Where to now for the Greens?

Written By: - Date published: 11:55 am, September 24th, 2017 - 153 comments
Categories: election 2017, electoral commission, greens, james shaw, labour, MMP, nz first - Tags:

Before we get into it, can we please start with this reminder about what it’s all about?

The election, not what we had hoped for but not an unmitigated disaster either. We’ve got a few weeks of limbo to see what settles out, but there is a modicum of potential here for a centre left government. There are other important things to talk about too, more on that at the end.

Let’s get this out of the way first. Whatever reckons people have about what the Greens should do, they won’t support National to form government. They pledged to change the government by signing the MoU over a year ago, they’ve campaigned all year on this, and they’ve committed to not going with National. Shaw recommitted to a Labour-led government last night.

There’s really not any other assurances they can give, but as Russell Norman pointed out on RNZ last night, any deal that the Green Party want to do has to go to the membership. I’m mentioning all this because there are RW trolls and MSM reporters pushing the idea that it could happen. It’s a needless distraction to be put aside.

The election result currently looks like this. It doesn’t include the Special votes (overseas voters, people voting outside their electorate, and the Advance votes where people enrolled at the same time). They’re due by October 7 and usually drop the National % a bit and increase the Left’s.

Greens 7
Labour 45
Centre Left total 61
National 58
Act 1
RW total 59

On the basis of that and the impending Specials, James Shaw’s election night speech went bold and said that Labour, the Greens and NZF should form a government.

It was a delightfully pivotal moment. The MSM had spent the evening going on about how National were winning, and Lefties were all getting pretty glum, and then Shaw stepped up and said let’s do this. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, because despite it being right that Labour and the Greens campaigned to govern alone, this was always the most likely outcome – that Peters would be kingmaker. But it was good to see the pushback to the establishment’s dominant and frankly FPP-ish narrative.


The current indications are that the three opposition parties command a majority of votes once the Specials and Overseas votes will have been counted. New Zealanders have voted for change.

He’s speaking to Jacinda Ardern today to look at how to form a new government for NZ. In the speech he then went straight to sending a message to Winston Peters about the common ground that the Greens and NZF have – zero carbon economy by 2050, reinvesting in and revitalising the rail network and forestry as well as regional economies. To which we can add some other key things like Pike River (I’m really hoping someone draws up a comprehensive list today). Shaw is saying now is the time to put the differences aside and work together. There’s enough there to work with then, but maybe there is need for caution too.

The Greens have some options. One is to enter into the 3 way coalition with Labour and NZF. That will depend on what the deal is and especially on what Peters wants. There will be some no go areas for the Greens (and Labour) e.g. I cannot imagine the Greens even contemplating a referendum on the Māori Seats. So what happens if Peters brings things to the table that the Greens (or Labour) can’t agree to?

Another option is an agreement to support a L/NZF coalition on Confidence and Supply and to stay out of government themselves. They could also agree to abstain. If this meant that it freed the Greens up to vote for or against the government as they chose on legislation other than monetary supply, and to speak out on the things that are important to them, then that sounds like it also has potential. If the Greens want change not power at any costs, then there are other ways of working than coalitions with too many compromises.

The third option is that if Peters’ bottom lines are unacceptable, the Greens (and Labour) remain in opposition and National get a fourth term with an unstable coalition partner that may or may not last. The Greens are then free to say whatever they like whenever they like. Not ideal at all and I can’t see the Greens proposing this so it would come down to Peters, but it’s important to understand that the Green Party’s core values aren’t for sale and they are a very effective opposition.

There’s a bit of talk already from some MSM pundits about how it’s not on for a NZ government to have a Prime Minister whose party only has 36% of the vote. This is daft, but bears examining because it’s basically saying that MMP is supposed to be a big party with one or two minor parties i.e. a duopoly.

For a bit of international context this got posted by regular TS commenter Swordfish a while back. It shows the second largest party in Sweden forming a coalition government after the 2006 General Election,

Centre-Left Bloc

Social Democrats 35%(Largest Party)

Left Party 6% (Sixth)

Green 5% (Seventh)

Centre-Right Bloc

Moderate 26% (Second Largest Party)

Centre 8% (Third)

Liberal People’s Party 8% (Fourth)

Christian Democrats 7% (Fifth)

Moderates form Centre-Right Coalition Govt

You can read about the actual conventions that NZ has on forming government here. It’s not what some are saying, and I think this is a good opportunity for NZers to educate themselves on this important constitutional matter and push back against the attempt at hegemony.

So that’s government. But it’s been a sea change election. The Greens broke the spell on welfare and that’s not going to go back in the box. Whatever government is formed, it will have to deal with this change. Metiria Turei won’t be in parliament, but if she picks up where she left off then there will be one formidable agent of change working from the community as well as the groundswell of support to transform welfare in NZ.

The other thing here is this,

We got a reprieve, of sorts. It might last two weeks or it might last 3 years. It’s not a win though, it’s just some space to do the real mahi in. The Left have got some hard thinking ahead of them.

And as always this,


That’s both the ongoing failings of the MSM, and the reminder that climate change is here, now, and that it too won’t be put aside. There’s only so long we can keep pretending it’s not happening. But here too is potential. If as George Monbiot says, the great sweeping changes of the past century have been about the dominating and inspiring stories, and the traditional left wing story isn’t enough to turn the tide, what is it the story now that we want to tell about NZ and ourselves that will make a difference?

153 comments on “Where to now for the Greens?”

  1. BM 1

    The greens at 5.9% are on the brink of going out, Jacinda Ardern has taken most of your voters, while Ardern is Leader the greens won’t be getting any votes from disgruntled and unhappy Labour voters.

    Arden has stolen your thunder, your policies and your purpose

    Unless the Greens change strategy, you won’t survive 2020.

    • Carolyn_nth 1.1

      After the specials, the GP will be above 6%.

      And NZ First has taken the Nats and ACT thunder – so where to for ACT and the neoliberals over the next 3 years?

      • BM 1.1.1

        You don’t know that most specials could go Labour because of Jacindamania and not Green, you might actually find the Greens get knocked out of parliament.

        • Andre

          Here’s a quick math exercise for you: The Greens now have 126,995 of 2,169,802 total votes cast (5.853%). if the Greens get literally none of the special votes, how many special votes would there have to be to reduce the Green percentage from 5.9% to 4.999%?

        • Incognito

          If there are 400,000 special votes (probably less) and the Green Party would receive zero special votes their overall percentage might drop just under 5%.

          So, what is it: scaremongering or wishful thinking on your behalf?

          Edit: snap Andre!

        • Rae

          Well I know for an absolute fact they will get at least one

        • cleangreen

          BM = Boo Moo.

          Don’t cry’ ” did your boyfriend leave you?”

          Like the oilworker said to Steven Segal in the movie “On Deadly Ground” (The tale of another dirty oil baron like your Nats’ mates.)


    • weka 1.2

      One of the more tedious things of the next few weeks is going to be this kind of bullshit astroturfing. The Greens are back in parliament, there’s no reason to assume they won’t build their vote over the next 3 years, your comment looks like wishful thinking.

      I am curious though. If more than 5.9% is on the brink of going out, what % would be assumed to be safe?

