The Greens hold the key to this election. If the Greens don’t get 5% and leave Parliament its unlikely Labour will be in government. If the Greens get 5% (or 6%, 7%, 8%, 9% or 10%) the prospects for a Labour/Green government are good.
There are enough Green-friendly voters out there for the Greens, like last time, to make double figures. It is just that this time the “Jacinda-effect” has swept many of them into Labour’s court. If these Green-friendly folk voted on policy alone I’m sure the Greens would get over 10%.
You just need to look at the Greens’ fully-costed policy manifesto, released on Monday, to see that the Greens have bolder policies than Labour.
Under Green policy, less well-off people will benefit from the 20% increase in benefits and student allowances, and a drop in the bottom tax rate to 9%. By contrast, higher earners will pay more of their share with a 40% tax rate on a $150,000+ incomes, not to mention a capital gains tax. Free bus services for under 18s and much stronger protections for renters will also help low-income people.
Everyone knows that the Greens have the best environmental policies. Climate change is to be addressed with a simple but effective carbon tax (rather than the present full-of-holes Emissions Trading Scheme). Also helping is the Green plan to plant 1.2 billion new trees. Fossil fuel energy is definitely on the way out under Green policies, helped by a ban on new off-shore oil prospecting – which Labour unfortunately won’t support.
The Greens have also been more bold than Labour in international policy, unequivocally opposing both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the recent sending of more Kiwi military personnel to Afghanistan.
Most of the former Green voters who have switched to Labour still have sympathy for Green policies. I hope some of them realise the stakes and switch back by Saturday. It’s good to be optimistic, as I am, that the Greens will get well over the 5% threshold. But optimism alone is not sufficient to ensure the Greens parliamentary presence, and flowing from that, a Labour/Green government. Make sure you vote Green.