Five Easy Pieces: How the Greens can stop Labour playing silly-buggers.

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THE FIRST QUESTION TO ASK is “What the bloody hell is going on!” What is it about a left-wing coalition government made up of Labour, the Greens and Mana that David Cunliffe doesn’t get? Is he seriously planning on winning enough votes to make offering the Greens a central role in the next government unnecessary? Are there still sufficient Labour MPs with ideological objections to a Red-Green alliance to prevent Shane Jones from being properly disciplined? Is Winston Peters truly preferable to Russel Norman? And are we really still asking these kinds of questions just six short months away from polling day?

It was in August 1998 – more than one year out from the 1999 General Election that Jim Anderton invited Helen Clark to address the Alliance Conference. Her acceptance and appearance at the Conference produced the sort of priceless visual propaganda that wins elections. Seeing Jim and Helen reunited reassured New Zealanders that the bitter civil war on the left of New Zealand politics had come to an end. Instead of reserving their largest artillery shells for one another, it was now clear that Labour and the Alliance were finally ready to train their guns on the one true enemy – National.

Had Cunliffe enjoyed the same measure of control over his party as Anderton exercised, and had he possessed just a little of Anderton’s political imagination, he might have arranged something similar for last year’s Labour Conference in Christchurch.

An invitation to Norman and Metiria Turei – culminating in a joint statement on meeting the challenges of Climate Change – would have provided both parties with invaluable visual propaganda. New Zealand would have seen a youthful “government in waiting” eager to address the real issues of the twenty-first century. The natural pairing of Red and Green, which first confronted voters in 1972 with the formation of the Values Party would, at last, be something Kiwis could vote for with confidence.

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An opportunity missed. Bad enough in itself, but when set alongside Labour’s unfathomable embrace of Winstonism – that tongue-in-cheek redefinition of democracy as the decisions politicians get to make only afterthe people have voted – the situation becomes so much worse.

By adopting the position of only discussing who is in and who is out of the governing coalition after the votes have been counted, Labour is asking the electorate to buy a pig in a poke. If you vote Labour you’re pretty sure to get Cunliffe, but whether he’ll be governing alongside Norman, Turei and Harawira, or Peters, Flavell and Dunne – you will have absolutely no idea.

The grim spectre of 2005 looms again over the Greens. In the tight circumstances following the 2005 election, it was Labour’s refusal to stand solid with their ideological soul mates; taking instead the 30 pieces of silver offered by Mr Peters; that quite literally broke Rod Donald’s heart.

The Greens must never again allow themselves to be placed in that position.

In his NZ Politics Daily editorial of 11/3/14, Bryce Edwards says:

“The fundamental problem for the Greens is that they are essentially hostage to the Labour Party, and will have no post-election leverage […] In political science terms, the Greens are now a ‘flank party’ without any ‘blackmail’ potential in coalition negotiations. It means that if Winston Peters demands a Green-free Labour-NZ First coalition, Labour can easily oblige, knowing that the Greens will not vote in any way to bring the government down and let National govern.

“The Greens could announce that they have no pre-determined coalition partner and that after the election they would provide parliamentary votes for whatever party implemented, say, five key radical policies. This would, of course, mean that the Greens would have to put less emphasis – or none – on Cabinet positions or other baubles, which is apparently not a strategy favoured by the co-leaders who clearly see the need for Green cabinet ministers. It is also a strategy that could risk causing a subsequent general election or give Winston Peters the excuse to go with National.”

But if they are not to succumb to precisely the fate Edwards has spelt out for them, this is precisely the strategy the Greens should now adopt.

Labour must be presented with a very clear choice: either declare a Red-Green coalition before the election; or, after the election, be faced with either accepting or rejecting five transformative Green policies. If these non-negotiable policies are refused, Labour must be made to believe that the Greens will happily precipitate a new election – which it will do all within its power to transform into a referendum on the five big changes it is proposing.

The Greens challenge now is to work out what those five transformative changes should be, and to prepare New Zealand for the situation it will be required to face if Labour continues to scorn the winning formula so successfully tested by Jim Anderton and Helen Clark.

59 COMMENTS

  1. ….provide parliamentary votes for whatever party implemented, say, five key radical policies. This would, of course, mean that the Greens would have to put less emphasis – or none – on Cabinet positions or other baubles,….

    Bryce Edwards

    An end to deep sea oil drilling.

    No new coal mines

    Are the two minimal, climate change policies that the Greens cannot afford to give away without risking destroying their support base and ending them as a credible electoral force.

    If you doubt me, just witness the tens of thousands of Kiwis who have rallied against deep sea oil in particular, many who are Green Party members, and voters.

    The other three bottom line policies, I will leave up to others.

    • “An end to deep sea oil drilling.” is certainly something to strive towards, and “No new coal mines” is a good idea in itself. But why should we of the Green Party allow one such as Bryce Edwards set the terms of our election year negotiations?

      Trotter’s background is in the Labour Party, so he perhaps fails to realise how relentlessly democratic is the Green policy process. Our MPs are the representatives of the Party, and will be removed if they act without due consideration of our principles.

      https://www.greens.org.nz/policy

      This may at times hobble Green MPs ability to make quid-pro-quo deals and engage in brinkmanship of the kind this post suggests. However integrity has its own rewards. It is not for; Edwards, or Trotter, or Jenny, to dictate the number or type of our conditions for supporting a Government.

      • “An end to deep sea oil drilling.” is certainly something to strive towards, and “No new coal mines” is a good idea in itself.

        Parsupial

        “No new coal mines is not just a good idea in itself”, it is actually decided official Green Party policy.

        Are you Parsupial suggesting that the Green Party leadership has the right to over rule the democratic decisions and processes of the party to gain cabinet posts?

