Clark, Curran speak at anti-TPP event

Labour’s trade spokesperson David Clark and Dunedin’s other Labour MP Clare Curran followed up appearances at last night’s anti-TPPA meeting with speeches at a rally in the Octagon today.

The ODT reports: Octagon declared a ‘TPP-free zone’

Up to 250 people have declared the Octagon a Trans Pacific Partnership-free zone at an ”action event” in Dunedin this afternoon.

Event organiser Jen Olsen said Dunedin should follow suit and become the first city to declare itself TPP-free.

I’ve already mentioned in the previous post that unilateral declarations are not very democratic.

The crowd heard from Labour’s Dunedin MPs David Clark and Clare Curran, the first time the pair have spoken publicly since Labour declared itself opposed to the controversial deal after years of uncertainty over where the party stood.

They seem to have decided to back some fairly extreme trade activists. This is a major change for Labour, who were involved in getting the TPPA off the ground.

Dr Clark, who is also Labour’s trade spokesman, said it had been a ”hell of a ride” since he took on the trade portfolio last month.

TPPARallyDavidClark

Labour trade spokesperson David Clark (Facebook)

The party had taken a “principled stance not a populist stance” to the TPP, which breached New Zealand’s sovereignty, he said.

New Zealand relied on trade, but not at any price, he said.

He said the party needed to be careful how its presented its argument over TPP in order to take “middle New Zealand” along with it.

Taking “middle New Zealand” while lurching leftward may be quite a challenge for Labour.

Ms Curran echoed Dr Clark’s sentiments, and reminded the crowd Labour celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.

TPPAClareCurran

“We are immensely proud of our history – most of our history,” Ms Curran said.

Their current actions may or may not be viewed with pride.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei received the warmest response from the crowd, especially when she declared the TPP would bring down the National Government.

TPPAMetiria

She said she had been heartened by the anti-TPP speaking tour featuring US trade authority Lori Wallach.

It wasn’t a big crowd but that sounds like it was Greenish rather than the “middle New Zealand” Labour think they might appeal to.

Police v activists, chilling versus no problem

Two Dunedin anti-TPPA activists have responded differently to police discussing with them their plans for campaigning against the TPPA.

This follows news that police have had additional anti-riot training and growing talk online about riots and violent protest.

Police are in a common position for them of damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Some have claimed their approach of activists amounts to anti-free speech intimidation, but it isn’t uncommon for the police to try to pre-empt possible trouble by talking to people.

Nationally most attention was given to Dunedin activist Scout Barbour-Evans. NZ Herald reports:

Visits to activists ‘worrying’ trend

A national police campaign to door-knock TPP activists is part of a larger trend of “chilling” opposition to the Government and the right to protest, a civil liberties lawyer says.

Police have been visiting “known activists” opposed to New Zealand’s involvement in the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement ahead of protests planned in several cities tomorrow.

Lawyer Michael Bott said the tactic appeared to be part of “an increasing trend on the part of the police”.

“They seem to be doing it proactively on behalf of the Government and its projects.

Or proactively in reaction to threats. of targeting political events.

“It’s worrying that New Zealand citizens who are concerned about the agreement suddenly find themselves the target of police.

“It has a chilling effect on freedom of expression and the right to protest.”

Not necessarily. There has been no claim they are trying to stop expression of protest. It depends on how it’s done by the police. And how it’s played by activists.

Scout Barbour-Evans, a Dunedin activist who goes by the gender-neutral pronoun “they”, said an officer knocked on their door about 10am yesterday.

The officer wanted to know what the plans were for the anti-TPP protest in Dunedin, Scout said.

Scout compared the situation to the Springbok tour, saying the increased surveillance felt akin to 1981, particularly following the presence of armed police at Prime Minister John Key’s State of the Nation speech on Wednesday.

By the look of Barbour-Evans they won’t have been born in 1981 so she can’t have felt what that was like. A number of people (it seems like it could be a planned strategy) have been trying to liken TPPA protests with the Springbok tour.

The ODT headlined Police visiting activists labelled ‘a disgrace’.

Police calling and doorknocking activists about their plans to protest the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement is “an absolute disgrace”, Dunedin city councillor Aaron Hawkins says.

“If the police are going door to door intimidating known TPP opponents, in case they might be thinking of expressing their disagreement publicly, then that’s an absolute disgrace,” Cr Hawkins said.

“The TPP has never been primarily about trade, it’s about protecting the interests of big business from the meddlesome interference of democracy.”

