Shaw v Coates on Greens v NZ First

The issue raised by Metiria Turei on Sunday that highlighted Green concerns about being left out of a Labour-NZ First coalition deal have continued through the week.

It blew up more yesterday after new MP Barry Coates had suggested that Greens could refer a new election rather than support a Labour-NZ First government – see Labour-NZ First Government “unacceptable” to Greens.

He was slapped down by James Shaw, but Shaw was vague about some things in an interview on RNZ:  Will the Greens support a Labour – NZ First Government? (audio at link):

The Green Party has rejected a suggestion by its MP Barry Coates that the party would force a new election, rather than support a Labour-New Zealand First Government.

The Greens co-leader James Shaw told Morning Report Barry Coates was wrong to say that.

“We would absolutely not force an early election. We are committed to changing the Government, but we are only committed to changing it once in any three year cycle.

“So we very strongly believe in a stable and responsible Government, and in fact, it is something we have been campaigning on in the past year… So Barry is incorrect.”

Mr Shaw says people worried about the influence of New Zealand First should vote for the Green Party to ensure a stable, progressive government is formed after the election.

More from NBR: Greens’ co-leader says his MP spoke ‘out of turn’ on NZ First

Mr Coates said this could mean forcing the country back to the polls for another election.

“[Labour/New Zealand First] could not count on the support of the Green Party there is no automatic support that is provided for a government under those circumstances,” he wrote.

But Mr Shaw says Mr Coates spoke “out of turn.”

“As a new MP he hasn’t yet worked out what he should and shouldn’t be talking about and I think this will be a salient lesson.”

But he avoided answering whether the Greens would give their support in any post-election scenario where Labour and New Zealand First were forming a government.

“Look, all of these things are hypothetical until election day because you just don’t know how many MPs each party [will have]”, Mr Shaw says.

“What we and Andrew Little have said is we want to form a government between Labour and the Greens and we’re open to New Zealand First being a part of that if they want to change the government – which, they haven’t committed to.”

Mr Coates also wrote that the Greens caucus had discussed refusing to support a Labour/New Zealand First combination in the past fortnight.

But Mr Shaw denies that.

“We have had some general discussions generally about the state of things but the negotiating position is the preserve of the leaders, which is Metiria [Turei] and me.”

But:  Coates wasn’t talking out of turn, he was revealing Greens’ actual strategy: Edwards

Political commentator says a second Green MP told him that threatening to “go nuclear” will be the party’s only real leverage in post-election negotiations.

So was Coates saying publicly what the Greens have been talking about in private?

Regardless, it has put the plan to present a strong reliable alternative to the current government into disarray.

And Greens are going to have difficulty burying this. Winston peters will make sure of that.

Stuff:  In damage control, Greens say they won’t force new election if NZ First lock them out

NZ First leader Winston Peters told Stuff that Shaw couldn’t dismiss the comments as a “brain fade” of a single MP.

“[Coates] said that they’d had discussions in caucus, in their caucus. Mr Shaw denies that, someone is not telling the truth,” Peters said.

“The second thing is the Greens have the knowledge of polls, which has them in a slide and they’re not 3rd anymore, they’re fourth. That’s the reason why they’ve reacted in an attempt to try and stop what is a surge growing for NZ First and a surge it is.”

He said he was surprised about how “naively arrogant” the Greens were being.

“Now the real thing is we’re being attacked by all and sundry at the moment and the only common factor here is every other party is running scared at this point in time.”

But this also weakens Peters’ position. With Labour failing and Greens flailing it makes it much harder for him to play them off against National in any coalition negotiations.

Peters may have moved on from this strategy anyway, it may well be that he likes his chances of challenging Little as leader of the Opposition.

It’s not out of the question that both Labour and NZ First support ends up around 20%.

Labour-NZ First Government “unacceptable” to Greens

Green MP Barry Coates has said that a Labour-NZ First government would be unacceptable to Greens and they may choose to force another election rather than allow that to happen.

