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.

UK Labour policy to trial Universal Basic Income if elected contrary to research

Labour (UK) is promising to Introduce trials of a Universal Basic Income, but recent research concludes: There is no evidence that the project can meet its goals while being economically viable at the same time.

Golriz Ghahraman responded:

Yes! Two things:

1) There’s enough longitudinal research around the world to prove UBI works. No need for a ‘trial’. Let’s just pick the most effective version and apply it.

2) UKGreens had this policy first, but nice to see the big parties following the Green movement
💚😊

The most effective version? I don’t know of anywhere that a country-wide UBI has been tried successfully.

From the Green Party Income Support Policy

Specific Policy Points

  • Work with other parties and the public to develop a proposal(s) for the introduction of a UBI and the changes needed to fund and implement it.
  • Set benefit amounts at a level sufficient for all basic needs of the individual/family.

I don’t know whether any work is being done with Labour towards introducing UBI.  I would be very surprised if the Greens are doing anything with NZ First on one.

Last week from Stuff:  Universal Basic Income is a failure, new report says

A new study on universal basic income (UBI) is challenging the central claim used to promote the scheme: that, if done right, it can help alleviate poverty.

Proponents of the basic income argue that it will help those below the poverty line pay for essentials like food, housing, and healthcare, according to the assessment by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in the UK.

The NEF reviewed 16 real-life UBI trials to see whether a basic income can really bridge the inequality gap.

Its conclusion: There is no evidence that the project can meet its goals while being economically viable at the same time.

I wonder what Ghahraman’s “There’s enough longitudinal research around the world to prove UBI works” is based on.

James Shaw on “do we deserve to be re-elected if we don’t?”

In his opening speech in Parliament this year Green co-leader James Shaw suggested that ‘we’ – the Green Party at least – may not deserve to be re-elected unless a more comprehensive Capital Gains Taax – “tax income from capital the same way that we tax income from work” – is introduced.

Green Party Economic Policy:

Capital Gains Tax

  • In order to treat all income the same, introduce a comprehensive capital gains tax on inflation adjusted capital gains at the time the capital gains are realised.
  • Exempt the family home from capital gains tax.

Now Jacinda Ardern has said that not only will the Government not be proceeding with plans to introduce a CGT, but that it will never happen while she leads the Government, Shaw is left looking silly and impotent, again.

And Shaw has made things worse by they do deserve to be re-elected because of other things they are doing on climate change, tackling homelessness, and cleaning up rivers – but progress on those issues is hardly worthy of self praise.

Shaw was interviewed on RNZ Morning Report: Capital gains tax plan dropped – James Shaw responds

The Green Party co-leader James Shaw has been dealt two hefty blows – not only the confirmation the capital gains tax has been ditched but that Jacinda Ardern has also taken it off the table as long as she is Prime Minister.

In February he suggested on this programme that the government didn’t deserved to be re-elected if it didn’t follow through with a capital gains tax. Now he’s changed his mind saying they do deserve to be re-elected for their work on climate change, tackling homelessness, and cleaning up rivers.

Suzie Ferguson: New Zealand First pulled this down, didn’t they.

James Shaw: Well as the prime Minister said they couldn’t form a consensus in Cabinet around that um recommendation on the Capital Gains Tax and so the pulled it.

Suzie Ferguson: And so you are outside Cabinet but clearly were supportive.

James Shaw: Well, you know we were consulted on the indecision, um and so you know we just got to a point where we said well, you know this is clearly not going to go any further so Government has to proceed.

Suzie Ferguson: But the Prime Minister ultimately must have buckled under pressure from Winston Peters, because Labour supported it, and the Greens supported it, so who’s left?

James Shaw: Well, I mean that’s a question for her and the Deputy Prime Minister. I wasn’t privy to those conversations. Um, you know our relationship primarily was through Grant, you know we were talking to him on a regular basis about where we were hoping it might go. Um but it is a coalition government and ultimately in coalition governments not everyone gets everything they want all the time.

Labour and NZ First have a coalition agreement, Greens are outside of this arrangement providing ‘confidence and supply’. It sounds hear like Shaw was not a part of the CGT discussions at all, he was merely being informed by Grant Robertson of the lack of progress. So sitting on the sidelines, impotent.

