During Thursday’s iteration of One News, I was virtually shocked off my seat to hear a reasonably well-known political pundit slash nominal “journalist” prognosticating about the likelihood of the Green Party “switching gear” on its electoral strategy … and deciding to position itself as a coalition support partner for the National Party.
Wait … what?
No, this *did* actually happen; and was even buttressed by some highly selectively edited clips of Russel Norman talking about the successes of the Memorandum of Understanding which the Green Party enjoyed with National from 2008-2011. You know, the one that basically just produced a home insulation scheme that’s widely regarded as not an entirely terrible idea … and a national cycleway which, when pointed to by the National Party as a solution to unemployment is laughable; yet when referenced by the Greens as a clean transport option, somehow acquires a magical veneer of shiny.
This is literally all that Norman meant by “working with” National, and all I can conclude is that TVNZ have deliberately decided to play up the fact the average punter hasn’t got a huge idea about the difference between a coalition, a confidence & supply agreement and merely *voting for another party’s policy every now and then when it’s demonstrably something your own party likes anyway*.
Coming from New Zealand First, I suppose I’ve got a better grasp of this than some in the Press Gallery (or, given the turgid tone of the story, Fleet St) … but one of our mantras sums this up well: we will support good policy and oppose bad policy *no matter where it comes from*. The Green Party’s been really good at reaching across the aisle (as opposed to merely *around* the aisle, if you get my drift) during its previous few terms as our 3rd largest party, and I actually find it kind of sad that such incredibly circumstantial evidence is being used to sketch out a narrative of a powerhungry Green party prepared to do deals with literally anybody in pursuit of office. Particularly given there’s a litany of other more problematic issues to shine a spotlight the Green Party’s way over, like Russel Norman’s deeply concerning statement that his Greens are less in favour of state intervention than the National Party instead preferring markets… or his confusing statement about the simplicity and uniformity of GST being reason enough to oppose moves to make our tax system fairer by taking GST off food … this really does just strike me as exceptionally lazy journalism. TVNZ have quite literally grabbed a political reporter, told him to write what may as well be alternative history slash “WHAT IF?” and then run the story hot-off-the-presses as if it’s all breathlessly true. I would LOVE to know who tipped TVNZ off about the alleged Green Party strategy meeting that was supposedly taking place at 6pm Thursday evening over exactly this issue…
Considering the Green Party’s likely pivotal role in this year’s Election; as well as the fact that National’s narrative of invincibility into a third term is floundering due to the fading fortunes of its support partners … the only serious question about this story (aside from “how outraged am I that this is apparently “news”) is which way to read this story in the grand scheme of things.
Craven journalistic opportunism? National kite-flying by getting its pliant friends in the media to test the waters for how palatable an *actual* #BlueGreen2014 (or, more plausibly, 2017 or 20NEVER) coalition would be with the electorate? Or typical Kiwi tall poppy syndrome seeing the only seriously rising force in this campaign and wanting to throw an incredible spanner amidst their midships by promoting sensationalist gossip magazine style tactical projections that may have only a slapping distance relationship with reality.
“Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his postings here should not necessarily be taken as indicative or representative of NZF’s policy or views.”