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What the Greens did

Written By: - Date published: 12:06 pm, May 15th, 2020 - 39 comments
Categories: Conservation, domestic violence, economy, Environment, greens, housing, housing insulation, jobs, nz first, violence against women - Tags:

A round up of the Green Party’s achievements in the 2020 Budget. People often say the Greens aren’t doing much, so here are some concrete examples of what they gained for the green platform. Full press releases, and details of working with Labour, are in the links. My commentary below.

Green Jobs: $1.1 billion funding for nature,

The package announced today, which will support thousands of people into jobs in these areas, includes: 

  • $433 million to restore wetlands, and improve the health of rivers and estuaries and the Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand’s largest harbour.
  • $200 million for a Jobs for Nature Fund for DOC to partner with councils, tourism businesses, iwi and hapu and communities to provide nature based jobs.
  • $154.3 million for enhancing nature and indigenous biodiversity on public and private land with DOC working with the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, regional councils and landholder groups to create jobs in revegetation, pest and weed control, and riparian planting.
  • $147.5 million for pest control and eradication, including advancing the Predator Free New Zealand vision and working with iwi to prevent the collapse of North Island forests.
  • $100 million for extensive wilding conifer control on public and private land.
  • $40 million for pest and weed control on Crown land in river beds and control and eradication of aquatic weeds in Lakes Wakatipu and Wanaka.
  • $27.5 million to get ballooning populations of wallabies in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Canterbury and Otago under control.

Strengthening the commitment to end violence:

The 2020 Budget includes significant support to stabilise New Zealand’s family violence services, whose work has been shown to be so essential throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Budget includes support for services by Māori for Māori, those supporting victims of elder abuse, and programmes for people who use violence and want to change their behaviour.

“Refuges, helplines, crisis services and many other organisations sit at the heart of our response to families who are experiencing violence,” said Jan Logie, Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues).

The Budget initiatives announced today are:

  • $183.0 million over the next four years for the Ministry of Social Development to ensure continued access to specialist family violence services, including:
    • Services supporting victims of family violence ($142.0 million)
    • Services to help perpetrators to stop inflicting family violence ($16.0 million), and
    • Support for victims of elder abuse ($25.0 million) and

A cross-agency initiative with Police, Justice and Health to ensure victims of non-fatal strangulation can access highly trained medical practitioners, trained to deal with the trauma and for forensic services necessary to gather the robust evidence needed to prosecute offenders ($19.9 million).

Public and transitional housing:

$570m has been set aside in this year’s budget to support the delivery of 8000 new homes. Of these, 6000 will be public housing, and 2000 will be transitional homes for people awaiting long-term accommodation.

Kāinga Ora anticipates borrowing approximately $5b over the next four to five years to deliver the homes.

“Quality housing is a human right. This has always been the Green Party’s policy, and it is a cornerstone of our role as a Government partner. We have long fought for all of us to have access to secure, quality housing, and asked this term for a significant and urgent investment in public housing. These additional homes will go a long way to reducing housing inequality in Aotearoa.

As well as the investment in new homes, an additional $56m is being allocated towards the Government’s insulation and heating programme, Warmer Kiwi Homes. The extra funding will cover 90% of the cost of retrofitting an estimated 9000 homes, fulfilling part of the Green Party’s Confidence and Supply agreement with the Government.

“Around 600,000 households are still damp and cold because they don’t have good enough insulation, heating, and ventilation. Insulating more of these homes means fewer of our children getting sick, and cheaper energy bills for families,” said Green Party Energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

There are some gaps, climate action being the elephant in the living room glaring at us. I have zero doubt that the reason for this gap is little to do with the Greens and everything to do with NZF and Labour (in varying degrees).

The argument that the Greens didn’t push hard enough, or that they should withdraw Confidence and Supply over things they don’t get, is not usually supported by political reality. The Greens are not in coalition with Labour, that’s NZ First. It’s also NZ First that has the ability from its centrist position to play Labour and National off each other for policy gain during post-election coalition negotiations.

To what extent they do that in government I don’t know, because that process is not transparent. We, the public, don’t get to be party to that or even see it afterwards, and a feature of our current politics is guessing how much of what Labour do is due to NZF.

