Metiria Turei’s Wonk of the Nation



Metiria Turei has just finished up the Greens state of the nation address and it was  polished and safe.

She has had her hands media trained to death. Tries to establish the playing field by denying it is a playing field. Talks about the values Greens would take into any Government (emphasis on the any) and the big idea is some new wonk unit inside Treasury to get an independent wonk to cost out the wonks every Political Party makes.


Wonkery like that goes down a treat in blue-green territory.

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The only time Met managed to project some genuine insight was when talking about her time out of Parliament and mingling with whanau to gauge their view of her continued presence in Politics. The answer was emphatic that she still has a role to play and she nailed in place her vision to take on 2017.

It will go down a treat with the middle class vote they’re chasing, nothing groundbreaking, nothing rousing, just a few clever professional additions to the upgrade currently on offer from National. It’s app politics for the politically neutral and disinterested.

Here’s the level of passion the Greens should have projected today.


  1. I just left a comment on Open Mike …. but I agree.
    Maybe it’s a function of longevity, and comfort, and ‘settling down’ …. de-progressing on the way to boring old fartdom.
    It’s a worry!
    I fear the Greens may well be shitting in their own nest (going forward, as JS would say in his world of corporate-speak and crapola)

  2. They won’t win at “politics” they’re supposed to have a different set of “Values”. Less brain more heart.

    • Now that I’ve read a report of Turei’s speech, I think this critique is just a tad wonky. The points she made about Greens policy being adopted by other parties (Nats) is a good one as is that of the electorate assuming that National’s financial management is so good it doesn’t require costings and analysis.

      • Its best to keep finances in house.

        Treasury doing up budget estimates would be like trying to get TVNZ to write a puff piece about TV3.

  3. Safe? Sensible? Wonkery? Media savvy? Wrong Response!

    Reread the poll results above.
    C’mon. Sweep this under the rug and go back to bagging Labour.

    That’s YOUR safe place.

    • {Reread the poll results above}.

      Greens (28%, 805 Votes)
      Labour (27%, 776 Votes)

      Yes, that is impressive. Eye raising stuff!

      • What I find more interesting is 485 voted for national in that poll. If they can be bothered voting on an Internet poll. You would think I or any one else around here would get more thumbs down on comments

      • Ahhhh … the polls! Impressive!
        We win you lose – hahahahaha – so there!
        Gorgeous darling! I’m sure you feel very proud
        Sure as shit -you just lost my vote

  4. Holy crap! Are you telling me I got it right all along?

    They really ARE middle class wankers?

    Jeez, I might become a political commentator… 🙂

  5. I doubt any of it will matter soon, whatever kaleidoscope of pretty shapes and colours the various political parties come up with to attract voters.

    The global economic-financial system continues to fall off the cliff. So much red!

    And I see the Baltic Dry Index (a proxy for global trade) has fallen yet again, to yet another all-time low (354).

    And oil, having flirted briefly with $32, is back down again.

    Meanwhile, the planet continues to drastically overheat.

    Latest atmospheric CO2: 404.15ppm.

    An ice-free Arctic this year? Place your bets:

    We’ll have a better idea just how bad 2016 is going to be in a few months.
    None of the above is politically correct, of course. Which is why none of it will be mentioned by the trough-feeders in parliament.

    • A Māori women steps forward as a senior political leader, and your response is to tell her she should have emulated an old, white, USAmerican Democract, whose actual policies (behind the “yes we can” style rhetoric) are somewhere to the right of NZ Labour? Please. Check the log of privilege in your own eye there folks, before you starting pointing out the splinter in Metiria’s.

      US voters learned from Obama’s election that change does not come from electing solo acts who give stirring speeches, and NZ voters learned same in the last election (sorry Mr Cunliffe but it’s true). The UK will likely learn the same hard lesson when Corbyn either loses to Cameron, or gets in and gets busy rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, having realised that parliamentary democracy may have symbolic authority, but no real political-economic power left.

      Change comes from slowly, patiently, turning policy ideas into specific changes, and pushing them through the maze of institutions and pressure groups that make up the NZ political system in practice. Sure they don’t thump a lot of tables or point a lot of fingers, but the Greens have been doing that ever since they entered Parliament, despite never being closer to the government than confidence and supply. Implying that this makes them “middle class” or friendly to National is just a cheap smear.

  6. The Greens represent the left’s best chance to gain a foot hold. Face it, coalition governments’ are the best we can hope for in the near term. They offer a necessary and useful proposal that just might help voters to sift through the BS.

    But sadly we on the left seem more interested in pouting and factionalism. If young people and the world are to have any chance the left must build, not destroy itself.

