Greens make it more political

Greens are pushing politically on the handling of the Malaysian diplomat case. They have put out a statement:

McCully ‘should stand down while review considers his actions’

The Green Party is calling for the review into Foreign Affairs’ handling of allegations of attempted rape by a Malaysian Diplomat to be expanded to cover actions of Ministers, and for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to stand down while the review is being held.

The review also needs to be conducted by an external agency, not the Ministry whose actions and inactions need to be independently examined.

“The woman at the centre of these allegations, Tania Billingsley, last night called for Mr McCully to resign, saying he had failed to do his job and that she was still waiting for an apology,” Green Party Co leader Metiria Turei said.

“I’m not about to argue against Ms Billingsley’s call. If I was the Prime Minster I’d seriously take note of everything she said last night.

“It is astonishing that Ms Billingsley was still waiting for an apology from anyone in Government yesterday.

“Mr McCully has said he’d apologised, but an off the cuff apology over the TV doesn’t cut it, especially for a generation that doesn’t even watch it. Mr McCully would never have considered a TV apology good enough for the Prime Minister and it’s not good enough for Ms Billingsley.

“Our position is that the review of MFAT’s handling of this case should be expanded to include Ministers’ actions, and inactions, and that Minister McCully should stand down while this review is going on.

“New Zealand needs those in power to take leadership on the issue of sexual and domestic violence. What happened in Ms Billingsley’s case shows that they didn’t. If Ministers had shown leadership, it’s hard to see that the diplomat would have been allowed to leave New Zealand.

“Ms Billingsley has always said that she wanted him to stay to face trial in New Zealand. We still don’t even know if he’s coming back and that would be understandably distressing for her.

“The New Zealand Government has let Ms Billingsley down and the lack of leadership shown over her case should cause everyone to be concerned,” Mrs Turei said.

It’s not clear what Turei thinks the Government should have actually done. Taken over from the police or  MFAT?

If Greens overplay the politics of the handling of immunity they risk severely diminishing a far more important argument to more generally “take leadership on the issue of sexual and domestic violence.”

Thinking outside the Green square

The Green Party has virtually led the opposition this term. It looks the best organised party apart from National, and it appears to be well funded. Green leadership looks secure and sound.

Greens are overdue for being in government and are ambitious to finally get a share of real power.

But they have a major problem, not of their own doing but a serious impediment to Greens achieving what they want. Labour have seemed an essential part of Green plans but David Cunliffe look like a dead leader walking.

Apart from a weak Labour making a left wing Government look increasingly unlikely the Greens are also hurt by Labour being weak – many voters are sympathetic to some Green input but are wary of too much Green say and too may Green policy. People are uncertain about what a Green dominated coalition might do.

Greens could just resign themselves to being reliant on a Labour recovery and wait. And possibly wait and wait.

But Greens have proven to be smart and also willing to read the political wind and adapt. Green leadership seems well aware of the political need for pragmatism and compromise if a party is to make progress.

They attempted to initiated a campaign partnership with Labour but were rejected.

Will they consider the ultimate in political pragmatism – a coalition with National?

Currently the Green position on working with National is something like “very very unlikely”. But that was determined when Labour+Green looked an electoral possibility. Labour have moved this towards “very very unlikely” and don’t look like changing direction.

They will surely be reassessing this. It’s known that Green activists are not keen on working with National but political pragmatism – and the fear if another three years in the opposition wilderness not knowing if even then Labour will get their act together – must be tempting some in the Green Party to go for a bit of something rather than a lot of nothing.

There would be a number of benefits for Greens going into coalition with National. They would be in a better position to promote some of their policies. They would get some experience at operating in Government and some of their MPs would get experience in ministerial positions.

Their lack of Government experience and their numbers relative to National – something like 55-15 – would mean they wouldn’t be able to claim major roles but they would gain valuable experience and would achieve far more than they could alongside Labour in opposition.

They could prove they can be responsible on Government. This would enhance their chances in 2017.

