Quin’s demolition of Golriz highlights far deeper crisis within Greens


Jesus wept, you never want to be on the end of a Phil Quin mauling do you?

He burnt Labour over its ‘Chinese sounding names’ attempt at quantifying the influence of China in our domestic housing crisis and he has dealt a brutal demolition of Golriz Ghahraman.

It’s really pretty devastating and attempts by Green supporters to justify all of this are disingenuous at best and down right ludicrous at worst.

The Greens sold her backstory as a crusading international human rights lawyer, now do I personally understand the intellectual nuance of her defending war criminals for the functioning of human rights, of course I do, but that’s not the issue here.

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This was her Green profile (that has since been changed)

“Golriz has lived and worked in Africa, The Hague and Cambodia putting on trial world leaders for abusing their power, and restoring communities after war and human rights atrocities, particularly empowering women engaged in peace and justice initiatives.”

Most people would assume by ‘putting on trial world leaders for abusing their power, and restoring communities after war and human rights atrocities, particularly empowering women engaged in peace and justice initiatives,‘ that she was on the side of those being oppressed, not defending the oppressors.

And THAT’S the issue. The perception between what people thought she was doing compared to what she was actually doing.

Attempts to claim she was upfront about the discrepancy are very hollow. She was quizzed by media after that discrepancy but not before and in many of the puff pieces put out (including one in the Guardian) the impression she was defending the oppressed rather than the oppressors was allowed to stand unchallenged.

Some are holding up a Vice interview or a NZ Herald interview (that didn’t actually end up printing the part where she discussed this) as evidence that she wasn’t hiding anything. Sure, when she was directly asked by Vice and NZ Herald (although it wasn’t published) about her time defending war criminals she was completely forward with discussing her thoughts and reasons, but that was still after the Greens had sold her as this…

“Golriz has lived and worked in Africa, The Hague and Cambodia putting on trial world leaders for abusing their power, and restoring communities after war and human rights atrocities, particularly empowering women engaged in peace and justice initiatives.”

Again – there is NOTHING wrong with defending war criminals, as I pointed out yesterday, here is what she should have said…

“I am so passionate about human rights and the rights of refugees, that as a human rights lawyer, I have actually defended war criminals in Rwanda. I defended those war criminals, because human rights are not transferable, no matter who is being accused. I champion human rights because they must be available to everyone and because I have seen first hand what intolerance, ostracisation and hate can create. We cannot stop the next Rwanda if we don’t know what created the first Rwanda and the erosion of civil rights was at the centre of that”. 

…but the impression she was defending the oppressed and not the oppressors has become another example of a Green Party that seems to be in a deep political management crisis.

This follows the utter madness of the Greens wanting to try and blackmail Labour and NZ First into gaining Parihaka Day in return for Waka jumping legislation votes despite that legislation actually empowering the Greens long term viability inside the Government.

That followed the disastrous election campaign where an inability to predict where Metiria’s courageous welfare disclosure was going to play out saw them needlessly lose one of their greatest political leaders.

That followed the Greens brainlessly voting for the last National Party budget.

Then there was the weird attempt to implement a wonk on budgeting election promises as their state of the nation 3 years ago.

Then there was their support for Red Peak that only ended up proving how out of touch the Twitter elite are.

Then there was their even weirder ‘we aren’t radical’ state of the nation last year.

The less said about their ‘North & South’ magazine cover the better.

There have been so many mis-steps over the last 3 years that they are actually staggering backwards.

The Greens are in trouble. They polled 15% before the election and crashed to 6.3%. In 2014 they gained 10.7% and in 2011 they had 11.06% meaning 2017 is the third election in a row where the Greens have actually gone backwards.

Their inability to strategically manage their political aspirations is one of the great tragedies of NZ politics and until the Greens look outside the tiny talent pool within Wellington, they seem doomed to keep being advised by people who are great at organising a hipster house warming in Wellington Central but are utterly incapable of political strategy.

