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What the feck Greens

Written By: - Date published: 11:56 am, May 28th, 2017 - 138 comments
Categories: Economy, greens, labour, Metiria Turei, tax, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

It appears the Labour Green Memorandum of Understanding did not work as well this week as it was intended.  The Greens decided to vote for National’s tax reduction legislation while Labour voted against it.

I am struggling to understand why the Greens did this.  This budget does nothing beneficial for the environment.  It promises more irrigation allowing more dairying and more polluted streams with a miniscule amount set aside to address the consequences.  It does not address New Zealand’s response to climate change.  Putting to one side the environmental devastation that will be caused it does not address how we as a country are going to address the $14 billion hole in our finances that the payments required under the Paris Accord will cause.  And the home insulation scheme is being cut, completely.

But they chose to support the Government’s tax reduction law.  And in the process brought back memories of 2011 and 2014 when late during both campaigns the Greens dropped hints that they could go into Government with National in the dying stages of each campaign.  Labour and Green support then dipped.

You have to wonder what was going through the collective Green caucus mind as it decided to support the Government’s proposal.  There were plenty of reasons for it to oppose.  For instance the bottom 50% of wage earners receive only 20% of the money from the tax cuts.  The 500,000 low income workers who currently receive the Independent Earners’ Tax Credit receive an extra $1 per week.  The richest families receive $35 per week and the poorest families only $5 per week.  The increase in accommodation supplements will almost inevitable lead to rental inflation and will be a payout to landlords, not tenants.  And in health, education and policing previous cuts are not addressed.

While I have no problems with benefits being increased the Government’s proposal will lead to increasing inequality and do precious little for those in most need.

And the Greens understood this.  Meturia Turei for instance said this in Parliament:

This bill delivers tax cuts, which the country has said it does not want. Actually, what the country wanted was to see more money being delivered in services, in particular, and to the families who need it most. What we see with this legislation is a very meagre opportunity to provide additional funding to the families who need it the most, and the maximum benefit going to those who earn the most.

That is pretty traditional National. We know that. We saw that when it first came in. After the 2008 election, its first choice then, in response to the global financial crisis, was to give significant tax cuts to the very wealthy, and we are seeing that now as part of its attempt to try to win a fourth term at this year’s election. Nobody is fooled by this. Everybody can see that that is what National is doing—that it has been, over the last 8 years, systematically eroding Working for Families, systematically eroding social services, education services, and health services.

Now it is crowing about delivering a tiny proportion of what it took from New Zealanders over that period of time, and it is trying to sell it as being a great advantage for working families when, in fact, working families will still continue to suffer from the effects of increased poverty, increased housing costs, and increased costs of living as a result of National’s policy. I just want to demonstrate some of that here. As you know, those on the lowest incomes will be getting around $5 a week extra from the tax cuts from this—

Phil Twyford: Hallelujah!

METIRIA TUREI: Ha, ha! Five dollars a week extra, right? That is what they are going to be getting. That is what they will be getting. Let us just have a think about what that means, because one of the arguments in the legislation is that the Government is delivering this meagre little tax cut to the low-income earners because of high house prices. Right? That is how it is justifying it. Its members talk at length about the accommodation supplement as being one of the measures in this—it is not in the provisions of the bill, but it is in the description of the bill.

But what we also know is that National has been clearer and more upfront in the past about the risk of simply increasing the accommodation supplement. Just in 2015, it refused to increase the accommodation supplement, and its members said that they refused to do it because of “the risk of landlord capture of the assistance.”

To be fair to the Greens part of the problem is the rushed nature of the Budget debate where a huge amount of information gets dumped in a short period of time and the opposition parties are meant to somehow deal with this and make quick decisions with limited amount of time to comprehend.

But I am somewhat flummoxed by the decision of the Greens to support the benefit changes.  They could have adopted a principled stance and opposed the bill.  Instead of this they have supported something that is designed for PR purposes and not the alleviation of poverty.  And they have provided the Government with publicity that it will roll out continuously until the next election.

It is not that often that Labour adopts a principled position and the Greens don’t.  And the incident is messy in that the parties look divided on an important issue.  Hopefully this is not a situation that will continue.

138 comments on “What the feck Greens ”

  1. red-blooded 1

    I think you’re being a little hard on the Greens. The MOU doesn’t mean that the two separate parties have to follow exactly the same script. They haven’t merged. I thought James Shaw explained it pretty well on Q+A this morning; he said they felt that they had led the charge on child poverty and while the measures in the budget were inadequate and weren’t the approach his party would have chosen, they were a way of giving some relief to many families who are having a tough time, and they didn’t feel they could oppose anything that would put some money in the pockets of those people.

    I understand the position taken by the Greens. It’s not what Labour chose to do, but both parties had tough choices and each party made their own decision. It looked a bit scrappy, but the media buzz was a bit of a beat-up, and I don’t see any betrayal here. It was good to see Dr Jennifer Curtin arguing the same thing on the Q+A panel.

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/q-and-a/clips/extras/labour-greens-new-zealand-first-panel

    • The Chairman 1.1

      They were a way of giving some relief but it didn’t require Green party support to pass. Therefore, bringing their position into question.

    • Bearded Git 1.2

      @ red blooded

      Disagree; I think Mickey has it 100% right in the post above and I am a Green voter. The Greens f*****-up and should admit it.