What about Greens as ministers? Alongside National they would have to accept minor rolls, but this would help easy then into the next level.

Russel Norman with an associate finance role and Metiria Turei in an associate social role – or even Minister of the Environment – would look fine. And Kevin Hague would slot easily into an associate health role.

National would gain from this arrangement as well. They’ve worked successfully on policy with Greens before with insulation schemes, and some more environmental and sustainable influence would be positive.

And it could be easier and safer to work with the principled Greens than Winston Peters or the unknown quantity of Colin Craig.

The country would benefit too from a stable governing arrangement, more social and environmental influence. And once Greens eventually get to be a part of a left leaning government they will be far better experienced.

How would voters see this? I think in the main they would see it as a positive. Swing voters may be far for willing to support Greens if they saw they would be moderated by senior National influence compared to Greens alongside a weak Labour, where voters have some worries about how Green it would be.

Prior to the last election 3 News Reid research polled on a National-Green mix.

We asked voters that if John Key opened the door to a formal coalition deal with the Greens – should the Greens say yes.

  • 55 percent said yes
  • 30 percent said no

Many of those saying no are likely to be Labour supporters who wouldn’t like to be cut out of any deal.

Amongst Green voters:

  • 60 percent said yes
  • 27 percent no

Amongst National voters:

  • 63 percent said yes
  • 25 percent said no

With the current state of the parties, especially Labour’s weakness and fears of the possibility of Labour+Green+NZ First+Internet+MANA or even of National+NZ First then a National-Green alliance may seem even more attractive and less scary to voters.

If John Key saw benefits for National and for the country he should support working with Greens.

Some of the more idealistic in Greens may take more convincing, but the key to successful politics is finding ways of achieving something. Intransigent idealists tend to be impotent. There is far more power in pragmatism.

One of the biggest limiters on Greens increasing their vote is a fear of them having too much influence with their more extreme policies.

National is well supported in the polls but voters are very unlikely to want them to rule with a majority on their own.

Voters may see Greens alongside a much larger National as a much safer bet than most of the current alternatives and they would probably pick up votes that are disillusioned with Labour.

To me National+Green seems to be by far the safest and most sensible choice for the country this year.

Both parties would need to signal there willingness to work together clearly prior to the election. It would likely help both their chances.

Green Party list confirmed

The Green Party have released their final party list as decided by members. This has changed slightly from the draft list.

Green Party 2014 Election Official List
1. TUREI, Metiria
2. NORMAN, Russel
3. HAGUE, Kevin
4. SAGE, Eugenie
5. HUGHES, Gareth
6. DELAHUNTY, Catherine
7. GRAHAM, Kennedy
8. GENTER, Julie Anne
9. MATHERS, Mojo
10. LOGIE, Jan
11. CLENDON, Dave
12. WALKER, Holly
13. SHAW, James
14. ROCHE, Denise
15. BROWNING, Steffan
16. DAVIDSON, Marama
17. COATES, Barry
18. HART, John
19. KENNEDY, Dave
20. ELLEY, Jeanette
21. McDONALD, Jack
22. MOORHOUSE, David
23. ROTMANN, Sea
24. BARLOW, Aaryn
25. LECKINGER, Richard
27. RUTHVEN, Susanne
28. MOORE, Teresa
30. WOODLEY, Tane
31. PERLEY, Chris
32. GOLDSMITH, Rachael
33. KELCHER, John
34. ROGERS, Daniel
35. WESLEY, Richard
36. SMITHSON, Anne-Elise
37. McALL, Malcolm
38. FORD, Chris
39. HUNT, Reuben

Interesting to see Turei still at number 1, Greens tend to swap leaders’ responsibilities and opportunities but the members have placed her above Norman again.

Green Party unveils strong party list for 2014 election

“This is a diverse and balanced list. There are 10 women and 10 men in our top 20, six Aucklanders, four Maori and the first deaf candidate in the top 10 of any party’s list in MMP history.