James Shaw is a hero for holding this bloody mess together and I think when Marama Davidson wins the co-leader position they can start rebuilding, but there needs one hell of an overhaul in the back room because ending up yelling about why defending war criminals is exactly the same as ‘putting on trial world leaders for abusing their power, and restoring communities after war and human rights atrocities, particularly empowering women engaged in peace and justice initiatives,‘ shows how desperate shit has become.


    • Yes, really – she was directly asked about her role in the Vice interview and NZ Herald also directly asked her – so when she was directly asked she responded – BUT that doesn’t explain the initial presentation of her by the Greens

      “Golriz has lived and worked in Africa, The Hague and Cambodia putting on trial world leaders for abusing their power, and restoring communities after war and human rights atrocities, particularly empowering women engaged in peace and justice initiatives.”

  1. Yeah nailed it. What she did as a lawyer building her career is the same as any other lawyer would do if they got the chance and I have no problem with it. The politics of how it has been spun is another matter leaving me with 2 questions. 1. Did those doing the initial list ranking know all the facts or just the condensed version? 2. Did the Green party members voting to rank the list also know the full facts or not? Because what was being spun to the voters in the election sure wasn’t the full facts. Full disclosure from the get go would have avoided this problem. Which as you say goes to the heart of the Greens leadership competency and as you show their behaviour has been appalling bad when it comes to the real world of managing political perceptions by their actions. Personally I think Shaw needs to go as Co-leader as all this has happened on his watch (including the party office leadership). I think the Greens need to vote in 2 new co-leaders with Gareth Hughes being the obvious choice.

    • She did a three-month bloody internship for both prosecution and defence, for God sake, fresh out of law school. What’s the issue? If she’s guilty of anything, it’s overstating the role she played. Makes her sound like the lead lawyer.

      • The issue is the Greens and supporters have to turn the boat around and quit doubling down on the same social justice warrior mentalities that’s been dropping poll numbers out the ass.

      • I agree. Practising as an intern on the unwinnable defence team of an alleged war criminal isn’t actually “defending” anyone. It’s training. And she didn’t choose it any more than the junior writer “chooses” to make the coffees instead of get straight into the lead editorial.

  2. I’ve heard some crap in my time but this phil person takes the cake…..he’s no more a supporter of the left then Gerry Brownlee is….and if the supposed “left” don’t cut this self destructive shit out….the Tories will b back in charge in 3 years……

    The fixation of some to argue the point over something a large majority of the public have no understanding of baffles me…..where’s the focus on showing…and holding to account the Tories for there 9 years of running services into the gutter?! Like my elderly parent who is kept in constant pain while she waits and waits and waits for a new hip…because she’s not suffered enough…….if Phil is an example of a left leaning supporter…..I would hate to see a right winger!

    • Kerry, I see this as a deliberate right wing attack designed to destabilize the coalition by National and it’s MSM lackey’s, nothing more, nothing less.

      Ironically this attack, when we are still waiting the outcome of the Chinese spy who became a National minister, now there’ a real story.

      • Except…..and this is inconvenient for you: Quin is left not right and the right have been pretty quiet on this, because the left are screwing the pooch on the matter quite nicely on her own.

        I don’t think anyone is suggesting that these people didn’t deserve a defence. The issue is that she was painted in an entirely different light than most people will now see her given the full facts.

        It looks REALLY bad and rather than continuing to persist with their current position, the Greens should jettison this woman from their ranks as soon as is possible in order to mitigate the damage this is doing to them.

        I would argue pretty strongly quite frankly that is she is still an MP come next election that the Greens will NOT be re-elected to parliament.

          • Three things:
            1. It’s about insinuations
            2. Throw enough mud and some will stick
            3. Tarnish the reputation of a potential star early
            4. Create a negative association to discredit any future work of hers.

            You only have to look back to the great work Nandor Tanczos did on restorative justice among other things but he was always framed as the stoner.

          • Of course they are suggesting that.

            The phrase ‘defending war criminals’ is the suggestion. No one is any kind of criminal until they’ve at least been through a trial, except in tyrannies.

          • Perhaps I over did it with the hyperbole, should have perhaps said most aren’t.

            However, the point is that this crisis is very much of the Greens own making.
            If they had been clear and up front about this, it would be largely a non-issue.