Green co-leader Metiria sparked a public feud with NZ First on Sunday, clashing with Tracey Martin and Winston Peters over their immigration policy and rhetoric.  At the Green Party campaign launch she said:

“If the Greens are not in government after September, our country will face either a Labour-New Zealand First or a National-New Zealand First government. Neither is acceptable to the Greens.”

This raised the fairly obvious reality of the polls – Labour look like needing both Greens and NZ First if they are to form a Government after September’s election.

Greens appear to be trying to avoid being cut out in a repeat of the deal Peters made with Labour in 2005, when Greens were left with crumbs on the cross-bench.

Coates posted on The Daily Blog on Tuesday: Great Together

Co-leader Metiria Turei made it clear that the Greens were committed to change the government. The memorandum of understanding with Labour is the foundation for building the next government.

However, if we were not part of the coalition, we would not accept a Labour-New Zealand First government and certainly not a National-New Zealand First government. Neither will be acceptable to the Greens.

We want the Greens to be the beating heart of the next government and the strongest possible party vote for the Greens is the only solution.

This repeats what Turei said on Sunday.

Greens are obviously worried about NZ First getting more party vote than them, weakening their coalition hand even more than making it clear they won’t consider a deal with National, only with Labour.

They must also be worried about Labour’s weakness and the real possibility Labour’s vote might collapse.

Coates went further when contacted about this by Newshub: Green MP threatens new election if Labour goes with NZ First

In an extraordinary move, Mr Coates has said a Labour-NZ First Government would be “unacceptable” to the Greens.

Asked by Newshub if this meant forcing the country back to the polls for another election, Mr Coates responded: “It could do.”

Mr Coates also said Green MPs had discussed refusing to support a Labour-NZ First combination as a caucus in the past fortnight.

“[Labour-NZ First] could not count on the support of the Green Party there is no automatic support that is provided for a Government under those circumstances,” Mr Coates said.

Greens seem to have decided to go hard out for Labour+Greens or bust. Maybe. Coates ‘clarified’ in comments:

The idea isn’t to “rip into NZ First” but to point out that if you want to change the government, don’t vote NZ First. Winston has repeatedly said that he is willing to prop up a 4th term government. He has been a coalition partner with them before.

The other aspect is that the Greens aren’t going to support a Labour/NZ First that cuts us out of a coalition (as happened in 2005). The reason is that we do not think that a Labour/NZ First will be a sufficiently progressive government on this issues that matter.

So if you want to change the government and you want progressive policies, give your party vote to the Greens.

And:

We haven’t said we won’t work with NZ First in a coalition, just that we won’t support a coalition of Labour and NZ First that doesn’t include us. It’s a message calling for a wider coalition, not the fracturing that has happened in the past (2005) when NZ First refused to be in a coalition with the Greens.

And:

We need to get rid of the Nats. The Greens are open to a potential coalition with Labour and NZ First. We are committed to changing the government. But we won’t support a coalition of Labour and NZ First that cuts out the Greens. The reason is because we think it won’t be a sufficiently progressive government. And we want to make the point that if you want to change the government, and have progressive policies, you need to vote Green.

And:

I agree the Greens aren’t as high as we should be but we’re at around 12.4% (not “single figures”). That wasn’t the reason for the announcement this weekend. We wanted to be clear about where we stand politically.

From what Coates has said Greens don’t like NZ First and wouldn’t accept a Labour+NZ First coalition  but would be happy to be included in a Labour+NZ First+Green coalition.

This is a high risk play. At best it may move some support to the Greens, probably mainly from Labour but the Greens may be hoping to pick up some ex-National vote.

This may be intended as a warning to Labour, but this could easily backfire badly. Voters may not like  the Greens threatening to force another election if they don’t get what they want.

There doesn’t seem to be any risk that the Greens will miss the 5% threshold, but they could go down and drag Labour down further with them.

Green reshuffle

greenreshuffle

With the exit of Kevin Hague from parliament the Green party has reshuffled their spokesperson roles.

The most notable are a shift to Finance responsibilities for James Shaw – it was a surprise he didn’t get that when he became co-leader next year – and Julie Anne Genter moving to pick up  Health.

