The Greens Used To Be So Likeable – What’s Gone Wrong?

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THERE WAS A TIME when it was really quite hard to dislike the Greens. Back in the days of Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons; of Nandor Tanczos and Sue Bradford; of Sue Kedgley and, yes, even the rather dour Keith Locke. There was also that bloke who called himself the “Musterer” (instead of the “Whip”) whose name I have completely forgotten. [Ian Ewen-Street – thankyou Google!] When they first made their way up the steps of Parliament, back in 1999, I called them “The Magnificent Seven” – so perfectly did they cover all the bases of ecological politics.

If you counted yourself among the Left of New Zealand politics, and you didn’t vote for the Greens, you needed to be able to supply yourself with a very good reason why not. The Party made not voting for them a lot harder by being so damn nice. They practiced politics in the way most people agreed it should be practiced: by sticking to ideas and to the policies those ideas gave birth to; by refusing to get down in the gutter with those politicians who seemed to regard politics as an excuse for being personally vicious and cruel.

On Wednesday afternoons, during the General Debate, you waited eagerly for the Greens’ turn to speak. It always came as such a welcome relief from the personal attacks, the snide remarks, and the puerile arguments which their fellow MPs resorted to. Invariably, the Greens’ contribution would be about something real and important. There was always an argument for listeners to follow – an argument based on, and backed up by, facts. You know, evidence. It was like the sun’s rays breaking through clouds: proof that somewhere out there, beyond all the bullshit and braggadocio, there remained a world of light.

It is still possible to catch an echo of the Magnificent Seven in the 2017 intake of Green MPs. Chloe Swarbrick, in particular, would not have been out of place in that special company. Sadly, however, Swarbrick is the exception. For the most part, her Green party colleagues have lost that tremendous likeability that made it so hard for the Left to vote for anyone else.

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Partly, that’s because the Left itself has changed. Always among the Greens there was a powerful libertarian current. By and large the Greens did not like the idea of the State, or big corporations, or the petty tyrants who run so many small businesses, interfering in the harmless and victimless activities of their fellow citizens.

No one appealed to the libertarian fraction of the electorate like Nandor Tanczos. With this dreadlocks, his skateboard and his green hemp suit, he became a poster-boy: not only for the legalise marijuana movement, but for that fiercely contrarian bunch of New Zealanders who, without him, has veered over the edge into anti-vax and anti-1080 fanaticism.

But, it’s not just the unfortunate way in which the vacuum created by Tanczos’ departure from political life has been filled that’s the worry. Libertarianism, itself, has largely disappeared from the ranks of the twenty-first century Left. Even worse, in the ideological space formerly occupied by libertarian leftism, New Zealand now finds its exact opposite: Left Authoritarianism.

It does not require a very long acquaintance with the Green variety of Left Authoritarianism to realise that, in 2019, the number of activities defined as harmless and victimless has become vanishingly small.

To be fair, there has always been an element of authoritarianism present in the ranks of the Greens. On a number of issues – the Treaty of Waitangi in particular – those responsible for vetting potential candidates have always exercised zero tolerance for anything other than the full-recognition, tino rangatiratanga, line. Until relatively recently, however, this “politically correct” element of the Green Party apparatus was encouraged to keep itself out of sight. Today, however, among party activists and MPs alike, it operates loudly and uncompromisingly in plain sight.

The political and electoral consequences for the Greens are likely to mirror those which overwhelmed the Left generally in the early 1980s. The 1981 Springbok Tour had radicalised a great many New Zealanders who, in its aftermath, were eager to keep pushing for social change. For many Pakeha leftists, however, the concurrent upsurge in Maori nationalism proved too confronting. The aggressive pursuit of “Maori Sovereignty”, in particular, drove many Pakeha out of the so-called “New Social Movements”, where the sovereigntists were most active.

Organisations which considered themselves progressive, such as the aid organisation Corso, may have decked themselves out in the trappings of bi-culturalism, but only at the cost of making insincerity an unwelcome requirement of membership. The upshot was an emptying-out of many of the institutions of the “White Left” – a not inconsiderable number of whom took refuge in the much friendlier ranks of the Labour Party, which, in the early 1980s, boasted a mass membership in excess of 100,000.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the Greens, founded in 1989, attracted a large number of members for whom the precepts of identity politics formed the core of their political ideology. The Greens’ consensus-based decision-making processes allowed these ideologues to operate for many years within the party without the wider electorate paying them much attention. While the Greens were led by the likes of Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons, the influence of the “id-pols” could be managed. Following Donald’s death and Fitzsimons’ departure, however, the Greens parliamentary line-up has become at once less likeable and less representative than the seven-strong caucus which marched up Parliament’s steps in 1999.

