Green challenges

One of the challenges facing the Green Party is to make a significant impact in Government. So far some of their more notable achievements are backtracking on previously strong policy positions, such as the waka jumping bill. This risks them being seen as weak and ineffective – a problem faced by most small parties in government.

Another related challenge will be to stay in Parliament. In last year’s election the Greens were at real risk of missing the threshold and crashing out. They are still in that danger zone. Much may depend on how well Labour support holds up.

Liam Hehir: Greens risk losing ground in 2020 as Labour takes their share of votes

Leader James Shaw has speculated that the party’s “natural level of support is about 10 or 11 per cent” of the vote. This seems to rest on the Greens’ 2011 and 2014 results of 11.06 and 10.7 per cent.

But those were years in which Labour received less than 30 per cent. The Greens have never received more than 7 per cent in any election where Labour’s share exceeded 30 per cent.

Before the Metiria mishap Greens were confident of increasing their vote to at least 15% (which was their 2014 target), but that was due to Labour’s plummeting support under Andrew Little’s leadership.

The Green vote in elections where Labour polled at more than 30%:

  • 1999: 5.16%
  • 2002: 7.0%
  • 2005: 5.3%
  • 2008: 6.72%
  • 2017: 6.27%

That’s not far above the cut. And polls before last year’s election suggest the actual core support is significantly lower than this, dropping to 4.3% in a Colmar Brunton poll 12-16 August 2017.

At this stage Labour looks likely to stay well over 30% so Greens may struggle to hold their support, and are at real risk of losing ground.

Now it appears that the party will do an about face on the “waka jumping” bill being pushed by Winston Peters.

 

It all brings to mind what James Shaw said in the wake of his party’s changing position on benefit sanctions, another New Zealand First-appeasing betrayal of principle:

“Our policy is what the Government’s policy is. So now we’re in Government, we need to do what Government policy says.”

Greens used to be popular, even amongst those who didn’t vote for them, in particular because there was general support for taking more care of the environment. That’s something the Greens are going to need to work hard on maintaining as a point of difference.

30 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  January 17, 2018

    As I opined before, the environmentalists in the party are in danger of being monstered by the Queer faction and the staunch feminist faction.The increasing prominence of those self interest groups will erode their …popular base supporters concerned about what are supposedly…core values..

    • Griff

       /  January 17, 2018

      The fight between the environmental and far left factions has been part of the green movement since…

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Values_Party

      The Values Party was a New Zealand political party. It is considered the world’s first national-level environmentalist party,[1][2] pre-dating the use of “Green” as a political label. It was established in May 1972
      ………../
      Decline of the party

      Subsequent to the demoralising election result, the Values Party faced internal conflict between the “red” greens and the “fundamentalist” Greens, and it fragmented amidst quarrels about organisational principles. Kunowski resigned as party leader following the 1978 election in order to pursue a career as a banker.

      In May 1990, however, remnants of the Values Party merged with a number of other environmentalist organizations to form the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, which eventually did gain parliamentary seats. Many former members of the Values Party became active in the Green Party – notably Jeanette Fitzsimons, Rod Donald and Mike Ward.

      • Blazer

         /  January 17, 2018

        A lot of social changes that have impacted on Queers and Feminists since 1972..Griff.Al was in the Values Party ..then.Look at him….now!

        • NOEL

           /  January 17, 2018

          Lots happened in language over that time too. Queer and poof have disappeared for most.

          • Blazer

             /  January 17, 2018

            Queer is their label of choice these days…apparantly.

            • Gezza

               /  January 17, 2018

              Not universally, apparently. Christ, us cisgenders can’t bloody win!
              Call someone gay & they’ll say “oi mate, I’m not gay, I’m queer!”
              Call them queer & they’ll say “oi mate, I’m not queer, I’m gay!”

            • robertguyton

               /  January 17, 2018

              Queers say, “oi mate”?

            • Gezza

               /  January 17, 2018

              Good point !
              Only gays say that.
              Queers say: “Hellooooo …”

            • Gezza

               /  January 17, 2018

              It’s a tricky business knowing what to say or do sometimes …

            • robertguyton

               /  January 17, 2018

              Could’a lost a lip!