It’s reasonable to assume that there is ongoing negotiation between Labour and NZF on policy and legislation, and that this doesn’t include the Greens. The Greens hold a Confidence and Supply Agreement (PDF) with Labour alone. This is a basic analysis of how power works in parliament.

What will change that is the Greens having enough MPs after the next election so that Labour and the Greens can form a centreleft/left government with a strong Green presence. We may also then see Labour’s truer position on a number of things, but likewise the Greens, whose policy platform and kaupapa remains clearly more left than what they can achieve at the moment.

How the Greens can use the power they do have differently to make more gains pre and post government formation is going to be a feature of this election.

39 comments on “What the Greens did ”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    If people really want to see the end of the neo-liberal system we continue to live in, then they can only really give their vote to one party – the Greens.

    Only with a strong Green Party at the cabinet table will the Government undertake the structural reforms this country desperately needs. The past three years of tinkering needs to come to an end. We need real change.

    • bill 1.1

      If people really want to see the end of the neo-liberal system we continue to live in, then …

      When a politician stands up to the prevailing liberal orthodoxy, they get destroyed.

      Metiria Turei, somewhat accidentally issued a challenge that went straight to the heart of liberalism with her speech around welfare. And she was politically annihilated. (Her own co-leader helped dig the memory hole her efforts were to be dropped down after Jacinda had thrown her under the bus of righteous indignation) From a conversation I had with her at the time she was being pilloried, she simply hadn't seen it coming.

      David Cunliffe tried to get a more social democratic platform adopted within NZ Labour and he also got politically annihilated – with not a little helping hand from MPs in his own party.

      Jeremy Corbyn. Same thing. Tulsi Gabbard. Same again.

      Bernie Sanders capitulated and so is allowed to retain some measure of a presence in the political landscape. He apparently said upfront that he didn't want to become another Ralph Nader, and so he's navigated to stay (just) within the bounds of political acceptability.

      • Pat 1.1.1

        "When a politician stands up to the prevailing liberal orthodoxy, they get destroyed."

        They do…which is why forestalling attack pre election is a sensible strategy

        • weka

          It's also why the Greens are more cautious now, and thus it's also true that avoiding being destroyed by the prevailing liberal orthodoxy means incurring the wrath of the left. Rock and hard place.

          • bill

            The two people from my list of politicians who came closest to "breaking through" are Sanders and Corbyn.

            Neither of them were 'cautious'.

            Both generated (or were recipients of) a groundswell of support from the general public because of the policy platforms they stood on.

            Sanders, as signposted in my original comment, played sheepdog in the end (ie – herded, or is attempting to herd, progressive energies behind corporate Democrats)

            Corbyn on the other hand, didn't play sheepdog, but seems to have not understood that the political environment he was operating in is all about power and exercising it (ie – it's not about compromise towards, or being reasonable with people who will never reciprocate with reasonableness and a willingness to compromise.)

            When Cunliffe was elected Labour leader I recall a conversation with one of his advisors over the fact he had no base to work from (he was essentially a preacher on a pulpit relying on the power of faith to move people) and the need for there to have been a social movement he could tap into.

            That's as true today as then. Not a Sanders movement that's tightly proscribed and (it seems) ultimately reliant on a figurehead, and not a latter day Momentum that's become an adjunct to the Labour Party under the 'leadership' of Jon Lansman, but a movement encompassing the full messy gamut of society's desire for change – one that embraces everyone from vegans to meatworkers or whatever other 'opposites' you might care to throw up there.

            That's how change occurs, because that's what politicians not in the service of a liberal or corporate agenda can tap into to generate power and legitimacy.

            • Ad

              Sanders is populating the Biden team with his people.

              OAC is in the Biden camp.

              They figure it out like grownups, eventually.

      • observer 1.1.2

        "she simply hadn't seen it coming"

        Hard to argue that the media will always crush you, and also, you have no idea that the media are going to crush you.

        She was treated very badly. Predictably badly. Politics requires judgement.