The great problem now facing the Greens is that Labour finds itself in possession of the most likeable political face New Zealanders have encountered for many decades. When set against “Jacinda”, the Greens’ James Shaw comes across as a low-energy compromiser. Meanwhile, his co-leader, Marama Davidson, strobes identity politics in a fashion calculated to make a sizeable majority of the electorate feel decidedly queasy.

Neither Shaw, nor Davidson, is likely to hold in place many voters not already completely sold on the Greens’ brand of identity politics. The party is fast taking on the character of a political cult: filled with zealots determined to enforce their policies on what we should be permitted to drive; what we should be encouraged to eat and drink, what it is acceptable for us to think; and what we should be allowed to say.

It’s a long way from Rod’s beaming optimism, Jeanette’s grandmotherly wisdom, Sue B’s and Keith’s commitment to social justice and peace, Sue K’s safe food, and Nandor’s illegally resinous dreadlocks.

I liked them.

 

35 COMMENTS

  1. The libertarian aspect of the Greens is no illusion and is still strong especially locally in the US and many countries where the Greens are the libertarians. Both as political movements were founded by Petra Kelly and Michael Gilson De Lemos in 1969 who based their 10 points on the US Bill of Rights to create ‘Unparties’. Gilson tends to focus these days on the Libertarians and fans.

    In the US the left has more identifying as libertarian leaning than the right. There is a vicious fight between them and the totalitarians in the US with the totalitarians slowly losing.

  2. Jeanette Fitzsimons is a big loss – even my right-wing whanau liked her – and Rod Donald a tragedy; Sue Bradford is actually a rather nice super-smart person in a way that few politicians are now- the contrast with Tolley, Bennett and co is too awful for words.

    The Greens who I voted for and donated to are a mirage. Like many cliques they seemed to have lost touch with the world outside their own borders – most non-Greens could have told them that Turei ousting herself for benefit fraud was an error of judgment to which mainstream NZ would most likely react harshly.

    The Green leadership’s decision to blame Pakeha NZ for the ChCh mosque massacres, and to portray white Kiwis as racist, was racist. The Auckland vigil was inappropriately hijacked for their own agendas, which I daresay is the sort of thing that opportunistic politicians do, but they were telling white people what they thought of us – not much – and sowing unease amongst an already traumatised Muslim community, which was a rotten thing to be doing at that time.

    They just couldn’t help themselves. Why they decided to put race relations into reverse gear isn’t clear, but once again, had they interacted more with outsiders, they may have reconsidered the wisdom and kindness of doing it.

    The Greens may not think much of me, but the feeling’s now mutual. Photos of the Green group around Parliament have usually featured one woman posing with one hand on hip, pin-up style; now two of them are doing it, and it wouldn’t hurt if they could just try and look a bit more professional. Fitzsimons and Bradford posing with elbow-jutting hands on hips ? No way.

    • Snow White: “Turei ousting herself for benefit fraud was an error of judgment to which mainstream NZ would most likely react harshly.”

      It wasn’t that so much as the shenanigans over the electoral roll that made me realise that she had to go. Though later on, when it emerged that her benefit fraud was more systematic than she’d initially admitted to, I thought her decision to step down was the only one she could have made.

      “The Green leadership’s decision to blame Pakeha NZ for the ChCh mosque massacres, and to portray white Kiwis as racist, was racist.”

      It was disingenuous and deeply offensive.

      “The Auckland vigil was inappropriately hijacked for their own agendas, which I daresay is the sort of thing that opportunistic politicians do, but they were telling white people what they thought of us – not much – and sowing unease amongst an already traumatised Muslim community, which was a rotten thing to be doing at that time.”

      Yup. That entire caper lost them the next election, I suspect. They’ll be working hard to win back electoral support. With any luck, they won’t.

      “Photos of the Green group around Parliament have usually featured one woman posing with one hand on hip, pin-up style; now two of them are doing it, and it wouldn’t hurt if they could just try and look a bit more professional.”

      I’ve noticed this too, and it really annoys me. They’re supposed to be pollies, not beauty contestants.

      While I’ve come to the defence of Golriz Gharahman over the Rwanda thing, I was seriously underwhelmed by her involvement in this:

      https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/10/national-front-anti-fascist-protesters-clash-outside-parliament.html

      She appears not to understand that her job as an MP is to represent everyone, even those with whose political views she disagrees. And – provided that they obey the law – people are entitled to march on parliament, no matter how pernicious their opinions.

      As for Marama Davidson, shedding votes every time she opens her mouth, especially at Ihumatao.

      I was talking to an older voter recently; said voter is infuriated by Julie Anne Genter. Me too: I’ve had it up to here with the finger-waggy stuff about transport.

      I’m an old lefty; these woke left, social justice warriors don’t represent me. I’ll never vote for them again.

      • D’Esterre – thanks for the Sat morning laugh – you are echoing me – “I’ll never vote for them again.” Me too. I have no party to vote for now, but the Greens have let down every single person who cares for the environment and for the earth – and I am berating myself that I actually donated to them, and got others to vote for them. I was even ending my emails, “Vote Green”, and am embarrassed about that now.

