Tag Archive: Greens

Give the Greens a deal

The Herald has a very interesting read on the race for Auckland Central, with the two major players being National’s Nikki Kaye and the Green’s Chlöe Swarbrick.

The article opens the (small) possibility of Swarbrick beating Kaye, and it got me thinking – Labour giving the Greens an electorate deal in Auckland Central makes sense.

Swarbrick is, after all, the second most popular politician in NZ (first would have to be Jacinda). For Auckland Central, the Greens + Labour combined also beat National for both party and electorate vote in 2017.

With an electorate seat, the Greens would be safe – something they are far from at the moment. They’re hovering at around 6-8% in the polls, but National’s objective is to destroy the minor parties.

Making sure that the Greens survive is in Labour’s interests – a teal deal will never happen.

I also imagine that because the Greens are hovering so close to that 5% line, there are Labour supporters who will strategically vote for the Greens come election time. With the Greens at least having a decent chance in an electorate, those voters may return to Labour.

The above paragraph is, however, only an educated guess, so take it as that.

Of course, winning Auckland Central is far certain – Kaye defeated Ardern herself in 2011 and 2014, but in both elections Labour + the Greens combined would have beaten Kaye and National. So I’m willing to say that Swarbrick with Labour’s endorsement would oust Kaye.

Do it Labour. It’s a sound strategy.

Sustainable NZ – here to sink the Greens

Former Green party male co-leadership candidate Vernon Tava has launched his new political party, Sustainable NZ.

Sustainable NZ claims to be neither left or right-wing, and is apparently here to provide a voice for the environment, and solely a voice for the environment. That’s in contrast to the Greens which is both an environmental and left-wing party.

Sustainable NZ has said that it is willing to work with either major party, which means that it will get an electorate deal from neither. So unless Sustainable pulls off something major, they aren’t getting into parliament.

What Sustainable will do is pull votes off of the Greens. Given that the Greens are hovering around 6-7% in the polls, it’s very easy (and very likely in my opinion) that Sustainable is a scheme set up by the Nats to get the Greens out of parliament.

After all, taking out the minor parties is National’s best path to government.

It’s a strategy that is good for getting National into government – if appalling for the health of our democracy.

Perhaps the most ironic thing about Sustainable is that they could very well result in there being no voice for the environment in parliament.

Please, no return to two-party politics

Bryce Edwards at The Guardian has pointed out the problem Jacinda and Labour have with minor parties:

Bridges knows that his best chance is not making new friends in parliament, but rather taking out Ardern’s current support parties. It’s a cunning, if very cynical plan.
A number of new “micro parties” will be attempting to make it into parliament in 2020. They have little chance of success, but they do have the potential to have a big impact. Two small environmentally-focused parties – Sustainable NZ and the Opportunities party – could end up acting as spoilers, stealing votes from the Greens and sinking them under the crucial 5% threshold.

No no no no no no no.

The change from FPP to MMP was the best and most important political change for recent political history. FPP is a terrible system, voters should not be forced into voting for the lesser of two evils. Yet, that’s what’s essentially that we could be staring at, despite being in MMP.

If we do lose the minor parties, barring changes to the electoral system (which isn’t hugely unrealistic, to be fair) it will be difficult to get any minor parties back in parliament.

Going to a two-party system is a bad idea, period. One party having absolute power in government is bad.

Come 2020, if we are in danger of losing the minor parties, NZ voters, please do the right thing. Vote for the minor parties if you have to.

Who could go to cabinet?

As the political year kicks off, Jacinda Ardern has delayed an anticipated cabinet reshuffle, which now looks to have been postponed to after May.

One of the biggest problems for Ardern is the lack of gender diversity in her cabinet. In a cabinet of 20, just six are women, and that goes against Labour’s line that cabinets should generally have an equal amount of men and women.

Well, there used to be seven women in the cabinet. But Clare Curran was embroiled in scandal after scandal and add to that her failings in open government, she was never really cut out for the job and was given the axe.