Newcomer Barry Coates moves from leading anti-TPPA protests to leading anti-TPPA protests as an MP.

Green Party announces portfolio changes
James Shaw MP on Thursday, September 29, 2016 – 17:14

The Green Party is today announcing changes to its MPs’ portfolios, to accommodate the arrival of new MP Barry Coates.

Mr Coates joins the Green Parliamentary team following the resignation of Kevin Hague, and will officially start on Monday 10 October. He will take on the trade, overseas development and senior citizens portfolios, as well as commerce, consumer and internal affairs.

Also as part of the portfolio changes, James Shaw will take on the finance portfolio, while Julie Anne Genter picks up health and Auckland issues, to go alongside transport and associate finance.

Canterbury-based MP Mojo Mathers will be the new conservation spokesperson, while continuing to hold the disability issues and animal welfare portfolios.

Hagues roles were: Spokesperson for Health (inc. ACC, Sport & Recreation), Conservation, and Rainbow Issues

Health goes to Genter (with her Finance moving to Shaw) and Conservation to Mathers. No mention of what is happening to Rainbow Issues.

 

Greens would stand aside for Labour in Mt Roskill

Greens have announced they won’t stand a candidate in the Mt Roskill by-election, should Phil Goff win the Auckland mayoralty and resign from Parliament.

Stuff: Greens won’t stand candidate in any Mt Roskill by-election

The Greens will not stand a candidate in a Mt Roskill by-election if Labour incumbent Phil Goff wins the Auckland mayoralty and vacates the seat, the party has announced.

The deal is part of a memorandum of understanding the two left-wing parties signed earlier this year – but the Greens say the move has “no bearing” on its plans for the 2017 election.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the party had decided not to stand a candidate in the seat “after several weeks of internal discussions”.

“The Mt Roskill by-election will be closely contested, and we don’t want to play any role in National winning the seat.” 

Turei said the decision showed the success of the memorandum of understanding between the two parties, which includes an agreement to co-operate in Parliament and investigate a joint policy and/or campaign.

The party was making the announcement now to be clear with its supporters and the public, given the “considerable interest” in a likely Mt Roskill by-election.

I think the timing of this announcement is odd, before the results of the local body election are known.

The Greens risk a backlash over this – perhaps this is a deliberate test of what the reaction might be in advance of next year’s general election.

Last election Barry Coates stood for the Greens in Mt Roskill. He will soon replace Kevin Hague as next Green off the list in Parliament. A by-election would have given him a chance to raise his profile but he has to defer to a party decision to stay away.

The Greens may think that not standing in order to help Labour candidate Michael Wood will give them and their MoU with Labour good publicity, but it could just as easily backfire. I guess it’s best to test this now before taking a bigger risk in next year’s election.

ACT’s David Seymour is highlighting the change of attitude to electorate jack-ups by both Greens and Labour.

Mt Roskill arrangement shows hypocrisy of opposition

The Opposition’s hypocrisy over ‘dirty deals’ is brazen, says ACT Leader David Seymour as the Green Party confirms that they won’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill as part of an arrangement with Labour.

“Michael Wood’s campaign in Mt Roskill is set to be a brazen display of hypocrisy,” says Mr Seymour. “Two years ago he was bemoaning John Key’s endorsement of a vote for me in Epsom as a ‘dodgy deal’. Now look at him.

“The Greens ought to be just as embarrassed, with Julie-Anne Genter having called John Key’s Epsom endorsement ‘undemocratic’. Clearly, this was nothing more than faux-outrage.

“Strategic voting is a reality of MMP, but hypocrisy is optional. Labour and the Greens have shown how cheap their words are by participating in a deal that far eclipses the electoral arrangements they criticise every election.”

Wood stood for Labour in Epsom last general election and has been selected as Labour’s candidate in Mt Roskill should Goff resign.

It will be interesting to see if ACT stand a candidate in Mt Roskill. That would give them more opportunity to bash Greens and Labour with a hypocrisy hammer – but it could also jeopardise the National candidate’s chances.