        The Muslim vigil did it for me – Davidson, Gharahman, and two other young women telling a voluntary gathering of people who were in varying degrees of shock, and hurt, and of bewilderment, that white NZ’ers are skunks.

        If they expected their listeners to see them as pathetic victims in the same blood-drenched baskets as those tragic folk in ChCh, then I suggest that their grip on reality is out of kilter, and their self-pity misplaced.

        I could have wept, knowing good people of every hue , who have done more for the community than probably any contemporary parliamentary politician, quietly and tirelessly, simply because some things are the right thing to do – and none of them deserve to be branded ‘haters’ by girls whose development at every level looks like it was arrested at training-bra stage.

        I look at them and wonder where the hell our educational system has gone wrong if this peanuts are meant to be politicians – Davidson seems abysmally and seriously history-challenged, and Golriz putting in the hard yards to be Christmas tree fairy.

        My email to Shaw re Greens supporting the Waka Jumping Bill in return for Labour supporting a Parihaka Day was unanswered. I thought these issues should be decided on their own merits.

        Gareth Hughes is good, and I am sorry if he goes down with the others, but I think Davidson too seriously s…..d for the corridors of power – I think she was over-overwhelmingly elected c-leader – but don’t know how or why.

        • Snow White: “I have no party to vote for now…”

          Neither do I; I’d already dismissed voting Labour again. I have no idea what I’ll do next election, but I startled my family by announcing that I was considering voting ACT and NZ First! It may come down to that… I can’t vote for the Natz, with Bridges and Collins in that party.

          “The Muslim vigil did it for me – Davidson, Gharahman, and two other young women telling a voluntary gathering of people who were in varying degrees of shock, and hurt, and of bewilderment, that white NZ’ers are skunks.”

          Yeah…about the last straw for me, too. An egregious piece of conflation: shooter was white, therefore all white people to blame. I’d add that these are the same (brown) people who whine about “raaacism!” if they think that whites have conflated all Maori and those Maori who are criminals. Just detestable.

          “….girls whose development at every level looks like it was arrested at training-bra stage.”

          Haha, lovely description! And accurate: gave us here a good laugh.

          “Gareth Hughes is good, and I am sorry if he goes down with the others…”

          I haven’t seen or heard much of him lately. Happen he’s locked himself in the parliamentary dunnies and is sitting on the john with his head is his hands over the antics of his female colleagues? Wouldn’t be surprised.

          At the time of Key’s pointless flag change exercise, I wrote to Hughes, having been infuriated by the Greens’ collaboration with the Natz over it. I got a very chirpy response from him. To which I responded acerbically, indicating that I’d probably withdraw my electoral support over it. Silence in return….

          So: I’ve never not voted and I don’t want to go down that road; I’m too old to start another properly leftwing political party. Perhaps ACT and NZ First will be it?

          • D’Esterre – I thought of Act on the weekend too !

            Keep an eye on TOP, but they may have CGT on the family home; they had v good candidates last time, but Gareth Morgan and Sean Plunket put me off – esp Plunket’s comments on Eleanor Catton after she pulled off every journo’s fantasy and wrote a prize-winning best selling novel.

            I get polled by Curia, and a couple of others, but I have decided to answer no more, since the last pollsters, from Auckland – about 10 days ago – asked me what I thought of Sean Plunkett. I told them, but I thought it an odd question – unless he’s thinking of entering politics the way some media people famous just for being famous – and for pruning roses or people – decide that they’d like to have a go at the rest of us.

            It would be good if the Greens could get Kennedy Graham back on board; Shaw’s ok. I nobbled Hughes in the supermarket a couple of years ago, I think about carbon emissions – he is nice, in a way that nobbled ls Bill English, is not; Gareth Hughes also has a long-standing track record on environmental issues- Eugenie Sage seems good.Hughes mightn’t have have a clue what his minion wrote to you…that’s why I urge people to nobble politicians in the supermarket – English walks around looking to see if anyone’s looking at him; two checkouters who complained to me about English quit – one went to Corrections, and the other as a volunteer all the way to Ghana.

            I read the Environment Court’s proceedings and decision on Ihumatao, and the issue has also been to the Maori Land Court, and to the UNO, and am not happy about Davidson’s casual attitude to, or rejection of valid legal proceedings.She’s a party co-leader and if I were her I’d be considering whether this position is compatible with her opposition to the govt , and her rejection of valid court verdicts which aren’t the verdicts that she wants.

            This whole issue has also been emotionally hijacked; everyone can’t know the facts, and many wouldn’t want to, but party leaders should, and if, after having exhausted the legal processes, they then take a stance which publicly repudiates the Rule of Law, then they may not be being socially responsible.

