The Greens

After disscussing their list, lets take a look at the challenges facing the Greens this election. The Standard already has a good post on this, which is well worth a read.

Pierson writes “This should be the Greens time in the sun”. I couldn’t agree more, and they have lots of things going for them:
1) As Pierson points out, they have been vindicated by science in their views on climate change, and peak oil. Global warming is no longer a view held by a few loonies on the far left, but a scientific consensus, and agknowledged, even if grudginly, by all political parties including National. The Green message has got out to the public, and most people express concern.
2) The above has made them look more sane, and the retirement of Nandor Tanczos, who was sterotyped unfairly as a dope-smoking weirdo, should help here. The good work has been partly undone by championing the Anti-smacking Bill which makes them (or atleast Bradford) look like ideological zealots, the same problem they had in 2002 with GE.
3) Labour has shafted them twice, first in 2002 for United Future, then in 2005 for NZ First (of all parties). The Greens can use this record to tell left leaning voters, that if you want a real left wing Government, and not a Labour Government held hostage to NZ First and other centrist Parties, which will deliver progressive policy, vote Green. Sadly (for them), they haven’t communicated this message to voters.

So why are they polling so low. I thought, 2 years ago or so, they would probably get 10% or so this election. But in most polls they barely get 5%, and in a few below that. Why?

Perhaps, as Pierson sugests, they have become victims of their own success. Both Labour and National have awrmed to climate change in recent years. But the Greens can still point out their previous positions, and will always be stronger than the other two parties.

I once had a great respect for the Greens, as a party of principle, even though I strongly disagreed with what they stood for, had no doubt they were genuinely concerned about the planet and NZ, and had the best interests of the NZ people and the enviroment at heart. Sadly, this is no longer the case.

The issue that changed this perception of the Greens for me was the Anti-smacking Bill. True, the Greens were longtime supporters of repealing section 59, and unlike Helen Clark, they did not lie about their views on this issue before the election. However, as soon as the election was over, and Donald was dead, they threw their honesty and integrety aside, and instead of presenting the Bill honestly as a ban on smacking, engaged in lies and spin to present it as only removing a defence, and about ending child abuse, not smacking. Bradford before the elction was honest enough to say that her Bill was a Anti-smacking Bill, but denied it latter in order to mislead the NZ people about it, to help it pass. They also shortchanged their long-standing opposition to passing bills under urgency when not needed, in order to get the Anti-smacking Bill passed and stop the debate (which was hurting them and Labour). From the day they chose to join Labour in misleading and being untruthful to the NZ public about their smacking ban, they lost their well earned reputation as a independent voice of integrety in parliament, and became an extension of Labour.

Which brings me to the other reason for the Greens demise. The lack of differentiation between them and Labour. In previous elections, particularly 2002, in which the Greens had their best ever result, there was clear differences between them and Labour. But now they have become almost the Green wing of the Labour Party. MMP is a little cruel to minor party’s, as the big Party often gets all the credit for its policy wins (many of the Progressive Party policy wins, like Kiwibank, 4 weeks anual leave are usually mistakenly given to Labour), and they end up loosing their distinct brand to the host party. This happened to the Alliance before it broke up in 2002, United Future in 2005, and now the Greens are suffering as well.

So what is the soultion? Sadly for the Greens, and minor parties, there are no easy answers. They need to cuddle up to the big party’s, if they want any of their policy’s implemented, but if they do so will suffer next election. The Greens need to differentiate themselves from Labour, and give left-leaning voters some reason to give them, and not Labour their Party votes. But at the same time, don’t want to move too far left, so as to alienate Labour and confine themselves to the fringes of the political spectrum. They need some mainstream support. They need to seek a balance between being a Green wing of Labour, and seperate enviromentalist left wing Party, but I’m unsure what balance would be best. One can only think, given their current poor preformance, it is a little further from labour than it is now.

Explore posts in the same categories: Anti-smacking Bill, Green Party

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