Russel Norman’s launch into open political warfare – despite his personal attacks, dishonesties and hypocrisy being contrary to documented values of the Green Party – has generated a lot of discussion. The following comment by Dave Stringer was posted at FrogBlog and KiwiBlog:
An interested read for me was Russell Norman’s speech to the party conference this weekend.
Interesting because 80% of it was criticising what the current government is doing / has done. What I was looking for was what the Green Party would do if given power of government. I guess I found it here:
Greens believe that the special interest lobbyists should be exposed to the sterilising effect of sunlight.
And we will let the sun shine in.
Greens believe that ordinary people should be the decision makers in this country. Ordinary people should have the power.
And we will fight to restore that power.
Greens believe that collective dignity comes from working together to make the world a better place.
And we will fight to restore that dignity.
We believe that in spite of everything that is wrong in the world, in spite of the chaos and madness we see on the news every night, that in our little corner of the south west (sic) Pacific we live in a society which is far from perfect but where justice can prevail.
And we will fight to restore that justice and restore your right to your day in court.
It looked OK until I read it a second time and thought it through. For instance:
“special interest lobbyists should be exposed to the sterilising effect of sunlight. And we will let the sun shine in”.
This is good stuff. Let’s legislate that all lobbyists must be listed in a public register, that they must produce monthly statements of what lobbying they have done, and what they have spent/used in the course of that lobbying. To make this effective, legislation must be passed making the detailed diaries/appointment books of all MPs and senior civil servants freely available on-line.
“Greens believe that ordinary people should be the decision makers in this country, should have the power. We will fight to restore that power. “
This looks good, but somehow recent evidence suggests that this is not the Greens’ belief. For instance, while there was a clear majority of citizens against the “no smacking legislation”, the Party pushed ahead backing it, similarly, when a government that clearly stated its intent to sell one form of assets in order to create another, the Party did everything it could, at tax-payers’ expense, to try to have that mandate removed.
Greens believe that collective dignity comes from working together to make the world a better place. And we will fight to restore that dignity
Again, looks good on the surface, but fails when looked at in light of recent evidence. For instance, when the government insisted on closing down a dangerous mine on the West Coast, the Party protested about the number of people put out of work; however, when a new mine that would employ people in the same area was proposed, the Party insisted that it should not be allowed to happen!
“We believe that in spite of everything that is wrong in the world, in spite of the chaos and madness we see on the news every night, that in our little corner of the south west Pacific we live in a society which is far from perfect but where justice can prevail. And we will fight to restore that justice and restore your right to your day in court.”
Motherhood and apple pie is what I call this statement.
“And we will fight to restore that justice and restore your right to your day in court.”
This suggests that I have somehow lost justice and the right to a day in court. I haven’t! Justice is the application of laws passed through proper process in Parliament, process that any government must follow, irrespective of position on a very limiting one-dimensional political spectrum. As long as laws, passed through proper process, govern us I have lost nothing. Yes, a future government could change the law, that’s what happens in a democracy.
There is no need to resort to violence, or “fight”, in order to change the statute books, you just have to win enough votes to do so, I’m sure when the day comes that the Green Party has sufficient elected members of the house of representatives to lead a government it will enact as many laws as it deems appropriate to put into effect the promises it made to the electorate to achieve that position. In the meantime, democracy is served by allowing the current government to do exactly that.
FINALLY, I have to say that the ad-hominem attack by the co-leader of the Green Party against the elected Prime Minister has destroyed any inclination I had to support the Green Part financially or with my vote. I cannot believe that the founders of the Party would condone such an attack, and cannot believe there is a long-term future in New Zealand for a Party with such leadership; a belief borne out by the dearth of attendees at the Annual Meeting this weekend.
Not surprisingly this comment is currently showing 27 likes and no dislikes at Kiwiblog.
Interestingly at Frogblog it is on 7 likes and no dislikes.
More comments and likes/dislikes in the Frogblog thread General debate, June 2, 2013 suggest that the Green camp is divided over the new hardball approach.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that many Green supporters (and ex supporters) take exception to the Norman enraging. Many of them still probably have principles and wish the Green party did too.
When Frogblog is divided – and more against than for the Norman enraging – then the Greens have a serious problem that can’t easily be wound back.
Sadly for loyal Greens it may be very hard to undo the effects of this speech. Now Norman has openly shown he’s prepared and launch personal attacks, over-embellish and lie he can’t just say “whoops, that didn’t work, I’ll try the honest, nice approach next time”.
By going this dirty Russel Norman is tainted, possibly to the extent of being toxic to the clean Green brand.