        And while not policy, various Green Party MPs have on a number of occasions strongly expressed their opposition to deep sea oil drilling. Which I feel is an accurate expression of their members wishes. Are you also saying Parsupial that the Green Party leadership should ignore their members wishes to end deep sea oil drilling to gain cabinet posts?

        Parsupial if your answer to either one or both of these questions is a yes, then Parsupial you are calling for the end of your party.

        • No Jenny, I’m not saying that. For one thing, even the co-leader MPs are only one portion of our leadership structure. Our MPs are the Party’s representatives, if they act against the decided interest of the Party then there is the means for the membership to remove them from the Party.

          However, there will be compromise with any coalition partner. Creating bottom lines at this point because Bryce Edwards or Chris Trotter wants us to is not the Greens’ priority.

          I’d be more lenient with a compromise that allowed coal-mining than deep-sea drilling. Both having negative climate change consequences, but the drilling has greater potential for immediate ecological disaster. Though being a single member, I don’t attempt to dictate the policy of the entire Party.

          The Green Party takes Democracy seriously.

          • Do members of the Green Party still have equity in wind energy companies?

            The last election poster looked like a trade ad for the wind industry

            • @ ANDYS – care to back up your claim that members of the Green Party “still have equity in wind energy companies”?

              (And so what if they did? )

          • I’d be more lenient with a compromise that allowed coal-mining….

            Parsupial

            Parsupial have you started the democratic process of canvassing your fellow Green Party members to strike down the Green Party official policy position of “NO NEW COAL MINES”? Or are you advocating that the leadership undemocratically ignore it, or over rule it?

            I am guessing the latter. Am I right?

          • ….drilling has greater potential for immediate ecological disaster.

            Parsupial

            I take it from this comment that the risk of environmental damage is more important to you than the certainty of climate change.

            I put it to you Parsupial that you are out of touch with your own MPs. Gareth Hughes for instance, has stated that to effectively fight Deep Sea Oil Drilling it must be opposed on climate change grounds.

            I also put it to you Parsupial that you are out of touch with vast majority of climate scientists who tell us that climate change is not an ecological or environmental issue at all, it is an existential one.

            Watch the video.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELMXJts5qic#t=286

            • The video seems to be having trouble playing properly.

              Try this link instead;

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELMXJts5qic

              To which I might add the comment that though ecological oil spill disasters like the Torrey Canyon, or the Exxon Valdez, or even the Deep Sea Horizon as awful as these ecological disasters are for the localities affected, the effects will eventually, if no other ecological insult occurs in these areas, fade with time. Climate Change is not like that, for all intents and purposes it is permanent and global.

            • Jenny

              Still doing the Greener-than-thou routine I see. Not much hope that you’ll read what I write, but I’ll try once more to make it as simple as possible:

              Not the Green, nor any other, Party will get an absolute majority in 2014.

              Therefore a multi-party coalition will have to be formed to govern. The constituent parties will have to compromise to come to this agreement.

              While the Green Party policies will remain unchanged, the coalition government policies will differ from these.

              If the Green MPs stray too far from the Party policy in forging a coalition, then there are protocols for replacing them with others who will better represent the party policy.

              Not you, nor me, nor Edwards, nor Trotter, nor Jones; get to predetermine which policies will be enacted by the as yet unformed coalition prior to the election.

              • Still doing the Greener-than-thou routine I see. Not much hope that you’ll read what I write, but I’ll try once more to make it as simple as possible…

                Parsupial

                You persist in talking past the facts.

                Parsupial your resort to insulting language, is because you can’t defend your position logically. In my opinion your position is not only logically and tactically flawed it is also morally indefensible.

                I have never claimed to be-Greener-than-thou. What I have been saying, and saying quite clearly, is that for the Greens to compromise on their agreed positions on coal mining, on deep sea oil drilling to get into government, will see their destruction as an electoral force.

                Not the Green, nor any other, Party will get an absolute majority in 2014.

                Parsupial

                I am fully aware of this reality and are not the idiot you try to smear me as.

                My point is, and I think it is valid, is that this is no excuse for the Green Party (or any other party) to sell out their principles to gain cabinet positions.

                In fact I would argue that our recent history shows quite clearly what happens to third parties that go down this path.

                Look to the Alliance leadership who sold out their party’s anti-war principles to remain in government, or indeed the Maori Party who sold out their objection to Labour’s Seabed and Foreshore Legislation, to agree to National’s version, to keep their seats in government.

                In contrast to this sorry history I have pointed out examples from our past where great things have been achieved in shifting parliament by political leaders who were not in government.

                I am not opposed to the Green Party going into coalition with Labour. My position is that they must have some bottom lines that Labour must agree to, or no deal. Climate change is such a pressing issue that we cannot wait another three years before we do anything about it, or the ten or twenty years until the Green Party are the majority party which you seem to be implying we should.

                No New Coal Mines is Green Party agreed official policy for a reason. The world cannot afford even one more new coal mine when the reality is, the world should be cutting back on existing coal mines, that is if we are to have any chance of handing on to our grandchildren a biosphere fit to live in.

                You may think it is alright to let the Green Party leadership to have the right to undemocratically ditch this policy, but New Zealand needs to make a stand now. Later is too late.

                Not much hope that you’ll read what I write…

                Parsupial

                I read very carefully what you write, Parsupial. You say; “Not you, nor me, nor Edwards, nor Trotter, nor Jones; get to predetermine which policies will be enacted by the as yet unformed coalition prior to the election.” What you are implying with this ridiculous straw man argument is that the Green Party members won’t get any say either. Unpicking your mangled distortion of reality, what you are saying is that all this should left to be sorted out in back wheeler dealing and horse trading after the election in some back room deal.