Meka Whariti, another women minister outside of cabinet was forced to stand aside after allegations arose that she assaulted a staff member.

Another minister who’s had problems is Iain Lees-Galloway, who late last year was constantly under fire due to his handling of the Karel Sroubek deportation case.

Personally, I don’t think Lees-Galloway will be thrown under the bus, though I do think that he will shift portfolios.

And while there (should be) just one cabinet place up for grabs, there are always opportunities for MPs to be ministers outside of cabinet.

So, who could make the step up?

Kris Faafoi

Probably the MP deserves a call up to cabinet most. Currently a minister outside of cabinet, he has proven himself again and again as a safe pair of hands. When Curran lost Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media portfolio, it was Faafoi who took it, and the same for Customs when Whariti had to stand down. Unfortunately, due to Ardern and Labour’s wish for more women in cabinet, Faafoi may be forced to wait.

Ruth Dyson

Ruth Dyson has now been in parliament for 25 years, or since 1993. As a minster under Helen Clarke during the Fifth Labour Government, she’s one of the few in Labour who have had previous ministerial experience. She should be able to get her head down and get on with the job without attracting too much attention, which is what Labour needs right now. My pick for who will go to cabinet.

Louisa Wall

As an MP since 2008, and with big name recognition as it was her bill that led to the legalization of same sex marriage, I was somewhat surprised to see Wall get nothing when cabinet was formed. With name recognition and a massive achievement under her belt, Wall would generate some excitement. However, her list ranking of 26 last election, 14 places lower than what it was at 2014 implies that she may have trouble with the Labour higher ups, so I see Wall going into cabinet as unlikely.

Kiri Allan

If Labour really want to spring a surprise, Kiri Allan would be the way to go. Allan only arrived in parliament at last election, yet is highly regarded, and when I interviewed her after the last election, she was really impressive. Out of the MPs I interviewed, I would say that she’s the most likely to be a future PM. Should she be moved to cabinet, I can see her doing a very impressive job, but she is still the riskiest move for Labour at the moment, and risky isn’t what the party needs.

Still, it is important to recognize that as Ardern has said, any cabinet reshuffle is a long way away, and it also important to note that this is just my speculation.

Oh, and, yeah. I’m back writing at this blog after a long hiatus. Good to be back!

Power is a fickle thing

There is some discord amongst the Greens, after Land Information minister Eugenie Sage made a highly controversial decision.

Sage made the decision to allow a Chinese owned water bottling company to expand and gain several hectares of land, to grow their Otakiri Springs water bottling plant.

This goes against the Greens campaign promises, in which the planned to ban new water bottling consents, put a levy on water bottling exports, and take treaty claims and rights into account when making decisions about water.

Why did Sage do this? According to Stuff:

The Overseas Investment Act only allows Ministers to take into account “substantial and identifiable” benefit to New Zealand and conservation values – but not Treaty of Waitangi rights.

So the Greens could only make decisions that benefit both New Zealand and conservation, but not necessarily local iwi.

There was some serious outrage in the Young Greens, with Young Greens co-leader Max Tweedie saying the following:

“What the fuck is the point of us being in government and having this portfolio if we throw our Te Tiriti [Treaty] obligations in the bin?!

Green party co-leader Marama Davidson also publicly said that she didn’t like the decision.

Kinda ironic, isn’t it?

Now that the Greens are actually in power, they can’t do what they want.

The Newshub poll

Newshub released a poll today, and it was same old, same old. 

National was up 0.6% to 45.1, Labour was up 0.3% to 42.6%, the Greens were down 0.3% to 5.7%, and NZ First was down 1.2% to 2.4%

This poll follows a trend we’ve been seeing throughout the year. National narrowly ahead of Labour, NZ First below the 5% mark and the Greens just bobbing above the 5% threshold.

Crucially, despite National being ahead, they still have no parties they can work with to get into government.

National would be at 58 seats based on these numbers, and even if you add ACT’s one seat, that’s still two shy of the all-important 61 seat mark to get a majority.

Labour would be at 55, but add in the Greens and you’ve got 63 seats and a government.