Suzie Ferguson: Indeed, but what is the quid pro quo?

James Shaw: Ah there isn’t a quid pro quo. I think the, um, you know the thing about this government actually is that you actually look at each issue, um, by issue, and and each thing stands or falls on it’s merits.

This issue fell seemingly without Greens having a say.

Suzie Ferguson: Mmm, but you’re having to swallow quite a dead rat on this one, so are you saying you’re not getting anything in return?

James Shaw: Well like, we’re getting to be in government, ah and along with that ah comes a substantial ah set of policy gains that we wouldn’t have if we weren’t in government.

Greens have achieved or are trying to achieve some policy gains, but these are dwarfed by the policy gains that NZ First have been able to achieve – which must be with Green approval. it looks like Greens give a lot, and get little. Word is that Shaw is struggling to get his Climate Change policy past NZ First. These are big impediments to core Green policies.

Suzie Ferguson: Mmm, but what is the point in being in government if you don’t get some of the major wins?

James Shaw: Well we are getting some of the major wins. So I’ll give you some examples. Um we’ve put fourteen and a half billion dollars into a rapid transit um buses, light rail, aah walking and cycling over the next ten years.

That’s proposed, not done. Greens will struggle to be in Parliament let alone Government for anywhere near that long. Recently the Minister of Transport conceded that light rail is likely top be scaled back. And the Auckland City rail loop cost has just jumped by a billion dollars, this must put pressure on other transport spending.

James Shaw: We’ve had the largest funding in conservation in the last sixteen years.

The funding of most things goes up over time, so it is only a gain if funding increases are significantly above inflation (I don’t know in this case if it is).

James Shaw: Um we’re about to introduce the zero carbon bill into Parliament. So you’ve got you know across the whole range of areas huge progress, more progress than we were able to make in  the last twenty years we were in opposition.

Suzie Ferguson: It’s been reported though this morning on Politik that New Zealand First will be folding their opposition to Labour’s climate change policies, and that is the price. Is that not the case?

James Shaw: I haven’t read Politik this morning, sorry.

Suzie Ferguson: But is that something you know about or not?

James Shaw: Look I’m not aware of that report so I can’t comment on it.

Suzie Ferguson: So there is no quid pro quo as far as you know? That’s what that report would seem to indicate.

James Shaw: Well like I said I haven’t seen it so I couldn’t, it’s hard for me to comment on something I haven’t seen.

Suzie Ferguson: Mmm but it’s not anything you’ve heard from the Prime Minister or indeed as these final negotiations have been taking place?

James Shaw: No it’s not.

This is what was said at Politik:

Jacinda Ardern claimed to her press conference yesterday that the decision to dump the tax was made without any sort of a deal with NZ First.

But nothing comes for nothing in politics.

And NZ First must surely expect there will be a price to pay. Most likely this will be in them folding their opposition to Labour’s climate change policies.

That may just be speculation.

Suzie Ferguson: Can the Government still claim to be transformational?

James Shaw: Yes, I think we can…

Suzie Ferguson: Why?

James Shaw: Well because like I said, on so many areas, and Grant Robertson was talking about that earlier this morning, the work that we’re doing on ending homelessness, on lifting people out of poverty, ending child poverty, on mental health, on climate change, on conservation, on cleaning up our water, those are the areas that really tipped the election in 2017, and those are the areas we are making progress on.

Most of those are being worked on rather than making notable changes. It may take another year (or longer) to judge how successful they have actually been.

James Shaw: Now, I’m not saying that I’m not disappointed about this decision, I am, and Green party policy hasn’t changed on that, but you know as with anything. You’ve got to take it all in the round, and when I said aah that I think that we should you know be questioning ourselves, we should always be questioning ourselves about how transformational our Government is.

And actually I think that we’re doing in fact have done more in the last eighteen months than the previous government did in nine years, and so I would choose it every time.

That’s a tired old comparison that Labour and Greens keep trotting out. It’s rhetoric with no factual basis.

Suzie Ferguson: To achieve targets around lifting children out of poverty and social justice, the only way to achieve those targets now is going to be with borrowing isn’t it.

James Shaw: (deep breath) Ah well that is a question for the Minister of Finance, um and…

Suzie Ferguson: But I’m asking you because it’s Green Party policy as well, so how would you be wanting to achieve those targets. You’re going to need extra money coming from somewhere. Are you going to borrow it?

