Greens versus NZ First and Labour conservatism

Does Labour use NZ First as an excuse to be conservative on economic and other policies to avoid being linked to Green radicalism? They do use the Budget Responsibility Rules to be conservative. They are an agreement with the Green Party to allay fears of a swing too far left in the last election campaign, but there is disagreement over having the Rules within the Green Party.

I have seen dismay expressed from the the left that the Government is nowwhere near progressive enough,.

Henry Cooke (Stuff):  The Greens are looking forward to 2020 already, and the possibility of a world without Winston

At their annual conference last year, a prominent Green Party member gave a speech which called for the party to tear up a central tenet of their partnership with Labour.

He received a standing ovation. Most of the Green MPs present, who had signed off the policy, were in the room. Several agreed with him.

The policy was the Budget Responsibility Rules a set of tight government spending guidelines Labour and the Greens agreed to ahead of the 2017 election. They have gone on to play a huge role in how the parties have governed.

The idea was to blunt the attacks from the right that a Labour-Green government would blow up the surplus and destroy the economy.

Ever since Green supporters and some MPs have been agitating for the party to get rid of the rules. In the last week this began. A “review” of those budgetary constraints has been launched, but this is just a procedural step on the way to either scrapping them or modifying them before the 2020 election.

There always seemed a likelihood that Labour and the Greens would need NZ First to give them any chance of getting into Government last election, and so it turned out.

It’s a long way from the election but there appears to be a greater chance that NZ First won’t make the threshold next year. This would give the Greens more influence over Labour, depending on how many seats they get. If Greens recovered back up to ten to fifteen seats, and were in Cabinet with Labour, they should get significantly more say and sway.

In the same week, co-leader James Shaw made the most forceful argument for a capital gains tax anyone has in years, saying the Government wouldn’t deserve to be re-elected if they didn’t implement one.

That was a big play from Shaw, mostly to his party wanting more reform from Government.

​The election is next year, and the Greens are getting ready by staking out positions on the left. At the same time, some in the party are daring to look forward to a world without Winston Peters.

Fixing this requires not just talking up wins in Government but very clearly pushing left on tax – an issue likely to dominate through this year and into the next thanks to the tax working group – as well as balancing the books. These might seem like small bore issues but they are very important to that core of committed supporters.

NZ First are likely to try to distance themselves from relying on Labour next year to try to fool voters and Labour negotiators into thinking they could go either way.

So Labour+Green will be an important consideration for voters.

Many Greens see Peters and NZ First as the reactionary laggard keeping this Government from truly transforming the country. But it has long been useful for centrist Labour MPs to blame NZ First for their own conservatism. Labour will be extremely conscious of how scared the wider public might feel about a radical Labour-Green government in 2020.

Keeping the budget deal in place might well be Ardern’s plan to placate those fears.

For Labour, yes. And possibly for Shaw. But what about green supporters disappointed with the lack of progress leftwards this term, and impatient for more radical reforms?

Possibly one of the most significant decisions for the next election will be what the Green party decides to do about the Rules, that some see as a brick wall in front of progress and real progressivism.

One thing that may make it easier for Greens pulling Labour left is the conservatism of Simon Bridges pulling National further right.

Unless the Sustainability Party gets some support in the centre.

29 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  February 17, 2019

    Labour will need to tear up the budgetary constraint rules just to pass any sort of budget in 2020. Kiwi Build is about to get nasty with Twyford having signed the govt up to buy hundreds of houses built in places no one wants to live. Look at Te Kauwhata only the taxpayer would be dumb enough to finance this development. And Twyford has dozens more 100+ home developments like this to explain.
    One developer explained to me either these big Kiwibuild developments will become social housing slums or be sold at a cut rate price to investors. Oh the irony.

    • Corky

       /  February 17, 2019

      I’m already saving my pennies, Arty. They say Bob Jones made a lot of money renting to the wrong people in the right areas before he went commercial.

      Whether that’s true I don’t know, what is true is your developer friend is right…these developments will slowly attract the wrong people down the track. It only takes one feral tenant, especially in those high density developments, for the rot to set in.

      • Blazer

         /  February 17, 2019

        Bob Jones made alot of money through RJI…boasted he could well become the richest man in the world.

        His golden rule…’don’t sell,don’t sell…until I’ve dumped…all mine’!✨

    • Duker

       /  February 17, 2019

      A 100+ housing development at Te Kauwhata …oh pleeese.
      telling lies arty .. Some larger developments have only a few kiwibuild houses.
      I doubt that even in Auckland there are more than a handful of 100+ developments let alone a small sleepy Waikato town.

      • artcroft

         /  February 17, 2019

        I didn’t say 100+ In Te Kauwhata, just that Twyford has signed up for several large Kiwbuild developments that include 100+ development houses. Several of these are with the same developer who put Te Kauwhata through. And yes my developer friend is putting forward a KB development. Is it large? Yes. Does he believe that the taxpayer will have to buy many of these house because they won’t meet the market? Yep.