                So much for democracy. This is how democracy and people’s wishes for change is strangled by so called “Realpolitik”.

                • Jenny

                  My apologies if I can’t be more specific at this time. I am sailing fairly close to the wind just commenting on a blog during an election year.

                  I am involved in the Green Party campaign. We have enacted a protocol of media discipline to reduce the risk of statements to be taken out of context. So I have to stick with already publicly accessible facts (rather than personal & internal party communications), such as our energy policy:

                  https://www.greens.org.nz/policy/energy-policy

                  As you’ll note, it’s; long, specific, and weighted towards developing renewables specifically to combat climate change. My favourite is section 5D(1&7). Coal policy is detailed at 6C, deep sea drilling prohibition at 6D1a.

                  As for democracy, I refer you to my previous statement:

                  “If the Green MPs stray too far from the Party policy in forging a coalition, then there are protocols for replacing them with others who will better represent the party policy.”

                  • Thanks very much for this considered reply Parsupial.

                    Just a quickly point to show that I read your comment:

                    ““If the Green MPs stray too far from the Party policy in forging a coalition, then there are protocols for replacing them with others who will better represent the party policy.”

                    Changing parliamentary leaders is never a simple matter, and I would advise against it under such circumstances. Removing leaders will always be a fraught affair. Such a major step is just as likely to collapse or split a political party or see party members walk as to get perceived wayful leaders back on track.

                    On another subject;

                    “While the Green Party policies will remain unchanged, the coalition government policies will differ from these.”

                    Is this really a tenable position?

                    Where the Green MPs and the Green Party have differing policies?

                    I think what needs to be understood is exactly what a binding coalition agreement means.

                    As Green MPs will be a minority in such a cabinet they will be voted down every time. (As well as being brow beaten and belittled by the likes of Labour cabinet ministers, Jones and Parker.)

                    As part of a Labour cabinet Green MPs inside and outside cabinet will be bound by collective cabinet responsibility.

                    In practice this means that no Green MP will be able to put a up a private member’s bill that is in opposition to Government Policy.
                    All Green MPs will be forbidden from lobbying Labour MPs or other party MPs in support of legislation that the Government is against.

                    Hypothetically, if the Mana Party for instance, put up a private members bill to ban deep sea oil drilling or a new coal mine, and it was drawn from the ballot, Green Party MPs would not only have to vote against it, but would not be allowed to even speak in favour of it, or in any way influence or lobby sympathetic Labour (or National) MPs to support such a bill. What would Green Party members and supporters think to see the Green MPs sitting silent in parliament over such issues? If there is no agreement to disagree over such things as deep sea oil or New Coal mines in the coalition agreement then this above scenario could well play out.

                    You may think that this is a small thing, but if a huge protest movement develops around these issues and the bulk of the Green Party membership are marching in the streets, for the Green Party and the Green Party MPs to be on different sides will be the end of the GP as a parliamentary or electoral force.

                    This is one of the reasons why I disagree with the position announced by both Russel Norman and Metiria Turei that they intend to go into negotiation with Labour with “no bottom lines”.

  2. “I like what David Cunliffe said on our behalf yesterday – Winston first.”

    Shane Jones March 12, 2014

    “Winston First”?

    Winston First, Middle, or Last, in any Labour coalition, will be there for one purpose, and one purpose only. To act as a weapon against the influence of the Greens. And as such, an act of bad faith by Labour toward the Greens.

    Winston Peters has all but said that his preferred government would be National led one, saying publicly that he would support the biggest party, which on all polls is National.

    Feasibly the only condition in which New Zealand First would agree to be part of a Labour led administration is if Labour and the Greens already had the numbers to govern and National even with NZ First support did not.

    David Cunliffe needs to announce right now, that a vote for Winston is a vote for National. Cunliffe could go further and say that Labour will not be forming a government that includes Winston Peters, if that government did not need his support to govern.

  3. I’m not sure that grandstanding blackmail is entirely consistent with the constructive engagement approach that Jeanette & Rod established as the usual operating principle for the Greens, which has proven pretty successful to date. It would provide ample evidence of division that the biased MSM and opportunists like Shane Jones could exploit.

    A better approach might be a series of private meetings in which Labour and the Greens work out a basis for cooperation before exposing it to corrosive substances like whalespleen, or the jaundiced eyes of MSM yellow journalists.

  4. If the Labour Party and the Greens start bashing each other in the Press Johnnie Sparkles will bolt in at the next election. Labour and the Greens will be seen as disfunctional and lacking the ability and skill set to jointly lead and govern this country. Key and his propaganda media team will have a Field Day just have a think about it.

    The Greens and Labour squabbling already is an own goal and what is commonly called shooting oneself in the foot.

    • There you have it. Take a glance at this whole thread as an example of what a Labour/Green government would look like.

  5. Environment is the paramount concern trumping economy, equity, sport and politics with population reduction coming second.

    The greens at least have some leaning toward looking at climate but the lip service paid by others is without substance.

    And we have NACT screaming ” Commies” at any suggestion of real moves toward sharp and progressive reduction of carbon, methane and Nitrous oxide GHG emissions

    The question is who will stand with the greens. Mana probably will.

  6. ” THE FIRST QUESTION TO ASK is “What the bloody hell is going on!” What is it about a left-wing coalition government made up of Labour, the Greens and Mana that David Cunliffe doesn’t get? ”

    The Truth Mr Trotter . The Truth . The Truth is what Mr Cunliffe will not dare admit to . The Great new Zealand Institutionalized Lie is what all NZ politicians fear the most . Not monsters under the bed , not the dreaded window envelope , not the cops , not the dentist , not the oncologist , not the renal specialist , not the jaded woman , not the miscreant man , not the terminal Christmas boredom , not the endless work ethic , not the stranger that was once the child , not the bump that accompanies the night . Cunliffe’s fucked and now he knows it . ‘Ha Ha’ ! Is I believe the immortal utterance of that horrible kid in the Simpsons .

