Vance fans Hughes’ leadership chances

Kevin Hague is a clear favourite in the Green leadership contest (in May, nominations don’t close until mid April). James Shaw is a newbie MP who will interest some, but may struggle to get support from party faithful.

Vernon Tova is prepared top argue outside the Green square – this may appeal to the wider voter base Greens desperately want but is unlikely to win him Green backing.

Gareth Hughes is as party faithful as you can get. He knows how to pander to the Green-wow crowd.

All four current leadership contenders were in a panel interview on The Nationa.

And Hughes has a Fairfax journalist fan, Andrea Vance. She praised his chances on The Nation panel in the weekend, although inadvertently highlighted a significant anomaly.

You’ve got Kevin and James who are considered the front runners. I was actually very impressed by Gareth Hughes because, as you say he lacked gravitas, but he actually has probably the best message to win over new voters.

I thought Hughes would appeal more to the party faithful than new voters, being one of the party faithful himself. But Vance echoed Hughes’ introduction.

Hughes: I want to be part of the most progressive government this country has seen in generations.

That doesn’t sound like winning over middle New Zealand voters.

Hughes: The Greens under my helm would be larger. My mission is to excite and inspire, to reach out and represent a new generation of voters. We’d be making sure we’re seeing action on climate change. What I want to see is a bigger, more powerful, more influential Green Party, because the issues we work on, they’re more important than ever.

Do you have the gravitas, the credibility to be a co-leader?

Hughes: This is my opportunity over the next two months to stand up and show the members of my party what I know I have inside, which is I know who I am, I know what I stand for, I know where I want to go. This is my opportunity, and the members have a fantastic choice. I’m standing as someone who’s been a campaigner for 15 years. I’ve got the experience, I’ve got the wins under my belt, and I want to lead our party to a bigger Green Party.

He may have a job to convince that he can lead.

We’re something new, we’re something different, and we’re something better.

I’m a Green because I support our new, different, independent party.

And he has to think up some convincing slogans. He repeated the ‘new’ theme – Greens have been around since last century.

Hughes showed a number of times how entrenched in Green procedure he is.

I stand by our party’s decision.

I’m stuck on the green.

I support what the members want. They make the decision, not the leader.

Our members look at what’s the level of agreement…

Well, I support what my party’s policy is.

Well, Lisa, in my party the leader and the caucus do not decide the policy. It’s our members.

Give me your opinion.

Hughes: I would have a discussion with our members…

Bit of philosophical discussion, but I think what voters and our members want to see from us is pragmatic solutions.

Greens have an admirable system of party wide decision making. But most people look to politicians to lead, and especially to leaders to lead, not just follow the crowd.

The Hughes approach will please many Green members, but it is unlikely to enthuse more voters. But Vance wasn’t enthused by Hughes’ lack of knowledge.

Now, coming to you, Gareth, what about the rate of inflation?

Hughes: It’s less than 2 percent.

Would you like another crack at that?

Hughes: Well, it’s around 2 percent recently.

0.8 percent.

Vance:

I mean it’s basic 101, you do your prep if you’re going on the telly to give your first national pitch.

An MP knowing the current inflation rate should require any prep, it’s something they should know.

You know you’ve gotta know what the inflation rate is, that was just appalling.

And on party renewal:

I think that also Green members have gotta look for someone who’s gonna be a little bit ruthless in terms of cleaning out the Greens. There’s definitely, in the way National has,  and Labour might well start to. There needs to be renewal  in the Green party for them to move forward.

It’s hard to see Hughes being ruthless. He seems very committed to discussions and listening to party members. The party members have a lot of say on the green list, and therefore on renewal. There was little sign of this in their last election list.

But despite these obvious drawbacks to his leadership ambitions Vance closed with more praise of Hughes.

I think that Gareth Hughes, and perhaps it didn’t come through quite as well today…

As well as what?

…but I think he has got quite an appealing message to middle New Zealand. He’s talking about people in the suburbs, he’s talking about people with young families that are you know sort of struggling day to day.

