I’ve been to all the MANA conferences and more Labour Party Conferences than I can remember but the last Green Party AGM I went to was when Nandor was still an MP and the radical politics being expressed then are a million miles away from the Green Party of today.
The first thing that strikes you when you look around at a Green Party AGM is just how white and middle class it is. I am talking whiter than white, I’m talking polar bear against a white back drop, I’m talking the diversity of a National Party front bench, I’m talking blizzard in Antarctica white, I’m talking KKK on laundry day. I’m talking a cocaine party in the Arctic, I’m talking Honkytown, Crackerville, I’m talking white bread on white bread on white.
It. Is. White.
Which helps explain the Greens utter lack of traction as a political party in a city as diverse as Auckland.
What was also prevalent was the deep seated frustration of not being in a Government. These people have deep held beliefs about the environment that border on the religious and they want that policy implemented believing that all else – welfare, economics, gender equality, identity politics and societal values will flow from that environmental policy The appalling manner in which the Labour Party have treated the Greens over the many years of MMP have generated a faction who want power regardless of who the other partner is.
It was this faction, made up of blue-green and Identitarians, who were pushing for a neutral strategic stance until the MoU was rushed through.
It is these deep seated beliefs that will be the most difficult part for the Greens and Labour leadership to reign in. The social media tracks of Green Supporters on Twitter verge on the inquisition side with ritual crucifixions for those who speak heresy and blasphemy, I understand why Labour wanted to come to the Green AGM based in the middle of no where, because mixing these two groups together is a recipe for combustion.
I was a guest speaker at the 1999 Alliance Conference that Helen Clark attended. The energy in that room heralded the demise of the National Government, this on the other hand was a far smaller, far more controlled event because there wasn’t any clear certainty of how the wider green membership would react.
It is the depths of these environmentally spiritual beliefs that will be the most difficult to negotiate for the leaderships of both parties while not alienating soft NZ First and National voters.
They have 18months to make this gel, and so far the Greens seem to have righted themselves after severe wobbles post Russel leaving.
Deeply questionable staff decisions (Ruminator as your strategist, FFS!), a weird state of the nation wonk idea that no one now remembers, Red Peak wankery and the audible groan when James Shaw, a past consultant to Coke, was elected all led to some truly wobbly moments there for the Greens. Those seem to have passed and that stability has led to the MoU.
If they can forge a shared policy platform and a list of electorates to work together on, they could well replace Key next year and that’s why Paddy Gower was so hysterical. You know what scares the Government by how frantic Paddy gets.