    I’ve watched as jonky-stien , himself a benefactor and profiteer , has withered visibly from the enormity of the ‘ LIE ‘ . What then of Cunliffe ? What can he do ? Expose the LIE ? The Swindle ?

    Can you hear that douglas ? Scratching at your kitchen door ? That’s the truth , you bastard . My mums cancerous blood’s on your hands and I’m comin’ ta get ya .

    ( Have I gone too far ? I never really know . )

  7. This would, of course, mean that the Greens would have to put less emphasis – or none – on Cabinet positions or other baubles, which is apparently not a strategy favoured by the co-leaders who clearly see the need for Green cabinet ministers. It is also a strategy that could risk causing a subsequent general election or give Winston Peters the excuse to go with National.”

    There is a Third Alternative…

    Give Peters the baubles of office. Form a coalition with NZ First. Hell, make him Deputy PM if he wants it.

    But Labour should then take the Greens’ policies and make as many their own as possible.

    Result; the neutralisation of NZ First as a threat; consigning National to the Opposition benches; and the start of the left-wing counter-revolution.

    Because having lived through 1996, and the gut-wrenching three years that followed, I sure as hell don’t want to see a repeat.

    • I don’t know about that Frank. Yes it is provenly true that Winston would can be bought off with baubles of office.

      And it is also true that Winston will demand that Labour drop their policy of raising the age of retirement to 67. (Not a bad thing and something that Labour should do anyway)

      The Nats may be prepared to do it, but I think for Labour to give the deputy PM role to Winston Peters would be going way to far, as this would necessitate Peters being in cabinet. Helen Clark quite sensibly made him a Minister outside of cabinet.

      Even then I fear that like all faustian pacts it will come with a price.

      I don’t know what that price might be. It could be voter rejection of such cynical manipulation. It could be an agreement to completely marginalise the Greens. Better in my opinion, to have a clean break and be done with him.

      If Labour and the Greens have the numbers they will not need Peters. If they don’t have the numbers to beat a National NZ first grouping, Winston Peters will go with National. John Key has already promised to not raise the age of superannuation which will keep Peters supporters happy. In exchange Winston Peters will be quite happy to rubber stamp any other vicious policy the next Key government care to enact.

      Labour need to put their hand out to the Greens and turn their back on Peters, this would be the clearest sign of Labour Party goodwill to the Greens. Anything less will be seen as unseemly and vacillating and shifty by both the Green party supporters and the electorate at large.

      A vote for Winston is a vote for National

    • Implementing the Greens policies will throw a large number of people out of work. Unions members included.

      There is the fault line.

  8. I sincerely hope that Labour shackle themselves to the rotting corpse that is the Green movement

    It will be a transformative experience, in the same way that putting yourself in a crematorium is a transformative experience

    Hopefully, something better comes out the other end. The ashes could be used to grow a new labour movement, in say, about 15 years time, when all this Malthusian self loathing has immolated itself.

    • It’s always amusing to see rightwingers bring up Malthus – he’s not the support you think. The bit that Malthus got wrong was endorsing austerity policies like those implemented by the hebephrenic troupe of buffoons that presently pretend to be our government. These are not necessary, and modern experience shows that a thriving middle class is just the support a thriving economy needs.

      What Malthus got right was the population science that Darwin incorporated (together with Lamarck’s observations) in his theory. This is the kind of science that lies behind Green policy, in the same way that fatuous neo-liberal bullshit underlies Key’s policies, which are really only pretexts he pretends to espouse to facilitate his looting of New Zealand’s public estate.

      • I guess being mildly aspirational makes me “right wing”.

        People are turning away from the left in droves because it has become a vehicle for the bien pensant hand wringers of the liberal metropolitans who prattle on about climate change, peak oil, deep sea drilling etc.

        Anyone who simply wants to get on and do the best for their family has no place in the modern left, despite all their platitudes.

        That’s how I see it, anyway .

        • It is not your aspirations that make you rightwing, but your deep and abiding love for antisocial and above all unsuccessful economic dogma. The numbers are in on neo-liberalism, and it is a meme a long way down the path followed by droit de seigneur, phrenology, and for that matter golliwogs.

          You must learn to put your prejudices aside in favour of things that work if you want to realise those aspirations.

          • Yes. The racist gollywog picture gives too such away. You need to pretend to be mess hateful if you want to be a successful right wing Troll Andy.

        • ANDYS – I’m aspirational as well.

          I’m aspiration for an egalitarian society; an end to child poverty; more jobs with decent wages; good housing for all, etc.

          Your form of “aspirational” is chasing the buck and to hell with the consequences.

          No thanks. Your greed is why this country is so stuffed in the first place. Or haven’t you noticed that poverty has worsened since that parasite Roger Douglas enacted his “reforms”?

  9. Couple of things there Chris.Quoting Bryce Edwards severely lightens the weight of your synopsis.He would have to be one of the most mealy-mouthed, right wing biased, political commentators out there.I have heard his opinions on tv and radio many times and can never make head nor tale of what exactly he is trying to say;apart from, John Key always good.David Cunliffe always bad. Hmmm ,sounds familiar.I just can’t take him seriously.The only commentator,( if you can call her that ), worse than him, is the completely mindless Claire Robinson.Please spare us all by never quoting her.But I digress.I think David Cunliffe is doing a pretty amazing job considering the ridiculously unjustified treatment he has received from all sectors of the political spectrum.It reminds me of the bright kid at school being bullied ,well, for being too bright.Some people prefer ‘down home’ ‘bover boy’ Key, but a lot don’t.Intelligence must not be compromised .National knows he spells danger to them.So the right wing faction of the media,(almost all of them), dutifully attack every single little twitch that he makes.Make no mistake.David Cunliffes’ heart is in the right place, which for me is everything,and he will pull it all together.You of all people,with your rich knowledge of all things historical would know you don’t start firing till you see the whites of the enemies’ eyes and always have in store some element of surprise.Buckle up.It will be a fascinating 6 months!