James Shaw: Yes we are. Um but but I can’t comment on this year’s budget obviously because that’s about to be announced.

This year’s budget has nothing to do with the future plans that will be affected by no longer being able to get on previously relied on tax from a CGT.

Suzie Ferguson: But you’ve been talking about relaxation, or possible relaxation of the fiscal rules you signed up to. Is that how you get these over the table.

James Shaw: I believe so, yes.

Suzie Ferguson: So there is going to be extra borrowing.

James Shaw: I can’t tell you that.

Shaw is Associate Minister of Finance so must be privy to some sort of discussions on how policy promise might be funded without having a CGT.

Suzie Ferguson: But you believe so.

James Shaw: Well well look no ultimately I think that if you look at the long term fiscal strategy ah of ah Government um you know we have said that we think that needs to be reviewed, and we intend to do so.

Um at the moment actually the economy is doing very well, ah and we’ve got revenue coming in, so you know we are able to invest in things we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to invest in otherwise.

Suzie Ferguson: You famously said that the government didn’t deserve to be re-elected if you didn’t follow through with a capital gains tax…

James Shaw: …that’s not strictly true…

Suzie Ferguson: …hang on a minute. Um why did you say that?

James Shaw: What I said was we should be asking ourselves the question of whether or not we deserved to be, and we should be asking ourselves that question al the time, on the basis that at the last election ah you know a majority of New Zealanders voted for change, they voted for bold change.

I don’t see how he can claim that. People vote the way they do for a wide variety of reasons. Some may even have voted for NZ First hoping they would go into Government with National. The party wanting the most radical change, the Greens, got substantially fewer votes than they got in the previous election.

James Shaw: Now you know tax reform was…

Suzie Ferguson: And now you say they’re not getting it as of yesterday.

James Shaw: …well no tax reform is a part of that picture but it’s only a part of that picture. And like I said if you look at everything that we’re doing, whether it’s in the domain of lifting people out of poverty or ending homelessness or cleaning up the environment, ah you know action on climate change.

We have taken some really big calls and we will be taking some really big calls over the course of the coming eighteen months before the next election.

Depending on what Winston allows them to call.

James Shaw: And so in the round yes, I do believe that we deserve to be re-elected, but we should never stop asking ourselves that question.

On the basis of losing the CGT battle, and the big calls to be made over the next 18 months, I think it is premature to claim the Greens deserve to be re-elected.

From Shaw’s big speech to start the year in Parliament in February:

Now, the Green Party has long been calling for that fundamental imbalance to be addressed, and every single expert working group in living memory has agreed with us, but no Government—no Government—has been bold enough to actually do it. But if we are to be the Government of change that New Zealanders wanted and elected, we must be bold.

The crises that we face on multiple fronts—the wealth gap, climate change, the housing crisis—we cannot solve without fundamental reform. These crises have been allowed to metastasise because generations of politicians have timidly tinkered rather than actually cut to the core of the problem.

And the consequences of that timidity—the consequences of that timidity—are being felt by Karen and by hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders just like her, trapped in “Generation Rent”. So when the commentators pontificate about whether this Government can politically afford to do what no other Government before it has done, I ask “Can we afford not to?”

Can we afford not to?

We were elected on the promise of change. If we want to reduce the wealth gap, if we want to fix the housing crisis and to build a productive high-wage economy, we need to tax income from capital the same way that we tax income from work.

The very last question that we should be asking ourselves is: can we be re-elected if we do this? The only question we really ought to be asking ourselves is: do we deserve to be re-elected if we don’t?

That’s a question that voters will answer in 18 months.

See James Shaw slams tax timidity, calls on Labour, NZ First to be bold with CGT

 

 

“Stop infantilising us. I personally hate the Rainbow whanau/family nonsense.”

Some sensible words from @aniobrien on the Israel Folau fallout, and some strong words to Green MPs, who are politicising lesbians and gays, on their “Rainbow whanau/family” nonsense.

Just as there are diverse gender and sexuality preferences, there are diverse views within the LABC…XYZ – everyone who is not purely heterosexual (if that exists) – groups, communities and individuals.

