Radicalisation of the Greens and Labour

Losing Russel Norman last year and now losing Kevin Hague are blows to the Green Party. Their replacement MPs move Greens more towards a radical social activist party.

Norman did a lot to try and ‘normalise’ the Greens, to make them appear as if they were credible on business and economic matters in particular. He succeeded to an extent.

But last year he decided to move on (to Greenpeace). He was replaced by next on the list, Marama Davidson, who is more of a social activist who has attracted some attention, currently to the forefront of the inquiry into homelessness.

Hague tried to take over Norman’s co-leadership position but was rejected. Hague was one of  the Green’s best assets as a practical and hard worker who backed his principles but was prepared to work with anyone from any party or political leaning to try and achieve results.

Hague is now moving on to head Forest and Bird. So both he and Norman have moved on to environmental roles, and away from the Green Party.

Hague’s replacement will be next on the list, Barry Coates. He used to head Oxfam, and  aid organisation that has become more active in promoting social reform.

Coates has been leading anti-TPP protests in New Zealand. Social activism.

Norman’s replacement as co-leader, James Shaw, has not made a huge impression yet.

Greens’ other co-leader Metiria Turei has been involved in social activism for some time.

Greens could soften their radicalisation somewhat if they elevated Julie Anne Genter, but despite quiet rumours there is no solid sign of Turei stepping aside or down. Fortunately Genter at least looks to be a stayer at this stage.

While Greens do promote environmental issues such as clean rivers and climate change they appear to be moving more towards social activism with a strong socialist tinge.

Greens were ambitious last election so were disappointed not to increase their share of the vote in 2014, despite Labour’s weakening. They seem to have hit a Green ceiling.

This year they have entered into a Memorandum or Understanding with Labour so they can campaign as a combined Labour-Green ticket.

Labour under Andrew Little’s leadership also seem to be trying to move left and have also become more involved in social activism, promoting a number of petitions and joining the Greens in the homeless inquiry, and also appear in part at least to oppose the TPP.

With the growing radicalisation of the Greens and their closer association with a more radical Labour it’s no wonder Winston Peters sees growth potential for NZ First in the centre.

Greens and Labour may think their future lies in popular movements similar to Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK but neither of them have succeeded yet beyond exciting a vocal minority.

While our next election is probably more than a year away Greens and Labour have tied their colours to the campaign mast – fairly red colours with a tinge of green. They either know something about the future intention of voters that isn’t apparent, or are taking a huge punt.

It’s probably about 50/50 whether National would need NZ First to form the next government. It’s closer to 90/10 that Labour+Greens would require NZ First.

A more radical Greens+Labour plus the determination of Peters to remain an unknown quantity will be a hard sell to voters. Add to that recent policy announcements on education and housing indicate an attempt to outdo Labour’s large spending promises and we could have a fairly radical option next year, versus National plodding along.

 

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58 Comments

  1. Iceberg

     /  7th September 2016

    For arguments sake, let’s assume that there are folk of such genetic deficiency that they buy this lefty policy prescription, and that there were enough of them to get them elected (because zombie apocalypse or something), then who amongst the Labour Caucus have the brains or work ethic to implement it? They can’t even organise a leader let alone a minister.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th September 2016

      The Labour Caucus are at the very least the equal of the Natz.Thats not saying alot.The difference however, is policy ,the Natz have none,looking after the top 10% regardless of economic or social factors is their raison d’etre’.Labour and the Greens have policy to combat the very real problems in NZ now, and importantly plan for the future impacts of population,environment,employment and the economy.Labour has a leader,what it needs to do is implement more expedient strategy in spreading its message and dealing with the extremnely childish, but effective tactics the Natz have perfected.

      Reply
      • Iceberg

         /  7th September 2016

        “looking after the top 10%”

        With which policies?

        “extremnely childish”

        Do you mean like putting a “z” in the name so it looks all Nazi and stuff?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  7th September 2016

          looking after the top 10%-letting the housing crisis steam along,no CGT,sweetheart deals for Corps,like SKC,low taxation regime for the rich,pt privatisation of SOE’s,selling state assets to private buyers,Charter schools,a privatisation agenda in general.
          extremely childish-‘Labour did it too’,facile lying on a daily basis,gaming the OIA,fairy tales like flying squads,and a magical bus tour…could go on all day.

          Reply
          • Iceberg

             /  7th September 2016

            You seem confused. What you meanst to say was:

            Ignoring the political beat up “housing crises”, agreeing with Labour that CGT is waste of time, getting a convention centre built to attract large conferences to NZ, the “rich” are funding nearly all the tax, no state assests have been sold, but should be, Charter schools to crush the unions so that schools can innovate.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  7th September 2016

              No,not confused at all.Certainly did not mean to say any of that.That convention centre will be a huge flop ,that you can put money on!Taxpayers money of course.It will have to be converted back to more gaming.Lucky the design allows for this!Roll on b/s.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  7th September 2016

            … could go on all day.