“The Green Party list truly represents the diversity of the New Zealand population. We are proud of the candidates we are putting forward to be elected.

“This list was ranked by our members and is the most democratic list put forward by any of the major parties.

There’s several (three at least) likely to return to Parliament who were born overseas – this also reflects the diversity of the immigrant population.

A question asked at Kiwiblog: “Why do the Greens not have any constituency MPs/candidates? Is this a tactical thing or something?”

Turei clarified the Green position on this recently when Marama Davidson sounded like she was keen on campaigning for her electorate. I asked her if there are any circumstances Greens would contest an electorate or Greens will maintain a total party vote focus.

Metiria Turei ‏@metiria

We’d have to consider party polls, personal polls, overall benefit to parliamentary presence.

We expect to contest to win electorates in the future but for now its all Party Vote Green.


Davidson not contesting Tāmaki Makaurau

Green candidate for the Tāmaki Makaurau electorate Marama Davidson now says she will only work for the party vote. This was in response to speculation about whether the Green Party might actively contest the electorate  after comments made on Twitter – see  Will Greens target Tāmaki Makaurau? -

All the work I’m doing is for Party Vote. Specific campaigning for TM yes. I can rep it as listMP

Why cant you consider campaigning as a constituent MP if you have a chance of being elected? ANd get list vote too…

That would be a decision for the Party’s campaign committee. Current policy is party vote only in all seats.

I am geographically & experience wise perfectly placed to represent this electorate via Party Vote.

This is in line with the normal Green approach but it seems odd to not contest the electorate vote but say you will represent the electorate if you get in on the list.

There’s hints of tension between the natural inclination of a keen and ambitious candidate versus the need (demand) to stay in step with the party campaign focus.

And Metiria Turei has now confirmed:

It always sounds easier than it is. Party Vote Green if you want Marama Davidson in Parliament.

I’ve asked if there are  any circumstances Greens would contest an electorate or Greens will maintain a total party vote focus.

We’d have to consider party polls, personal polls, overall benefit to parliamentary presence.

We expect to contest to win electorates in the future but for now its all Party Vote Green

That sounds like it means for this election.

Greens and deputy Prime Minister

Green co-leader Metiria Turei talked about the possibility of having Green co-deputy Prime Ministers in a Labour-Green coalition on The Nation. It won’t be easy to negotiate two top ranks in a coalition cabinet. Much will depend on the parties relative numbers – and Winston Peters.

The Nation – Greens aim for co-deputy PM role.

The Greens could share the deputy Prime Minster role in a coalition with Labour, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman last month said he was keen on the role.

Ms Turei said she would like to be deputy Prime Minister along with Dr Norman.

“There’s no rules that stop there from being more than one deputy Prime Minister,” she told The Nation.

“Russel and I have had a co-leadership role in the Greens that’s worked very well for the Green Party. I think something similar would work very well for the country as well.”

They would divide the position the same way they do as co-leaders, she said.

“We each have our own expertise. We have our own roles that we play and we do that work.”

How much negotiating sway they had would depend on the size of their vote, Ms Turei said.

I don’t see a problem in general with having two deputy Prime Ministers. And having someone like Turei to stand up to some of the Labour cabinet might do them some good.

The biggest problem with the idea is balance of power. Greens having positions 2= and 2= in cabinet would be a very hard sell, especially if Winston Petersis in the mix, but even if it’s just Labour and Greens.

They might be able to get around this by the Greens being allocated two positions in Cabinet’s ranking, say 2 and 6, with Norman and Turei alternating eighteen months in each position.

Turei is right, it will depend a lot on the size of each party’s vote and their number of MPs in coalition.

If Greens and NZ First get a similar number of MPs it will be difficult for Greens to negotiate two near top ranks. If Labour continue to struggle and dropped their current proportion (27% at the last election) – and on current performance this is not out of the question – and Greens grow their vote then their negotiating strength will be greater.

Cannabis law reform alive overseas, dead as a cold turkey here

Cannabis law changes are happening around the world, including in some US states. But the chances of anything happening on it here in the foreseeable future look slim.