            Instead, they have painted this woman as some super human defender of human rights (hyperbole again) when she is in fact a flawed human being – just like the rest of us.

            The Greens will NOT be able to go to the next election with this woman as she is now political poison just as Turei became.

            They are far far better accepting this and jettisoning her NOW in order to mitigate the damage and get this out of the voting public’s consciousness ASAP.

            • +100 JAYS…in fact I think the Greens need a whole new stable of MPs

              …they need to get back to their roots of humble environmental New Zealand activists

              …until this happens uneasy public perception is of a hijacking by a PR company of careerist, half honest, MP carpetbaggers

              …just as well Labour and NZF also have good environmental policies and advocates

      • Indeed, Bert. From ACT’s David Seymour this morning on Radio NZ: he was attacking Eugenie Sage for halting farm sales to overseas interests and referred to her as “the upholder of virtue and due process in politics”.

        ref: http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018623600

        The common narrative is that somehow the Greens are being “hypocritical”. The Right are manufacturing thgis narrative of the Greens having “double standards”. Which is perhaps their greatest weakness as they have long stood on principle.

        Repeat the notion that the Greens are guilty of hypocrisy often enough – especially by their flunkies Hosking, Farrar, Slater, et al, and it begins to take hold.

        Goebbels knew precisely how using lies and smears works: http://www.azquotes.com/author/5626-Joseph_Goebbels

        “Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious.”

        ref: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/577834

        And frighteningly, he was remarkably astute.

  3. Man, you are a sucker for falling for right wing MSM shock jockey framing of issues.

    You play right into their hands.

    • I’d go with that Richard…sorry Bomber but trotting out that old ra ra seems to me to be nothing more than click bait. This will not hurt The Greens at all, in fact expect a bump in the next poll….as to the Parihaka thing…that worked a treat many more folks are now aware of the idea than before…as to the Greens “their inability to strategically manage their political aspirations” really? They have real power for the first time, their actions (Metiria’s in particular) made the coalition win possible and there is a Weed referendum to get done before the next election which will solidify their support among the young…I’d say they are doing rather well!

      • That old ra ra?! Consider this mr tank. Donald trump makes eye contact with Putin and the left are whipped into a frenzy, COLLUSION!!!! I tell you comrade. IMPEACH!!! BIGOT!!! HOMOPHOBE!!!!

        A green mp takes a ‘selfie’ with a dude who is on record for calling on the mass execution of women and children, and that’s the ra ra.

        • Rubbish.

          Are you willing to assert that our notion of justice should not be predicated on fair representation for all, regardless of what they might be accused of?

          Even the Nazi’s at Nuremburg had legal representation.

          As for the photo – it’s only a bad choice because he was found guilty. Or are you seriously telling us that being in a photo is sufficient grounds to crucify someone? Well, that’s a new level in criminality, isn’t it? It might be a poor choice to have made – but the level of oppobrium heaped on it is beyond ridiculous – we’ve stumbled into Monty Python’s Flying Circus territory.

          This is a manufactured “scandal” with faux outrage over sweet fuck all. If this is what concerns those on the Right, then that explains why we have families homeless and people dying whilst waiting for mental health care/drug addiction care.

          Next Coalition MP to be targetted will be someone parking in a Loading Zone Only. Or wearing grey shoes with blue suit. Or using a desert spoon for their soup. Oh the inhumanity!!!

          This is the level of bullshit pettiness that the Right have descended to, to undermine the Coalition. From here on in, it will get worse. Much worse.

          If being in a photo with a client is grounds for her resignation then no one is safe. This is why good men and women shy away from politics; we simply wouldn’t get this kind of shit in any other field of human endeavour.

            • The problem, “Off White”, is that the two issues are conflated within general statements. As with this comment by National Party hack, Mike Hosking;

              Is it possible that if they had said “our candidate Golriz is particularly proud of her time with Radovan Karadzic” a few people might have raised a few eyebrows along with a few questions? Is it deception? I’m not sure. But it’s certainly not straight up and down and honest. It certainly isn’t full disclosure.