            Sadly, you do.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  7th September 2016

              Barry Coates is committed to wearing Hawaiian style shirts in the House. Good luck to him trying. It doesn’t look good to say before he’s even in the House that he won’t accept the dress code, which is a suit. He’ll look like an idiot for the few minutes in which he’s there before he’s ordered to go and dress properly. I would think that being an MP was worth wearing a suit. I loathe wearing pantyhose, but if I was an MP and being barelegged was forbidden as part of the female MPs’ dress code, I’d wear the damned things when I was in the House.

  2. In a world of values turned upside down or completely negated by neoliberalism – an amoral-immoral world, devoid of ethics – “social activism” becomes a mark of disrespect and demonisation … another idiosynchrisy, fault or malevolent trait for the compliant population to fear …

    Meanwhile National “plods on” towards the next inevitable bubble-bursting recession, with social problems like poverty, inequality and housing (et al) increasing all the time … Social problems which people are stigmatised for being “active” about ….

    Reply
    • “Social activism” or action on behalf of the community, or a significant, quantifiably deprived or problem element of it, becomes “radicalisation” … Give’us a friggin’ break!

      I remember the quadrant chart of NZ political parties. None of Labour, NZFirst or the Greens were more than slightly Left-of-Centre … The Greens at most ‘moderately’ …

      Woe betide us the day an idea like “free tertiary education” becomes “radical” …

      It indicates a polity in the grips of some sort of mass psychosis.

      Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  7th September 2016

      If you can find a neoliberal bone in Nationals body, let us know.

      Show us the reduction in government size, the reductiion in government spending, show us the decreases in welfare, show us the privatisation, show us the austerity.

      Neoliberal? Meh.

      Reply
      • Government size? Not sure …

        Reduction in government spending by absence of increase and robbing Peter to pay Paul, decreases in welfare by maintaining decades long absence of increase and punitive targeting, privatisation by stealth, e.g. ‘Partnership’ schools …

        These all constitute Clayton’s austerity IMHO …

        Neoliberalism is the ideological underpinning of all this.

        Reply
        • Iceberg

           /  7th September 2016

          Right, so the absence of Neoliberalism is proof of it.

          Hard to argue with that.

          Reply
          • Like you showed us the increases in govt size, spending, welfare etc eh Iceberg? Your absence of proof is the proof of its non-existence then, right?

            Reply
            • Iceberg

               /  7th September 2016

              It’s irrelevant. The tenor of your continuing bitch at the govt is that they persue policy settings that benefit a few. It’s demonstrably nonsense, but it doesn’t stop you with the “neoliberal” yada yada.

              Key knows full well that any political ideology is best in moderation, which is clearly how National have operated. They sure ain’t neoliberal acolytes fella.

            • PDB

               /  7th September 2016

              PZ: “Like you showed us the increases in govt size, spending, welfare etc eh Iceberg?”

              The classic lefty mistake………more money doesn’t mean a better result, a larger govt doesn’t mean a better govt.

              But Iceberg is quite correct – National are barely centre-right and made to look more right than they really are because the two main opposition parties have set themselves up on the far-left.

            • Go look at the numbers PnZ – its all out in the open. Government spend keeps heading northwards.

              if your Neo-Liberal name calling was actually true then in 2008 benefits would have been slashed, healthcare would have been slashed and deficits wouldn’t have been run up.

              English actual ran deficits to keep cash in the pockets of the low waged via WFF and in Bene’s pockets by maintaining benefit rates and even – silly man, sickly liberal that he is [/sarc] – increased benefits in some categories above the inflation rate for the first time in DECADES….

              Screaming a name over and over doesn’t make it true

            • Touchy, aren’t we gentlemen …? “DECADES” !!!? Screaming …?

              My comments, of course, were initially directed at PG’s grossly exaggerated stigmatization of social activists as radicals and crass minimization of National as plodders. I use “neoliberalism” in much the same way …. The grain of truth in it is enough to wrankle, is it not?

              To deny that neoliberalism or, as Zedd points out “The Chicago School” underpins our current political landscape is to fly in the face of reality. Are you seriously saying Rogernomics, Ruthanasia, the FIIRE economy, globalisation, the GFC et al are not modified ‘Milton Friedman’ neoliberalism, as first foisted upon the world in Pinochet’s dictatorial Chile? Is Pinochet your hero along with Thatcher, Reagan and Douglas?

              @ dave1924 – “English actually ran deficits to keep cash in the pockets of the low waged via WFF and in Bene’s pockets by maintaining benefit rates … increased benefits in some categories above the inflation rate for the first time in DECADES ….