I’m not a lesbian or gay but I agree with what Ani says about Israel Folau’s insistence that anyone who doesn’t ‘repent’ follow his beliefs will go to some sort of hell.

Dismissing Folau is entirely the decision of Rugby Australia and it is likely that he breached his contract with them by bringing the sport into disrepute. This is simply Folau reaping the consequences of his actions. This isn’t the first time he has courted controversy.

Folau has rightly been publicly condemned, however I don’t think his speech should be subject to legal measures. It is not illegal to be offensive. It is not illegal to practice religion. Nor should it be.

Just as I have a right to call Folau a religious nutbar with a habit of hypocrisy who is reaping what he has sowed, he has the right to say I am going to hell for being a total homo. Hilarious because hell doesn’t exist!

Hell is a threat rather than a place. It’s been used as the ultimate bogeyman, a place equivalent of Knecht Ruprecht just as heaven is a place equivalent of Saint Nicholas/Santa – age old threat/reward trick.

Ani then lays into politicians who are politicising homosexuality.

There has been a lot of pearl clutching by heterosexual politicians invested in portraying lesbians and gays as fragile and on the precipice of suicide. I really wish they would cut it out. We are one of the most resilient groups of people on the planet.

I have a few messages for NZ politicians who’re politicising me & other lesbians and gays:

  1. Stop with the irresponsible suicide rhetoric. All research shows that this creates a self-fulfilling prophecy and risks contagion. You can support us without invoking dodgy suicide stats.
  2. Stop infantilising us. I personally hate the “Rainbow whanau/family” nonsense. Partly because our “community” has never been so divided & partly because it sounds like a kindergarton play group.
  3. Stop conflating transgenderism with homosexuality. Folau didn’t even mention trans people. We are not synonymous. We are very different & piggy-backing them on to all of our issues is unhelpful.
  4. Stop hyperbolising what hate speech is. 50 people were massacred in Christchurch & when you lump in offensive speech with the hate & violence of the man responsible for the terrorist attack you insult their memory.
  5. Stop undermining free speech principles. When you censor & restrict speech it is those in power who dictate acceptability. This means minority groups & those challenging systems of oppression are the first to be silenced.
  6. Stop virtue-signalling & playing identity politics & for the love of goddess please focus on the policies that acutely affect us – you know like our planet becoming rapidly uninhabitable. I’m looking at you
  7. Start listening to all of your constituents – even those you don’t agree with.
  8. Start basing your policy decisions on science and fact not the ideology of a small minority. Most of us do not want to be governed by the religion or belief systems we don’t subscribe to. We are a secular nation.
  9. Start leading by example. Divisive messaging does not solve anything. Your mates in your (not so) secret Facebook groups might cheer you on, but it is not smart politics or good for NZ.
  10. Start speaking up. I know a great number of you can see the harm that comes from this brand of silencing, divisive identity politics. It’s time to get brave and say something.

Divisive messaging does not solve anything. Can you take that on board Marama Davidson? Golriz Gharaman?

Marama Davidson lays into the blame game

The degree to which Marama Davidson takes her arguments here is alarming, especially for a political party leader.

While most of the country is coming together with a common purpose of sympathy and empathy, she seems to be intent on blaming and dividing.

Yesterday from her speech in Ministerial Statements — Mosque Terror Attacks—Christchurch

I know that we must work together, all of us, to become an Aotearoa where everyone is safe to pray, or not—an Aotearoa where people are safe to be who they are.

I also acknowledge the calls from those in Muslim communities to ensure that we tell the truth right from the start. I note the Muslim voices highlighting the truth that New Zealand has a long history of colonial policy, discourse, and violence that sought to harm indigenous peoples. As tangata whenua, I am aware that we need to build connections now more than ever, to heal, and to create loving futures for everyone.

There are some major contradictions in this.

So what do we do now? I am energised by the signs of people now reflecting on their own bias and prejudice and committing to fighting racism with all their might.

We have a big shift ahead of us. We have lessons to learn. We have conversations to have. It’s just that this seems like it was too big a price to pay to get us to this point. In closing, to our Muslim communities, we love you, not just because you are us, but because you are you. Kia ora.

Davidson needs to learn that those of us who have some colonial history in our whanau are also part of ‘us’.

