Greens go redder

09/04/2018

If political parties had to adhere to the Trade Descriptions Act the Green Party would be called the Reds and they’ve just voted to go redder:

South Auckland-based MP Marama Davidson will join James Shaw in the role of Green Party Co-leader, after the result of the leadership contest was announced this morning in Auckland.

Ms Davidson secured 110 delegate votes. Julie Anne Genter, the Minister for Women and Associate Minister of Transport and Health, also contested the Co-leadership role and won 34 votes. . . 

The party is split between members with a radical left social and financial agenda and those whose focus is the environment.

Davidson represents the radical left side. She has a lot in common with the woman she replaced, Meteria Turei, and is more likely to reopen the wounds Turei and her departure created than heal them.

Her radical left agenda could also cause more headaches to the government her party supports.

It is also more likely to prove true Heather du Plessis-Allan’s prophesy that the party will disappear in a decade:

 

. . . If you assumed the co-leadership contest between Julie Anne Genter and Marama Davidson was simply about two women interviewing for a job, you’d be wrong. It was so much more than that.

These women are the yin and yang of the Greens. . . 

This leadership battle was really a death match over which is more important to the Greens: the environment or beneficiaries. . . 

This is why the Greens won’t last 10 years unless they make big changes. The split personality can’t go on living together. Not only is the animosity in the party too great, but not all voters who care about the environment also want to give hand outs to beneficiaries. . .

Oddly enough the biggest threat is coming from the party the Greens are mostly likely to hiss at: National.

There’s a long tradition of Blue-Greenness within the Nats and things are really starting to ramp up. In his first interviews in the job, new leader Simon Bridges couldn’t have made it clearer he plans to go greener.

Once all the other parties go green, the Greens will lose their big point of difference. And what are they when that’s gone? . . .

They’re a radical left party as shown by the small group of Young Greens who threatened to resign if Genter defeated Davidson.

Passing quickly over their disdain for democracy, there is an element of karma in that for Genter.

She called for old white men to get of boards . She is white and old (in comparison to the youth wing). But she is 38 and lost to the older (44) brown woman.


Reds not Greens

18/08/2017

The Green Party has dropped 11 points to 4.3% in the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton  poll.

Their votes have gone to Labour as a result of a leadership change and because the Meteria Turei saga has shown that the Greens are really Reds.

It wasn’t that Turei committed benefit fraud all those years ago that did the damage. It was her total lack of contrition and that the remaining leader of the party, James Shaw, and all but two of her party supported her stance.

In his valedictory statement Kennedy Graham said:

What I should say, however, is this. There are two dimensions to the task of political representation. The first is political judgment. That is empirical, relative, contestable, and open to negotiation. It is 99 percent of our daily job. The second is when an issue of personal conscience arises. That is ethical, absolute, non-contestable, and not open to negotiation. If politics transgresses conscience, politics must cede. This is the decision we took. Simple as that.

Yet decisions taken on conscience can, of course, have political consequences.

Graham and David Clendon who also acted on principle lost their place on the party list and Graham’s request to return after Turei’s resignation was denied.

The party is paying the price of backing the wrong person and the wrong policy.

The fate of any political party will wax and wane. That is the nature of politics. But a party is simply an institution. An institution is a vehicle for the pursuit of ideals and principles. Like any vehicle, it requires ongoing maintenance.

Sometimes the way ahead is difficult to discern. Parties can lose their way. But they can also recover. I believe the Green Party will do so, on behalf of the green movement around the world. Individuals come and go, but the institutions remain, to serve the ideals they cherish. . .

The Green Party lost its way by taking the red path. Strong recovery will only happen if it stops being red and starts being green.

A party with a strong environmental ethos that was moderate on social and economic issues would sit in the middle of the political spectrum, able to govern with National and Labour.

Marooning itself on the far left of Labour gives the Greens no bargaining power.

Now that most of their support has gone back to the bigger party they are in risk of following the Alliance Party of which they were once a part, into political oblivion.

