Metiria Turei versus John Key (Ratana speech)

Metiria Turei continued a tradiotion of “the Māngai spent his life confronting politicians” in her prepared speech for Ratana yesterday.

In fact due to time constraints she didn’t get to make her speech but she distributed her speech notes.

Here is the part of Turei’s speech that referred to John Key.

I want to speak today about one aspect of that legacy, and that is the Māngai’s efforts to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The Māngai spent his life confronting politicians and Pākehā society about the need to provide redress for past injustices and to move forward as a true partnership.

Even now, in 2015, we are still struggling to truly honour the agreement that lies at the foundation of our nation.

This came to a head last month, with the release of stage one of the Waitangi Tribunal’s inquiry into the Treaty claims of Te Paparahi o Te Raki. The decision reflected decades of scholarship and affirms what we, as tangata whenua, have always known: that the Māori text of Te Tiriti o Waitangi never ceded the tino rangatiratanga of Māori over our lands, peoples and resources.

To have this stated, once and for all, was huge. It was an enormous step forward. But the Prime Minister’s response was to knock us several steps back.

John Key had the gall to claim that NZ was settled “peacefully,” as if all Māori grievances evaporated into irrelevance on his command.

But he didn’t finish there. In an attempt to really put us in our place, John Key said Māori would have been grateful for the injection of capital early Pākehā brought with them when they settled in Aotearoa.

Māori would have been grateful. For the capital.

The Prime Minister’s warped and outrageous view of history is deeply offensive to Māori but it also undermines decades of effort by Māori and Pākehā, including even by his own Government, to address some of the historic wrongs and to encourage an understanding of Aotearoa’s true history, both the good and the bad.

While in recent times Governments have made significant progress in completing historical settlements, all too often these are undermined as Ministers resort to cynical dog-whistle tactics that play to the widespread ignorance of Te Tiriti and, in so doing, shore up their Government’s short term political goals.

Sadly, this has long term consequences for all of us, Māori and non-Māori, by entrenching prejudice and wedging us further apart.

We saw this when John Key allowed Pita Sharples to sign the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous peoples in New York, giving the Māori Party a token win and then immediately undermining that by telling journalists the declaration would have “no practical effect.”

And therein lies the rub. John Key can’t actually abide by that declaration because that would mean acknowledging that the Māori text of Te Tiriti is the only legitimate and legally binding text. That would mean conceding that tangata whenua never ceded tino rangatiratanga. That the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Christopher Finlayson, was so quick to dismiss the Tribunal’s ruling and assert the Crown’s sovereignty, prove that National won’t do this.

I am proud that the Green Party has, for many years, held the Māori text of Te Tiriti as a core part of our party’s constitutional arrangements.

I was honoured, today, to walk on to this marae alongside Labour’s new leader Andrew Little. I am very much looking forward to working with, and getting to know Andrew better.

Our respective parties are focussed on changing the Government in 2017. The Greens are committed to creating a new Government which will be better for Māori and better for Aotearoa New Zealand.

That alternative stands in stark contrast to the current Government that believes New Zealand was settled peacefully and that our people were somehow grateful – grateful for the bloodshed, the loss of millions of hectares of land.

Grateful. For the capital.

From Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei’s Rātana speech

Interesting to see that Turei (with Greens ap;proval presumably) has chosen to start the year in attack mode.

NZ Herald reported Ratana: Turei launches stinging attack on Key

Ratana elders usually frown upon using the occasion for a political speech, but Ms Turei was unrepentant.

“This is a political event. We need to come here and front up to Maori about our Maori policy, our Treaty policy and explain ourselves. And that’s what I’m doing.”

She said Mr Key had to be taken to task for a “disgraceful way to describe New Zealand’s history”.

Green gloves are off.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English is filling in for Mr Key and it was left to him to defend the PM.

Mr English said the Greens were “nasty” on occasion and it didn’t serve them well.

“John Key has developed a very positive relationship with Maori even though there isn’t very strong political support among Maori for National. He has focused on a lot of areas they want him to focus on. So I don’t think the audience will be too impressed by it.”

Time will tell whether this is blast at the past from Turei or whether it signals an intention for an aggressive approach by Greens this year.

The joke’s on the nannies of Ratana

Ratana seems to get media attention due to being the first political gathering of the year, but it’s hardly a scene setting event.

Claire Trevett’s focus on what the nannies of Ratana laughed at trivialised what is in the whole scheme of our politics a fairly trivial event.

