Standard comments on Norman

At The Standard ‘Eddie’ promotes Russel Norman and the Greens economic credentials in Taking the Gap.

Russel Norman’s taken advantage of the gap in Labour’s economic skills and vague positioning to cement the Greens as the main alternative voice on economics. Labour lacks any strong economic voice now Cunliffe’s on the outer, and they don’t know where they stand – they attack National but essentially adopt their neoliberal approach.

The free rein Shearer has given Jones to attack the Greens’ economic policies just shows the leadership’s instincts are rightwing, which is why their economic position comes across so weak (‘hands off vs hands on’? Really? Doesn’t that imply you’ll still drive in the same general direction?). Norman has clearly seen the opening left by Labour’s lack of leadership on the economy.

That continues Eddie’s attack on David Shearer and the current Labour direction. Eddie is a Cunliffe supporter, and the Cunliffe connection is expanded:


It reads very similar to David Cunliffe’s speech the dolphin and the dole que


…without the strategy, metaphors, breadth, or penetration …

Back to Eddie, praising Norman.

Norman’s taken advantage with his op-ed in the Herald today. He opens by doing what he knows Labour can’t do – articulating a powerful economic vision in a paragraph.

Commenter lurgee quotes the paragraph…

“Green development and green jobs provide a clear vision and economic direction for our nation. We can have good jobs without destroying the environment, and we can take advantage of the huge green economic opportunities overseas to supply exports with a premium. That’s what smart green economics is all about.”

Can’t help thinking if the above was published in one of Shearer’s newsletters, it would immediately be dismissed as vacuous, pretty words with no meaning … by the same people who are proclaiming Norman so wise and brave and forthright here.

That asks a pertinent point, and gets some agreement. More comment:

The Fan Club

In practice, the Greens aren’t offering a concrete set of proposals. There’s no attempt to cost, no attempt at fiscal credibility. The numbers don’t add up. Of course it’s trivial for Norman to come across well — he’s not constrained by the reality of making the sums work. (And he knows he never will be.)


FanClub you are dead right on being challenged – Norman has had as big a free ride as Key did in his first term.
In practise, as you say, he isn’t being asked for concrete proposals, nor their costings.

It’s not really a new point, but one of the reasons for this is that their policy detail is substituted by consistent and now ambient narrative. Greens and National get away with it because they have superior smoke and mirrors; narrative penetration.

The Fan Club

I hate to say it, but Finance is not going to the Greens, and if it was offered I’d advise them to turn it down anyway.

If Norman’s at Finance, he will be forced to just stick to the Cabinet line, and Parker will likely run Finance similar to the way Birch used to. At best he’s going to have to front essentially Labour policy, and will be forced to break with important Green promises. At worst, he’ll be a figure-head for Parker. It’s asking for Clegg-style pain.

Links to Green policies were also provided.

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