Good in theory but

January 28, 2019

Could a new blue-green party succeed?

It is understood preliminary discussions among interested parties have already been held on creating a party that combines economic and environmental credentials, filling a demand not already taken up by existing political parties.

It is also understood former Green Party leadership contender and one-time National candidate hopeful Vernon Tava is the front-runner to lead the party

This is a good idea in theory.

The Green Party is more red than green, and its radical red policies alienate a lot of people who are very concerned about the environment.

An environmental party that is moderate on social and economic policy could sit in the middle, able to go left or right.

It might also gain support from former Green supporters who are disenchanted with the party’s performance in government, in particular its support of the waka jumping legislation.

If it succeeded it would be in a much more powerful position than the Green Party which time and time again rules out a coalition with National.

But good in theory is a long way from success in practice.

One political commentator said financial backing would not be an issue because the business sector would support the formation of such a party. . . 

Financial backing is important but a party needs much more than that to succeed as the fate of Top, and the Internet and Conservative Parties show. All three had strong financial backing and none made it into parliament.

Suggestions National could throw the new party an electorate will come to nothing.

National doesn’t try to win Epsom in order to help Act but Rodney Hide won Epsom on his own merits.

Asking voters to keep supporting an MP, or a party, they backed without any nods or winks is very different from asking them not to back one they elected in one election in favour of voting for someone else.

Even if the government gets its wish to lower the threshold to allow a party into parliament to 4% of the votes, it would be a very big ask for a new party to get into parliament.

Only one party has done that without a sitting MP – Act in 1996.

The Progressive Green Party also contested the 1996 election. 

It managed to get only 5,288 voters to support it which gave it only 0.26% of the vote.

The environment might be more important to people now than it was then.

But it’s a long way from 0.26% to 5% or even 4%, especially when National and Labour both have a strong focus on the environment anyway.


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