  10. I was trying to convince one of the non -voters to vote in the upcoming election. Her response ” surely you don’t expect me to vote Labour they are just the same as National they don’t care about the poor people anymore” … Well what could I reply to that because it is the truth.
    Why can’t they join with the greens to bring us something that is an alternative to more neo -liberal failed policy? Why are they flirting with Winston rather than working with parties that are at least honest in where they stand such as Greens and Mana?
    I just don’t understand labour. Are they suffering from overblown arrogance or are they just too stupid to look around them and see that there is an alternative to what we have now?
    More and more of the same is not an answer it only turns their supporters off them and off politics(which is about making choices about our future ) as well. Personally I think this is a tragedy for our country and our future.

  11. …Labour shackle themselves to the rotting corpse that is the Green movement

    …will be a transformative experience, in the same way that putting yourself in a crematorium is a transformative experience

    Andys

    To paraphrase you Andy: A spectre is haunting New Zealand. That spectre is a Labour Green Government.

    Andy that you regard such a government with such dread fills me with a quiet joy, that we are on the right track.

    No doubt confirmed Right Wingers like you would have greeted the First Labour Government with similar dread approaching panic, and indulged in similar over the top hysterical funereal imagery of crematoria and yawning graves.

    I sincerely hope that the Labour and Green Parties can get over their differences and form a solid working relationship. The great thing is that they are now admitting them. The next thing will be addressing them and resolving them. The first real world action could be be to demote mutinous ABC Right Wingers like Shane Jones and David Parker to the back benches as an example to the rest. BAU is no longer an option.

    • If it haunts me it is because I think it will do the country no good at all.

      I have voted Labour in the past, by the way.

      I think a solid left and right wing of politics is healthy for society.
      Unfortunately, I see the left eating itself up, here and elsewhere

      I am not the first person to make this observation. For example, Nick Cohen in his book “What’s Left?” writes of this

      So, just dismissing me and taking some kind of pleasure about my point of view isn’t particularly helpful for you or me.

      Some introspection is required and I am sure the erudite Mr Trotter (whom I hold in high esteem) may agree with me

      • “If it haunts me it is because I think it will do the country no good at all.”

        Andys

        Translation: It haunts me because I think it will do the wealthy of this country no good at all.

        “I have voted Labour in the past, by the way.”

        Andys

        Translation: This is not an endorsement but a condemnation, coming as it does from a self admitted Right Winger. Andys is not alone in having done this. In 1987 the the Right recognising a good thing, voted for Labour in record numbers. In Remuera* the most whitest and richest seat in the country Labour’s Judith Collins almost defeated National’s Doug Graham only missing out by five votes. In 1987 with the help of the Right Nationally Labour increased their majority, but analysis of the results showed a big stay away by traditional Labour voters.**

        *Now Epsom

        **A statistic that has been in freefall ever since.

        “I think a solid left and right wing of politics is healthy for society.”

        Andys

        Translation: I think a solid Left/Right bicaramal parliament that does not stray too far from neoliberal ideals is healthy in protecting inequality and privilege in society.

        “So, just dismissing me and taking some kind of pleasure about my point of view isn’t particularly helpful for you or me.”

        Andys

        Translation: I have no interest in helping you or anyone else on this blogsite. I have nothing particularly to contribute to the debate on climate change, or the environment, or Left electoral tactics. My only purpose for contributing on this thread at all is to troll it.

        “Some introspection is required and I am sure the erudite Mr Trotter (whom I hold in high esteem) may agree with me.”

        Andys

        Translation: I have nothing to contribute to this thread and am just a despicable Right Wing troll. (If I trolled the Bowalley Road blog thread in the same manner, Chris Trotter would may vehemently disagree with me).

      • @ ANDYS -“I have voted Labour in the past, by the way.”

        Voting for Labour under Roger Douglas does not make you a Labour supporter. It just reaffirms you as a right wing cretin.

          • Judith Tizard was Labour’s Judith Collins anyway. Dame Cath was probably Labour’s Jenny Shipley. There have been some atrocious people in Labour over the years, and there still are. National has never had much else.

  12. Thanks Chris and commenters, except that odd fellow called ANDYS, I had to read something sane after catching Judith Collins on that awful mans show at 10.30 on TV3. She is on the carpet but that awful Paul Henry was so gentle with her, the most cutting remark he made was aimed at David Cunliff and his his apologise, I turned it off. So thanks Chris for some intelligent discourse.

  13. Cunliffe looked very prime-ministerial last Q+A and if the cards are in his favour shows every sign of sticking it to the Greens. He’s a left wing intellectual and I suspect he thinks Labour should get all the left wing votes and not share them with the Greens. Personally I think it’s time for a change but Labour’s got a lot to do if it wants my vote.

  14. It is becoming more and more obvious that there are not enough votes on the left to elect a centre left party. Labour is gutting the Greens vote, and is itself giving away room in the centre. Helen Clark knew full well the danger the Greens pose to electoral credibility, which is why she kept them at arms length, and in so doing commanded the centre. John Key is now using the same strategy brilliantly, and will decimate the left come September.

    • @ INTRINSICALLYRWNJ – are you still here? Don’t you have an Act party thing to go to and kiss Rodney Hide’s bum?

  15. Shane Jones needs to he muzzled if he can’t stop biting his kennel mates, although I can’t help thinking that neutering may be a better long term option – it’ll calm him down, and make him less boisterous, loud and frisky.