    • Duker

       /  February 17, 2019

      Kiwibuild is a program to SELL houses to new owners. No need for budget problems.
      The regional homes are just a fraction of those that will come in Auckland…a fraction – but some posters here cant do their maths

      yes, every time a Kb home is waiting for the kitchen units to arrive Farrar , playing the national party mouthpiece gives breathless updates

  2. David

     /  February 17, 2019

    NZ First have saved us from the Greens having any wins, in fact they have had to swallow some pretty horrid calls particularly in the donor heavy fishing area, but paradoxically may have saved the Greens from not getting back in next time as folk recoil from the awfulness of their positions.

    • Duker

       /  February 17, 2019

      Oil exploration ban outside Taranaki.
      That was a labour – Greens win.

      • Corky

         /  February 17, 2019

        And a New Zealand loss.

        • Duker

           /  February 17, 2019

          Plenty of exploration licenses still left to run….. these things are driven by price of oil anyway , and when the price fell like a stone 3 years plenty of explorers walked as its very very small chance of finding anything in commercial quantities -except onshore |Taranaki

      • David

         /  February 17, 2019

        Decision was made in spite of the Greens, probably made partly to spike the Greens and bring that vote back to Labour.

  3. admiralvonspee

     /  February 17, 2019

    Green is the new…red.

  4. Finbaar Rustle

     /  February 17, 2019

    Lets hope Labour stay in power till the end of the century
    and the Nits keep moaning, grizzling and whinging for ever 🙂

    • Ray

       /  February 17, 2019

      What are your thoughts on the glory years under the leadership of John Key Finbaar?

      • Blazer

         /  February 17, 2019

        you’ve spelt ‘gory’ wrong.

        9 years of constant spin and cronyism,the destruction of the Kiwi Dream.

      • Finbaar Rustle

         /  February 17, 2019

        Hello Ray.
        The Glory years under John Key Finbaar?
        The coalition was actually Finbaar John Key.
        John was the smiling face up front and I was the brains of the organisation.
        I could not be the face up front because I am too good looking
        and we would have had young women in raptures
        akin to the Beatles tour of 1964.
        We basically continued the great work of the Lange/Clarke Govt’s.
        Now I am steering the Starship Jacinda Enterprise across the universe.
        Full speed ahead.
        Make it so.

  5. Zedd

     /  February 17, 2019

    A lot of the talk about ‘Right V Left’ is still a hangover from FPP. It is time that the majority woke up & looked at the reality: this is a true MMP Govt. None of the 3 parties will get everything they want.. regardless of the rhetoric from some commentators, they are likely getting much more than, if they remained in Opposition !

    Many see NZF & Greens as opposites, but for the 9 looong years, that Natl were in Govt. it was clear that Lab./NZF/Grns had more in common than not. The main point being, a change of direction from the: Money 1st to last agenda of the extreme Tories, that run the Natl party.

    Yes 2020 is a while off, BUT as a ‘leftie’ I would prefer to see the current Govt. continue for at least another term, rather than swing back to the ‘Same old, same old’ from Natl.

    It is 2019.. not 1959 folks; the world is still turning 😀

    • Duker

       /  February 17, 2019

      ACT thought they were in the drivers seat for their policy wins after 2008 election, end result was the party split – both from Rodney Hides domineering bullying and lack of support from national to big cuts in the budget.
      Confidence and supply only agreement and being out of cabinet makes Greens pretty much eunuchs like ACT was in those years, of course later ACT became a one party poodle- careful what you wish for when the party activists push too hard

    • NOEL

       /  February 17, 2019

      People chose MMP to counter the ideological swings and roundabouts of FFP.
      We though it would bring more consensus decisions to the table.
      We forgot the pollies. Baubles were bad enough now it seems complete minor party policies are been adopted.

      • Gezza

         /  February 17, 2019

        I wouldn’t like to see a return to FPP. I think on balance under MMP there has been more accommodation of the wider electorate’s overall concerns, as opposed to straight-out ideologically-driven right/left swings. This coalition looks like it MIGHT have been the closest one yet to what MMP envisaged in terms of a spread of policies & representation.

        But what I never realised until after the last election is just how BAD our choice from political party candidates is. It’s a tuff job, being in the public eye, and having to travel & turn up at all sorts of functions & events & be available to hear constituents or put forward representations on their behalf at all times – even when you know it’s a hopeless case.

        Ministers don’t get breaks on weekends. They take their work & papers for reading with them & bring them back digned or read on Monday.

        But what a right pack of bloody wallies seem to put themselves forward for public office in this country. That’s what’s depressing. When I look across all parties its hard to find a genius & too damn easy to spot complete dorks.

  6. NOEL

     /  February 17, 2019

    People chose MMP to counter the ideological swings and roundabouts of FFP.
    We though it would bring more consensus decisions to the table.
    We forgot the pollies. Baubles were bad enough now it seems complete minor party policies are been adopted.

  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 17, 2019

    Politics is hard because people are usually fairly thick and ignorant – as Winston Churchill famously noted. Or to put it another way their experiences are local and personal rather than national and general. One doesn’t easily translate to the other.

    • Mother

       /  February 17, 2019

      Translating from childish politicians, whose skill ends at the end of their own wee bubble, to a government working for the good of Aotearoa doesn’t happen easily either.

      That’s why I reckon there’s only one option left – for individuals to carefully consider Christianity. This is way different, and much simpler, than the status quo.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 17, 2019

        When politicians do the translating the results depend on the prejudices and interests of the politicians.