      All they need to say is that this was a decision made in haste and on reflection, while they support some of the changes to tax and benefit it was a mistake to support the budget. The system needs to be changed so that opposition parties have 2 days to decide a position on the budget per Australia.

    • Sigh 1.3

      No one denies their right to stick their head in a blender. The criticism is that they did, and dragged Labour in with them.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    The only silver lining I can think of is that it undermines National’s default lies about the Greens being extremists. Maybe even signals to some National voters dupes that they can vote for clean rivers and still get an irrigation grant.

    As Weka says, there’s no legal way the caucus can defy the party in terms of who forms a government.

    The MOU doesn’t say the parties have to be in lockstep.

    The downside is the risk to existing support.

    • weka 2.1

      Technically I think the Exec can override the party, but I can’t imagine them doing that to support National forming govt because it would destroy the party. I’m guessing the override was there in case say the membership got taken over by people who didn’t support GP principles. It won’t have been intended that the caucus can do what they like. I also don’t believe that the current MPs would want to be in a National govt.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure electoral law says MPs can vote however they want, and yes, for an entire group to do this en masse would be unthinkable, unless Roger Douglas…

        And yes, party support would drop to ACT levels.

        Can’t quite see it myself, but hey.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          I still don’t really understand what happened to Labour (or how it happened), but I suspect it was one of the things that informed how the Green Party was set up. My understanding is that the GP is better protected than Labour. It would make a good article for someone to write.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1.1

            Electoral Act S.55 makes it impossible to remove them from Parliament for anything other than the reasons in the act (I think).

            Might be easier to drum them out of the party, but it would still sound a death knell.

            • weka 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I was thinking that the membership would walk. But you are probably right, there would be a shitstorm of a fight internally and it would end badly. I’d be happy for the party to tear itself down under those circumstances rather than go through (or put NZ through) the kind of post-betrayal that Labour has had to endure.

  3. Keith 3

    Up until the MOU with Labour I was convinced the Greens under Shaw were going toward National and it appears that is now the case.

    For the right, business and ex corporate man Shaw had been an inspired choice probably cementing Nationals 4th term.

    Sad for those Green supporters who thought they had more principals than encouraging the failed status quo.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      Looks like confirmation bias to me. Shaw wears a suit! I seen it!

    • weka 3.2

      James Shaw (circa 2015 I think, the original source link is now broken),

      What I said is that, if it was up to me, I would rule out a coalition with National at the next election, and I think that we should go into the next election presenting an credible alternative government to National.

      (if it was up to me means that he doesn’t get to decide, the party including members do).

      That’s what Shaw wanted when he became co-leader. And that’s exactly what we’ve got. A Green Party going into the election presenting a credible alternative to National.

      and in June 2015,

      “Look, I cannot see, certainly in 2017, how that could possibly function. It will be coming to the end of a third term National Government, we are miles apart (especially on the environment). The underlying economic system that produces the kind of environmental and social costs and consequences that we go on about is core to National’s way of governing. If we wanted to be in a coalition with them we would have to have a conversation with them about the nature of the economy and I can’t see them giving up on the model they’ve had for the last 30 years.“

      Green Politics

    • billmurray 3.3

      Keith,
      James Shaw looks to have the upper hand in the Greens.
      National have little time for Kingmaker Winston.
      In my opinion Shaw is saying to National you do not need Winston. We are showing you our petticoats.
      The MOU expires the day after the election.
      IMHO unless Labour can get into the high thirties of the vote they will be toast on the 24 September.

      • weka 3.3.1

        The Greens can’t go into coalition with National, nothing to do with the MoU, their own party rules prevent that. If you can see a way they can, please share. Otherwise what you just said is just plain wrong.

        It’s also not true that Shaw has the upper hand, or can have the upper hand. The GP internal processes prevent consolidation of power like that. That was intentional.

        • alwyn 3.3.1.1

          Can you give a link to the Green Party Rules.
          In particular I would like to see this rule that prevents forming a Government with National.
          My attempts with Google don’t produce any relevant result.

          • McFlock 3.3.1.1.1

            National by name? Nope, that would be dumb.
            National by any other name but smelling as sweet? 3.1 of the Greens’ constitution seems to rule out national as it is.

          • weka 3.3.1.1.2

            I wrote a post about it in 2015, linked above.

  4. Bill 4

    So how’s about…the budget would have passed with or without Green support.

    As the post says, the budget is basically an ‘information dump’. Had the Greens not supported the passing of the Budget on the weight of that measly $5 that has now become the ‘take home’ message from the budget, then what would the spin have been?

    This might be seen as kind of like helping someone remain on their feet by sticking them with a rather large skewer, no?

  5. Wayne 5

    I responded to Weka’s comments in the item on the Roy Morgan poll.

    I agree that the Greens will not actually form a coalition with National in 2017. There are too many Green activist members who currently think there is no way that the Greens can position themselves like NZF, that is able to go either way. But that is not an immutable truth, the party can change. Otherwise they have wedded themselves permanently to the fortunes of Labour. In any event this aspect of coalitions is not really a matter for 2017.

    However, if National has actually formed the government, either in the current package, or with NZF, would the Greens automatically take an absolutist opposition position, as Labour is really required to do?

    In my view there is room for a new MOU, more expansive than the one of 2008. Just as the Greens are evolving, so is National. There is a greater interest in environmental issues than there used to be.