  7. Genuine question Martyn,
    Do you want 5-8 more years of a National government?
    Writing these divisive, factionalist & vote of no confidence blogs about a party you confess you vote for is so counterproductive to our mission of a better NZ. I would feel a lot more comfortable about these anti-Green rants if they were equally applied to Mana, Labour & NZ First – but they aren’t.
    Focus on building people’s confidence in our shared vision of a coalition providing NZ’ers with a better future, please. You’re literally sabotaging your own dream.

  8. Genuine question Martyn,
    Do you want 5-8 more years of a National government?
    Writing these divisive, factionalist & vote of no confidence blogs about a party you confess you vote for is so counterproductive to our mission of a better NZ. I would feel a lot more comfortable about these anti-Green rants if they were equally applied to Mana, Labour & NZ First – but they aren’t.
    Focus on building people’s confidence in our shared vision of a coalition providing NZ’ers with a better future, please. You’re literally sabotaging your own dream.

    • 100% agreement there Rachel. Since last years election a lot of people have tried to encourage Martin toward a different perspective but it doesn’t seem to help. Instead it feels like the people who are turnerd off by the divisive approach are drifting away from the site – which probably explains the decline in visitor numbers compared to other left wing blogs.
      I sincerely wish this wasn’t the case because I was really inspired by the Daily Blog when I first discovered it.

  9. I liked Metiria’s speech. Yes it was safe. But she doesn’t need to burn down the house – this insane government is doing that.

    When the $120 billion falls due and the 2016 GFC begins to bite the feckless idiots of National will not be able to blame the Greens.

    When the country crashes and burns and Labour concerns itself with whether a rainbow candidate can be removed from a shadow ministry for non-performance or not, the Greens will be ready to pick up the pieces.

    When NZ is tired of living in the ruins.

  10. I challenge Bradbury to qualify and back up his opinions for once, rather than make his usual stabs at the Greens that appears like the usual positivist (narrow-minded) bias.

    Sure the Greens have a gleaming PR image (so too did Bradbury’s favourite the Internet Party let’s not forget – I myself am not a fan of gleaming PR images but I look at party policies not just PR releases). Just because the Greens do not mention dealing with poverty in every speech it does not mean they don’t plan to reverse it (they try to address it with many of their policies such as the living wage…).

    Let’s also not forget that nearly all political parties are middle class in their orientation. Sure the Greens can address this, and so too can other parties. A problem is that recent attempts by parties to not appear middle class have been rejected by a huge majority of voters (Internet-Mana, despite their really positive policies etc). And so, how can parties like the Greens address this better? I for one would like to see them develop this also (as to me PR can encourage voters to forget a party’s actual policies sometimes).

    More genuine constructive criticism rather than blind attacks please Martyn. How about some useful suggestions of how they could develop as a party, or is it that Bradbury would like to see them disappear and so leaving a big hole in parliament and further reducing a voice for the people? (Because that’s how Bradbury’s writing always comes across and outside of his supporters here few appear to take any notice of this, as shown by what gets picked up here by mainstream media, apart from National/Act and some in Labour who love to see Bradbury contributing to the antagonism between progressive and left parties and this is an example of how we all spend more time going at each other than convincing the masses to vote and vote for a progressive government.)

  11. I’m a Green supporter. It’s policies are the best of any party in New Zealand. But I think what Martyn is driving at is the lack of a charismatic and passionate leadership in the Greens, or the progressive movement as a whole. The Green co-leaders are passionate but it’s not emotionally expressed very well. This applies equally to Labour of course. Perhaps this says something about New Zealand as a whole.

    I would like to see more argy bargy, in your face, tactics from the Green MPs in Parliament but the trouble is they are all genuinely nice, pleasant people. Marama Davidson seems to relish a bit of confrontation and that is what is needed.

    The “problem” for the Green Party is that it is uniquely democratic. It has around 4000 members of which around half vote for the List MPs. So you are looking at a small genetic pool producing the offspring of leaders. Inevitably, certain traits are perpetuated in those who top the List (like votes for like). Mild, polite people are more likely to be at the top of the list than firebrands who inevitably will be more individualistic but with that also more divisive.

    • Good analysis EP.
      It could be said that the Greens are too nice for their own good. Although not a member of the Greens or any other party, I have occasionally attended various party meetings. Without exception I always enjoyed the Greens meetings best because they were such bloody nice people and I really felt like I was amongst kindred spirits.
      But being nice, trustworthy and genuine are unfortunately not virtues that will get you anywhere in the John Key era of dodgy spin doctor corrupt politics.
      Perhaps a firebrand character would be an asset to them. Would certainly be interesting.