      • Do tell. More trolling Andys?

        Have you nothing at all to contribute to this debate?

        Shane Jones sees it as his self appointed mission to preserve the National Labour bipartisan agreement to mine it drill it frack it. All the while fingering his nose at the science that tells us that we are all in dreadful danger if we don’t change. How on earth could he do this from a minor party like ACT or the Conservatives?

      • That, or he’ll be running the show

        Jones may be a bit lightweight but he has the knack of resonating with the common man whereas Cunners just comes across as a fraud.

        Labour desperately needs to reconnect with its real support base – the working man. Not PC luvvies who ‘attend the ballet’.

        Jones is circling, waiting to pick Cunliffe off after Labour loses this election.

  16. Mr Trotter you say from one side
    ” it was Labour’s refusal to stand solid with their ideological soul mates; taking instead the 30 pieces of silver offered by Mr Peters; that quite literally broke Rod Donald’s heart ” true:

    but then later rhetoric you say
    ” … and to prepare New Zealand for the situation it will be required to face if Labour continues to scorn the winning formula so successfully tested by Jim Anderton and Helen Clark. ”

    Oh well, I suppose rhetoric is to be enjoyed , even if nonsense. The reason the Government will not go to Labour is because of Green, people are frightened of Communist Norman, weep bitter, if Rod was still here you would have a landslide, even we fascists miss him

  17. I see no need for David Cunliffe to extend himself more and re-assure the Greens and potential voters that Labour will work with the Greens to form a new government. David Cunliffe has repeatedly stated that he and Labour are working with the Greens and consider them both a political competitor, but also a partner of sorts.

    That is the reality, and elections are competitions between parties and their candidates, standing for policies and positions. Under MMP we will most likely see another coalition or small party supported government, and that may be the Nats with some support from ACT, UF and perhaps Maori Party and Conservatives, or it may be Labour and Greens, perhaps supported by NZ First.

    Although Peters has left his door open to also talk with and form a supported government with National, this is all just tactics. He is personally so full of contempt for Key, and there have been such serious frictions, I cannot see Winston support a government led by John Key. Also in an interview on National Radio yesterday, he stated, that he and NZ First even support “pragmatic” green policies, like they have brought in and followed in Scandinavian countries. Most policies of NZ First fit much better in with Labour, and to some degree even the Greens, it makes more sense for NZ First working with them, rather than with Key and National.

    Of course, if Labour and Greens fail to get the votes to govern together, then NZ First will need to be talked with and considered to support them. The challenge will then be for the Greens to make some sacrifices, that may be painful. For instance both Labour and NZ First want to continue with some mining and oil and gas exploration, and the Greens have real issues with that.

    But can anybody really imagine Peters and Key working together, after all the years of hatred between them?

    I still hope that Labour and Greens will get the votes they need to govern, and that NZ First will not be needed. Perhaps I am too hopeful, but we will see. Once the election results are in, it will all be about forming a government, which will be between parties that all have to apply some give and take.

    So some “pragmatism” will determine what the next government will look like. Greens will not get it all their way, nor will Labour or any other party.

    But another 3 years with National running the show will truly cause irreparable, irreversible damage to this country and its people, we must do all necessary to wake enough out there up, to see what is happening, and to cast the vote for change.

    • “Although Peters has left his door open to also talk with and form a supported government with National, this is all just tactics. He is personally so full of contempt for Key, and there have been such serious frictions, I cannot see Winston support a government led by John Key. Also in an interview on National Radio yesterday, he stated, that he and NZ First even support “pragmatic” green policies, like they have brought in and followed in Scandinavian countries. Most policies of NZ First fit much better in with Labour, and to some degree even the Greens, it makes more sense for NZ First working with them, rather than with Key and National.”

      Irrespective of what you can or cannot see, the fact is that Peters won’t say who he will support in govt, which means he may choose NACT. Of course he will say pragmatic green policies, because then he will get the centrist voters who like the environment. Nothing to do with what he will actually do.

      If we want a left wing govt, it’s really clear – vote L/GP/Mana, AND don’t rely on Peters going left.

      • WEKA – I accept your points of view. But we must also realise, there will be those amongst voters, who will one way or another not even be inclined to vote “progressively”, that is for Labour, Greens or Mana. So they are not fond of National and Act and the likes, but will also hesitate to vote Greens or Labour, and may instead want Winston, for what he does for them, the elderly and more national conservative minded with a social conscience.

        We have to live with that, and the more that will refrain from voting for ACT or Nats, the better that is. This may not meet our best hopes, but it would at least offer an opportunity for the left and progressives, to get them on our sides, to avoid the worst, and more harm, than the neo liberal madmen have caused already.

        I do certainly prefer a clear Labour and Green government, but it is not certain that this can be achieved. So some pragmatic and common sense open minded approach will need to be taken.

        • Winston Peters gets it. (and it is the clue to his longevity in politics)

          Winston Peters publicly sets his conditions on coalition. (if only Green Party leaders would do this.)

          While Green Party leaders say they will have “no bottom lines in coalition negotiations”, Winston Peters understands the importance of entering coalition talks with a set of conditions.

          Everyone remembers the iconic Gold Card that Peters wrangled out of Labour as a condition of coalition.

          This time around Peters is demanding that any coalition partner drop any plan to raise the age of superannuation entitlement to 67.

          And bizarrely in a new twist, Winston Peters new demand is that his government partner bail out the Christchurch Cathedral rebuild.

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9831041/Peters-backing-fix-for-icon

          Whatever you think of Winston Peters priorities, these things are concrete achievements that Peters can point to and people will remember.

          If the Greens go into formal coalition with Labour without gaining any similar iconic concrete concessions, what will they have achieved?