She is correct in saying “we must work together, all of us” – she just needs to learn what that actually means, and she needs to learn that divisive speech is contrary to what she is imploring here.

 

Marama Davidson: “I had to pull the party together”

Marama Davidson is a radical activist who has struggled to work with the realities of being in Parliament, and especially the realities of leading a party in Government.

She had an opportunity to mmake a mark while co-leader James Shaw is busy being a Minister trying to establish the Greens as a party in power, but she is still more of a niche politician trying to appeal to a wider audience.

She has a long way to go to lift the Green Party out of Labour’s shadow, and the big challenge here is to do this without appearing to be too left wing radical, which would deter support from those who prefer the greens as an environmental party.

Newsroom – Davidson: very Green, very outspoken and a lot to prove

On the reality of last year’s Green leadership contest:

But all was not well behind the scenes. The contest brought to the fore an identity crisis for the very soul of the party. At its heart was a question of whether the Greens were radical enough — and whether, as a party of Government, it would naturally move further to the centre, losing its activist raison d’être.

Eugenie Sage and Julie Anne Genter were prospects for taking the leadership position left vacant by Metiria Turei.

Then there was Marama Davidson. Entering Parliament in 2015, she was the least experienced potential contender and initially hesitant to run. But she was popular with the party’s activist left, who lobbied strongly for her to put her hat in the ring in the hope she would counterbalance Shaw’s perceived corporate-ness and pull the party back to the left.

Sitting down one year later, Davidson admitted the time after the leadership battle was difficult.

“We went through some tough stuff and none of it was very secret,” she said.

“I had to pull the party together”.

But has she?

But the first few months were difficult. The Greens had haemorrhaged staff through the first half of 2018, stretching the party’s back room. The chaos came to a head in June when the party forgot to lodge its Parliamentary questions.

Then further chaos erupted in August, when Davidson told a protest she would reclaim the C-word because she was sick of being slandered with it online. The episode quickly spiralled out of control.

Looking back on it now, Davidson is mostly disappointed the story became about the appropriateness of the word, rather than the fact she was campaigning against the online abuse she received.

Observers felt it showed a lack of focus from the Green leadership as the campaign drew ever more attention, diverting people from the party’s work elsewhere. Less time thinking about climate change, more time thinking about, well, the c-word.

That didn’t pull the party together.

Davidson still has a lot to prove — especially to the hard left of the party who lobbied so effectively to elevate her to the leadership. Criticising the Government from her position is hard — some would say impossible.

Davidson could go harder in future. She thinks one of the main reasons the Maori Party didn’t survive was because it failed to properly hold the National Government to account. She sees continuing to put pressure on Labour as being essential to the Greens’ survival in Government.

On the other side of the equation, concessions won by Davidson from within Government, like Phil Twyford’s work on improving rental properties, are significant but hardly enough to take back to a hungry electorate in 2020.

There is the suggestion this has meant some on the hard-left of the party are dissatisfied with her leadership.

On Sunday, she will make a speech to party members at the Greens’ summer policy conference about the wellbeing budget and the environment.

She has made that speech: Marama Davidson – Summer Policy Conference

The conference has some big decisions to make, not least of which is whether to sign the Greens up to another round of Budget Responsibility Rules for the next parliamentary term.

With both Davidson and the membership strongly opposed, its likely the party will junk the rules for the next election. However Labour, which will control the finance portfolio in any future left-wing Government is likely to sign back up.

The looming question for the Greens is whether or not they can force the larger party’s hand – getting them to release, or even loosen the purse strings in any future Government.

RNZ: Greens want wide-ranging tax reform

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson wants a capital gains tax to be just the start of wide-ranging tax reform.

There’s real doubt Labour will even go for the CGT.

Speaking at the party’s summer policy conference Ms Davidson told members that resistance to a tax on capital gains came from a wealthy elite who are holding the country’s political system hostage.

She said the Greens want more reform including a tax rate for the richest 1 percent and taxing polluting big businesses and housing speculators.

Davidson was asked about this on RNZ this morning, and she came across as waffly and unsure. Outside her radical Green circles, her comfort zone, she struggles.

It may be to soon to judge whether Davidson is more asset or liability for the Green re-election chances. She has to find an assured and credible way of talking to a wider audience.

I see no sign of her pulling the party together. More like the opposite.