You know he’s pitching to that. He’s not talking about macro economics and sustainability, he’s actually talking about back pocket issues. And I think that would actually have a lot of appeal.

It’s just that Gareth sort of needs to work on his image a little bit I think.

So she twice singled out Hughes above the others for praise, despite several shortcomings. I’m not sure how well in tune with middle new Zealand Vance is.

I’m fairly sure Hughes will appeal more to Green Party faithful far more than wider voters.

And even they may prefer someone with some sign of leadership.

Hughes can’t always ‘Hey party/Clint’ at a leadership level.

Fourth candidate may be lining up for Green leadership

Stuff reports that there may be a fourth contender to replace Russel Norman as male Green co-leader. They say that it’s likley that rookie MP James Shaw is set to announce he’s putting himself forward after earlier saying it would be very unlikely due to his inexperience as a new term MP.

Three others have already announced they will contest the leadership, MPs Kevin Hague and Gareth Hughes and 3 News reported:

, a Green Party co-convenor in Auckland, is reported to be throwing his hat in the ring to be the party’s new male co-leader.

Mr Tava has decided to stand for the leadership.

He is a Waitemata Local Board member and is deputy chair of the board’s finance committee as well as being involved in work on parks and open spaces, and heritage, urban design and planning

Tava is not on the Green list so can’t get into Parliament this term.

Norman was elected co-leader while outside Parliament but came in via the list when one MP resigned and the next two on the Green list stood aside.

Hague will still probably be the front runner but Shaw has been talked of as a future leader.

After the last two Green leader selections (Norman and Turei)  losing contenders resigned as MPs – Nandor Tanczos.and Sue Bradford. I think that’s less likely this time.

Who will replace Russel Norman?

Of course no one knows yet who will be Russel Norman’s replacement as Green co-leader in May, but speculation has begun.

Andrea Vance sums up the possibilities:

5. Anyway, who’s going to be the new Greens co-leader?

Party rules mean it has to be a fella and the top picks are former health boss Kevin Hague, and newbie James Shaw. A wild-card from outside Parliament is a remote possibility. Hague is likeable, sharp and would be a steady hand. Shaw’s list placing was downgraded by the membership, suggesting they are suspicious of the pro-business reformer. He also has foes within the caucus. But he would certainly shake the party from a post-election slump, if there was an appetite for change.

Kevin Hague is currently ranked 3 in the Green pecking order. He is widely respected as an intelligent and practical MP, willing to work with anyone with common interests. He must be one of the leading contenders, but we’ll have to see whether he wants to put himself into the leader’s limelight.

James Shaw has been touted as a potential leader since before he became an MP through last year’s election (at 12 on the list). It may be too soon for him, and he may have trouble getting enough support from across the Green membership. And of course he may or may not want to put himself forward at this stage.

Hague could step up and be seen on an equal-ish footing with co-leader Metiria Turei. Shaw would struggle not to be overshadowed and there could be distinct philosphical clashes with Turei being strongly pro Government doing everything while Shaw is much more business friendly.

There is no other obvious contender within the Green Caucus. The other male MPs are Gareth Hughes, Kennedy Graham, David Clendon and Steffan Browning.

A wildcard precedent

Vance mentions that ‘a wild-card from outside Parliament is a remote possibility’. There’s a precedent for this as that’s how Norman became leader.

In the 2002 election Norman stood unsuccessfully in Rimutaka, ranked seventeenth on the Green list.

In 2005 he didn’t stand in an electorate but was ranked tenth on the Green list. Greens ended up with six MPs, but there were several changes during the term.

Just after the election on 6 November 2005 Rod Donald died. His place was taken by the next on the list, Nándor Tánczos.

On 3 June 2006 Norman was elected Green co-leader from outside Parliament, beating beating Tanczos, David Clendon and former MP Mike Ward.

