Greens slam Labour for ‘breaking core promise’ about welfare reform

The Greens have accused Labour of breaking a core promise to overhaul the welfare system, made in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the New Zealand Labour Party and the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Yesterday Green Party unveils its candidate list for the 2020 election

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government.

“We are a force to be reckoned with and are entering this critically important race more united and determined than ever.”

So that has launched the greens into campaign mode, four months out from the election.

Also yesterday two Labour ministers announced New payment to support Kiwis through COVID

This was criticised as benefiting a few people while ignoring all those who were already unemployed before Covid struck, and also criticised for being more tweaking without fundamental change to how the social welfare system works.

From the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the New Zealand Labour Party and the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand (2017):

Fair Society

10. Overhaul the welfare system, ensure access to entitlements, remove excessive sanctions and review Working For Families so that everyone has a standard of living and income that enables them to live in dignity and participate in their communities, and lifts children and their families out of poverty.

Today the Greens seem to have jumped into campaign mode over this – Green Party ‘won’t give up’ pushing for benefits increase (RNZ):

The Greens have accused Labour of breaking a core promise to overhaul the welfare system, a commitment made in 2017 during negotiations to form a government.

The gripe comes after a chorus of frustration from those on the left who say the government has entrenched a cruel and dehumanising two-tier welfare system in its latest response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson yesterday unveiled a special 12-week relief payment for people who have lost their jobs due to the economic impact of Covid-19. Full-time workers can apply for $490 a week – roughly double the regular Jobseeker Support.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson told RNZ the new offering was a “very clear” admission that base benefit rates were not enough to live on.

“Everybody should be able to access the support, regardless of whether they are recently unemployed or longer-term unemployed.”

Davidson said she had heard the frustration of beneficiaries who felt they had been deemed the “undeserving poor” by the latest move.

The Greens had pushed for all benefits to be increased to the new Covid-19 level, she said, but had so far been unsuccessful in getting that over the line.

“We’ve been consistently clear that this needs to happen urgently and desperately. It hasn’t happened yet, but we won’t give up,” Davidson said.

“Both New Zealand First and Labour need to come to the table on this.”

NZ First have been a problem for the Greens trying to promote their policies, but Labour has also seemed reluctant to make major structural changes, even after Covid allowed them to commit to tens of billions of extra spending.

Asked whether Labour had adequately delivered on its commitment, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the government had made “significant changes”.

She cited the $5.5 billion Families Package in 2018 which established the Winter Energy and Best Start payments, as well as boosting Working for Families tax credits.

The government also began indexing main benefits to wage growth from April 2020, meaning benefit payments rise in line with wages – rather than inflation.

In its initial Covid-19 economic rescue package, Finance Minister Grant Robertson increased most benefits by $25 a week and doubled this year’s Winter Energy Payment.

However, the vast majority of the 120 recommendations by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group have not been acted on.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni yesterday told media the government could not implement all the recommendations immediately.

Immediately was in 2017, or at least in 2018. The Welfare Expert Advisory Group reported in 2019 and disappointed many. See Government response to welfare expert advisory group ‘more rhetoric than action’ – Poverty group

The government’s initial response to the welfare expert advisory group’s 200-page report is “pathetic”, National says, with interest groups and the Green Party also saying more needs to be done.

The government has said it would start by implementing two of the group’s 42 recommendations, with Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni saying major change would take years.

National’s social development spokesperson Louise Upston said Labour voters should be underwhelmed.

She said the government’s response was another example of it not delivering in its ‘year of delivery’.

Greens are now also effectively saying that the Government has not delivered, and specifically that Labour has not delivered on their agreement with the Greens.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out through the campaign.

Now at the top of the Green Party list it would seem expected that Davidson would become a minister if Labour and Greens get to form the next Government. She could lead the fight from there perhaps.

