Deal noun 1. an agreement entered into by two or more parties for their mutual benefit, especially in a business or political context: the government was ready to do a deal with the opposition.
As reported a few days ago the Green Party has decided to not run a candidate in the Ōhāriu electorate as part of its strategy to change the government.
The Greens have dropped any plans to run a candidate in the Ohariu seat in a move aimed at giving Labour’s Greg O’Connor a better chance of winning the marginal seat – despite Green misgivings about his past views.
Green co-leader James Shaw said the decision was taken in the interests of changing the Government, which was the party’s priority.
“We have been very clear with our supporters and the public about that since we signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Labour last year,” he said.
Labour leader Andrew Little said the Green move would be very helpful to O’Connor but he said the Greens had not consulted with Labour before making the decision, though they had told Labour before making it public.
The two parties had talked about possible accommodations last year.
“In the end we agreed that we trust each other enough that we will make our own decisions on standing electorate candidates.”
He said there was no “deal” in Ohariu.
“They made a decision not to stand a candidate in Ohariu. They made a decision to stand a candidate in Mt Albert – go figure.”
There is no deal. The Greens appear to have made a unilateral decision for the good of the party’s own goals and for NZ. What I like about the MoU between Labour and the Greens is that they kept their independence. Labour are still free to act in the ways they see fit and likewise the Greens. The Greens have acknowledged that they’re not that keen on one of Labour’s candidate choices, but they’re behaving as if it’s not really any of their business. Which it isn’t. This is how adults behave when engaged in respect.
Labour are a centre-left party. Willie Jackson and Greg O’Commor are intentional plays for certain kinds of votes, both of which are problematic for those of us further left than Labour, but will probably help Labour win. One good thing about Wille Jackson is that some Labour voters will probably vote Green, but they will be replaced by people from the centre of the spectrum. These are not accidental or thoughtless actions by Labour, no matter how problematic they are on other levels. Let’s hope that lefties in Ōhāriu don’t squander that by gifting the seat back to Dunne.
If I lived in Ōhāriu, despite Greg O’Connor’s past I don’t think that it would be too hard electorate voting for him in order to get rid of Dunne, such is the damage that Dunne does to NZ in his support for a National government, or even just his stonewalling on medicinal cannabis. It’s also probable that Dunne would choose National again over a Labour-led government that had the Greens in it.
But what if instead of O’Connor it was Willie Jackson? Or maybe David Shearer and he was campaigning on his bash a disabled person platform? It’s hard to say until you are there but we can all think of the end of the extreme where we would be unable to suck it up and vote strategically. Maybe I couldn’t, or maybe I could and then I’d probably write posts on TS about the very real problems Shearer was creating but how those in Ōhāriu should still vote for him and then spend the next 3 years holding him to account. We have actual choices here. Politics isn’t pure, and it’s ok to be pragmatic. I understand that some people won’t be willing to do that, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Is this a dilemma for Green voters? For some it will be. But I see a mix of integrity and pragmatics here on the part of the party. Shaw acknowledges that many members have been wanting this action from the Greens. Turei acknowledges that they have a problem with O’Connor’s past. They haven’t done a deal, but have instead acted according to their conscience and own needs. For those who think it’s a compromise of MMP principles, consider that in 2014 the Greens didn’t stand anyone against Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau and that got barely a mention.
There are things here for the left to learn. It’s too cliched to try and lump the Greens into a box of either purity or damned by compromise. They’re a mainstream political party and they’re behaving as such and still maintaining the integrity they are known and loved for – hence no deal and being honest and transparent about their choice. The other key point is that Labour and the Greens don’t have to be joined at the hip and there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing and still working together. Not only should we get used to this, we should be figuring out how to do this ourselves.
National teapot deal/Dunne deal
MSM: Labour/greens don't get how MMP works
Greens don't stand candidate
MSM: dirtiest deal ever#nzpol
— WhakarauJK (@ArrestJK) February 14, 2017