              Standing behind the long-held belief that everyone deserves a trial and a defence, which is indisputably true.

              Problem though, is twofold. One, you don’t have to be the person doing the defending and two, if you do, why hide it?

              ref: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11949307

              And this from you, Off White, from your
              November 29, 2017 at 10:22 pm comment;

              Jesus, the denial going on here. Some of you half get it. All this, she’s only doing her job nonsense. She’s a lawyer, that’s what they do crap.

              Your own words.

              Bury the subtle smearing of her reputation by referencing defending war criminals with “hiding it”, and it becomes a murky mix of character assassination of several fronts.

          • Equating defending a war criminal with parking in a loading zone? Really? Getting a bit desperate don’t you think?

              • I think you need to make up your mind whether defending war criminals is a moral requirement or not. Your whole argument is confused and self contradictory.

                • Some war criminals that didn’t have proper representation. Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Osama Bin Laden. You don’t have the intellectual integrity or basic understanding that turning these guys and the counties they were living in into parking lots is a really bad idea.

    • Nailed it Richard. This is a non-story being beaten up to undermine the left as another Dirty Politics ploy.

      Phil Quin seems to have history where Labour is concerned and tries to damage them (this time through a coalition partner) whenever he can.

      He has little if any credibility but the MSM loves to give him oxygen as if his previous involvement with Labour gives his comments some relevance because it suits their deeper purpose.

  4. where are the good old humble environmentalist NZers?… bicycling activists?… tree huggers?, river canoeists? trampers? mountaineers? hunters and fishers?…who built up the Green Party


  5. I think the flaw in this column is arguing that the problems strategy within the party are occurring below James Shaw. I don’t mind Shaw as a person but most, if not all, of these misteps have occurred since he become male co-leader and he has had a huge influence over the strategy team and who is on it.

    Other than that, Golriz Ghahraman is one of the few uncompromising voices in Parliament right now. This means she will continue to attract voter support to herself and the Green Party. Also, it means she is one of the few MPs who is challenging the existing paradigm that is going to see us continue on the path to hell despite good intentions

    National’s intention will not be to bring Ghahraman down but to try and make it impossible for Labour to support her, just as they did with Meteria – hence trying to put a wedge in the coalition government.

    • Yes indeedy, the wedges were always going to come thick and fast.

      Next step, frame someone in NZF (or even Lab if they can find them) into a position that is apparently antithetical to the Greens.

      • Being “framed” from outside is not new to NZF or Labour ( just look at what has happened to Winston over the years and David Cunliffe…more recently Winston and his Super)

        …so the Greens should not be exceptionalist…and cry like innocent babies …they deserve scrutiny…in fact the Greens have aggressively been trying to frame and show up NZF and Labour for some time…

        eg Winston as a child abuser ( for advocating smacking referendum) and Winston/NZF as racist( for immigration restrictions and referendum on Maori seats) and Labour for “crude racial profiling”( over huge foreign buy ups of housing in Auckland) …and three days before a crucial Election Russel Norman shat on Winston Peters re Owen Glenn loans affair (Winston was exonerated eventually but it cost Helen Clark Labour and NZF the Election …and gave us John Key Nactional for 9 years…thanks for nothing Greens!)

        …really the Greens in the last few years have been too smart for their own boots…they can hardly complain about framing

        and ….Metiria was the author of her own misfortune…her family publicly didn’t support her claims of hardship…and even Green beneficiaries were embarrassed by Metiria and say she did not support the cause of beneficiaries…

        • Your’e right RB,

          This is another “dirty politics saga” like national uses every time they see their popularity polls go into freee fall.

          As it is now happening so it is just politics dirty national style as usual but the voter is becomming tired of this and it will impact on national so they will attack someone else after this.

  6. So the only serious criticism here is that the green party can’t manage the inevitable dirty politics that is directed their way?

    The biggest criticism should be reserved for Phil Quinn for being an utter dick – Phil, normal balanced human beings don’t behave like you do but well done on getting your name in the media again.

    The next biggest criticisms should then be reserved for all the partisan right wingers who amplified Phil Quinn’s comments. You’re all behaving like dysfunctional human beings too and contributing nothing to the well being of the country.

