In 2015 Vernon Tava stood for the Green co-leadership when Russel Norman stepped down – James Shaw won that contest.
Politik has reported that Tava has now left the Greens as he thinks they have become too socialist (which is a common view outside the Green Party).
A former top Green official .and leadership contender in 2015 has resigned from the party because he believes it has lost its way and he is now working with National.
As for the Greens, he said he began to part ways with them because he began to doubt whether the environment was seriously at the top of their agenda.
He also began to doubt that there was any genuine will on the part of the party to work with the Government whoever they were.
That was a central theme of his campaign for the party co-leadership in 2015.
He talked about the primacy of environmental values in the party and said the party should re-focus on its core Green values.
He said the charter’s values of ecological wisdom and social responsibility were neither left nor right.
And he went on to suggest he would be happy in Government with National.
That’s something the Green Party, and especially co-leader Metiria Turei, seem staunchly against.
“Currently we say it is not enough that you care about the environment and that have a concern for ecological wisdom and social responsibility but you must also identify as left.
“And in doing that we alienate all the people who might share those values.
“Conservation, after all, can be inherently conservative.
“We leave these people out.”
He said the party needed support from across the spectrum because the problems facing the country were too urgent and too pressing.
“The Green Party should be the sustainable axis around which every government turns, he said.
I’ve voted Green in the past, and I would strongly support an environment focused Green Party that was prepared to deal with any government, no matter which party led it (that doesn’t mean I would vote for them but I would give them serious consideration).
Currently Green support growth seems to have stalled. It’s hard to see much change to that as they seem to promote socialist policies more than environmental ones, and hitch themselves to Labour only.
“I had joined what I thought was an environmental party and I did find that on the whole, it was more of a socialist party.”
Tava says his fundamental question of the Greens was to ask how serious they were about the environment.
“Is it that we will only protect the environment when it feels good or will do what it takes to work with whoever is in Government.”
“When Russel Norman really started going after John Key, a lot of us were very unhappy about that.
“It was like we’d burned the bridge, and the party was traditionally always meant to be above the fray, and you didn’t hear Jeannette Fitzsimons or Rod Donald making personalised attacks against people.
“So there was a feeling, and a lot of founder members did express this to me.”
The focus and feel of the Green Party has certainly changed a lot since the days of Fitzsimons and Donald.
Tava is not alone in that view — postings on “The Standard” website yesterday over the Greens disappointing showing in the Mt Albert by-election make frequent reference to the party being the true left wing party.
This prompted a response from lprent, who posted National bolster their moribund blue-greens and a standard grump:
FFS: Individuals write here and have individual voices. “The Standard” is a dumb computer program that allows them to discuss their opinions to each other. Give attribution to those making comments or posts rather than to the machine.
He sort of has a point but The Standard (commenters at) often refers to ‘the media’ and named media outlets as being culprits without attribution to individual voices, it’s very common elsewhere as well to generalise about sources.
But his point loses it’s impact when you see anonymously authored hit job posts like Poor Tory Farrar – is ‘Natwatch’ a dumb computer program? Without an identifiable voice who can blame people referring to it as ‘The Standard’?
Back to the Greens, Prentice’s post and some of the comments adds some interesting points to discussions on where the Greens fit in now, who they appeal to, and whether they can break through their support ceiling with their current approach closely allied with Labour.
One late comment from ‘s y d’ is actually quite perceptive:
The Green Party will be stuck on 11% cos most of us are just too poor to be able to give a fuck about streams, dolphins, driftnetting, fracking, mining or the next thing to be destroyed in the ceaseless march to elysium.
Only the rich get to choose to go hiking, everyone else can get the bus, or get in their 1998 nissan sentra.
The poor, the deprived, those in poverty generally worry about their own predicaments on a day to day basis, they are likely to not much thought to the environment.
Neither are they likely to give much thought to voting, they are probably a significant part of the ‘missing million’.
This is a bit of Green dilemma. Are they really green, or have they become too red for voters?