  3. Great analysis. In particular

    “Neither Shaw, nor Davidson, is likely to hold in place many voters not already completely sold on the Greens’ brand of identity politics. The party is fast taking on the character of a political cult: filled with zealots determined to enforce their policies on what we should be permitted to drive; what we should be encouraged to eat and drink, what it is acceptable for us to think; and what we should be allowed to say.”

    To their defence I think this is partly because current Greens have been manipulated by power interests to go in these unlikeable directions. More clued up people like Russell Norman and Metiria Turei have been bullied and harassed out of parliament, and current Green inexperience and naivety and lack of conviction to environmental and non cult like social causes are clear to all.

    Previous Greens genuinely tried to change the system for the better, not just benefit from the mainstream and cruise along in a tormented state about how hard their job is, while they take the easy pay check.

    Not sure Chloe is the saviour though, in my view there is plenty of talkfest but little action there, and being pro cannabis and pro mental health in some people’s eyes is a discrepancy. The Meth decimating communities and families might be turning the tables on cannabis reform for many people. It might be too late.

    The right wingers and Left Authoritarianism total want nothing more for the idealistic youth and increasingly the middle aged, to find sanctuary not in political activism but turning their lives over to addiction.

    The seemingly tolerant left authoritarian China stance, is a long way away from Russell Norman waving the Tibetan flag in the Greens more popular days as well as not stopping Labour’s TPPA and privatisation of state house land, on top of more tax increases for the few honest people still paying them. Phil Goff is already braying for a congestion charge in spite of wasting the petrol taxes. It seems the only thing some of the Neoliberal left know is more taxes on the middle class, the actual spending of them on something useful and where the tax money goes (aka neoliberal pockets), goes by the way side.

    Key made it is brand to crack down of Meth and help children in poverty, however like many things Key did and said, it seems that the opposite came true.

    In true teflon style Key popped out just at the right moment to keep his brand and legacy and left the shit for others to clean up which is why it is not that easy for the centre government to achieve what they need to.

    One could say from John Keys international popularity he emerged from China and the US just with a T shirt that said, I gave NZ sovereignty away and ran up shitloads of debt, but all I got was a golf game and this lousy T shirt.

    Let us hope that Greens do better, as well as Labour and NZ First. They can’t replicate Key, the emperors new clothes (NZ rockstar economy) are already a busted myth so they might just have to have a plan and execute it very carefully so that they actually start making a positive difference to people’s lives.

    If they think that knocking more people’s incomes down to Chorus levels is a winner, then they are not going to last another term.

  4. It could be an old political cliche, but perhaps the Greens really ARE one of those parties who simply do not fit comfortably into government and are at their best when they are in opposition?
    The essence of The Greens is that they have always been alternative types and been no-one’s puppet or whipping boy and the minute they go into government they are under pressure to dampen the rebelliousness that is part of that essence. When you are in government you inevitably have to make some compromises and that sits more uncomfortably with the Greens than it does with parties like New Zealand First and ACT.
    I agree with you Chris that the essential “niceness” of the Greens was one of their biggest attractions. I remember attending a rally called by the new Greens Party for the 1990 elections. They had only just been formed, probably had next to zilch money, scant organization and yet I was fascinated by the old fashioned good will, good vibes and homeliness of the candidates and their supporters. At the time I was furious with Labour who I felt had betrayed everything I had believed of them, and I was looking for something I could truly believe in. The Greens seemed to be that something.
    That is a long time ago and it has to be recognized that a lot has changed in nearly 30 years. The Greens are a long way away from their original image of home-spun wool jersey wearers, tree huggers and organic farmers. They have largely been taken over by urban PhD intellectuals and these people do not look really all that much different from the establishment to many voters.
    It seems to have been to their detriment.

  5. Kia ora Chris.
    You write that the Greens have “zero tolerance for anything other than the full-recognition, tino rangatiratanga, line.”
    I am mystified by that claim.
    The Green MPs accept the fact of British sovereignty. They swear allegiance to a British Queen. The participate in the colonial system of government to the greatest degree possible.
    So what if anything do they do to advance the rangatiratanga?
    I would seriously like to know the answer to that question.

    • As far as I can see fully recognising “Tino Rangatiratanga” means handing NZ governance over to Maori. I think to require endorsement is a political ploy that cannot possibly be implemented and as such is a dishonesty.
      D J S

      • No the terms have distinctive meaning. Sovereignty does not equate to having governance over the people.

        The English version had Crown sovereignty but allowed for continued chieftainship, or self government of Maori on their own lands (until either direct iwi land land confiscation and the de facto annexation of right to governance after the land wars by including Maori in the electorates of parliament).

        The issue for Greens, if they ever held government executive power, would be how to enact Maori sovereignty and reduce the Crown to head of governance.

    • Well the crown assumes that unless you have a democracy like there’s where elections are held every few years and change can be implemented through voting. Then it is assumed that progress can not be made. If you do not follow the democratic prescription of the crown you are assumed to be sub normal and sub par with sub ideas. That is there preconceived notion of New Zealand.