The use and abuse of cannabis and the associated legal and criminal issues surrounding cannabis in New Zealand are substantial, but politicians don’t want to go there.

National are not likely to consider let alone allow any relaxing of the laws related to cultivation and use of cannabis.

David Cunliffe has said Labour are not interested in doing anything.

“They can put on the table what they want to put on the table, but Labour’s policy is not to decriminalise cannabis,” says Mr Cunliffe.

‘They’ is the Greens but they don’t seem very interested. From Labour, Greens crack over cannabis views:

If the Green Party had its way it would immediately allow for medicinal marijuana and legal action for violent offences would be prioritised over possession.

The next step is decriminalisation with a legal age limit of 18.

For one party it’s the only issue, and before joining the Greens Ms Turei was a member of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.

“It won’t be one of our major priorities, but it is our policy and we’re not ashamed of that,” she says.

And when interviewed on The Nation last week Russel Norman also sounded less than enthusiastic.

And that could include carrying on fracking, now decriminalisation of cannabis. We had Colin Craig on here, he spoke to Simon a few weeks ago – we asked him this, have you ever smoked a joint? Have you ever smoked a joint?

Yeah, yeah, of course I’ve smoked a joint.

Yeah, so decriminalisation of cannabis, that’s a Green party policy, it’s been a Green party policy down the ages. Will you pursue that in a Labour/Green government?

It’s still part of our policy and so whether it’s part of the priorities – so what we do is before each election is we announce our ten point priority list, right? And we did it last time and we’ll do it again this time and so in any post-election negotiations, you’ll know the what are the key areas we’re going to prioritise. So, I doubt –

So where will that be?

Yeah, yes. So I doubt – we haven’t decided it, right? But I doubt that decriminalisation will be one of the top ten. But, that’s up to the party to decide, but I doubt that will be.

Sure, ok. So, decriminalisation, you’re not into it really. But the TPP -

Well, no Paddy. You can paraphrase it like that, but it doesn’t mean that we -

But let’s move on…

Not a priority and Norman virtually ruled it out of any coalition negotiations where Greens would have most chance of making something happen.

With none of the three largest parties interested in initiating anything on cannabis law reform, and no sign of any small parties being interested, the chances if anything happening look as alive as a cold turkey.


Who would Greens want as deputy PM?

If Greens get to form the next government with Labour they would presumably be pushing for a high position for one of their co-leaders., especially going by the latest poll result that has them up 3.3 to 13% while Labour are down 5.9 to 29.5%.

These results aren’t promising for a left leaning coalition, and NZ First are in the danger zone at 3.6% (down 0.3), but if support rose in similar proportions to this result Labour would have a little more than double the number of MPs to the Greens. That would make a good case for scoring a deputy PM position.

Who would the Greens put forward as their top choice?

Yesterday Greens released their ‘initial party list’ for the upcoming election. While the list positions are subject to possible member initiated change…

“The list we are releasing today is by no means final. It is just a useful guide for members all over the country to use when making their own personal selection.”

The initial list is put together by delegates and candidates who attended the party’s February candidate conference. Delegates were able to put candidates through their paces and evaluate their performance. The initial list now goes to party members nation-wide to vote on. The Green Party uses STV voting.

the current pecking order is:

The list:

1 Turei, Metiria

2 Norman, Russel

Would Greens use the final list position to determine who was promoted for a top Government position? They could try to get co-deputy PM spots but that may be difficult to negotiate, it means Greens would hold two of the top three government positions.

The latest NZ Herald Digipoll ranks the Green leaders differently. Obviously it polls across the spectrum.

Preferred PM:

  • Russel Norman 5.2% (up 2.2)
  • Metiria Turei 0.7% (down 0.1%)

There’s a clear public preference for Norman over Turei.

Deputy PM will be acting PM at times when the Prime Minister is out of the country.

There is nothing in the Green Party constitution about how they would negotiate coalition government positions.