NZ Herald: Andrew Little survives at Ratana but Peters steals show

Andrew Little has survived his first address to Maori at Ratana but was well and truly upstaged by NZ First leader Winston Peters when it came to wooing the nannies.

Mr Little managed to get through his speech without looking at his notes. He even managed to get in a few jokes, saying of the prophet Ratana that he was “80 years ahead of Gareth Morgan. And he didn’t have a book to sell”.

However, he didn’t get many laughs…

Success at Ratana is how many laughs the politicians get?

If that’s the case Metiria Turei must have been the big loser, choosing to spit tacks at John Key.

But on the marae, Mr Little was followed by Mr Peters who had them rolling on the paepae with his first quip that politicians were “fast on the lip and slow on the hip”.

They were still laughing when he told them their koha “was in the email. We’re a modern party”.

Even Deputy Prime Minister Bill English managed to get more laughs than Mr Little…

That’s a serious dig being upstaged by dour Bill.

The nannies said afterwards that they thought Mr Little was a bit boring but gave him leeway as a first-timer.

They were far more enamoured with Mr Peters’ pitch. So the nannies will do their own annual review next year. Be warned, Mr Little.

Yes, be warned that some of the politicians and media think that Ratana is a joke.

But don’t be too worried about the nannies of Ratana. They’re hardly a pivotal political demographic.

Barbed wire bum

It’s often amused me to see how political activists on the political extremes don’t understand how anyone can see things both left and right to praise and criticise. And they also don’t tolerate non-strongly aligned politics.

Vto at The Standard aimed this barb at me today:

I really don’t know how you manage to sit on the fence all your bloglife and not end up with numerous barbed wire gashes interrupting your thought processes on a daily, hourly, minutely basis ……………….

But I don’t have a barbed wire bum problem. I try to see both sides of arguments and the good and bad on both sides of politics. That’s quite different to sitting on the fence. I sometimes express strong views on issues and policies, but I don’t see them red or blue, black or white, left or right.

The vto’s of the blogosphere expect everyone to have one eyed views like them, either totally for or totally against.

Practical politics doesn’t work like that. Most politics involves finding common ground, compromising, and settling on policies far closer to the centre than the fringes.

‘Karol’ quotes Metiria Turei from Radio NZ:

Turei adds that politics goes in cycles, and she expects that over the current term, the pendulum will swing against Key’s government and their very radical policies.

There’s little radical about Key’s government, clling them that is laughable. National gets as much criticism for being non-radical (moderate conservatism) from the right as it gets for being extreme or radical from the left.

That means they are somewhere in between. It doesn’t mean they are sitting on the fence. It just means that most politics is done closer to the centre ground. And fringe activists remain frustrated.

Confronting war versus promoting peace

John Key has outlined the Government approach to dealing with the Islamic State threat in the Middle East. There have been a variety of reactions.

Audrey Young at NZ Herald reports on what Key said in John Key: Kiwi forces will help train Iraqis fight ISIS

Three NZ Defence Force personnel have already left for the Middle East to scope out a role for New Zealand forces to help train Iraqi forces fight Isis, probably in conjunction with Australia.

But any such training would be done “behind the wire” and would be undertaken by regular forces on a base, not by the SAS, Prime Minister John Key said today.

“New Zealand cannot and should not fight Iraqis’ battles for them. I am ruling out New Zealand sending SAS or any troops into combat roles in Iraq.”

Later he said the SAS could be deployed to help to protect a base in which New Zealand Forces were conducting training.

Mr Key said the role of the SAS would not be similar to the “aid and assist” role in Afghanistan, which saw it accompany the Afghanistan Crisis Response Unit on jobs.

The Dominion Post (Stuff) raises fears and dramatics in Key lights a fuse that may fire up terror:

It may not have been coincidence that John Key chose Guy Fawkes day to light a bonfire under New Zealand’s complacency about being far removed from terrorism.

Key’s landmark speech outlining New Zealand’s national security risks paints a stark picture of the rising threat from within.

There are radicalised Islamic State sympathisers living and working among us, some of them actively discussing terrorist acts on New Zealand soil, Key told a Wellington audience.

They included those thwarted in their wish to take up arms in Syria with the Islamic State (Isis) and who now posed a threat to New Zealand’s safety and security.

With the recent shooting at the Canadian Parliament still fresh in people’s minds, few will quibble at Key’s view that we can no longer rely on our place at the bottom of the world protecting us from such acts.