Hawkins is closely associated with the Green party. Green leader Metiria Turei calls it Implicit police threat appalling:

“It carries with it an implicit threat and New Zealanders have the right to speak out and have their voices heard. Being an activist isn’t a crime, being an activist is being passionate about something and last time I checked that wasn’t illegal.”

So no actual threat, just one that the Greens view as ‘implicit’.

But less prominently the ODT also reports:

TPP Action Dunedin organiser Jen Olsen said she had spoken to police this week about what was planned for this weekend.

“We’ve got not problem about the police and are happy to tell them what we’re doing, because we have no plans to do anything illegal.”

So no claim there that the police intimidated or tried to stop expression or protest.

If there are violent protests or riots as some activists have promoted over the next week the police are likely to be condemned for doing too much, and condemned for not doing enough.

Treasury to cost election promises?

The highlight of Metiria Turei’s State of the Nation speech yesterday was a proposal to have a unit set up in Treasury to cost party election promises.

This was applauded by a range of people, but National don’t seem keen. This is a shame, because while Treasury gives the incumbent an advantage in costing policies National will be in Opposition again some time.

And even in Government national would benefit by keeping the other parties honest with their promises.

From Turei’s speech:

And the policy I want to talk about today is a small change to our political process that will have a big impact on our democracy.

During election campaigns there’s always a lot of conflict and shouting between politicians about whose policy costs what, and where the money will come from. Which party is going to get us into surplus ten minutes faster than the others, and so on.

We get criticised a lot for the supposed cost of our policies. But we do extensive work costing all of our policies before each election. We release fiscal statements. We get them audited.

National doesn’t do that. They don’t because there’s a perception that they’re sensible and trustworthy on economic issues. So the reality is they get to make it up as they go along. Money appears out of thin air and no one even blinks. The asset sales are a good example. John Key pitched it as freeing up $7-10 billion. They got $4.7 billion. Then Bill English promised to spend that money many times over, in completely different ways depending on who he was talking to. We got scammed. And no-even even blinked.

So what I’m here to announce today is a measure designed to bring a little more transparency and accountability into New Zealand politics. Today, the Green Party has sent a letter to each party leader, asking for support from across the House to establish an independent unit in the Treasury to cost policy promises.

Political parties could submit their policies for costing to this independent unit, which would then produce a report with information on both the fiscal and wider economic implications of the policy.

Instead of New Zealanders making their decisions based on spin and who can shout the loudest, they will have meaningful, independently verified information instead.

It will also ensure that policy promises are stable and durable because parties won’t be able to promise the earth unless they have the earth to give.

So we are going to work with the other political parties in Parliament to try and make this a reality for the 2017 election. And it’s going to be very interesting to see which parties support it and who opposes it. Hopefully everyone will support it. It won’t cost much. It’s good for our democracy. It’s good for New Zealand.

Political power can transform the country for the better, and make a positive difference to the lives of generations to come, if that power is exercised with responsibility and caution. So the first things we should ask of those who seek to wield that power is what they’re going to do, how they’re going to do it, and what it’s going to cost.

So we call on the other political parties to welcome this idea and to work with us to make next year’s election more accountable and democratic. To close this gap we have between perception and reality, the gap between what political leaders say and what we actually do.

The Taxpayers’ Union was quick to back Turei’s proposal:

The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the proposal from Green Party co-leader, Metiria Turei, in her state of the nation speech today for a policy costing unit inside Treasury that would independently cost the policies of political parties.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says “We agree with the Greens that an independent office to cost political promises would be good for democracy and public policy debates. While our preference is to have the office as one of Parliament, rather than Treasury, the Green’s policy has real merit.”

“Seldom does the Taxpayers’ Union call for new spending of taxpayers’ money but here we think the benefits to transparency and democracy far outweigh the cost.”

“This tool would make it harder for politicians to make up expensive policy on the hoof with taxpayers bearing the costs of the wish-lists. It would likely prevent the fiasco we saw with the Northland by-election bribes.”

Having Treasury cost policies would save the Taxpayers’ Union from having to do it, but I agree that “the benefits to transparency and democracy far outweigh the cost”.

More positive coverage:

Isaac Davison: Metiria Turei chooses perfect issue to kick off the year

Metiria Turei chose a perfect issue to kick off the political year.

In her scene-setting State of the Nation speech today, the Green Party co-leader focused on the need for political parties to be economically credible.

Also from Davidson: Party policies costing plan could fly

Speaking at her State of the Nation speech yesterday, she said she had written to all party leaders to seek their support for the policy.

