Eighty-One Thousand Votes.

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IF THE GREENS proceed with the constitutional changes mooted by political commentator Matthew Hooton, then their electoral future is bleak. The public has learned to live with the Greens’ male and female co-leaders, especially after the rule was adopted by Te Pāti Māori. Doing away with the male co-leader position, however, and replacing it with a co-leadership position open to “any gender” – Hooton’s prediction – will likely strike a great many Green Party supporters as both self-indulgently radical and blatantly unfair.

If Hooton’s second prediction, that the Green constitution will be further amended to require at least one of the party’s co-leaders to be Māori, also proves accurate, then the loyalty of Green voters will be tested even more strenuously.

The reasons for this are fairly straightforward.

The Greens are engaged in electoral politics: being so, they are bound by the rules of the New Zealand electoral system. The most relevant of these for any party promoting radical policies is that they must attract more than 5 percent of the Party Votes cast (or win an electorate seat) to gain a seat or seats in the House of Representatives. Crossing that 5 percent threshold in 2020 meant attracting somewhere in the vicinity of 145,000 votes. With 226,757 votes (7.8 percent) the Greens easily made it into Parliament.

The question to be answered, then, is a simple one. If the mooted constitutional changes proceed, how many formerly Green voters is the party likely to lose? If the answer is greater than 81,000, and Chloe Swarbrick fails to hold Auckland Central, then the Greens will cease to be a party represented in Parliament.

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Eighty-one thousand votes may sound like a lot, but consider the fate of the Alliance – a coalition of radical parties of which the Greens were once part. Between the 1999 and 2002 general elections, 133,971 of the Alliance’s party voters took their support elsewhere. Its share of the Party Vote fell from 7.7 percent to 1.3 percent, and it ceased to be a parliamentary party.

Such is the fate of political parties which, for one reason or another, forfeit the trust, confidence and respect of their supporters. The transition from hero to zero can be brutally quick.

All too often the risk of alienating a critical number of party supporters is seriously underestimated by party members. The latter are dangerously prone to believing that their electoral support base is, in all practical respects, indistinguishable from themselves.

This is, however, almost never the case – especially for those parties capable of cresting the 5 percent threshold. Support is won on the strength of a great many considerations – and sometimes for the party’s position on just a single issue. Voters are not required to be either rational or consistent, and an alarming number of them are neither. Party members are almost always more ideologically consistent than party supporters.

All of these factors are acutely relevant to the Green Party.

A large chunk of its support (perhaps most of it) is based upon the perceived urgency of state action to combat Climate Change. Other voters’ will back the Greens for the party’s original commitment to social justice (long since attenuated to “social responsibility”). Some will back the Greens’ on account of their pacifism and because the party is committed to an ethical foreign policy. Many more will vote Green simply because they are in favour of decriminalising cannabis.

The number attracted to the Greens because they have altered their constitution to reflect their opposition to binary, heteronormative gender relations is likely to be considerably smaller than any of the groups of voters mentioned above. Outside of a very small fraction of the highly-educated professional middle-class, and a similarly modest percentage of their offspring studying at university, such matters display something pretty close to zero political salience.

Certain to display much greater salience with progressive voters will be the obvious disdain evinced by a large number of Green Party members for the political performance of their male co-leader, James Shaw, along with the equally obvious determination of those same disdainful members to remove him from his position.

While a great many Green voters are dissatisfied with the current government’s performance on Climate Change, this does not necessarily mean that they are dissatisfied with Shaw’s handling of the Climate Change portfolio. Most will realise that Shaw exercises very little influence over the behaviour of the Jacinda Ardern-led Labour Government, and more than a few will applaud Shaw for having parlayed the very weak hand he was dealt to such good effect and with such political skill.

The idea that he is being eased out of his male co-leader’s role by means of a transparent piece of constitutional manipulation may not sit well with these voters. By them the manoeuvre may be judged both cowardly and dishonest. Many will feel unable to go on supporting a party that is prepared to countenance such shabby procedural trickery.

Other Green supporters will attempt to match up the proposed constitutional changes with the four core tenets of the global Green movement: Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy, and Non-Violence. They will struggle to see very much in the way of wisdom, justice, or democracy in any of these proposals. But, they will not miss the venomous emotional violence inherent in the execution of a political manoeuvre that protects the jobs and careers of some politicians while ruthlessly sacrificing those of others. These supporters, too, may feel unable to go on rewarding a party capable of such passive aggressive behaviour with their votes.

Finally, there is the crucial question of political perception. What do these mooted constitutional changes make the Green Party look like?

Do they make the Greens look like a political organisation welcoming to all New Zealanders?