Green list dominated by MPs, women

The Green Party list for this year’s election is dominated by sitting MPs and women, with co-leaders Marama Davidson and Jamwes Shaw swapping top roles and first term MP Chlöe Swarbrick promoted aheaad of longer serving MPs to number three.

The initial list promoted some activists over current MPs – see Initial Green Party list lacks gender, climate balance – and a small group of Green activists wanted to sump some MPs – see Left-wing Green faction wants to axe co-leader James Shaw, and Eugenie Sage and Chlöe Swarbrick.

But after party membership had their say on the list MPs have been reinstated up then order, with women dominating the top positions – this is curious given past Green preference for gender balance.

The revamped ranking:

  1. Marama Davidson
  2. James Shaw
  3. Chlöe Swarbrick
  4. Julie Anne Genter
  5. Jan Logie
  6. Eugenie Sage
  7. Golriz Ghahraman
  8. Teanau Tuiono
  9. Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere
  10. Ricardo Menéndez March
  11. Steve Abel
  12. Teall Crossen
  13. Scott Willis
  14. Kyle MacDonald
  15. Lourdes Vano
  16. John Ranta
  17. Lawrence Xu-Nan
  18. Luke Wijohn
  19. Kaya Sparke
  20. Jack Brazil
  21. James Crow
  22. Elliot Blyth
  23. Richard McIntosh
  24. Gerrie Ligtenberg

Tuiono has been dropped down from fifth. Current MP Gareth Hughes is not standing again (he has been virtually invisible for years anyway).

It sort of makes sense that all the MPs standing again get the top rankings, and I think Chlöe Swarbrick’s ranking is largely deserved.

But if the Greens just make the threshold they could have only one of their seven MPs as male, or possibly two of eight (their current proportion).

In the past the party was staunch in promoting gender equality but that seems to have dropped in their priorities. The lack of men up the list is a shame but perhaps the Greens have become less attractive to men wanting to make a mark in politics.

The Greens have two big battles ahead of them.

They keep pleading for more donations, saying they have insufficient funds to effectively contest the election.

And they have been polling close to the 5% threshold. Unless Swarbrick can do a deal with Labour and win the Auckland Central electorate the Greens have to make the threshold to survive – her prospects there may have figured in deciding on her promotion.

Labour are less likely to give up one of their Maori seats for Davidson, who will contest Tāmaki Makaurau. Shaw has never seriously tried to win Wellington Central off Grant Robertson.

The rest of the candidates are described by Davidson as

…young climate fighters fresh off the school strikes, new Māori and Pasifika voices, an environmental lawyer, a psychotherapist with a passion for improving access to mental health, and a first generation Latin American immigrant.

…but there are no standouts there, and most are unlikely to have much chance of getting into Parliament.

Stuff: Green Party list promotes ‘hello boomer’ Chloe Swarbrick

I think the ongoing promotion of an inaccurate retort from Parliament is trite and irrelevant to Swarbrick’s credentials as an MP, it just shows how shallow the media can be.

NZ Herald: Chloe Swarbrick gets a major promotion in the Green Party

Chloe Swarbrick’s had a huge promotion in the Green Party and now outranks two ministers and an under-secretary.

After her 2016 Auckland mayoral campaign, Swarbrick was recruited by the Greens and scraped into Parliament at ninth on the list.

She’s since made a name for herself addressing mental illness and on legalising cannabis and will go head-to-head against new National Party deputy leader Nikki Kaye for the Auckland Central seat.

The Spinoff: Green Party list ranking revealed: can this group lift them over the threshold?

Party press release: Green Party Unveils Its Candidate List For The 2020 Election

Divisive Green reaction to Muller leadership

On of the quiet achievements of new National leader Todd Muller is his work with Minister of the Environment James Shaw in the Zero Carbon Bill. From Wikipedia:

During his time in Opposition he was given the task of working with the Government on its Zero Carbon Bill. National ended up supporting the bill, with some caveats. Muller’s work on the bill earned him respect from across the House.

