforth call you). R said that you’d be along.

        Might pay to introduce yourself to the other authors on the internal authors post. But it is nice to get more perspective from the greens part of the political spectrums.

        It looks to me like you missed that James Shaw also dropped his hat into the ring yesterday, which will probably liven things up in a different direction.

        BTW: Please feel free to call me L if you feel I have shortchanged your name… But there is no way that I’m going to type that one out. You can pick a shorter Nickname in the your config screen (top right in the daskboard – look at your name there).


        • weka

          “But it is nice to get more perspective from the greens part of the political spectrums.”

          + 1, great to have a green voice here. Hope you do some more posts too.

          • greywarshark

            I have always thought that you were a green voice. You have brought up lots of good points that have encouraged intelligent thought amongst us on green thinking and likely action.

      • Colonial Rawshark 4.3.2

        * Well, not technically only. The government can print money, for example. But that is also a pretty big tangent!

        The government prints NZD into the economy any day of the week that it deficits spends. Which is every day of the week. So it (should be) hardly controversial.

        We are stuck in a paradigm where the primary motivation for people is paid employment, which significantly narrows the scope of human activity.

        So let’s get out of this paradigm. Let’s actually dare to challenge the paradigm instead of trying to always accomodate for it. It’s very easy. It simply requires the government making it easier to live with less money coming in from work. Lower cost housing. Not for profit electricity provision. 10GB of free broadband for every citizen. A UBI of $225 pw. Make banking a public good with no fees and very low interest rates.

        With those simple steps a person on the minimum wage needs to do 100 hours less paid employment a month to make ends meet and they can get on with creative, innovative, artistic, family endeavours instead.

      • KJT 4.3.3

        The obvious one is the young Mum, who is expected to work, so she can pay for some-one else to look after her children.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          And the Labour Party supported this absurd model of family life with its 20 hours free childcare policy. How about giving that money directly to parents, FFS

          • greywarshark

            Young Mums not getting caught up in a dometic life with no work experience is a laudable aim. As their children go to school they may only be able to find employment at poorly paid unskilled levels such as cleaning. It is not a good role model for children and makes her lonely and vulnerable to any fancy man who comes along and smiles winsomely and turns up with fish and chips for the family and a few bottles of beer. And then there is the possibility of another child to a shiftless male who might have slack standards and know how to play the benney-smooching and drift game.

            Labour was doing something good in a stupid way. Just getting about and doing some work, say volunteer work if no more, is an excellent help to morale and sanity. But not forcing numbers of hours, not demanding taking this or that job. When she could find work, with suitable hours and transport accessible, the cash should have been all hers, plus payment for child care. And lots of opportunity if she wished to go to Polytech and stay gaining all the skills she wanted, but she would have to pass the tests, have a good attendance record, no mucking about.

            All this would help in her life experience, which she then passed on to her children in the style of Parents as First Teachers which is a formal method of early education for one’s children.

            Often the time away from the house, mixing in the wider community, having a break from child-caring while the child was in good quality care, would be worth far more than the money that might come to her if she looked after them all the time. Having other community relationships in their lives would be valuable to them, as the same would be to her. (Or him, as some fathers take on the task and do well in it.)

    • Tracey 4.4

      marilyn waring was writing extensively about this since the late 80’s and 90’s. She is still, in NZ terms, way ahead of her time in this regard (and others).

      • KJT 4.4.1

        There’s a Nat, that the Greens could have worked with.

        • Tracey

          Indeed and interesting to hear her say that when she joined national, at that time Labour required absolute adherence to every Labour Policy and no crossing the floor and that was objectionable to her as a feminist.

    • Chooky 4.5

      CR +100

  5. philj 5

    “There is no ideology, no person on the planet, who yet has those answers. To pretend otherwise is folly”
    Whew… A grand, sweeping statement if I ever saw one. Using my own generalisation, I feel that ideology, or collective consciousness raising is the way ahead. Of course, we all know of false ideologies, don’t we? That’s the point, we must find an ideology that really does benefit all of life on our earth mother, including us humans. The first action would be to control /limit human population and human consumption of non essential products and feed and house the needy of the world. How palatable is this to consumer voters and politicians? This shift in attitude and thinking is unlikely, but not impossible. Our vacuous MSM is one part of the coming revolution that needs sorting.

    • shantiahluwalia 5.1

      Hi Philj,
      No ideology has all the answers, but the key is to move forward despite having poor information. I think that you’re correct; collective consciousness is fundamental, and we can’t move forward without it.

      I just also think that we shouldn’t forget that sometimes National voters have good ideas too.

      • KJT 5.1.1

        Pity that the ideas do not get as far as the National caucus.

        In Northland the National voters with good ideas just booed Key. They are voting for Winnie.

        • Clemgeopin

          “In Northland the National voters with good ideas just booed Key”

          Interesting! Do you have a link for that?

    • greywarshark 5.2

      The old thing applies – give someone a net and let them fish for themselves. So rather than think feed the world, we should not have the means to feed ourselves taken from us.
      Basically people need their own land, water irrigation measures that conserve it, for instance clay porous pipes to direct irrigation water down so it doesn’t evaporate in the searing heat. But sinks into the pipes and the ground and maintains moisture to a low but reliable level that the shrub/tree adapts to. The tree puts out a wide crown and between two lines of trees you put your vegetable plants which are shaded and watered as required for quick food crops. Etc etc

      People used to manage in dry conditions and we learn again from them and enable them so they can practice their basic agriculture with whatever new additions that are useful and sustainable and belong entirely to them.. Keep Monsanto and the other malign plant and seed wizards who want to sell new seed annually out of it.

  6. coaster 6

    personally i think a world without employment is a myth, there will be changes but i think mass production will die out with 3d printers taking over. there will be a need for the raw product in small quantities to be moved world wide.
    people will find new ways to charge others for social interaction, trading in virtual reality worlds etc.

    there will always be a nedd for food, there will always be a desire to have the latest item/ gadget et , there will always be a need for social interaction, and there will always be war.

    there will always be work, it just wont be the same as now.

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.1

      3D printing still requires massive manufacturing supply chains including material refineries, packaging and logistics.

      • KJT 6.1.1

        Less technology and less cheap energy will require more employment, not less.

        A man on a shovel instead of a digger.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Men pulling chain harrows instead of tractors. Great depression stuff.

          • KJT

            Or we can use our technological knowledge and research, to rotate crops and livestock and look after the soil, so that harrows are not needed.

    • Jones 6.2

      Mass production will die out when we reach the limits of resource extraction, as determined by the environment.

      We have only been able to achieve the current level of industry through our ability to harness the concentrated energy stored in a drop of oil. While 3D printing and all the supporting technologies that go to enable it rely on oil in some way, it has a limited future.

      Personally, I like John Michael Greer’s idea of “intentional technological regression”. It’s a proactive response to the inevitable…


      And it’s completely in harmony with the environment… it has to be. Nature ALWAYS bats last.

  7. Michael 7

    Green politics cannot be right-wing. The right advocates for free markets and a small, non-interventionist state. How can you reconcile those things with preventing climate change, etc? How can a right-wing government claim to want to protect rivers and reduce carbon emissions without intervening in the free market?

    The answer is, it can’t.

    • KJT 7.1


      Democracy and social and environmental sustainability is inconsistent with the current right wing neo-liberal idealogy.

      However it is not inconsistent with the conservative values many used to have that were part of National.

  8. weka 8

    You may need a moment to process that. It is, as I said, a paradigm shift. Can you conceive of a world where paid employment is not our primary method of distributing resources? Can anyone? The answer is no. No one on this planet has yet come up with a solution

    200 years ago NZ had intact, functional systems not only of resource distribution that weren’t based on paid employment, but systems of sustainable resource management (and we have many examples of this from around the world). Pretty sure the reason we don’t have either now is not because humans don’t know how to do this, but because the wrong people are in charge.

    So, I personally, and I suspect others here, can in fact imagine such a world where paid employment isn’t the primary method of distributing resources, but I would go further and say even that’s the old paradigm (and I get that you were trying to talk to old school socialists). I agree with what others are saying about work vs employment, esp Colonial where he talks about work that has exceptionally high social value (I would add high ecological work to that). When we organise ourselves around the inherent value of people and the rest of the environment, then the solutions become clearer.

    • KJT 8.1

      200 years ago the prime method of delivering resources around New Zealand, as it is now for the USA in the Middle East, was warfare.

      • weka 8.1.1

        Can you please explain that a bit more KJT, because that’s not how I understand it at all.

  9. Corokia 9

    There is so much to disagree with in this post. So many strawmen. The Greens don’t pretend to have all the answers. National does NOT offer security and stability to anyone other than the well off. They effectively ignore climate change and advance policies that make it worse, so life for our kids will not be secure and stable, the total opposite. This author is doing for the Greens what Mickey says Phil Quinn does for Labour. Anyone who thinks the Greens can support a right wing party like National clearly doesn’t understand Green politics.

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      The test is – what percentage of the modern Green party membership think that siding more closely with National is desirable. The number definitely isn’t zero.

      • Corokia 9.1.1

        Pretty damn small percentage I’d guess. As others have said here, unless National changes its stance on climate change, supporting intensive dairying, surveillance, worker’s rights and inequalility there are just too many policy areas where the Greens and National are in complete disagreement, to see how the Greens could side more closely with them.
        The Green party has values it stands for and isn’t into compromising on those just to get the ‘baubles of office’. However, it looks as if there may be some people who have joined the party (and be standing for office) who don’t share those same principles.

