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.

Medicinal Cannabis Bill

Green MP Julie Anne Genter’s Medicinal Cannabis Bill was drawn from the Members’ ballot today. It seems unlikely it will make it into it’s First Reading in Parliament before the election.

Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

The purpose of this bill is to make it legal for New Zealanders who are suffering from terminal illness or any debilitating condition to use cannabis or cannabis products with the support of a registered medical practitioner.

Greens:  Medicinal cannabis finally on Parliament’s agenda

The Green Party is thrilled that Parliament will consider whether to finally legalise medicinal cannabis in New Zealand.

Green Party health spokesperson Julie Anne Genter’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill was drawn from the Member’s Ballot today. The Bill will make it legal for any New Zealander who is suffering from a terminal illness or any debilitating condition to use cannabis or cannabis products with the support of a registered medical practitioner.

“We are finally going to have the conversation about medicinal cannabis that New Zealanders have been crying out for,” said Green Party health spokesperson.

“No Kiwi should have to live in pain because of an archaic, uncompassionate law.

“Medicinal cannabis must be available by prescription at the doctor but it also must be affordable.

“The recent ‘softening’ of the law, announced by Peter Dunne, goes only part of the way to ensuring New Zealanders can get the pain relief they need. It does not guarantee medicinal cannabis products will be affordable for the average New Zealander – in fact, it relies upon the import of expensive overseas-developed medicines.

“Why should New Zealanders have to pay thousands of dollars to buy imported medicinal cannabis products when we can produce our own effective and affordable medicines here?

“My Bill will ensure that sick people and those in pain will actually be able to afford the cannabis products they need.

“The change to cannabis laws that New Zealanders have been wanting for years is now within reach. The hard work of everyone who has campaigned on this issue, including Rose Renton and the late Helen Kelly, may finally be realised.

“New Zealand can finally catch up to the much of the rest of the world on cannabis – now it’s up to my colleagues across the aisle in Parliament,” said Ms Genter.

See also from Public Address  Genter’s Bill: Starting at last on medical cannabis

Julie Anne Genter’s private members bill on medical cannabis emerged from the ballot this morning – and it raises some interesting questions.

You’ll recall me posting to the effect that the scheduled rewrite of the Misuse of Drugs Act – a process I’ve been told could begin as soon as November – makes drug policy an election issue. Even though it will presumably be subject to a conscience vote, Genter’s bill being drawn makes it even more so.

But it’s complicated, Genter’s bill is written as an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act. It’s entirely likely that the MoDA reboot and voting on the bill will aiming to amend it will overlap, and that the two could be in select committee at the same time. Genter’s bill – if it passes its first reading –  would go to the Health select committee. These things are political decisions, but consideration of new Misuse of Drugs Act might also go to Health. It will need to be managed.

It seems possible subsequent readings of the bill could be deferred until there’s a new MoDA to amend – which could be years. I guess it’s also possible the bill could give impetus to the rewrite process, or be used to expedite the relevant parts of the new MoDA. Again, all that will be political.

Turei clarifies NZ First preferences

In discussions on Twitter the Greens were asked if they would go into coalition with NZ First.

The question we answered was would we go into coalition with National. Not touching upon any other pairing.

We have said we could work with NZF if necessary, in a Labour Greens govt. It’s not our preference, so people should vote Green to avoid it.

MetiriaNZFirst

I don’t think it’s possible to be any clearer than that due to Winston’s practice of not revealing what he or NZ First might do in coalition negotiations.

Winston keeps saying it is up to the voters to decide what they want in the election, but it is difficult for voters to make informed voting decisions when they don’t know what a vote for NZ First would result in, apart from what’s best for Winston.

NZ “plot to kill infidel”

An immigrant from Iran with Muslim parents has posted in social media of “Islam expert unravelling my plot to kill infidel”, along with the alleged accusation.

dbh-arzumaamk9h

This sort of accusation is not uncommon online, with children of Muslim immigrants sometimes to be claimed to be a particular risk.

In this case the target claims to support “Middle Eastern feminism” – yeah, right.

They have responded to the Facebook insinuation via Twitter:

Just another Islam expert unravelling my life long plot to kill infidel as back bench Green MP

Of course this is  – a Green candidate pretty much assured of becoming an MP due to her Green Party list placing.

Golriz launched her campaign online last week and has been the target of a lot of attention, I have seen some of it on Twitter.

The Facebook post above shows how absurd some of the boilerplate anti-Muslim claims are, and Golriz chose comedy and sarcasm in response, but it is an awful example of the way some believe master Muslim conspiracy theories and tar all Muslims and immigrants with the same dirty brush.