Constitution of The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand 4 June 2012.pdf



Fundraising for defamation case – Green on Green

A letter by Russel Norman on the Green Party website asking for donations to defend himself against the defamation action being taken against him by by Colin Craig.

Donate to defend free speech


Kia ora,

All New Zealanders should be treated equally and with respect.

A few weeks ago I spoke at the Big Gay Out and in my speech I made some remarks about the Conservative Party leader Colin Craig’s views about women and gay people.

Now Mr Craig is taking me to court for defamation.

I am proud of the comments I made, and I stand by them.

I am proud of the record my party has advancing the rights of women and gay people.

And I believe it is vital to democracy that political leaders are able to challenge and scrutinise each others views – this robust debate is vital to a healthy democracy.

Donate to our legal fund to defend a healthy democracy – a democracy that allows the Greens and other political parties to champion the rights of all New Zealanders..

Don’t allow Mr Craig, a millionaire, to silence the Green Party and anyone else who speaks up against his party’s 1950s mind-set.

It’s not the first time Mr Craig has taken legal action to silence those that speak up against his party’s views. Our democracy is threatened by this litigious approach to silencing dissent and debate.

We need to raise $70,000. Please make a donation today.

If you want us to keep speaking up for a fairer and more compassionate New Zealand then any donation you can make will help.

By making a donation to our legal fund you’ll be part of something big – fighting for our freedom of speech.

I hope you’ll stand with me to ensure that we are not silenced by those with deep pockets and divisive agendas.

For every dollar you give, you are helping us to take an important stand.

Russel Norman

* You should know that any funds not used in the court case will go towards the Green Party’s work to create a smarter, cleaner, more compassionate New Zealand for all of us.

Metiria Turei has posted a link on Facebook and commented:

Standing up for the rights of women and the right to free speech is essential for a genuinely progressive country. If you agree, please add your name and some dollars to this defence fund. Mx

Green Party member Alan Bell responds.

Totally misguided and somewhat deceitful. Nothing to do with free speech. Russel could well have spoken about Green policy without referring to Craig.

Does the Green party so underestimate our intelligence as to infer we are unable to evaluate Craig for ourselves? Do the Greens plan to repeal the Defamation Act? Will the Greens introduce policy that means access to the courts is available to all rather than only the wealthy? Russel made his bed and should lie in it – his political stunt backfired.

As a paid up member of the Green party I expect my representatives to stand up for the rights of all NZers including women and homosexuals and respect my ability to gauge for myself the policies of other parties. Craig has a right to defend himself against defamation – I despise the man and hope his case falls over.

But I also think positing this as a defence of free speech and LGBT and womens’ rights is a load of bollocks and a stain on the integrity of the party.

MPs are are on far more than “middle income” (as Cunliffe should know) so you lot can pay for it.

Solar power surge

Solar power generating capacity is set to increase by 20.9% this year after a similar surge of 20.3% last year. In 2012 the growth was only 4.4%.

Solar developers around the world will install record capacity this year as a thriving Chinese market drives growth, a Bloomberg survey showed as manufacturers in the $102 billion industry began to return to profit.

About 44.5 gigawatts will be added globally, a 20.9 percent increase on last year’s new installations, according to the average estimate of nine analysts and companies. That’s equal to the output of about 10 atomic reactors. Last year new capacity rose by 20.3 percent, after a 4.4 percent gain in 2012.

See: Chinese Solar Growth to Underpin Record Global Expansion in 2014

This states the increase equates to about 44.4 gigawatts which is the equivalent of about ten atomic reactors. This would appear to mean power plants with multiple reactors – according to the table of power stations here reactors seem to average around 1,000 MW but most have multiple reactors with a total plant capacity ranging up to Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant with seven reactors for a total capacity of 7.9 GW.

More important for reducing emissions is replacing the need for oil and coal fired power. That the increase in solar power capacity is being driven by China reflects both it’s manufacturing dominance and also it’s need for cleaner energy.