In his first speech as leader Muller said:

I’m not interested in opposition for opposition’s sake. We’re all tired of that kind of politics.

I’m about ideas that get results.

He has already shown that in practice with the Zero Carbon Bill collaboration (as did Shaw).

I think it’s fair to say that Muller’s leadership and some of his aims contrast somewhat with his predecessor Simon bridges.

But just after Muller took over the leadership the Green Party of Aotearoa new Zealand campaign manager (Matthew Thomas) emailed:

Same old, same old!

I wanted to share with you my biggest concern about the future of Aotearoa: that changing National’s leadership won’t change their political position and they will keep their same failed policies.

That is why, regardless of the National’s leadership, we have a job to do – keep thinking ahead – and pushing for policies that bring us together. 

We will continue to push our bold plans to build a future where the government does more, faster, to protect our planet and make sure everyone is treated equally regardless of their age, gender or postcode.

By changing their leadership, we risk National doubling down on their detrimental policies while deflecting from their failures. We can’t let this happen. We’ve worked hard to undo their broken systems but still have so much more to do.

I would have thought that Muller’s leadership increased the chances of more collaboration, for the mutual benefit of the Greens and National – and for the good of the Government and the country.

Of course the email was playing to a Green audience and also included the usual pleas for more donations.

But not all Green supporters are vehemently and blindly opposed to working with National. Some would even be happy to see a National-green coalition.

I guess the campaign director has to rustle up badly needed campaign funds, and may see more opportunities from Greens who seem to hate parties with alternative policies and priorities.

But as much as the Greens need funds, they also need votes, for their survival. They need votes from people who would prefer a more cooperative Parliament, and not one divided into ‘them’ versus ‘us’.

If Shaw approved of the tone of this email I’d be quite disappointed. he should see a new National leader as a an opportunity for more gains, not an excuse to promote greater division.

Green lobbyists liaising over $20b Covid Recovery Fund?

Further to yesterday’s post, several green friendly groups have promoted the $20b of the Covid Recovery Fund that is currently unallocated in what looks like coordinated lobbying.

The Green Party saw the money already allocated to ‘green’ policies – about $1b – as a start of the ‘Green reset’ – from RNZ: Parties look to secure wins from $20b ahead of election

…co-leader James Shaw has a few ideas about how to spend a large chunk of cash.

“The climate crisis, the housing crisis, the crisis in our rivers and in our marine environment and in our forests. Our three waters infrastructure, you know the water that’s coming out of our taps is unsafe to drink and it does occasionally run dry. So there are a series of things that we need to fix, all of which create jobs,” he said.

Shaw said it was actually the perfect time for parties to start offering up their own visions for the rebuild.

Today’s budget announcement invests over a billion dollars in projects which will create jobs that restore our natural environment, while also investing in housing initiatives to help reduce housing inequality and ensure all New Zealanders have access to a warm, healthy home.

We’ve made it clear that New Zealand must keep sustainability at the core of its COVID-19 reset. We’re really proud to be a part of a government making long-term decisions which put us on track towards an Aotearoa where all New Zealanders, and our natural environment can thrive.

More in an email from the Green Party:

We have now officially kicked off our Green Reset from the COVID-19 crisis with the release of Budget 2020. We’ve secured massive investment in Green initiatives which will create thousands of jobs while improving life for people and protecting the natural environment.

In an email yesterday from ActionStation:

Yesterday the government announced their budget for 2020 and what we learned is that the Finance Minister has set aside $20 billion in the Covid-19 recovery fund that is yet to be allocated.

With an election coming up, those of us wanting something different out of yesterday’s budget have a clear window of opportunity to demand it.

In the last seven weeks, we’ve been challenged to reflect on our values, how we care for one another, and what’s important. The $20 billion left in the Covid-19 recovery fund is an opportunity to take what we’ve learned and use it to reshape our economy, democracy, the way we care for our environment, and the way we care for each other.

