Waatea News Column: Why Labour-Green could be the next Government – 2016 Green AGM

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What few political pundits or commentators could understand last week, was the unseemly haste with which the Greens and Labour rushed out their Memorandum of Understanding. While many progressive voters have wanted this announcement for 8 years, the timing seemed odd and the actual details very light, the Green Party AGM in Christchurch this weekend helped answer some of those questions.

The AGM this weekend could have gone very differently from the one it became and the genesis for that began early last year when Andrew Little snubbed the Greens and prevented Metiria Turei from joining him on the Intelligence and Security Committee. This snub infuriated the Identitarians within the Greens (those who see identity and gender politics above all else) and was evidence in their eyes of Labour being just as bad in regards to sexism as National. This feeling merged with the large Blue-Green faction and generated a momentum that was to have peaked at this AGM.

What the Blue-Green faction and the Identitarians within the Greens wanted for this AGM was a new strategic announcement that the Greens would in fact do the same as NZ First and sit on the cross benches and decide issue by issue what legislation they would and wouldn’t support.

The Left factions within the Greens picked up on this attempt and informed the Left faction within Labour of this growing resentment. The stalled talks of co-opertaion were quickly rehashed and the Memorandum of Understanding agreed to and Andrew Little was then invited to speak at the AGM.

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This explains the haste of the announcement and why so little detail like which electorates they will work together in and what shared policy platform they’d campaign on wasn’t sorted out.

It also forced the unreformed neoliberal bloke faction within Labour to smile and accept the deal. Some bloke Labour MPs may sneer at the Greens, but if the Greens walk off to the cross benches, Labour will never get back into Power.

Against this back drop of political machinations, Little needed to impress with his speech, and it says something about how badly the Government have performed recently for him to have so much ammunition. Little gave one of the best speeches of his career to date, and if that Andrew Little turns up in 2017, we will have a change of Government. The crowd roared, yelled and cheered.

The launch of the MoU may have been rushed, clumsy and with little detail so as to avert a strategic change of position for the Greens, but Andrew’s performance helped prove that a union together was better than cross bench neutrality.

This has been a victory for the Left within the Greens and Labour and shows the behind the scenes muscle and co-operation that now exists between the two. It’s a win for those who want a clear cut anti-National vote and it’s a win for the joint tactics that will be needed for Labour and the Greens to be successful in 2017.

The biggest gain of this Memorandum of Understanding is that it forces the media to start reporting polls from an MMP viewpoint. Currently Paddy Gower gets to claim National are 47% and Labour are at 30%, the perception being to the ordinary voter that Key’s fourth term is guaranteed. The reality is that when you combine Labour and Greens, the National Party’s lead is really only 5%.

This perception change will do more to impact the way voters perceive the next election than any other single thing.

If a shared policy platform and agreed electorate strategy emerge, expect 2017 to be a very close battle. We may yet get a change of Government and it may not need NZ First.

 

Waatea News

14 COMMENTS

  1. Finally some positive energy around this coming together of Labour and Greens. Changing govt. is the goal and this is a very good start to changing views and opening minds to healthy possibilities. They both have good plans; great MP’s and I am pretty sure that Winston will jump on board eventually when he sees the success and growing platforms and support of this union. No doubt, we have to get rid of this “out of touch” and embarrassing govt. with their serial liar at their sinking helm.

  2. Im all for a change of government like 6 years ago – but would Andrew Little please go away and get some schooling on how to deal with the media and work on the way he presents himself cause hes not inspiring anyone atm

    • Totally and completely disagree. He is doing a fine job and is getting better at speaking and dealing with the press. He is inspiring many and hope the voters will wake up and drop all the negativity and misjudgements.
      Give him a chance instead of tearing him down for no real good reason.

    • If you want someone who is trained for the media and worried about appearance, well… We already have one of them, and he’s a fucking disaster.

  3. Whew that was close.

    These Identitarians are a pain in the arse!

    I have encountered some in my travels around the “GREEN FRINGE” and they are aggressive abrasive today and domineering to the point that they scarred me off as I a former Green Party member when the splendid co leaders of Jeanette Fitzsimmons & Rod Donald lead that Party.

    Mum used to say “moderation is the key to everything,” so the Greens need to try this too as the political climate is changing all the time and sadly with the rise of Corporate influences everywhere causing mayhem the future outlook is not looking better we are afraid, so we have to combine our collective strategies.

    Well done all.

    “What the Blue-Green faction and the Identitarians within the Greens wanted for this AGM was a new strategic announcement that the Greens would in fact do the same as NZ First and sit on the cross benches and decide issue by issue what legislation they would and wouldn’t support. The Left factions within the Greens picked up on this attempt and informed the Left faction within Labour of this growing resentment. The stalled talks of co-opertaion were quickly rehashed and the Memorandum of Understanding agreed to and Andrew Little was then invited to speak at the AGM. This explains the haste of the announcement and why so little detail like which electorates they will work together in and what shared policy platform they’d campaign on wasn’t sorted out.”