        • Chooky

          yes agree….although I dont think Greens have any objections to corporates and National supporters being converted to the Green movement and the Green Party…it is just that they must do the moving towards the Greens and not vice versa…the Greens must not shift to the Right to accommodate them

      • weka 9.1.2

        “The test is – what percentage of the modern Green party membership think that siding more closely with National is desirable. The number definitely isn’t zero.”

        What do you mean by ‘siding more closely with National’? Until that is clearly expressed (not just by you), it’s hopeless to try and figure out what GP memebers think or want.

        • KJT

          Weka. Pretty obvious from the stated political positioning before the election. That decision was made by Green party members. Decisions within the Green party are by consensus.

    • Tracey 9.2

      “National does NOT offer security and stability to anyone other than the well off. ”

      Not so, they peddle security and stability to those not well off and a promise of working harder to get to a great place.

      They sell it very well, this NZ version of the mythical American Dream…

      • Corokia 9.2.1

        Their friends own the media and using the MSM do sell the myth quite effectively , thats true, but no one on a zero hours contract is secure, National is not offering hope to those people. Many people have very little hope of owning their own home under National.
        As for the author’s statement “the truth is there are things National simply does better than every other party”- yes, they lie and deceive. SHANTIAHLUWALIA -comes across to me (a Green party member) as an apologist for the Nats and here down south I have not come across anyone in the party who is pushing for a closer relationship with National.

      • Chooky 9.2.2

        +100 Tracey

  10. barry 10

    For the Greens to support National is impossible when National is at war with their core values. Gutting the ETS, Going cap in hand to oil companies begging them to drill holes in the sea bed, Turning the RMA into a pro-development/anti-conservation instrument, Mining parks, Kneecapping DOC etc.

    But could the Greens become blue-greens or even abstain on economic issues? As you say; the Greens have to assume that they will be in government. That means that they have to have policies for non core value issues. The policies are going to reflect the people who make up the membership. These are largey supportive of current policies (i.e. vaguely left, slightly anarchist).

    Can they allow discussion of alternative economics. Yes of course.

    However, they do have a big hurdle to overcome wth the media who will label them loonies at every possibility. That means it is effectivey electoral suicide to advocate anything outside the traditional bipolar economc strategy. And really they can’t even be too left while orthodoxy is placed where it is.

    No, I think your economic/social reorganisation will have to come from somewhere other than the Green party.

  11. Tracey 11

    It is not the Greens that have self labelled themselves lunatic commies, that is the Right, with the help of the Media.

    In this regard I note that Brook Sabin was announcing within hours of a leadership contender declaring that he was a “front runner”. How the hell would Sabin know that? easy answer is he doesn’t. And what did TV3 decide the most pressing thing to ask the candidates yesterday? exactly?

    The painting of who the Greens are is being almost totally framed by National, the Media and Labour in no particular order. That the Greens get 10% of the popular vote on regular basis now is a bloody credit to them given their resources and the resources used against them. Don’t forget the Bretheren… don’t think that kind of stragetgy has all stopped, they just have learned to hide their dirt better.

    Historically, in NZ, the Right when in Government does not lead change. They resist it. This includes with the Environment. Any Green policies National has today are solely the result of the efforts by The Greens and other environmentalist politicians before them seeing voter support move to them. Both Labour and National were followers in this regard.

    I would like the Greens to remain, The Greens. I know who they are and what they stand for. To my knowledge that has always been able to include people from all over the political and ideological spectrum. The labels come from outside. Even Labour seemed to not want to form a Coalition with them. And was repeating such stuff as recently as 2014 campaign, being very public about preferring NZF.

    By all means appeal to a broader audience. Go for it.

    As for the notion that The Greens are so left they won’t deal with national… it’s like some forget that subsidised home insulation is ONLY happening because of The Greens getting round the table with the Nats…

    Hopefully his strategy is to force people to see Green is not divided along ideological lines, and his stick in the beehive (as it were) is to make that point and not, as some seem to think, to be moving the Greens to the Right. I doubt that is his intention. His intention is to highlight that The Greens are not left or right they are, well Green…

    • weka 11.1

      “As for the notion that The Greens are so left they won’t deal with national… it’s like some forget that subsidised home insulation is ONLY happening because of The Greens getting round the table with the Nats…”

      We have to be really careful here to differentiate between working with National on policy, and working with National via govt formation (or doing deals). They are two completely different things, and there has been much confusion about them because of people like Sabin, but also Russel Norman’s pre election cock up, and here in the commentariat we’ve not clarified the language very well either. Your statment is really clear, others are muddly.

      I think this is quite a difficult challenge for the Greens. Even the OP is unclear to me as GP member, and I’ve always understood the transcend, we’re not left or right thing. Hence the number of comments in this thread on forming govt with National, rather than looking at what transcending left/right means.

      • Tracey 11.1.1

        I agree… but the leadership palava yesterday suggested Greens do not work with Nats. That was also false but presumably designed to generate alot of discussion. I hope The Greens have a strategy to follow up and build on whatever reaction they were hoping to get… Otherwise it will be divisive (both in Party and voter perception terms) and self defeating.

        • weka

          What happened yesterday?

          • Tracey

            The media got all lathered up about the Green’s leadership race and framed it, incorrectly, for the punters… as Right versus Left and picked a guy in a suit as the front runner

            • KJT

              “The painting of who the Greens are is being almost totally framed by National, the Media and Labour in no particular order. That the Greens get 10% of the popular vote on regular basis now is a bloody credit to them given their resources and the resources used against them”.

              Totally agree.

              Even clear statements of position and intent get mangled, I think deliberately, by the media.

              Both National and Labour are happy to continue with the meme of the Communist/Red/Loony Greens. I don’t think we should give into it by trying to be less “Red”.

              There is a lot of pressure on anyone who gets into Parliament, or any position of power such as Union leadership, to keep comfortably within the establishment. And not deviate from the duopoly that National/Labour have become.

      • KJT 11.1.2

        It wasn’t Russell’s cock up.

        He was simply repeating the, long held, Green position that we will work with any other party to enact policies that work towards our openly stated principles of environmental and social sustainability.. (Like the insulation policy)

        The media spun it as, “getting closer to National”, probably deliberately to put some Green voters off..

        I note, that most who say they want the Green’s to get away from the left/right idea, are not Greens, but those from outside who want to make sure if Greens are elected into Government they do not upturn the established Neo-liberal “apple cart”.

        The same ones who are OK with Labour in Government so long as they remain National lite and do not expect them to do things like “pay more taxes” charge for carbon, or genuinely look after kids in poverty.

        • weka

          yes Norman was obviously set up by the MSM (Sabin?), but he also handled it badly. The message that the public was left with was that the GP could work with National, and that wasn’t explained well enough to differentiate between work on policy and support govt formation. To blame the media and not hold the GP leadership accountable denies that Norman is very experienced with this shit, as is the GP machine. It was a mistake, and denying it means we are saying we are completely at the mercy of the MSM for the GP message.

          “I note, that most who say they want the Green’s to get away from the left/right idea, are not Greens, but those from outside who want to make sure if Greens are elected into Government they do not upturn the established Neo-liberal “apple cart”.”

          That’s not true of me. Are you saying that’s the message you are getting from the OP?

          • KJT

            We are! at the mercy of the MSM.

            An MSM which is happy to repeat National and ACT propaganda as fact.

            And mangle the Greens messages to suit their bias, as they did with Russell’s. And David Cunliffe’s.

            • weka

              Opening/original post.

              “We are! at the mercy of the MSM.”

              Not completely. The economics questions yesterday were amateur hour. It doesn’t matter that they didn’t know the answers. It matters that they chose to answer incorrectly instead of dealing with it in a different manner i.e. they need better media skills. And that was with Lisa Owen, not some rabid anti-green like Gowers. It’s a bit shocking to see them so badly prepared if they want to be taking over from Norman.

              • KJT

                If you treat an interview like a rote learned NCEA exam you will always get some questions which the interviewee cannot answer without looking them up.
                I would be more interested in whether they know what the reserve bank act does to us and what they intend to do about it. Knowing the OCR rate at this second is incidental.

                • weka

                  Who’s the ‘you’ in that sentence?

                  Not knowing the answer to a question isn’t a problem. Not knowing how to respond to a question you don’t know the answer to is.

                  • KJT

                    The interviewer.

                    Quick fire questions are a known technique for “winning” an interview.
                    “Lets trip them up with some economic numbers questions. They are bound to get at least one wrong”.

                    One of the things that the “left” in politics is up against is the adversarial, game technique, interviewers generally use with them, compared to their respectfully listening to John Key.

  12. Sable 12

    There is nothing more controversial than anglo American capitalism. So I’m a amused by the notion that environmentalism is controversial.

    Environmental care as Its been practiced by wise societies in one form or another for centuries. Its only the ascension of wasteful, shot sighted and fundamentally destructive capitalism as preached by National and Labour since the mid 1980’s that has led us to undermine our nations natural currency. This is at a time when even heavily polluted societies like China are taking measures to limit pollution including the recent refusal to take more recyclable waste from the US (which was not being recycled but instead dumped in landfills) .

    Its unsustainable and can not continue but to say so is somehow “controversial.” Bullshit. As to the notion of employment, lets be honest, its the narrowing of workers rights and two people doing the job of one or more people that’s creating unemployment not fucking robots.

    Unlike the 1930′ depression which hurt the poor and wealthy alike this depression (I’m not using polite euphemism’s like recession) has not hurt the rich. In fact the wealthy are wealthier than ever before. Its clear then that this depression, is due to an engineered refusal to redistribute wealth, business is in fact booming.

