Green rhetoric versus reality

Greens have yet another Parliamentary inquiry under way, this one into selected special needs education. ODT reports: Limited scope of special needs inquiry criticised.

The inquiry, announced earlier this month, will focus on improving the learning experience of children with dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism spectrum disorders.

Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said, ”So many students are missing out on education because their learning differences are not identified early enough and help is not made available. We want to change the system so every child has a fair go.”

However Raewyn Alexander, principal of Dunedin special needs school Sara Cohen, said she did not understand why other ”challenges” such as Down syndrome and cerebral palsy were not included in the inquiry.

”If they want a fair go for every child, why have they only focused on those three specific challenges? If they want a fair go for every child, then they should be asking for an inquiry for all kids with needs, not just those three aspects of special needs.”

Alexander points out a basic problem with the Green approach. Selecting three disorders only for their inquiry is odd anyway, but it’s at odds with their “We want to change the system so every child has a fair go” rheotric.

Dunedin Green Party MP and co-leader Metiria Turei said the inquiry needed to be ”fairly clear in its scope” and restricting the investigation to three disorders would keep the focus on understanding what was lacking and what further resources needed to be provided so every child in New Zealand had a ”fair go” at school.

Turei re-emphasises the contradiction. It’s typical Green marketing practice to package things into soundbites of three, in this case choosing just three disorders to investigate. But that clashes with a general Green theme of giving every child a “fair go”.

”We want to hear from families and schools about what they need and what is clearly lacking, we want to hear about all those experiences so we can get a handle on the scale of the problem,” she said.

Except they only want to get a handle on only some experiences, ignoring the overall scale of any problem.

Ms Turei had been invited to Sara Cohen school events on numerous occasions, Mrs Alexander said, and had failed to ever respond.

”We find that pretty disappointing because of her party and also because she is a local,” Mrs Alexander said.

Ouch. Do Greens only want to hear from families and schools who fit the scope of their packaged inquiries?

Turei is a Dunedin based MP although stands in Dunedin North and Sara Cohen School is in Caversham which is in Dunedin South.

Maybe Greens should have an inquiry into why their rhetoric doesn’t seem to match reality.

McLay has learnt the correct answer

In Question Time in Tuesday Todd McLay, speaking for the Minsiter of Trade, four times avoided answering a reopeated question from Russel orman on the TPP. See  Todd McClay: arrogant stonewalling.

He was prepared for a repeat of Norman’s line of questioning yesterday and had answers ready.

7. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Green) to the Minister of Trade : Will the New Zealand Parliament be able to modify the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement if the Government signs the TPPA; and is it Parliament or Cabinet that ratifies the TPPA?

Hon TODD McCLAY (Acting Minister of Trade): I welcome the question from the member. The Cabinet Manual and the Standing Orders set out the procedure for Parliament’s examination of international treaties, and, as with all international treaties, Parliament is not able to amend parts of a treaty. However, Parliament has significant involvement prior to ratification of an agreement. Although it is the executive that ratifies treaties, Parliament has an important role to play in the treaty examination process. The executive will only ratify a free-trade agreement after Parliament’s completion of treaty examinations.

Dr Russel Norman : So would a correct summary of the Minister’s answer be that the New Zealand Parliament is not able to modify the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement once the Government has signed it, and that it is Cabinet, not Parliament, that ratifies the treaty?

Hon TODD McCLAY : As with my first answer, the rules around this, in so far as the Cabinet Manual and the Standing Orders are concerned, are clear. But it is correct to say that no one single country can amend an agreement unilaterally and therefore not one of the 12 countries can amend the agreement, should agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership be reached. This is the same with agreements that we sign up to under the World Trade Organization and the UN. It is also important, I think, to note that for New Zealand the reason this is something that is in place is so that any hard-fought gains that we receive through that negotiation cannot be changed following agreement.

Dr Russel Norman : Does it strike him as a particularly democratic process when the elected members of the House of Representatives have no ability to influence the negotiation because it is done in secret, elected MPs cannot modify the agreement once it has been signed in secret by the Government, and nor does Parliament have any decisive say over whether New Zealand ratifies the agreement?