National appeared to oppose the proposal yesterday, though ministers gave different views on the issue.

Prime Minister John Key said it was “not a terribly good idea”. He said it would require a funding boost for the Treasury and would not achieve the Green Party’s goal of greater transparency because the results would be manipulated for political gain.

“They would just ignore it if they didn’t like the numbers,” he said.

That contrasted with comments by Acting Finance Minister Steven Joyce, who said National “did not have a strong view either way” on the policy.

Mr Joyce said that if all Opposition parties were interested in it, then National would consider it.

“I’d say we’d be open to it, but let’s see what other Opposition parties think,” he said.

I hope Key thinks this one through. It will benefit voters, and it will also benefit parties proposing sensible and affordable policies.

Labour leader Andrew Little…

…said he supported the idea because it would improve transparency and help parties to understand the impact of the Government’s policies.

Act Party leader David Seymour…

…said it was a politically smart move by the Greens because it would allow the party to “sanitise itself in the eyes of the business world”. But it would have problems in practice because the Government department might not be able to provide the definitive numbers the Greens were seeking.

Incoming Business New Zealand head Kirk Hope…

…said the policy would make it easier and better for businesses to understand the costs of party policies. He said the system was already used in other countries.

“It’s not something that is new or unusual and it could make a very useful contribution to be able to analyse policies.”

There is already a means of costing policies:

Parties are already able to request the assistance of a full-time Treasury official for policy costings, but must pay for it out of their parliamentary budget.

Most parties opt not to use this resource, preferring instead to outsource their costings to private firms.

This gives the Minister of Finance a chance to see what other parties are proposing in advance so it is avoided by opposition parties.

It needs to be independent of any Government oversight.

Stacey Kirk at Stuff also thinks it’s a good idea (it will be very useful for journalists to have policies costed) – Greens throw out reasonable policy in speech to rebut ‘radical’ claims:

OPINION: It’s not a radical policy at all.

In fact, having Treasury cost the political promises of all parties not only seems fair, but really rather reasonable.

At her State of the Nation – the first in a series from all political leaders – Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei was at great pains to rebuke criticisms from some that their policies represent a shift to the “radical” left.

Treasury already has a small budget to do that if parties wish – it’s smaller than the $1million to $2m in a normal year, and $3m in an election year that the Greens estimate it would cost to make the system workable.

No party taps into the existing fund.

Indeed, at the last election, the Greens paid for independent audits of their policies themselves. It was in their interests to; many voters would flinch at the idea of a Green Party with a hand in Government spending.

But the reason parties don’t use the money available to reinforce their policies is because it’s accountable to the Finance Minister of the day.

And in the dirty game of politics, you bet that Government would use the information for their own election designs.

That’s the problem now, so opposition parties don’t use Treasury.

Turei has written to all leaders asking for cross-party support of this particular policy. Labour have indicated their support, but the big fish to land is National.

For them to do so would be to give up a significant advantage, which seems unlikely. Even in the face of claims that opposition to the Green policy would clearly be for their own election interests.

After all, this seems like a policy that would appeal to political party, and policy wonks in Wellington (whose votes are often already decided), but few through mainstream New Zealand are likely to take a great interest.

A shame. Because after a year of increasingly rising barriers to the access of public information, surely the national interests lie in making the next election more democratic, not less.

That’s certainly in the national interest but it may not happen if it’s thought to not be in the National interest. Which would be a shame.

Metiria Turei’s State of the Nation Speech

Metiria Turei gave Greens annual ‘State of the Nation’ speech yesterday. It was more a State of the Greens speech, which is fair enough.

The worst part was the last line – “Together we are heading towards a beautiful tomorrow.” Her Green fans will probably love that but I doubt if it’s a new vote winner.

The best part was a proposal to establish an election policy costing unit in Treasury.

Today, the Green Party has sent a letter to each party leader, asking for support from across the House to establish an independent unit in the Treasury to cost policy promises.

Political parties could submit their policies for costing to this independent unit, which would then produce a report with information on both the fiscal and wider economic implications of the policy.

This was well reported and applauded. More about this in a separate post.

She promoted Green policy successes from outside Government over the years and tried to overcome one of their problems.

And I hear the same doubts expressed about the Greens as they said to Savage. We like you. We like your ideas. We’re worried about the future. But you’ve never been in government before, so how can we trust you with our vote? It’s a Catch-22.

So today I want to talk about these reservations people have about us and tell you why you can trust us with your vote and with the responsibility of helping to govern the country.