          Agreeing to be out voted on every single issue raised in cabinet and then shackled by cabinet collective responsibility to agree to silence any opposition in their ranks and to publicly back policies they disagree with?

          Without achieving any major concessions from Labour to haul back on the their mine it, drill it, frack it, programme the Green Party will be finished in the eyes of the their supporters as an environmental party.

          And apart from the big salaries and high public profile, if the Greens don’t get any major concessions from Labour in the negotiations for cabinet positions, what could the Green Party cabinet Ministers possibly achieve locked in a cabinet room with the likes of Shane Jones and David Parker browbeating and insulting them and voting them down on every single controversial issue that comes up?

          Why on earth would the Green Party leaders choose the indignity of being forced by the rules of collective cabinet responsibility to publicly support the majority cabinet decision on policies that their party fundamentally disagrees with? When if they weren’t in cabinet, the Green Party caucus would be free to publicly support and champion and lobby for any policy they liked.

          My bet is that at this stage in history the Greens would achieve far more being outside of government than in it.

          Look at the Home Insulation Agreement, for instance, or the campaign for MMP, all achieved by the Greens lobbying and campaigning outside of government.

          The risks of being locked into a Business As Usual mine it drill it frack it administration are too great. It could see the end of the Greens as a parliamentary and electoral force.

          • Thank you, Jenny. The very reason why I won’t be voting Green any time soon.

            They cannot influence with integrity.

            “shackled by cabinet collective responsibility to agree to silence any opposition in their ranks and to publicly back policies they disagree with? ” Fix it. It’s a hang over from first past the post days. Not coalitions of the willing.

            “locked in a cabinet room with the likes of Shane Jones and David Parker browbeating and insulting them and voting them down on every single controversial issue that comes up”

            I cannot imagine Jeanette Fitzsimons, nor Rod Donald, nor the redoubtable Sues rolling over and squeaking. It would not happen. They were, and are, people of steely resolve and integrity even in the face of utterly boorish behaviour.

            If the parliamentary processes are so outworn and clunky as to hinder effective power-sharing FIX IT. And, if you collectively can’t fix anything as simple as some stupid people-made rules – don’t even bother with climate change – ‘cos it’s more of the same.

    • Alas I fear that two National terms are enough to cause irreparable damage. Cunliffe has recently been saying that Labour would do nothing to reverse the recent privatisations so you can assume that they will be doing nothing to reverse any of National’s other policies – apart from the odd one relating to social policy. No wonder Key wears a permanent smirk.
      I do seriously believe that Winston has a better story to tell the “working class” than Labour does, I am waiting for a grand Labour strategy announcement that will grab my vote but I was disappointed after 3 Labour victories under Clark so I expect to be disappointed again. Yes Mr Cunliffe I am one of the missing thousands. Get moving if you want my vote.

  18. Jenny: No doubt confirmed Right Wingers like you would have greeted the First Labour Government with similar dread approaching panic….

    Therein lies the problem.

    Today we have a 40hr week, 20 days of annual leave, a safe work place, health care and a universal pension. This is what Labour was fighting for a century ago.

    Today Labour is just fighting. It’s the party of angry people. But what for?

    • Today we have a 40hr week, 20 days of annual leave, a safe work place, health care and a universal pension.

      Andrew

      All these things you mention Andrew are under attack, many people even in this country don’t enjoy them now. As well as this we are seeing the development of an intrusive surveillance state, along with the decrease in personal privacy and freedom from unwarranted spying, and allied to it is a decrease in civil liberties, the right to strike, the right to organise, the right to protest.

      On top of all this humanity is facing the greatest global threat since fascism, in which the death toll will be measured in millions. And in the face of which both administrations, Labour and National seem to be paralysed like rabbits caught in the head lights of a approaching car.

      Andrew you ask what Labour is fighting for, you would be better asking, should Labour and other parties be fighting these things?

      And;

      If they are not, WHY NOT?

      • Actually the bigger threat turned out to be Communism/Socialism by far.

        I can furnish you with a very long list of failed socialist states if you wish. And it carries on today in Venezuela.

        Ironically, all of those states had an appalling environmental record. Yet the Greens still insist on Socialism as their means to improve the environment. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

  19. Banned Again

    http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-16032014/#comment-786542

    In the end coalition talks will be based on the how large numbers of voters set the relative strength of each party.

    lprent

    Hi Lynn, in human affairs it is not just raw numbers that are a factor. Leadership, a qualitative factor, can trump purely mechanical numbers, but you might not know that Lynn being a programmer.

    Also do not discount that real world events outside parliament can impinge on, and even inspire parliamentarians of any party. Grass roots political movements that reach a certain size are like this. It was so, with the anti nuclear movement that moved Mike Minogue and Maralyn Waring to cross the floor to vote with the opposition.

    From Scientific American:

    “No single campaigns failed after they’d achieved the active and sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population.” And if they surpassed the 3.5 percent threshold, all were nonviolent and “often much more inclusive and representative in terms of gender, age, race, political party, class, and the urban-rural distinction.”

    Erica Chenoweth University of Denver political scientist

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-a-scientific-utopia-succeed/

    Get that? 3.5%

    Not much. The movement against deep sea oil drilling must be approaching that figure. (And also possibly the movement against the TPPA)

    But building a mass movement that can shift the whole political spectrum is a subtle dance between the leadership, and the movement. A growing movement can strengthen the leaders, but conversly, a retreat by the leaders can lead to despondency despair and fatalism amongst activists and an ebb in the movement. Politics is all about pressure. Without a movement to strengthen their resolve, the leaders will be at the whim of every other pressure (and there are many) that are on them pushing them to places their supporters and party members do not want them to go. Its a downward spiral.