      • BM 1.2.1

        What voter demographics are the greens going to build their vote from?the green vote increased purely because of the many disgruntled Labour voters.

        Once Ardern appeared they dropped you guys like a hot potato and went back home

        While she remains that voter bloc is no more, so where else do the greens get votes from?

        Another issue the Greens are going to face is that you won’t get any publicity it’s going to be all about Arden and Peters, which will probably finish you guys off especially if the greens decide to sit outside of government and make up the numbers.

        • weka

          I think the Greens will naturally pick up left wing voters again because Labour are still very much in centre-left mode. If Labour truly adopt current GP policy, then that frees up the Greens to develop new policy that takes NZ further left. That Ardern’s Labour centred on environmental issues this election is due to the Greens. They want change not power. The ability to shift NZ left on the environment and ending poverty is a key reason for them to be in parliament. I don’t see that influence changing.

          Something like 45% of a pre-election poll said they would be sad to see the Greens leave parliament. Hell, there’s all these National dudes wanting a bluegreen coalition, lol. Like I said, your comment was not very substantial and you still haven’t said what % would mean the GP were safe in parliament.

          “Once Ardern appeared they dropped you guys like a hot potato and went back home”

          While I think this is a big factor, I’ve not seen any credible analysis that demonstrates where exactly the votes went and why. There were far more things going on than just Ardern.

          “Another issue the Greens are going to face is that you won’t get any publicity it’s going to be all about Arden and Peters, which will probably finish you guys off especially if the greens decide to sit outside of government and make up the numbers.”

          A reminder that I’m not the Greens.

        • Tracey

          This is MMP. At 5% or win 1 seat and you get a voice. Seymours is insanely loud for a rep of .5% of voters.

          Greens are still a solid core of supporters over 5%. They have NEVER sought to wag the dog. Neither has MP. Seymour gets way more for ACT than .5% represents. NZF wag the dog… historically speaking

          Time to talk about maturity in politics. And it is all coming from Shaw at the moment.

          • Rae

            Shaw is impressive.
            Shoot me down, but I see Greens, TOP and MP could form one super modern, forward thinking party.

          • Carolyn_nth

            ACT is GONE! Blinglish says he doesn’t want them in government.

            • Incognito

              It is almost certain that ACT will have an MP for the next three years; after that, who knows …

              ACT is highly like to vote with National or abstain and not likely to vote against – there must be some actual voting stats somewhere.

              David Seymour opted to take on responsibilities as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the previous coalition government with National. So, all in all, I don’t think ACT will shed crocodile tears about being ‘excluded’ from government by National. After all, National is the reason why ACT is still around in the first place.

          • mikesh

            It’s possible, I think, that Seymour might become an overhang after the specials are counted. It could be interesting if National pick up another seat, which would give National/ACT 61 seats in a 121 seat Parliament.

            • In Vino

              No. The Epsom dirty voters will still try to pull the same ACT victory next time because they know it still gives National that extra seat..

              Left wingers in Epsom have to vote dirty deal (for National man) to squeeze ACT out. Otherwise, ACT will remain as an ugly wart on the face of democracy.

      • SpaceMonkey 1.2.2

        Exactly…for 3 more years of a National led Government and more people will be looking at Greens and NZ First more seriously… and maybe TOP if Gareth can drag himself away… and Labour if they be a bit braver with their policies.

    • Booker 1.3

      If that’s your assessment of the Greens, what do you say about NZF then? Frankly, 7 something percent isn’t far off falling below the 5% threshold, and if Winnie isn’t around for the next election, is there really enough policy, recognition or momentum for NZF to keep going without him?

      • BM 1.3.1

        NZ First will be gone once Peters retires.

        The problem for the Greens is that Ardern has made them irrelevant, she’s done the climate change speech, she’s pushing public transport in a big way.

        There’s no longer any reason for an environmentally focused left winger to vote Green.

        I know this won’t happen because the Greens seem to function like some religious cult, but the only avenue left to remain relevant is to have the ability to work both sides of the fence, you get environmental policy no matter who wins.

        That way you can pick up votes from both sides and you’d probably end up with something like 15% of the vote.

        Never happen though which is a shame, a real opportunity going begging.

        • Andre

          I’ve long thought it might work for the Greens to split.

          One part would be the environment focused grouping that could choke down working with the Nats, and that might pull some blue-green support.

          The other grouping would be those focused on social justice that could hoover up the emo progressives that think the current Greens are closet neoliberals.

          I could see both parts getting a 6 or 7% core support as viable long term parties. Maybe if Metiria remains active and keen to get back into Parliament she might lead a movement like that.

          • BM

            That’s probably the best long-term option for the Greens at the moment they’re looking a bit rudderless and pointless.

            • Incognito

              You must be joking!? The Green Party is more embedded in values and has more sense of purpose than any other party here in NZ. That includes Labour with its Kiwi Dream and National with its Brighter Future.

              • In Vino

                Agreed. BM is wishfully dreaming. He is right in saying that NZ First may go when Peters leaves. But he is maliciously misunderestimating (hat-tip to George Dubya) the Greens, unless he is foolishly ignorant.

          • Psycho Milt

            One part would be the environment focused grouping that could choke down working with the Nats…

            I’ve yet to see anyone explain how that would work. National’s core constituency places a high value on business models that involve pushing environmental costs onto others, not least future generations. Green environmentalists want the opposite of that. What work would these two fundamentally opposed groups do together?

            • BM

              Flag the whole ideology bollocks and just work on policy.

              Promote organic farmers
              Promote and teach more environmentally friendly farming practices
              Clean technology
              Electric cars
              Public transport
              Healthy living


              All this stuff could be easily worked out and agreed to by National.
              Greens just need to stop acting like a religious group and start acting like a political party.

              • Incognito

                Flag the whole ideology bollocks and just work on policy.

                We need more value-based ideology, not less!

                Political pragmatism and expediency is anathema to a healthy democracy and progressive society and National is the textbook example of this type of politics.

                • BM

                  When your party is hovering around the death knell of 5% it may be time to pull your head out of your arse and realise it’s you who’s doing to wrong.

                  • In Vino

                    Can you please explain what ‘doing to wrong’ means? And I don’t know of any party that is hovering around a death-knell. Green vote likely to rise on Oct 2, I gather…

                  • Incognito

                    You mean become more ‘pragmatic’, sacrifice or water-down a few values and principles, tell a lie or two, spread fear about your opponent, etc? I prefer to have my head up my arse, thank you. And no, I am not an orthodox dogmatic purist, just somebody for whom values mean something more than ‘rules of the game’ that can be bent, broken, or brushed off.

              • The Greens are already more than ready to work with National on those things. No dismantling of the party required. Now, in future, and throughout the last nine years, the moment National has a road-to-Damascus moment and decides to stop treating the environment like an infinite-capacity rubbish bin, the Greens stand ready to offer their full support. Funnily enough, no opportunity to assist has presented itself…

            • Andre

              Sure that’s how part of National’s core constituency thinks.

              But there’s also others that are attracted to the Nats low tax, business efficiency mantra that can be persuaded by the sound economic arguments for environmental policies.

