Greens under fire for $11m private school funding

A curious change has been noticed to a Green farm rule:

Private schools shall never be funded. unless it’s a Green school


A Beehive announcement by Green leader James Shaw: Taranaki school construction project to create jobs

Green School New Zealand will be supported with $11.7 million from the $3 billion set aside by the Government for infrastructure in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

“This project will create hundreds of quality jobs, meaning more people can continue to provide for their families whilst we weather the economic storm of the pandemic crisis. These jobs will provide a good day’s pay, doing meaningful work, building a better future for Taranaki.

“Securing over 200 jobs will help direct more money into the parts of the economy where most people earn their livelihood. These are the parts of the economy that are sustained when public investment is directed at getting people into work and earning money that they then spend in their local communities,” James Shaw said.

The ‘shovel-ready’ project will enable Green School to expand its student roll from 120 students to 250. It is estimated that a roll of 250 students will contribute $43 million each year for the local economy.

RNZ: Anger at funding for Taranaki Green School

The Educational Institute says teachers are fuming at Green Party co-leader James Shaw’s announcement of an 11.7 million dollar funding package for in a private school in Taranaki.

Shaw says the ‘shovel ready’ project at the Green School in Oakura is part of the Covid-19 economic response and will secure 200 jobs.

The union’s national secretary, Paul Goulter told our Taranaki Whanganui reporter Robin Martin the investment flies in the face of Green Party policy.

Prominent in the Green Party Education Policy:

  • Public funding for private schools should be phased out and transferred to public schools.
  • Public-private partnerships should not be used for building or running schools.

No funding of private schools has been longstanding Green policy.

Ex Green MP Sue Bradford:

Ex Green candidate John Hart:

Ex Green MP Catherine Delahunty:

Green candidate Ricardo Mendez:

Ex Green Party candidate Jack McDonald:

RNZ: Critics pile on Green private school funding boost

Education Minister Chris Hipkins is distancing himself from an $11.7 million boost for a Taranaki private school after the National Party panned the taxpayer funding as “rank hypocrisy”.

The move has attracted ire from numerous quarters, including the oppositionschool principals, unions, and from within the Greens’ own ranks.

Responding to reporters at Parliament, Hipkins ducked responsibility, stressing that the money did not come out of the education funding pool.

“It wasn’t considered through the usual education capital spend route. It was considered as a shovel-ready project.”

Hipkins deferred questions to the Ministers responsible and noted that the Green Party had advocated “quite strongly” for the funding.

“It was one of their wins, if you like, out of the shovel-ready project area,” he said. “It’s not necessarily a project that I would’ve prioritised.”

Stuff: Green members demand ‘please explain’ for $11.7m private school funding 

James Shaw calls meeting with Green members to explain private school funding decision

Green party co-leader James Shaw has been asked by party members to explain why his name appeared on a press release announcing $11.7 million of public funding for a private school.

“It’s not perfect but if you’re trying to achieve a number of objectives it achieves a number of those: it creates a number of jobs in the region, it supports the green building industry, and it’s in Taranaki, the region we’re trying to move on from oil and gas,” Shaw said.

Last night, Policy and Party co-conveners – the part of the Green Party that looks after the wider membership – requested “information and clarification” from the caucus over how the project got approval

Wiremu Winitana, one of the party’s co-convenors, told an online forum that the co-leaders, Shaw and Marama Davidson had been asked to explain and clarify the situation.

“We are inclined to agree… that this is against our policy,” Winitana said.

Shaw will front a Zoom with co-leader Marama Davidson Friday night to explain the decision to members.

An email to members said that the party understood they were feeling “frustrated or disappointed,” by the decision to grant the school funding.

That email would appear to have gone to party members only and not to the wider contact list.

The funding decision probably can’t be changed, so all Shaw can do is try to keep explaining. He has done a poor job of that so far.

Coming up to an election campaign this is poor timing for this sort of fundamental policy hypocrisy. Greens have been polling close to the 5% MMP threshold and are risk of being dumped from Parliament, especially with this sort of policy embarrassment.

Fitzsimons ‘deeply distressed’ by Green support of waka jumping bill

Ex-leader of the Green party Jeanette Fitzsimons has joined the criticism of the Green Party support of Winston peters’ ‘waka jumping’ bill in an appearance before the select committee hearing public submissions on the bill.

NZH: Former Greens co-leader ‘deeply distressed’ by party’s support for waka jumping ban

A former leader of the Green Party, Jeanette Fitzsimons, says she was “deeply distressed ” her party supported the so-called waka jumping bill to its first reading and she hopes wisdom will prevail.