  4. Robert I believe NZ First are the new long thinkers for a greener economy.

    I have been to many meetings where most support are for their new manifesto Christ it is far reaching compared to the three year TERMERS THAT DECIDE TO EJECT MOST POLICIES OF THE LAST ELECTION AS LABOUR SADLY DID AFTER DAVID CUNLIFFE GOT A LOWER RESULT, BUT I BELEIVE IT WAS A RIGGEDB ELECTION ANYWAY WITH WILD SWINGS LATE AT NIGHT WE SAW.

    NZ First shall be the king pin here and will again wag the dogs tail and should be given more respect for the solid long term thinking that comes though their policies. Just my thoughts here.

  5. It has clearly got the nats enraged, like poking a stick into a wasp nest, and it is amusing to see their frantic, panicked responses. Have a look at this http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/80751030/labourgreens-say-theyll-take-on-nationals-formidable-political-machine-at-greens-conference.
    They have clearly elicited a call to arms, and have been told to saturate the comments sections with their mostly nasty, small-minded little comments.
    Crosby Textor will be in overdrive. Wait for the put-downs from Paul Henry, Mike Hosking, Patrick Gower, Claire Trevett, and maybe a new book from John Roughan. Come on John, it’s the least you can do.

  6. I don’t know if I suffer from Benign Conspiracy Syndrome, but it looks to me that this whole agreement was handled about as exactly right as an imperfect world can allow.

    It was announced without a single reported leak (enough in itself to infuriate Paddy, no doubt). How long it could be kept secret is debatable, but an early announcement gives the momentum advantage of surprise. It was launched just before the Greens AGM so the momentum could be magnified by Andrew Little’s historic appearance at that convention. At the AGM he gave a speech widely recognised as among his best. I bet it wasn’t a Donald Trump off-the-cuff effort. This leaves a full 18 months and another AGM to permit the maturing of the relationship, followed by a ringing endorsement at the last AGM both of the Greens and Labour before the general election.

    Best of all, there was no policy announced to muddy the waters. Nothing could infuriate the rank and file more than some policy jack-up with another party. No, policy will be agreed and drip fed through over the next year or so, each time accompanied by strategic acclaim from opinion-formers on both parties, but still allowing members of both parties to feel that they had been consulted.

    Another great advantage will be that National will no longer be able to enact any watered down versions of those policies, because now he would be enacting full opposition policy, rather than driving a wedge between individual opposition parties and the less attentive of their supporters as they have managed to do in the past. (Look at the mileage they have got from that paltry and often illusory $25.00. They are still dining out on it. It almost competes with Waimategate and Paintergate on a bangs for bucks basis).

    The whole think looks like a masterstroke. I see the hand of Matt McCarten in this. Don’t you?

    The next step should include a series of appeals to uncomfortable National voters that the time has come to leave the sleazy sinking ship. This can happen especially over housing and clean waterways, but it won’t end there. I don’t know if there are actually any Nats-with-a-conscience but the mere implication that they may exist will send shivers up the spines of the party grandees and pollsters, while emboldening independents to genuinely start to weigh up the issues.

  7. We are missing something here. To get into power they need Winston. The triumvirate need to explain winston’ s latest bombastic stance on Muslim immigrants.

    All is quiet on the leftwing front in regards to the xenophobic rants of a potential partner/prime minister.

    Principles or Power? Dance with the Devil?

  8. I think Nick’s comments here pretty much hit the nail. Finally, the parliamentary left is working to a combined strategy. Combined strategy is what allowed National/ACT to win power in 2008, and the lack of it on the left is what kept the NatACTs in power in 2014. Perhaps the Internet-Mana alliance was the wrong move, as Sue Bradford said at the time, but Labour tipping Hone out of Te Tai Tokerau handed the Nats the election. Better strategy for Labour would have been to let Hone win, in exchange for a supply and confidence agreement from an otherwise independent Internet-Mana.

    David:
    >> To get into power they need Winston <> The triumvirate need to explain winston’ s latest bombastic stance on Muslim immigrants. <<

    Actually, this is NZ First's job; to explain why any left-leaning voter should even consider voting for a party led by the local counterpart of Nigel Farage (leader of UKIP in the UK), instead of the Greens or a (finally!) post-neoliberal Labour. About the only reason is the divisive neo-conservative meme that "identitarians" control Labour and the Greens, to the exclusion of old, white, straight, religious, working men (and women). Sure, if people think this way, I'd rather see them vote NZ First instead of whatever ticket the Christian Heritage/ Christian Coalition/ Future NZ/ United Future/ Destiny Party/ Kiwi Party/ Conservatives voter base bubbles up as next. But we must not allow people that out of touch with the realities of 21st century Aotearoa to set the priorities for a post-National government.

      • Thanks Geoff. There was more, but my old email listserv habit of putting quotations in >> << instead of "" trips me up on TDB, where using the angle brackets more than once in a comment results in the annihilation of large chunks of it :{ That said, I think my shortened comment pretty much sums it up.

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