China’s industrial growth has resulted in major smog problems – see SMOG HELPED GIVE SMAUG HUGE OPENING IN CHINA.

I picked up the link to Chinese Solar Growth from a tweet from Metiria Turei. This is good news for her party’s green energy aspirations and adds weight to the usefulness of their solar energy policy announced recently – Green Party launches Solar Homes policy.

Increasing volume production of solar generators will encourage technological improvements and will help bring prices down which will make home installations a more cost effective and attractive option.

Greens see red over dissent

David Hay split the Green watermelon and the leadership saw red over the comments and actions of the dissenting party member and have suspended his party membership for a year “while he reflects on what it means to work as part of a team”.

This has been called code for “learn to STFU and support the leaders!”

The Report to Green Party Executive from the panel to investigate the membership of David Hay recommends that:

We believe it is important to take some action to indicate that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated but that he could be a valuable member of the party in the future if he changes his attitude. Therefore we recommend the following:

  1. The executive write a letter of censure to David, pointing out that his behaviour with regard to the press releases and release of documents was totally unacceptable, and suspending his membership of the Green Party for a year while he reflects on what it means to work as part of a team. The letter needs to make explicit that there is a firm expectation that he will accept and observe the disciplines for raising differences within the Greens’ channels of debate if he chooses to resume his membership following his suspension.

The clamp down on a dissenting voice has been strongly criticised. David Farrar says at Kiwiblog:

Suspending a member is very rare. Unless the member does something such as stand for another party, it is rare for disciplinary action to reach this level.

Hay says he will not rejoin the party under the current leadership.

The Green bubble is unique in politics. Inside the party the leaders are praised, lauded, virtually worshipped.

There is plenty of criticism from outside the bubble but Greens tend to be so convinced of and supported in their righteousness (or lefteousness) that they shrug this off as unfair and invalid. An internal critic has been seen as a class traitor.

The boy who pointed out the co-emperors clothes were a bit shabby has been sent to the naughty corner.

Kiwi in America comments:

The left’s true colours are revealed. This is being done for no other reason than stifling dissent – the Greens admit as much. Heck demote him from senior office, reduce his list ranking, send him to Coventry – that’s how most parties discipline someone who makes serious trouble.

An outright suspension of membership is a very serious matter and you can count on the fingers of one hand party members actually expelled by National and Labour – Winston Peters for the former and John A Lee for the latter. Heck even Labour readmitted John Tamahere after he called the sisterhood front bums!

Of course in true Orwellian doublespeak this is not an expulsion but a suspension with reinstatement after Hay admits he now loves Big Brother!

This is Norman’s personal thin skin added to the socialists natural tendency to suppress dissent. People forget the Greens are watermelons and this is the red on the inside showing itself. Lenin would be proud.

Harsh but it does look a bit like that. He adds:

David Hay challenged Norman and Turei for the leadership because he felt the Greens under representation and lack of effort in greater Auckland (effectively almost 1/3 of NZ’s population) was holding the party back. That sounds like the kind of robust debate that all DEMOCRATIC parties have internally.

For his achievement of more than doubling of the Green PARTY vote (you know the one that helps them get more MPS into Parliament) in Epsom, he was accused of spending too much time building the Green electorate vote there.

His real crime was taking the shine off dear co-Leaders and allowing negative media coverage of said virginal pure leaders.

The Greens have sold themselves as above the fray of grubby party politics, of a fresh new democratic way. Their meetings, literature and website all preach inclusion and their tortuous processes are supposed to be so transparent and democratic.

The reality is that democracy was far from Norman and Turei’s minds as was transparency.

Rather than have the internal debate (like Labour had) and allow the Green party membership to assess the merits of Mr Hay’s challenge, he was kicked out of the party with the ‘suggestion’ he go get some re-education which is code for: learn to STFU and support the leaders!

The Norman/Turei Greens certainly seem more high and mighty and less down to earth than the Fitzsimons/Donald version.


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