The Greens might get over the 5% threshold they’ll need to stay in parliament but if they want to have any influence they will have to shed the red and concentrate on the green.


Turei resigns

09/08/2017

Meteria Turei has resigned as co-leader of the Green Party:

She has no-one but herself to blame, not for what she did as a beneficiary, but because of her refusal to admit what she did was wrong, accept responsibility for it and apologise.

Had she stayed she would have taken her party down with her.

Her co-leader James Shaw’s handling of the issue has damaged him too but Turei’s resignation will probably enable it to stay above the 5% threshold.

The Newshub Reid Research poll showing the Greens lose a third of its vote  – dropping 4.7 points to 8.3% – in a week may well have had something to do with her decision.


2 MPs quit Green list over Turei

07/08/2017

Patrick Gower at Newshub has just reported that Green MPs David Clendon and Kennedy Graham have resigned from the party list in protest over Meteria Turei’s failure to resign.

The problem isn’t what she did all those years ago, it is her refusal to accept responsibility, admit she was wrong and apologise.

Turei’s attempt to use her own wrong-doing to advance an impossibly-expensive welfare policy has highlighted the party’s socialist leanings.

Lloyd Burr was right, the Greens have lost their way:

. . . The party doesn’t look like the strong, unwavering voice for the environment anymore.

It is not focussed on forests and rivers, or climate change, or conservation underfunding, or waste and pollution reduction.

It is now a party focussed on fighting for the rights of beneficiaries. It is focussed on legitimising benefit fraud, boosting welfare payments, and removing welfare obligations. . .

If the Greens were moderate on social and economic policy they could sit in the middle of the political spectrum like the Maori Party, able to go left or right.

Instead their environmental concerns are overshadowed by far-left social policy.

The party’s refusal to censure Turei has added to its troubles with only Clendon and Graham showing any integrity over the issue.


Could there be a Labour overhang?

31/07/2017

In MMP it’s almost always the party vote that counts.

The exception is with electorates like Epsom or Ohariu where minor party leaders win the seat and get their parties into parliament without getting at least 5% of the party vote.

Even though we’ve had MMP for more than 20 years some people still don’t understand the importance of the party vote.

And some people who do understand the system split their vote, giving their electorate vote to the person in spite, rather than because, of their party.

If a party gets more electorate seats than it’s party vote entitles it to we  end up with more than 120 MPs which is called an overhang.

Labour has slumped to its lowest level in more than  20 years in the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll.

It’s fallen three points to 24 per cent this poll. That’s one per cent lower than the 25 per cent recorded at the last election. The 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll began in 1995.

It’s important not to read too much into a single poll but this one does confirm a downward trend for Labour.

When a party loses support electorate MPs are vulnerable too, especially those in marginal seats.

But voters sometimes stay loyal to individual electorate MPs even though they no longer support their party.

If Labour’s party vote continues to fall not only would it get no list MPs, which would end its leader, Andrew Little’s parliamentary career, it could end up with more electorate MPs than its party vote entitles it to.

Ironically, that wouldn’t be good for National because parliament would end up with an overhang and therefore a government would need more than 61 votes to get a majority.

Another way we might end up with an overhang would be if Labour bleeds enough electorate votes to allow more Maori Party MPs into parliament through winning more seats than their party vote would entitle them to.

That might or might not help National. The Maori Party has been part of National-led governments since 2008. It has given the government confidence and supply but it’s voted against National more often than for it so while National has been able to govern it hasn’t always been able to pass legislation.

National support stayed steady on 47% in this poll.

To my surprise and despair, the Green Party gained 4% support which is being attributed to Meteria Turei’s confession of fraud and possibly the mad policy that would increase benefit dependency.

However, this is only one poll and that level of increase is against the trend.


Two out of four ain’t good

27/07/2017

The four-A formula for repentance and redemption is simple: admit what you’ve done wrong, accept responsibility for it, apologise and make amends.

So far Meteria Turei has only got to the first A – she admitted she lied to get more in a benefit payment than she was entitled to.

