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.