Green glory – missing the point

Simon Wilson wonders why Greens aren’t polling better when they are doing so much right in Greens in search of glory.

…the Greens are up 1.3 percent in the latest poll (Newshub) and despite all the talk about NZ First, they have maintained a clear lead on Winston and his crew. So the Greens are clearly doing something right. Just not everything.

“Just not  everything” is an important point – but there may be fundamentals that Greens can’t do anything about. They have struggled to break through a support ceiling of 10-11%.

Wilson asks:

If you were them, what would you do – something like this?

1. Refresh your lineup

This time round the Greens have made those calls. Whether they get 20 percent or 7 percent or anything in between, the new caucus will have a balance of new and experienced talent.

Whether it is vote attracting talent or not is yet to be seen.

2. Neutralise key critics on the right

(Shaw has) become a respected voice among business groups – they don’t always like what he has to say, but they like him and that means at least they listen, far more often than they used to.

Shaw’s detractors on the left may not want to admit it, but he possesses a vital skill in politics: he can impress people who are not his natural allies.

It’s debatable whether he has impressed voters though. He doesn’t present as a strong leader – that’s difficult for him in a co-leadership arrangement where Turei is well established and influential in the party.

3. Fix any issues that made you especially vulnerable last election

That would be the boat with everyone rowing in different directions. As a meme, it worked. Hence the Greens’ and Labour’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), whose success to date demonstrates that the two parties can work together.

The Greens can be damned either way on this.

And they are. Most importantly the MoU has been strongly criticised on the left, where most of Green’s potential votes are.

4. Reaffirm your core purpose

That would be climate change and protecting the environment, and it would also be social policy, because the Greens have always been a progressive party.

I give them a fail on this. Greens have made it clear that their core purpose this campaign is to “change the Government”.

They would rather shun National rather than leave the option open to get any environmental and social policy wins with whichever party wins the most votes. This is also a fail on core MMP principals.

Greens have put themselves in weak position where they both have to have Labour doing much better, and if that works they are left in a weak negotiating position.

Greens may also have another core purpose they are keeping quiet on – to take over Labour’s role as the biggest alternative party to National. That’s a high risk punt.

5. Build your base, finances and organisational strength

The biggest lesson from the Corbyn campaign? In my view, this: there’s real political power in activating a big supporter base through social media. The Greens have been busy building such a base (to be fair, so have some of the other parties).

The Greens have been well organised and well financed for years – they have been doing better in getting donations than Labour, and Labour has started to copy some of their tricks like email harvesting to build a big contact list, and repeatedly seeking many micro donations.

Greens have a solid and well organised base but has it’s drawbacks as well as advantages. Their base prevents them from maximising MMP negotiating strength by shunning National and tying their prospects with Labour’s.

6. Build a policy platform that will lead to progressive achievements

For all that they’re doing right (see above) there are still two big things the Greens could get a lot better at.

Policy is one and leadership (see below) is the other.

Now they’ve shown they can work with Labour it’s critical they find themselves a few key policies that set them apart. High-profile, easy-to-understand, game-changing policies. Policies they can achieve in their first term in government, so voters get a real, concrete sense of what they might be voting for.

I have no idea what key policies the Greens want to promote that are distinct from Labour’s.

Joining at the hip for the campaign has created a difficult situation for the Greens – they want to look like they have enough in common with Labour to form a credible government but somehow need to look significantly different.

7. Galvanise the hearts and minds of voters

It’s still the most important thing, and the hardest.

You don’t have to squeeze yourself into a box. But you do have to be likeable. Plus, you have to be decisive and also modest, and seem smart but not smartypants, and be confident but not arrogant, and convey the sense that you know what you’re talking about and that you yourself believe what you want us to believe. You have to be trustworthy. And did I say, you have to be likeable.

All of that adds up to being inspirational. Being the people we want as our leaders, because we believe in you.

The thing is, right now nobody owns these things. We don’t really have those leaders in our parliament. So that’s the challenge, for Greens co-leaders James Shaw and Metiria Turei and for all their colleagues: time to step up. 99 days to go, and a party conference in mid-July – time to show us what what these new Greens really mean.

But Greens can’t and won’t be seen as leaders, because they have made themselves reliant on and secondary to Labour, whose leadership is looking quite weak.

The can only realistically sell themselves as a strong support party, a better alternative to NZ First and with Labour a better alternative to National.

I think that Wilson misses a key point.

I think that many voters like at least some of the Green policies, especially environmental policies, and want a strong Green environmental voice in Parliament.

But there is far less enthusiasm for Greens having too large a say in social and financial issues.

If the Greens were an environmental party, prepared to work with any party and any government to promote their environmental policies, they would do well, and would be popular.