              That says it all really, doesn’t it? 1) The magical “trickle down effect” comes to us, in reality, through govt instigated tax relief and welfare payments. It comes via the much maligned Welfare State. The neoliberal welfare state which also gave us tax cuts! 2) Ruthlessly slashed benefits happened in about 1991 [The Mother of All Budgets, forget 2008] and are kept punitively LOW for DECADES at inflation adjusted levels only, while the inflation rate has conveniently dumped rampantly, obscenely inflating housing costs off its calculations. 3) A raft of workers are further Rogered with low wages, under-employment and the likes of part-time or (formerly) zero-hour contracts plus disincentives to organise. 4) The low waged and “Benes” are disparaged, denigrated and demonized at every turn … as you yourself demonstrate right here and elsewhere (with thinly disguised personal allusions) … the ‘Moonies’ way …

              @ Iceberg – “Key knows full well that any political ideology is best in moderation …”

              You’re f#@ken kidding yourself Iceberg. What Key knows is that a truly significant portion of NZ’s population retain enough social conscience and social awareness, along with their “me, me, me” personal interest, that enacting dave1924’s “in 2008 benefits would have been slashed, healthcare would have been slashed etc” would be wholesale political suicide – the way to get out of office rather than retain it!

              Hence “deficits wouldn’t have been run up” is an absolute impossibility. Perhaps a pipe-dream for some? “I’m all right Jack”. Nonetheless impossible. It was either National run up deficits or hand over the Treasury benches to someone else …

              Do toss something to a beggar when next you see one on the streets of your town or city … or give-a-little to some poor person deprived of adequate healthcare by the State you seem to dislike so much …

            • patupaiarehe

               /  7th September 2016

            • Mihi toku hoa patupaiarehe. He tangata pai koe

            • Get a load of this! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruthanasia

              Of course, Wikipedia is populated by Looney Lefties, Socialists, Communists and all manner of “radicals” …

            • Gezza

               /  8th September 2016

              Jesus Christ! Is nothing safe from their depredations? :/

            • Iceberg

               /  8th September 2016

              Wealth doesn’t “trickle down” in this country, it flows through a fire hose.

            • You left out the word “upwards” Iceberg …

            • Gezza

               /  8th September 2016

              Hot damn that one was good!!

            • Iceberg

               /  8th September 2016

              I suppose that’s better than your usual TLDR sophistry.

              Problem is, the evidence for the hundred’s of billions through the fire hose downwards is pretty easy to find.

            • Gezza

               /  8th September 2016

              That apostrophe is going to cause Kitty all sorts of pain unless we have buried this thread by the time she gets here this arvo.

            • “hundreds of billions” is what it costs a modern Western nation to have a modern Western nation … What’s so difficult to grasp about this fact?

              Oh, but we can save a dollar or two here and there and we won’t notice the difference until its not safe to walk the unpaved streets without being accosted by a beggar or getting mugged …

            • … More police, that’s the answer! Oh, but that costs “other people’s money” …

              More personal security systems, higher fences, electric gates … Keep the riff raff out!

            • “evidence for the hundred’s of billions through the fire hose downwards is pretty easy to find.”

              ….. Waiting …..

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  8th September 2016

              I even found it for you a couple of days ago, PZ:
              https://yournz.org/2016/09/05/winstons-conference-speech/#comment-129928

            • Iceberg

               /  8th September 2016

              You’re happy to cherry pick a beggar here , a mugger there, whilst avoiding the vast majority that benefit and live good lives due to the billions in transfer payments from the “rich”.

              Your neoliberal apocalypse seems to have been delayed, whilst we get on with higher life expectancy, better educations, more choices, less polution and generally better lives than ever before.

  3. your right James Shaw hasn’t really set the world alight, not that he was expected to, but the noise that this was taking the greens into a new space hasnt happened. It must be frustrating for the Greens as even with Labour in such a mess they can’t get more traction …

    Reply
    • Pete Kane

       /  7th September 2016

      The political media (actually, many commentators in general really) seemed to give Shaw the big tick. Never saw it as warranted myself, and still don’t.

      Reply
      • Not yet Pete. He has been underwhelming.

        But he does have rat cunning – the way he and his mate, convinced the Green membership to toss Hague away and install Mr Shaw as male co-leader was quite masterful.

        I’m sure Shaw and his minister of spin outside parliament, Danyl, will be looking to Jan 2018 as the right time to gently, respectfully drop Meteria in the rubbish bin of failed politicians.

        He is playing the long game and using the current period to build relationships, learn the ropes and build contacts with left leaning businessmen to build a war chest for the 2020 campaign… went National will be well and truly spent and the public so bored they may just vote Green in large enough numbers to put Mr Shaw into cabinet…

        But then again I may just be speculating…

        Reply
    • J Bloggs

       /  7th September 2016

      Shaw is being outflanked at every turn by Turei, who seems to be the driving force to the left. I wonder just how much “Co” is in the Green’s Co-leadership at the moment

      Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  7th September 2016

    The fantasy utter blather we get from PZ and Blazer in support of the Left shows how far from reality and government it really is.