    The day the Greens align with impractical short sighted National is the day I cross the road and say hello to NZ First.

    • Tracey 12.1

      Nail on the head… the production, marketing and consumption of stuff we want but don’t need is the crux of any problem we face today.

      IN France and Germany (I think) they have 7 weeks annual leave a year. Almost twice ours… that is a job creation scheme in and of itself if you think about it…

  13. Sable 13

    The system shut me out before I could finish editing the above . Mean’t to say one person doing the job of two or more people. (The result of a tired head from too many late nights).

  14. Sanctuary 14

    A Green/Blue manifesto? It will be longest suicide note in NZ political history.

    • Tracey 14.1

      Can you explain why some who tend toward voting national (and there are a million or so of them) cannot also be Green in outlook?

      • Sanctuary 14.1.1

        I’m not going to explain it, beyond saying that as a Labour supporter I hope the Green’s try to be blue. I really, really do.

      • Sanctuary 14.1.2

        Actually I should say something. It seems to me the actual Green vote plateaued last election at around 10-11%. Of that, I would say a good chunk – let’s be generous to the Greens and say 4% – is soft Labour vote, likely to return to Labour the minute the party looks like it is a winner again. The core Green vote then is somewhere between just below the 5% threshold and just over 6%. Now, to my way of thinking even a hint of an electoral alliance with National will certainly wipe out the soft Labour support, who will bolt back to Labour, whereas it won’t pick many if any “blue/Green” votes from the right, because their is decided vote on other issues than the environment – especially so in a close race. Further, an alliance with National WILL sunder the Greens, and further depress what is already a woeful turnout of Green supporters at election time, to possibly as little as under 4%.

        So, as far as I can see, talk of a “Blue/Green” rapprochement has only downside voting wise for the Greens. It is the sort of idiocy that occasionally appears when political players who are not half as clever as they think they are spend to much time up late drinking merlot.

        • KJT

          Greens are not going into coalition with National as it currently is a party of corporate thieves. 95% of members would leave.

          Neither is Labour going to get into Government again, without the Greens. And probably NZF as well.

          So long as Labour has nothing to offer but a paler version of National, (A “workers party” raising the pension age! FFS) they will never again get 40%. David Cunlife got it. “Still cut off your leg, only with anaesthetic”.

          Live with it.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Greens are not going into coalition with National as it currently is a party of corporate thieves. 95% of members would leave.

            If you look at Labour’s history, that doesn’t present a problem for the right wingers who remain, and who then have control of the (remaining shell of the) party.

        • Tracey

          idiocy and players thinking they are cleverer than they are is more widespread than you may realise Sanctuary and not only for the reasons you suggest

      • KJT 14.1.3

        Tracey. If you get all your news from radio, TV news and the Herald you would think that National are doing well in Government.

        From what we know, when people are asked what policies they prefer, without a party label attached, the majority support Green policies.

        Even Key had to admit “New Zealanders are “socialists at heart”.

        Green social policies would have been centralist, in New Zealand, before 1984.

        Not to mention the big turnout against mining National parks and other National anti environment policies.

        I suspect, if New Zealanders were not being constantly lied to, they would vote Green.

        • Sanctuary

          Greens constantly say Labour has treated them badly, but Labour has had little choice. As long as UF and NZF are adamant they won’t form a government with the Greens in it then the Greens will always be on the outer. If the numbers fell the right way, most Labour supporters would prefer the Greens to NZ First, but unfortunately the wider electorate doesn’t see it that way and the idea of a Green tail wagging a Labour dog seems to much for voters to contemplate.

          In an election or two hence, with a maybe a Ron Mark led NZ First and no Dunne, then maybe the Greens could be in a government that included both NZ First and Labour.

          • Tracey

            “Greens constantly say Labour has treated them badly”


            “Most Labour supporters would prefer…”


        • Tracey

          I don’t disagree

  15. Pasupial 15

    Apparently there was a piece on The Nation featuring all four GP candidates being questioned in studio. I can’t see it on demand yet, so may watch the hour-delay (which has been going for 10 mins now, but Masupial said it was near the end). The thing that stuck in her mind was the inability of any candidate to name the OCR – which would be more damaging for Shaw given his role as; Spokesperson for economic development, commerce, trade & investment etc.

    • Ergo Robertina 15.1

      The OCR question was Tava. But none of them were flash on the quick fire economic questions.

      • Pasupial 15.1.1

        Thanks, I only made it to the TV just as the panel discussion started, so missed the candidates themselves. Vance and the interviewer were interesting enough, but I could only endure Gower and O’Sullivan for five minutes. Hopefully it’ll be on-demand sometime soon.

        • Jones

          Gower was bloody awful as usual… hijacking, with a soundbite on snails, what I thought was an idea worthy of consideration – extending the rights of persons (as currently enjoyed by corporations) in some form to flora and fauna that were considered important. Obviously some definition is required but if non-human entities, like corporations, can have recognised legal rights and privileges as persons, why not kauri or maui dolphins?

          • Clemgeopin

            The phrase or term, ‘right of persons’ is AWFUL in this context! Why not find a better, more sensible term or phrase such as ‘fundamental right’ or ‘fair right’ or something else? A snail is not a person. Nor is a corporation.

            • Jones

              Agreed, call it whatever you like… but flora and fauna that have high ecological, economic or cultural significance and animals which are sentient, such as dolphins and whales, should be extended some form of rights and privileges.

              Corporations should have theirs removed.

              • weka

                We could give legal protection as a right to ecosystems. I don’t understand the implications of personhood, but many cultures on the planet see the earth as our mother. This isn’t just some fluffy bunny thing, it’s because we are literally from the earth and completely dependent on it as a species or group of peoples. I liked what one of the MPs said about economics being a subset of nature.

                Prioritising a form of intelligence that resembles our own is a bit speciesist. As is humans deciding that some parts of nature are more valuable than others (that’s gotten us into all sorts of trouble). All of nature has rights.

              • Pasupial


                That was essentially Hague’s position in the debate, it certainly seems more reasonable than elaborating on a legal fiction.

      • greywarshark 15.1.2

        Why would knowing the exact OCR be important? Knowing the whys and wherefores of having one set around the current level and the reasons for it shifting and the response in the financial markets etc etc is more important than doing a financial trends reporter’s job.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Reserve Bank policy is supposed to be “independent” of Parliament. So yeah, the OCR is – in theory – irrelevant to MPs.

          And this is what the neoliberals have done to our society – it makes every question about society and politics revolve around their bastardised false version of economics.

        • Ergo Robertina

          No the exact OCR wasn’t the issue, he was about 4 points out, which is larger than the OCR itself.
          I wasn’t making a particular issue over it – I was answering a question – but given the house price crisis and NZ’s high interest rates, it’s reasonable to expect would-be party leaders to possess a working knowledge in this area.

          • greywarshark

            I can’t understand what the point of the debate was? Was the media putting MPs through a sort of test about their knowledge to check that they could pass an NCEA?

            That would be funny as regularly we catch the media out on stuff that they publish and broadcast, and overlook or misrepresent. Who are they to be setting up opportunities for MPs to make a mistake which the media can then over-emphasise for yonks while they themselves seem to either ‘kno nuzzing’ or go forth on a wing and a prayer when it comes to deep and thorough understanding of anything.

            I didn’t see or hear the thing. Don’t watch much tv because too much of either ‘true’ reality or reality shows are hard to bear when their cooked up for tv’s half-baked versions. Cooking shows have more charm.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            but given the house price crisis and NZ’s high interest rates

            If the government wanted, it could provide mortgages to first home buyers at 3% pa.

            Hell, if it was serious, it could do it interest free.

            • Ergo Robertina

              Yep, but we know those kinds of solutions will never emerge from the Nats.
              And politicians proffering TARA options need to be able to demonstrate they know what happens now, in order to be credible in arguing for a different direction.

          • Tracey

            “but given the house price crisis and NZ’s high interest rates, it’s reasonable to expect would-be party leaders to possess a working knowledge in this area.”

            Bill English and John Key give the impression they are really knowledge about OCR, it hasn’t stopped the housing crisis and high interest rates, so not entirely sure what your point was. I expect the point of the original question was to make them look economically illiterate to feed a well trumpetted meme.

            • Ergo Robertina

              Tracey – I have already said I entered the thread to answer someone’s question – kind of wish I hadn’t bothered – but that was my ”point”.
              Of course Key and English have a shallow grasp of facts and figures to endlessly recite to manufacture a false impression of competence.
              It’s obvious to anyone paying attention – this Government has made an art-form of such manipulation.
              It doesn’t follow though that would-be leaders of main political parties don’t need enough working knowledge to take an educated stab at the level of the OCR.

            • Naturesong

              Because the Greens are working with media who have a very narrow focus, and come to some weird conclusions when given a set of facts.

              So, they need to be able to survive in that environment, because newspapers and TV present what is acceptable to the NZ voter.
              You and I may not like it, but there it is.

              I think of it like this;
              You know how some people have strange filters on them. You say “I like this”, and they hear “I hate everything other than this”.
              It’s that kind of filter, only broadcast, with nationwide propaganda levels of coverage.

              It would be preferable to ask the question;
              What is the OCR, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of controlling inflation this way, and are there better alternatives?
              Because that would actually show an understanding of the current economic levers in New Zealand.

              Ignore the quality, just feel the width!!

              Asking someone if they know the current OCR % tests whether a candidate can memorise something or not – though being out by 4 points does point to an inability to make an educated guess based on current mortgage interest rates – if asked, I would have guessed somewhere between 3% and 4.5%
              And given the candidates should have an understanding of the arena they were stepping into, it was a poor display.