They stress the threat:

But that does not minimise the nature of the threat from Isis and its chilling use of social media to spread its “kill a Westerner” message.

That could be brought even closer to home if Isis makes specific threats to New Zealand after Key’s announcement yesterday of a military contribution. That contribution is likely to be limited and confined to training Iraqi forces.

But Isis is unlikely to draw that distinction.

Karol at The Standard quotes Metiria Turei’s idealistic view in Turei for peace & freedom: rejects politics of fear

The Green Party stands for peace and freedom.

Peace is the best weapon we have in achieving personal security. It is a simple fact that New Zealanders are safest in a peaceful world.

And our democracy is only as strong as our personal freedoms. When personal freedoms are eroded our democracy is weakened.

Today, John Key has eroded both our quest for peace at home and abroad, and eroded New Zealanders personal freedoms.

By offering support the US led war with ISIS we are part of a strategy that reduces the prospects of enduring peace in the Middle East; and in the process we are also being told that we have to give up freedoms here at home too.

Conclusion

Mr Speaker

Today I speak on behalf of a truly independent foreign policy that works for peace as the best form of security.

A foreign policy that aligns foreign and domestic interests.

I speak on behalf of our personal freedoms. I put them on a pedestal, only to be eroded in the most extreme of circumstances.

And I speak on behalf of those New Zealanders who believe in alternatives to war and fear; those who aspire to peace and freedom.

We can build a better world, but it will require a better approach than the one outlined by the Prime Minister today.

Most people want peace – but when some people are intent on war doing nothing won’t stop them. Pacifism didn’t do much good for the Moriori.

Karol concludes:

Today Metiria Turei was bold and clear.  She showed a positive way forward.  I give her a standing ovation!

Rather than accept the narrative Key is trying to build, Turei identities and rejects that narrative. At the same time, she provides an alternative narrative, with a positive way forward.

The real world needs the promotion of peace, but it also needs to confronting of warmongers.

The Green ceiling

The Greens had high hopes for their party vote this election, expecting an upward trend to continue. Targets and claims were 15% and higher. If you believed their hype like Greens did a significant improvement was not only feasible, it was a certainty.

Green reaction to a mediocre result shock, disbelief that their rising greatness wasn’t reflected in the polls. Depending on the special vote count they may barely get the same as in 2011, which to Greens is a pounding of their pride and expectations.

But from outside the Green bubble it is not surprising, despite Labour’s weakness leaving many left wing votes up for grabs.

While many people have some admiration for Green advocating on environmental issues there are strong concerns for too much Green influence, especially anywhere near Government. This is due to extreme stances, such as moratoriums and bans on anything to do with fossil fuel and mineral exploration and extraction.

And it’s due to their strong socialist leanings and policies. Greens try to disguise their socialism with do-good fronts like lifting children out of poverty, but many voters see through their solutions, which invariably mean giving everyone the same amount of money and housing, all provided or imposed by the State.

Making things better for kids and poor people is admirable and should be given more political attention. Greens have succeeded there. But there is not a lot of support for their blanket ‘handout’ approach, which many people see as idealistic and unworkable.

A major push for Green growth was based on giving much more attention to their economic credentials and ambitions. Instead this helped fix the Green ceiling in place.

A common phrase that’s associated with Greens having anything to do with running the country’s finances is “scare the bejeebers”.

At a time when the country is just emerging (relatively successfully) from the worst world financial situation in generations there is a wariness of starting a Government spending spree, handing out money and houses to every poor person who “deserves” as good as anyone else regardless of their efforts.

It’s ironic that a party that campaigned hard on having a forward looking “smarter cleaner” economy wants to achieve their aims through last century socialism.

There’s also a number of conflicting images.

Rod Donald, Jeanette Fitzsimons and Nandor Tanczos looked and acted like real Greens. Sue Bradford looked and acted like a sleeves rolled up social campaigner.

While Greens transitioned to new leadership very successfully and improved their vote Russel Norman and Metiria Turei look  very different to their target constituency. Bradford left the party when she missed out on the leadership (and this year she left the Mana Party when they betrayed their principles by joining forces with Kim Dotcom).