              For them, arguing the benefits of less pollution, healthier population, jobs and economic efficiencies in shifting to renewable energy are all arguments they might be open to. And if they were persuaded they’ll be willing to argue it with other Nat factions.

              There’s yet others whose business models work a lot better in a clean environment, so they’re already feeling the tension of arguing with the cost externalisers.

              What all the different flavours of Nat I’ve come across have in common is they’re definitely against feeling like they’re paying for poor people. So when parts of a political platform that can be painted that way become prominent, it puts them right off of listening to anyone associated with that. That’s where centregreens would have to bite their tongues and choke down rats.

              So any hypothetical centregreen coalition with Nats will also get various factions within the Nats arguing. But governing is always like that.

              • My impression is that such people would be a tiny part of National’s constituency (if they weren’t, National’s environmental credibility would stand a little higher than “non-existent”). And if National were to prioritise that constituency over the majority of its members and its core principles (foremost of these being “interests of the ruling class trump all other considerations”), it would be on a par with the 4th Labour government’s fling with libertarianism. Can’t see it happening.

                • Andre

                  My impression is there’s a lot more potential bluegreens than just a tiny part of the Nat vote. But that may be because most of the Nats I come across are in connection with some sort of outdoor activity like skiing, mountain biking, whitewater etc.

          • Incognito

            The Green Party policies are (highly) integrated and form a holistic framework and the basis on which the party has been founded. I don’t think you can isolate one set of policies without the rest and achieve anything meaningful. Unless you’re suggesting they become a fringe party like ACT pushing for one or two pet projects [pardon the pun].

            • BM

              So unless the Greens get over 50% of the vote and control the whole shebang none of their policies will work, nothing works in isolation?

              For fucks sake who were the idiots who came up with that framework?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                They built a framework you cannot understand. The next test is to boil an egg.

                • BM

                  No, they built a framework that doesn’t work in an MMP environment, it’s fucking useless.

                  • Incognito

                    I’d say that this framework is firmly rooted in reality while MMP is a recent human construct, a pretty poor one to boot IMO.

            • lurgee

              As soon as I hear the word ‘holistic’ I reach for my revolver …

              I have to agree with BM, which probably makes us both feel a little bit strange, and not in a good way.

              Your response makes it sound like the Greens can’t actually ever look to work in coalition. Unless they find a coalition partner that is willing to implement their entire programme. Which seems a bit unlikely.

              Are you, perchance, just chucking nice sounding words about to make it look like you’re dealing a mighty blow to the churl?

              • Incognito

                There are certain words that make some people froth at the mouth and pop a few veins; “holistic” seems to be one of those.

                My comment @ was a response to Andre @ who entertained the idea of the Greens splitting.

                What I was saying is that you cannot separate policy areas from others without a complete deconstruction-reconstruction and that the end-result will be nothing like the Green Party and what it stands for.

                Revolver or not, your interpretation of my comment is way off the mark and to be frank it really puzzles me.

                As to the willingness or capability of the Greens to work in a coalition I can honestly say that I haven’t got the faintest. They did sign an MOU with Labour though and it seems that they are keen to take the next step, aren’t they?

                Lastly, I am trying to work out things here for myself as much as anybody and we live in confusing times I reckon and I find myself having too little patience for others, which is not something I particularly enjoy!

                PS Is lefthandpalm your blog?

                • lurgee

                  If it isn’t my blog, I’d be suing that lurgee chap for plagiarism, as it is currently reproducing a lot of my comments here.

                  I actually forgot I’d posted the above last night. Just said it again, in an even more long winded manner.

        • mikesh

          Peters’ best legacy would be for the party to continue after he’s gone. This is is what he should be working towards.

  2. Carolyn_nth 2

    thanks, weka.

    Some sense about the options for the GP.

    And shocking the way the MSM have slanted the discussion eg not highlighting issues of climate change – and still with the remnants of FPP thinking that the largest party forms government.

    And all of us on the left have work to do for the next 3 years – supporting the campaigns for the climate, for reformation of our social welfare system, and for a more sustainable but productive economy.

  3. Sabine 3

    National is in a hard place. No matter they need a partner for an outright majority. They are not guaranteed a stable partner full stop. So even if Labour/Greens stay in opposition they could hinder National from implementing their platform by simply getting some votes (4 – 5) from NZF and outvote National at any given time.

    It is time that people stop crying and understand that National has not won in the sense of ‘winning’. Labour and the Greens can do quite a bit of damage to National in opposition and wait for National / NZF to implode. Which if they form a coalition they will, simply because they don’t have much that binds them.

    Also if we get a L/G/NZF goverment it would be a fine example of MMP. The majority of the people did not vote for National, and it is then reflected in the coalition partners.

  4. Carolyn_nth 4

    Whatever government is formed, it comes down as much to values as policy: this will determine the priorities in inter-party negotiations.

    Unlike the way the MSM make it see like any Labour or Nat policy is a done deal if they lead a government – all policies are up for negotiation. I wish mainstream journalists had been more focused on that, and underlying values, during the election campaigns.

  5. Rosemary McDonald 5

    Russell Norman?

    What is it with this guy?

    Three years ago he gave out the ‘keeping the options open with working with National’ mixed message, and fuck me dead he does it again this morning on Natrad.

    We need to keep all clogs out of his reach.

    I don’t consider my two ticks Green wasted.

    • weka 5.1

      I just had a listen,


      I don’t think it was quite that bad. He’s saying that in order for the Greens to work with National, National would have to move a long way on sometime like climate change and make a very substantial offer to the Greens, but that that is unlikely to happen. Who thinks National would come up with something that would be attractive to the Greens? I don’t, and there’s still the massive issue of ending poverty and cleaning up rivers. There’s just no way that National can move that far.

      Norman is being a bit laissez fair in his commentary and you are right, it’s similar to what happened in 2014. He’s technically correct, but his messaging still is not the great.

      I was more disappointed last night with his repeated assertion that the Greens fucked up on the welfare stuff. Really glad he’s not still part of the party.

      • greywarshark 5.1.1

        Yes I heard that comment about Greens messing up the election run-up by having Meteria mention poverty. He could have said that the way it was handled made it an indigestible message but he didn’t qualify his remark enough in my opinion.
        Dumped on Metiria I think. I think its good he is not still in the Party. So different to Jeanette who is still firing on all her political cylinders when I hear her.

        • weka

          I thought he dumped on Turei too, and the party. Was unnecessary, as you say he could have framed it differently so I can only assume he thinks the welfare policy is wrong.

          • Tracey

            Big time. But his raison d’etre is environment hence his current position never was the social justice part of the charter. Am wondering if he left over the zcharter rewrite or are my dates way wrong?

      • Rosemary McDonald 5.1.2

        Thanks for putting up the link weka…I heard it on the transistor radio this morning..but having no sound on this laptop was unable to listen to the link and confirm.

        The Greens have moved on since Norman’s day…probably the ‘leftistist’ party we have.

        They need to keep on that track.

      • Tracey 5.1.3

        Yes he allowed his view of what the party should be to cloud what it is.

        • greywarshark

          I think that the poverty thing is not being dealt with by any of the others and Greens have to extend beyond the environment pure and simple, even if middle class people don’t want to include people in their landscapes.