She will get to the last A – she has changed her initial, I’ll pay the money back if I’m asked to of course I’ll pay it back.

But far from accepting responsibility for what she did, she cast blame and attempted to justify her lies. And rather than apologising , she’s using her past wrong-doing as a base for bad policy and to excuse others who defraud taxpayers.

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad might have worked for Meatloaf but two out of four ain’t good enough for an MP, especially one with the ambition to be a Minister.

Her refusal to accept responsibility or apologise now, and the policies she’s espousing which will entrench benefit dependency are bigger issues than what she did or didn’t do in the past.

 


Sense of entitlement

19/07/2017

Who said:

…how could he have done all of those things credibly—and this is the important issue—knowing that his career and his credibility depended on his honesty? He has signed off on documents that have now led him to be in court on a charge of criminal fraud. There is an issue here of honesty, an issue of credibility, and that has had a very significant and very negative effect on this Government. . .?

It was Metiria Turei.

She was talking about John Banks who resigned from parliament, was charged, found guilty but subsequently cleared.

This makes her guilty of hypocrisy in light of her unashamed admission of benefit fraud.

It also shows a sense of entitlement:

. . . Spread over three years however, Turei’s lie of omission starts to look less like a one-off act of dishonesty and more like a systematic attempt to rort the system. Letter writers and talkback callers have voiced their anger over what they see as her sense of entitlement to public money – not helped by the fact that taxpayers are providing her with a huge salary today.

There is also considerable public anger over her selective and self-serving morality. Turei has effectively argued that she had a moral right to rip off the system because she had to feed her baby. She is wrong because hardship doesn’t give anyone the right to break the law. Her example encourages others to do the same and is unfair on those who struggle through legally. It is a particularly bad look coming from a party leader on a base salary of $173,000 a year.

The self-serving morality and sense of entitlement are also reflected in the welfare policy she announced.

It would increase benefits and remove the obligations now required of beneficiaries and sanctions imposed on those who don’t fulfill them.

That would undo the good work that National has done in helping people into work and in doing so reducing the long-term social and financial costs of benefit dependency.

Turei isn’t the only one to show no respect for taxpayers’ money.

There’s also the absolute stupidity of Gareth Morgan’s mad idea to have taxpayers provide $200 a week pocket money to every 18 – 20 year-old:

The $200 payment – which would be after tax – worked out to $10,000 a year, and would go to everyone regardless of income or whether or not they were studying. Unlike other benefits it would not drop off if a young person moved into employment.

It would replace the student allowance, which currently is tied to parental income and maxes out at $177.03 after tax for single people under 24. It would also replace the first $10,000 of any other benefits and the student living costs segment of student loans.

Morgan argued the financial security this would provide would bring down rates of youth suicide and financial stress. . .

Has he got any data for that? There is plenty of data on what happens when you give people money whether or not they need it.

Only people with no real understanding of people and economics would think either Turei’s or Morgan’s policies have merit.

As Alan Duff says:

. . . I am repeating the warning that free money to able-bodied humans anywhere can do just the opposite of what it intends: take away the will to work, the guts to struggle, the spirit to pick yourself up by the bootstraps. . .

Every cent spent on unnecessary welfare is a cent that could be spent on health, education, infrastructure and any of the other areas where it could do more good.

Every cent spent on unnecessary welfare is a cent taken from other people.

Every cent spent on unnecessary welfare feeds a sense of entitlement and erodes independence.

These policies are also political cynicism at its height because both Turei and Morgan must know that both are so unrealistic and unaffordable they could never be government policy, whichever parties were in power.


Standing up for children

01/06/2014

Tweet of the day:


War room now panic station

26/05/2014

Patrick Gower says David Cunliffe needs to walk into Labour’s “war-room” right now and re-name it “the panic station”.

Labour’s big fear right now will be its vote collapsing completely. Labour will be worried that voters decide it can’t win – and instead vote for New Zealand First, the Greens or just stay at home.