ACT didn’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill in 2014.

The Daily Bloggers

The Daily Blog is unusual in how many bloggers/authors they have (most have one or a few).

They have just announced the addition of four more ‘bloggers’:

  • Paralympian Aine Kelly Costello
  • Artist and social commentator LaQuisha St Redfern
  • New Green MP and anti-TPPA campaigner – Barry Coates
  • Arts reviewer – Genevieve McClean

They add to an interesting list of current bloggers:

  • Palestinian rights activist – Leslie Bravery
  • Cannabis reform advocate – Chris Fowlie
  • Human rights, justice and equality activist – Donna Miles-Mojab
  • Environmental activist – Christine Rose
  • Author and political commentator – Chris Trotter
  • Enfant Terrible of NZ First – Curwen Rolinson
  • Head of Pacific Journalism at AUT – Dr David Robie
  •  AUT School of Communication – Dr Wayne Hope
  • Chairman of the Otara-Papatoetoe Community Board – Efeso Collins
  • Investigative Blogger – Frank Macskasy
  • Green Party MP – Gareth Hughes
  • Human Rights Activist and anti-rape campaigner – Jessie Hume
  • Political Activist and Teacher – John Minto
  • Unionist Rights Activist – Kate Davis
  • Former Green Party MP & Human Rights Campaigner – Keith Locke
  • Economist – Keith Rankin
  • Labour Party Candidate and lawyer – Kelly Ellis
  • Homeless rights advocates – Lifewise
  • Labour Party MP – Louisa Wall
  • Political Cartoonist – Malcolm Evans
  • Blogger and Broadcaster – Martyn Bradbury
  • Human Rights Lawyer – Michael Timmins
  • General Secretary of Unite Union – Mike Treen
  • Deputy Mayor of the Auckland Super City – Penny Hulse
  • Public Academic and TPPA campaigner – Prof Jane Kelsey
  • Actor and commentator – Simon Prast
  • Child Poverty Action Group Economist – Susan St John
  • Unionist – Tali Williams
  • The Nomad – The Nomad
  • TV reviewer – Tim Selwyn
  • Wellington Activist – Sam Gribbon
  • Auckland based human rights activist – Siân Robertson
  • Unionist – Joe Carolan
  • Living Wage Campaigner – Annie Newman
  • Labour Party MP – Sue Moroney
  • Sex worker rights advocate – Ruby Joy
  • Co-leader of the Maori Party – Marama Fox
  • Protestor – Josie Butler
  • Prisoner Rights Advocate – Arthur Taylor

However most of them are not daily bloggers, they post occasionally at best.

The Daily Blog has a core of regular authors and the rest pop up every now and then.

Having such a big lineup of authors provides diversity of topics and opinions. This can detract from the personality side of the site, which is something some blogs thrive on.

However the diversity is concentrated on one side of the political spectrum. Their About describes their leanings:

The Daily Blog Unites Top Left-Wing Political Commentators and Progressive Opinion Shapers

The Daily Blog is supported by UNITE, the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) and the New Zealand Dairy Workers Union (NZDWU).

The Daily Blog unites over 42 of the country’s leading left-wing commentators and progressive opinion shapers to provide the other side of the story on today’s news, media and political agendas.

‘Opinion shaper’ may be a better description for their moderation, which has tended to filter out opinions that aren’t welcome there.

Editor, Martyn Bradbury says one of the primary objectives of the blog will be to widen political debate in the lead up to the 2014 New Zealand election.

It’s easy to forget about updating your site ‘About’.

With their fairly narrow emphasis on ‘left wing’ and ‘progressive’ they probably don’t do much widening of political debate, as they didn’t do much widening of left-wing and progressive support in the 2014 election.

“Global trends continue to point to blogging and social media as key influencers of mainstream media reporting as well as public opinion. With so much at stake in 2014 we plan to use this online platform to fortify the collective voice of the left and progressive opinions, and enhance the quality of debate across the political spectrum,” says Mr Bradbury.