Green Party profile:

Golriz Ghahraman

Middle Eastern feminism, Green activism and work in international justice have instilled a deep commitment to defending democracy for the most vulnerable.

Golriz’s story

Golriz is an Iranian-Kiwi refugee, lucky to escape war and persecution as a child.

Her studies at Oxford, and work as a lawyer for the United Nations and in New Zealand, have focused on enforcing human rights and holding governments to account. Golriz has lived and worked in Africa, The Hague and Cambodia putting on trial world leaders for abusing their power, and restoring communities after war and human rights atrocities, particularly empowering women engaged in peace and justice initiatives.

In New Zealand, she has a successfully advocated on rights issues before the Supreme Courts, she volunteers her skills to advocate for child rights, and most recently for family carers of disabled persons. She was part of the team that worked to prepare New Zealand’s non-governmental report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Golriz has longstanding involvement in refugee and migrant rights activism, and is a prominent member of the Iranian community.

She is active in both the legal and NGO communities, as reflected by her board memberships of: Action for Children & Youth Aotearoa; NZ Criminal Bar Association; NZ Centre for Human Rights Law & Policy; and Super Diverse Women (Superdiversity Centre for Law, Policy and Business)

Justice drives Golriz – 12 yrs of legal practice, including post-conflict trials of world leaders and in the NZ Supreme Court. Her child rights and international human rights work have required specialised government lobbying and training of Ministry staff in New Zealand and overseas.

Her expertise as a human rights and constitutional lawyer will help bring effective legislative solutions for social justice, climate and environmental issues.

Golriz plans to make history as the first ever refugee to enter New Zealand parliament as a Green MP.

I wish Golriz well, I think she has the potential to be a very good New Zealand MP, if she can put up with all the crap that seems likely to be thrown at her if her first week online is any indication.

I don’t know if Golriz is Muslim or not, and I don’t care. Religion should be kept out of politics. As an immigrant with a very strong CV Golriz adds a valuable dimension to diversity in the new Zealand parliament.

Insight into Green party positioning

James Shaw calls this “one of the most on-the-money insights into the political positioning in relation to other parties I’ve yet read”.

But it appears to indicate that the Greens fear what will happen to them if they get into government, and would rather play safe and remain pure.

Newstalk ZB – Alex Braae: Greens would be fools to court National

Around this point of the electoral cycle, the demands begin for the Greens to flirt with National. The siren song of government sounds. Unless they move to the centre, they will always be Labour’s hostage.

The logic is appealing. Labour will likely need both the Greens and New Zealand First, and Winston Peters will have a stronger hand. It’s happened before too – during the Clark years the Greens were repeatedly ditched. The Greens therefore have no choice. If they are going to wield power, they must play National and Labour off against each other.

While that’s a beautiful proposition to Very Very Smart Political Commentators, it doesn’t actually make any sense. It’s a fantasy, a demonstration of the hard nosed beltway chops of the VVSPC. Alas, actual voters tend to hate that sort of behaviour, and hate parties that do it.

But do voters really hate that? The biggest rise inb support this term has been for NZ First, and that is what Winston Peters bases his strategy on.

Such calls look at politics as a game in which one less valued policy can be traded away for a ministerial role, where politics can be modelled, sculpted, and scenarios of the perfect parliament simulated as if it were a computer game.

Ah, no. It’s how politics works when more than one party have to find a way of working together. It necessarily involves compromise, something the Greens seem averse to, but they have never experienced the reality of being a part of a government.

Could the Greens not occupy that space? 

The reason why they couldn’t is about the people that actually elect governments. Voters aren’t stupid, but the average person on the street probably couldn’t say for sure what National’s position on genetic engineering is, or name number five on New Zealand First’s list. They might not even know that David Seymour is in favour of charter schools, or that Peter Dunne is technically the leader of a party. 

So when you aren’t reading detailed policy manifestos, or digesting every tweet sent out by MPs, what does cut through? Successful parties are able to give clear, unambiguous statements of what they stand for. What does National stand for? Being dull and sensible. ACT? Less government. Labour? The messages have recently been mixed, and the party’s reputation suffers accordingly.

And the Greens?

Like it or not, they are about purism over politics.

Government is politics. So do the Greens put more importance over ‘purism’ than being able to implement some of their polices?

Green members are typically baffled by the idea that anyone could rationally support a different party, because, don’t they know about climate change/inequality/filthy rivers etc. Lower information voters who care about those issues currently know that even if they don’t keep up with the detail of the policy, the Greens are the one party that hasn’t yet tried to screw them. This strategic maintenance of principled stances matters far more than any tactical decision ever could.