Do they make the Greens look like a group of politicians capable of setting priorities conducive to producing the environmental, economic and social outcomes that New Zealand and the planet so urgently require?

Do they make the Greens look the way they used to look, back in the days of Rod Donald, Jeanette Fitzsimons, Sue Bradford, Keith Locke, Sue Kedgley and Nandor Tanczos: a group of people who like and support one another in the promotion of causes no rational voter can fail to acknowledge?

Or, do they make the Greens look like a political party that would rather be politically correct than politically successful?

A party on course to lose a great deal more than 81,000 votes.

 

62 COMMENTS

  1. If the Groanz get rid of the only party leader in parliament who is a renter, they will just be another party of the propertied class.

    • They own their apartment, but she did not make money on it last round as they it was a new build. But dear Chloe is a owner such as all the others.

  2. The Greens are at imminent risk of self-cancellation!

    They are hands down the most extensive collection of woke in this hemisphere and this is opening a pandora’s box.

    In wokedom, even organising something as boring as a meeting can be fraught with danger. The alpha woke and competing wokes will insist that there have been people (can I even say people?) left out of the meeting who should not be, and the most kudos goes to that woke who can think of a creature that no one else thought of who should be on the invite list or it’s all over. Queue flouncing out and taking as many other wannabe wokes with them as possible.

    So the Greens have to get rid of Shaw. Lord knows his co-leader is useless. Her portfolio is a dismal failure, but that is irrelevant. But back to Shaw, good, he’s a male, dispose of him. But the fact is some idiot put in their commandments that one of the co-leaders had to be male. That in itself is easy, get rid of the patriarchy once and for all. Yes, Big box tick there. But now the floor is open to not who can be selected, but who should be there but were not thought of enough to even make it into the caucus. Will Chloe even have the CV to satisfy the militant alpha wokes? I doubt it. She seems pleasant, even likeable and that surely is a big negative!

    There is a very real risk is that someone will be offended and hit the cancel button, the Greens will implode as a sacrifice to the Woke gods and in the ultimate act of flagellation. And so they should!

    But I suspect the wokeness is shallow in some and being in parliament, living off the pigs back with all the perks that come with it is far more important. And that makes the Greens about as disingenuine as any other political entity.

    Watch this space.

      • they were also full of middle managers usually though not exclusively ‘tsarist experts’ replaced by the new ‘red experts’ who in turn…..
        culling middle management to make the economy more efficient….maybe iosip vissarionovich wasn’t so dumb.

  3. The Greens, for all their wokism, which I abhor, are the only left wing Party (assuming their policy statement has not changed more than ‘responsibility cf ‘justice’). I was very disappointed when they signed up with neolib, do-nothing Labour because it was obvious they could get nothing done other than help spread fairy dust with Ardern! As a pale male stale boomer I will still support them at this stage because there is no better option as yet.
    As much as Labour is the lesser of two evils when compared with National, in my view they are still both inadequate to deliver/promote a decent society.
    I suspect there are quite a few ex Values people in the same boat as me.

  4. In racist and misogynistic New Zealand this might be a thing with a heap of male voters which would likely cast towards the centre right and hard right, so no loss there. I suspect most greenies wouldn’t give 2 hoots (pun intended) who’s at the top, it’s the policies that matter. Climate change deniers and big polluters hate the greens will stay on the right as always. James Shaw is fine be me, it’s the neo liberals holding back progressive change and I included Labour as one of the worst offenders. Vote Green!

    • Ask anyone on the street to name a few of their policies and you’ll probably get stuff like…er…LBGT rights, more refugees, social justice, minimum wage…etc…Labour territory. Nobody can name any of their ‘green policies.

      • The Greens have an excellent web site, easy to follow. Even you should be able to understand it Kraut.

    • and the fact that the greens only have policies about feel feels and nothing on the environment is the point.

      • I’d take it one step further, it’s moral posturing over feel feels (identitarian sensitivities) and the environment rather than meaningful action on the latter.

        I say that as someone who voted labour/green last time and might sit the next one out.

        • I’m starting to feel the same way
          The co leadership will end up not representing anyone

          they need to scrap the whole “gender” bullshit.

      • For once you hit the nail on the head. The last two *actual* environmental scientists walked out when the party back Material Girl’s benefit fraud.
        All that remains is a jamboree of spoiled rich kids acting out

    • GreenBus, countries that are “racist and misogynistic” have racist and misogynistic laws.

      Can you identify any such laws in NZ?