      Māori has never had such traditions of a governing central body. Māori had hundreds of sub tribes who respected each other’s territory. The crown on the other hand does not understand that.

      Tinorangatiratanga is also a preconceived idea. Because the welfare state and manufacturing base of the crown has been off-shored, it doesn’t mean that the Māori-economy will follow. Māori governance is based on Māori history and Māori conditions which are different from the crown or of western europe. Māori is local and indigenously created.

      There for if I was to advise Māori on the ins and outs of tinorangatiratanga I would tell them to just ignore the crown and carry on with what you are doing. Make my people better, make the Māori economy stronger and make Māori more prosperous.

    • The Green position is based on the primacy of the Maori version of the Treaty and the wording used in it.

      This is in accord with UN acceptance of the native language having primacy.

  6. I could put up with them not being likeable if they were a bit more effective – and I could possibly put up with them not being effective but hearing that James Shaw is responsible for the Budget Responsibility Agreement was the last straw.

    Neoliberalism is the problem and they are now part of the problem

  7. i think todays attach video release proves this point, the likeable greens you talk about would never have done anything like that,

    • Precisely. Would have been unthinkable.
      Poor buggers have got tainted by that place – the old guard were always outsiders.

    • The current bunch are hypocritical, sanctimonious, dishonest, nasty little wankers.
      May they slip blissfully under the 5% threshold at the next election, never to return.
      If they could take Winnie with them, that would be just splendid.

  8. Chris, you’ve nailed it all in one paragraph.

    “The great problem now facing the Greens is that Labour finds itself in possession of the most likeable political face New Zealanders have encountered for many decades. When set against “Jacinda”, the Greens’ James Shaw comes across as a low-energy compromiser. Meanwhile, his co-leader, Marama Davidson, strobes identity politics in a fashion calculated to make a sizeable majority of the electorate feel decidedly queasy.”

    Personally I have voted for The Green Party in every election since coming of age, with the exception of 1999 (Labour). Alas no more. I simply cannot stomach the likes of Davidson et al. The Greens have taking the ‘identity politics’ bait hook line and sinker. It’s a dam shame because I personally align with the majority of their policy, more so than any other party in parliament.

    I’m picking a high chance of electoral oblivion for The Greens come 2020, and this is the great risk for those that favor a more progressive government (anyone but National). The Greens electing a social justice warrior like Davidson was a party killing mistake. The worst thing of all is now I don’t know who to vote for! What’s left or the true old left? Nada, Zip, Zilch.

  9. Meteria Turei’s demise was the start of the modern Greens downfall.
    Compassionate with strong Green policy. Sadly gutter politics destroyed her political career when a certain Paula Bennett covered her tracks and threatened whistleblowers with court action.

    • Yes, whenever the topic came up Paula Bennett was very quiet. It always seemed odd she was so keen to axe the training incentive allowance that enabled her to climb the ladder she subsequently pulled up after herself.

  10. Kia ora David
    I have checked the Green Party website, and as far as I can see the Green Party position is that Maori signatories to the Treaty of Waitangi did not cede sovereignty to the British crown but they do not go so far as to suggest that sovereignty still lies with, or should return to, Maori.
    Instead they suggest that Maori should be treated “fairly” – given political representation at local and national level, and fairly compensated for property unjustly taken from them.
    I cannot see that the Green Party endorses rangatiratanga, which is to say indigenous, as opposed to British, sovereignty in Aotearoa.
    The party does however suggest that “we” will move “much closer … to truly honouring (Te Tiriti o Waitangi)”.
    Read that carefully and you will see that the Green Party does not propose to fully honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi (which would imply acceptance of tino rangatiratanga), and furthermore that it does not endorse tino rangatiratanga (that is, the establishment or re-establishment of Aotearoa as a sovereign state).
    I do not know what Green MPs may have done to create the impression that they support tino rangatiratanga in the Treaty meaning of the word. What I can say is that tino rangatiratanga is not party policy as published on its website. In other words, the Green Party is not challenging the sovereignty of the British crown in New Zealand, and is not proposing to fully honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

  11. As Green Party co-leader, Marama Davidson should consider whether she has a duty to respect the rule of law. Her comments today supporting people illegally occupying land at Ihumatao suggest that she may not, and also seem to be in conflict with the Kaumātua and Maori wardens who were encouraging the unlawful occupants to leave the site.

    The processes and outcome of this particular issue are clearly not to her and others’ liking, but stating on Facebook that the police’s actions were a modern form of colonisation is nonsensical when the police were not the ultimate decision makers, but were there to do their job. Any party leader should be able to understand this.