In 2002 when National was at its nadir lots of voters decided it couldn’t win.

Some went to the wee parties – NZ First and whatever iteration of United Future was around then. Others voted Labour to reduce the power of the Green and other wee parties.

Last night’s 3 News/Reid Research poll has National on 50.3 percent and Labour on 29.5 percent.

John Key was on 43.2 percent and Cunliffe 9.8 percent as preferred Prime Minister

Scorelines of 50-29 and 43-9 – on the rugby pitch, that’s what you call a thrashing.

In our first poll of the year, Cunliffe could have been Prime Minister. Now he is polling worse than David Shearer is when Labour threw him out.

I’m not surprised by the number of people who aren’t politically aligned who tell me they like John Key, he is a very likeable man.

I am relieved by the number of unaligned people who tell me they just don’t like Cunliffe and this anecdotal evidence is backed up by the polls.

Labour is suddenly in serious strife. 

Suddenly? No.

It’s been on a slide since before the 2005 election. That slide accelerated to its election loss in 2008, it went backwards at the 2011 election and every step forwards since then has been followed by at least one backwards.

National is doing well, Labour is doing badly. And while National has few coalition options, Labour has some but they’re not attractive to many voters either.

. . . And don’t underestimate the Greens/New Zealand First coalition issues – I believe this has had a major impact.

The Left-bloc has looked scrappy, it has never ever looked clear to voters exactly what Labour would do – and that’s meant it hasn’t looked like a Government-in-waiting.

It is like they have been operating to a script Steven Joyce has written entitled “Labour-Green-NZ First governing relationship dysfunction”.

Now I know you’ve got to wait for the voters to decide – but you can send much better governing relationship messages than Labour has. . .

The perception of a relationship dysfunction won’t have been helped by Meteria Turei’s repeating the suggestion that the Green Party has co-deputy Prime Ministers should it be in coalition with Labour.Wee parties are wee parties because they don’t have widespread support and the idea of one of the wee parties getting too big for its boots is not one voters will warm to.

The weaker Labour is the more power its coalition partners would have and that isn’t an attractive proposition for voters either.


Green list doens’t rate ag

25/05/2014

The Green Party has released its list for the upcoming election:

1. TUREI, Metiria   2. NORMAN, Russel  

When you have co-leaders one has to be number one on the list, but I’d be surprised if anyone outside the party would put Turei ahead of Norman.

3. HAGUE, Kevin   4. SAGE, Eugenie    5. HUGHES, Gareth 6. DELAHUNTY, Catherine   7. GRAHAM, Kennedy   8. GENTER, Julie Anne   9. MATHERS, Mojo 10. LOGIE, Jan   11. CLENDON, Dave  12. WALKER, Holly  13. SHAW, James  14. ROCHE, Denise  15. BROWNING, Steffan   16. DAVIDSON, Marama  17. COATES, Barry  18. HART, John 19. KENNEDY, Dave 20. ELLEY, Jeanette  21. McDONALD, Jack  22. MOORHOUSE, David   23. ROTMANN, Sea  24. BARLOW, Aaryn  25. LECKINGER, Richard  26. PERINPANAYAGAM, Umesh  27. RUTHVEN, Susanne  28. MOORE, Teresa   29. LANGSBURY, Dora   30. WOODLEY, Tane   31. PERLEY, Chris   32. GOLDSMITH, Rachael  33. KELCHER, John   34. ROGERS, Daniel  35. WESLEY, Richard  36. SMITHSON, Anne-Elise  37. McALL, Malcolm  38. FORD, Chris  39. HUNT, Reuben

Where a party spokesperson is on the list isn’t necessarily a reflection of the importance placed on the portfolios for which they are responsible.

However, farmers will take some comfort in seeing that the agriculture spokesman, Steffan Browning is the lowest ranked sitting MP.

Given how bad the policy is, the lower priority given to it the better.

