Greens ‘unique kaupapa’ trashed by Peters ‘bill or bust’ threat?

The Green party voted twice in Parliament yesterday in support of Winston’s waka jumping bill. Golriz Ghahraman was chosen to speak out of both sides her mouth, claiming to oppose the bill but also committing to supporting it ‘for the good of the coalition’.

There must be a compelling reason for such a clash between past Green principles and coalition ‘pragmatism’.

While the real reasons are being kept secret by the Greens – despite past promises of transparency – the extreme nature of their sharply divided position suggests an extreme cause.

Ghahraman said that the future of the Government depended on Green support of the bill. This raises the possibility that Winston Peters has threatened bill or bust (the Government). Why else would the Greens contort so much over this?

The Green Party caucus has been under a lot of fire for saying they will vote for legislation they have always strongly opposed. Despite it being revealed that they have misled (lied to) the public over their knowledge of responsibilities as a part of the Government to try to justify this stance – see Greens appear to have lied over their waka jumping bill support – they went ahead and voted twice yesterday in Parliament to advance the bill.

The first vote was an attempt by National to send the bill back to an indecisive committee:

ELECTORAL (INTEGRITY) AMENDMENT BILL

Procedure

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (National—Nelson): I move, That the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill set down for second reading be discharged and referred back to the Justice Committee to enable the many amendments proposed by officials and submitters to be considered.

A party vote was called for on the question,That the motion be agreed to.

Ayes 56

New Zealand National 56.

Noes 63

New Zealand Labour 46; New Zealand First 9; Green Party 8.

Smith targeted the Green position in the second reading debate.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (National—Nelson): …

The Green Party position over this bill sets a new low in parliamentary integrity. Co-leader Marama Davidson says this bill is undemocratic. She says it is a threat to democracy. She says it goes against Green Party principles and policies, but they are voting for it. She justified it by saying this, and I quote, “It is in our supply and confidence agreement and we had to.” That is untrue and contradicts the advice from the Cabinet Office that has now been leaked by horrified Green insiders.

Late last year, Mr Shaw stated that the advantage of the supply and confidence agreement was this, and I quote him, “Green MPs will not vote for anything they do not agree with.” That is exactly what is happening here. This betrayal of core values could not be more serious. A founding Green co-leader said of the same bill, in 2001, that it was the most Draconian, obnoxious, anti-democratic—

Hon James Shaw: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. Dr Smith has now brought the memory of Rod Donald into this debate and into question time a number of times. I think this is the fourth time that I’m aware of—

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Would you get to the point? Is there a point of order here?

Hon James Shaw: Yes, there is. I’m offended and I would like him to withdraw and apologise. It is called waving a dead man’s hand—

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Everyone will sit down.

Hon James Shaw:—and he has no right to speak—

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Sit down!

Hon James Shaw: —for Rod Donald.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Sit down! When the Speaker is on their feet, members resume their seats. That is not a point of order. Unfortunately, you cannot take offence on behalf of another member. That member is absent; you cannot take offence on behalf of another member. That is not a point of order, and I call the Hon Nick Smith to continue.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Let me quote from the Hansard

Hon James Shaw: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Are you going to re—

Hon James Shaw: I am not offended on behalf of anybody else; I am offended.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sorry, but the point of your offence is on behalf of another person. You are taking offence at reference to another person. You cannot do that. It is not a point of order.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: A quote for Mr Shaw’s benefit from the parliamentary Hansard “the most Draconian, obnoxious, anti-democratic, insulting piece of legislation ever inflicted in this Parliament”, yet it is now to become the law with the votes of people like Mr Shaw. We also heard evidence from officials at select committee that this bill breaches the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Only six months ago, I heard the member in this House quoting the importance of those treaties and human rights, yet today is the vote on a bill that tramples on those very rights.

Greens left it to struggling rookie MP Ghahraman to speak for them.

GOLRIZ GHAHRAMAN (Green): …

Of the many, many decisions that we’ve made since the 2017 election, the decision to support this bill has been the most difficult for the Green Party…

So the difficult decision on this bill is not typical of the kinds of decisions that we’ve had to make in joining this Government. What does make this decision uniquely difficult is the strong competing principles. The first is that the Green Party has spoken out vehemently against a bill like this in 2001 and 2005.