  12. So the Green Party policy on Te Tiriti, rangatiratanga, Maori Sovereignty and British sovereignty is essentially no different to that of all the other political parties represented in parliament (with the possible exception of ACT).
    That leads us to one of the dilemmas afflicting the colonial regime as a whole, which is that it cannot possibly “fully honour” what it deems to be its “founding document” of state.
    Most New Zealand politicians do not see that as a problem. After all, they assert, this has been the case for the past 180 years, and for the past century or so state and society have held together pretty well.
    Wrong. For most of that 180 years the official doctrine was that New Zealand was British by “discovery and conquest”. (“Discovery” was deemed sufficient basis on which to claim sovereignty in the case of a land inhabited by non-civilized peoples, but conquest proved necessary in the quarter century from 1845 to 1870).
    The current doctrine, that New Zealand became British by treaty with the indigenous people, has only been officially promulgated for the past half century, and in that time, while it has helped to reduce some social tensions and mitigate grievances, at a fundamental level it has resolved nothing.
    Indeed, in the context of the regime’s contemporaneous move to neo-liberal social and economic policies the Treaty doctrine has had an unsettling effect by giving space for a British supremacist backlash under the aegis of organisations such as “Hobson’s Pledge” which argue, with good reason, that policies based on Treaty doctrines will not and cannot provide social stability and communal peace.
    Now fit into that picture another demographic change, the rise of non-European ethnic minorities who are officially told “You are most welcome to join our multicultural family but please note that we British and the Maori have a bicultural thing going, and you will not be allowed to do anything to undermine or terminate that special and exclusive relationship”.
    This introduced a new set of social tensions which surfaced in the murderous violence of the Al Nor massacre, and that brings us back to the Green Party. One Green Party member of parliament, herself a member of one of those recently immigrated ethnic minorities, seemed to imply that Pakeha people were in some way responsible for the Al Nor massacre.
    Her mistake was that she failed to make a distinction between the political culture which is based on racist premises and which is closely associated with the institutions of state, and the popular culture which develops organically through human interactions at the lowest social levels, and which in New Zealand is not racist.
    In a sense that was a mistake which Golriz had to make. As one who had voluntarily entered into a race based political system, and its associated culture, she could not bring herself to see the institutions which support and sustain her as being responsible for such a horrific event. So she looked for some other place in which to lay the blame, which naturally enough happened to be the Pakeha.
    This is getting to be an overlong comment, but I will bring it to an end with the observation that the problems or deficiencies of the Green Party are the problems or deficiencies of the regime as a whole. It would be nice to think that a solution to the crisis of colonialism within New Zealand could be found within the colonial political system, but there is no evidence for that, and we will need to seek outside the colonial system for the solutions to its failures.

    • Kia ora Geoff
      “The current doctrine, that New Zealand became British by treaty with the indigenous people, has only been officially promulgated for the past half century, and in that time, while it has helped to reduce some social tensions and mitigate grievances, at a fundamental level it has resolved nothing.”
      By this dating I guess you identify the State Owned Enterprises Act in this development. Before this of course New Zealand governments had specifically disowned the treaty saying it was between the British government and Maori and only had relevance until an independent NZ government was formed.(5 years)
      It’s ironic that the relevant clause was inserted into the most critically disenfranchising act of the whole neoliberal revolution that that government performed. It probably reflected that Geoff Palmer new very well how many Maori jobs would go when the disposal of these enterprises was complete, and the Forrest service and MOW and railways corp were dismantled. A little cynical sop to the indigenous people who were to lose what they had gained in the transition to the country we once had. And what a can of worms he opened.
      ” and we will need to seek outside the colonial system for the solutions to its failures.”
      I agree entirely. We need to look honestly and openly at what has happened in the past and at what can reasonably happen in the future being as fair to everyone as is possible. Promises that are made for short term political gain without honestly describing a path to delivery , without acknowledging what the true cost of delivery will be is only storing up worse trouble for the future.
      Allowing the countries’ resources, infrastructure, finance, land and dwellings to all be owned and controlled by people who don’t even live here is never going to allow for a resolution.
      D J S

  13. Good help us, TPPA ‘visionary follower’ David Parker seems to be working with the Natz on RMA reform – ACT leader David Seymour said he supports the proposed RMA reform, which he said gives councils the power to restrict new development. (Yes over 99% of all RMA are approved so we already know you can put forward any shit and get it through, anyone who opposes will get a massive fine at the end, the environment court process is rigged to approve ANYTHING and if you try to stop it, you will be sorry with massive fees and fines).

    Greens once again missing in action! (and do they actually know anything about the environment when they are giving away our water rights, anyway).

    Labour and Natz RMA reforms have been a disaster in the past as they worked together to push through the undemocratic rules that have bought Auckland to their knees (and the ‘lucky’ Wellingtons are getting a preview NZ change management in action, with the ‘new’ bus service, higher insurances and more and more migrants being encouraged to work in Wellington without anyone thinking of what that actually means in terms of existing residents and infrastructure.