She tried to dispel the notion that Greens were radical, trying to attack that label to National.

The first thing I want to talk about is this idea that the Greens are too radical. Too outlandish. We have all these audacious ideas that won’t work in the real world.

There are two lessons here. The first is that ideas that are attacked as radical when the Greens propose them become conventional, sensible solutions very quickly when other parties adopt them. That tells us something about the gap between perception and reality when it comes to the Green Party.

The second is that if you still think Green ideas are too radical for government then you have a problem. Because no matter which party you vote for, a lot of the new ideas and new solutions still come from us.

It’s not radical to stand against the disintegration of our environment and our society. It would be radical not to do so.

The solutions to the problems we face are not radical, or outlandish, the solutions are transformative.

Instead she claims the current and previous governments have been radical.

We think that the economic experiment imposed on our country over the last thirty years is radical. We think that doubling the number of dairy cows and the increasing pollution killing our rivers and streams is radical. We think a government that wants to mine our national parks is fanatical. We think the steep rise in child poverty and poverty related child death is radically irresponsible.

However most people won’t read about this attempt at a radical shift in radicalism. It’s a hard argument for Greens to make.

Saying ‘radical’ ten times in speech trying to dispel a perception of Greens being radical is unlikely to dissociate them from the term.

But Turei got some useful headlines, on a practical policy suggestion – costing policies – that is a good approach from a party from Opposition.

So overall it was a useful speech that had an impact, padded out with most parts that are unlikely to reach any new voters let alone swing them towards the Greens.

Most people won’t even care about costing policies, there’s a lot of scepticism of election promises regardless of who has costed them.

“Together we are heading towards a beautiful tomorrow” sounds like wistful Green dream of utopia if only the people would listen and understand. Most of them never will.

Full speech: Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei’s State of the Nation speech

 

TPPA: Don’t Sign meeting tonight

The TPPA: Don’t Sign meeting will be held at the Auckland Town Hall tonight at 7 pm. It will be live streamed at The Daily Blog.

Jane Kelsey posted at The Daily Blog:

TPPA:Don’t Sign – Fill the Auckland Town Hall tomorrow (Tues) 7pm

PM John Key and his National government say most Kiwis support the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and those who don’t are ignorant or manipulated.
Show him he’s wrong.

Hear dynamic, funny, and scary US former trade attorney and TPPA expert Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen Global Trade Watch, on how the US politics may sink the TPPA.

Jane Kelsey will explain the highlights of the expert papers saying what the TPPA would really mean for Kiwis.

A political panel will tell us why they oppose the signing of the TPPA:
Grant Robertson, Labour; Metiria Turei, Greens; Marama Fox, Maori Party; and Fletcher Tabuteau, NZ First.

The speaking tour is being sponsored by Its Our Future, Action Station, NZ Council of Trade Unions and First Union.

Perhaps there’s no workers involved in export or import companies in NZ Council of Trade Unions or First Union.

Interesting to see Labour’s finance spokesperson Grant Robertson opposing the signing and opposing the TPPA.

Yes, it is our future, and how that works out for New Zealand will depend on trade. The Trans Pacific Partnership should improve trade opportunities a bit.

 

 

State of the Nation speeches

Today there will be two State of Nation speeches.

Metiria Turei will give a State of the Nation today, at 12:30 pm today at the National Library in Wellington.

This will be live streamed: http://livestream.com/nzgreens/StateoftheNation

No mention of this on their website but it is on their Facebook page.

Winston Peters will also give NZ First’s State of Nation speech tonight, again not on their website but details are on their Facebook page:

The Rt Hon Winston Peters will be giving his state of the nation speech at the Orewa Rotary Club at 6pm.

Orewa Rotary Club
Rotary House
War Memorial Park
4 Hibiscus Coast Highway
Silverdale

This will compete for media attention with another political event tonight in which another NZ First MP will be speaking:

NZ First Trades Spokesman Fletcher Tabuteau – NZ First MP will be part of a political panel about the TPPA at Auckland Town Hall at 7pm.

Auckland Town Hall
Queen Street
Auckland Central
Auckland

I get the impression that the TPPA event will be in Auckland.

Metiria will also be on the political panel at the TPPA meeting.

 

 

IPCA to investigate Hager house search

The Independent Police Complaints Authority has propmtly confirmed to the Green Party that it will investigate a complaint about the police actions in searching Nicky Hager’s house.