The competing principle is that the Green Party is now committed to this new, multi-party Government, built on the merging of three parties’ priorities in the first truly multi-party MMP Government—MMP, a form of Government fought for and brought about in large part by the great work of the great man Rod Donald, a man who has been brought into this debate, whose memory has been dragged through this debate by members in the Opposition who worked so hard during his life to impede his great work. That’s disgraceful.

Some say, with some justification, that it is a disgrace to Donald’s memory for the Greens to support this bill.

Our confidence and supply agreement includes a commitment to act in good faith to allow Labour and New Zealand First to implement their coalition agreement. Mostly, that doesn’t involve the kind of proactive support in the House, but this bill does.

No it doesn’t. The Greens always promised to act with integrity in Parliament, they promised to oppose legislation that was against their principles.

So it is this commitment to good faith and our commitment to see the new Government succeed that has decided our position on this bill. We know that most out there—we know that nature can’t afford another three years of a neo-liberal National Party Government.

That sounds like she (and the Greens) see support of this bill as necessary to keep the Government together. Has Peters threatened to pull out of his Government commitments unless the Greens roll over on this for him? That’s how it looks.

I now wish to address the process we’ve taken to come to our decision. Far from some sort of smoke-filled back-door deal, the Green Party has gone through a robust internal process.

We announced initially that we would support the bill to select committee. That gave us the opportunity to reach out to our grassroots, and it also gave our members the opportunity to be heard and to have their views put on the record. We have discussed and debated the competing principles behind this bill, led by our party’s national executive and its policy committee, which represent elected members from the grassroots.

She doesn’t actually say that Green members approve of their support of the bill. They used to say important decisions were made by party membership, not MPs. They often gave that as a reason for not negotiating a governing arrangement with National.

Many people understood our support of this bill and some didn’t—some pushed for us to oppose it, including many who submitted to the Justice Committee.

She suggests here that the Green position has significant majority support, but doesn’t substantiate that.

I would like to acknowledge especially Jeanette Fitzsimons and Keith Locke, our great previous MPs who will be disappointed in our support. These people were heard and I’m sorry that the outcome will be disappointing them today. To be clear, we do not think that this is a particularly good bill.

New Greens seem to have quite different principles to Old Greens.

And we do have concerns about party caucuses being able to remove MPs from Parliament. So, yes, this was a difficult decision, but it has come about because we’ve decided that this new Government must succeed and we must support it in good faith to succeed.

Again this suggests that the survival of the Government was dependent on Greens supporting this bill, despite not liking it. Traditional Green supporters hate it.

So, the confidence and supply agreement does that but it also allows the Green Party to speak out on our unique kaupapa. That is something that’s close to my heart. Protest is close to my heart and I value you it as an out-of-Government—[Interruption]

Hon Gerry Brownlee: The member means flexible kaupapa.

The ‘unique kaupapa’ of the Greens has flown out the window, as extinct as a huia.

I can’t think of any reason for them doing this other than rolling over for Winston under threat of losing their place in Government.

 

 

21 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  August 3, 2018

    So the Greens won’t support National as a point of tribalism, but are happy to support the trashing of democracy.

    The Green Party: Working to make New Zealanders colder, poorer and sicker.

  2. alloytoo

     /  August 3, 2018

    For Sale: Greens Party Principles.

    Cheap!

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 3, 2018

    Sick. Surprising Shaw wasn’t thrown out for his effort as well.

  4. PartisanZ

     /  August 3, 2018

    The Greens were always going to suffer worst of all from the compromises necessary in such a coalition … especially one with Peters …

    National stalwarts should perhaps remember their consternation (to put it mildly) at National’s many concessions to The Moari Party?

    The sad thing is that ‘Waka Jumping’ has such a long and proud history and many strong traditions in Aotearoa New Zealand – beginning with Frank Lawry in 1891 – including those added by the very politician who put up this Bill and who, after waka jumping himself, selected the name “New Zealand First” for his own political Party …

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waka-jumping

    “Green Party MPs announced last week they would reluctantly vote for the bill despite party policy opposing it, because their confidence and supply agreement with Labour required them to.” … How difficult is this to comprehend?