    From $30k in environmental fines for unsuccessfully saving a hundreds year old kauri in Titirangi, to having only 15 years before major remedial work is needed in modern buildings in NZ – I don’t think consenting speed is our issue, the NZ issue is that our rules around environment and long term planning are missing and any shit is pushed through by lawyers and built no matter how hideous, flawed and inappropriate!

    New houses have cladding and joinery that lasts just 15 years
    https://trib.al/JzN6Rb5?fbclid=IwAR3tuQr4BuGHiVlUXAqIxzLkmR2vd4oxsY52we4wFTQx8_IirNO7ARSCPjk

    Weird that state houses (the government is demolishing to replace with modern housing that will need expensive ongoing work) and villas last 100+ years, but as time goes on, the amount of time materials are expected to last, is declining… and the government would hate to upset business and demand a return to the 50+ year cladding requirement!

    The cost of disruption for apartments in particular being repaired is HUGE – just think of the Victopia in Auckland that is already shedding it’s cladding, the traffic by vehicle and foot just from one building failing or needing constant remedial work or demolition, is significant to the public and surrounding businesses, not just the poor owners of those flawed apartments!

    But in NZ’s Laissez faire mentalité, that is someone else problem the profits get banked, the developer goes into liquidation to reopen the next build under another name, the councils hope they last 10 years and lawyers are like pigs in muck with all the work!

    We have the worst of both worlds, fail to build long lasting buildings like in Europe, but also don’t have cheap, small building’s that are easier to repair and replace like in the Pacific Islands.

    We are building short lasting expensive buildings the have high impacts on others when they need to be repaired!

    Speeding up poor consents is not helping NZ get more houses, it is slowing everything down and creating less housing because over the last 20 years developers have been allowed to build well outside of councils requirements and build shit and develop in shit places that should never have been built on, in the first place, like many of CHCH red zones, Victopia and all the other flawed apartments everywhere, or the Pike River mine!

    • Let alone all the resource consents for virtually free public water to be piped overseas and sold in plastic bottles for free for private overseas gain, while people in NZ go to foodbanks and are homeless, locals pay a fortune for water they drink from their tap, councils can’t apparently pay for all the pollution, and crops and livestock are failing due to drought.

      There is ZERO risk management in NZ while dishing out these foolhardy resource consents for decades.

      Nobody is sure what decades of free water consents are going to look like with climate change already upon us! The most resource consents should be for public use is 5 years of consent for public amenity like water, sand, fracking should be banned altogether, etc and if that doesn’t suit them go somewhere else for free resources to pillage!

      Also a pollution tax on polluting businesses per unit, like water for plastic water bottling, sand, oil etc extraction, !

  14. “THERE WAS A TIME when it was really quite hard to dislike the Greens. Back in the days of Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons; of Nandor Tanczos and Sue Bradford; of Sue Kedgley and, yes, even the rather dour Keith Locke”

    You’ve forgotten the trolling, rape and death threats, and sheer venom directed at Sue Bradford, Golriz Ghahraman, and marama Davidson

    “Dislike”? More like utter pure hatred, especially at female mps, especially women of colour

    • Pretty sure that Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos got a lot of hatred and probably so does Jacinda, and the Simon Bridges too!

      And James Shaw just got his eye socket bruised in an unprovoked attack, so not sure that hate is ONLY directed at the women of colour MP’s… even though makes a nice woke fantasy.

      I’m pretty sure that handling hatred is part of the job of being an MP… along with the adoration and perks… and it seems to be normal all around the world, including Jeremy Corban, Theresa May, probably not happening in non democratic countries though.

      I would think having a go at Putin or Xi Jinping, or the ordinary guy arrested just for posting a national airlines business classes handwritten menu in Indonesia, might create serious consequences for the hater, but again it is the balance.

      Freedom of speech should be encouraged aka like/dislike of politicians and their policies in a healthy democracy, and the police and security are there to protect politicians from the dangerous types, unlike other people who also suffer from abuse in their jobs from nurses, to teachers to WINZ staff, police, parking wardens, landlords etc. Being a hated figure/or subject to danger from abuse turning even nastier, is not exactly limited to politicians.

      So less, wah, wah, in my view for the Greens who can’t handle the hate mail. There has even been fisti cuffs between politicians themselves aka Trevor Mallard. Not good but hopefully the youngsters in the Greens don’t have to halt parliament every time someone feels ‘unsafe’ and instead of doing their jobs for the constituents they instead turn it on themselves and their hurt feelings and emotions about the demanding and difficulties from hatred in the public eye.