If the Greens were a socialist party, primarily promoting their social and financial policies, I think they would struggle to beat the 5% threshold.

There is core support for the red Greens.

There is much wider support for the green Greens, but a lot of potential votes are lost due to concerns over the red side of the party.

Greens will do well enough in the party vote this election.

Greens can organise and fund raise and campaign better than most if not all other parties but their success is very dependant on Labour, and may also be dependant on NZ First. This weakens their position substantially.

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33 Comments

  1. Brown

     /  June 18, 2017

    The Greens are not the pragmatic environmentalists of old, they are, nowadays, the avenue for the control freak Marxists pretending to be environmentalists so people who are a bit dim (about 10% of the population it seems) don’t get frightened off and make them irrelevant. In my view they are presently the most devious and disingenuous branch of politics in New Zealand.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 18, 2017

    I see no evidence Shaw is respected let alone agreed with. So his neutralising criticism is just fantasy outside of the Green cult.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 18, 2017

      I think Shaw is likeable, and generally liked, or at least not viewed negatively – as a person, & as someone who seems a little more business friendly & worldy wise – practical, from what little we know about him.

      On the other hand, I think Meteria is generally disliked outside their core support base, seen as a docialist & dreamer, teenagey in her understanding of our wider society, self-righteous & arrogant. She tends to demonise those citizens who simply don’t see things her way. Puts me off. And others I think.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 18, 2017

        Sht. FIP !
        * socialist.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  June 18, 2017

          I like it the way you wrote it, G. As a docialist she wants people docile and dopey.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  June 18, 2017

            Well, what about a flippin uptick then? Christ you’re mingy with those.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  June 18, 2017

              Even c gives me upticks Al. And he’s bloody evil !
              Pull ya finger out!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 18, 2017

              I gave you one yesterday, G – I think. I remember wondering if I should.

              But this time I think the FiP deserves it, not you.

            • Gezza

               /  June 18, 2017

              It’ll take it. 👍
              Beggars can’t be choosers, Al.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 18, 2017

              I gave it one, G. That might be all for today.

  3. sorethumb

     /  June 18, 2017

    71% of Chinese intend to vote National (Herald) and I doubt Indians see them as strong on law and order. The sort of Kiwi who doesn’t want the downside of globalization wont vote for them.
    Here’s what Chinese netzin’s think of the white-left:
    “baizuo is used generally to describe those who “only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment” and “have no sense of real problems in the real world”; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to “satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority”; they are “obsessed with political correctness” to the extent that they “tolerate backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism”; they believe in the welfare state that “benefits only the idle and the free riders”; they are the “ignorant and arrogant westerners” who “pity the rest of the world and think they are saviours”. ”
    “The term first became influential amidst the European refugee crisis, and Angela Merkel was the first western politician to be labelled as a baizuo for her open-door refugee policy. Hungary, on the other hand, was praised by Chinese netizens for its hard line on refugees, if not for its authoritarian leader. Around the same time another derogatory name that was often used alongside baizuo was shengmu (圣母) – literally the ‘holy mother’ – which according to its users refers to those who are ‘overemotional’, ‘hypocritical’ and ‘have too much empathy’. The criticisms of baizuo and shengmu soon became an online smear campaign targeted at not only public figures such as J. K. Rowling and Emma Watson, but also volunteers, social workers and all other ordinary citizens, whether in Europe or China, who express any sympathy with international refugees.”
      https://www.opendemocracy.net/digitaliberties/chenchen-zhang/curious-rise-of-white-left-as-chinese-internet-insult  

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  June 18, 2017

      and this has what to do with the subject matter??

      Reply
      • Kevin

         /  June 18, 2017

        Greenies are all baizuo.

        Reply
        • sorethumb

           /  June 18, 2017

          They have two HRC lawyers in the line up.

          Reply
        • sorethumb

           /  June 18, 2017

          They are the German women holding up the big WELCOME sign as the “refugees” flood into Europe (60% being form Bangladesh, Eritrea, Pakistan etc)

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  June 18, 2017

          @ PDB
          Just thank your lucky stars PZ’s not here with lengthy quotes & references from Frank E Warner, inter alia, to debate & do battle on this one.

          Reply
      • sorethumb

         /  June 18, 2017

        …the Greens are up 1.3 percent in the latest poll (Newshub) and despite all the talk about NZ First, they have maintained a clear lead on Winston and his crew. So the Greens are clearly doing something right. Just not everything.
        ……..
        Someone noted that NZ First has “no infrastructure”. They hang out on Facebook and that is about it, yet on the day they do better than they poll? With all the Greens super organization NZ First is yapping at their heels. I know someone who hesitantly joined NZ First, worried about being constantly pestered but never received an email (apart from Winston) or a phone call (you would think there would have been one more member in Invercargill?