    I suspect that there is more than a few National MP’s who would be quite happy to do a MOU with the Greens which have the government doing more in the environment sector than they might do themselves. In short the Greens, at least in my view, can effectively lead policy in some key areas. More on freshwater quality for instance. The initiatives for the Lake Taupo and Lake Rotorua catchments show what is possible. More incentives for electric vehicles. I am sure that there are other things.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      I suspect there may well be a few National MPs who would be quite happy to suborn and betray the Greens too.

      Do you think the Green caucus and members are stupid and naive enough not to see you coming a mile off?

    • garibaldi 5.2

      No way Wayne, you are in lala land on this one. The Greens have principles and care for the future of our land, which excludes National automatically.

      • One Two 5.2.1

        ‘Principles’..

        Political structures, parliamentary protocol, international ‘contracts’…

        Do not allow for the type of ‘principles’ which the ‘worlds peoples’ wish they would

        Power structures have ‘principles’ too…

    • weka 5.3

      Thanks Wayne. In other words, pretty much what the GP position has been for years. They will work with any party where there is shared policy. They won’t support formation of a National govt.

      From what I remember, it was National that refused an MoU in 2014.

      • Wayne 5.3.1

        Weka,

        I don’t actually know about your last point. However, just as other other political parties evolve so does National.

        As for the comments by OAB, Garibaldi and One Two, naturally it is an option for the Greens to never have anything to do with the National by way of formal agreements.

        But it does mean the Greens are irredeemably tied to Labour, who have not always been that accommodating as 2005 to 2008 showed.

        I would have thought that if the Greens main focus is green policy, as opposed to general left wing issues, then it will be quite common to do deals with either side of politics. Not always, but quite regularly. But if that is not the main focus, then I guess not.

        We will see what happens this year.

        • garibaldi 5.3.1.1

          As far as I am aware the Greens still aim for two things…… A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE and SOCIAL JUSTICE. These are two things that are an anathema to National, who only operate on the short term interests of business and to hell with the ‘losers’ in a winner takes all market driven society. Any misguided belief that there can be ‘accommodation’ between these opposites as deep as a coalition is sheer stupidity. For a start it would be the immediate death of the Greens!

        • Liam 5.3.1.2

          National did refuse the MoU with the Greens in 2014. The reason is that the Greens were not prepared to reciprocate on any concessions they won. In other words, the Greens wanted an MoU that would grant them some of the benefits of government, but not bind them to any of the responsibilities. National was not willing to countenance that.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.3.1.2.1

            “countenance”

            What an odd word to use. Like they have ethics or something.

        • Sacha 5.3.1.3

          The Green housing insulation programme continued across both Labour and National-led governments. The scope of their MOU with the Nat-led govt was reduced in 2009 under Brownlee’s stewardship of the Energy & Resources portfolio: https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/after-the-honeymoon-divorce-greens-break-up-with-national

          The Greens have been clear right from the start that you can’t fix environmental problems without also fixing social and economic ones. It’s baked into their published party principles. Hence campaign slogans like “Jobs, Kids, Rivers”.

    • DoublePlusGood 5.4

      If Greens go with National, they get about 3% of the vote the next election. The vast majority of Green voters are well aware that National is the party of economic vandalism, and don’t want a bar of it.

  6. bwaghorn 7

    ” It promises more irrigation allowing more dairying and more polluted streams with a miniscule amount set aside to address the consequences.”

    why oh why is it always the farmers that lefties attack first, irrigation would be a long way down the list of poorly thought out things the nats do

    • In your view, bwaghorn, National’s irrigation programme is poorly thought out?

      • bwaghorn 7.1.1

        if the science says it’s degrading water then yes.my view is all irrigation should be government owned so its use can be controlled, there is more uses for water than milking cows.

        • Sacha 7.1.1.1

          Sounds sensible.

        • Robert Guyton 7.1.1.2

          “all irrigation should be government owned…”

          And paid for with our taxes, but used primarily for dairy farming – that’s where the water is going, bwaghorn, isn’t it, from these proposed schemes; Ruataniwha etc, to the dairy industry? I suppose you have to convince yourself that irrigation and its attractiveness to dairying won’t result in intensification and the resulting extra pressure/damage for the waterways.

          Personally, I don’t swallow that.

  7. weka 8

    Addressing the points as raised in the post,

    “It appears the Labour Green Memorandum of Understanding did not work as well this week as it was intended.”

    Actually it did. The MoU in no way says that parties have to agree with each other, or vote in unison. People need to get on board quickly with this and the fact that two parties can disagree with each other and still work together. Because that’s what a L/G govt will be like too.

    “The Greens decided to vote for National’s tax reduction legislation while Labour voted against it.”

    They voted for the Bill, but what they are supporting is the increase in help for beneficiaries. They are opposed to the tax cuts. Let’s not forget that the Bill would have passed anyway no matter what the Greens did.

    “But they chose to support the Government’s tax reduction law. And in the process brought back memories of 2011 and 2014 when late during both campaigns the Greens dropped hints that they could go into Government with National in the dying stages of each campaign. Labour and Green support then dipped.”

    Norman fucked up on that last time and the Greens definitely paid. But it wasn’t that the Greens were considering supporting a National govt, it was that Norman failed to explain GP process and kaupapa properly and instead tried to court some conservative voters.

    I will try and confirm this, but afaik nothing has changed since the AGM remit before the last election. The GP cannot go into coalition with National nor support them on C and S. That’s what the whole party, members included, decided. If you can see a credible way that the Exec or MPs could override that, I’d be interested to hear how

    “You have to wonder what was going through the collective Green caucus mind as it decided to support the Government’s proposal.”