Non Green members are baffled by the idea that a party would rather promote 100% of their policies without implementing any rather than progress 20% of their policies as a part of a government.

For it to work for the Greens, they would have to extract huge concessions from National in areas like agriculture and tax.

So the Greens want all or nothing. If the Greens went into coalition with National they should be able to have a 20-25% say in what policies actually happen. That’s a bit better than 0%.

Same if they form a coalition with Labour and NZ First.  Labour and Winston are never going to let them implement all their polices completely.

Granted, the Greens have stepped away from the radical left during their time in parliament. But one only needed to look at the gritted teeth of members when the leadership signed up to the Budget Responsibility Rules pact with Labour – a document that could make it difficult to implement their policy if they make it to government.

So Braae concedes compromise is necessary even with a party supposedly closest to them, through gritted teeth.

Unless Greens get 50% of the party vote and form a government on their own it will be very difficult to implement all their policy if they make it to government.

To borrow one of their favourite words, the only sustainable option for the Greens is to simply continue doing what they’re doing. Keep growing slowly, keep the base happy, keep winning the odd skirmish from opposition.

Green MPs may not get a chance to ride in ministerial limos this time around, or even the next. But if they are careful, by the time they do get there, they’ll be big enough to actually wield power. Only then will the party be able to survive government.

Braae seems to also concede they are unlikely to get into government after this year’s election. I wonder how insightful Shaw thinks that is.

If they are this sort of careful they will never get into government and will never wield power.

What’s the point of just surviving in Opposition?

Do they Greens lack confidence in being able to be part of a government? They seem to fear the consequences of not being the dominant party in a coalition.

Are they really afraid of getting into power? Does Shaw share this fear?

This is an insight into the Greens into their party positioning, a remarkable one that the Greens don’t seem to fully understand, unless they don’t actually want to be in government.

Greens fail MMP basics

In some respects the green party has been very successful under MMP – they have gradually grown their vote to over 10%, safe from the threshold, and they now have 14 MPs in Parliament.

They launched their list this week with great media fanfare and self congratulation – it looks like a good list overall, with some interesting newcomers.

But so Greens have failed a fundamental of MMP – getting into Government and implementing policies. They have influenced some things but not a lot that they can claim as major successes.

Limiting themselves to one pathway to power they have significantly hobbled their bargaining power and only have a 50/50-ish chance of getting into government – dependant on how Labour do, and probably on what NZ First do, and the latter has so far been very unhelpful for Green aspirations.

Duncan Garner puts it bluntly: The rub of the Greens: The party that’s become Labour’s little play thing

So what really happened this week? Nothing much. The Greens released their party list. Normally it’s a complete bore. But the Greens are media darlings. And this was like a beauty contest.

No-one asks any hard questions because the Greens have never made any tough decisions or been responsible for anything.

Jubilant photos of the Green-grinners on happy pills were plastered across sexy social media sites and the traditional media websites, too.

Shock horror: They have young people, white people, an older grey guy they referred to as the ‘eye-candy’, a Maori and wow-wee, a real-life refugee who just happens to be a rock-star lawyer with looks. So they got our attention.

But – and here’s the big but – are they any closer to government? Nope. Not that you’d know that from this week.

The Greens’ chances of being in power still rely on Labour. Bugger that, but that’s the rough path they have chosen.

They have fully hitched their wagon to a struggling Labour locomotive.

The Greens have tied themselves to Labour this election, so they rely on the success of a floundering party as well as their own success.

No matter how much Maoriness and femaleness and youngness and environmentness and democracyness and niceness the Greens have they have pretty much handed their fate over to Labour and Andrew Little.

If Labour gets in a position to govern then the Greens might have some influence.

And that is a big might, especially if NZ First are in the mix.

If they don’t, then the Greens are once again assigned to the oblivion benches again.

Yes, they’re a strong voice in opposition but surely they want to be in power one day – don’t they? But they’ve chosen to work only with Labour.

This is a major flaw in Greens under MMP. Too much arrogance and idealism.

A fundamental of politics and democracy is to achieve as much as you can with whoever has the power. Getting stuck with idealism and principles on the sideline is failure.

Apparently, National is evil, too Right-wing, doesn’t care about the environment, has made our rivers dirty and the list goes on. But I wonder what life would be like if they hadn’t thrown their lot in with just Labour.

What would a Blue-Green government look like? Imagine if the Greens had left the door open to prop up either of the big parties in office? Is Labour really that economically different from National?