      • Obviously there are few rules and laws that are racist and misogynistic, they have been updated in modern times. But there is still a lot of racism towards people not white by the old pale stale males mainly. Same with constant moaning and degrading criticism of
        females, especially if doing “a mans job”. It’s not tolerated these days and these old geezers are being cancelled left right and centre, and boy do they whinge. Laughable really as it’s self inflected.

  5. What a condescending attitude. I party voted Green, Internet Mana and Mana in recent years. Have not voted for Labour since 1984. Have voted for a Labour electorate MP here and there.

    I will keep voting Green tactically and for the brand, the policy, and because they are not Natzos and not neo Blairites.

    Really who gives a sod about the Greens constitutional arrangements? People who will be rather unlikely to vote for them is who!

    What is way more of a worry than the Greens leaders is regressive ACT policy on social welfare, minimum wage and Māori issues. Time to flush out the numpties and badarses that make up their ranks below Mr Epson.

    • I rest my case thAT THE GRREN hardcore don’t care and its a case of Greens uber alles

      my (green) party right or wrong etc

    • As have I, TM, as have I.

      There comes a time, however, when the conduct of a party is such that its policy commitments begin to recede into the background. That’s the time to pull up smartly and take stock. The question you have to answer is simple: With leadership like this, with a political culture so far removed from even its own voters as this, what are the chances of any of these policies ever being enacted?

      If the answer is “zero”, then it is time to stop supporting that party.

      Both of us reached that point with Labour back in the 1980s, I fear a similar moment of decision is fast approaching in relation to the Greens.

    • Quite right. I don’t give a shit about the *people* in parl, Green or otherwise. The only thing that matters is the policy and whether they can implement it. I never cared that Helen Clark was unmarried or that Don Brash was a total philanderer.
      Life *might* get better with Greens influence; definitely won’t without. Simple.

    • You sound like my father in law @ TG.
      Labour to the core until the 1980’s betrayal. Oh how history doesn’t just rhyme, it often repeats.
      Which is where we are now. Or where I am at least.
      (I can’t bring myself to give Labour a Party Vote given the abuse of their mandate and of MMP)

      Hopefully @Chris T has a plentiful stock of prozac, because it’s a given humans appear to be incapable of learning from history – even animal instinct seems to have a better record. It must be bloody depressing.

      I put a lot of it down to the peculiarity of man’s ego. (And Wimmin’s ego) and what it produces. Arrogance, control freakery, uber-competitive behaviour, exceptionalism, short-termism.

      We probably need to go through a lot more shite before the muppetry becomes obvious (in this space, going forward)

    • I agree. Anyone who already supports the Greens probably won’t leave them over this. And condescension is CT’s stock in trade

  6. The Greens are gripped by an ideological obsession with gender (and race by the sounds of it) that is absurd and self evidentially contradictory: men can give birth, gender is a feeling not a fact, gender is everything and nothing at the same time. Most people would assume, correctly, that their grip on reality is slim at best, that they’re not fit to be given the power they crave.

    The media appear willing to play along with this fantasy but are only hastening their slide into irrelevance with their gaslighting.

  7. Green Party seem to continually hover at around 10% no matter what the party does or indeed does NOT do and it will be the same again with this latest foray into sexist/racist identity politics.

    The power of the green cult is strong and they will still rather vote for a dodgy Green Party than any other party no matter what. A bit like the women who continue to crow about Ardern even though she has failed to deliver on any of her promises.

    The greens need to get honest and re-name themselves the “social justice party” and drop all the pretences of being Green imo

  8. Chris
    Tough love is a very good thing every now and then. Seriously folks, callous as it sounds, I think it’s best the Greens get wiped out with a proper hiding in 2023, so they are forced to spend time examining wether they want to be a party for the environment, or a just more radical, a more unpalatable ‘duplicate’ version of Labour. There is just no room for two Labours. If they were even half interested in solving the Earth’s crisis, they would be open to squeezing any mainstream party, even National or Act, for big budgets in order to get goals realised – their policies realised. What a buzz that would be to be part of that for a Greenie!!! But they are not. They are strategically stupid! I’ve said it again and again, if National were to set up a ‘green division’ (ok call it BlueGreen) that would raise and allocate very big budgets to do 5 or 6 meaningful things for the environment, there would be absolutely no need for these Greens. They would be toast. So here’s to that wipe out! What say?

    • The word you were looking for is aquamarine 🙂 a fitting color, and the sooner National/Act raises that aquamarine brigade the better for all of us. Maybe the Greens would then even consider working with the other parties that wants to work them rather excluding all to the benefit of one, one who in essence can’t be bothered and uses them as a toothless coalition partner.
      At least having National wake up and get future orientated rather tehn wallop in the past, would force the Greens to come clean, either they are a wholly owned subsidiary of the Labour Party or they are an environmental party and thus would / must entertain the idea of working and achieving cross aisle, which imo would lead to better lawmaking.