      • Aaron 1.1.3

        So we come once again to the fact that politicians can't change the political orthodoxy. This means we need to stop putting our faith in them and getting upset when they don't deliver. They're not Christ and can't do miracles.

        The political orthodoxy only changes when power outside of parliament makes it happen. Good politicians just ride the wave. In the 80s corporate power forced the application of neoloberalism and Rodger Douglas was cast as the hero (at the time). In the 30's people's movements around the world bought in socialism and the likes of Savage and Roosevelt have been forever associated with those changes.

        Right now the virus has caused a massive shift in perspective so the question is, did this government do enough to ride the wave.

  2. observer 2

    Overall the Greens are being pretty smart, but there is always more attention given to headlines for stupid (ask Simon Bridges). So they seem sidelined, but clearly they understand that there is little chance of elbowing Jacinda out of the spotlight.

    That will change in the campaign proper.

  3. roy cartland 3

    There's an idiotic rant over at the Daily Blob on this topic. The blogger reckons that $4b is nothing, compared to $50b, and that there is 'no point' to the Greens.

    Of course he doesn't mention that to have sway you have to have votes, and he's done his level best all term to shit on them and discourage any voting going their way, not least from his gang of parrots.

    He also doesn't bother to acknowledge that $4b is a heck of a lot of money in its own right. Yes, only 8% of the spend: less than the 14.5% representation they have in Gov, but more than the 6.6% representation the Greens have in the house.

    Of course it's not enough, but short of some kind of green fascism, what are you supposed to do without the votes?

  4. Ad 4

    Here's hoping for more than 6% this time

    • arkie 4.1

      You can do more than hope, you could vote for them!

      • Ad 4.1.1

        A $50b Labour budget through and through ,and suggest the minnows need help?

        I'll be voting Labour and proud of it.

        You guys should try actual government and stop pissing around with this half-pregnant Confidence and Supply nonsense.

        • arkie

          Ah, so you were being disingenuous then.

          Always appreciate the patronising tone, you've really nailed it.

          • Ad

            You've got 4 months to prove a point.

            Any time.

            • arkie

              I don't believe I was making a point, just wondering where all your hostility comes from and to what end

        • weka

          Any time you lot are actually up for, give the Greens a call.

          • Ad

            Any time you want to get more than 6% of the vote, give Ardern a call and see if she picks up.

            • weka

              Pretty sure that JA will pick up on anything from 5% onwards. It's not a given that the Greens will offer any kind of support, we should bear that in mind

              (they're not me btw, I'm not that partisan)

              • Ad

                Do better and be sure of it. Do worse and Winston rules.

                In fact do worse and die.

                They'll have to do better than last time to stop all whining.

                • weka

                  It's a given the Greens will do all they can /shrug.

                  Do worse and we all die I think is more to the point.

        • Incognito

          You guys should try actual government and stop pissing around with this half-pregnant Confidence and Supply nonsense.

          Harsh. I think the current arrangement was (largely?) dictated by NZLP & NZF but the Greens were happy enough to oblige and ‘come to the party’. That said, I’d expect more or less the same result in 2020 unless the dice roll very differently this time. I’d go as far as NZLP governing with just (!) a C & S agreement with the Greens. However, this would not my personal preference.

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    I agree – the comprehensive list of all those gains does validate the Greens' efforts to work constructively with the govt. The bomber's critique was unrealistically negative.

    But I get where his grievance lies and share his concern. Their overall framing of the alternative they offer remains inept. An alternative to neoliberalism will only get chosen by the masses if it seems better to them. The first step is to formulate a comprehensive program, the second is to articulate it concisely in a manifesto, the third is to promote it via key points. Lets hope they take those steps.

    If they merely campaign like an alternative Labour Party – one with more heart – they will remain in the ghetto they have created in the past 24 years. You can't market `back to the future' when the world needs genuine progress. That's why all them pretenders that Bill mentioned failed. Pretence doesn't cut it now. You have to be real. Not clueless.

  6. mike 6

    James Shaw made a bloody good budget speech yesterday


  7. millsy 7

    Who is going to employ the workers in all these "Nature jobs"? DOC, or some dodgy fly by night outfit?

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