After Tánczos resigned he was replaced on 26 June 2008 by Norman – this was after the two ahead of Norman on the list, Ward and Catherine Delahunty, stood aside.

While it may be possible for Greens to appoint a leader who is not currently on the list that seems extremely unlikely. It also seems unlikely they would go outside the current MPs.

So that makes Hague and Shaw the most likely contenders, although other current MPs might fancy their chances (Clendon contested the leadership when Norman won).

The loser leaves precedent

Another Green precedent is for unsuccessful leadership contenders to leave Parliament. Tánczos resigned after losing to Norman in 2006

And Sue Bradford resigned after losing to Metiria Turei in 2009, ‘citing her disappointment at the loss and wish to take new directions’ (Wikipedia).

But that doesn’t mean a losing leadership contender would leave this time, especially if it’s Shaw as he has just become an MP.

Greens support Catton on truth and traitors

The Green Party has confirmed on Facebook their support for Eleanor Catton’s fairly extreme crticism of New Zealand and our politicians.

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand on Facebook:

We were grateful to have Eleanor Catton‘s support during the election campaign, and we fully support her right to speak freely about the Government’s priorities without being shouted down or called a ‘traitor’ by media commentators.

Comments supported this, for example:

Some people from the Right can’t handle the truth about their selfish economic policies that create such huge social and environmental problems. No confidence in National’s NZ Inc policies that are destroying our country

In effect call ‘the Right’ traitors to the country and the planet.

The only traitor to this country is John Key who has sold us all down the river.

Someone does accuse Key of being a traitor.

How about we start by getting rid of that treasonous Shonkey?? That would be a good start. Then we could begin to address the fricken mess he’s dropped the %99 in.

And another.

We need more people like her that are not afraid to speak up and speak the truth…its just a shame our upper echelons in Parliament lack this ability except to pimp out their own personal agenda.

So Greens speak “the truth” and critics shout down.

I think it shows that characters of many, who, can’t accept a comment as a call for a civil discussion on how to make things better for the country.

You don’t make a call for civil discussion with an extreme criticism, and then complain about the reaction.

Eleanor Catton’s comments about the government are right on, and a bit of introspection would not go amiss.

I wonder if Green supporters will try some introspection.

There were a few alternate opinions, like:

Loony left trougher – happy to have all the freedoms capitalism & tax-payer funds allow to write a few books, then kicks the gift horse in the mouth (slight mod). Traitor is a bit strong: more like high functioning professional trougher with no loyalty!

An a response:

Sorry Pete, I forgot women weren’t allowed to have opinions…

Trying the sexist putdown.

There have been extreme reactions against Catton, notably Sean Plunket.

But the extreme claims against Key and the Government and the refusal to accept there can be any reasonable alternative to their own extreme ‘truth’ makes the Green narrative as insidious as it’s opposites in it’s own way.

The ultimate irony from the Greens on Twitter, retweeted by Metiria Turia.

Yes, but labeling someone a traitor for expressing an opinion is an attempt to shut down their free speech

Extreme criticism will attract at times extreme reactions. Free speech works both ways.

Greens want the right to criticise but try to shut down criticism of themselves and their own. Blind hypocrisy, convinced that their ‘truth’ is the only way and shouldn’t be questioned.

Eleanor Catton and the Greens

Eleanor Catton has raised a few ruffles with her criticiam of the New Zealand Government. See Eleanor Catton’s perspective.

NZ Herald on this – Prize-winning author Eleanor Catton throws the book at NZ

Winning author lets rip at Kiwi attitudes and political direction.

Her outburst has drawn a response from Prime Minister John Key, who said yesterday he was disappointed at Catton’s lack of respect for his Government and claimed the author was aligned with the Green Party.

Key said “She has been aligned with the Green Party, and that probably summarises the Green Party view of this Government”.

He’s correct on the first point, Catton has been closely aligned with the Greens.

Green Party the celebrities’ choice

Kiwi celebrities including Eleanor Catton and Lucy Lawless came out to show support for the Green Party at a star-studded campaign launch.