  9. We need an investigation into why female has two extra letters than male. This is due to toxic masculinity and we need to also add two letters to male to make it fair. Those letters cannot be closer to the start of the alphabet as that would be unfair. Perhaps if we had two letters that equal the same standing when summed. Eg. F = 6 E = 5 , therefore = 11. We could have J = 10 A = 1 equals 11. Jamale ? Would having an A in the male version imply superiority? This is very important. More important than homelessness or child poverty. The greens need to have a commitee ASAP. Save us greens, this is a big issue that has been affecting us all for millennia but we are just all too stupid to know it. Save us!

    • @Greb you have a fine grasp of politicised systemic thinking. However you focus too much on equality. You need a more equitable schema that accounts for the historical imbalances syllable, alphabetical and semantic. Why does ‘male’ exist in ‘female’, an invasion of noun space? We have a system where people are dependant on these terms, cannot solve their problems without them and profit off these terms. We should also consider how, when we benefit from this in our comfort and ignorance, we are all morally complicit. Contributing to maintaining systemic semantic oppression.

      Would it not be more equitable to erase these terms and the category distinction completely? Especially if we can patronise and infantilise anyone we claim to support.

      • changing language changes nothing, that’s half NZs problem right there.

        if an LGBTQR7VX person lives in poverty but we honour pronouns, do they have more in the pantry or the ability to switch the heating on??

        • “changing language changes nothing, that’s half NZs problem right there.”

          The anti-politics of virtue theatre. Feeling progressive, assuming moral and intellectual superiority while achieving nothing.

          “do they have more in the pantry or the ability to switch the heating on??”

          Virtue theatre collides with reality.

          The kafka trap and woke-self affirmation is that your words show you to be a class essentialist. Possessing a false consciousness over identity based oppression. Propagating privilege preserving epistemic pushback (aka morally deficient because you don’t comply with my ‘religion’. Off to the gulag with you!).

  10. The Greens get obliterated? Oh dear, how sad never mind.
    Can they take the Maori party with them too?
    I used to like both these parties until they went insane.
    Actually whilst we are at it, is there any way all the other parties both left and right can be flushed also?

  11. Labour already does this kind gerrymandering with their minimum 50% women in caucus rule. It’ll be interesting to see how these kind of self-imposed follies go when they lose half their MP’s in the next election.

    • I watched Swarbrick interviewed this morning. She comes across as vifnon edge, highly strung and she seems to have developed mannerisms similar to Ardern in the way she stresses certain words. Weird. I wonder if they use the same ‘media’ coach?

  12. Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy, and Non-Violence.
    Who can argue with those ideals?
    Sadly it feels like the Green party has diluted everything it should be staunchly advocating for.
    Is there a bottom line? Is there anything that would cause the parliamentary wing to walk away from government?
    Where was the protest at sending weapons to war zones…all we get is Golriz in RNZ…
    “we’ve now somehow made a decision that we’re giving more in military aid than humanitarian relief, so that’s a bit disappointing”

  13. But that’s under the current corrupt, loaded-vector voting system. The people of today, specifically young people who’s minds are still open, won’t be arsed to vote. And I don’t blame them.
    They’re not going to vote Green because they’re a cadre of useless fuckers ignoring our primary industry unless they seen an opportunity to bully farming people with the notable exception, perhaps, of Chloe Swarbrick. They’re not going to vote for national because they’re a cadre of crooks and ugly ones at that. They’re not going to vote for Labour because Labour is the same as national, just different branding.
    That’s why we, the people, must demand compulsory voting. In today’s political climate, you know the one, right? The changing one that’s going to fry us then collapse into dead oceans and acid soils as temperatures cause mega storms and drought and as the ocean current conveyor systems stop which will cause atmospheric failure which will further cause all air breathing life forms to suffocate? That one.
    Troll morons come here selling their adoration of the natzo’s and act ( ACT! Oh my God…) and roger douglas’s Labour with the “Never mind that there nature thing! What about the money? ”
    The reason why there’s far too many complete and utter nutters in parliament is because other complete and utter nutters vote them in, while the rest of us stay in bed on polling day and pray to the Gods that somehow everything’s going to be ok.
    Compulsory Voting, dumbasses.
    Ordinary people: ” Hey! Yeah! Lets give that a go?”
    Politicians AKA crooks : ” Oh Fuck! “

  14. Queue this long time green voter not voting for these fools next election. I abhor their descent into identity politics over reality, and their continued attempts to gaslight the nation into removing womens’ hard fought rights under the guise of non-binary politics. FFS – they say they are non-binary then try to shoehorn all the new gender identities they are creating into two genders (well, sexes actually but we can’t go there greenies as that doesn’t suit their stupid arguments) with the result that they trample all over womens rights then call them TERFS.
    Fuck you greens, you lost my vote.