  15. What went wrong?
    The Greens were becoming dangerously too likeable, that’s what went wrong.
    In my opinion, the reason the Greens are tanking is because of a clever ‘deep state’ strategy to make fucking sure the Greens don’t engage with traditional farmers and their traditional farming ways.
    What most city people don’t realise, know, care to know because, ya know ‘Brainless trump-fetish-like hate an’ that’ or give a fuck about in a general ” I don’t give a fuck” kind of way is that in order to farm holistically farmers MUST be ‘Green’ in their farming practises. Otherwise, their land and the animals and plants that are commonly found growing upon that ‘land’ go tits up in the fullness of time. I.e. Once that land becomes depleted of it’s nutrients and minerals and worms and wee beasties generally.
    Imagine, if you can, and I will understand why you may not be able too after a diet of day time TV and the blabber and muzak BP pumps into your ears as you fill er up. Imagine farm lands as large, green, slowly ticking time bombs. And after the banksters have their way with traditional farmers, the Large Green Ticking Bomb slowly goes off and we starve to death.
    Gee! Thanks Banksters! Golly! Mr Sir Yankee doodle psycho jonky-stien? Thanks! Thanks for everything you’ve done for farming. Gosh! You are awesome! Gosh,gosh, gosh! You need kissing!
    The Greens: They, like our politics generally, have been parasitised by “psycho’s muppets and wankers”. To paraphrase a thing I read this morning somewhere, I don’t know where. The Guardian? Boingboing? Worryingly, I don’t remember…
    We have no real idea, clearly, of how potent the Greens could be in a country that’s primarily agrarian. And when I say ‘ We’? I mean you. Not me. Because I know. But you don’t. And that, dear friends will be written on your headstones if we’re (you) are not careful.
    To change the subject.
    Taika Waititi. Pretty good AO/NZ’er
    Fuck little stevie tindall ‘Person of the Year’ 2015, my hairy arse.
    Ed Hillary. Certainly did ‘Knock the bastard off ( Shhhh….. So did Tenzing Norgay but shhhhhh Must have run out of ink on those Fivers for Tenzing’s picture too aye boys? )
    You’re a writer? Great. Watch this.
    https://boingboing.net/2019/07/24/taika-waititis-got-some-grea.html

  16. Some of their followers tend to become too elitist and non-inclusive. It seems to be a very exclusive crowd now.

    • You wonder how many of the exclusive crowd the Green’s run with, are running double duty for the other side after revelations of dirty politics and the Thompson & Clark spying and it coming out that some of the spies paid by spy masters were in relationships with the people they were reporting on and some of these people were small potatoes, think how more important and lucrative influencing the economy and policy is! Might explain some very odd Green decisions.

  17. The Greens support for Maori marginalises them with baby boomers.

    And the Greens support for the underclass marginalises them with Generation X assimilated into Rogernomics polity.

    And their committment to principle, such Foreshore and Seabed and CGT, exposes those who would sell out principle for popularity.

    But most sad is that those who are awake to the continued racist and classist war by the privileged white property owning establishment on society itself, are themselves so easily inbedded into cultural warfare, via adoption of right wing attack language – using woke the same way Nixon and McCarthy used UnAmerican. They justify it by seeing the “woke” as being “unpopular” liberals harming their cause, so they join in the attacks on them by the right as if doing so makes themselves more popular champions of the cause. This is exactly how the Democrat Party of Bill and Hilary Clinton came into being. Irony much …

    • So the Greens demise is all baby boomers, Gen X, property owners, whites, people who don’t support Foreshore and Seabed and CGT taxes fault… if we use percentages we probably get under 5% of people who don’t belong to the above groups so we can see how ‘woke’ logic of blame allocation seems to be jettisoning 95% of NZ voters who could be voting Green but are instead removed by the selected wokey exclusion politics…

      Calling all Gen Y, non white, non property owners, pro seashore and foreshore, pro CGT taxes to be the Greens selected spokespeople and then wonder why such a narrow version of democratic representation of purity is going to jettison support…

      Then work out how many of the above also could be voting other parties, aka The Maori party and Mana…

      Two birds struck down with one stone, Green woke take out the parties that probably are more representative to those view points that the Greens could work with and split their votes and keep them out of parliament.

      Well done to woke who help the right by fighting for the 5% which in the 2014 election also had Labour getting over excited and joining in to defeat the Mana party and Internet party, but shit not only lost Maori representation parties, but also lost the general election!

      • I think the woke are just jealous they don’t have a Bomber of there own to hold there hand, put a scotch in one hand, a cigar in the other and tell everyone how it goes, brother.

        The woke are leaderless. The Greens non-violent politics has been exposed to the vigours of parliament and found wanting. None of us would have signed the water deal. We’d have done something similar to what Jacinda did with Ihumātao and declared no construction will go ahead until a deal is done. Y’know it’s apart of literary cannon now so this tactic has precedence and good to go brothers and sisters. LMFAO. So we wouldn’t have and shouldn’t have expanded water exports.

        I mean this is just shameless promotion of the Greens that says I (that’s the woke) will inform you how to, feel, about the Greens poor performance. No one is saying you can’t be inclusive and add brown people and have people in wheelchairs involved. It’s just that inclusivity based in a quota system denies talent, skills and creativity.

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