And:

Author Catton endorses Green Party vote

Booker prizewinning author Eleanor Catton, whose novel thrust the spotlight on goldrush Hokitika, has publicly backed the Green Party, saying she would be happy to be taxed more.

The launch was attended by The Luminaries author Catton, who urged people to give their party vote to the Greens.

“I want my children and my children’s children to be proud of the steps I took on their behalf to protect this country and what matters about it. That’s why I’m giving my party vote to the Greens.”

And her criticism of the Government doesn’t sound to far off Green sentiments. She said:

At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada, (I dominated by) these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains. They would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want. I feel very angry with my government.

Russel Norman endorsed this:

@RusselNorman
Eleanor Catton angry with ‘shallow’ New Zealand Government http://nzh.tw/11392635  via @nzherald

New anti-austerity radical Left Party?

Forever dreaming of a left wing revolution Martyn Bradbury asks Could MANA be the new anti-austerity radical Left Party?

He recognises that an anti-austerity party needs to have severe austerity measures to campaign against, and New Zealand is nothing like the economic basket cases in Europe like Greece and Spain.

What Greece shows is that the economic conditions have to deteriorate significantly and the contempt in the current elites incredibly intense before people dump being consumers and suddenly become citizens.

The poor need to see their lot as getting worse while the inequalities in a NZ led by a multi-millionaire money speculator so grotesque that people demand a State that will step in and put people first not corporations.

Is NZ at that level? At one extent it is. Those being thrown off welfare in their thousands and those too ill to work being threatened with ongoing and intrusive work testing are running out of options and becoming more desperate at the bureaucratic cruelty Departments met out to them

New Zealand is nowhere near this level.

And Bradbury seems to have pretty much given up hope for the Mana Party.

MANA could easily hold their current economic platform up as proof that they could be a Radical Left anti-poverty Party. But would MANA go down that road again? One possible way back for MANA is a sit down talk with Marama Fox from the Maori Party to look at co-operating in the Maori seats to win them back from Labour. This would require Flavell either eating a lot of humble pie or retiring at the election.

Tripping up a newly right leaning Labour for the Foreshore legislation and knifing Hone would be a great pay back for both parties.

Knifing Hone?

So MANA may not necessarily adopt the mantel of a NZ Syriza.

It doesn’t look likke Mana has any mantel right now.

So anti-austerity urgency and Mana fading away, So not much hope of a Bradburyesque revolution.

So Bradbury is left forlornly dreaming of his political utopia.

Any NZ version that did launch if MANA was focused on just the Maori seats however could have a policy platform like this…

– free tertiary education
– feeding the poorest kids in the poorest schools
– new state houses
– increase in benefits
– warrant of fitness on houses
– clear food labelling
– sugar tax
– adult education
– financial transaction tax
– Renters Rights
– public broadcasting
– Universal income
– environmental research and development
– Living Wage
– Anti-TPPA
– Cannabis legalisation
– recognition of the role of the Treaty as a founding document with the necessary constitutional changes
– more free health care
– making public education truly free
– Living Wage
-independent foreign policy

That sounds a lot like the Green Party. Another party with near identical policies would struggle to find any space on the left.

Bradbury seems to have no desire to work with the Greens, and they are probably happy to keep a distance.

So he’s a radical without a party.

And a country without any need or desire for a revolution.

Bradbury and the futility of founding an anti-austerity radical Left Party have a Greek connection – the myth of Sisyphus.

SisyphusRock

James Shaw ends with an eloquent challenge

James Shaw is rated as one of the best prospects in a new intake into Parliament this year. He happens to be a Green MP but it’s important to look at his capabilities and potential to contribute in a wider context.

The Greens themselves rate Shaw enough to have given him their party spot in the Adjournment Debate today.