              There is some good news though.
              Two of the things that have always impressed me about the Greens are:
              a. They learn from their mistakes. Anyone who has watched them over the years will know that making the same mistake twice is a rare occurrence.
              Any candidate that does not learn from this experience I will be immediately discounting from consideration. Hague still the front runner for me.
              b. They are the hardest working MP’s in parliament, bar none.

              The real test for these candidates will be to see how much they learn and grow during the next 2 months until we vote.

              But so far I’ve not seen anything from Shaw or Tava that does not prompt me to ask them to reread this: Greens: Purpose, Aspirations and Vision.

          • Pasupial

            Having watched the clip now, it does seem that the economic data questions were calculated to reinforce a stereotype of GP as economically ignorant.

            Shaw being asked the unemployment rate is analogous to Groser being asked that, he probably would have done better on the OCR question (certainly better than Tava). Hague’s question on economic growth would be like asking Coleman the same. Hughes Rate of Inflation question might have been asked to Smith (his GP spokesperson roles don’t have an obvious high ranked counterpart in National so I went with “environment”). Without preparation, it’d only be luck if their Nat analogues would have done much better in questions outside their area of expertise.

            But it was only a small part of the debate (about a minute out of half an hour). I think the wife started watching about then, and as the panel started with a discussion of these quickfire questions, so that was the most memorable part when I asked her about it (which’d also be why she thought it was only the second half of the show).


            • Ergo Robertina

              But if Coleman et al stood as leader of the National Party they might be asked those questions. I guess that’s the difference.
              I really don’t think this is all that significant though in the bigger picture of the leadership race.

            • Naturesong

              Yes, it does show a failure of preparation.

              Any candidate who walked into that studio unaware that they were in a hostile environment and there were going to be “gotchas” is displaying a level of naivety I would normally associate with myself.

              It’s not the end of the world – they’ll learn, let’s see how they adapt to this environment (hopefully using it to dispel the myth that being able to prep and remember numbers does not correlate in any way to whether or not a person understands and will ensure robust governance structures and processes should they become a minister).

    • felix 15.2

      I suppose asking the Greens surprise finance questions is the equivalent of asking Nat ministers how much a 2 litre bottle of milk costs. In both cases it serves to make an amusing point about connectedness, and in both cases it’s a bit trivial really as a) no-one really believes Gareth “Blood Orgy” Hughes is getting the chequebook any time soon, and b) ministers of the crown should be far too busy to do the shopping.

      It’s a bit rich for Spud to be mocking them though, just a day earlier he was on the radio saying James Shaw was an unkown new Green who was rocking the boat by saying they should work with National.

      Fucking idiot.

      • weka 15.2.1

        I thought the when did you last smoke a joint was the weirdest question. Trying to think what the Labour or National equivalent would be. For National, probably when did you last diddle the tax/trust/political system to your advantage?

  16. Greens are petty bourgeois, a party for small businesses, in an idealised world of small is beautiful, clean and sustainable.

    This is not the world we live in. We live in a world of big and bigger businesses that trample over all species that get in the road of bigger profits.

    It is too late to share the bounty of nature and live in an idealised bubble of benign civilisation.

    The robots need to be expropriated, they are no more than the congealed sweat and brain power of generations of workers.

    Then the robots need to be put to work to create an artificial biosphere as a refuge for humanity from nature’s revenge against the excesses of destructive humanity.

  17. Olwyn 17

    The neo-liberal idea of separating politics from economics (as far as possible) impacts on all parties, including the Greens. From a left wing point-of-view, as well as a centre-right nationalist point-of-view, economics is pretty central to politics. So tensions arise as to whether to surrender on the economic front and get a few political gains in exchange, or to fight on in the belief that by leaving economics to the market you are undermining your party and perhaps also your country in the long term.

    The “market” likes neither socialism nor protectionism, and substantive gains tend to involve one or the other of these features to at least some degree. And the more inroads the market makes, the harder it is to defend people against it, whether hungry children, state house tenants, railway workers or small-scale organic farmers. While I applaud the suggestion of forward-thinking ideas, like considering the future of paid work for instance, I don’t think the Greens can, with any authenticity, position themselves above and beyond the current battle lines.

    • greywarshark 17.1

      @ Olwyn
      Thanks for that thoughtful comment. Good point.

    • Colonial Rawshark 17.2

      The “market” likes neither socialism nor protectionism, and substantive gains tend to involve one or the other of these features to at least some degree.

      “The market” is actually code words for “international financial capital.” And for the record, it likes socialism and protectionism just fine when it is the recipients.

      • Olwyn 17.2.1

        I have to agree with you. Separating politics off from economics effectively sidelines claims that might impinge upon their own self-serving brand of socialism and protectionism, which is why I think that this is where the real battle line lies. For these people a person eating an ice-cream in the town square, who does not look to be one of their mob, hints at a surplus that is yet to be taken.

  18. weka 18

    Transcending left/right.

    I am not advocating that we become a Blue-Green Party. It is a failure of imagination to think that this is the only alternative to a Red-Green political project and it fails to appreciate that the old, stale politics of the left-right axis are of limited use when facing the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century. To many younger voters (and potential voters) left and right hold little appeal; we will only win them over with evidence-based, problem-solving approaches rather than coming from a position of ideology.

    What I am advocating is that the Green Party return to its original Charter values as a Green-Green Party that is neither left nor right and able to work across the political spectrum. This does not require the abandonment of our social policy. It does, however, require us to be more clear about the wellspring of that policy in the charter principle of Social Responsibility – grounded in an eco-centric ethic – as distinct from anthropocentric, left-wing Social Justice. We reject inequality not because of a Marxist, Socialist or social democratic analysis but because it is inherently socially unsustainable.

    Vernon Tava,


    I bet that last sentence is the one that put the cat among the pigeons. I like the theory up until that point, but pragmatics dictate that we cannot trust institutional structures as they become more mainstream and powerful because the only way those structures can gain power is by working within the dominant paradigm, which currently in NZ is about power over and anti-egalitarianism. The idea of giving up social justice ideology in favour of social sustainability ideology strikes me as interesting but is going to freak a lot of people out, and until the concerns about the risks are addressed I can’t see it moving forward. In other words, what’s to stop this being co-opted down the line?

    I also think that more indepth discussion of what an eco-centric ethic is is crucial, and how that can assimilate social justice rather than leaving it behind.

    • greywarshark 18.1

      …it fails to appreciate that the old, stale politics of the left-right axis are of limited use when facing the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century

      I think that is one of the most important points to be considered each time that political moves are being considered. It needs to be printed out and put up in a conspicuous position for every earnest future thinker who cares about others and the planet.

    • Tracey 18.2

      Tava still presupposes The Greens are deviating from their original charter (did he provide a link to it for example) rather than how those outside the Greens with more Power and Money have been framing the Greens. It doesn’t make it less of an issue except that it alters how the “problem” is dealt with. Starting from a false premise is doomed to failure.

      • weka 18.2.1

        Tava links in the original to another post where he looks in depth at the differences between social justice and social responsibility. He quotes the charter.

        Social responsibility, on the other hand, is inherently ecocentric. It flows from the Green Charter Principle of Ecological Wisdom (‘The basis of ecological wisdom is that human beings are part of the natural world. This world is finite, therefore unlimited material growth is impossible. Ecological sustainability is paramount’) and reads as follows:

        Social Responsibility: Unlimited material growth is impossible. Therefore the key to social responsibility is the just distribution of social and natural resources, both locally and globally.

        As a matter of interpretation, Social Responsibility must be read as flowing from the ‘paramount’ principle of ecological sustainability. Note the repeated phrase linking the two: ‘unlimited material growth is impossible.’ This clearly demands a move beyond neoliberal ‘business as usual’ in pursuit of an endless-growth economy but it does not necessarily mean an immediate rejection of capitalism either.


        The charter https://home.greens.org.nz/charter

        I don’t see Tava as using a false premise so much as calling for a clear interpretation of the charter along the lines he suggests. As for the power and control elite in NZ, including the MSM, I would guess that most have no idea what he is talking about and why it works.

        • Pascals bookie

          That principle would have National party people laughing and saying it’s not only wrong, but completely backwards. They won’t be more open to it just because it’s not Marxist language.

          • weka

            It doesn’t have anything to do with National. It’s about the GP and its influence on NZ voters. I don’t think there is any doubt that the GP has influenced NZ culture in pretty significant ways.

    • Pascals bookie 18.3

      See I have no problems with that quote. I’m not much of a Marxist, but get to many of the same policy proscriptions as many current Marxist inspired people do via Rawls and modern leftie Liberalism.

      the problem is that the National party simply does not share those views. It does not think that inequality is inherently dangerous. If inequality is an outcome of property rights and the free market in their conceptualisation of those ideas, then so be it. It would, in their view, be more dangerous and mistaken to try and ‘correct’ this justly arrived at inequality than to just let it be.

      The National party was founded to resist ‘paradigm shifts’. It is in its core, the idea they will somehow assist in a move to a world beyond work is kinda heroic. What would such a world mean for private property rights and all the other things that National actually and genuinely believes in?

      It’s liek there as unstated premise at the beginning of his argument that goes something like “imagine the National party doesn’t actually believe what it has said throughout its history”

  19. Bill 19

    Can you conceive of a world where paid employment is not our primary method of distributing resources? Can anyone? The answer is no. No one on this planet has yet come up with a solution.