  15. The gween party must die. They’re political terrorists.
    They ‘Hate’. They Hate people. They Hate people with an opinion different to theirs.
    They Hate people older than 30.
    They Hate democracy!

    They have too much Hate, in a world that just doesn’t need any more.

    Their brand of Hate is so toxic, that it damages families and relationships as well as the planet. They ‘Love’ Green Wash’n Capitalism!

    Wankas!

  16. To judge by the strong performance of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who won more than 20% in the French presidential elections and a majority of the youth vote, there’s 20% and a majority of the youth vote if the Greens were to bring back Sue Bradford.

  17. Chris I’m not sure this latest farce will hurt the so-called Greens. They regularly do things that look ridiculous to me, but I’m not a Green voter – I once voted for them when I was disappointed with Aunty Helen, but wouldn’t touch them these days. Despite their antics, they hit 10.5% support in a recent poll.

    I think its telling that the so-called Greens are very keen on lower the voting age. The “yoof” vote is where their key support base is now, and some earnest young SJWs probably see merit in getting rid of a white male leader. I’ve seen this kind of sentiment expressed on TDB, about NZ politics not needing “another white coot in a suit”. People who think like that won’t have a problem with the mooted change in the Greens leader rules.

  18. Yes Chris.
    I quit voting for the last election under first past the post.
    Labour and National were then basically indistinguishable in their support of neoliberal economics, there was little point to voting at all.
    It’s been a long futile 25 year wait for that to change. Along the way the Greens have provided some sort of cathartic relief, supplementing and alternating with support of Alliance and Labour.
    But now they are deep diving into identity and alphabet politics when they ought to be concentrating on the planet and so I’ll be out. It’s been coming on for some time.
    So, it is back to having no one to vote for.
    I may yet vote *against* the lunatic right wing but even that means I’ll just be supporting another right wing party (Labour), it all depends on how fearful I feel.

  19. I see Chloe Swarbrick is already in full election mode by getting involved in a Whammy Bar social media shit fight. Quick off the mark, but still nothing about how to save the planet.

    • nothing says punk rock like scanning in for big pharma right and excluding those who choose not to have a vaccine ?!

      so someone not being vaccinated effects the efficiency of other punkers vaccines working?

      punk rock is now about as uncool and authoritarian as you can get

      weird times

      • nothing says punk rock like caring for your mates…
        but as it was a youth culture not a political movement……

  20. I’m tempted to say, Mathew who. I suppose we must consider what this crust right wing protagonist says, but there is no need to get worked up at his stirring.

  21. Chris, how many times has Hooten been correct in the last 4 years. He is a long term right wing troy loser which includes the Muller episode. Every article he writes in the Tory Times/herald have proved to be incorrect. The Green party have principles that its followers wont be put off by some right wing commentary. I vote Labour/Greens/Pati Maori in fact anyone but Natz and Act. Perhaps the Greens are too left wing and upset the tories and grumpy old men.

  22. What have the Greens done in the last 10 years for Kiwis?…nothing, vote those smug no-hopers out

  23. As long as they lose as many votes so that they are no longer in parliament is the perfect result for the planet and the environment.

    Green Washn Capitalism isn’t the answer.

    • Instead of hating the Greens for not saving the planet, why don’t you all hate the Americans for destroying the planet with their insistence on free market capitalism for the whole world over the last 75+ years?
      The good news is that we may well find a way out of American hegemony because their stupidity is actually increasing their rate of decline as the “owner” of the world. But, of course you’re nearly all still committed to their wall to wall bullshit.

  24. Chloe is their only hope. One of the only politicians to step into parliament with good intentions since Guy Fawkes. She had to move to the top.

    As a white male green voter since they became a more viable option than the Alliance I was happy to see Chloe move up and merely chuckled that they certainly have all the right boxes ticked now. Will still vote green, what other choices are there?

    Surely if the opposite happened with James Shaw remaining alongside Chloe it would have been a case of woke reverse engineering or reverse-wokeism. Woke if you do, woke if you don,t.

  25. I doubt they will be affected. I suspect that 99% of their party vote is from people who think they are saving the Spotted Owl or some such delusion. I doubt that the vagaries of party leadership are a factor when they cast their vote.

  26. interesting that the pushback on the miramar camp is ohhhh ecology of the penninsular rather than they’re a bunch of shit stained no marks…

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