    And no I’m not naive enough to be surprised by this – but never let it be forgotten how appalling this sort of behaviour actually is.

  7. I think the bigger problem of the Greens is that they seem plagued by triviality and ‘have become the news’ not the Green issues. This seems actively supported during the election when they emailed more about voting for the MP themselves than the Green policies.

    Too me it’s a Green disastrous decline from activists to careerist types with little real life experience but an “amazing” CV like working for the UN or coming third for Auckland Mayor (yippee) and MSM coverage.

    I’d like to see some MP’s not talk about their parents leaving their country as refugees but more about what Golriz DID in their new country NZ. Did she go to TPPA protests, has she done anything environmental or are they just a cog in the UN “justice” machine defending a war criminal (massaged a bit for later) for some experience and to add to your CV. Defending the amazon rainforest (or our own forests) would be a better fit!

    When Chloe talks about how she once went to a decile 3 school (shock!!) or Golriz about her parents leaving Iran. Again what have they done with those experiences in terms of helping others in NZ because being an MP is representing the people of NZ (or should be) not expanding your own profile.

    Somehow within neoliberalism, politics has gone global and it’s just a step in the ladder to the global stage for careerist MP’s (labour) or massive wealth (National) or crony jobs and board positions (Labour and National).

    One thing I did find moving was when Golriz talked about helping defend the 14 yo kid tried for murder. That it more meaningful because it’s something local and it’s a pressing problem that she can help in NZ as an MP by changing the law.

    Greens are doing what Labour did for the previous 9 years when they flail around without any authenticity of meaning while spouting identity politics and schizophrenic policy (aka supporting developers removing democracy and trees for more housing while not addressing the demand side). Please make it real Greens.

    That starts by forgetting about massaging the CV and actually doing community good mainly in NZ. FFS stop talking about yourselves and get onto the issues.

    I for one don’t like, Celebrity MP, get me out of here. And Greens need to change. The new MP’s don’t know any better they are totally brainwashed by middle class neoliberalism (thinking sending Chloe’s avocado recipes is a good idea during the election) – so it’s up to the older more experienced Greens to set them straight. After the celeb green crowd can I hear what the other young Greens are up too like Gareth Hughes?

    Please Greens be more careful to have older, wiser, more relatable NZ active activists on the list next time with NZ examples because that’s what the Greens are now missing.

    Greens pretty much have the best policy hands down, but they need to get practical. They are held to a higher standard by their voters. Sue Bradford surprised when she became an MP by making a staggering amount of difference. Let’s see more hard work and results from the Greens not speeches and hype.

  8. Hat tip for your courage Martyn. She did well representing the dregs of humanity, although I don’t think I could push the genocide denial line which the whole defense was built on.

    Her crime (and the greens) was the misrepresentation of her as a prosecutor, all done to buff her CV and promote the party – nasty deceptive stuff, as much the greens fault as hers they really are political retards.

  9. Seems to me Golriz has been quite frank and fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved in such significant work so early in her career.
    The experience can only be positive for the political role she has chosen.
    The pointless error looks like it was made by the Green’s leadership in spinning her evolvement as if it was not only from the prosecution’s side but as if it had an investigative component as well.
    Are you criticising her personally Martyn? Or criticising the Greens admin?

    • What about it?

      It’s abit easier to see now thanks to a bit a retrospective hindsight. And where did it start. Well the leaked email didn’t help. And now the amended bio of Golriz didn’t help. Easy in hindsight to see but difficult to take back.

      • Even harder with that photo out there. I am really pleased that Golriz is in the government but it is a wobbly start and there are many people ready to pounce on any mis-steps. They are on a steep learning curve. I hope they learn quickly.

        • If Golriz and Chloe hasn’t already they should probably take up the speakers offer given on the first day of parliament for committee mentoring they should probably stop what they’re doing right now and shoot him an email.

  10. Jesus wept, you never want to be on the end of a Phil Quin mauling do you?

    He burnt Labour over its ‘Chinese sounding names’ attempt at quantifying the influence of China in our domestic housing crisis and he has dealt a brutal demolition of Golriz Ghahraman.