JamesShawAdjournmentDebate

His speech is worth listening too right through. He is eloquent, humorous, pertinent and at times biting, in an honourable sort of way. The video and full speech is below, but first an excerpt that I think is one of the most important things to be looking for and pushing for in Parliament next year.

I said in my maiden speech only 7 weeks ago that we must transcend and transform our petty politics and our partisanship. I said that to get unstuck we will all need to let go of some things and to be more committed to finding the answers than to being right or to others being wrong.

The intervening weeks have not disillusioned me of that belief; they have reinforced it. To a new observer it may seem that we are stuck in a never-ending downward spiral of attack and defend that serves only to revolt the public at large and to turn them off participating in the political process or even bothering to vote.

One of the four principles of the Green Party charter is that of non-violence.

This is not simply an absence of physical violence; it is the method of social change given to us by Mahatma Gandhi , who preached ahimsa , the lack of desire to harm or to kill, and by Martin Luther King , who drew from the Christian tradition. It is through these principles and practices that we can transcend and transform the stuck situation we seem to find ourselves in.

Let us take the summer recess to consider ways we might work together to fix this, to bring integrity and functionality to our political process, and to restore New Zealanders’ faith in who we are and the work we do here.

I’ll back him and any other MP he wants to work positively on that as much as I can. Our Parliament badly needs a new way to represent and lead.

Full draft transcript fromn Draft transcript – Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Speech – JAMES SHAW (Green)

It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate—[Interruption] Calm down, fellas—calm down. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems both very fleeting and very long. I would like to talk about some of the things I have learnt about Parliament and politics during those weeks.

The first thing that I have learnt is that although many of the things that we have provenance over are deeply mundane, such as Parts 1 through to 4 of the accounting infrastructure legislation, some are indeed matters of great national and international import.

One such legislation is the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill , which was passed in this House yesterday after several minutes of careful consideration and thoughtful debate!

This bill is designed to stop New Zealanders from going to fight for the Islamic State, which is fighting the Iraqi Government, which we support. And we will shortly be sending the military over to help Iraq fight the Islamic State, which definitely will not have any New Zealanders fighting with them because we said so—yesterday.

We also support Saudi Arabia, which also supports the Islamic State, which is fighting the Government of Iraq, which we also support. The Middle East is a very supportive environment right now.

Our military will feel well-supported when they get over there. I will tell this House whom we do not support, and that is President al-Assad in Syria. We do support some of the freedom fighters who are fighting against President al-Assad, who are primarily led by the Islamic State, but we do not support the Islamic State.

We also do not support Iran, which also does not support the Islamic State, and which does support the Government of Iraq, which we do support.

This mess was largely created by a coalition of the willing, which we were unwilling to support. It invaded Iraq for two reasons: to look for weapons of mass destruction that did not exist and to drive out terrorists who were not there until the coalition went in to drive them out. Into this hornet’s nest, the Beehive proposes to send a contingent of the New Zealand Defence Force , perhaps under the Anzac banner, which may be appropriate because, as far as military adventures go, this one looks like a real winner.

It may be just as well that we are passing legislation that is designed to keep us safe from ourselves. I have also learnt that journalists do actually ask questions like: “Have you ever smoked cannabis?”. My answer to that was “No. Absolutely not. Never.”

Of course, I was answering generally rather than specifically, but it is true; I have never inhaled in my capacity as a list MP. My office may have taken drugs in the past—I do not know; I am not accountable for it—but, at the end of the day, what I can say is that I am extremely relaxed.

The people here have been very friendly. To the people at Parliamentary Service , who put on an excellent induction programme and who set up our offices, our IT , our finances, our travel, and our accommodation; the staff at the restaurants who feed us when we are in a hurry; the ushers who look after us in the House; and the cleaners who tidy up after us at the end of a long day—on behalf of all of us who entered Parliament for the first time this September, and on behalf of my Green colleagues, thank you.

The National Party MPs have been especially warm. Almost every time they mention me in the media they talk about me as a leadership contender for the Green Party.