Metiria Turei has advised by press release:

IPCA to investigate Green’s complaint over Hager search

The Green Party received a letter this afternoon from the IPCA confirming that it will investigate, after the party wrote to the authority on Monday. A High Court judge last week found that the police warrant and search on Mr Hager’s home, which followed the publication of his book Dirty Politics, were unlawful.

“We welcome the IPCA’s prompt decision to investigate the decisions that led to the police warrant and unlawful search of Mr Hager’s home,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“There are many unanswered questions from the Dirty Politics scandal, and why the police made the decision to search Mr Hager’s home is one them.

“Given that the warrant and search on Mr Hager’s house has been ruled unlawful, I asked IPCA to investigate the decisions of senior-ranked police officials involved in applying for the warrant.

“It’s important to remember that Nicky Hager’s work uncovering the dirty politics regime run out of the Prime Minister’s office was the reason for the search.

“The Prime Minister has never properly addressed those allegations, other than to attack Mr Hager’s integrity.

“However the Inspector General of Intelligence did investigate one of Hager’s claims and confirmed the Prime Minister’s staff had handed confidential information provided by the Security intelligence Service to the attack blogger Cameron Slater,” Mrs Turei said.

I think this investigation will be useful in determining whether there was political involvement in police decisions to search Hager’s house.

Labour MPs including Annette King and David Parker have also suggested political ‘pressure’ – see Labour accusations of political pressure on police.

Turei’s emphasis here on ‘Dirty Politics’ suggests a wider agenda as her motive but the IPCA should focus on what influenced police decisions to search Hager’s house.

If there was interference from politicians it’s important that comes out.

And it is as important to know if there was not political pressure in this case, to counter the political accusations and insinuations.

Green complaint to Police Conduct Authority over Hager search

The Greens have written to the Independent Police Conduct Authority asking for an investigation into the illegal police search of Nicky Hager’s house.

In particular they want to find out if there was political interference in the decision to search Hager’s house.

Greens call on IPCA to investigate unlawful Nicky Hager search

The Green Party has written to the Independent Police Complaints Authority (IPCA) formally asking it to investigate the decisions made by the police which led to the unlawful search of journalist Nicky Hager’s home.

A High Court judge last week found that the police warrant and search on Mr Hager’s home, which followed the publication of his book Dirty Politics, were unlawful.

“There are many unanswered questions from the Dirty Politics scandal, and why the police made the decision to search Mr Hager’s home is one them,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“Mr Hager’s house was searched by police as a direct result of his journalistic work uncovering the dirty politics scheme run out of the Prime Minister’s office.

“The search on Mr Hager’s house has been ruled unlawful, and we’ve asked the IPCA to investigate why the decision was made to undertake the search in the first place by senior-ranked police officials.

“There are fundamental issues of democracy at stake here, particularly around the rights of the media to operate free from political interference or control.

“Journalists have a role holding the Government to account and have the right to protect their sources, regardless of whether the Government of the day likes what’s being written about them or not.

“Nicky Hager’s home was unlawfully searched as a result of his journalism and there are now serious questions needing to be answered both about the treatment of Mr Hager, and about the dirty tricks campaign ran out of the Prime Minister’s office.

“The public deserve to know about both,” said Mrs Turei.

Interesting to see Turei implicating the Hager search could be related to Dirty Politics and to the Prime Minister’s office.

I think an IPCA investigation will be a good thing.

If there was political influence involved in the police decision to search Hager’s house then certainly it’s in the public interest for this to come out.

But just as importantly we should know if the police acted completely independently of politicians.

On behalf of Labour Annette King and David Parker have already suggested there may have been political interference. Now Turei has added her and Green suspicions.

It would be good to fund out if there’s substance to their claims or if they are fishing for dirt.

Greens on RMA

Green co-leader Metiria Turei has spoken up about National’s proposed Resource Management Act reforms, expressing concerns that ‘people’ and ‘neighbours’ won’t get to have their say adequately.

Greens: RMA reforms will ‘lock people out of having their say’

The Green Party has criticised proposed changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA), saying the overhaul would leave many people out of the consultation loop.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the changes will leave too many people without the means to voice their opinion on changes in their neighbourhoods.

“The major part [of the legislation] will be locking people out of consultation and having a say,” Ms Turei told the Paul Henry programme this morning.

She says even under the current laws, only a relatively small number of people are actually involved in the process.

“More than 90 percent of the consents that are issued under the RMA are not notified, there’s only a really small proportion where people get a chance to have a say about what happens in their neighbourhood and we think their right to have a say should be protected.