Some initiatives have been worth trying, like Waatea 5th Estate, they have hardly set the quality of debate on fire on the left let alone across the political spectrum.

Like most blogs The Daily Blog caters for a useful niche in political discourse, but that just a small part online discussion.

Most online authors don’t last long, but if The Daily Blog gets more ongoing contributions it will help with their aims.

Hague to leave Parliament

Kevin Hague has announced that he will leave Parliament to head Forest and Bird.

He stood for Green co-leadership last year but was beaten by James Shaw. He has been their health, conservation, ACC, Sport & Recreation and Rainbow spokesperson.

Kevin will be a big loss to the Greens. He is their most practical, pragmatic MPs, prepared to work with whoever could help achieve goals.

He will be an asset to Forest and Bird. before becoming an MP in 208 he was CEO of the West Coast District Health Board.

He will be replaced on parliament by next person on the Green list, Barry Coates, who has previously headed Oxfam and who has been prominent organising anti-TPP protests.

Kelsey and Coates on protests

Chris Trotter has also posted Making It Stop: Taking stock of 4 February 2016, with some thoughts about the way forward at The Daily Blog.

In that he thanked anti-TPPA organisers Jane Kelsey and Barry Coates:

SOME TRIBUTES FIRST, then an apology. To Jane Kelsey and Barry Coates I can only say thank you. Demonstrations like the one I marched in yesterday don’t just happen. They are the product of hours and days and years of hard work, during which people fight not only against loneliness and fatigue, but against the insidious thought that their unceasing efforts might all be in vain.

Observing the glowing faces of Jane and Barry, as they rode down Queen Street yesterday afternoon, it was their selfless commitment to battling on, heedless of setbacks and against all odds, that brought tears to my eyes. Once again, thank you.

Both Kelsey and Coates have responded.

Barry Coates:

Thanks for the article, Chris and to TDB for the great coverage.

It’s Our Future is planning the next stages in the campaign, and we need to do it soon, because Todd McClay says their ‘selling’ of the TPPA is underway, the National Interest Statement will go into Parliament soon and their ‘roadshow’ is happening in February and March.

We have some plans underway, but would welcome ideas and debate in TDB, FB pages (TPPA Action Group, It’s Our Future, TPPA I’m Ready for Action) etc.

Our aim is to defeat the TPPA, either by not allowing it to be ratified or if that’s not possible, exiting asap. Comments also welcome to itsourfuturenz@gmail.com.

Andrew Little said yesterday Labour would not pull out of the TPPA:

Pulling out would would be um is way more difficult than it is to kind of roll off the tongue and lets pull out.

So no, we won’t pull out, but what we will do is fight tooth and nail to stop those things that are undermining New Zealanders’ democratic rights. Cause we have too. Cause we stood for that for decades and we’ll continue to do that.

Jane Kelsey:

Thanks Chris, but also we also need to recognise the great work from team Auckland, who have been tireless for several years of organising and especially Chantelle who has tried to balance work, kiddies and coordination, to the hikoi from up north, especially Reuben, and those who came from around the country who have been doing great work there.

It’s the breadth of people and places that have really hit home in opposition to the TPPA and which must serve to get unequivocal statements from Labour, NZ First and Maori Party that they will not bring the agreement into force if they are part of the government if and when that time comes.

Ben pointed out: “Have you not seen Little’s equivocal statement?”

Little’s latest statement:   Little: “we won’t pull out” of TPPA

 

Trottermania and revolution

Chris Trotter reveals some of the thinking of the revolutionary left in his latest post Making It Stop: Taking Stock Of 4 February 2016, With Some Thoughts About The Way Forward.

First he thanks the organisers of Thursday’s TPPA protest in Auckland.

To Jane Kelsey and Barry Coates I can only say thank you. Demonstrations like the one I marched in on Thursday don’t just happen. They are the product of hours and days and years of hard work, during which people fight not only against loneliness and fatigue, but against the insidious thought that their unceasing efforts might all be in vain.