    Yeah…coz like capitalism always has existed and always will exist, innit? And like, the profit motive that underpins the market and that determines what will be produced and where it will be distributed…like ,isn’t conceivable innit, coz it’s like having a job that what does all that innit? And there weren’t and irn’t no ideologies offering economic and political alternatives to what has, self evidently, always been and that wot will always always be. That’s inconceivable…all of it…on this planet at least, innnit?

    • greywarshark 19.1

      @ Bill
      I can see you getting a rap going for that theme. And very effective it would be.

    • Tracey 19.2

      But Bill, as it has been so it must always be… hence we never go anywhere


  20. weka 20

    Nandor Tanczos in 2011 on transcending the left/right paradigm.

    The Greens can be described as ‘left’, just as the colour of a puriri tree can be described as ‘dark’, but not adequately so. The Greens have an uncompromising commitment to fairness and equality. They also have a commitment to individual rights and to limitations on the power of the State, but I wouldn’t describe them as ‘right wing’ either. What I would say is that by rejecting the left/right dichotomy as inadequate to describe Green politics, the Greens become free to adopt what is valuable from either end of the spectrum and evolve it in accordance with their own philosophies. Some people on the left would say that there is nothing valuable to be found on the right, and vice versa. That kind of locked-in thinking is exactly the problem.


    • Tracey 20.1

      Nandor cannot have written that Weka. No way no how. Cos he is a lunatic communist 😉

      For some in this debate it seems more convenient to project their opinion of the Greens rather than the reality of the Greens (and to get the reality you have to examine some facts from the past). If Tava is merely Nandor in a suit with a haircut, all power to him and good luck to him in his tilt at the leadership.

      I trust the way the Greens elect their leaders… Even today the notion of co-leader has only been adopted by the MP, and still confuses the shit out of the media and mainstraeam opponents who need neat little boxes for things.

  21. One Anonymous Bloke 21

    The basic difference between the Greens and the National Party is that the Greens consider evidence, and the National Party considers the interests of its owners.

    Transcend that!

  22. Scintilla 22

    Seems to me the Greens have been diluting themselves for quite some time. Pretty much since Nandor stepped down and the leadership started wearing proper suits. The advent of Mana and corresponding departure of Sue Bradford, inevitably shifted the Greens along the despised L-R continuum towards the middle. Maybe they’re hoping to replace Labour as the second leg of the Political Beast that manages the country?
    Might force Labour to re-embrace its original reason for being – fighting for the interests of workers and their families. Whatever configuration “work” has, paid or not. The need/right to paid work has become the defacto social control arena – where a worker has to be whatever the employer decides they should be and do whatever the employer deems appropriate. A citizen’s value and status is entirely dependent on their ability to secure employment and diminish themselves into the required mould. Why can people not see that this is the vital issue?

    As a floating voter of the former Left, I’ve stopped voting Green. This wishy-washy we’ll do business with anyone stuff smacks of the sort of rhetoric Key excels at. I want a party with heart and spine, really not interested in green-washing Nact governments.

    • weka 22.1

      “As a floating voter of the former Left, I’ve stopped voting Green. This wishy-washy we’ll do business with anyone stuff smacks of the sort of rhetoric Key excels at. I want a party with heart and spine, really not interested in green-washing Nact governments.”

      That makes you an uninformed voter then. The GP have no intention of supporting the formation of a NACT govt, nor of supporting them in greenwashing themselves. What exactly makes you think they would?

      • Scintilla 22.1.1

        Because it looks like they want to prove themselves as serious players, that the holy grail of centrist voters will come to trust and therefore vote for. That’s a long game. I don’t think we’ve got the luxury of time for that – making incremental change. Where the only tool in your belt is the question “Is it sustainable?”

        It struck me that one guy up a kauri tree has achieved more for focussing political attention on looking after the trees we’ve got, rejigging the RMA and winning a categorical ‘tree should stay’ from the new Minister of Conservation, than any MPs have.

        Perhaps, for me, I see the way forward in saving what we’ve got and protecting it into the future (resources, environment etc) as a matter of people power, flax roots up. Going to have to fight for it.

        • weka

          Are you aware of the remit that’s been passed by members for the past few years? This essentially prevents the GP from forming govt with National or supporting them on C and S. From what I remember there is technically a way that the executive could still go with National, but it would break the party so I can’t see that ever happening.

          Here’s the 2011 version,

          1. Overall political positioning

          Agrees that, until such time as we are in a position to lead a government, the Green Party will campaign on the basis of the following political position:

          (i) The Green Party is an independent and distinct party, which in order to urgently advance Green Party policy goals, will attempt to work constructively with, and challenge, whichever party leads the government after an election;

          (ii) To enable any party or parties to form a government, we would need significant progress on Green Party environmental, economic and social policies and initiatives that would give effect to the Green Party Charter.

          2. 2011 election positioning

          Agrees that for the 2011 general election, the Green Party, as an independent party, will campaign on the following political position:

          (i) Based on current Labour and National Party policy positions, the Green Party has a preference to consider supporting a Labour-led government in the right circumstances, ahead of a National-led government;

          (ii) The Green Party could work with a National-led government to progress particular Green Party policies as we have over the last three years; but based on current National Party policy positions and track record it is highly unlikely that we could support a National-led government on confidence and supply.


          I agree with you about the kauri sitter (except it’s one action amongst many re the RMA reforms), although I tend to see political activism and parliamentary politics as both being essential to each other (the GP in particular has historically been a grass-roots party).

          “I don’t think we’ve got the luxury of time for that – making incremental change”

          I agree, but we would be so much further down the track had more NZers voted Green in the past. Not voting Green now lessens the chances of radical change substantially.

          • Scintilla

            Call me cynical but … political parties seem to rip their knickers off and fling them to the wind, whenever they get within sniffing range of power. Whatever their remits, constitutions and value statements say. It’s the nature of the beast. I’m sure the GP don’t plan to do so, or even imagine that they could.

            I think i can see the attraction of being “just Green” , non-aligned and free to pursue definitive goals around sustainability. Fabulous for you as politicians. But not that attractive to voters – just can’t see that scenario getting you 20%. At another time in our future perhaps? I think right now, there are many, many disillusioned, struggling, fed-up people who have no faith at all in the political process because no matter who they vote for they get shafted. This is everything to do with economics. Everything to do with being atomised by the powers that be.

            Until the people believe that a Party really is going in to bat for them, they won’t vote for it.

            Incidentally, the Greens did not run a candidate in my electorate in 2014. So why would I vote for them?

            • weka

              “Incidentally, the Greens did not run a candidate in my electorate in 2014. So why would I vote for them?”

              Because the GP get ALL their MPs via the list vote.

              “political parties seem to rip their knickers off and fling them to the wind, whenever they get within sniffing range of power.”

              How do you reconcile that criticism with your belief that we don’t have time for long term change?

              Myself, I don’t see the GP doing any knicker flinging. They’re just being pragmatic about being at 11% and how to get substantially past that.

              “Whatever their remits, constitutions and value statements say. It’s the nature of the beast. I’m sure the GP don’t plan to do so, or even imagine that they could.”

              Not sure what your point is. The way things stand, the GP can’t form govt with National. The only way that can change is through a long membership process. It’s certainly not something that’s going to happen between you or I voting for them and post-election negotiations.

              • Scintilla

                “How do you reconcile that criticism with your belief that we don’t have time for long term change?”

                why would I need to?

                From NZH, 12/6/14:

                Candidates: The Greens have 49 confirmed candidates, all of whom will run for electorate seats except MP Gareth Hughes, who will focus on the youth vote. The party list runs to 39.

                So, again, why would I vote for a party that does not field a candidate in my electorate?

                • weka

                  “why would I need to?”

                  It seems hypocritical to criticise the GP for taking too much time and criticise them for going for power to get things done.

                  “So, again, why would I vote for a party that does not field a candidate in my electorate?”

                  Because the GP get their MPs from the list vote. Do you not understand how MMP works?

                  • Scintilla

                    You plainly don’t welcome open discussion without resorting to smears of ignorance. Which achieves what exactly for your party?

                    For the third time and I’ll make it really simple: If you don’t run a candidate for an electorate seat, voters think you don’t care about that electorate, you’re just hoping to get in on the list. Lazy? Don’t care about local issues? Either way I won’t vote for you – unless I believed you could seriously threaten the current govt.

                    However, if I lived in Julie Ann Genter’s electorate, I would vote for her and it would be two ticks – that is, if she actually stands. You can figure out why. But I’m guessing you’ll say I’m inconsistent or something.

                    If I lived in Northland right now it would be Winnie all the way. Again, voters in Northland care that their MP, Sabin, has been a douche. According to you, they shouldn’t. But, then we live in a country that has an unmistakable Cult of Personality around our PM.
                    Reality sucks.

                    I live in a Blue seat, where unless a Sabin-level scandal erupts things likely won’t change. Although I do think NZF could give them a run if they ran a great candidate and a strong campaign. The last 2 elections I have party-voted against Nact for whoever I think can make the most difference in parliament.

                    • weka

                      I haven’t said that electorate seats aren’t important. I’ve said the GP gets its MPs from the list. If you personally have a prejudice against parties that don’t stand someone in every seat in the country that’s up to you.

                      “The last 2 elections I have party-voted against Nact for whoever I think can make the most difference in parliament.”

                      Really? Because I thought you just said you won’t vote for a party that doesn’t stand an electorate candidate, no matter what.

                      Thanks for making it really simple though, it probably would have saved us time if you had explained your reasoning up front instead of expecting me to guess what it is from your obscure rhetorical questioning.