“There are people who are affected by the decisions that other people make, they should have the right to say [something] about that.”

“We’re talking about people’s neighbourhoods; there are big issues in Auckland at the moment about the nature of development in Auckland City – should Aucklanders be locked out of having a say about what happens in their city?”

Turei seems to be confusing two things – people having their say (there’s many ways they can do that) and potentially bogging down RMA applications because some people want to stop anything changing in their neighbourhood.

This is already a real problem here in Turei’s electorate of Dunedin North, where people oppose building on the other side of the harbour to where they live (and other places) because they don’t like the look of it.

And it could get worse.

The Dunedin City Council is currently proposing a ‘second generation’ district plan. A proposal in that is to designate large areas of the city above the 100 m contour as a ‘significant landscape zone’. And thatb will significantly restrict what you can do with your land if it’s above 100 m in those zones.

A lot of Dunedin is over 100 m.

I have a special interest in this because I own properties that straddle the 100 m contour.

Under the new proposals if I want to build a building larger than 60 square metres I will need resource consent.

If I want tp build a house higher than single story or with paint greater than 30% luminosity or plant particular species of trees or a number of other things I will need notified resource consent.

So neighbours and people on the other side of the harbour will be able to have their say. And if past experience is anything to go by people will oppose.

The local Green dominated council and the Green Party want everyone to be happy before anything is built, and if someone doesn’t like the look of something in the distance then they can do more than have their say – they can stop people doing normal sorts of things with their own land.

There’s a vast difference between environmental protections (important) and allowing neighbours to have their say and prevent people douing what is not out of the ordinary on their own land.

This illustrates a major problem many people have with the Greens.

Just about everyone wants to protect the environment as much as possible, so having someone sticking up for environmental issues is great.

But most people don’t want severe restrictions on what they can do with their own land and property.

And they don’t want extreme Greenies preventing them from doing fairly normal and reasonable things with their own property just because the extreme Greenies have what they want and don’t like the look of something else.

No Trudeau in NZ Greens co-leadership

The left wing hope has moved on from UK Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn to Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

In Chris Trotters quest to find “some Trudeauesque magic” to inspire a real left wing victory (or perhaps that could be a really left wing victory) in 2017 he considers Green co-leader James Shaw but quickly moves on to Winston Peters.

From his latest column at Stuff – Chris Trotter: Can Labour find someone to weave some Trudeauesque magic?:

Inevitably, those New Zealanders favouring a change of government in 2017 are scouring the ranks of opposition parties for a Kiwi politician capable of bringing some Trudeau magic to our own political arena.

Not surprisingly Trotter is one of those favouring a change of government, and he is scouring the ranks of opposition parties.

The Greens male co-leader, James Shaw, certainly shares much with Trudeau in terms of projecting youthful energy and good looks. Less certain, however, is his willingness to adopt the Liberal leader’s strategy of inviting voters from across the political spectrum to join his nationwide crusade for “real change”.

And, even if he was up to persuading his colleagues to leave the the safety of their eco-socialist strongholds, and embrace the political centre, would he be able to persuade the electorate that the Greens, in office, would remain politically centred?

It is the curse of the Greens to be perceived as enthusiastic promoters of a rather narrow ideological agenda. Historically, the Canadian Liberal Party has attracted solid voter support across the whole electorate. It’s a trick New Zealand’s Greens have yet to master.

There’s a certain amount of irony in Trotter cursing the Greens for being “enthusiastic promoters of a rather narrow ideological agenda” but I guess Trotter swings between almost manic enthusiasm and despondency at the hopelessness of his dreams.

NZ First, by contrast, has never ceased presenting itself as a party with the broadest possible voter appeal. Indeed, in its early days, back in the early 1990s, its support rivalled that of the National Party’s.

Unashamedly populist in his political instincts, NZ First’s long-time leader, Winston Peters, would dearly love to replicate Trudeau’s utter trouncing of John Key’s good “mate”, Stephen Harper. Unfortunately, youthfulness is not a quality many people associate with NZ

Many people probably see a few other qualities lacking in Peters and NZ First too. It’s unlikely to see him do a Trudeau in New Zealand in 2017.

While James Shaw is undeniably ambitious it’s a huge task to try and triple Green support.

And Trotter ignores a major feature of Green leadership.

It’s not Shaw who will be waving the Green flag next election, it will be Metiria Turei+James Shaw, presuming they are both co-leaders then.

The Green system of co-leadership limits the chance of a charismatic leader, because their two leaders must share duties and exposure.

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