So the Greens would be kingmaker. And while it’s technically possible for a National-Greens government to be formed, what do you think the chances are of such a left-wing party going with a centre-right party?

When National was tossed out of government in favour of the new Labour-Greens-NZ First coalition, they declared that they would be the “strongest opposition in history.”

And while that may be true, the strongest opposition in history may be there, in opposition, for a very long time unless they get themselves a coalition partner.

 

National’s wedge

National has taken the tough on crime approach to law and order, and are calling on NZ First to do the same.

And I think this shows just what an advantage National has when you have a three party government like this.

Being in opposition, National has no chance of passing tough on crime bills, but if NZ First backs their bill, then it will pass against the wishes of Labour and the Greens.

NZ First have often called for tough on crime policies, and so National have bombarded the member’s ballot with law and order bills, and NZ First has supported some, despite opposition from the Greens and Labour, creating something of a rift.

At the same time, National will also try and do the same thing where they have common ground with the Greens, like on environmental issues, such as Nick Smith’s Kermadec Island sanctuary bill. 

And this advantage is something that National is absolutely exploiting, and they’re exploiting it very well.

 

Haggling over the Kermadecs

NZ First leader Winston Peters has signalled to the Greens that he is willing to negotiate over the Kermadec Islands marine sanctuary. 

The Kermadec island sanctuary was originally proposed by the previous National government, but NZ First’s connections to the fishing industry put the proposal on ice when they entered a coalition with the Labour government.

Now though, it looks as if there’s hope for the sanctuary.

Although, it’s unlikely to be a full sanctuary. If this deal does come to life, NZ First’s connections to the fishing industry will make sure that there isn’t a 100% ban on fishing.

Restricted fishing does seem possible, though.

There are a couple of wild cards in play, however.

One is iwi rights. When National announced the sanctuary, there was concern from local iwi about their fishing rights.

While the Greens are of course environmentalist, they also have a history of supporting iwi rights, and giving iwi special fishing rights would probably be seen by Winston Peters as separatism, something NZ First are very strongly opposed to.

The other wild card is that National’s Nick Smith currently has a members bill in the ballot to progress the completion of the sanctuary, in it’s current form, without special rights for either iwi or the fishing industry.

If the Greens support that bill, it will pass no matter what NZ First and Labour think – naturally causing a headache for the whole government – probably part of National’s intention when they put the bill in.

At this point, it’s really hard to say what will happen.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Jaung the Greens candidate

The Green party has announced their candidate for the Northcote by-election, and it’s their 2017 candidate, Rebekah Jaung.

Jaung is not really a great choice for the by-election. There’s no chance of the Greens really winning it, their participation in the by-election is just about raising their profile and showing that they are different from Labour.

The Greens would have been much better to select someone who the public actually knows, like Chloe Swarbrick or Golriz Gharaman. Both of them are new MPs with respectable public profiles. People would have known who they were.

And it’s not unheard for the Greens to stand a list MP for a by-election. Julie Anne Genter stood in Mount Albert back during the 2017 by-election there.

On the plus side, this will give Jaung a chance to show her worth to the party, and perhaps go for a higher list placing for 2020. And, if she ends up in parliament come 2020, it will give Northcote someone local in parliament.

Still, for the short term anyway, it would have been smarter for the Greens to stand one of their list MPs.

National’s environmental focus

Simon Bridges announced last night that his party were going increase their focus on the environment. 

From a political perspective, it makes sense. Something that’s been brought up a lot recently is that while the Greens are an environmental party, they are also socialist, and that can disillusion voters.

But can National really hope to gain votes here?

I mean, as much as environmentalist voters might not want socialism with environment, if National is the alternative, what environmentalist is going to vote for the party that spent the past few weeks defending the oil industry?

If National wanted to be smart about going for the environment while hurting the left, they would help the creation of an environment-only party.

That would see a huge chunk of the Green’s vote go to the environment-only party, while giving National a proper coalition partner, something they don’t currently have.

Still, these are just my thoughts. Things could very well go quite differently.

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