It is very gracious of them to do that without any trace of malice or ulterior motive, especially since Metiria and Russel have led the Green Party and doubled the size since 2008 and I can barely make it into this House with a tie on.

I would particularly like to thank the Hon Chris Finlayson for his praise, and I return the favour by asking the National Party to consider that member as its next leader, after the current one steps down early next year.

The Hon Chris Finlayson has great integrity, a respect for parliamentary process, precision, a sharp mind, and a clear memory—characteristics that we are looking for in a Prime Minister. Minister Finlayson has other qualities too that many people do not see: a great tolerance for chit-chat, humility, empathy, and a connection with real New Zealanders.

He can speak to and for the Kiwi battlers of Huntly.

As the Attorney-General himself might say: “Fecisti patriam diversis de gentibus unam.”

The House is about to rise for the summer recess, which revolves around the tradition of Christmas. I imagine that after this speech, I for one will be begging for forgiveness, and it is on that theme I would like to conclude.

I said in my maiden speech only 7 weeks ago that we must transcend and transform our petty politics and our partisanship. I said that to get unstuck we will all need to let go of some things and to be more committed to finding the answers than to being right or to others being wrong.

The intervening weeks have not disillusioned me of that belief; they have reinforced it. To a new observer it may seem that we are stuck in a never-ending downward spiral of attack and defend that serves only to revolt the public at large and to turn them off participating in the political process or even bothering to vote.

One of the four principles of the Green Party charter is that of non-violence.

This is not simply an absence of physical violence; it is the method of social change given to us by Mahatma Gandhi , who preached ahimsa , the lack of desire to harm or to kill, and by Martin Luther King , who drew from the Christian tradition. It is through these principles and practices that we can transcend and transform the stuck situation we seem to find ourselves in.

Let us take the summer recess to consider ways we might work together to fix this, to bring integrity and functionality to our political process, and to restore New Zealanders’ faith in who we are and the work we do here.

As this most sordid of political years draws to a close and the House rises for the Christmas break, I offer this. In the Sermon on the Plain, Jesus is reported in the Gospel of Luke to have said

“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year .

Green Browning “laughable weirdo”

(Updated)

Green MP Steffan Browning has been justifiably heavily criticised for his efforts in promoting homoeopathy to combat ebola. Despair at the stupidity was evident from Russel Norman and the Green health spokesperson Kevin Hague.

Green leaning blogger Danyl at Dim-Post (whose wife works in the Green coms team) didn’t hold back.

The idiot

Here’s why this Steffan Browning/Ebola/Homeopathy thing is a really big deal for the Green Party. (a) Historically they’ve been stereotyped by their opponents as a bunch of nutters (b) The main focus of the party for the past five years – at least – has been to counter that perception and convince voters that they’re a sober and credible political alternative. (c) Arguing that homeopathy should be used to cure Ebola is so fucking crazy it instantly undermines a lot of that work and reveals to the public that at least one of the MPs in the party is a total nutcase.

Just after the election someone asked me what they could do to help the Greens, and I told them to join the party and vote for candidates that weren’t deluded lunatics. Disasters like this illustrate why it’s important for sane, sensible people to contribute to the political process at a grassroots level and make sure the MPs in their party aren’t laughable weirdos.

Browning was 14 on the Green list this election, down from 10 in 2011.

They must have known what he could be like. Why was he placed in an electable position?

Some tried to deal with it, like ‘anonymous':

Steffan Browning is the reason I joined the greens, in order to vote him down the list. He is usually ranked lowly by the delegates (16th this time) and then when the general membership votes moves up a couple places (to 14 this time). He is the worst example of the “anti-science” greens, and only his local support keeps him high in the list.

If his anti-science it’s odd to see him surviving their list process. Danyl sort of explains:

It’s one of the problems with the Greens’ democratic list process: some of the regions bloc-vote their MPs at number one on the list, which means they get a much higher list placing than their support in the party merits. I don’t know how you fix that.