Hon TODD McCLAY : It strikes me that this is the same procedure that has been followed for a number of agreements that have gone through this Parliament—indeed, it is the same procedure that took place in the China free-trade agreement, the Hong Kong agreement, and, most recently, the Korean agreement. But I would say, as has been publicly stated, that if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is agreed, we are likely to see a different procedure in the way that it is followed through in this Parliament than was the case with China. It will be close to the Korean agreement, where the agreement was available prior to signing. Certainly, the parliamentary process must be finished before ratification will take place.

Dr Russel Norman : Has he seen the statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s lead negotiator on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which said that all explanatory material from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, such as briefings to Ministers, would be kept secret for 4 years after the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement comes into force; and will not keeping that material secret make it very difficult for ordinary New Zealanders to get their heads around the detail of the treaty, which is the size of a book and is written in—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The Hon Todd McClay—either of those two supplementary questions.

Hon TODD McCLAY : The procedure that will be followed here is that the agreement will be available for the honourable member, others in this Parliament, and the public to see prior to signature. We will need to follow the same procedure that has been in place in this Parliament for all other agreements through the treaty examination procedures before ratification takes place. Our Minister of Trade is negotiating the very best deal possible for New Zealand. The Government has said that it will sign up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement only if it is in the best interests of New Zealand. I think the public will have plenty of time to go over the very detailed text of this agreement before that member gets to cast further doubt upon it.

Dr Russel Norman : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question was specifically about the explanatory material—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! No, I listened very carefully to the question. It was not specific enough; in fact, there were at least two questions in the question. I cannot help the member if he does not ask a concise question to get the answer that might be more satisfactory to him.

Even Danyl Mclauchlan sees the problem with Norman’s approach.

Danyl Mclauchlan ‏@danylmc

If Parliament could modify a trade agreement wouldn’t all the signatories do that and trade agreements be completely pointless?

Yes. The Green approach to trade deals – have all negotiating positions publicised, then when reaching an agreement putting the treaty back to the New Zealand Parliament to discuss, then the Greens can discuss it internally, then Greens can organise protest marches and petitions against it, then if Parliament agrees to ratify the agreement Greens can organise a ‘Citizen’ initiated referendum and insist that if the public are against the treaty we should withdraw, then the Greens still only get about 11% in the next election.

Graeme Edgeler ‏@GraemeEdgeler
It’s why the US negotiators needed fast track authority :-)

Rob Hosking ‏@robhosking
@danylmc Yeah. This is godawfully silly stuff. Student Union politics of the worst kind.

Norman is showing the lack of experience Greens have of being in Government – it’s fine to have democratic ideals, but the reality of running a country means that the Green way isn’t necessarily the best way, nor a way that would work.

Norman must know that the Green way would make it virtualy impossible to reach any meaningful trade agreements.

Good to see that McLay learnt from his poor responses the previous day.

The difficulty with the Left’s leadership

I thionk there’s two key things that many voters look for in political parties and in potential coalitions – a perception of competence, and capable and strong leadership.

The Left have problems in particular on leadership.

So far Andrew Little has failed to inspire as a leader. This is a significant problem for what should be the lead party in a potential coalition.

Winston Peters seems to be setting his sights high. It’s been reported as high as being Prime Minister for at least part of the next term. Peters seems to despise inexperienced wannabees leapfrogging his seniority. He seems to see himself as the de facto Leader of the Opposition.

New Zealand First is currently the smallest of the three Opposition parties. The Greens would presumably and understandably not be happy if Peters took a greater leadership role than them in a three way coalition.

But the Greens have a problem too – their dual leadeership might suit them in at a party level, but at a coalition level it dilutes their leadership.

Peters would not be happy sharing deputy leadership with two Green leaders who were at primary school when he first entered Parliament in 1978 (Shaw was five, Turei was 8).

It’s quite likely that the next election will be contested by John Key, undisputed leader of National, versus Little, Peters, Turei and Shaw, all competing for ascendancy.

When it comes to a leadership contest four versus one could be difficult to sell.

“The core problem we have on the left”

Danyl at Dim-Post has become quite a Green fan boy, but in a post today he has a serious look at problems with the Greens and on the left generally, in Sense and ostensibility:

A core problem we have on the left, I think, is that very few of our MPs actually understand politics. Of course it depends on how you define the term – if you expand it to include policy and ideology and political history and hating neoliberalism then yes, sure, they know about that stuff.

But on the actual core challenge of influencing the public to achieve power they are mostly demonstrably clueless. Worse, they’re blind to their cluelessness. ‘Bad at politics?’ They would snort. ‘Aren’t they MPs? Haven’t they risen to that height through their own political genius? Doesn’t that, by definition, make them awesome at politics?’