        Reply
      • Poll trends show that NZ First could easily catch up with the Greens:

        On top of that in past elections the Greens have got less party vote than polls indicated, and NZ First more. There’s no guarantee the same will happen this year but it has to be considered a real possibility.

        Reply
  4. PDB

     /  June 18, 2017

    Metiria Turei – until she goes the Greens have zero chance of making any real headway regardless of what they do.

    Reply
  5. James Shaw….projects the smart son next door image. But its all a ruse. We have yet to see the real James Shaw, but I suspect there is a classic hard leftie lurking behind the business suit

    Look at his actions so far – organised a putsch with his good friend Danyl and quietly knifed the old guard male leadership structure. A nice take over, thorough – eliminating any opposition for the male co-leader role: out goes Hauge and not long after Vernon Tava.

    And now he is biding his time as Meteria slowly destroys herself with the OTT rhetoric. After the next election and the usual Greens collapse from the polling pre election to their core support, Meteria will be pushed out with Shaw’s preferred female co-leader elected in a blaze of publicity.

    And then the party of James can truly begin…. will be fascinating to see whether he is the hard leftie I think he is or whether he is more in the Rob Donald mode – more centrist

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  June 18, 2017

      Nothing like Rod, IMO. Rod was a Fair Trade activist and entrepreneur long before he was a politician. From the little I know of Shaw he seems to be a politician first and principles adopted as needed later.

      Reply
  6. sorethumb

     /  June 18, 2017

    The Greens are a “social justice” party. Go back a few years and think of all the discourse about “our most vulnerable” (Pacific Island population). Before the dominance of Professor Spoonley and his left-wing globalists spawned our current graduates, demographers were seriously concerned about the population exploding in the Pacific Islands. According to Kenneth Cumberland, Fiji’s Indian population broke the physiological limit (popping out young Fijian Indians) over a couple of periods.
    “Population growth was percieved to threaten the very survival of some Pacific societies; indeed one of New Zealand’s moest eminent demographers (and an early Trans -Tasman migrant) W. D Borie went so far as to say in 1965 that: “to a demographer these Islands represent populations, however idyllic they appear to be at the moment, nearer the brink of overpopulation in the Malthusian sense than almost any other groups of peoples” ‘
    THE FUTURE OF POLYNESIA
    By KENNETH B. CUMBERLAND

    (Read as one of the 1962 Winter Lectures at the University of Auckland)

    Reply
  7. sorethumb

     /  June 18, 2017

    Another thing with the Greens that time is catching up on them is that (thanks to the likes of Jorden Petersen) people are becoming aware of how post modernism informs their ideas.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 18, 2017

      Most people don’t even know or care what post modernism is.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  June 18, 2017

        Whatever it means, if anything, has been evolving and mutating since 1880.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  June 18, 2017

          I wouldn’t know. And I don’t care. Happy to be one of the masses in that respect.

          Reply
      • sorethumb

         /  June 18, 2017

        It is true that most people don’t know what post-modernism is however awareness is growing around issues such as the role of social justice warriors in universities. Take the Canadian legislation about transgender pronouns. Steven Pinker, Johnathon Haidt and evolutionary psychologists are becoming more prominent. As people on the right become more understanding of the ideas behind those on the left they are able to challenge them. Evolutionary psychology informs the new right. In the US Trumps strategy was to go for the white voter, this was Steve Sailers idea.
        http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/04/steve-sailer-invented-identity-politics-for-the-alt-right.html

        Reply
  8. Blazer

     /  June 18, 2017

    National have won 3 terms…please explain…’But you do have to be likeable. Plus, you have to be decisive and also modest, and seem smart but not smartypants, and be confident but not arrogant, and convey the sense that you know what you’re talking about and that you yourself believe what you want us to believe. You have to be trustworthy. And did I say, you have to be likeable.

    All of that adds up to being inspirational. Being the people we want as our leaders, because we believe in you.’

    Reply
  9. Zedd

     /  June 18, 2017

    the Natz usurped the right-wing of potential green politics, by calling MPs like Ms Adams & Dr Smith; ‘blue-greens’ when in reality they are no such thing, they are Natz who have the tiniest of interest in enviro. issues too, rather than just total: money, money, MONEY !

    many in the Natz likely support more enviro-friendly issues, but just cant bring themselves to actuially vote green, so they tell a pokie & call themself ‘blue-greens’ (almost anathema to ‘real greens’ who vote that way).. oh dear 😀

    Reply
  1. Green glory – missing the point — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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