Reflecting on the fall out between the Greens and their tantrum at Labour deciding on Labour led Government as opposed to Labour-Green Government language, some questions about the Greens tactical abilities start arising.
Who leaked this failed deal to the media and why on earth did the Green tacticians think that Labour would agree to a strategy that impinged upon Labour’s ability to include NZ First and MANA into any equation to defeat John Key?
First let me state that I am a massive Green Party supporter, I have voted for them most of my adult life and honestly believe they have some of the only economic policy that confronts the climate change realities in front of us. I also think that the Greens provide us with some of the best MPs we have in Parliament. Russel, Met, Gareth, Kevin Hague, Kennedy Graham, Catherine Delahunty and Julie-Anne Genter are all some of the best politicians we have. The possibility of Marama Davidson in power is also exciting. Where I disagree with them however is in their tactics, strategy and their inability to reign in their Green Party Wellington staffers.
The Green mates in the mainstream media have referred to the refusal by Labour with all the clarity of scorned lovers, and the Emerald Stormtroopers, those Green Party staffers who love to cyber bully on social media, are itching to start a schism of religious proportions.
But is that anger well directed or misplaced? How on earth did the Green strategists get this deal with Labour so wrong? Why pitch an idea that Labour would never have adopted? If the Greens are serious about replacing Key, they need to acknowledge that NZ First may be part of that equation. Does the idea of working with Winston make any of us happy? No, no it doesn’t, but do we want to kick Key out of office or not? If the cost is a legacy project for Winston in the form of compulsory super that buys back NZs assets, would that be a such a terrible deal to make?
The Green tacticians got this spectacularly wrong, they misread Labour, they misread Cunliffe’s desire to beat Key and they misread the strategic need to keep doors open to other political parties. The Greens desperately need some new tacticians and strategists or they are going to manage to snooker themselves just like they did in 2005.
So let’s go through this deal line by line and see how badly the Green tacticians got it wrong…
(a) to campaign together
Absolutely doable and there needs to be strategic wisdom in some of the places they do decide to campaign together on.
(b) to brand themselves as a future Labour/Greens government.
That was never going to happen and suggests that the Green tacticians are either naive in the extreme or they are manufacturing a backlash for them to play the betrayed lover routine.
(c) sought agreement that Cabinet posts would proportionately reflect the number of seats won by each of the partners.
This is another blunder by Greens because the Greens, if they play their cards right, could actually argue for, and get, a far larger representation in Cabinet than mere proportional representation.
(d) sought a common strategy on how to work together with New Zealand First
No. The Greens need to work through their personal grudges with Winston, that is the crux of the problem in the relationship. Greens hate NZ First for 2005, Winston hates Russel for twisting the knife over the Owen Glenn issue and the relationships have never been repaired. Labour don’t want to get into the middle of that (unless they are open for Matt McCarten invoicing them for relationship counselling), it’s a damaged relationship the Greens need to fix.
The Greens sound desperately like a Party that needs some strategic thinking that comes from outside the beltway because this entire fiasco has been a shambles.