All party selection systems have their strengths and flaws. Graeme Edgeler points out a flaw in the criticism:

On the contrary, bloc vote support for MPs as number one on the list means that they get exactly the right list placing based on their support in the party. If a largish group of party members thinks you are that awesome as to rank you number one, then democratically, you should have a high list placing.

Browning got sufficient support within a much praised (by Greens) democratic selection system to get a winnable list position.

There must be other Greens with the same sense of “laughable weirdo” humour.

Nookin on Norman

‘Nookin’, a regular at Kiwiblog, has commented on Green co-leader Russel Norman.

Dr Norman seems to be getting a completely free ride with the news media and yet his latest behaviour should really be a major red flag for anybody who considers that he should play any part in a government.

He has become totally obsessed with the dirty politics, so much so that his entire engagement with the government since its election has been focused solely on that subject and has taken the form of ad hominem attacks without any evidence.

His comments about the police searching the Prime Minister’s home were prattish in the extreme. This is the sort of comment that you would expect to get in a preschool playground, not in Parliament. His comments lack any element of rational justification and the sole purpose of the comments can only be to have a very personal dig at the Prime Minister.

Norman’s driving force appears to be his dislike of Key and, particularly, his antipathy towards the USA. Have a look at his comments on the article about new security measures. Despite the fact that he has no access to security information, despite what has been happening in Britain, Australia and Canada let alone Afghanistan and Syria, he is more than happy to announce to the world that there is no need at all for any additional security measures and that the only basis for the government taking such measures is to play poodle to the USA.

It does not seem to matter to him that the director of SIS endorses the need and emphasises the security risk.

Of course, the easy answer is that she worked in the Prime Minister’s office and is a prime ministerial appointee – therefore a prime ministerial lapdog. In presenting such an argument, however, he would have to put aside the fact that it was Rebecca Kitteridge who prepared the report which exposed GCSB (much to Norman’s salivating delight).
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10687081/The-new-terror-threat

Norman hammers the human rights and fundamentals of democracy at every opportunity. However, read the following article by Fran O’Sullivan. There is one person standing between New Zealanders and their opportunity to see world leaders addressing our Parliament (our representatives).

That one person is Russel Norman. He does so on the basis that allowing the likes of the President of the United States, the Chancellor of Germany and the Premier or Deputy Premier or whoever he is of China address Parliament will subvert our democracy. Pardon?

The dictate of one man who represents 10 percent of the population is democratic? I mean, when did he ask us our opinion? He has a right to say and determine once and for all whether world leaders can address our representatives in our house of parliament? And he justifies that by saying that he is protecting our democracy?
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11351410

Norman has emerged relatively unscathed from the election campaign and its aftermath. That, however, is more attributable to the fact that he has not been put under any degree of scrutiny. He has been described as a “smooth operator”.

That, I suggest, is exactly what he is – an operator. He has an agenda. It is time the MSM really subjected his behaviour, his views, the alliances and allegiances that we will lose or have foist upon us if he succeeds and his apparently complete refusal to compromise under much closer scrutiny.

One almost gets the impression that the dirty politics campaign may have been part of the Greens’s agenda. He simply refuses to let it go.

It does appear a bit like all that.

Harawira and the Greens

Hone Harawira has been talking publicly two weeks after his election loss. He talks about his key policies, child poverty, homelessness, unemployment and the Treay of Waitangi as if he was had been the sole crusader on these social issues.

From a Mana media release on Friday: Mana’s Challenge To The 51st Parliament

MANA defined its position when we announced that our constituency would be those we call TE PANI ME TE RAWAKORE, the poor and the dispossessed, and our last three years have been a challenging and vigorous time where we have staked out our place in the political world – a commitment to ending poverty for all and particularly those most vulnerable in our society, our kids; a commitment to putting an end to the grinding homelessness affecting tens of thousands of New Zealand families; a commitment to putting the employment of people ahead of the sacrifice of jobs in the endless pursuit of wealth for the few; and a commitment to a future where the Treaty of Waitangi is honoured as the basis for justice and good governance in Aotearoa.