          Anyway the poor can’t be stetched to their limits and still have a care for the environment. However bring in some training and some part time work on Task Force Green for unemployed, be showing the skills, while they are doing the mahi and hello! What a great idea. I should have a Nobel Prize for thinking of something that our sainted politicians haven’t even caught onto yet./sarc

      • Booker 5.1.4

        I did think he looked a bit jaded when I saw him on the RNZ coverage last night. It’s a pity, he brought some great economic ideas to the table while leading the Greens.

  6. greywarshark 6

    What next? It certainly is hard to see your way clearly in today’s politics, as it always has been I suppose.

    Yanis Varoufakis makes some comments about the positions of Greece and Germany and warns against complacency. When you seem to be doing well he says, it may represent an ill wind. I quote a telling phrase, “Complacency is a country’s worst enemy'” I think he may be talking to us, as so many of NZs “feel their land is ‘doing fine’.”

    The Greek people are paying dearly for having been lulled into a false sense of security, writes former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. Germans, he says, are laboring under the same illusion today.

    Complacency is a country’s worst enemy. My compatriots were, once upon a time, lulled into a false sense of having “made it.” I very much fear that a majority of Germans feel their land is “doing fine.”

    That the federal election campaign is proving such a tepid affair is a reflection of the false sense of security generated by Germany’s three surpluses: Companies save, households save, the Frankfurt banks are awash with monies sent to them from other European countries, even the federal government budget is in surplus. But these surpluses are the sign of weakness, not strength. They are the harbingers of significant current and future hardship for most Germans now and in the future.

    • But these surpluses are the sign of weakness, not strength.

      Yep. Can pretty much guarantee that those government surpluses are reflected in massively increased private debt.

      • mikesh 6.1.1

        Surpluses are really only justified in a booming economy, when you want to cool things down. I don’ think we are quite in that position yet.

  7. RedBaronCV 7

    I thought James Shaw made the best speech of the evening highlighting the NZ had indeed voted for changes and that this is likely to end up at about 58 Nact and 62 everyone else which is rather more than Nact have had over the last little while.

    I’m kinda sorry that Jacinda didn’t develop that positive theme.

    NZF & the Greens have a lot in common. neither want to be linked to parts of a larger party agenda that will crucify them (think Nick Clegg) but I see no reason why both wouldn’t be happy to support confidence & supply (provided there were negotiations before it came to parliament and why should there not be continuing negotiations in the background throughout a parliament – there are now) so they weren’t blindsided. In return they have ministerial posts in areas of interest and again negotiate with the other two to past relevant legislation. Much as parties do within themselves now.

    • red-blooded 7.1

      Jacinda did emphasise that the voters had spoken and that most had voted for change. She made it clear that it was too early to call this election and that all options for coalition and confidence and supply had to be on the table. As it happens, I think she gave the best speech of the evening.

      We do have to remember WP’s ongoing sense of competition with and dislike for the Greens, though. I hope he can see past it, but I won’t be surprised if he can’t. That’s the guy (and the party) the NZ electorate served up as having the power to choose who gets to form the next government.

  8. To which we can add some other key things like Pike River (I’m really hoping someone draws up a comprehensive list today). Shaw is saying now is the time to put the differences aside and work together. There’s enough there to work with then, but maybe there is need for caution too.

    A list would be good. The list should show the commonality between NZ1st, Labour, Greens and National. It needs to show the latter because there’s almost no overlap between NZ1st and National. If NZ1st want to be true to their members, the people who voted for them and their policies then they actually can’t go with National.

    I cannot imagine the Greens even contemplating a referendum on the Māori Seats.

    I can. If it’s a referendum of Māori on the Māori seats then they could easily support it because then it would be a decision by Māori only. And Winston does have a point about the majority of Māori not being on the Māori roll.

    A referendum on the seats could have the benefit of increasing Māori participation in politics in general and increasing support for those seats.

    A referendum on the Māori seats isn’t necessarily negative or something to be afraid of.

    So what happens if Peters brings things to the table that the Greens (or Labour) can’t agree to?

    There would, from what I can make out of the policies of the three parties, be some compromise that all of them could agree on.

    The third option is that if Peters’ bottom lines are unacceptable, the Greens (and Labour) remain in opposition and National get a fourth term with an unstable coalition partner that may or may not last.

    That’s one possibility but not one that I want. The amount of damage that a continuing National government will do to the country, even if it’s only a short term one, will bring me nightmares.

    TVNZ never once raised climate change in NZ election debate when opposition parties called this as a key issue- think about that

    That’s actually disturbing considering how much we need to change because of it. That change is also a massive opportunity. Muldoon saw it – back in the 1970s. It may not have been Climate Change that drove him to Think Big but it was obviously the Right Thing to do. He just did it wrong. Now we need to do it again and, thanks to Muldoon, we actually have a large part of the infrastructure in place and the experience and skills to drive it further.

    It comes down to the ‘war time economy’ that keeps getting passed around. Where we pull out all the stops to do what needs to be done. And that’s going to mean the government creating money to utilise our own resources. It’s going to mean capital controls to prevent excess foreign money coming in as we have now. It’s going to mean dropping FTAs/WTO and putting in place standards and tariffs instead (actual free-trade). It’s going to mean a level of employment where low paid jobs disappear because people will be able to get better paid jobs elsewhere that present a better challenge as well. It’s going to mean changing the rules on resource extraction.

    We can afford to do all of this because we have the resources and people available to do it.

    • RedBaronCV 8.1

      The need to be bold. If we are not do we end up in a few years with a “brexit” or “Trump” as the group who feels they are never listened too bite back .

    • weka 8.2

      Is Peters’ idea to have referendum for Māori only? How would eligibility to vote be determined?

      Even under such conditions I can’t see the Greens supporting that. A referendum on the Māori seats would need to be driven by Māori. At the moment it’s not.

      “So what happens if Peters brings things to the table that the Greens (or Labour) can’t agree to?”

      There would, from what I can make out of the policies of the three parties, be some compromise that all of them could agree on.

      Yes, that’s not what I meant though. The Greens (and I assume Labour) already understand the compromise part. I’m pointing out that there are limits and that not everything can be compromised on.

      Just listened to Russell Norman point out that both National and Labour talked about the environment in their election night speeches. That’s good. The climate change thing, I still think it’s going to have to be pushed from outside parliament, but on that alone it’s probably worth trying to make a Labour-led govt work. However the Greens have seen what happens when they compromise on CC policy and I really hope they make their climate plan a bottom line even if they need to amend it.

      • Is Peters’ idea to have referendum for Māori only?


        I think he’d go for it given his and his party’s position on them.

        How would eligibility to vote be determined?

        Māori descent and if those people consider themselves Māori.

        A referendum on the Māori seats would need to be driven by Māori. At the moment it’s not.

        You want to have a referendum to ask Māori if they want to have a referendum on keeping the Māori seats first?

        I note that Winston is of Māori descent and he seems to be driving it.

        I’m pointing out that there are limits and that not everything can be compromised on.

        in the last Labour/UF/NZ1st government they had an agreement to agree to disagree on some points. It was a quite stable government.

        However the Greens have seen what happens when they compromise on CC policy and I really hope they make their climate plan a bottom line even if they need to amend it.