            • Blazer is right, queer has been reclaimed. So if it’s used as a term of abuse, it will fall flat. Good thinking on someone’s part.

  2. Any party which talks about a “natural level of support” is just trying to spin it into being. The Greens need to walk away from some of their more worrying economic policies.

    • Most people I know are very aware of which of the earth’s resources are finite and the slack and unsustainable attitude towards them. People also hate waste and lack of care to public funds is included in this package. Then there’s the closing down of freedom of expression.

      The Greens no longer encapsulate people’s prudent and conservative attitude to these issues. Greens’ attitudes to people’s actions that run counter to the greater good of society seem at odds with what was a solid ideology. People see Tureis’s theft of fiscal resources as treasonous and illegal and they see someone like Golriz Gharaman’s cynical and purely careerist move defending genocidaires as abhorrent and morally repugnant. They see a weak and gutless leader like Shaw and others overtly supporting both these women and rushing to sign an authoritarian depostic bill like the Waka jumping.

      I’d rather they were examples of footprint moderation, morally and planetarily responsible. They’re a sell out.

      • robertguyton

         /  January 17, 2018

        It ain’t easy, being…in power!

        • phantom snowflake

           /  January 17, 2018

          Hi Robert. I’m not sure about the present, but I’m aware that you have previously been active in the Green Party. I’ve often seen claims from people outside the party, such as by Blazer above, that there is ongoing warfare between factions in the Greens. This also parallels Martyn Bradbury’s ongoing bleat that “Identity Politics is splitting The Left.” I wonder to myself whether these factions actually exist, or are they merely “phantom” snowflakes ? LOL. Are you prepared to share some inside information on this subject?

          • robertguyton

             /  January 17, 2018

            Hi phantom – if I knew anything, I’d squeal! As it is, I’m an aged (today’s my 60th birthday) gardener/story-teller, thrilling to family and community and not concerned with any political party at all. Of course there are factions – those are what keep us all dis empowered; red, blue, green and every other colour under the sun.

            • Gezza

               /  January 17, 2018

              Happy Birthday robert! 🎉🍾 🧀 🍲
              Keeping out of mischief? 😳

            • phantom snowflake

               /  January 17, 2018

              Hippie Birthday!!

            • robertguyton

               /  January 18, 2018

              Thanks, both. Margaritas and music today but Saturday’s bigger, with all sorts planned; hippie party in the ger, garlands galore; sort of Bilbo Baggins does Riverton.

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 17, 2018

      @Duncan Brown – “The Greens need to walk away from some of their more worrying economic policies.”

      I disagree. I believe economics needs to walk away from some of its more worrying economic policies; notably the anti-Green ones …

      • I hear you. Somewhere there must be a middle line.

        • PartisanZ

           /  January 17, 2018

          The ‘middle way’ between ‘free-market’ capitalism and democratic socialism [or social democracy] is what we are collectively seeking IMHO.

          Personally I believe it will lie somewhat to the ‘Left’ of our current system, which neoliberalism has ‘displaced’ to the Right. It will also be dynamic … a work in progress … as indeed it is now …

          In saying that, I must acknowledge the gross inaccuracy of these definitions ‘Left’ and ‘Right’, largely still understood in their mid-late 20th Century context …

          “We all do better when we all do better”

  3. I wonder where Paris Hilton and Guy Williams went for the hols?

  4. sorethumb

     /  January 17, 2018

    This whole political system is archaic and not fit for purpase. In the elctoral cycle our choices are truncated due to internal party politics: you get people claiming to sell peaches where their main line is dirty books; then you get coalition and compromise.
    Adern can do what ever she wants; she just has to blame it on either of her two dogs (Salt and Pepper – NZF or Green) pushing her/pulling her

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 17, 2018

      Totally agree our whole political system is “archaic and not fit for purpose” sorethumb.

      But why such systemic defectiveness should pertain only to the Labour-led government simply doesn’t follow …

      Labour can do whatever they like and blame “the previous government” just like National always do once elected … and carry on doing throughout three terms …

      Our coalition government was ‘elected’ you know, don’t you? National didn’t have any friends to ‘go-in-with’ to buy the pie …

  5. No one has mentioned the marine sanctuary that the fishing industry is not happy with. How will the Greens vote on that?