Tracey Watkins writes about the realities of Intelligence and security and how the Greens keep themselves on the outside of the pragmatic political club.
In Greens must learn sometimes national interest comes first she talks of Metiria Turei’s ‘ignorance’
Like her Green colleagues, Turei is deliberately ignorant of the rules of “the club” and would have it no other way.
Her path into politics was through the radical fringes, rather than the old boys’ network.
She is, in other words, the last person Labour and National want sitting across from them on a secretive body like the intelligence and security committee as they embark on a sensitive review of the intelligence agencies.
She would raise hackles. She would oppose. She would demand root and branch reform.
That’s the Green way. They haven’t worked out how to move from fringe players to practical inflkuences in major issues.
In contrast, any differences between Labour and National on intelligence and national security matters are superficial at best.
Prime Minister John Key’s statement that Labour and National will be the natural parties of government “for as far as the eye can see” was all that needed to be said on the reasons why Turei was excluded as an Opposition nominee for the committee.
The implied subtext was that the Greens can afford to be blindly naive about the methods employed by the state in the protection of its citizens. Labour and National can’t.
It’s the difference between parties that have had and will have the responsibility to lead governments, versus a fringe party that has grown to a potentially influential size but still has a fringe protest mentality.
That system was MMP, the system under which former radical Marxist student politicians and parties of the Right-wing fringe can be elected to Parliament and challenge the status quo, question the established order and be a thorn in the side of the mainstream parties.
“Former radical Marxist student politicians’ could refer to Turei or Norman.
Parties like the Greens, NZ First, ACT and the Maori Party – and before them the Alliance – have all filled that role over the years.
They can be pig-headed in pursuit of their own ideological agenda, even when it seems they are wilfully out of touch with mainstream New Zealand.
They often incur the wrath of voters as a result – no-one likes the spectacle of the tail wagging the dog.
Somethimg Greens struggle with and Internet-Mana failed to understand.
But despite all that, MMP endures. Confronted with the choice, voters still prefer MMP and the baggage that comes with it over the alternative first-past-the-post system, which would effectively deliver untrammelled power to the winning party.
Turei’s presence on the security and intelligence committee would be an annoyance to Key and Little in equal measures.
But it is also the price of MMP.
Her voice – and those of ACT’s David Seymour, NZ First’s Winston Peters and the Maori Party’s Te Ururoa Flavell – are the elected curb on absolute power.
The quid pro quo for the Greens is that there is a price of admission to “the club”. And that may be biting the bullet on the reality that on occasion the national interest really does override party politicking.
If Greens want to have a significant input into important issues they have to learn that a positive pragmatic approach achieves more than being anti everything.
Greens are committed to their own club which will probably exclude them from any bullet biting.
There’s some hope for the Greens though, Kevin Hague understands and practices co-operative pragmatic politics.