        Climate Change is where all three parties seem to agree the most and will thus have the least amount of compromise.

        • weka

          “Māori descent and if those people consider themselves Māori.”

          Yes, but we don’t have a roll for that, so how would that work?

          “You want to have a referendum to ask Māori if they want to have a referendum on keeping the Māori seats first?”

          Lol, better than a referendum on the Māori seats being generated by NZF. But no, what I meant is that I don’t see anyone other than NZF wanting the referendum, and I don’t see a push from within Māoridom for it. This suggests that it’s not a priority for Māori and any referendum would be an imposition.

          “I note that Winston is of Māori descent and he seems to be driving it.”

          Sure, but that doesn’t mean his views reflect those of many or most Māori. It just says that he’s in a position of power to make his own view happen. That’s dictatorial not representative.

          “in the last Labour/UF/NZ1st government they had an agreement to agree to disagree on some points. It was a quite stable government.”

          Yes, I think it’s doable once established. What I am meaning is if Peters wants something in the negotiations that the Greens aren’t ok with. In other words, the Greens aren’t obliged to take any deal they’re offered, it still has to match their values (and get passed by the members).

          “Climate Change is where all three parties seem to agree the most and will thus have the least amount of compromise.”

          True, and I’ll have a look at NZF’s policy later. But Labour and the Greens’ policy is different, and I think the Greens are going to want to abolish the ETS and replace it with a Carbon Tax. Given what happened with their support for the ETS years ago, I suspect this will be one thing they won’t want to compromise on.

          • Carolyn_nth

            Yes, but we don’t have a roll for that, so how would that work?

            I’ve had people tell me they are registered as having Maori whakapapa, and have been shown the card they were given – I think to use when Maori whakapapa is required for some activity or registration or funding.

            • weka

              I would guess there will be a huge number of Māori that haven’t done that e.g. the whole urban Māori issue where whakapapa can’t be established. I haven’t kept up with that though.

              It’s possible that the Crown could offer for Māori to self select into a new special roll, but then we already have the Māori electoral roll about which the referendum would be making a decision and it seems odd to form another roll to ask Māori whether to get rid of the first one or not.

              This is another reason why the whole issue needs to come from Māori.

              • This is another reason why the whole issue needs to come from Māori.

                No it doesn’t. In fact, there is no logical connection from one to the other.

                The only logical conclusion we could reach from what you just said is that we actually do need that data on who is and who isn’t Māori.

                • weka

                  Because the Crown has a Treaty with Māori and it’s not the Crown’s place to make this happen. And frankly, given the proto-fascist way that National are operating with regards to data, I don’t trust them. If Māori want a review of the Māori seats they will say, and then they can determine what eligibility to vote on that is.

                  • Because the Crown has a Treaty with Māori and it’s not the Crown’s place to make this happen.

                    Do you know why the Māori seats came about?

                    And frankly, given the proto-fascist way that National are operating with regards to data, I don’t trust them.

                    Neither do I but that doesn’t mean that we don’t actually need that data.

                    If Māori want a review of the Māori seats they will say, and then they can determine what eligibility to vote on that is.

                    This comes back to that why. The seats don’t exist because of Ti Tiriti but because of the electoral rules at the time.

              • Carolyn_nth

                Actually, the person who showed me their card, didn’t know what her Iwi was – she lives in New Lynn, and has never had much connection with Maori communities – and is retired.

            • greywarshark

              Winston is playing the trickster with his Maoriness as he does with other things. Divide and conquer is the effect. But what he will be winning is a moot point. But it catches people’s attention and directs it to him for now, so that’s what matters. And seems to make some point about strength and integrity. It comes under the heading of ‘sneering at the nanny state’ having your hand held like a child, ‘you’re grown-up now’ etc.

              If Maori fall for the line they would be throwing away all the wisdom and fighting power they have brought into their fight to maintain their mana and resources against the ravening hordes from the other side of the world. We have made agreements and got a just-getting-by association of peoples going which works but limits Maori to a particular status that is recognised in formal and informal ways. They have the right to have four members in Parliament recognising them, they can’t be ignored. They also have a choice to vote on the general roll if they want.

              Maori can’t be left out of Parliament, can’t be pushed aside completely and merely be relying on patronage from condescending people (I remember Jenny Shipley voicing ‘our Maoris’). It is a historic right Maori have gained that should never be given up, always be there to be invoked and used when other avenues are not proving satisfactory. Take it away and Maori become just another cultural entity in a NZ where hospitals, who see all the broad population eventually, may have the need of 50 language translators available for needed communication.

              Our neo lib economy and free market is supposed to be about choice, so Maori would be unwise not to invoke their right to have a quota as a base line in Parliament.

          • Draco T Bastard

            This suggests that it’s not a priority for Māori and any referendum would be an imposition.

            Possibly but it’s a point of compromise that would allow a Labour/NZ1st/Green government and it could be turned into a significant positive if done well.

            That’s dictatorial not representative.

            Yes but, as I’ve mentioned before, we have elected dictatorship rather than a democracy. It’s how the system was designed and it needs changing as well.

            NZFirst Environmental Policies.

            There are many there that I disagree with (water really does belong to the state) but a working compromise could be reached.

            • weka

              The Greens are committed to Māori though, I can’t see how they would think it was their place to do a deal that undermined that. That the system favours dictatorial behaviour doesn’t mean the Greens have to behave like that.

              • The Greens are committed to Māori though, I can’t see how they would think it was their place to do a deal that undermined that.

                It could be used to improve Māoridom. As I said, it’s not all negative.

                That the system favours dictatorial behaviour doesn’t mean the Greens have to behave like that.

                We have a dictatorial system. It’s going act dictatorially no matter what the Greens want. The best option then is to get the best result from that dictatorial action.

  9. Ad 9

    The Green Party certainly have some work to do at 1% above obliteration.

    Currently 94% of New Zealand voters avoid supporting the Green Party.

    The Green Party in one form or another have been around since the 1972.

    In that time they have never been in Cabinet.

    They have held an electorate seat once – for one term only.

    They have a had a Confidence and Supply agreement with a full government once.

    Their achievements in parliament have been a home insulation programme, the Child Discipline Act, and the Energy Conservation Act.

    They will face some really big tests of compromise if there is a proposal to form a government, and it will need real solidarity from its members to accept that and to keep them in it.

    The Greens need to do better than 6%. They know that. It’s not enough to influence much, so they will need to be very, very targeted about what to go for from here.

    If they are not in government they will not have many MPs to focus Parliamentary or electorate or media or campaign work with.

    They are very, very lucky to have an exceedingly smart and honorable leader in James Shaw. He has been the saving of them over the last two months.

    He alone has the leadership capacity to get them through this next term, from this vulnerable state and into better shape in the next election.

    • weka 9.1

      Not terribly surprised to see you talking them down again Ad. The Greens are anathema to the centrists on the left. Or they would be if they went the whole hog as Bill suggests. I guess there is still some common ground, enough to be getting on with in the meantime.

      • Ad 9.1.1

        It’s the results that talked their parliamentary representation down. The truth is in the results.