    Meh. Guess who’s now the Minister of housing. That’s a fail by Quin.

    He’ll fail here too and is fast typecasting himself as misogynistic and vindictive.

  11. I think this has all gone far too far over the top, it is ridiculous. Even if Golriz may be pursuing a high level legal career, or has so, she was simply doing her bloody job.

    Lawyers work not by political persuasion, or by bias, they work for pay and commission, being hired, and those working for the UN and NGOs, they probably deserve more respect than any other lawyer, on the market, trying to max out what they can earn in fees.

    What stuns me, is the stupid behaviour of some, and the Greens, they should by now have dug into Chris Finlayson’s past, and any Nat MP’s past, who has been, or is a lawyer. Who did they represent, and why, and for how much, they should bloody well ask.

    National is a party where many mercenaries and opportunists end up, so there must be a lot of stories to be found out and tell about.

    Dig up their past, they do it with the Greens all the time, so the Greens should send their researchers after the Nat MPs and ministers, also that Paula Dear Benefit Bandit, the high ranked hypocrite, who steals off the tax payer a too high salary for what she is actually worth.

    Get onto it, do not let them destroy you, attack them, hit back, full blows, thank you, they ask for it, give it back to them, expose them all.

  12. +100…brilliant Post Martyn Bradbury …really the proof is in the pudding and the Greens almost didn’t make it back into Parliament ( they should take off their rosie tinted glasses and stop fooling themselves)

    ….thank goodness New Zealand First has very good environmental policies …as well as their other policies…this is where a goodly number of old Greens have now gone I suspect …or back to Labour, which also has good environmental policies

  13. Mr Farrar has only upped it all serving his Nat friends:

    This is the very problem of progressives, you cannot have it both ways, make careers in professions, and thus make endless compromises, and then go about and claim the holier than thou values level of policies.

    FFS, we need Corbyinistas, damned principled people in politics, why does Mike Treen not step up, I ask, just one of a few.

    Or are the people and voters so corrupted in their minds, they no longer care about principles and the truth?

  14. Christ almighty, I never ever want to be anywhere near politics. The way they forensically scrutinise your past makes my stomach turn. How far back does this scruitiny go? The first time I got rotten drunk on Cold Duck and squeezed a girl’s tits (and promptly passed out)? When I got nicked drink-driving?

    Shit, they don’t pay enough to make me want to go through that crap.

    The way I see it is she embellished her CV. Like a million other people do when applying for jobs.

    • There is a style, a defence against the dark arts if you like. Bernie Sanders would say “hey, I’m here to take question about what effects Americans. Or Lee Kuan Yee (Singapore) would say I’m not here to let my hair down, I’m here to answer public questions. These were guys that had been arrested, organised coups. You name it, they probably did it. They just didn’t say everything was awesome and you don’t need to look past my bio.

  15. Jesus, the denial going on here. Some of you half get it. All this, she’s only doing her job nonsense. She’s a lawyer, that’s what they do crap. A right wing hit job tinfoil hattedness. The naivety of the greens public relations blah blah. A poor choice of words on her bio pathetic.

    Virtually no mention of the photo with the genocidal singer.
    She’s a bloody holier than everybody on planet earth green mp for goodness sake.
    The response if this was a national mp would be hysterical, that I am positive about.

    This article only scratches the surface.
    Left wing and right wing are two sides of the same coin, it’s foolish to think one is better than the other.

  16. The whole thing is absurd.

    National arguing that criminals don’t deserve a defense i.e., access to the justice system.

    The ECCC (where Golriz was on the prosecution) is a Open Society Foundation/US?EU circus, much moreso than the trials during which she acted as a defense lawyer. And I’m sure Golriz is well aware of that. Of course such deep facts are way beyond the typical NZ punter and National is exploiting that perceived ignorance as always.

  17. You really don’t like the Greens, do you Martin? Sanctioning this filthy hit job on them is a new low. I am proud that we have Golriz as an MP. It is the defence that make a great justice system, not the prosecution. The prosecution gives us the likes of Simon Bridges.

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