    No, you don’t. They’ve explained very clearly why they did this. Here’s Marama Davidson,

    https://blog.greens.org.nz/2017/05/26/budget-2017-tax-changes/

    “To be fair to the Greens part of the problem is the rushed nature of the Budget debate where a huge amount of information gets dumped in a short period of time and the opposition parties are meant to somehow deal with this and make quick decisions with limited amount of time to comprehend.”

    Not sure what you are meaning there. Shaw’s speeches in parliament and the GP press releases all show a good understanding of the issues involved in the Budget.

    “They could have adopted a principled stance and opposed the bill.”

    As far as I can tell, for the Greens this *is a principled stand. The principle being people before politics. Here’s Marama Davidson again,

    “Blog says that yes we don’t believe it’s our place to deny that support to lowest incomes.”

    “Through my communities & whānau I am aware on a daily basis that I cannot stand in the way of even pittance of extra money #WillFightForBeta”

    I’m still in two minds about what the Greens have done. But it’s not without precedent. Labour have voted for reprehensible National policy in the past, for their own reasons. I don’t fully understand why they do this (either party). But I think it’s actually pretty clear what the GP motivation was here. At best, it’s the principle of giving poor people more and wanting to send that message. At worst, it’s also about positioning themselves as independent of Labour, but I seriously doubt that that would be sufficient reason on its own. That the Greens are too inexperienced politically just doesn’t wash.

    • weka 8.1

      btw, I can totally understand Labour supporters being pissed off about this. It’s the tricky thing about our current political situation. We would all be so much better served by a co-operative system rather than an adversarial one.

      • Karen 8.1.1

        Actually, I have noticed rather more Green supporters upset than Labour ones.

        However, I think too much is being made of this. This has no impact of the MOU – I haven’t watched Q & A yet where James and Grant were evidently questioned at length about this but I don’t see it as the Greens signalling a closer relationship with National. Personally, I think it was a stupid thing to do politically, as what it has led to is the right trying to beat up divisions, and Labour and the Greens having to waste time answering questions about division. This was time they could have spent attacking National.

        The claim that the Greens supported the tax reforms because any increase is better than none doesn’t really wash, as not only would these reforms have passed anyway, they don’t come into force until next year. Better to say we want to see real increases in inequality so vote for us and we will make sure those at the bottom get a lot more than what is promised by the Nats.

        But what is done, is done. It really isn’t as big an issue as some would like it to be.

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          “Actually, I have noticed rather more Green supporters upset than Labour ones.”

          That wouldn’t surprise me (my comment was a nod towards micky writing the post).

          “The claim that the Greens supported the tax reforms because any increase is better than none doesn’t really wash, as not only would these reforms have passed anyway, they don’t come into force until next year.”

          True, but the vote was symbolic I think, given that the Bill passing has nothing to do with which way the Greens vote.

          “It really isn’t as big an issue as some would like it to be.”

          I can understand people being annoyed, but I am surprised by the extent of it. Especially the whole MoU stuff, it’s like people have still really misunderstood what that was for.

    • Enough is Enough 8.2

      Well written weka!!!

      From my observation the Green Party has fronted up and clearly articulated the reasons why they voted the way they did. Gregs imference that they may not have understood it is borderline offensive to a very sharp caucus.

      If anything labour’s position is the confusing one. Why would they vote against legislation that will benefit the people they purport to support? Why would they refuse the chance to explain their position on The Nation? So many ‘whys’ with labour at the moment whereas the rationale for the greens position is very clear.

      • weka 8.2.1

        Well, I can also understand why Labour would vote against it. They’re the main opposition party, they’re going to lead the next govt, so they need to first oppose the appalling thing that this budget is so they can then talk about what they would do differently once they are the govt.

        The Greens and Labour are in pretty different situations in that regard. I think that Labour are also culturally different, so it makes sense that their principle would be to vote against.

        I’m not sure about the Nation thing, or if it even matters tbh. Maybe there is something going on, maybe it’s a storm in a teacup.

      • mickysavage 8.2.2

        But why would you vote for a proposal that helps the rich rather than the poor and gives the Government a campaign weapon? There was plenty of reason to vote against the bill.

    • DoublePlusGood 8.3

      Yes, they don’t want to oppose support to people on the lowest incomes. But in doing so they support removing public services from people on the lowest incomes.

  8. Enough is Enough 9

    Greg, Are you trying to say that if the Green Party votes a different way to Labour Party, then the MOU is not working?

    • mickysavage 9.1

      Nope but I am saying that this has created a perception problem and things may have to be tweaked. Budgets are special occasions, I have talked about the problems in the post. But the perception of division is not helpful.

      • Enough is Enough 9.1.1

        And why is that somehow the Green’s fault?

        • mickysavage 9.1.1.1

          Because they voted with the Government? Now the Government can say it is doing something about poverty and the proof is the Greens voted for it.

          And Labour and the Greens voted different ways and we will have another ad with people in a rowboat rowing in different directions.

          • Enough is Enough 9.1.1.1.1

            Why do you think the Greens voted for it?

          • Enough is Enough 9.1.1.1.2

            And furhtermore have the Greens criticised the fact Labour have voted differently? No.

            Yet you. A person who wanted to to be a LabourMP is openly demonstrating and criticising the Greens. Walking straight into National’s narrative

            • mickysavage 9.1.1.1.2.1

              I did not think that voting for this measure was politically an astute thing to do.