        The worst thing the Green Party and its supporters could do is retain the same fabulous idealism but fail to address why they did so poorly.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Whereas the Greens will judge the outcome by the policy results, and that’s what you persistently fail to address or even show any understanding of.

          All you’re doing is revealing things about yourself and presenting them as relevant and wise.

          • Ad

            The policy results can only be delivered if the Greens are a part of the government.

            The more seats in parliament they have, the stronger their capacity to deliver their policies.

            The top seven sentences of POInt 9 were from Wikipedia.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              The policy results can only be delivered if the Greens are a part of the government.

              I realise that’s the way you can conceive of, but we already knew that.

              • greywarshark

                Thinking of conceiving. I think Ad is saying that you can’t be half pregnant. You either are or not. I am not saying that the Greens are virgins, naive, or unaware of life’s realities but they just can’t go with anyone, and drop their own standards too much or they won’t be unique.

                The Greens, as they try to achieve a position in the law-making, power achieving government circle, can’t get there just by going through the regular process.

                Greens want to make changes, be different, and too many NZs are conformist and lazy thinkers, they are followers who don’t even reflect on the worthiness of the leader or path they are following – as long as their palms are crossed with gold.

                Greens may feel like using one of Nature’s systems autogamy, self fertilisation, seeing the other political parties are failing, their vigour lost, and retrogression rules. But the other parties have won by strengthening themselves combining with similar others. In the meantime before everyone else passes away, how can the Greens get to be a marriage partner and not the eternal bridesmaid or best man?

                It’s no use trying to appeal to reason, to appeal to precautionary action, to appeal to scenarios on reliable research, to unfortunate cycles of boom and bust in past history, to appeal to fear of repetition in a worse future, to appeal to concern for others welfare, to appeal to one’s own longer-term welfare, to appeal to understanding of meaningful statistics, to appeal to understanding of the lack of understanding of meaningful statistics, to awareness of the cyclical nature of human events, to awareness of the vast numbers of facts that we don’t know, have heard but not retained, not understood, deliberately misheard, misinterpreted through prejudice towards some factor etc.

                So if Greens can’t appeal to reason what then? How to contend with the flood of trivia that fills the senses, the overload of fantastic real and false stuff to wonder at, while the tide of problems washes around our toes? What has helped me is to limit my intake, which leaves time for some thinking. But I haven’t thought how Greens can break through the bovine cud-chewing stare of the comfortably off as they look with interest at the odd-bods trying for break-through.

            • KJT

              If, like National, you get into Parliament by forgetting principles. What is the point?

            • KJT

              Like the Maori party. Eh. How is that working for them. Again?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.2

      the Child Discipline Act


    • Tracey 9.3

      Plus their numerous policies greenifying other parties. It is like you deliberately have no pre Greens memory.

      Unlike you, Greens do not care who gets the credit for following some of their ideas as long as they are implemented.

      You need to pull you head out of the FPP arse Ad.

      • Ad 9.3.1

        I don’t really mind who takes credit for what policies, and it’s great that the Greens have functioned as the policy unit of Labour for several years.

        But don’t be fooled into thinking that the Greens have greened New Zealand. By almost every environmental measure we continue to go backwards. That is not a great record for the Green Party.

        If the Greens want to achieve their policies such that the whole of New Zealand is changed for good as a result, they need more MPs in parliament.

    • Incognito 9.4

      Currently 94% of New Zealand voters avoid supporting the Green Party.

      This is one way of framing it but to me this almost sounds like saying that the Green Party is unpalatable to 94% of the voters. I suspect this is not entirely true and I like to think that quite a few people are sympathetic to the Greens and/or to some of their policies but not enough to give them their overall Party Vote.

      A vote not in favour of a party is not the same as a vote against that party or parties. This is how MSM tends to frame it and I think it is disingenuous.

      • Ad 9.4.1

        It’s the facts of the results that matter now. Not the framing.

        The Greens were on course two months ago for their best result ever. If they had achieved that we would have a simple Green-Labour government being sworn in right after final vote.

        Instead, due in no small part to that poor performance, the country is held in limbo for as long as New Zealand First wants.

        • Incognito

          The world is full of facts but to make sense of these we make up stories and use ordinary language, framing, and heuristics, not symbolic logic.

          Two months ago Labour was on a hiding to nothing.

          IMO it is simplistic to put down the outcome of the elections to the “poor performance” of one party as if it were some kind of a Black Swan event. There are many moving parts that have been continuously at play & interplay. This makes life, and politics for that matter, fascinating and frustrating at the same time.

          • Ad

            In what the results have delivered, Labour could easily have disappeared as an entire movement if they had been on the same tracking as they were prior to Little stepping down.

            The difference between that and the Green Party events that led to their result will be written about for a while.

            We are now however beyond optics and heuristics.
            We have campaigned in poetry, we are now preparing to govern in prose.

            Now, there is only a negotiation. A negotiation whose forces and capacities are measured only and precisely in the results.

            • Incognito

              No, it is not (just) about the results; it is also about the stuff before, in-between, and after the results. It is also about the dynamics of the system and the inter-relationships that bring about the results.

  10. Bill 10

    I can’t escape the feeling that the Greens, when presented with the opportunity to be the change off the back of Metiria’s speech at the initial campaign launch, were far too keen to default to the softer option of affecting change by the time of Shaw’s speech at their re-launch.

    It’s a legitimate position/strategy, but to my mind, not one that should have been preserved …. Carpe diem and all of that.

    • RedBaronCV 10.1

      Metiria did okay in the electorate vote. Rino had his vote cut in half with both the Maori party and Metiria the beneficiaries.

  11. Incognito 11

    Thanks weka for this very good post; some of the comments are also spot on and ‘uplifting’.

  12. savenz 12

    James Shaw is very impressive. He understands how to compromise and has no ego. Pretty much a miracle considering the occupation he’s in.

    Greens did a lot of things wrong this election. Like Labour in the past they became divided and let a group’s personal agenda take over the rhetoric. They became group thinkers and that led to disunity and disruption. Their result does not reflect them as individuals but does reflect the problems they created for themselves. I’m not sure they even understand why they lost so many votes. It was not just Metiria’s confession and not understanding how it would be used to derail the election away from National’s various crisis – it was a succession of bad calls this entire year.

    BUT, Green’s recovered enough to stay in parliament. Even people who don’t vote for them want them in parliament.

    Greens understand the future. They have great ideas and policy. They just can’t organise the right way to get there. NZ First understands the past but struggles with the future. Labour have refreshed (hopefully lost their egos) and hopefully become wiser.

    All three parties together they are a great way forward for this country.

  13. Grantoc 13

    The fundamental tension within the Greens between its hard left socialist stance and its environmental stance continues to confuse voters.

    This tension/confusion is on display again right now whereby Shaw is categorically ruling out any negotiations with the Nats. This positioning suggests that the NZ Greens are, actually, predominantly a hard left socialist party.

    There are many more environmentally sympathetic voters than there are hard left socialist voters, and only a few who are both. I suggest that there are but a few hard left voters out there for the Greens to draw on as they seek to increase their vote and influence.

    Voters who are sympathetic to a party that puts the environment first and at the centre of their value system and policies are very unlikely to lend their support to a Green party that is perceived to be more interested in being aligned with socialism, as the NZ Greens are.