Observing the glowing faces of Jane and Barry, as they rode down Queen Street on the afternoon of 4 February 2016, it was their selfless commitment to battling on, heedless of setbacks and against all odds, that brought tears to my eyes. Once again, thank you.

One of the features of the protest was the re-emergence of Hone Harawira and the Mana Movement, fighting for Maori sovereignty despite Harawira and others making ignorant or deliberately false claims about it – see Harawira versus TPPA.

Jane Kelsey has been a long time anti-trade political activist who has been working with the Labour Party with their move to a more anti-TPPA stance – see Kelsey briefing Labour on TPPA.

Involved in uniting Kelsey with Labour was Andrew Little’s chief of staff Matt McCarten, who happens to have had close connections with the Mana Party.

Barry Coates was number 17 on the Green Party list for the 2014 election. Recently number 16 Marama Davidson replaced Russel Norman in Parliament so Coates is next in line to be an MP. Here’s his Green candidate profile.

Back to Trotter:

BUT, NOW WHAT? In which direction should the energy generated by the 4 February protest actions be turned?

He suggests a few ongoing protest actions. Then:

The extent to which these core messages have already entered the public’s consciousness has unpleasantly surprised the TPPA’s supporters.

I think he may be overestimating how much the public knows or cares about the TPPA, and there are ample indications the media can see through their spin and have started to call them on it.

Radio NZ, One News and Newshub all showed how little the core messages had entered the protesters’s consciousness let alone the wider public.

They were taken aback at the size and vehemence of the Auckland protests and will already be working on ways to unpick the picture Jane Kelsey and her comrades have embroidered so vividly on the public mind. The Government’s and big businesses’ counter-offensive will have to be met, held, and rolled back.

The comrades versus big business – that’s the core message about what’s driving the TPPA opposition.

I know someone who went to a meeting last week featuring Comrade Kelsey. They genuinely hoped to be informed about the TPPA. They were gobsmacked about how sour and substance-less the messages were.

Strategically, the struggle is between the progressive/patriotic forces operating within the twelve signatory states, and the defenders of the transnational corporations. Obviously, this puts the “Pro” forces at a serious disadvantage. Far from being able to pass themselves off as promoters of the public good, they will emerge from the contest as the big corporations’ fifth columnists, committed to defeating the patriots fighting to prevent the agreement’s ratification.

The people versus the corporations again.

John Key and his Government thus risk entering election year as a collection of figurative “Quislings”, guilty of conspiring against the national interest on behalf of entities without countries, morals or scruples.

If this perception can be driven deep into the electorate’s mind, then National’s chances of re-election will be nil.

Trotter’s comrades dream. It’s a dream they also had last term, with asset sales instead of the TPPA, that became a nightmare when the reality of the election result hit home.

More importantly, the victorious coalition of Labour, the Greens and NZ First will be swept into office with a broad mandate to take on a corporate plutocracy that has ruled without challenge for far too long.

Wonderful. And the world will be rescued from evil at last.

For the first time in over 30 years, there will be a mass political movement dedicated to putting itself “upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus” of the neoliberal machine – and making it stop.

Except this time Labour seem to have decided to fight for the Mana space on the far left, after their worst election result in living memory in part due to a voter reaction against the Internet-Mana.

Comrades were convinced that Internet-Mana would hold the deciding votes after the last election,  and the glorious revolution would be realised.

But instead they crashed, and burned Labour.

Trotter seems to think Labour-Mana is a winning combination along with the Greens and NZ First. I wonder what Winston thinks of all this, he’s politically very astute.

Not long ago Trotter tweeted a link to his post:

Some thoughts on Thursday’s anti-TPPA demo. Has the “Missing Million” woken up?

The ‘missing million’ dream was another failure last election. The ones who vote saw through it.

This seems like just another swing between Trottermanic and Trotterdepressive.

What’s missing is 21st century reality.

TPPA petitions

There are two separate petitions trying to stop the New Zealand Government from signing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, an online petition and a more traditional paper petition.