                    • Pasupial

                      This circling round has become less than scintillating. The awkward core is that the GP don’t have many corporate donors. The party’s campaigns are funded from a tithe (10% plus whatever extra they can spare) on MP salaries, and $15/ year membership fees (plus donations).

                      Sometimes, it just makes more sense to save money and not contest an electorate. Especially when there is no strong local GP presence to volunteer for the campaign (although this gets a bit circular itself; no campaign leads to no increase in GP membership, which means no future campaign). You say; “I live in a Blue seat, where unless a Sabin-level scandal erupts things likely won’t change”, so it probably would not have been efficient to spend the time and resources in that electorate.

                      “Reality sucks.”

                    • weka

                      Pretty sure that Scintilla was quite capable of figuring that out themselves, but believes that their personal ideology around seats trumps the practicalities for the GP. Which belies the idea of voting out National.

  23. The lost sheep 23

    “socialism is not enough. It does not have all the answers needed to conquer the problems the world faces.”

    True that.
    But like Homeopathy, no matter how often it’s proven to be ineffective, there are still those who reject the evidence and continue to believe.

    The huge flaw in the Socialist based theories of the far left are that they completely out of touch with the reality of how people ARE, and why we have evolved the systems that we have.
    So S, I agree completely with the need to for humanity to keep adapting to the significant challenges we face, and the need to embrace all the threads of Human society to do so successfully.
    And certainly, if the Green party were to show that they themselves were more open to embracing more influence from the 90% of voters who currently don’t support thier worldview I am sure the GP influence and ability to achieve concrete change would grow.

    As OAB pointed out a while back, the current capitalist paradigm is very open to Socialist and other influences.
    But It is futile to base your hopes on a ‘paradigm shift’ in the fundamental human motivations and the way they cause us to think, act and believe. It simply ain’t going to happen.
    Human nature as it is will remain a constant. At best it is moving in line with what is undoubtedly an unprecedented rate of evolutionary change.
    But in the times that those of us alive now can influence, effective and successful change can only evolve out of the current paradigm

    Far better to put our energies into efforts based on that assumption, than to waste our time on (well meaning but) unworkable theories that have zero chance of implementation.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 23.1


      Speaking of unworkable theories, Honduras!

      As for “our” energies, what rank insincerity. When human nature causes collective bargaining, you legislate to destroy it. Ditto pedagogy, privacy, and the right to protest.

      • The lost sheep 23.1.1

        Why do you keep replying to my posts with utterly irrelevant and nonsensical comments OAB?
        You have nothing to say to the point, but you have to say something?

        But anyway, the last time I attempted to engage you in a genuine discussion, you showed yourself clearly as someone incapable of genuine engagement.

        So you if have a point that is direct and genuinely engages with points I have made in my post, and you are willing to respond genuinely and directly to points made back to you, I am happy to respond.

        But I think I’ll pass on the bullshit.

        • weka

          Can you two please take this to Open Mike? Unless you can keep it on topic about the GP and transcending the left/right divide 🙂

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            This is the Left/Right divide – TLS’s hate-based dogma vs. a reality check.

            • weka

              Maybe, but this post is about transcending the left/right divide, not practicing it. If you and sheep want to have an off topic fight, can you please do it at Open Mike?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                OK OK.

                OAB’s suggestion for transcending the left/right divide:

                Strengthen the rules of evidence available to select committees, and treat giving false evidence to a select committee as an act of criminal perjury.

                • weka


                  Do whatever you like of course, but Shanti is a new author and it would have been nice to have seen the thread treated with some respect instead of bringing an old fight here off topic. It would also have been nice to keep the focus on green politics given how few posts we have on that.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    You can take it that way if you want.

                    So far as I’m concerned, evidence-based policy is the whole point of being Green: we need measures to better test the justifications for policies.

                    How much misery caused by the notion that raising the minimum wage causes unemployment, for example? Don’t even get me started on Climatology!

          • The lost sheep

            @ Weka.
            As I would hope my post above indicates, I will not be making any further engagements of an off topic interpersonal nature with OAB.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          You’re the one making assertions about human nature, and how Socialism doesn’t work because of human nature. So I pointed out that human nature causes collective bargaining, political protest and high education standards, and your Dear Leader legislated against all of them.

          So I’m addressing your drivel head on. You just can’t stand the candle.

          • The lost sheep

            Excellent point OAB. Happy to answer.

            “human nature causes collective bargaining, political protest and high education standards, and your Dear Leader legislated against all of them.”

            But that is my point exactly.
            The ‘Dear Leader’ is in a position to implement the policies he does, because human nature has put in place a specific political system, and under that system human nature has caused the people to vote him in for a third term to implement policies.

            So your socialist tinged left wing theories have been thwarted by the reality of how people actually think and act.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Nice goalposts.

            • weka

              tls, you’ve just said you won’t post off topic. How does your comment have anything to do with the topic of this thread?

              • The lost sheep

                I thought OAB’s post was relevant to the original post. So i answered it.

    • Bill 23.2

      We live within a manufactured political/economic environment that variously rewards and sanctions particular actions/behaviours.

      If we want different facets of human behaviour to be variously elevated and diminished, then all we need do is develop a different political/economic environment.

      The ‘human nature’ arguement, that argues things can only be as they are because of human nature, is cyclical bullshit that overlooks the powerful influence of environment on our behaviours and general natures.

      • The lost sheep 23.2.1

        “all we need do is develop a different political/economic environmentHow to you propose to get people to agree to change the political system’

        That is one of the biggest ‘all we need to do’s” I can imagine Bill?

        How do you get people to agree to change to a system that in essense changes their nature, before their nature has changed? (an I’m para phrasing Orwell there)

        Anyway….friends dragging me out the door for night…..

        • Bill

          There’s no need to change much about peoples’ behaviour in order to abolish the market. There’s a tranche of convincing arguments can be had on grounds of inequity, unsustainability etc, etc, etc.

          And with no market, there is an absense of systemic reward for ripping people off…and that is a good first step, no?

          • The lost sheep

            @ Bill
            “The ‘human nature’ arguement, that argues things can only be as they are because of human nature, is cyclical bullshit”

            I agree, and I did not say that was the case. What I said was that what ever change occurs, human nature will remain a constant as the central factor in changes that actually occur. Self evidently such change has and is occurring.
            The point I was making to S. is that there will be no ‘paradigm shift’ in human nature, so it is pointless predicating your hopes for significant change on that occurring.

            And your second post provides an excellent chance to illustrate that….
            “There’s no need to change much about peoples’ behaviour in order to abolish the market.”
            Bill, don’t you think that the economic system we have evolved, and it’s specific features like the market, is to a very large degree a reflection of the FACT that humans are by nature highly competitive?
            And don’t you think that that is hard wired into our genes?

            Is that a behaviour you don’t think it would take much to alter?

            • Bill

              is to a very large degree a reflection of the FACT that humans are by nature highly competitive?
              And don’t you think that that is hard wired into our genes?

              We have a capacity for competition and a capacity for cooperation. The market rewards cut throat competition.

              But ‘the market’ didn’t ‘evolve’. It was imposed off the back of immense violence and against staunch resistance.

              As for ‘hard wired’…nothing is hardwired in terms of behaviour. Yes, we are human and that entails a ‘set’ of attributes that we are bound by. And although I haven’t reflected on it much, I’d punt that every attribute is complimented…a yin and yang if you like. The traits we’d prefer to promote and celebrate is up to us and largely decided by the cultures, politics and economics we wrap around ourselves..

              • The lost sheep

                “But ‘the market’ didn’t ‘evolve’. It was imposed off the back of immense violence and against staunch resistance.”

                How and where did that happen?

                My understanding is that the free market dates back to roughly the time the first fire stick was traded for a couple of flint knives back somewhere on the African plains.
                Planned and controlled economies have been relatively recent developments, and very rarely associated with any concept of individual freedom?

                • KJT

                  Ancient Rome and Egypt were not “planned and controlled” ??

                • KJT

                  Democracy is of course, inconsistent with “individual freedom” to lie cheat and steal from my fellow human beings.

                • Bill

                  You’re confusing a market economy with a market as a location where things are traded.

                  Things have been traded for a very long time. The rules applied to the trading (ie, the market economy) haven’t.

            • KJT

              Except that the most successful players in the current form of market economy, corporations, are totally dependant on human co-operation.

              A large number of people working together to meet their goals, a functioning society to protect and preserve the corporations sources of income and to educate and keep their workforce healthy, and the rule of law to protect their monopoly on property.

    • DoublePlusGood 23.3

      “no matter how often it’s proven to be ineffective”
      Citation needed. Socialism does well actually. Look at all those social democracies in Europe. And, then note how much worse they do for their people now with all that neoliberal nonsense.

      • The lost sheep 23.3.1

        Er, ‘Social Democracy’ is a different thing to Socialism.
        Those countries you refer to have Capitalist economies, not Socialist.

        Some of them did for a while. Please cite the ones that proved Socialism was successful?
        Or any other Country that has proven Socialism is a successful way to run an economy?

        • Naturesong


          Or if you want communism; the kibbutz system in Israel.

          One of the things that socialist countries have had to contend with is the US through the CIA burning their country down.

          So the reason some states failed when they tried to move to socialism may be more to do with them being nor strong enough to survive the campaigns foreign states waged against them.

