TDB Summer Election Special: Green Party strategic failure in Mt Albert


Now before I post up my TDB Summer Special on the Greens, it’s only fair to acknowledge that ever since MMP, one of my two votes has always gone to the Greens. I am a long time supporter and believe they have some of the best ideas for moving forward this country needs and I have a lot more respect for their MPs than almost any other Parliamentarians.

I accept that I pull my punches and let them off the hook a lot.

So let’s get into the criticism.

I don’t know what fucking clown is running shit back stage right now, but the strategic cluster fuck the Greens have kicked off in the Mt Albert by-election has the potential to damage a Labour/Green Government come the election or even worse still, lose the electorate altogether.

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It is utter madness that the Greens have decided to do this. It’s people who play checkers trying to play chess.

There were two reasons why the Memorandum of Understanding was urgently signed last year. The first is that the left faction within the Greens had caught wind of a plot by the blue-green and Identitarian factions to push for a neutral stance going  into the 2017 election. The MoU was rammed through to stop this plot from being declared at the Green Party Conference last year.

The second reason was that the Labour Leadership had finally realised that they had to look unified alongside the Greens if they were to have any hope of convincing soft National voters to vote for them.

So the MoU was a symbolic gesture to show that they were a Government in waiting and not bickering opposition parties.

It worked in Mt Roskill where the lessoning of choice made the vote for change far more powerful and it should have held for the Mt Albert by-election.

But it hasn’t.

Instead for the 4 weeks that is the news doldrums of February, they will be the only event occurring so that the Nation wide narrative is Labour vs Greens.

That is not the picture you want in voters minds going into a fucking election year!

What the Greens SHOULD have done is said to Labour, we won’t run in Mt Albert, but we want something in return. You don’t field a candidate in Central Auckland and allow Chloe Swarbrick an unchallenged run against Nikki Kaye.

That would have been smart, instead they risk damaging the sense of unity the MoU has given them for a pointless shot at a Labour stronghold.

If you listen to the Green response (and I had a run in with Julie Anne Genter on Twitter before Christmas on this), they claim the MoU allows this.

To which I say, “bullshit”.

If the Greens are having to trawl through their own MoU to find and justify loopholes to run in a meaningless by-election, it shows how blind with impatience they have become. The point of the MoU wasn’t a legalistic binding of two parties, it was the symbolism of unity. For 4 weeks the country aren’t going to see a policy debate, they are going to see Greens Vs Labour. That is not the image you want to look like if you are aiming to be seen as a unified Government in waiting.

Labour and the Greens have both come out and tried to pretend that this will be unlike every other political race in history because Julie Anne Genter and Jacinda Ardern will apparently arrive at events holding hands, skipping while singing ‘Micheal row the boat ashore’. That’s right folks, they state this won’t be a bickering competition, oh no, it will all be sweetness and light with pet unicorns frolicking in the background..

Two things about this garbage justification.

The first is that Green Party activists on line are some of the most alienating and counter productive groups of human beings on the face of the planet, (second only to the Wellington Comms Office of the PSA) and Labour Party activists won’t back down to Greenie Hipsters so the ability for this to get out of hand is beyond their ability to control and secondly, it still will appear to the rest of the country that they are fighting each other.

No one remembers the Mt Roskill by-election for its nuanced discussion on policy, they remember Labour kicked National’s arse. All the rest of NZ will see is the Greens and Labour fighting.

Now, what happens if Julie Anne Genter gets close? Or God forbid, won? If she gets within 1000 of Jacinda it makes Labour look weak in a stronghold, if she actually beat Jacinda it would destroy Jacinda’s political reputation and the Greens inherit a furious Labour Party who will do everything to shaft them using NZ First come the Government formation.

Even if the Greens do well or win, they cause more damage than just running and losing badly.

Mt Albert should have been left for Jacinda while the Greens cut a deal elsewhere.

So what is actually going on here?

Ultimately I think this is a staffing issue within the Green. I love Deborah Morris, I have nothing but admiration and praise for her as Chief of Staff, but I think she is being appallingly advised. It’s the person who has advised her on this that is the clown and that clown needs to be quietly shushed next time they have anything to say and replaced for the election.

Let’s also acknowledge it could get worse.

We can’t ignore the possibility that Gareth Morgan could seize this moment and stand in the electorate as well.

Here are the 5 reasons Gareth would be a fool to not stand:

1 – He needs the practise and a dry run in February would be powerful to train him.

2 – His involvement would guarantee massive media attention and he is far better at challenging existing policy and proposing better solutions than either Genter or Ardern. 

3 – TOP policy will be released in the first week of February, perfect timing to run and get that policy out.

4 – Could argue to the electorate that Genter and Ardern are already in Parliament and that voting for him him sends a far more powerful message to the Government.

5 – Genter and Ardern could split the vote and he could possibly come through the middle.

The Greens had better pray to Gaia that Gareth Morgan isn’t actually all that serious with his Political Party and won’t exploit the strategic blunder they’ve just made.



  1. Jacinda should have stuck to Auckland central. There was barely anything in it last time and with Kaye being largely absent, albeit to unfortunate circumstances, I’m sure she could have won it.

  2. If Morgan enters the election, I think the MoU parties will pleased to have a candidate of Genter’s calibre to debate green issues with him.

  3. Agree a much better tactic for success…

    “Mt Albert should have been left for Jacinda while the Greens cut a deal elsewhere.”

    Saying that I don’t see TOP getting 5% in an general election so can’t see Gareth as a threat but do agree he could run in Mt Albert to get publicity and make the opposition look un unified.

    • The Greens very sensibly refrained from putting up a candidate in Mt Roskill, where the presence of a National candidate may have put the result in doubt. No such impediment exists here. This bye election is a good opportunity for outlining a “green” perspective on Auckland’s problems, and should stand the party in good stead this November.

  4. I’m a Green Party supporter and I feel common sense should have told those making the decision that simply in the spirit of unity the Greens shouldn’t have stood a candidate. Seeing this as an opportunity to spread the Green message on policies is not a strong enough best argument. Maybe those making these sorts of decisions are just a bit too intelligent for their own good?

  5. This decision to allow Genter to contest the seat along with Adern as well (Genter who i have long thought was one of the Green parties brighter stars) seems on the face of it insane.

    I thought the much vaunted MOU was a move in the right direction -excuse the pun but my fear was that the strategic planning between the parties to make this work would be missing and that has been confirmed with Mt Albert.

    This by election is different to Mt Roskill as no National candidate is standing so this is an opportunity for Gareth to have a clear run and communicate a clear message and shake things up a bit.

    Lab-Grn have had plenty of time to work out a clear strategy here one that would and should maximise their vote and promote policy not just local but nationwide.

    If this is the approach going ahead then we will face another 3 years of this hideous administration.

    A brave move , one that would have shown this MOU is working is letting Genter stand unopposed in the seat with Adern assisting from the behind the front line.

    But Labour would never contemplate going that far.

    Labour must want Adern safely in an electorate seat but that is not guaranteed here when both aligned parties are standing separately and as Martyn pointed out allowing TOP to come through and cause an upset.

    Has anyone done polling research in this electorate to back up this strategy ?

    With the hostile media environment in this country they have given the right wing another target to fire at and undermine in this election year.

    They cant give these bastards another clear run to a fourth term and the left and its constituency deserves better.

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