Let’s create this vision together, then work collectively to bring it to life:

  1. We will combine the power and wisdom of thousands of ActionStation members to choose the big ideas via this survey.
  2. We’ll launch the results as a people-powered community vision called The People’s Regeneration Plan .
  3. Together we will campaign to build the pressure and people power needed to make our vision a reality.

Now is the time for the ActionStation community to collectively decide what type of Aotearoa we want to build beyond this crisis, and that’s why we need to be clear about what we’re asking for.

An email from Greenpeace:

Did you hear yesterday’s Budget announcement? A whopping $1bn has been set aside for restoring nature, which is fantastic. But the climate missed out.

But, so far the Budget announcement doesn’t add up to the transformation we need. Opportunities to address the climate and ecological crises have been missed, so our work is far from over.

With thousands of people like you signing our Green Covid Response petition and supporting this proposal, we know New Zealanders support a greener, healthier and more resilient economy that puts people and planet first.

We couldn’t have got this far without you – so thank you. And with you on our side, I know we still have a chance to make this a reality. Around half of the funds – $20 billion worth of investment – is yet to be announced, and that is reason for hope – and action!

We will work hard to make sure that the remaining $20 billion is used to build a nation that works in harmony with nature. A society where people, not corporations, are at the heart of governance. Where the economy works within our planet’s environmental boundaries.

I think we can expect more of this. There have been links between the Green Party, Greenpeace and Action Station, and all have similar goals – and now they have similar eyes on the $20b.

Of course there will be other groups lobbying hard for some of the $29b for their favoured policies. And the Green and NZ First parties will have their own ideas on how they can benefit from using some of the $20b to further their ideals and enhance their re-election prospects.

Time will tell what the real intention of the $20b made available in the Covid Recovery Fund is actually used for.  If it’s not all actually required to help New Zealand recover from the Covid epidemic than it could pay back the huge loans taken out to fund dealing with the Covid crisis.

Reimagining the future of Aotearoa

I don’t particularly like the term ‘reimagine’ but it is being used a bit lately. It’s use is new to me but according to Merriam Webster it was first used in 1825.

An email from James Shaw and Marama Davidson (to the Green Party contact list: Let’s reimagine Aotearoa 💚

We’re at a critical moment where we can rewrite the rules to ensure cleaner, greener communities where everyone is supported to thrive.

All we need is the political will to be bold and to do what’s right.

So what do you want for our future [name]? Take a moment to tell us about your vision for Aotearoa, so we know we’re pushing for a COVID-19 Recovery that New Zealanders want.

There’s huge potential to support everyone to live with dignity, to create meaningful jobs and build greener communities throughout New Zealand.

You may have already seen some of our big ideas to ensure we kick-start our economy after COVID-19 in a way that helps nature and communities thrive. We’ve pushed out our ideas on creating nature-based jobs, as well as building high speed passenger rail to connect the regions to our cities. We have more exciting ideas to come, but we also want to know what you think.

Our Let’s Reimagine Aotearoa survey should only take a few minutes of your time, and has the option to send us a video or voice message if you’d prefer.

Right now, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the direction of our country. Let’s not let this chance go to waste. 

RNZ:  Māori seek ideas on Aotearoa’s future after pandemic

The Iwi Chairs Forum is launching a campaign today encouraging people to share their vision for New Zealand post-Covid-19.

Ngāti Kahu leader Professor Margaret Mutu is leading the campaign and says the pandemic has given the country an opportunity to re-imagine its future.

“Covid-19 has given us the opportunity to pause and reflect on how we would like to be as a nation. We have a special chance to build a country based on our shared values,” she said.

“That’s about our constitution and constitutions should come out of communities not governments. Why would iwi leaders be interested in community vision? Iwi leaders have always worked with communities in creating future pathways as demonstrated in the 1835 Declaration of Independence and Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840.