Rising to the heights within a party is one thing. Rising from there to the heights of politics is a much bigger leap that many fail to fathom.

Are New Zealand First backbenchers ‘awesome at politics’? They are not. The leader of their party is and he needs people to fill out the rest of his caucus and his backbenchers are really just a bunch of nobodies who’ve lucked into that slot.

There’s little doubt that their place on their list and their seats on Parliament is due to one thing – Winston Peters.

And an awful lot of Labour and Green MPs have done pretty much the same thing. They’ve used parties founded by or led by people with political acumen as vehicles for entry into Parliament, stayed there, some of them for decades, while evidently learning nothing.

This is surprisingly critical of the Greens from a Green supporter.

How many left-wing MPs have won a seat off National recently? How many have taken down a Minister? Won cross-party support for a bill? How many have even increased the party vote in their own electorate?

That’s referring more to Labour. As the Greens are only interested in party vote and list seats they don’t even try and win electorates.

…both of our left-wing parties have contrived to build MMP parties that protect mediocrity and fail to incentivise electoral success. It’s a huge problem. We desperately need party structures that discourage MPs from making ridiculous unforced errors. MPs should be worried about what the 50,000 voters in their electorate will think of their decisions, not their friends in whatever faction empowers them, or the couple dozen activists who engage with them on twitter and support whatever they do.

That points to a significant problem, especially in the Green Party. Their MPs like being lauded and applauded by their own, but have they have trouble appealing to people beyond their bubble.

The most successful opposition MP at the moment is Kelvin Davis. He’s also one of the newest MPs and his background is teaching. And he got in by winning a tough electoral race. That’s telling us something, I think, about the value of all those honors degrees in political science or backgrounds as political staffers or decades of parliamentary experience that his fellow, ineffectual opposition safe-seat or list MPs possess.

It’s a valid point that a significant number of MPs are career politicians without a close conection with the general electorate, either before or after working their way into Parliament through their parties.

The core problem is that many MPs are out of touch with ordinary people and ordinary lives, and seem disinterested in looking beyond their own party core.

They are pandering to and serving their parties to secure long term perks and employment.

Serving the people seems to be a low priority for too many of them.

How should the Greens for example break out of this? They have to be prepared to mingle and debate outside their bubbles, and they have to be prepared to accept that in general their ideals are not shared or wated by most voters.

“Labour and Greens risk alienating their supporters”

The Green Party has just had a lesson in alienating supporters when they opposed David Seymour’s World Cup bar opening legislation. To their credit they quickly realised their mistake and made good.

Their attitude to the flag change referendums also risks alienating suporters, and more importantly, potential Green voters.

And more so Labour with their bizarre uber-hypocritical stance againts ‘the timing of’ the flag change process.

In The great flag debate is just starting to unfurl Audrey Young point’s out the risk of continuing what seemed at first populist opposition.

Labour and Greens risk alienating their supporters who want to make a choice.

Quite what Labour and the Greens will do when the debate gains momentum will present a conundrum for them. They cannot continue to attack the referendum process without indirectly attacking New Zealanders who are interested in it and want to be part of it.

They have ignored a basic principle in politics as in life: to thine own self be true, or the voters will see right through you.

It was understandable for the parties to rail against the Government asset sales programme last term – even though National won a mandate for it – because it was against Labour and Green policy.

But to rail against a review of the New Zealand flag – which National also promised at the last election – when it echoes your own party’s policy is simply dishonest and erodes trust in a party.

How can you trust a party that objects to its own policy?

Labour in particular has made a series of misjudgments over its positioning.

By describing it simply as a “vanity project” of Prime Minister John Key, Labour belittles those who don’t care what John Key thinks but who would like a say in what the flag should be.

Labour is creating a wedge issue among its own supporters, many of whom want a change.

And not just a wedge amongst their own supporters. Their pettiness risks annoying many potential Labour voters.

Sure they might have got feedback that many people bouth the ‘wrong timing’ and ‘should be spent on more important things’ campaign messages, but once the flag debate and the chance of once in a lifetime choice about our flag kicks in then Greens and Labour mayfind themselves wedged by their own petard.

Labour leader Andrew Little this week said he would not vote in the referendum.

And, more absurdly, the party’s flag spokesman, Trevor Mallard, said that in November’s preferential vote he would rank the flag he thought was best the last and the flag he disliked the most the best.