  9. swordfish 10

    Core Message potential swing voters are receiving

    Dom Post Headline

    Opposition Split on Tax-Cuts Vote

    Labour and Greens split over Budget tax cuts despite joint ‘fiscal responsibility’ deal

    Vernon Small

    The Budget tax cut plan has split the Opposition, with Labour voting against the changes and the Greens and NZ First voting in favour.

    Labour leader Andrew Little says the Greens voting for the budget tax package has not soured their relationship

    Tracy Watkins

    It set the Opposition at each other’s throat

    Labour immediately attacked the more miserly end of the tax threshold changes that deliver the very lowest-paid workers chump change of not much more than $1 a week. But barely had Andrew Little coined the phrase “$1 bill” to attack the Budget than the Greens and NZ First pulled the rug out from his feet by voting for it.

    TV3 Newshub

    Budget 2017: Labour-Greens alliance split

    Greens support the Budget despite Labour’s opposition

    New Zealand Herald

    Labour leader Andrew Little denies crack in Labour-Greens relationship after different stance on Budget

    # 2014 Nat ad – Chaotic oppo rowing in different directions

    • weka 10.1

      This week Labour and the Greens need to front foot the issues where they do agree, and demonstrate that the relationship is healthy and strong. And that two parties can still work together even where they disagree.

      Journos like Watkins are going to lie all through the next 4 months /shrug.

      • Karen 10.1.1

        I would like Labour and the Greens to make a new joint policy announcement.

        Unfortunately the majority of the MSM are pro National with some like Tracey Watkins, Stacey Kirk and Audrey Young doing little more than regurgitating National Party propaganda. That why Labour and the Greens need to look as if they can work well together in spite of having some different policies. The Greens supporting the tax reform bill has ignited division claims – I suspect by the amount of justifying to their pissed off supporters the Greens have had to do in the last couple days, they may be wondering whether it was worth it.

        The State of the Nation joint meeting early this year was reported positively. We need more of that, and soon.

        • garibaldi 10.1.1.1

          In reply to Swordfish, all those sources you refer us to are Nat stooges anyway, and, no matter what one does, they will always bag Labour and the Greens. It’s only going to get worse from here in, so the Left just HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO DEAL WITH OUR SHITTY MEDIA.

        • weka 10.1.1.2

          Despite my own misgivings about what the Greens have done, I wonder if this is an opportunity. Spend the next 4 months showing that they are two different parties with two different approaches and make it repeatedly clear that they are working together as well, in pretty much the way you just outlined. With the balance on the working together. Which I have been assuming they would be doing. The State of the Nation, the fiscal agreement, the MoU, and other things they have worked together on in the past (e.g. homelessness).

    • McFlock 10.2

      which also means that the greens and labour are distinct parties.

      If Labour were dicks about it, the “split” line might work. But as it is, who hasn’t had to work with someone they occasionally disagreed with?

    • Sacha 10.3

      The right have done better at messaging on this to the media editors/journos for the last few days and most of those are too lazy to work out another angle in the time they have.

  10. McFlock 11

    Heh
    It seems the green vote might have made one or two Labour folk do a quick double take about assuming which way the greens will jump on a particular issue 🙂

  11. Ad 12

    https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/nzlabour/pages/4531/attachments/original/1464654228/MoU_NZLP_Green_Party_31May16.pdf?1464654228

    “The parties agree to work cooperatively in order to change the Government at the 2017 election.”

    That’s the entire purpose of the MOU between the Greens and Labour.
    Forget the quibbling clauses afterwards: the Greens just pissed all over it.

    Confidence and Supply – the budget – is the core operating principle for sustaining a government. The Greens have voted in Parliament to sustain the current government.
    The Greens have therefore already clearly changed sides and are already actively supporting a National government from the cross benches.

    Tariana should take that MOU into Parliament and burn it in front of Andrew Little.

    And while they are at it, everyone in this country can forget about a future alternative government. The Greens prefer to vote to support the current one.

    There is absolutely no reason for the Labour caucus or its activists to trusts the Greens anymore.

    And to state the bleeding obvious, the Greens just handed the election to Winston Peters.

    • weka 12.1

      In other words, The Greens should get in their place and remember they are supposed to be the green arm of the Labour Party. From now on, consult with Labour before doing anything, and vote and act according to Labour’s wants. If that’s the case, I agree, burn the MoU and give up on the election, because we can’t have independent parties. We should burn MMP too while we’re at it and go back to the Labour/National swings and roundabouts hegemony. Because the ‘quibbling clauses’ are the actual framework of the MoU and you just ditched them in favour of power at all costs.

      • Ad 12.1.1

        You know what the inability to keep to your written promises means?
        It means: you don’t want to do business with me. The budget is the most important binding financial agreement in the country.

        The Green parliamentarians and supporters like yourself would rather that they coat themselves in playing the victim like they were just picked on. They ain’t the victim. They actively shafted the citizens of New Zealand, voting a budget that they themselves are on the record detesting.

        The Greens made this move and they need to own the consequences. Doesn’t take a Labour supporter to name what they did: everyone can see it, as is obvious from the media commentary all over the fucking country.

        The Greens just demonstrated that they are are just the worst case of self-righteous political cowards, who cannot be trusted to stick to a document they themselves signed barely fourteen weeks ago.

        • weka 12.1.1.1

          Unless they didn’t give Labour a heads on this, they haven’t reneged on that written contract. I’ll find a cut and pasteable version later and go through it for you.