“We have been fair and we have honoured agreements for the wellbeing of all. This campaign continues that work.”

She said the Iwi Chairs Forum invited all individuals, organisations and communities to share their vision through online video or written statements with the hash tag, #aotearoa2020vision

Statements will be reviewed and prominent themes and priorities will be reported via the forum’s Facebook page, to the national Iwi Chairs Forum and stakeholders. In addition, a rōpū (a group), led by rangatahi will be formed to identify the shared priorities that will contribute to a community vision for Aotearoa into the future.

This reimagining has been going on for a while.

The Dig (August 2019) – There Is A Field: Reimagining Biodiversity In Aotearoa

We are in a moment of existential peril, with interconnected climate and biodiversity crises converging on a global scale to drive most life on Earth to the brink of extinction. However, our current worldview and political paradigm renders us incapable of responding adequately due to its disconnected and divisive default settings. These massive challenges can, however, be reframed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change how humanity relates to nature and to each other.

IdeaLog:  Using Māori culture and urban design to reimagine Aotearoa’s past, present and future

Our social, political, and economic consciousness is shifting as a nation. As we begin to understand and embrace what being Maori can say about Aotearoa, our conversation as designers turns to the land and to the built environment. How do we brand our face to the world, yet remain true and authentic to a history and knowledge that runs deep beneath the pavement of our roads and cities, emerging only sporadically in our built environment as glimpses of another past? As Isthmus’ Damian Powley discovers, these deep narratives have as much to say about what once was, as they do about our collective identity now in 2019, like holding a mirror up to catch a glimpse of where we may be heading.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa:  Private Sector Ready To Reimagine Tourism

The tourism industry is ready and willing to join the Government in planning the future of tourism for New Zealand, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says.

TIA looks forward to actively participating in the project to reimagine the way tourism operates in a post-COVID-19 world, announced by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis today.

There’s even a website Re-Imagining Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand

There’s nothing wrong with using our imaginations, nor imagining what the future of Aotearoa might look like.But if we are to make any major changes or “rewrite the rules” this should follow good democratic processes, and will take some time, like years.

Diving in to make make big changes while we are still dealing with a crisis would be a mistake.

Greens desperate for donations for “a chance to rewrite the rules”

The Green Party has been largely out of the media spotlight, like most things what they have been doing overshadowed by all the Covid-19 news – but they have struggled for publicity since they have been in Government. They have been pleading for donations from before Covid-19 struck New Zealand.

From an email sent out by the Green Party Campaign Director on 14 February 2020:

I won’t lie, the last two polls aren’t looking good for us. Last night’s poll marks the second in a row that indicate we are at risk of falling below the 5% threshold.

Will you donate to show your support for keeping the Greens in parliament?

We always knew this election would be a challenge. No minor party in the history of Aotearoa has ever entered government and then returned to parliament at the next election. That’s why we need your help.

Your money will allow us to run the biggest campaign possible and make history by returning the Greens to government – allowing us to go further and faster on the issues that matter most.

The future of the Green Party hinges on the next six months.

They sounded sort of desperate then. From another email on 23 March:

I am about to ask you for the most important donation to our campaign this year, but first I want to tell you why it is so important.

The most significant financial decisions of this election campaign will be made on 1 April. These decisions will determine how effective and successful our campaign will be and what kind of future we will be leaving for our kids and grandkids.

That can’t have been very successful because yesterday (18 April) co-leader Marama Davidson emailed:

With Alert Level 4 now well into the third week here in Aotearoa, I really hope you and your whānau are safe and well, and coping, during these extraordinary times. I am encouraged by how much our communities are caring for each other and willing to take actions for the good of everyone.

As I spend time in my bubble with my precious mokopuna, Raeya, I appreciate even more acutely the importance of a world shaped by putting people and planet first, a future where we stand for, and look after, all communities. These are the values that are at the heart of the Green vision and have always driven me and my mahi.