As reported yesterday by Radio NZ: TPPA petition gets thousands of signatures

A petition against New Zealand signing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement has gathered over 11,000 signatures in just two days.

Barry Coates from the ‘It’s Our Future Coalition’ set up the petition and said he expected more people to sign it.

“If we continue at that rate we’ll be in the hundreds of thousands of signatures. This petition particularly says to the Government ‘don’t sign the TPPA’. It’s a crucial point when our government signs it and we don’t think that they have a mandate to sign the agreement and this petition gives people a chance to say no.”

Barry Coates said the deal was designed to serve the interests of large corporations rather than those of people or the planet.

The petition doesn’t actually say to the Government ‘don’t sign the TPPA’. It says:

We, the undersigned, do not consent to the Government of New Zealand signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

It currently has 15,000 ‘signatures’.  It will probably get a lot more signatures over the next week or two.

Online petitions have been used to campaign against a number of things but they have generally been ineffective.

It’s confusing who is behind the petition. Here Barry Coates is named as having set it up.

But on the It’s Our Future website (that Coates is involved with) it states:

Our friends at ActionStation are hosting a petition opposing the signing.

Perhaps that’s because Action Station has the facilities to run the petition – and collect email addresses.

TPPAPetition

Action Station have been active in a number of social media campaigns.

ActionStation is here to enable the large community of Kiwis with shared progressive values to take powerful, coordinated action on urgent issues we care about.

They claim to be independent:

Independent and member-led, we are affiliated with no political party, and answer only to our members.

But people involved in establishing Action Station were also involved with the Green Party.

And Coates is also closely associated with the Greens. He was placed at 17 on the Green list in 2014 which was a position thought to have had a good chance of making it into Parliament. Should another Green seat become vacant Coates is next in line to become an MP.

Coates was a candidate for the Mt Roskill electorate and is still listed as a Green candidate on their website.

The paper petition was launched last month:

TPPA Free and Action groups petition the Governor General – “Save our Democracy”

TPP Free Wellington today launched a petition calling the Governor General to Command the government to put the question of proceeding with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to a binding referendum.

This petition press release was posted on the It’s Our Future website. Signed paper petitions take a long time and a lot of effort, so it’s possible Coates and It’s Our Future and Action Station decided to try the much simpler and faster online approach.

The online source for this petition seems to be here:  No Mandate Do Not Sign TPPA – GG Petition

We’ve launched a petition calling the Governor General to Command the government to put the question of proceeding with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to a binding referendum.

We have produced a number of resources to support the No Mandate – Do Not Sign TPPA campaign. 

The petition available here:

https://www.facebook.com/download/1643735472546615/Petition%20of%20the%20People%20of%20Aotearoa%20-%20Copy.pdf

I think there’s no chance of this petition getting sufficient signatures before the signing which is in early February (possibly February 4).

Petitioning the Governor General is a novel approach but it would be a major change in how we do democracy if the Governor General became involved in Government processes due to a petition.

Here’s the explanation of why we take this approach.  

The Governor General is the appointed Guardian of our representative democracy.

The petition asserts that the Government has no democratic mandate for TPPA. The Government kept the text secret from voters at the last election.1 Without information, we have not mandated our elected representatives.2
Treaty negotiations Minister Tim Groser in July 2012 stated: “trade agreements involve concessions over the sovereign rights of countries”3
The enormous and unprecedented scale of TPPA requires a democratic mandate.4
Once in force, withdrawal might be impossible in practice, so the deal could not be undone.5
The petition states as follows:
We, the UNDERSIGNED citizens and residents of Aotearoa New Zealand, PETITION Your Excellency:
  1. to COMMAND the Government to put the question of proceeding with, or withdrawal from TPPA to a BINDING REFERENDUM; and
  2. to PROHIBIT the Government from signing any final agreement, or taking any binding treaty action UNLESS the People vote in favour; and
  3. to REFUSE Assent to any enabling legislation UNLESS the People vote in favour.

Our petition requires that the Governor General use his Reserve Powers6 to protect the democracy.

 That looks bizarre as far as democratic process goes.