    Hence the low vote for the Greens in this election. And the vote won’t grow unless they clearly become an environmentally centred party and ditch their flirtation with socialism.

    And frankly environmental issues are of far greater importance to NZ and the world than socialism.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1


      Why display your ignorance like this? The subject has been covered comprehensively by James Shaw, by Nandor Tanczos, and here at The Standard.

      So there’s no excuse for your complete ignorance, other than that you are too stupid or dishonest or disinterested in the facts. Probably all three.

      No, I’m not going to explain it to you: you couldn’t be bothered listening to Shaw when he explained it in tiny little words.

      As for Socialist, you obviously can’t define it. I note that you want everyone else to clean up your mess.

      PS: you can drop any lip service you pay to environmental issues too: no-one is fooled by your dishonesty except you.

    • Ad 13.2

      To me that is the strength of James Shaw.

      He alone brought the Greens messaging back in the last six weeks.
      And he alone with his consistent messaging got them that crucial .9% of the vote to stop them facing the same fate as the Maori Party: oblivion.

    • BM 13.3

      This, if the Greens want to go down the Alliance/Mana poverty route they’re going to have to ditch Shaw and put in people like Davidson and Hughes in charge.

      A suit-wearing wealthy white liberal is not the face you can have fronting a party with that sort of focus.

      it will never work.

      • Oh, look at that – a RWNJ giving advice to his adversaries again.

      • Incognito 13.3.2

        Crikey! Stereotyping much? You’d expect a tree-hugging dope-smoking hippy with dirt under his fingernails to front the Greens? Or you lack the imagination to accept that a “suit-wearing wealthy white liberal” is not a hard-core supporter of ACT or National? In other words, James Shaw is an existential threat to you, isn’t he?

    • The fundamental tension within the Greens between its hard left socialist stance and its environmental stance continues to confuse voters.

      The two are one and the same. That’s not confusing.

      This positioning suggests that the NZ Greens are, actually, predominantly a hard left socialist party.

      Looking after the environment does require looking after the population as well else we end up with the massive social injustice that we have plus ongoing environmental degradation.

      There are many more environmentally sympathetic voters than there are hard left socialist voters, and only a few who are both.

      Then the ones that aren’t both need to wake up to reality.

      Nature doesn’t negotiate and She doesn’t take prisoners.

      And frankly environmental issues are of far greater importance to NZ and the world than socialism.


      We cannot address environmental issues if we maintain the same, failed capitalist system that causes the environmental degradation.

      • Incognito 13.4.1

        Well said.

      • Grantoc 13.4.2

        Are you arguing that caring about the environment is only possible within a hard left socialist framework? And by implication someone who is not a hard left socialist cannot by definition effectively care for and be concerned for the environment?

        If so; thats rubbish.

        It sounds like you are also suggesting that looking after the environment and the people can only be done under a socialist system. If so I again disagree. Socialism generally fails to deliver the necessary economic outcomes to deliver on this.

        Your arrogant dismissal of environmentally conscious and concerned voters who do not believe in socialism will only ensure that the Greens will always be a small minority party with little influence in this country.

        Good luck with your rigid inflexible ideological driven approach to climate change and environmentalism. You will achieve nothing but reruns of the current situation the Greens find themselves in.

        • weka

          “Are you arguing that caring about the environment is only possible within a hard left socialist framework?”


          “And by implication someone who is not a hard left socialist cannot by definition effectively care for and be concerned for the environment?”

          Superfically they can. They’re just not willing to put it into practice in a real way. It’s actually dangerous because it lulls people into thinking something is being done. Thus polluted water ways and climate change.

          “It sounds like you are also suggesting that looking after the environment and the people can only be done under a socialist system. If so I again disagree. Socialism generally fails to deliver the necessary economic outcomes to deliver on this.”

          Actually, we could be doing way better than we are under a centre left capitalist govt. The GP plans are essentially designed to run in the system we have now, because they’re being pragmatic.

          National policy is the antithesis of any meaningful care for the environment because it’s runs an extractive economy which is inherently unsustainable. Go and save a few bird species, that’s great, but don’t expect anyone who understands Green politics to take you seriously when you support politics that have environmental damage built into them.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Good luck with your rigid inflexible ideological driven approach to climate change and environmentalism.

          Actually, the problem is your inflexible ideology as you refuse to take into account reality.

  14. chris73 14

    Where to now for the Greens? Easy, first thing to do is stop being Labours doormat. By saying they’ll only go with Labour allows Labour to treat the Greens with all the respect they deserve (ie none)

    If the Greens want respect (and a voice in government) then they need to drop the MOU (combined they still got less than National) and say they could consider National in the future (and actually start to make it happening, mere words won’t convince anyone) and what that would mean is Labour would then have to woo the Greens like they’re about to woo Winston

    Winston can ask for, and likely get, whatever he wants while the Greens will act pathetically greatfull if Winston allows them to be part of the coalition

    Nobody respects a doormat

    • Ad 14.1

      That would make them very interesting indeed.

      Shaw has been pretty clear this morning that that possibility would take comprehensive changes in policy direction inside National on a variety of policy areas.

      • chris73 14.1.1

        Well I’m not saying they have to (although I wouldn’t wind seeing a Blue/Green government) but if the leave the door open a little rather than keeping it firmly closed then Labour would have listen to the Greens a bit more

        Basically 21 years (or or is it more) and they’ve achieved basically nothing and have never been in government

        Do the Greens really want to get some of their ideas implemented because if they do then they need to be inside the tent

        • Carolyn_nth

          If Labour want to form the government, they MUST include the Green Party.

          Shaw is making some strong demands of them – ie to be included in negotiating with NZ First.

          Mr Shaw said he would not take a back seat in any negotiations and expects to be a full partner in any deal between Labour and New Zealand First.

          The three parties just need to get in a room and talk, he said.

          “I would completely expect Labour to take a lead in negotiations, and initially have series of one-on-one conversations, but we don’t know what the process is yet.”

          Mr Shaw expected a phone call from Labour leader Jacinda Ardern today.

          The Green Party had to be involved in talks to ensure the next government would “last the distance”, he said.

          Despite some reports National would work with the Greens, Mr Shaw has ruled out that possibility and said he has not received a call from Bill English, nor would he call the National Party leader.

          “I’ve always said my goal was to change the government, and to form a new coalition government with the Labour Party afterwards, that’s what I’m working on and I think that possibility remains very real today, and even more so once the special votes are being counted,” Mr Shaw said.

          • chris73

            Then you better hope that Labour and NZF don’t get enough special votes to govern alone because if the do its bye bye Greens, again

          • BM

            Good because if Shaw wusses out and takes a silent role the Green party dies.

            I think he’s smart enough to realise that, Greens have to be in a prominent role going forward.

    • It’s almost comical watching right-wingers parade their inability to understand the Green Party.

      • chris73 14.2.1

        Question was where to for the Greens, not how well you understand them. I know the Greens won’t go with National or even entertain the idea but its what I’d like to see happen because (self-interest time) I’ve gotten into hunting and I’m trying to convince my wife to go tramping so I wouldn’t seeing the Greens have some influence on National

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          How about you just take some personal responsibility instead? Example: trying to convince the Party you follow not to destroy things?