How the country mobilises today will shape the world we live in tomorrow. It presents Aotearoa with a chance to rewrite the rules, so we can respond decisively to the gaps in our system that leave people behind, as well as protect our communities from climate change. The Green Party is committed to a future where we put the wellbeing of people and nature first, for a clean future.

However due to the impact of COVID-19, the Green Party is facing its own financial challenges. Right now our team is focused on working out how to continue to provide community support and continue party operations through these difficult times.

Please help support this vision by ensuring our Green voice remains strong. A donation of $3 today will support creating a future where people and planet come first.

To make things more challenging, the Green Party is not eligible for the government’s support package and we have not been able to raise the money we were counting on – not even close. And since we only rely on the support of individuals – not corporates – this is crucial.

She went on to plead her case, but this suggests that Green fundraising is way behind what they want it to be.

Political Parties shouldn’t get subsidies from the government support package – all the Green Parliamentary staff will have secure jobs and pay (until the election) so they can continue to operate as a Government support party.

But employing campaign staff is reliant on donations, and from what they are saying they aren’t getting enough to set up much a campaign team.

Covid-19 is likely to dominate the news for months, probably right up until the election (if it goes ahead in September). The severe impact on jobs, businesses and economic and attempts at recovering from this are also likely to dominate the election campaign.

Unfortunately for the Greens, they aren’t supported for their support of business and the economy.

This may be even harder for the Greens if they promote things like “It presents Aotearoa with a chance to rewrite the rules”.  There has been a lot of re-writing of rules over the last month, causing a lot of social and economic disruption. People are more likely to want a return as much as possible to what they are familiar with, and I doubt they will want a radical re-writing of rules.

It’s going to be a challenging few months for the Greens.

Covid-19 provides Greenpeace with an unprecedented opportunity to promote wishlist

Greenpeace is promoting a petition that urges the Government to ” transform how we live, work and interact with our planet into the future”

SUPPORT THE GREEN COVID RESPONSE

We are at a turning point in history.

In response to the Covid-19 Coronoavirus pandemic, Jacinda Ardern’s Government will inject billions into the economy to keep it afloat.

This is a huge opportunity to transform how we live, work and interact with our planet into the future.

If we direct relief funds towards clean transformative industries like renewable energy, regenerative farming and electric transport – we can set in place a greener, healthier and more resilient economy that puts people and planet first.

It is a chance to come through this public health crisis better able to respond to the ongoing climate, biodiversity and inequality crises we face.

Join the call on Jacinda Ardern to adopt the Green Covid Response!

Their wishlist:  Building a cleaner, resilient and equitable Aotearoa NZ in response to the Covid-19 Coronavirus Crisis – A Green New Deal for New Zealand

We currently face three simultaneous crises in Aotearoa New Zealand: the Covid-19 pandemic and an associated economic downturn, rising inequality, and a worsening climate and ecological crisis. As the Government turns its attention towards the long-term project of economic recovery, we urge you to plan a response that protects us from the impacts of climate change and lifts up workers and vulnerable communities.

Right now, we have an unprecedented opportunity to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, while making Aotearoa New Zealand more resilient to a world facing more extreme weather. We have the chance to transform our economy and society so that it regenerates critical ecosystems, improves wellbeing and drives changes in lifestyle that promote positive environmental and health outcomes. By thoughtfully targeting the stimulus, we can lift living standards for New Zealanders, create thousands of good green jobs, and accelerate a just transition away from fossil fuels, industrial farming and fishing, and other polluting industries.

In this paper, we outline a collection of solutions that fall under the banner of a “green stimulus”, providing jobs and boosting economic activity whilst fast-tracking much-needed projects to restore the natural world we depend on. These include:

Immediate shovel-ready projects to prioritise

  1. Providing finance and support for home insulation and heat pumps.
  2. Fast-tracking fencing and planting of on-farm waterways with Government finance.
  3. Attaching strict, science-aligned decarbonisation, biodiversity enhancement and workers’ rights conditions to corporate bailouts.
  4. Introducing a Universal Basic Income.