          I’m still in two minds about what they’ve done (as I’ve said all along). What I’m noticing in the debate is a lot of objection because of the MoU, which I think is a false argument based on a complete misunderstanding of the MoU.

          I’m also seeing the whole ‘Greens will go with National now’ stuff, which is patently ridiculous, but actually very serious because *that’s the shit that might cost the left votes (people go to Mana or TOP instead).

          When you take those two things out of the argument, what is left? The public perception of the Greens? Sure, that’s why I am in two minds about it.

          • Ad 12.1.1.1.1

            While you’re rummaging around in your textual interpretations, political history has already passed you by.

            Labour will release a detailed fiscal response within the next few weeks to the budget:

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11865123

            Here’s what could have happened if the Greens had stuck to what they had signed: a detailed fiscal plan between Labour and the Greens that shows they really are an alternative coalition government in waiting, finally dispelling that campaign that says they would always be disunited.

            Instead, Labour reads the relationship pretty clearly and has to go out on its own.

            • McFlock 12.1.1.1.1.1

              no, that’s balls. Both parties need to maintain separate policies, especially fiscal. That way voters can choose between them, vs tweedledum and tweedledee.

              It’s a memorandum of understanding, not a merger.

            • weka 12.1.1.1.1.2

              Right, so now you are talking not about the MoU but the agreement to fiscal responsibility. Which is a different thing.

              That’s great that Labour are doing to release a detailed fiscal response within the next few weeks. It’s also an ideal time for Labour and the Greens to show that they are still on the same page when it comes to governing and that the MoU still works.

              I don’t see anything in that link saying that Labour will will go out on its own. I would expect that post-budget the party that will lead the next govt would release its own fiscal plan. That’s normal. Labour and the Greens aren’t in coalition and I think it’s actually weird to expect them to be joined at the hip like you are suggesting (or perhaps you really are suggesting that the Greens should get in behind).

              The only thing about the Greens in that article is this,


              Labour and the Greens have both criticised the tax changes, which lifted the two bottom thresholds from $14,000 to $22,000 and from $48,000 to $52,000. The thresholds have not changed since 2010.

              Hardly a statement of Labour having to go its own way.

              • Ad

                What was glaringly absent was a couple of things.

                Firstly, this is the first time the Greens have voted to support the budget of the National government in 9 years. This election year is the year they did it.

                Secondly, releasing detailed fiscal response really is Labour is going its own way. Do you recall how many weeks ago the two parties agreed on a common fiscal position? The Greens just fucked that.

                Thirdly there is now no common coalition position on the budget – obviously. This above all years was the moment to do something different and or announce a budget response together. “We will investigate a joint policy and/or campaign to advance our purpose”. The purpose as Shaw and Turia signed was to change the government with Labour in 2017.

                It’s 14 weeks from the election. The budget release is the most powerful platform there is in front of the New Zealand public to set out your position on how you will run and cost an alternative government. The Greens didn’t pass on the opportunity – they voted to keep the existing Government.

            • Sacha 12.1.1.1.1.3

              Labour had always promised an alternative Budget of their own. Nothing new there.

              You’re looking for problems. Why is that?

    • weka 12.2

      btw, as far as I know, C and S is established after a general election via C and S agreements. It’s not done year by year at budget time because that would create instability. So I think you are running a pretty dangerous line there.

      • Ad 12.2.1

        Ain’t me running the line here.
        The Green caucus moved, nor is there any signal of any warning to the Labour caucus. Refer MOU text.

        • weka 12.2.1.1

          Any signal of warning to Labour wouldn’t be visible to the public. Just like previous times.

          What do you mean the Green caucus moved?

          “Ain’t me running the line here.”

          You said,

          Confidence and Supply – the budget – is the core operating principle for sustaining a government. The Greens have voted in Parliament to sustain the current government.
          The Greens have therefore already clearly changed sides and are already actively supporting a National government from the cross benches.

          I think all that has happened is the Greens voted from conscience on a Bill where their vote would make zero difference to the Bill passing. It’s a huge stretch to now say that the Greens are supporting National on C and S.

          • Ad 12.2.1.1.1

            They voted on the budget.
            That is the definition of supply.

            • Sacha 12.2.1.1.1.1

              They have *not* voted on the budget. Stop getting your news from sewerbloggers and associated useful idiots pushing lines.

              The budget debate is set down for this week.

            • weka 12.2.1.1.1.2

              But the government does rely on that, it relies on the C and S agreements nutted out after there election. You’re over egging it by quite some distance.

              • Ad

                Tell you what, I’ll take it all back if the Greens vote against the budget on the third reading. Promise.

                And if they don’t, they will swing in the wind.

            • Karen 12.2.1.1.1.3

              This is nonsense Ad. The budget vote is not until next week. They Greens voted on a single bill, as has already been explained to you. They have criticised the budget and James and Grant appeared on Q & A together. Their is no split, the MOU has not been breached.

    • Karen 12.3

      “Tariana should take that MOU into Parliament and burn it in front of Andrew Little.”

      What? Do you even know who the Green Party leaders are? Exactly what is your agenda, Ad?

  12. Louis 13

    What is the point of voting for the budget that they said they dont like when it would only come into force IF National wins the election? To the average punter, the perception now is that the Greens and Labour is divided in election year, like last time.

    • Ad 13.1

      Comes into force as soon as it’s passed through Parliament.