Why couldn’t the Greens have been truly independent and said we’ll keep both the bastards honest and just fight for our principles and influence in any government we can be part of?

Because the majority of the Green membership is against MMP 101 – working as closely as possible with the government of the day. And at least half of their current leadership appears to be committed to shunning National, and therefore influence.

When the Labour-Green memorandum of understanding to work together came out, Jesus wept and so did the centre-Left. Labour and Green voters went all weak at the knees.

They closed off their options and became Labour’s little play thing.

Between Labour and the Greens, both parties have just over 40 per cent of the vote. That’s called opposition.

They need to grow their vote – not cannibalise the vote from each other.

It looks like they are competing for many of the same votes. Left wing votes. Socialism votes. Greens are targeting Maori votes, something Labour seem to think are theirs as of right. Generally if one of the two goes up in the polls, the other goes down. In the latest Listener poll Greens are up to 16% but Labour is down to 25%.

They can target young voters with cool young candidates but historically these young ones haven’t gone to the polls.

Another failure under MMP so far. Last election both Labour and the Greens targeted the ‘missing million’ via major campaigns (run by proxies), and came up short.

I would love to see solutions for dirty rivers, climate change, child poverty and sustainable Green solutions for housing and transport. They are now modern ideas not silly ideas from 1970s hippies.

Yet the Greens are stuck in the past strategically by limiting who they will work with. I for one would love them to stand solo and work with all-comers.

And imagine this message from Bill English; Sorry Winston, we’re going with the Greens. This year I promise you won’t hear that.

Metiria Turei and a majority of Green party members won’t play the party field. They will be left on the sidelines while Peters does that with most of the negotiating power.

If the Greens are lucky they will get something allowed to them by Labour and NZ First.

Because they have put themselves staunchly in a position of weakness.

And that weakness is worse than just in post-election negotiations.

Because the Green position is weak, and because they have tied themselves to Labour, and because Labour is also weak, voters may well thumb their noses at both parties this election.

On current polls and party positions it looks that, at best, the fate of Greens (and Labour) could be in Winston’s hands, and that may only be if National do poorly.

Soon to be new MP Golriz Ghahraman

Similar to new National and Labour candidates being chosen to stand in safe electorates, Green Party candidates given a good position on their list are virtually guaranteed of becoming MPs.

The top 12 Green candidates are close to assured of making the cut, with a few more likely. They currently have 14 MPs and should get somewhere around that again, give or take a couple.

One interesting candidate given an almost certain slot at 10 on the finalised list is Golriz Ghahraman.

Newshub details Ten things you need to know about Golriz Ghahraman

  1. She gets accusations about terrorism directed at her
  2. She’s a former refugee, and fled Iran with her family without telling anyone
  3. She’s a lawyer and has worked for the United Nations
  4. She’s not a hippie and doesn’t wear weird sandals
  5. She has a vivid memory of the moment she arrived in New Zealand
  6. She’s dating comedian and television personality Guy Williams
  7. She has a Masters degree from Oxford University
  8. She’s not good at everything
  9. She says the Greens are the only party she wanted to be part of
  10. She’s going to become New Zealand’s first ever former refugee MP

That she and her family were refugees is only relevant in that it will give her a bit of a different perspective on some things.

I think she is a very good addition the the Green line-up and should be a good MP, if she adapts to the job and way of life ok.

Would she make it more likely I would vote for the Greens? No – she is likely to get in anyway, and for me a Green vote would be based more on the leaders, on who might make it into Cabinet if Greens get to be part of a coalition, and what policies they might push for and succeed in putting into place.

Debate over Green’s budget support

Greens voting in support of the Government’s budget tax package has raised eyebrows and prompted debate at The Standard.

Micksavage: What the feck Greens

The Green Party caucus decision to support the Government’s tax reduction legislation is hard to comprehend and has created a perception of messiness in the way the Labour-Green MOU operates.

It appears the Labour Green Memorandum of Understanding did not work as well this week as it was intended.  The Greens decided to vote for National’s tax reduction legislation while Labour voted against it.

I am struggling to understand why the Greens did this.  This budget does nothing beneficial for the environment.  It promises more irrigation allowing more dairying and more polluted streams with a miniscule amount set aside to address the consequences.  It does not address New Zealand’s response to climate change.  Putting to one side the environmental devastation that will be caused it does not address how we as a country are going to address the $14 billion hole in our finances that the payments required under the Paris Accord will cause.  And the home insulation scheme is being cut, completely.

But they chose to support the Government’s tax reduction law.

There are some interesting discussions on that thread. It seems to have prompted two posts from a Green supporter.