The media releases says:

. . . “This is a diverse and balanced list. There are 10 women and 10 men in our top 20, six Aucklanders, four Maori and the first deaf candidate in the top 10 of any party’s list in MMP history. . . .

It’s so much easier to put a stronger emphasis on gender, ethnicity and other factors rather than ability when the chances are high that fewer than half are likely to make it into parliament.


Greens want 2 deputy PMs

19/04/2014

Green co-leader Metiria Turei wants to be c0-deputy Prime Minister too.

The Greens could share the deputy Prime Minster role in a coalition with Labour, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman last month said he was keen on the role.

Ms Turei said she would like to be deputy Prime Minister along with Dr Norman.

“There’s no rules that stop there from being more than one deputy Prime Minister,” she told told The Nation.

“Russel and I have had a co-leadership role in the Greens that’s worked very well for the Green Party. I think something similar would work very well for the country as well.” . . .

That is very much a matter of opinion.

From the outside the co-leadership looks very much like tokenism with Norman being the leader in all but name.

He appears to do far more speaking on the party’s behalf than she does.

In spite of National’s popularity and the distrust and disarray on the left, it is possible the left could still be in government.

But when Labour has spurned the Green Party its won’t be keen on one Green deputy let alone two.

And what would happen when the Prime Minister was overseas – would there then be two acting PMs?

 

 

 


Homework for party leaders

02/07/2010

Trans-Tasman has set some homework for party leaders to attend to while parliament is in recess.

It includes:

Meteria Turei and Russel Norman. Cultivate a bit of gravitas, for heavens sake. (and no, you can’t smoke it).  You’re behaving like a pair of over-promoted undergraduates.

Peter Dunne. Okay, you can ditch just a bit of the gravitas.  Please.

And:

Jim Anderton. What with the credit card bill and the running for mayor while you’re still an MP, you might want to hire a drainage expert.  The moral high ground you always assume you are  standing on is looking pretty marshy.

You’ll have to subscribe if you want to read the rest.


When does rent become a rort?

05/10/2009

Kiwiblog has more on the Green Party’s accommodation arrangements and the issue has also been picked up by the MSM.

Julian Robins interviewed Metiria Turei on Morning Report and the Southland Times editorial says:

Interestingly, it appears to have been the party, rather than the MPs, who refunded the money. Interesting, because the Greens have been accused in the past of using trusts to buy houses in Wellington and then renting them out to their MPs, at a profit, of course.

This is the same accommodation rort that many MPs, from all parties, have got their grubby little hands into at the expense of the taxpayer, and it has to stop.

I don’t know of any other party or MPs who rent flats from their superannuation fund. But who has done it is irrelevant, it’s that they can which matters and that must be addressed.

MPs should not be out of pocket if they have to maintain a home in their electorates and accommodate themselves in Wellington. But the rules need to ensure they aren’t able to take the most expensive option to get a greater gain for themselves.


Who’s to lead the Greens to where?

23/02/2009

Jeanette Fitzsimon’s announcement she will step down from the co-leadership  of the Green Party in June is not unexpected.

As a list MP she could resign from parliament too without triggering a by-election but plans to stay on as an “active backbencher”.

While I admired her ability to stay calm and polite, I lost respect for Fitzsimons when she allowed her anger at the attacks on the Greens by the Exclusive Brethren to blind her to the anti-democratic nature of the Electoral Finance Act.

The party got into parliament because of MMP but it’s failure to get into government also reflects badly on the leadership and is due to philosophy and direction which make it look at least as much red as green.  Its radical left social and economic agenda alienates supporters and potential partners who might be sympathetic to at least some of its environmental goals.

The party rules require male and female co-leaders and Sue Bradford and Meteria Turei have announced they’ll contest the position.

But who leads the party may not be such an important question as to where she leads (or to be more accurate co-leads) it.

Fitzsimons and co-leader Russel Norman do seem to have learnt from the Maori Party and are trying to find some common ground with National.

If the party is not to languish on the far left,  the new leadership will have to build on this and make an effort to move more towards the centre because that’s where the power in MMP lies.


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