      • Louis 13.1.1

        For April next year? What if National is not reelected?

        • weka 13.1.1.1

          Presumably Labour would need to repeal the legislation.

          • Louis 13.1.1.1.1

            Can it be construed by supporting the budget that the Greens think National is going to win?

            • weka 13.1.1.1.1.1

              I don’t think so.

            • Ad 13.1.1.1.1.2

              National supporters and National caucus would view it as a willingness of the Green Party to support the funded future policy positions of National.

              Because that’s what it is.

  13. Incognito 14

    Why did the Greens not abstain from voting?

    • weka 14.1

      as far as I can tell they wanted to symbolically support poor people getting *something. Abstaining wouldn’t do that.

      • marty mars 14.1.1

        If true then symbolically supporting poor people has potentially positioned the greens closer to the gnats and further from labour – which could influence the moveable middle.

        • weka 14.1.1.1

          Hmm, well given that the Greens are well to the left of Labour I can’t see how this would place them closer to National and further from Labour. But then I don’t think it places them closer to National at all 🙂 Pretty much everything they have said about the Budget has been critical of National and National’s own positioning. They voted for the ‘pittance’ that National gave poor people (yes, they used that word).

          • weka 14.1.1.1.1

            It’s the whole left/right thing again. The Greens have left wing policies, but they don’t actually position themselves as being left on the left/right spectrum. Lynn calls them orthogonal to that spectrum.

          • marty mars 14.1.1.1.2

            They voted with the gnats, this will be used to divide the left. And potentially reduce the chance of a change in government.

            • weka 14.1.1.1.2.1

              Everything and anything will be used to divide the left. There comes a time when they just have to do what they do anyway. If NZ still can’t see past the lies, then we will get the government we deserve. Ditto the left.

              This is why I don’t support power at all costs.

    • Sanctuary 14.2

      Because they are morons.

  14. Louis 15

    Who was it that said if you have to explain you have lost?

  15. Muttonbird 16

    What the Greens have done is inexplicable. No wonder people think they can’t be trusted.

    • billmurray 16.1

      Muttonbird,
      The Greens bagged Andrew Little whilst he was rejecting the budget in Parliament.
      Apparently they did not give Labour a heads up on their announcement.
      Political treachery.
      In my view the polls will go down for Labour because of this. Despite the brave face from Labour and explanations from the Green I also believe that the MoU is in tatters, ripped up by the Greens.

      • weka 16.1.1

        how about you back up those two claims, that the Greens bagged Little, and that they didn’t give Labour a heads up.

        • billmurray 16.1.1.1

          Little was in the house giving his reply to the budget, he was berating National for only giving the needy a dollar a week, I was watching, AFTER that the Greens said that they will support the budget.
          Little would not have said what he did say if he knew the Greens would support a budget he was berating.

          There you go, stop being so one-eyed about such a betrayal by the Greens.
          This is a situation for the left which needs cards on the table not excuses to the truth.

          • weka 16.1.1.1.1

            You are certainly entitled to interpret anything any way you want, but in the absence of evidence I will continue to assume that Little wasn’t criticised by the Greens at all.

            “Little would not have said what he did say if he knew the Greens would support a budget he was berating.”

            The same budget that the Greens also berated. But do tell, what would Little has said differently.

            • billmurray 16.1.1.1.1.1

              Weka,
              I guess we have to agree to disagree, I see absolutely nothing to gain for the left in the Greens position, in fact I see a lot to lose for Labour.
              The Greens back stabbed Andrew Little and the Party and most MSM said that in a much nicer way, most people in NZ read and listen to the MSM. They are influenced by what they read and hear.
              The Greens need to be barrelled for their actions, or they will continue the willfullness.
              They may anyway, I believe they desperately want a seat on government benches and Shaw in particular will show no scruples in getting them there

              • weka

                Did you see Karen’s comments? The Greens aren’t voting for the Budget.

                I see zero evidence for the Greens breaking the MoU, but lots of unfounded speculation and to be frank it’s largely coming from people who would prefer more votes went to Labour. That’s a dangerous game to play, not because I object to people voting Labour, but muddying the waters like this, not good.

          • Karen 16.1.1.1.2

            What utter tosh, Bill.

      • Louis 16.1.2

        Labour made a principled stand, why would it’s vote go down and not the Greens?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1.2.1

          Because the narrative that it undermines a Labour/Green government gains traction.

          Or because it can be spun in such a way that it reinforces the right wing mantra that all parties are the same so why bother voting anyway.

          Because National are united in corruption, bigotry, stupidity and malice and we’re examining tea leaves.

        • Incognito 16.1.2.2

          So, Labour was “principled”, the Greens were “symbolic” and “compassionate” and the ‘Kingmaker’ is quietly laughing while searching himself on Twitter. Have I summed up well the political circus that erupts every election year?

          If, by any change, all or even just some of this was foreseen and/or planned by National and/or Joyce I’d call this the one and final warning for those who want to change the government in September. And never forget that the NZ MSM are as conditioned as Pavlov’s dogs; no need to draw servility or anything more sinister into it.

  16. BM 17

    This lack of unity by the greens is no doubt making labour rethink the MOU and where it stands partnership wise with the greens.

    I can see Labour if they can switching to NZ First and trying to stitch up a deal with Winston and hoping the greens play ball and support them on C & S.

    Personally, I don’t understand the greens approach, currently they have nowhere to go but with Labour yet they do this sort of stuff, which undermines the MOU and make the left look undivided. and somewhat less than governmental.

