There must be no doubt that the environment is important to the Green Party, but according to NZ Herald the environment is not included in Green policy priorities the environment. This is from an Election 2014: Green Party – Norman + Turei pre-election interview.
Green co-leaders Russel Norman and Metiria Turei want to be in a full coalition with Labour and have senior Cabinet positions that reflect their party’s priorities, social justice and the economy.
And they say that the possibility of sharing the role of deputy prime minister has to be on the negotiation table.
Mrs Turei has made child poverty her priority while Dr Norman has focused on the economy and green innovation.
While “green innovation” is related to the environment making the economy interests plus social issues their priorities looks like a significant shift in emphasis for the Greens.
However the environment is not left out in a comment from Norman in the interview:
We’re people that got into politics to do some good, and so we’re very clear we want progress on economic, social and environmental policy areas.
With ‘only’ two leaders one of the three has to miss out on their major areas of interest.
The final question: If someone hasn’t voted before, first time voter, what is the single, the single biggest reason they should vote Green?
Metiria Turei: Because we will put children and their families at the heart of every decision that we make in government.
Turei was unequivocal about that but Norman was visibly and verbally conflicted.
Russel Norman: Yeah yeah, I don’t know, the single thing, like you know when you get these questions, the single thing, it’s like it’s comp…like it’s complex.
You know obviously I’d say you know clean rivers and a smart green economy but, you know, that’s not one thing though, yeah, climate change is part of a smart green economy, um, yeah, so it’s hard to answer those questions that name one thing because it’s so much bigger than that.
It’s been said that the three most important things about an election are the economy, the economy and the economy. There’s some truth to that.
How our economy is run, especially in relation to business development and use of natural resources, has a significant influence on the environment. There are potential economic costs of mitigating adverse environment effects.
And if you want to give more money to the poorest people you have to have an economy that can afford that. If the country goes broke everyone will suffer.
As Norman says, it’s complex.
Norman associated himself with Rod Donald as a pragmatic idealist. That is also complex, and perhaps the Green Party’s biggest challenge if they negotiate a significant role in the next government.
Norman seems to get it, Turei seems tending far more towards idealism. Similar tensions are likely through the party ranks.
If any party deserves a shot at being a part of government it has to be the Greens. They’ve had a long build-up and look the best organised and prepared of all parties.
Government is a step up. Greens are relying on other parties to get them there. If they make it their top targets will be economic and social portfolios.
One could expect that the environment would be their next cab off the rank – but next on the Green list is Kevin Hague who is more likely to get an associate health type role.
Number four is Eugenie Sage who is their spokesperson on environment, conservation, water and resource management., the nitty gritty of environmental portfolios. On current polling Greens deserve more than four Cabinet positions so should get something for Sage, but Greens may have to settle for pragmatic idealism in their negotiations.
Norman is right. It’s complex.