Priority investments for the long-term wellbeing of Aotearoa

  1. Unprecedented investment in public transport, cycling and rail infrastructure to accelerate our mobility into the 21st century.
  2. Billions in finance for distributed solar and wind, alongside upgrades to the power grid.
  3. A billion-dollar regenerative farming fund to support farmers to transition to regenerative agriculture.
  4. A sizable boost in finance for DOC to employ a “conservation corps” of people to eradicate pests, plant native trees and restore critical habitats.
  5. Constructing new, affordable homes that meet the highest energy-efficiency standards.
  6. Put millions into ocean restoration projects to restore critical marine ecosystems

Sounds similar to a lot of Green Party ideals, but the Green Party has been strangely quiet lately. There is nothing along these lines (and very little) on their website, Facebook page or Twitter.

Is Greenpeace effectively operating as an activist arm of the Green Party?

 

Initial Green Party list lacks gender, climate balance

Stuff have reported Green Party initial election list puts newcomer Teanau Tuiono ahead of several sitting MPs

An initial list for the Green Party puts activist Teanau Tuiono ahead of several sitting MPs in the party.

The Green Party list will dictate which of their MPs enter Parliament after the next election, should they win over five per cent of the vote.

The ranking of the list is voted on by members in two different stages – first by delegates at a conference for an initial list and then by all 7000 or so Green Party members closer to the election.

Tuiono was 16th on the Green list last election.

Due to two late withdrawals of male MPs from the list just before the last election the Greens have ended up with 2 male and six female MPs, and one of the males, Gareth Hughes, isn’t standing again. The try to have a balanced list, so they presumably have to have male candidates higher on the list than female MPs.

Tuiono is a veteran activist and education consultant who has worked at the United Nations and Massey University.

The initial list swaps the order of the co-leaders but this is likely to be a Greens having turns thing but also probably means a ministerial role for Davidson if they get back into Government with Labour.

  1. Marama Davidson
  2. James  Shaw
  3. Jan Logie
  4. Eugenie Sage
  5. Teanau Tuiono
  6. Julie Anne Genter
  7. Chlöe Swarbrick
  8. Golriz Ghahraman
  9. Elizabeth Kerekere (Tīwhanawhana Trust chair – “Tīwhanawhana Trust chair” – a takatāpui community group based in Wellington)
  10. Ricardo Menéndez March (Auckland Action Against Poverty activist)

Voted on be delegates, this is still gender unbalanced with only 2 the top 9 male. If Greens get the minimum MPs that’s 2 of 6.

With Hughes dropping out it also looks like more of a move towards social activism with less expertise in climate activism.

The final list could address this.

 

Greens use coronavirus to promote policy (20% benefit increase)

National have been using the coronavirus as an excuse to promote policies like stopping the minimum wage increase and reducing regulations. The Green Party has joined in the opportunism, calling for a 20% increase in benefits – which just hapens to be something they have been promoting for years..

Stuff:  Greens urge huge benefit increase in response

The party are calling on the Government, of which it is a part, to fully implement the recommendations from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s report.

That would see benefits boosted across the board at a cost of around $5.2b a year. The current welfare system pays out about $24.5b in benefits a year, including $15.5b for superannuation.

Greens have been calling for substantially higher no questions asked benefits for years.

This proposal isn’t aimed at short term mitigation of the effects of Covid-19 but would be a big ongoing increase in Government spending.

Green co-leader Marama Davidson said given the impact the virus’ associated economic shock might cause for casual workers larger benefits were vital.

“The COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the income of casual workers shows how flawed our social safety net is,” Davidson said.

I don’t know even how the possible impact on casual workers justifies a huge across the board benefit increase.