          • chris73

            The only influence I had was with Sir John Key (you want to know why some benefits were raised, well you’re welcome) and now that hes gone I have to work on getting that influence back

            It might take some time

        • Psycho Milt

          You’d like to see the Greens have some influence on National, and for that to happen, you’d like to see the Greens approaching National offering some kind of deal in which parliamentary votes are traded for influence. I get why right-wingers think that way, but when talking about the Greens it’s about as likely as David Seymour getting up in Parliament to sing a rousing chorus of The Internationale when introducing his private members’ bill to restore compulsory unionism.

      • Incognito 14.2.2

        To be fair, I also struggle with understanding the Greens. That said, I also wonder about Labour from time to time …

    • Easy, first thing to do is stop being Labours doormat.

      They’re not Labour’s doormat no matter how much the RWNJs think they are. If they were they’d agree with everything that Labour told them to – just like ACT and National really.

      They don’t and never will do that.

      and say they could consider National in the future

      That would lose them about 90% of their voters.

      Winston can ask for, and likely get, whatever he wants while the Greens will act pathetically greatfull if Winston allows them to be part of the coalition

      No, we won’t.

      Nobody respects a doormat

      Which is why thinking people don’t respect National and their willingness to kowtow to the US/China and the UK. And, well, pretty much anyone who’s richer than they are.

      If you want an example of political party of a doormat look no further than National.

  15. Cave Johnson 15

    As a former member of both Greens & Labour, the problem I see with the Greens is that they are generally viewed as the left wing of the Labour party. When Labour slumps the Greens rise, and when Labour rises the Greens slump. This is because since 2005 their messaging and brand have not been strongly distinct from Labour’s. Could this be due to Labour’s shift in messaging after seeing the Greens success in 2002?

    Labour to Green seat counts
    2005: 49 to 6
    2008: 43 to 9
    2011: 34 to 14
    2014: 32 to 14
    2017: 45 to 7 (interim)
    This means the Greens are not much more helpful to Labour’s government aspirations than if they didn’t exist (most voters would simply move across).
    Until the left works out how to have more distinct appeal contrast between the two parties it is really wasting the opportunity of MMP.

    • Cave Johnson 15.1

      I remember Mike Ward’s optimism from the early days of the party. Maybe his latest initiative has some interesting ideas. https://creativealliance.org.nz/who-we-are

    • Stuart Munro 15.2

      It’s odd that you should think so, because a majority of commenters here find the differences material enough that they have moved away from Labour, although they were originally as tribally Labour as that party might wish.

      NZ is in the grip of a failed far-right government – it should not surprise anyone when parties that are not part of that evidence a similar determination to be rid of it. Had the Gnats been a responsible rightwing government the perception of policy differences might have been very different. There would have been less need for poverty relief and urgent housing measures for example.

      There is little doubt the Greens would prefer to be rolling out organic gardening and solarisation policies to a sustainably comfortable classless society. But ignoring the critical issues of the day won’t achieve that – we have a government doing that already.

      • Cave Johnson 15.2.1

        But what do you think of the patterns in the numbers? Do you acknowledge the problem?

        • McFlock

          Well, I for one don’t agree that your description of the stats means there’s a problem.

          Yes, very few people are going to jump from act to green, but that doesn’t mean that every green rise is at the expense of labour or vice versa. As your numbers indicate.

        • Stuart Munro

          Given that the totals range from 46 to 58 the exchange between the Greens and Labour is clearly less than their catchment from other sources. Which renders it secondary.

          As Labour appear to have learned to some degree with the adoption of the MOU, creating policy cleavage points with the Greens will not on its own solve the problem of acquiring an overall majority.

  16. Sparky 16

    Well as one ex Green supporter I dumped them primarily because of talk of yet more capital gains taxes which I felt would turn NZ into a mini Australia. I lived in Australia for years and yes their capital gains taxes are pretty substantial but then you look at the capital value of property there you can see why its justified.

    Here we earn less and our homes whilst gaining in value don’t have the value of Australian property and probably never will. Moreover Australia has less expensive groceries with no GST tax on primary items like meat and veg, substantial super and other tax benefits such as tax breaks on things like laptops and even tertiary education if you can prove its work related even if you are not self employed.

    We have none of that here and I felt as a result this was unfair on mum and dad investors trying to save for their retirement and leave a nest egg for the kids.

    I suspect there was movement to Labour and NZ First (I voted for the latter) by supporters. I do not know if their reasons were shared with my own but there you have it.

    • Stuart Munro 16.1

      Your concern for investors above all other priorities calls your claimed Green credentials into question. As does your use of the spin phrase “mum and dad investors”. CGT is the international norm – NZ’s position is the anomaly.

  17. lurgee 17

    I gave my party vote to the Greens in 2014 and 2017.

    I have to say I feel BM is uncomfortably close to something like the truth in what he / she says.

    I think the Greens are actually facing an existential crisis. They have achieved very little in their time and – as 2017 demonstrated – is actually from the radical wing of Labour, seeking to put pressure on the larger party’s left flank. Their insistence that they can only work with Labour has made this inevitable. Labour, of course, has pissed all over the Greens at every opportunity.

    As they are proving ineffective in realising their core policies, the reason for people to vote for them is diminishing. You vote for a party to effect change. The Greens have proven a singularly ineffective means of doing so, either from the point of view of a Labour radical or a genuine Green party environmentalist.

    I think we may see the Greens continue to wither as they lose their unique selling point. Labour will absorb some of their environmentalism and some of their social policies. I think the Greens may well disappear in 2020. I don’t think that’s a good thing. Just something that is moving from the ‘Possible’ category to ‘Probable.’

    I think the social / economic policy, unfortunately, is a major problem for the Greens. It prevents them attracting a lot of support, as voters are put off by the ‘commie stuff.’ It prevents them working with other parties and leaves them in a hopelessly weak position with Labour. Purists might argue that they can only attain their environmental goals by restructuring the economic paradigm along the lines outlined by the Greens; how’s that working out for yah? 6%? Not so good.

    Given the critical environmental issues facing the country, I’d like to see a far more environmentally focused Green Party. Accept that you are only representing a small section of New Zealand voter, and (important bit) even that section are primarily motivated by the environmental policies, no the social policies. Accept that actually stopping bad stuff in the short term happening is more important than maintaining ideological purity in the long term. Staying true to principles isn’t going to stop climate change; though I suppose the moral high ground is the place to be in the face of rising sea levels …

    I don’t suppose this message will be well received. Oh, well.

  18. francesca 18

    Who knows how long the whole neoliberal experiment is going to last worldwide. Corbyn, according to UK polling is now preferred PM, and the majority of Brits support his policies. In NZ we would probably call those policies “commie” and extremist, thats how far right we went in the 80s and 90s.
    Those policies were mainstream a couple of generations ago.
    There will come a time when Green policies are the new normal, and the old neoliberal style will be scoffed at and considered unenlightened.
    Or not, in which case we’re past tipping point and on the road to destruction

  19. Cave Johnson 19

    Not sure if this link has already been posted… https://nandor.net.nz/2017/09/29/the-politics-of-green-coalitions/

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