          • The lost sheep

            I agree Cuba would be the most successful example of a Socialist economy.
            Current HDI ranking of 44th. GDP per capita rating 95th.
            Best not to talk about state of infrastructure, or individual, press and internet freedoms though.
            And then, you will be aware that after the decline in the Cuban economy that followed the collapse of the USSR, in 2010 Fidel and Raul conceded the weakness of their Centralized planning system started introducing major reforms in 2011 to allow much greater privatisation of the economy.
            Up to 25% of the economy is now run by private enterprise in what is basically a market system, and these reforms continue…

            Kibbutzim are a fine example of a communal model working within a Capitalist economy, although once again, your citing of them as a Socialist model is badly weakened by the fact that they have undergone a major ‘renewal’ process since the late 1980’s, and about 75% of Kibbutzim now operate under a system that incorporates a very high degree of privatization…why would they have done that if Socialism was so successful?

            So I have to say that if that’s the extent of your evidence that Socialism is a successful economic system, it’s not a very compelling case to say the least?

            But of course, if Socialism fails, you can always blame Capitalism….

            • Naturesong

              Please fix your filters!!

              I’m responding to your request to provide examples of socialist nations with successful economies, NOT the new goal posts that you just created: So I have to say that if that’s the extent of your evidence that Socialism is a successful economic system, it’s not a very compelling case to say the least?
              And I have not addressed whether they are authoritarian or not. We can change the discussion to transparency, democracy and good governance as it relates to socialist governance, but again, that wasn’t your original question.

              Every system has flaws and weaknesses – we see the flaws of capitalism all about us; poverty, homelessness, poor health, extracting non-renewable resources, manufacturing them into poor quality items, and then burying them in landfill*.

              Historically, the main flaws of socialist systems as implemented is lack of democracy, transparency and inclusiveness which has led many budding socialist nations to fall prey to corruption, and in worst cases psychopathic madmen.

              Also, I did not cite the kibbutz system as an example of socialism, but of communism.
              Yes, Kibbutz has changed over the years. I was not clear, but I am talking about the first kibbutz; from early 1900’s and the migration of Jews to Palestine after WWI
              In fact, it does look like the communist model is the only one that would have allowed those communities to thrive in such a hostile climate**.

              *please note, the last one about cheap poor quality items. I am not saying that this is will be fixed by socialism, it may not be – you will find a myriad of examples of wastage by socialist economies.
              But that under capitalism this activity has rich rewards.
              ** “The body is crushed, the legs fail, the head hurts, the sun burns and weakens” – Degania 1914

              • Colonial Rawshark

                We have to create and adapt new systems to deal with the demands of the 21st century. That includes climate change, fossil fuel depletion, and oligarchic rule enforced by a financialised security and surveillance state.

                Do we want those systems to give life, freedom and strength to all, or just the top 5%-10%?

                Once we decide, what is necessary will become much more obvious.

            • Naturesong

              Re: “if Socialism fails, you can always blame Capitalism”

              The CIA involvement in budding South American states who moved toward socialism is well documented.

              Note: This does NOT mean that all socialist states failed because of the CIA.

            • tricledrown

              IfCapitalism is so successful why the need for every major economy to continually bail out its economy by printing trillions of Yen,Yuan,pounds,Euro’s.
              1.1 trillion Euro’s being printed as we speak.
              Sheep Shaffer!

        • KJT

          Sweden, Denmark, Norway. New Zealand before the 80’s. When we had the highest standard of living in the world.

          Or you can simply compare Columbia and Haiti (Extreme capitalist) with Venezuela and Cuba.

          China. You know the “socialist/communist” country that is propping up New Zealand by buying our milk powder.

  24. weka 24

    Transcending left/right.

    lprent on the Greens as a centre party,

    One of the things that I find that I have explain to people over and over again is that the Greens are far more of centre party than anywhere on that blasted left-right spectrum.

    They operate orthogonally to the left-right spectrum.

    What look like good solid left/progressive policies from them are actually good solid *green* policies when you analyse them. That is because the Greens run with a longer term focus than the short-term myopia that characterises our conservative and business brethren.

    Essentially people who are poor tend to be dirtier polluters than their more affluent neighbours. Large numbers of poor people pollute exponentially to their accumulated numbers.

    NRT: Fundamental incomprehension

    (I don’t think it’s quite as clinical as that, that most GP members support social justice as a right, but I can see the rationale in the above as well).

    Which matches what Tava is saying in this Bfm interview from post-election last year. He talks about the GP being in the centre rather than centrist like NZF/UF, and how things would change if the GP held 20% of the vote in that place (I like Lynn’s term orthogonally better, or vertically even). The Greens would determine what happened to far greater degree than having 11% in a Labour led govt (esp seeing as how Labour still can’t commit to the Greens as coalition partners). Tava talks about how too many people are not voting Green because of its association with red. What’s not so clear is whether Tava means that the GP would support the formation of a National led govt in NACT’s present form. For me that’s the ciritical question.


    [audio src="http://95bfm.com/assets/sm/217965/3/vernongreens.mp3" /]

  25. Left vs Right is a really silly and rather dated way of thinking about politics. The media use it because they cannot envisage something more complex, such as a two or even three dimensional projection.

    The two dimensional plot would have Communism and Fascism at either end of the X dimension. If I had to guess the Y wing would be Authoritarian and Anarchist at opposite ends.

    So, using that, I am guessing Nandor Tanczos for example would be more of a militant socialist, which would fit with his support for direct action against genetically modified crops. Someone like Anders Breivik in Norway would be militant fascist(?).

    But seriously, left-wing vs right-wing is old.

    • felix 25.1

      In what sense is someone like Tanczos a “militant”?

    • Naturesong 25.2

      Fascism can be left or right.

      The poles are socialism and oligarchy.

    • Pasupial 25.3


      Old does not equal invalid.

      The English language is old (and flawed), but that doesn’t mean that everyone is about to switch to Esperanto or some other synthetic language.

      Sure, using terms derived from; the 18th century French Estates General, is a bit clunky at times. But as you yourself say; “The media use it because they cannot envisage something more complex”. So, unless you are suggesting that politicians run election campaigns without any consideration of the media, we are pretty much stuck with it.

  26. Draco T Bastard 26

    Some voters always allocate their votes poorly, but the truth is there are things National simply does better than every other party. It offers hope of security and stability.

    But doesn’t actually provide them.

    In fact, I’d say that the only thing National does better than anyone else is lie.

    • b waghorn 26.1

      ‘Is lie’ And keep the opposition divided, I don’t know why they don’t like MMP (the nats that is)they have found away to twist it so far away from what it was meant to achieve that they will quite possible be in power for awhile yet.

    • Corokia 26.2

      Agreed Draco. I am highly suspicious of the motives of commentators who claim to be Green and then praise National, as this author does….

      “National simply does better than every other party. It offers hope of security and stability. It challenges individuals to rise to their own responsibilities.”

      National might “challenge individuals to rise to their responsibilities”, but when faced with the challenge of climate change they damn well avoid any responsibility.

      • weka 26.2.1

        “National might “challenge individuals to rise to their responsibilities”, but when faced with the challenge of climate change they damn well avoid any responsibility.”

        What makes you think that Shanti would disagree with that?

        Or that acknowledging strengths in Nation = approval of the party?

      • Naturesong 26.2.2

        I’m a green party member, and my view is that National do Realpolitik better than any other party bar none.

        They will rip your fucking heart out, and happy to condemn labour for the resulting blood stain.

  27. infused 27

    On the Nation they were beyond awful

    • Pasupial 27.1

      The panel were indeed awful. The candidates on the other hand were quite respectful of one another, and the policies generated by the wider party despite the interviewer’s attempts to generate conflict.

      • weka 27.1.1

        I thought the candidates did well too (apart from the economics bit) and also noted them being respectful of each other.

        Unfortunately with the panel I ended up agreeing with Gower on a couple of things 🙁 Leaving aside his baby playing with its own poo level of analysis of the nature’s rights issue, he did make a pretty good comment about how the GP too often talk about themselves in language that no-one else can understand. This is why the whole working with National thing was such a clusterfuck at the election. The party really needs to sort this out.

  28. Maui 28

    Gareth Hughes for a spokesperson
    Kevin Hague for steady as she goes
    James Shaw for a messiah

    • Pasupial 28.1


      Well, each to their own, your; annointed one, is my; greasy bastard.

      • weka 28.1.1


        Who are you supporting Pasupial?

        • Pasupial


          I’m still an IP member, and so aren’t able to vote (ie consult with local delegates to the AGM on how they should order their voting preferences) in this coleadership election. With the IP being so thin-skinned about the election defeat, I’ve been thinking about moving over to MANA. But if Hughes got the coleadership role, I’d sign up with the GP instead (as he’s just what the doctor ordered). With Hague I’d be a bit more wait and see, either of the others would push me over to MANA (or maybe even Labour, except I can’t stand the local MP).

          As far as Gower’s; “comment about how the GP too often talk about themselves in language that no-one else can understand”. That is hardly isolated to the GP – NACT have a strong history of dogwhistling, and Labour have a tendency to get bogged down in details (which doesn’t fly on TV). I think Gower’s complaint reduces to a petulant cry that the GP often talk about things that he isn’t personally interested in (because it’s always got to be all about him).

          • weka

            Leaving aside what Gower meant (who would ever know), I do think the whole we will work with National but we won’t work with National message is very confusing to people who aren’t following the minutiae of the party internal processes, and that some of that is down to how the GP has handled it.

            I liked Hughes’ commitment to the membership, but he came across in the interviews yesterday as spouting PR lines too many times.

            • Pasupial

              The Green Party will work with National, but the Green Party won’t work for National.

              • weka

                What does that mean?

                (I know what it means, but most people will just see the GP equivocating again).