“It’s clear we need to change our welfare system, to absorb the impact of unexpected viruses and other issues that crop up in life. Whether it is COVID-19 or something else, our social safety net should be able to support us across the board when we’re struggling.”

The Green Party have long called for the full package of reforms suggested by the advisory group to be enacted.

Such a radical change in benefits should be debated and considered carefully, not rushed in because of the current virus.

Greens must know there’s no chance of rapid adoption of their policy. So this is straight out use of the virus for political campaigning.

Green Minister accused of ‘rubber stamping’ land sales (implementing the law)

Minister of Land Information Eugenie Sage has been accused of allowing land to be sold to ‘foreigners’, but Sage says she is implementing the law as her job requires.

Critics seem to expect that Sage should change the way things are done ‘because the Greens are in Government’, but the Green Party doesn’t have to power to change how laws are implemented, nor to change laws to suit green activists.

RNZ: Green MP Eugenie Sage accused of ‘rubber-stamping’ land sales to foreigners

Eugenie Sage is being accused of continuing National’s practice of “rubber-stamping” the sale of sensitive land to foreigners.

New figures reveal the land information minister and Green MP has approved nearly every application to cross her desk over nine months, rejecting just 30 hectares out of almost 60,000 hectares.

Former Green MP Sue Bradford is warning the news will stir up more disquiet among the party’s supporters after an earlier backlash over Ms Sage’s decision to allow a Chinese water bottling giant to expand.

“Her role is meaningless. The party’s role is meaningless,” Ms Bradford told RNZ.

She was shocked Ms Sage approved the sale of so much land to overseas people.

Bradford doesn’t seem to understand how multi party MMP governments work. Ministers don’t get to do whatever a few activists from their party demand.

“You’d think that either [the Greens would] move their person out of the role or they’d negotiate a damn sight harder with their coalition partners about changing policy on it.”

If Green ministers couldn’t do whatever party activists wanted they should resign? That would give them even less say over how things are done.

Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa spokesperson Murray Horton said the approval rate made a “mockery” of the government’s promises to curb foreign investment.

“The Greens need to be a bit bolder, frankly. They’re in government for the first time ever.

“They have a mandate from their members and the people who vote for them to actually establish a point of difference.”

But they don’t have a mandate from the country, they only 6.27% of the vote. That is nowhere near a democratic mandate.

Between 1 November and 26 July, Ms Sage approved 21 applications covering about 55,957 hectares. She turned down two requests relating to 30 hectares.

But Ms Sage said most of approved land – roughly 40,000 hectares – related to the sale of Mount White Station, a sheep and beef farm in Canterbury.

In that case, the Czech buyer already had permanent residency and his wife and children were New Zealand citizens.

“There was very limited opportunity for discretion because … it had only been triggered as an application under the Overseas Investment Act because he was out of the country for a period.

“I’m bound by the law, and as a minister, I implement the law.”

Many of the other applications related to forestry which was a government priority area, she said.

“We need more investment in forestry to meet the billion trees’ commitment to ensure that we are sequestering enough carbon to meet our climate change objectives.”

Ms Sage rejected claims she was acting in the same way as her predecessors, pointing out that she had turned down two applications in nine months.

“Under National, I think you had one application – Lochinver – turned down during their period in government.”

Not a big difference in numbers.

The government extended the Overseas Investment Office’s oversight in November and banned house sales to most foreigners in August.

Ministers also directed officials to review the Overseas Investment Act with changes expected by 2020.

So some changes have been made and more could change this year. These things take time in Government.

Sue Bradford has proven in the past she can act on her principles, but idealists outside parties and outside Parliament can’t do anything but criticise what happens within the democratic process.

Dissatisfaction of Government by green activists risks dividing the Green Party and reducing the power they do have. It wouldn’t take much for them to drop out of Parliament altogether, and then they would have much less ability to change anything.