    Iceberg is correct. First they have no idea, and second they wouldn’t know how to implement it if they had one.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th September 2016

      whereas the Natz have no idea,and know how to …implement it…wonderful,just wonderful..

      Reply
    • David

       /  7th September 2016

      The disconnect from reality is quite staggering from the two of them. The interesting thing from the left is the complete lack of giving any credit for any policy action that had it been from Labour would be excellent policy.
      I was no fan of Clark/Cullen but years 2 to 5 from them wernt that bad and there was some half decent policy.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  7th September 2016

        are you talking about the bene raise of up to $25 for some?Can’t think of much else.

        Reply
      • @ David – ” … lack of giving any credit for any policy action that had it been from Labour would be excellent policy.”

        Like Blazer I’m struggling to think of any … Put up the benefit by $25 for a targetted few but raise State House rentals, demand sole parents seek work earlier in the child’s life and then pay for child-care out of it simultaneously …

        But of course, National always gives credit where its due for policies they steal off Labour and the Greens …

        You’re like Al the other day suggesting opposition parties “get on board” and support the government …. Yeah …. RIGHT! But no, it’s me and Blazer who live in a fantasy land, “far from reality” and “talk utter blather”!

        As I recall Years 2 – 5 of the Clark/Cullen era were the main, feel-good, make-a-killing ‘escalation years’ of the [fantasy land] property boom that resulted in the GFC?

        Reply
  5. Zedd

     /  7th September 2016

    I’m happy to see the Greens & Labour become ‘more radical’ & move further ‘Left’.. because frankly.. the rush to crowd the ‘centre ground’ is making the two ‘main parties’ look increasingly like two sides of the SAME coin.
    Labour quite often vote with ‘Team Key’ on Govt. bills & it is usually Greens & NZF that are being seen as the REAL opposition ! :/

    btw; IF you cant ‘find a neo-liberal bone’ in the Govt. MPs bodies.. then maybe you need to be clearer on what you are looking for/at.. the ‘neo-liberal’ agenda (as I understand it) is based on the ‘Chicago school of economics’ (Prof M Friedman) which promotes ‘totally open markets’ & the ‘trickle-down’ theory.. I see ‘team-key’ being totally driven by this (privatise every Govt. dept. & then flog every ‘state asset’ off to the highest bidder) !

    ** ‘give all the tax-cuts & benefit to the top 10% & hopefully it trickles down to the rest of us.. (NOT)’ but in reality it just creates a bigger gap, between ‘them & us’.

    Just look at the recent ‘news’ that Akld is now ‘millionaires row’ under this ‘Fat-Cat’ Govt. 😦

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  7th September 2016

      WRT to reforming building and planning legislation, National does not have a majority.

      It is the Fat Cat Opposition which maintains it.

      Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  7th September 2016

      “I’m happy to see the Greens & Labour become ‘more radical’ & move further ‘Left’”

      Yep, happy days Zedd.

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  7th September 2016

        @ice

        :/ WTF is your point then ?

        Reply
        • Conspiratoor

           /  7th September 2016

          Allow me to assist zeddo. I suspect what ice is alluding to is the further left they go, the further south they go, if you get my drift. Cheers,c

          Reply
          • Conspiratoor

             /  7th September 2016

            …and the kicker. That is something that makes all right thinking folks very happy

            Reply
        • Iceberg

           /  7th September 2016

          Even I’ll give you an uptick for that Zedd, made me laugh.

          Reply
      • PDB

         /  7th September 2016

        They should go further left……….they would be onto a winner then

        Reply
  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  7th September 2016

    I don’t buy the argument that Norman was more centralist. He was just extreme socialism in a suit with a better knowledge of buzz words.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th September 2016

      Very intelligent man,who was more than a match for any other Parliamentarian.A big loss to the House and NZ politics.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  7th September 2016

        Achieved exactly nothing. You call that intelligent?

        Reply
        • Iceberg

           /  7th September 2016

          He sabotaged billions in the value of power companies. He’s an enemy of the State.

          Reply
        • PDB

           /  7th September 2016

          Russ Norman – who said his most admired politician in New Zealand politics was Bill English………that at least was one intelligent comment he made during his time as an MP.

          Reply
          • ” … an enemy of the State” … “enemy of the taxpayer seeking to be the State” and “extreme socialism in a suit” …

            Oh my goodness!!! And you Righties accuse me of talking blather …

            I thought the ‘State’ was you guys’ ENEMY!!?

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  7th September 2016

              What exactly of any of my comment do you disagree with and why?

              And don’t bury it in a forest of blather. Be precise.

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