Mind you – being so highly principled brings with it enormous risk, not least the fact that KIDS CAN’T VOTE AND POOR PEOPLE DON’T, but I am proud of what we have achieved in our short time in parliament.

When we first raised our FEED THE KIDS policy three years ago, everybody laughed, so we took our kaupapa on the road, we built a support coalition of more than 30 national organisations, we pushed the policy into the top 5 issues of the year, and with the support of a standout series on Campbell Live, we got a poll last year that showed more than 70% supported a government-funded food in schools programme.

When we called for 10,000 NEW STATE HOUSES EVERY YEAR until the housing crisis was over, other politicians squirmed, but after challenging them at a Housing Action protest outside parliament, Labour took up the same call for 10,000 new houses a year, albeit theirs was more a pitch to woo middle-class voters than a bid to help the poor.

We took up the call for FULL EMPLOYMENT because to accept anything less was to accept failure, and by pushing for the minimum wage to be the LIVING WAGE OF $18.80 AN HOUR, we forced other so-called left-wing parties to follow suit.

Other left wing parties might dispute that they have been “forced…to follow suit”, in particular the Greens.

This theme was also prominent in an interview on Q & A yesterday. It began:

Do you regret doing this deal with Kim Dotcom?

Harawira: No I don’t think I do, I mean…

You don’t think you do…?

Harawira: No no no no. I mean we have two hundred and sixty thousand kids living in poverty in this country, we’ve got more than thirty thousand families that are homeless, more than twenty five percent of Maori youth are on the dole.

There needed to be something to help Mana broaden our kaupapa, and to try to get more MPs into the house.

The Greens in particular have also strongly campaigned on very similar issues.

Harawira: There needed to be something to help Mana broaden our kaupapa, and to try to get more MPs into the house.

But you’re not there now to…

Harawira: Sure. But was it a risk worth taking? Absolutely it was, because even now that I’m out of Parliament I’ve received hundreds, probably more than a thousand emails, text, phone calls really regretting the fact that I’m not in there including from National Party supporters.

I think genuinely there needs to be a voice for te pani me te rawakore, the poor and the dispossessed in the house, and I think that was Mana’s role and it will be Mana’s role in the future.

Harawira’s voice won’t be in Parliament this term. Mana’s voice won’t be in Parliament this term. A major reason for this is Mana’s alliance with Kim Dotcom and the Internet Party.

There were hundreds, probably more than a thousand people warning against this. It looked like a huge clash of principles.

Sue Bradford resigned from the Mana Party because of the alliance. She had previously been a Green MP.

Laila Harre left a prominent job in the Green Party to lead the Internet Party along side Harawira’s Mana.

Russel Norman spoke strongly against the Internet Party and the Internet-Mana alliance.

Harawira and Harre chose Kim Dotcom over the Greens to try and help the poor and the dispossessed.

The Green Party has fourteen MPs in Parliament. Harawira and Mana are out.

Why did Mana choose to be backed by Dotcom? How many kids could have been fed by the four million dollars Dotcom wasted on a failed campaign?

Why didn’t Mana join forces with the Greens, who have very similar aims and policies?

If Harawira wants to continue his crusade for the poor and the dispossessed he could work with the Greens. Mana could ally themselves with the Greens.

What’s most important – speaking for the poor and the dispossessed from the sidelines, or being a part of a much wider campaign for the less fortunate in our society?

Perhaps Harawira wants to be ‘The Man”. He pulled out of the Maori party team to set up the Mana Party.

if Harawira joined the Greens, if the Mana Party allied with the Greens, many voices would be stronger than one man and his movement outside Parliament.

That would have more chance of real success than hitching hopes to Dotcom and Harre.

Green policies include:

A billion dollar plan to reduce child poverty

Workers will get a better, fairer deal under the Green Party

A healthy home for every child

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