That way, if everyone were as clever as Trevor, the present flag would be pitted against the most horrible one in March, the present flag would stay and John Key could be accused of having wasted time and money.

I wonder if Mallard does similar in Parliament – votes for the legislation he likes the least and against legislation he likes the most?

Maybe he thinks all voters vote the opposite of what they want and that’s why Natiional gets twice the support of Labour

Greens will probably survive this unscathed, and in any case they haven’t been as blatantly hypocriticval as Labour.

But Labour can ill afford to keep alienating different groups of voters.

Espcecially with stances as stupid as in this case, where they are campaigning against their own policy and preferences.

Greens come good with Seymour

After refusing en masse yesterday to agree to David Seymour’s World Cup bar opening bill the Greens have turned things around today and have reached an agreement to allow the re-introduced Bill to progress. Kevin Hague and James Shaw were prominent in changing the Green position.

It doesn’t matter what the initial Green plan was. It could have been to stand firm, or it could have been to hold out for compromises. My impression it was more of the former.

But whether to plan or a pragmatic change of position after listening to the outcry the important thing is that the Greens have successfully negotiated a way for for Seymour’s bill.

Good on them for that.

How the journey starts is not as important as managing to arrive at the same destination.

This is an example of effective politics – involving the most right party with the most left party, but no partisanship in sight today.

It could be a bit of a win within Greens for Hague and Shaw.

And it is a big win for ACT’s David Seymour.

Opening bars for early morning rugby

David Seymour has had an impressive first year in Parliament. He possibly had the biggest challenge of any MP – he had to repair resurrect ACT in Epsom and learn how to be an electorate MP, he had to rebuild the ACT Parliamentary office and learn how to be a Parliamentary MP, he had to set up a working relationship with the Government he is supporting, etc etc.

On top of this he has shown more initiative than most MPs. He has promoted a variety of policies, including picking up responsibility for promoting euthanasia debate because Labour decided they had other priorities and dropped it.

Seymour’s latest effort was this week, to get a bill into Parliament to allow bars to open before dawn when World Cup Rugby games were to be televised.

He got some support prior to the House sitting.

PM says he sees merit in Seymour’s bill, if anyone objects in parliament today the Government could consider taking the bill on.
Labour’s Andrew Little says he is supportive of Seymour’s bar proposal. Caucus to discuss but booze regulation is conscience issue
Little says Parly shouldn’t spend a protracted amount of time on it.

But the Bill could be blocked if any MP objected. Not one MP but the whole Green Party caucus objected (despite Little’s point that it would be a conscience vote which means each individual should decided).

There was a myriad of reassons given.

Greens oppose carte blanche exemption to licensing laws – bars who want to sell alcohol during RWC games can apply for a special licence

The Greens advanced various reasons for opposing. A bad bill (K Hague); other stuff more impt (J. Shaw); harm to kids (Metiria)

also existing laws ok (Hague, Shaw) and ACT is just trying to get attention (Shaw).

They also put out a media release:

Green Party opposes David Seymour’s cheap publicity stunt

The Green Party will today be opposing David Seymour’s Bill which will see bars open for longer during the Rugby World Cup.

“David Seymour is hijacking Parliament’s time today for a cheap gimmick,” said Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague.

“This is his ham-fisted attempt to be a ‘man of the people’ but it actually has the potential to cause some real harm to communities up and down the country.

“Under David Seymour’s Bill, boozed-up people will be spilling out of bars just as parents are dropping their children at school or are on their way to kids’ weekend rugby and netball games.

“We already have regulations in place for bars to apply for special licences for occasions such as this, and many bars have already decided to do this specifically for this year’s Rugby World Cup.

“If bar owners want to screen the rugby outside of their licence hours, then they can apply the normal way through their local council for a special licence.

“This is purely a publicity stunt by David Seymour – nothing more, nothing less.

“If the Government really thinks its own liquor licence law is wrong and decides to introduce a Bill to Parliament to amend it, then we will give due consideration to it,” said Mr Hague.

Looks like Greens own publicity stunt in response. It will probably please the Green base but from the reaction on Twitter not many others were impressed. Unimpressed was more prevalent.

So the Bill will go nowhere unless the Government pick it up and present it.

If that happens John Key will impress a lot of centre New Zealand, and Seymour will get more credit.