  12. This is a good analysis from savenz on The Standard

    savenz 7
    26 January 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Good speech – liked the stock and farmer analogy (so true today – soon Kiwi farmers will have no farms and no stock but it will be in the hands of large corporations and offshore individuals).

    But why oh why no TPP? What is the problem with the opposition? How the hell can the Greens campaign for the environment and human rights standards when not be vitriolic about TPP, which is about to be signed here in the next 2 weeks!!

    Why remind every Greens worst fear, Greens and National together in some sort of Maori/Natz partnership or NatLite Labour scenario? i.e.

    “Now, National and the Greens are working together on building
    a nationwide cycle trail. And we’ve heard that tomorrow his boss, the Prime
    Minister, is finally going to announce funding on the Auckland central rail link.
    Oh, that’s another good idea we campaigned for.”

    People are really worried about big things now, having a house sounds like a mission or paying your power bill, so worrying about insulation or cycle ways are not necessary the most important thing for every Kiwi.

    Would like to see the Greens more radical but (and this is where they lost a lot of middle ground last time) concentrating on home owners as much as renters. A lot of people are mortgaged to the hilt, rather than the Greens appearing to celebrate a property crash which quite frankly losing ones home and job is not really a vote winner for the 65% of home owners (see what happened in the USA) and not really this redistribution of wealth many people in these blogs seems to think will happen. (Actually the rich get richer as they have all the money to buy up the cheap property see USA scenario and it takes out the middle class and poor).

    The problem with Labour and Greens is that they don’t seem to have a clue what is going on with the middle classes and why their is an obsession with property in NZ. One of the reasons Kiwis love their houses so much is that it is their only asset or retirement policy and there is nothing else to invest in. The government leads the way in this. Construct your way into economic debt. There needs to be a transition away from this, but appearing to want Kiwis to pay capital gains taxes so that overseas investors and developers can benefit isn’t exactly what Kiwis might have in mind. Wouldn’t a stamp duty be a better way?

    Immigration is often a horrible tool in political debate but in NZ it is clearly a big deal when we have 60,000 migrants coming in, but no jobs or houses for them and nobody mentions it apart from Winston Peters.

    Buying up NZ land and houses is actually a criteria for investment in NZ still. Buy now and get free NZ passport to boot!!!

    This is a Bminus effort from Greens. Not terrible but I’m not set to riot over this speech. The Greens do some great speeches and are a consistent party but need to step up off small details (insulation, cycle ways) and get into the big boys or girls pants and start shouting TPP NO WAY , removing or taxing foreign investors, Universal benefit or a complete new way to do social welfare and radical ways to improve businesses in NZ and make them more ethical and unable to avoid their fair share of taxes as well as increasing NZ clean green policies that have been decimated under the Natz.

    They need to protect more local rights and ideologies. The way to change the world is to start in your own backyard and community and so far there is not really a party wanting to protect and foster the majority of NZ citizens. Rather than telling people what they need to do more of (pay more taxes, insulate your house) they need to want to support and help the citizens of this country by cleaning up the water ways, keeping food safe, working out why our power bills are so high, why the SIS is allowed to spy on everyone without a warrant, why our houses are speculated internationally etc). Often the Greens are supporting all the right things but they are most vocal on more trivial aspects. The amount of emails I get about warm houses from the Greens for example. Yep NZ houses are from the 1900’s and terrible – but the Natz idea is to sell them off so that the Chinese billionaires and Auzzies can refurbish them and charge more rent. Is that really a winner for the poor?

    If someone is homeless telling them about having a warm house might not be their main priority? Likewise if someone can’t afford to pay their mortgage or about to lose 6000 more jobs under TPP and lower the minimum wages and conditions and pretty much take over government decisions under the ISDS.

    Greens should be talking about how the Natz are bankrupting this country AND selling it off and polluting it to boot.

    Start fighting Greens, and people will rally behind.

    • You would have to have been asleep to think that the Greens aren’t fighting against the TPPA! Just because it isn’t mentioned in this one specific speech…jeez! Certainly locally (Tauranga) we have been massively vocal, and as a member I’m aware that the Greens have been working their butts off on this one nationally.

  13. Left wing parties tend to share a historical trait, and that is that they tend to become less radical as time goes by. We saw that in the post war splits that came within the communist movement in New Zealand when some groups wanted to reform and others wanted to remain purists. This appears to be happening within the Greens now.
    Is this a good thing or bad thing? – depends upon your personal view. Some might see it as a rationalisation process enabling the Greens to reach out into a larger voter base; some will see it as a betrayal of their core principles.
    I suppose I can see both sides of the argument, but even if the Greens don’t represent all my views, I prefer to see them in parliament because they have some talented individuals who would be wasted if they were outside looking in.

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