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/105873084/justice-committee-fails-to-report-back-on-waka-jumping-bill

    National appears more ready than any other Party to take sectarian Party politics deep into the Select Committee process … a worrying development … Nick Smith apparently “chucking his toys” during Justice SC deliberations on this Bill … (as I have no doubt Matt Doocey did during Health SC hearings on cannabis law reform) …

    “Huo said by holding back the report Smith was letting down his party and the submitters whose voices would now be lost.

    “He has not just let his party down but also the general public, including those submitters,” Huo said.

    “The Justice Committee is a very busy committee. We have enjoyed a strong level of collegiality, until, very frankly, the arrival of Nick Smith,” Huo said.

    “He should be the father of the House rather than the bane of the Select Committee.”

    • High Flying Duck

       /  August 3, 2018

      They lied about the C&S agreement requiring them to vote for it. It does no such thing.

  5. David

     /  August 3, 2018

    So the Greens are like every other political party, not as if we didnt know already the only people who lived in denial were the millennial reporters who bought their bullshit without question.
    If the worse thing the Greens think they have done is sign this then I have an ocean sanctuary to sell them, they would have been able to get a video of it from a fishing boat but the vetoed that as well.

  6. NOEL

     /  August 3, 2018

    “Golriz Ghahraman was chosen to speak out of both sides her mouth.”
    Is this the same woman who joined the demonstration at the 5 Eyes site then got all testy when she was not eligible to go to the GCSB briefings to pollies?

    • PartisanZ

       /  August 3, 2018

      It’s tough being Green in a Blue-Black-Blood-Blister ‘Bruiser’ of a world …

      I mean … shit … you only have to drive a car or fly in an aeroplane to automatically have no credibility with the Righties … Who are an auto-immune disease unto themselves …

      • Someone who doesn’t drive because he thinks it wrong to do so, but does travel in cars driven by other people is at best a hair-splitter.

        I am vegetarian on principle. If I refused to buy meat but ate it when someone else did, I’d be a real hypocrite.

  7. Zedd

     /  August 3, 2018

    Welcome to Aotearoa/NZs; first actual MMP Govt. !

    As Golriz said they are better off being ‘in Govt’ rather than 3 more years in opposition.. even if it does require ‘swallowing a few dead rats’ to achieve it; 20 of their policy ideas are being agreed to, as part of their C&S agreement with Labour (& NZF).. in opposition they basically got ZERO gains from Natl-led Govt.; 9 looooooong years

    Natl. MPs & supporters just need to get over this FACT & cut the crap out :/

    • Zedd

       /  August 3, 2018

      Natls. ‘dirty politics’ to the fore AGAIN; try to create tension/cracks..

      • Gezza

         /  August 3, 2018

        I prefer Chloe to Golriz. Chloe is nakedly ambitious & clever in how she’s going about building her brand. Even internationally. I reckon her time with the Greens is but one career step to something else – but she always handles her current job or project like a pro.

        Golriz just seems away with the fairies to me.

    • artcroft

       /  August 3, 2018

      They never tried to get any gains from National. The Greens stayed in their naive and immature black and white worldview where National was evil and Labour were good. Now they have discovered they are as hypocritical and deceitful as the rest of the parliamentary team. But still maintain they can’t work on behalf of the environment with National. Pathetic.

      • Zedd

         /  August 3, 2018

        ‘They never tried to get any gains from National.’ sez artcroft

        On really.. Im pretty sure that every mbrs bill & SOP the Grns put up, was voted down by Nat-act ! 😦

        • Zedd

           /  August 3, 2018

          ‘But still maintain they can’t work on behalf of the environment with National. Pathetic.’

          are you serious; many Natl MPs/supporters wouldnt know what ‘Enviro. issues’ were.. if they hit them between the eyes !! 😦

          • Alloytoo

             /  August 3, 2018

            I think most National party supporters know enough to realize that the Greens policies are both economically and environmentally unsound.

    • PDB

       /  August 3, 2018

      Must be the first time ever dead rats swallow dead rats…

  8. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 3, 2018

    Hooton skewers Peters and the hapless Greens on this:
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12099988