Green election results:

  • 1999 – 106,560 votes, 5.16%
  • 2002 – 142,250 votes, 7.00%
  • 2005 – 120,521 votes, 5.30%
  • 2008 – 157,613 votes, 6.72%
  • 2011 – 247,372 votes, 11.06%
  • 2014 – pre-specials 210,764 votes, 10.02%

Greens will have picked up a significant share of Labour’s decline in 2011 but although Labour kept shedding votes this year Greens weren’t able to capitalise.

The Greens seem to have hit a support ceiling and unless they change markedly 10-12% is likely to be their limit.

And they will be a little nervous about Gareth Morgan proposing a ‘blue-green’ party that is prepared to promote environmental issues with any government with a more pragmatic and effective approach, and without the socialism.

Greens do contribute significantly to Parliament and will be partly responsible for National paying more attention to environmental and “poverty” issues. But they haven’t yet been a part of Government after nearly two decades of trying.

And a support ceiling won’t prevent them from declining due to competition and ongoing impotence.

Environment not a Green Party priority?

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.

Greens: We won’t be shut out again

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.

Greens condone dirty political hacking

The Green Party has condemned dirty politics including the accessing of a Labour computer (of unsecured data) but appear to condone the hacking of Cameron Slater’s computer for political purposes – this is at least as dirty as anything Greens have complained about.

This makes them look extremely one sided and hypocritical.

Green Farm: Data privacy is paramount unless it helps us score political hits.

The Greens reacted strongly to Nicky Hager’s book ‘Dirty Politics’ including making a police complaint over the alleged hacking of a Labour Party computer. But the Greens have not said anything about the hacking of Cameron Slater’s computer and the dumping of mostly vague insinuations into an election campaign.

While condemning some things they appear to be condoning or turning a blind eye to what looks obviously like illegal hacking of Slater’s computer.

Greens say they have lodged complaints with the police on number of issues – Green Party to lodge official complaints.

The Green Party will today lodge complaints with:

  • Parliamentary Service over John Key’s senior advisor Jason Ede’s alleged involvement in inappropriately supplying confidential information to blogger Cameron Slater
  • Police over the possibility that officials working for Mr Key corruptly used or disclosed any information, acquired by him or her in his or her official capacity, to obtain, advantage
  • Police over allegations of blackmail involving former ACT leader Rodney Hide
  • Police over allegations of unauthorised access to a computer system under Sections 249 and 252  of the Crimes Act
  • the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security over allegations that sensitive documents were declassified in order to be used as political smears.
  • the Privacy Commissioner over allegations that Minister Judith Collins leaked private information

Some of those are fair queries, although lodging complaints with the police seems to be a heavy hammer – especially as some of their complaints look like being premature as some have been are being or have been dealt with by those involved.

The “unauthorised access to a computer system” presumably relates to accessing a Labour server – Labour have deferred dealing with this until after the election, see Labour to wait until after election to pursue legal action over ‘Dirty Politics’ allegations.

Rodney Hide has strongly denied the claims about him – see Rodney Hide: Hager’s ‘explosive’ claim a fizzer.

It has been counter-claimed that the “leaked private information” was publicly available information.

But by failing to condemn the hacking of Slater’s computer Greens have taken a very one-sided stance.

Metiria Turei stated:

“John Key has degraded our democracy,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Tūrei said.

“New Zealand prides itself on a clean and transparent political system and National has eroded that.

“The National Government is up to its neck in dirty politics and may have broken the law while smearing opponents.

“The New Zealand public cannot have any confidence in our democracy until these claims are investigated and offenders held to account.

I agree that Cameron Slater degrades our democracy – but that doesn’t excuse the illegal hacking of his private data as the Greens appear to be doing.

Greens have previously taken strong stands to protect the privacy of data. See

Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill

The Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill is designed to protect human rights in the digital environment.
The rights and freedoms in the Bill apply to both the state and private sectors as each have a responsibility to act ethically and in good faith towards Internet users.

The Bill proposes 10 rights and freedoms for the Internet:

  1. The right to access
  2. Freedom from search, surveillance and interception
  3. Freedom of expression
  4. Freedom of association
  5. Right to privacy
  6. Right to encryption technology
  7. Right to anonymity
  8. Right to a safe and secure Internet
  9. Freedom of innovation
  10. Freedom from restriction
Freedom from search, right to privacy and right to anonymity all appear to have been breached by whoever hacked Slate’s information and by Nicky Hager.
That the Greens seem to show no concern about this is disturbing. They are supposed be the clean Greens but they appear to be condoning dirty politics when it suits their own agenda.