  29. One Anonymous Bloke 29

    It is conceivable that in fifty years time, the need for paid unemployment will virtually be non-existent.

    So what if you can conceive it? Is there any evidence whatsoever that this particular notion is grounded in reality? After all, everyone remembers how the Spinning Jenny caused the end of the World. Or did I dream it?

  30. Lefty 30

    It is easy to put forward a weird and incomplete interpretation of what left, or socialism, or Marxism is, then proclaim that you transcend it by being neither left nor right.

    You would think any person who makes such a bold assertion would bother to find out what the things they transcend actually are – and that means going beyond a Wikipedia definition or the simplistic definitions promoted by the right.

    I have never seen or heard anything from the Greens that goes beyond the left/right divide, and their four principles, while thoroughly worthy, sit very comfortably within traditional conservative social democrat, radical social democrat, socialist or Marxist frameworks.

    The neither left nor right but ahead arguments are fundamentally conservative responses to a radical agenda by people trying to avoid admitting they are tories at heart,

    • weka 30.1

      Likewise, you could read the background so you don’t end up making patronising statements about wikipedia and superficiality, or misunderstanding the radical nature of what is being proposed.




      • Lefty 30.1.1

        Nothing new there.

        We live in a class society and the ruling class are destroying our planet.

        Trying to avoid facing up to that is a cop out.

        • weka

          Where’s the avoidance?

          How’s the class struggle working out so far?

          • KJT

            I agree with lefty here.

            Trying to fudge Green principles to get the media, or the right wing, on side is just confusing. And pointless.

            • weka

              So how’s the class struggle working out then?

              It’s not like there hasn’t been critique of the position that it’s all about class before. All this subthread is doing is pitting ideology against ideology, and I fail to see how that takes us anywhere useful.

              • KJT

                That we need to be environmentally and socially sustainable are facts, not ideology.

                Unless you can supply a spare planet.

                • weka

                  Ideology is that the only valid analysis is a class one, and the only valid strategies are the ones that follow on from that analysis. Which is what I think Lefty just implied.

                  The class analyses I see don’t really take into account ecological reality, but people like Tava and Shaw are trying to have a conversation about those things. Lefty just wrote them off from a class analysis perspective, but I’ve seen nothing yet that tells me Lefty understands ecological thinking.

                  (see also Murry and Adele’s conversation from the last few days for another example of where the class theory fails).

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Class analysis is absolutely critical and by forgetting it, the Left has drifted for decades. If you want to apply resource or energy constraints to the world we live in, that’s fine, but class analysis remains utterly central because the powers that be view and act on the world and on us in just that way.

                    • weka

                      Yes, nothing I have said contradicts that. Please read my comments again because I think you’ve missed what I was saying.

      • KJT 30.1.2

        Tava uses too many words.

        Reminds me of one of my University essays.
        Even I cannot understand it, re-reading it 6 years later.

        • weka

          What don’t you understand?

          I don’t see too many people in this thread attempting to engage with the actual things being raised. Which is a shame, because even if Tava and co are wrong (and I’m not convinced they are right), it would be useful for the left here to look at these ideas.

          • KJT

            I think I am. See my other comments on this thread.

            “Neither left nor right” is at the end of the day, a cop out.

            And writing at a level, of complication that is difficult for most of your intended audience is grandstanding and patronising. Wyte, ACT, did it and was rightly pilloried for that, as well as his ridiculous ideas.

            • weka

              ““Neither left nor right” is at the end of the day, a cop out.”

              I’ve seen you asserting that (but now saying how) and I’ve seen your concerns about how people on the right within the GP are trying to shift the party right, but I don’t see you talking about the basic premise in a way that tells me you understand what it means.

              At one level it’s as simple as Norman’s position that we protect the environment by using the market to do that. Pro-market, pro control. Is that left or right? But I think what is being proposed here takes it much further than that and I’m not seeing much attempt to understand what that is.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Trying to use market thinking and market mechanisms to save the planet does nothing more than reinforce the free market ethos and philosophies which underlie the destructive capitalism taking all of us down. Even if it might slow down some aspects of the destruction temporarily.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              I see Left policitians going on about conceptual, intellectual arguments as usual and very little in the way of concrete billion dollar spending and restructuring of the economy to put into actual action a Left, social democratic, democratic socialist, eco-socialist, (whatever you want to label it) agenda. An agenda which represents and imapcts the bottom 2/3 of NZers in a positive way.

              In other words more talk and little concrete plans or spending of significance.

              • weka

                Tava and Shanti aren’t politicians (well Tava is on a council up north, but the point stands). Besides the whole reason d’etre of the standard is to argue about concepts and ideas rather than actually build something.

                I’d be more supportive of the anti-intellectual line here if I had seen some engagement with the actual ideas being raised. I’m not suggesting we talk at a university level (I’m not up for that), but for me the concepts aren’t that hard to grasp, so it begs the question of why not talk about them.

                Basically we’re treating the subject as if it were the subject line and people’s reactions to the subject line.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  If political parties want to engage people they need to show that they understand peoples’ interests and that they are willing to put in place major concrete changes which make sense to address those interests, and to properly fund them. Otherwise it’s simply massaging at the margins.

                  • weka

                    True, but again I don’t see what that has to do with this conversation. I think the GP are trying to do what you say. Some individual GP members are trying to get a conversation going about some other thigns. They’re not contradictory or incompatible.

                    btw, back in the day, if the GP had waited to engage people’s interests outside of the people that already thought like them, how far would they have gotten. It’s actually pretty interesting seeing this line being run in this thread that people bringing radical ideas are wrong somehow. Instead of looking at the ideas themselves.

                • KJT

                  It is not anti-intellectual to ask that some one use clear and simple language.

                  Not language that can only be understood by a specific type of pol science grad.

                  I was employed for some time translating regulations, statutes international conventions, instruction books etc etc into language that a human could understand. I have a high tolerance personally for understanding gobbledegook. I have trouble understanding where the Author, and Tava are coming from.
                  To me, it seems they are echoing those that think the Greens should be concentrated on becoming more right wing, to get into “power”.

                  Buying into the right wing meme that Greens are “too Red”.

          • KJT

            You agreed with my point further up the thread.

            “he did make a pretty good comment about how the GP too often talk about themselves in language that no-one else can understand”.

            Though I do not think Tava, Shaw or the Author are representative of most Green party members. The ones I know talk normal N Zild..


            • weka

              Please don’t take my words out of context. I was referring to a very specific issue that the GP has to deal with in the real world via the MSM (which was denied in fact).

              I would guess that Tava wrote his posts for a select audience, not for the general public. Shanti’s post isn’t particularly intellectual (I thought it was too loose myself). I get that you feel uncomfortable about this being discussed in public, and you may be right, but there’s nothing wrong with the ideas being discussed nor with the fact that it’s not mainstream thinking. FFS, do you realise that this whole it’s not representative thing is exactly the same shit that is used to undermine the the GP (who patently don’t represent most of the NZ).

  31. tricledrown 31

    The greens have already been hamstrung by the right wing propaganda machine.
    Aligning itself further to the right would be akin to aceppting funding from the Koch brothers.

    • KJT 31.1

      It is accepting the rights framing and appearing to buy into it.

      I don’t think that abandoning principles will attract more old style conservative National voters.

  32. greywarshark 32

    The old, even some of the new, Parties have limited ability to offer policies to the people with the needed mindset which could be called – Pragmatic Idealism.
    The Green Party looking at the present with reliable scenarios for the future, and resulting policies that respond to those scenarios, is the only political party with the vision for a livable future. Those policies would ideally be humanitarian, practical and moral and clear away the sludge that has flooded our culture from the neo lib economic cyclogenesis.

    A cyclogenesis happened in England last year. Here is the sort of thing that is happening in weather terms, but which is being matched in sweeping changes in social and cultural terms with social policies built up over years, weakened, or thown out.

    Policies need review on a regular basis, but the reviews if any in recent times have been shallow and slanted. We need to clear away the replacement neo lib style policies, so that only the few actual good ideas are retained, restore practical past policies and face the future with united intelligence and reciprocal concern.
    (We need to call it a cyclogenesis as weather b.mb uses a politically sensitive word that would probably register on the inhuman surveillance machines recording words that have been declared dangerous and inappropriate!

  33. Brutus Iscariot 33

    The Greens are too strange a creature to succeed in NZ politics.

    Of course it’s probably inane to observe that they do in fact need to split into a left-wing social justice Worker’s Party more like Mana, and a “true green” party that puts environmentalism first, rather than just having it as a trendy veneer.

    However it is the truth. The deeper problem is – and few recognise this – is that true green ideology stands in conflict with, or outright opposition to, standard left wing politics, as it does to right wing politics. It is perhaps 10% more compatible with the former.

    For example, the Real Greens (let’s call them that) should be arguing for a doubling of the fuel excise tax (highly regressive, but price signals are the ONLY thing that works), a virtual complete halt to immigration, a policy of absolute population management (i.e subsidies and “encouragement” for long-term contraception, study of optimal population for NZ, and capping it). Followed by a “think big” project to ensure 100% domestic self-sufficiency on clean energy. The old paradigm of GDP-growth focused thinking goes out the window together with most redundant government departments. Unfortunately a Worker’s Party will never tell us we need fewer workers.

    That is why the Greens are currently a party for urban hippies and soft, cosseted thinkers. Rather than taking the logical extension of the obvious environmental necessities that confront us , they will instead opt for mealy-mouthed halfway houses like “sustainability”, “green jobs”, and building a few bike paths. As if that will halt the destruction of the planet?

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