The more I think about the Greens decision to stand against Labour in the Mt Albert by-election, the more convinced I am that it is a stupendous political blunder.
Great New Zealander and human rights legend Keith Locke has argued that the contest between Greens and Labour in Mt Albert is actually a positive thing and that the Labour Party wouldn’t respond negatively if Julie Anne Genter won.
Now I won’t speak against Keith because I truly hope he is right, but the level of positivity the Labour Party of NZ would need to be at to not be angry at Jacinda losing to the Greens suggests a level of MDMA that I just don’t think is available outside of Sydney Mardi Gras.
I’ve argued that this is a terrible blunder and my only hope is that whoever is running strategy has managed to look beyond the next 2 moves and seen Labour being checkmated here and have decided to announce at the Joint State of the Nation that Genter will step aside so that the two parties can focus on the general election.
That’s my hope. My guess is they’ll say it’s going to be a positive thing and how Jacinda and Julie Anne will be singing Kumbaya together.
Comrade Trotter has already pointed out how the fog of war tends to throw those grand ideals out the moment the election starts and I’ve also pointed out that Green and Labour activists online and flown into the electorate are the kind of people who hold these values with all the humour of Vegan CrossFitters and it’s highly likely those outburst will dominate media coverage.
And what happens if it starts looking like it’s close? How much more heightened will the passions of those involved start to get then?
No one is going to remember that they had a nice and friendly debate if Genter wins and no one is going to think that if Jacinda wins. All the wider electorate will remember is they were competing against each other when the electorate want to see a Government in waiting.
So how does Jacinda lose?
What happens if Bill English tells National Party voters that they could damage Labour’s election chances if Jacinda lost and they vote for Julie Anne Genter instead?
What if he was more subtle and says, ‘National could work with the Greens, you should vote for Julie Anne Genter”.
Suddenly those 14 359 National Party votes all have somewhere to go.
The blue green Auckland Transport Blog and blue green lite entertainment blog TheSpin will of course come out and endorse Genter, the standard will suddenly wake up and endorse Jacinda (not that any one will care) and momentum dangerously flips to the Greens.
How Labour haven’t seen this coming is distressing.
But it could get worse.
What if Gareth Morgan throws his hat into the ring at the last possible moment on February the first and stands as a candidate?
There are so many ways this can go wrong. So. Many. Ways.
Remember, this was supposed to be a simple box ticking exercise with Jacinda winning and momentum building for the general election. Now there’s the possibility National play games or Gareth Morgan steps in, if that occurs, this blunder will have turned what should have been a basic building of support into a possible threat to a Labour-Green Government forming.
But I could be wrong. I was horrifically wrong in 2014. I believed the Greens and Labour and MANA/Internet could form a majority. I believed NZers would turn away in revulsion at the dirty politics revelations and mass surveillance lies.
I was wrong.
NZers rushed out to vote to ensure their property speculation that Key had nurtured wouldn’t be hurt while those so disillusioned by poverty turned the 2014 election into the second lowest voter turn out since women fought and won the right to vote a hundred years earlier.
I’ve spent a lot more time since 2014 listening to the anger of those who don’t vote progressively or don’t vote at all. They’re ilk are the ones who supported Brexit and Trump which is why those wins didn’t surprise me at all last year.
Folks, if you think the Left dislike each other, you should see how the Right view us.
The only way you beat the Right is by working together, which is why I think Mt Albert has all the ingredients of a spectacular cluster fuck. If the Greens and Labour have wandered into this minefield thinking that because National weren’t standing that meant they could have a playful game of policy catch and kiss, they are horrifically mistaken.
Watch where Bill English mischievously places his support for those 14 359 party votes to go to.
I say all this as someone who desperately wants to see Labour as the backbone of any new Government and Andrew Little as the Prime Minister with a very Green Cabinet, but there are some terrible political blunders being made and the ramifications could be a Fourth National Government.