    Green supporters like Sacha 1.4.2.2, 16 March 2014 at 4:07 pm are in for a shock if they think that the Green Party leaders won’t abandon their party’s official position to get seats in cabinet.

    I hate to be the one to tell him, but without having the politics sorted, organisational forms will not be up to the task as he thinks.

    “2/ The Green leadership will abandon their party’s core beliefs (possibility ranking 50/50)”

    Gee if only the Green party’s policy mechanism allowed that possiblity. You’ve been told previously many times how it doesn’t, so this can only be bad faith on your part. Stop being a troll

    Sacha

    Anyway Lynn you can’t have been following this debate very closely, because you would see that what I am stating is that for the Greens to enter a coalition while Labour hold to their, Mine it, drill it, frack it, strategy, would be a mistake.

    Why? Because it would prevent the Green Party leaders from being the spearhead of the movement in parliament to lobby, pressure, persuade, and move parliamentarians of the majority parties to act against climate change.

    I have pointed to several historical examples where the Greens have achieved great things without ever being a part of the government. MMP was one.

    Forcing Labour and National to get serious about climate change could be another.

    I’m getting tired of seeing your comments in auto-moderation. Putting you into auto-spam until April 1 when your ban expires.

    lprent

    And can I expect Lynn that your current policy of capricious invective, censorship and ad hominem abuse will extend beyond that date as well. April 1, April fools day?

    (I think yes, but prove me wrong)

    You attack me for making demands of our political leaders Greens and Labour to act on climate change.

    In my opinion this should be your role. That is, if you want your blogsite to be an agent of change and more than just an echo chamber.

    If we cannot make demands on our politicians on your website, then that is what use is it, other than an a sterile empty echo chamber where frustrated Green and Labour supporters can let off steam about their dissatisfaction at the state of the world.

    Currently with your demands that everyone should believe as you do,…

    I can see Lynn that putting demands on our political leaders to take action on climate change, or even declare where they stand on the issue, is obviously a step too far for you.

    But I will not be backing off making such demands. So go ahead ban and silence me all you like.

    …I suspect that you’d wind up as being a voting bloc of one or a handful.

    You think that being a voting block of a handful, or even one, dismays me, remember Lynn, sometimes the minority can be right, and sometimes the minority can win.

    The Standard is the country’s leading Centre Left blogsite, and looks likely to remain that way, tolerant of comment coming from the Right and Centre, intolerant of the Left. Especially intolerant of demands put on the politicians of the Centre to move away from their comfort zone.

    Content to report on the pressing danger of climate change but shrinking from demanding action from our leaders to do something about it.

    In your past statements you said that you consider me to be akin to Goebbels and/or a perverted police spy, comments that show that you see me as some sort of fearful hate figure.

    You should ask yourself what am I afraid of?

    I can tell you. You are frightened of the qualitative factor.

    You find yourself in an influential position inside the Labour movement, but you are afraid to take advantage of that position.

    In essence, you are afraid to lead.

    Climate change is set to become the battleground of the millenium trumping all other issues.

    Lynn you know the score, you have studied climate change, you know what is at stake, you could act, you could make a difference.

    From being a debating and commentating and information clearing house website Your website could become a crusading website.

    Yes! You could (and should) be making demands on our leaders

    And finally:

    You might like them to do those things. However you cannot insist that they do. If I was looking at the value of your vote for either party or indeed for Mana, I’d place it at somewhere close to zero. You are likely to either vote for one of these parties or not vote at all.

    lprent

    Lynn in positing that I may not vote at all, you are putting me in that large, 800,000 and growing number that don’t vote. And with your words you have outlined the reason. People know that they are not allowed to put demands on our political leaders which would challenge the rule of the corporates that is oppressing both the human and natural world and turning both the human and natural worlds into a living hell.

  20. A new Study of the enormous North East Greenland ice sheet, which had been considered too cold to be affected by climate change and therefore theoretically “stable” has revealed previously undetected and significant ice loss.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/newly-discovered-greenland-melting-could-accelerate-sea-level-rise/

    Considering that existing climate models typically do not consider northeast Greenland with future sea-level projections, the findings suggest that sea-level rise estimates may err on the high side, close to 3 feet or higher….
    Shfaqat Khan senior researcher at Technical University of Denmark, and the lead author of the study

    A rise of this level, along with the storm surges resulting from more powerful and wide spread tropical Hurricanes and Typhoons also resulting from climate change will see the total and permanent removal of low lying coral atoll nations and their populations. The island nations facing extermination within the next 60 years are:

    Kirabati

    The Maldives

    The Federated States of Micronesia

    The Marshall Islands

    Tuvalu

    The outer Solomon islands

    The Carteret Islands

    Time to insist that our politicians honour The Majuro Declaration and stop all new coal mining and fracking and Deep sea oil drilling?

    “You might like them to do those things. However you cannot insist that they do.”

    lprent 16 March 2014

    Well not at The Standard anyway.

  21. Obstructive ignorers vs. Vile deniers

    Which strategy is better at protecting the polluters and preventing government action on climate change?

    Are the efforts of Lynn Prentice to prevent demands being put on our politicians to do something about climate change, a more subtly effective method for defending BAU than the hateful vileness and counter productive illogic of the open Climate Change deniers?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/02/tuvalu-and-many-other-south-pacific-islands-are-not-sinking-claims-they-are-due-to-global-warming-driven-sea-level-rise-are-opportunistic/

    “…..the claims about sea level rise and sinking islands are overblown. For example, this idiotic publicity stunt by the Maldivian government, signing a legal declaration underwater, demonstrates just how far some people are willing to prostitute their victimhood for financial gain.
    The MO: You other countries warmed the earth, raising sea level which threatens our island. Pay up sucka!”

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