Greens promoting love, practicing hate?

While the Green Party is promoting love activists connected to the party seem to be continuing a campaign of hate.

The ‘nice Green’ image from the days of Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons are long gone as Green activists seem to be continuing a hate campaign against John Key in a spate of hoarding attacks.

The current Green slogan of ‘Love New Zealand’ doesn’t seem to apply to political opponents. I’ve seen and been on the receiving end of Green nastiness in social media. This arrogant attack streak in Green ranks seems to be prevalent this election campaign.

There appears to be a continued defacement campaign around the country and in Dunedin. Last Wednesday the Otago Daily Times highlighted hoarding hate with a National hoarding smeared with “casual Fascists – MP slams sign taggers:

A picture of the defaced billboard was uploaded on Facebook, with the first comment ”Vote Green not the fascist regime!”

Another post recommends another National Party billboard be defaced as it was ”gagging for a tagging”.

Mr Woodhouse said he was aware ”that there are some posts of this nature online”.

”While some online correspondents are apparently connected with the Green Party, I don’t think one can conclude there is official Green Party involvement.”

That was confirmed by Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, who is also standing in the Dunedin North seat held by Labour MP David Clark.

”We don’t want people defacing ours, and we don’t approve others defacing other parties’.

“They are expensive and they are part of the democratic process to allow parties to put forward their policies,” she said.

She confirmed she knew one of the Facebook posters, but reiterated the party ”does not endorse the defacement of billboards”.

More National hoardings continue defaced in Maia in Dunedin and a Labour hoarding was also attacked, but the Green Party hoarding was untouched.

HoardingGraffiti1Side 1: “Please release me let me go” with an obscene image

HoardingGraffiti2Side 2: “I don’t love you any more”

It’s hard to pick up in this picture but a Labour hoarding showing David Cunliffe (just to the left of the lamp post) is also badly defaced.

There’s no evidence this was done by anyone connected to the Green Party but it doesn’t look good for the Greens trying to advertise ‘love’ while opposing party hoardings are attacked again with obscenities and cross references to the Green campaign.

Whale Oil shows that this isn’t isolated to Dunedin, similar attacks are happening in other parts of the country with examples in Christchurch and Wellington in The Nasty Party supporters are out in force.

Turns out it was an orchestrated attack. A number of hoardings in the area have been branded with similar diatribes.

One of them is so high it would of needed a ladder to deface, suggesting it was more than your average opportunist.

And it looks like the defacement campaign is continuing in Dunedin this election. It’s not a good look for the Greens to be associated with vandalism and obscenities. No party can be in control of radical activists but it’s unlikely to help Greens and is more likely to backlash against them.

Last election a nationwide hoarding attack campaign was orchestrated by a Green Party member whose partner worked in Russel Norman’s office and was very embarrassing for the Green Party – Election 2011: Vandalism links blow for Greens.

The man who co-ordinated the vandalism of 700 National billboards has resigned his Green Party membership and his partner has been stood down from her role as co-leader Russel Norman’s secretary.

Greens spokesman Andrew Campbell said fellow co-leader Metiria Turei lodged an official complaint about Jolyon White’s role in the orchestrated action on Sunday night.

When White was told today he faced an internal Greens process he offered his resignation.

Anne Hein, Norman’s executive assistant, was now the subject of an investigation by Parliamentary Services, Campbell said.

Norman announced this morning that White co-ordinated the campaign.

“I believe the defacing of the billboards is vandalism and condemn these actions,” Norman told reporters at Parliament.

“I am incredibly disappointed about what they have done.”

The Green campaign looks to be very well organised in general. It would be surprising if they haven’t issued instructions to party members about hoarding vandalism but obviously they can’t control the actions of all party activists.

After his vandalism campaign last election White seems to considered the possible repercussions of his actions.

Meanwhile, the Christchurch-based campaigner told The Press he hoped the billboard campaign would not hurt the Greens.

White, who did not personally take part in Sunday’s raids, said the stunt had cost $500, which he paid himself.

White said he had no association with Norman – rather, he was in a relationship with someone that worked for him.

”It would be a shame if it had blowback on any political party  I would really love this to stay about the issues rather than about personality politics,” he said.

That last statement is very ironic, and a bit late for vandal’s remorse.

No matter how closely related the current vandalism is to the Green campaign – it is most likely to be rogue activists rather than anything officially Green – it is more likely to damage Green campaign efforts rather than help them.

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.

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