Weka: The Greens on record

Despite rumours to the contrary, the Green Party was highly critical of National’s Budget.

There’s been a fair amount of speculation about the Green Party’s position on the Budget. If you want to see how they are voting, or to discuss that, have a look at the post The Greens and voting on the Budget.

There are a lot more links to Green responses too.

Weka: The Greens and voting on the Budget

Wondering about what the Greens are voting for? It might not be what you think.

The various Bills going through Parliament currently can be seen here. Explanations of how the Budget process happens are here.

Spokesperson for Māori Development, Social Housing, Human Rights and Pacific Peoples, Marama Davidson explains in a blogpost why they are voting for that Bill that gives a little bit extra for those on low incomes.

But that has sparked more debate.

Meanwwhile Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog: Can the Green Party of NZ do anything without taking a huge smelly dump on the chest of the Labour Party?

The Greens have allowed themselves to get played by the National Party who are right now running around telling everyone who will listen that even the Greens support this rip-off Budget, bloody Bill English did yesterday!

I wonder if Bradbury applied for a job at Greens, he certainly isn’t happy with the person who was successful (at getting a communications job).

My understanding from sources within the Party is that there are deep divisions over how James Shaw has run things since becoming leader.

I doubt that Greens and many others will put much weight on Bradbury’s understanding.

Serious question time, if these schoolboy errors in political tactics and strategy are all the Greens can muster how the Christ can they be trusted with Executive Power?

It’s a bit tragic that, similar to Cameron Slater, Bradbury has been left flailing around without a political home because no parties want anything to do with them.

But there does seem to be quite a bit of discord on the left over the Green vote last week and over the Green-Labour Memorandum of Understanding.

‘A budget for all mothers’

Metiria Turei will be interviewed on Q+A this morning.

She is launching a new Green Party policy: Budget for all Mothers


We want to help parents when they need it the most, by ensuring they have time and money to focus on raising happy, healthy kids.

Too many parents in Aotearoa are struggling to pay the bills and juggle work and family commitments. Every single Kiwi kid should have a great start in life – regardless of what their parents earn or whether they work or not. To make that a reality, their parents need more time, more financial support, and more flexible work arrangements. Well-supported kids turn into happy and healthy adults.

Our Budget for all Mothers will help by:

  • Making the $220 per week Parental Tax Credit available to all families who don’t get paid parental leave. This ensures every baby born in New Zealand gets the same support and makes the system simpler.

Not means tested.

  • Extend sick leave to be a minimum of 10 days a year, so that parents and whanau have time to look after sick kids
  • Ensuring the OSCAR subsidy for after school and holiday programmes is available to all kids from low-income families.
  • Give every new born baby a Wahakura – Baby Pod, which includes a safe sleeping place as well as clothes, nappies and bedding

The Green Party believes that parenting is one of the hardest and most important jobs in the world. As a country, we all benefit when parents are supported to give their kids the love and attention they deserve.

We know that something as simple as raising a family’s income can be transformative for a child’s life prospects. It’s crucial that we support every Kiwi kid in their early years, rather than pick and choose the kids that get Government support, as successive Governments have done with damaging consequences for our poorest children.

We all want to live in a society where every child gets a great start to life. This is just the first step towards a better, fairer New Zealand.

For a party supposedly big on equality this is a curious approach. What about fathers?

More information

Great Greens

The Green Party has launched a ‘Great Greens’ campaign as a part of it’s election build-up.

Stuff:  Taika Waititi throws weight behind the Greens in first campaign video of the year

NZ Herald: Green Party launches publicity campaign ‘Great Greens’ featuring Taika Waititi

The Green Party is kicking off its election year publicity drive by telling voters that it is not that unusual to be Green.

The party launches its “Great Greens” campaign today, a series of promotional videos and a website which has a slogan of “Give Green a Go”.

It is notable for the near-absence of environmental messages.

Green co-leader James Shaw said: “We know that people are looking to hear from us about our social and economic messaging. They know where we stand on the environment.

“This was more about celebrating what’s great about New Zealand and the broad array of people getting in behind the Greens.

It’s to do with diversity, and having faces that people recognise, faces like themselves.”

This isn’t really new, the Greens have used celebrity promoters before, but this is being packaged and presented differently.

They have a website for the campaign – GreatGreens.nz – that has a different look depending on the size of your browser window. Larger:

GreatGreens1

Smaller:

GreatGreens2

They have a different look again on their Facebook page:

GreatGreensFacebook

Greens do some slick marketing. They will be hoping, this year, that it attracts not just more support but more votes.