Little will probably say something like “it isn’t a Labour priority” and vote for it anyway.

A few people will be able to go to the pub at 5 am to watch some rugby.

And ACT will continue to rebuild.

Peters bigger than democracy?

The prospect of power seems to be going to Winston Peters head.

It’s good, even essential, for politicians to be ambitious. It’ doesn’t look so good when they appear to put themselves above democracy.

3 News reported: Peters: NZ First will decide 2017 election

At a glance that looks like a poor headline. Up until now voters have decided elections.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he will be more powerful than ever by the next election and will decide the next government.

Obviously Peters wants to hold the balance of power after the election and play National off against Labour, trying to use more power than the voters have given him. He may think he is due more power after the voters left him fairly powerless after the last three elections. But i a democracy parties don’t accumulate power credits that they call on in one hit.

Mr Peters’ first job of the day was to hurl criticisms at the media – “your polls are crap”, “stop this nonsense” and “you ask some stupid questions”.

And yet the media keep flocking to feed the beast.

Mr Peters also launched an attack on the Greens, saying it cost the Left last year’s election by attacking Labour, adding the Greens will be irrelevant by 2017.

His memory is different to mine. The Greens wanted to work closely in the campaign with Labour and look like a united option for Government, and Labour turned up their nose at that.

Internet-Mana scared voters away from the left.

While some vote for NZ First to stick one up National the fear of Peters overplaying power almost handed National a majority on their own.

But the biggest culprit of the Left losing last year was Labour.

“Every Green voter knows they can’t make it,” says Mr Peters.

That’s stupid talk. I think in general Green voters have more passion and belief than others – especially Winston voters.

“I expect us to do better than we’ve ever done before by miles.”

Votes are earned, not expected. It looks like Peters’ success in Northland has gone to his head.

Mr Peters also vowed to grow the party membership by more than 10,000 members, or he’ll resign. Moments later, he did a dramatic U-turn, claiming he didn’t say that.

“Maybe I didn’t hear it properly.”

He seems to only hear what he wants to hear. Maybe he didn’t think it through before making a rash promise.

Politicians need to be ambitious, but if they look too cocky, if they look like they want to overplay the power that voters give them, and if they make claims that they don’t mean then it can make enough voters wary to cause an electoral backlash.

Peters will be loving all the attention he gets at his party’s conference, but that looks like it’s going to his head and over inflating an already large ego.

One of Peters’ aims is to out-poll the Greens to give him more coalition negotiating power than the Greens.

Greens co-leader James Shaw tweeted: “Dreams are free.”

“James has been in the game five minutes,” says Mr Peters.

And Peters would hate to have to play second fiddle to a five minute leader.

Another of Peters’ aims will be to be in a position to play National off against Labour. If National and Labour end up close, within a few percent, then Peters may get away with it.

But if National retain a healthy margin over Labour and Peters negotiates baubles of power with Labour over National – and Labour will be more desperate to lead the next Government, then whatever gains NZ First might make this term will probably evaporate, and then some.

If Peters loses credibility again, alongside Labour, then it risks being a one term Government and if that happens it would likely be the end of Peters political career, effectively if not actually.

One thing is certain – there will be many more things in play than Winston Peters come the 2017 election. One thing will be Peters having to divide his attention between holding his Northland electorate and campaigning nationally.

Then there will be how well National weather their third term, whether Andrew Little and Labour manage to look competent, whether Colin Craig is silly enough to through a few more million dollars at an ambition that is now surely futile, whether a hacker feeds Nicky Hager ammunition for another campaign impacting book, whether Kiwis embrace the idea of a new flag identity, and other things we don’t know about yet.

Much of Peters’ success is being seen as anti-power, the maverick fighting against powerful odds.

If Winston promotes power hunger and power monger to much it could backfire on him and New Zealand First.

Democracy has a way of dealing to politicians who play power above the people’s preference.

Green hypocrisy on priority of referendums

Last term the Greens spent a lot of time, effort and money campaigning on promoting a referendum on asset sales. This was a costly exercise in futility because the Mixed Ownership Model legislation had already passed through Parliament.

Costly to the tune of $6.7 million dollars, for what was little more than an extended taxpayer funded campaign for the Greens.

Talking of cost the Greens (with Labour and NZ First) also effectively sabotaged the partial asset sales with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars being lost to the country – see Greens/Labour sabotage could cost MRP float $400m (that is for one sale alone).