    Unless there’s some other plan in play that we don’t know of, the Greens have pretty much signalled they don’t have the nous or skills to be in charge of running the country, looks like it’s national by default again.

    • weka 17.1

      Crikey, it took all day to send out the Crosby Textor memo. I guess it is a Sunday.

      • Sacha 17.1.1

        Someone at TVNZ got the memo – note how the framing of the introductory sentence (despite the headline) does not match the 4 minute clip – which is worth watching if you haven’t seen it: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/opposition-mps-unite-slam-governments-sugar-hit-budget

        “Labour and the Greens say they’re still committed to changing the government at this year’s election even though they held differing views on the Government’s budget this week.”

        When did they stop beating their wife, you might ask? Until you see their body language for yourself and hear what they actually said. Our media outlets need a swift kick up the jacksie.

        • weka 17.1.1.1

          Thanks. Robertson is rather good in that, and I can’t see any sign of some big split or burning MoU documents 😉

          • Sacha 17.1.1.1.1

            They look completely comfortable with one another, and no pauses to find polite wording. Talk about a beat-up.

            • weka 17.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m going to try and put a post up tomorrow, just clearing up the thing about what is being voted for. I’ve got Turei and Davidson’s tweets, some govt links about the process, and the Q and A clip. If you have anything else that might be useful please post it here or PM me.

              • Sacha

                I’ve seen what you have, I’d say. Amazing how easy it is to seed a line when people don’t bother reading for themselves.

    • billmurray 17.2

      BM, your last para,
      Yes I believe there is a plan in play by the Greens, that is for them to get further upward traction in the polls at the expense of any other political party.
      I believe Labour will be hurt the most, they look isolated and bewildered.
      There no-show on the “Nation” is a clear sign of that.

      • Sacha 17.2.1

        Yes it’s a dastardly ploy by those uppity coalition prospects to overturn their betters. Get real. The Greens know they need Labour to do well for them to get into government.

  17. Karen 18

    The level of ignorance displayed in the comments on this post is astounding.

    The Green Party did not vote in support of the budget. See this tweet from Metiria – it is very easy to find and I would suggest people do a little bit of basic research before spouting off.

    Metiria Turei‏ @metiria 9h9 hours ago
    Replying to @gtiso @JennyKayNZ and 2 others
    “We voted for two bills, carers and family tax credits. Budget, which we oppose, will be voted next week.”

    The MOU has not been compromised. The Greens and Labour are still working together to change the government – unlike some of those pontificating here who seem to be intent on helping the right pretend there is disunity.

    • weka 18.1

      Thank-you Karen.

      Tweet convo is here,

    • mosa 18.2

      Thanks Karen for stating the facts here and not contributing to the hysteria that clouds the basic facts of this decision of the GP to support only these two bills and not appear to be contradictory on their principled stand on carers and family tax changes.

      The media still don’t understand MOUs or MMP and continue to imply a split with Labour which it is not to further their and Nationals agenda.

      Pathetic !

    • Sacha 18.3

      The level of ignorance displayed in the comments on this post is astounding.

      Certainly is. Perhaps we need some kind of grassroots reconciliation project to build understanding and trust? The left is not going to win by shooting one another’s feet.

  18. Jeremy 19

    It feels like the Greens are trying to send a message to either Labour or the middle voters.

    Not sure which or what the message is or who it’s for, but it feels like a message nevertheless. The Green Party I’ve seen since 95 wouldn’t vote for this. I’m sure Sue Bradford, Keith Locke and Jeanette Fitzsimmons would be raising hell behind the scenes (well probably not Locke or Fitzsimmons, not sure they are capable of raising hell – too soft spoken) but asking WTF at the least.

  19. The decrypter 20

    Woe is me! -sigh, all a bit of a worry.

  20. Sacha 21

    The Greens decided to vote for National’s tax reduction legislation while Labour voted against it. I am struggling to understand why the Greens did this. This budget does nothing beneficial for the environment.

    @Mickysavage: your conflation of the particular Bill the Greens voted for and the entire Budget-enabling package to be debated this coming week has encouraged a really unhelpful and time-wasting discussion here, echoing spin lines from the right. Let’s avoid that in the next 4 months please. We all need to change this government together.

  21. Whispering Kate 22

    Have just finished watching Q & A this evening – the interview with Robertson and Shaw I thought was pretty cool – I don’t think it’s going to affect their odds in the lead up to the general election. Both have their own ideas about the budget and both seemed comfortable about the other’s opinions. What I did find heartening was that the panel were not at all impressed with the budget – and who would be anyway. As far as Humpty is concerned he looked like he was struggling to put across his budget and well he should be.

    Winnie was on fire and looked presidential – man he’s going to get some votes at the election this time around and he deserves them – whoo hoo its going to be some fun this vote counting election evening – he isn’t in the least bit impressed with National – they will have to offer him the PM’s job for him to take it. It will take a wizard or a shaman to predict the results.

    • Craig H 22.1

      Agreed, my impressions were the same as yours, particularly of Winston sounding far more in favour of Labour policies than National policies.

  22. Tanz 23

    Always knew it would end it tears, I will not support a Labour/Green alliance. Yikes, what a thought! Hard left radicals, of the Sue Bradford type. I’d much rather vote NZ First or Conservatives thanks. Red and green do not mix and Labour should have kept more integrity. Oh well, too late now. Refund?

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