In contrast this term the Greens are campaigning against referendums that will give New Zealanders the chance in a lifetime to choose an alternate flag and then to choose whether they want to change to it or not.

Two referendums to ensure we the people have a chance to decide.

Plus an inclusive process that has resulted in over ten thousand design submissions. Many people have put a lot of time and thought and effort into contributing.

But because it suits them this time the Greens oppose the cost of two  referendums that aren’t futile, referendums that give people a real choice.

New Green leader James Shaw was opposing the flag referendums in Parliament yesterday – see the transcript 4. Prime Minister—Flag Referendum

Shaw questioned John Key’s priorities – he wasn’t in Parliament last term when the Greens prioritised in using millions of dollars of  taxpayer money to campaign against asset sales last term, and possible costing the country millions of dollars.

James Shaw : Given that climate change submissions outnumbered flag submissions by 15,000 to 2,300, does he think that changing the flag was the right priority for him to personally champion?

Shaw was promoting a Green sham, trying to equate number of submissions with level of support. Key pointed this out.

When it comes to climate change, the member is right. There were 17,023 submissions received by the Government, but actually most of those were stock standard ones.

They were pro forma and they were prompted by the Green Party. In fact, there were only 1,485 submissions that were unique.

If we go to the flag—something of interest because it was the member’s primary question—he may be interested to know that there were 146,000 views of the New Zealand flag history video, that 6,000 people visited workshops and information stands, and that there were more than 850,000 online visits and about 2.7 million views of the flag gallery.

And there have been over ten thousand flag designs submitted – most of them individual efforts, may of them substantial personal efforts.

Greens seem to want democracy and don’t mind about the cost of democracy when it suits them, but not when it doesn’t fit with their own agenda.

They put a priority on a costly and futile referendum last term. And they put a priority on financially sabotaging asset sales.

But they oppose the Government working on multiple issues concurrently, including climate change and flag change.

Are Greens for or against giving New Zealanders a chance in a lifetime opportunity to decide on an alternate flag design, and then choose if they prefer that or the current flag?

GreensAgaistReferendumsFlying

Is the Green Party for or against referendums?

UPDATE: I posted the above flag on Twitter and @metiria responded:

Pete you do remember we campaigned for a referendum on asset sales and won it?

I’ve asked her if she supports the flag referendums and will post a reply if I get one.

Got one now:

If the flag is going to change it shld be by referendum not govt decision. But its not my priority for spending now.

So she supports the concept of flag decision by referendum but apparently won’t support the planned flag referendums if I read that right.

I’ve prompted her to clarify: ” I’m not asking about priorities, I’m simply asking if you support the flag referendums”.

support the use of a referendum for this decision. I dont support the timing of it or the use of so much money.

So that sounds like she doesn’t support the flag referendums but was happy to have our money spent on her own last term.

Are Greens ignorant or deliberately misleading?

The Greens have made two misleading claims today, one of them being a continuing misrepresentation of democracy.

The first:

Does he accept that only 25% of NZers want to change the flag whereas 87% of NZers are concerned about #climatechange? – @jamespeshaw #nzqt

That’s a basic misunderstanding of democracy – or a deliberate misrepresentation of how democracy works. A binding people’s referendum is about as democratic as you can get and about as good a measure of what people want as you can get. Greens wanted one for asset sales, but they don’t seem to want the flag referendums.

We won’t know how many New Zealanders want to change the flag until we have had both referendums on the flag.

Then:

Given #climate submissions outnumbered flag submissions by 15,000 to 2,300, does he think changing the flag is the right priority? #nzqt

The number of submissions is not a measure of support, but the Greens seem to often claim it is some sort of democratic measure.

It doesn’t measure anything other than the number of people who saw fit to submit. Or as seems oftne the case these days, the number of people the Greens can encourage to submit Green cu and paste templates so they can claim an erroneous level of support.

The Green PR machine even went to a bit of effort to embellish this bollocks.

A #climatetarget for the 0.5% #nzqt

Embedded image permalink

The graphic is sort of correct – it depicts a proportion of submitters.

But the tweet implies it was against 0.5% opposition, but against this is just a measure of how many people the Greens and others motivated to make mass submissions.

The only way of having an accurate measure of support is via a referendum – but as the first example shows, the Greens choose to disregard them when it suits their PR.

Are the Greens ignorant of how democracy works? Or do they deliberately misrepresent it?

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