She spoke about the internal dissent and crisis within the Green Party before the last election over the admission by co-leader Metiria Turei of historic benefit fraud.

She appeared before the justice select committee to speak against the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill, which allows a party leader to oust an MP from Parliament with the support of two thirds of the caucus.

If the bill becomes law, the Greens co-leaders with the support of two thirds of the caucus, could have had them booted out of Parliament.

“Integrity cannot be legislated for,” Fitzsimons said. “It is a matter of conscience and judgment.

“In some cases, leaving one’s party is an act of integrity – as when the party has departed from the policies it took to the election or has abused proper process.

“In other cases it may be just self-serving political expediency.”

Greens have always strongly opposed measures like those proposed in the bill, until they supported the bill at it’s first reading. Some Green MPs have also expressed concern about Green support of the bill.

Fitzsimons also referred to the upheaval in the Green Party before last year’s election.

“Dissent is a valuable part of the political process, ” she said. “Without it, MPs are just clones of their leader.”

Referring to the Greens’ internal strife before the last election when MPs Kennedy Graham and David Clendon withdrew from the party list because they could not persuade Turei to resign, she said she supported their right to dissent.

“I strongly disagreed with the stance of my former colleagues Kennedy Graham and David Clendon took on the actions of co-leader Metiria Turei, and I was highly critical of the way they went about it which was unnecessary and damaging.

“But I would defend to the end their right to freedom of conscience and to express their views in opposition to the rest of the caucus, without being thrown out of Parliament.”

I hope Green staffer and list candidate Jack McDonald hears that. He recently slammed and excommunicated Graham:

“In the context of Kennedy still apparently having many supporters in the Party who were upset he wasn’t allowed back on the list, we need to make sure there isn’t the ability for this to happen in the future and prevent the election of Green MPs whose politics are incompatible with fundamental Green kaupapa.”

See A culture of Green zealotry and intolerance

He could learn a lot from older wiser Green Party stalwarts. Fitzsimons:

“Dissent is a valuable part of the political process. Without it, MPs are just clones of their leader.”

But a seemingly growing number of Greens view dissent, and disagreement with and questioning of their ideals, as blasphemy that should not be tolerated.

It will be interesting to see whether the leader McDonald worships and clones, Marama Davidson, stands by fundamental Green kaupapa and votes against the ironically named Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill.

If anyone is respected for their integrity in the history of the Green Party it is Jeanette Fitzsimons.

A culture of Green zealotry and intolerance

Stuff has revealed a remarkable example of a culture of zealotry and intolerance in the Green parliamentary bubble.

It is common to encounter Green supporters and activists in social media who promote their ideals with zeal, and are intolerant of any alternative to their policies, and also intolerant of any criticism – sometimes to a bizarre degree.

It is not so common to see this close to the decision makers in Parliament, but Green staffer and candidate Jack McDonald has revealed on Twitter that this intolerant zealotry appears to be a part of Green culture, especially in the younger and pro-Turei faction.

Stuff: Green staffer on ex-MP Kennedy Graham speaking at National event: ‘No wonder he sabotaged us and Metiria’

A Green Party staffer says Kennedy Graham’s presence at a National Party event proves the former Green MP was never a good fit for the party.

Two time green candidate and staffer Jack McDonald

A remarkable statement at odds with reality. Graham’s history as a Green MP:

  • 2008-2011 (9th on list)
  • 2011-2014 (5th on list)
  • 2014-2017 (7th on list

Green members play a major role in ranking their candidates on their list so Graham was obviously seen as a good fit for the party. In 2014 he was ranked a long away ahead of McDonald (who was 21st). And in April last year Graham was ranked 8th on the party list for the 2017 election, and McDonald 13th.

Graham and fellow MP David Clendon resigned from the party’s list at the 2017 election over the rest of the Greens caucus’ continued support for Metiria Turei, who was under fire over her admission of benefit fraud.

Graham, a former diplomat and academic, sought to rejoin the party list after Turei eventually resigned, but was rebuffed by the party’s executive.

Jack McDonald, a former candidate, campaigner for co-leader Marama Davidson, and current Parliamentary staffer, wrote a post on an internal Green Party Facebook group saying Graham’s planned attendance at a BlueGreens conference on Saturday proved excluding him from the list was the right decision.

Another ridiculous claim. Graham was effectively dumped and shunned by the Greens, what he does now is his business.

Graham is appearing at the BlueGreens Forum alongside National MP Todd Muller and Motu’s Catherine Leining for a talk entitled “Climate Change – By Degrees”.

When Graham was in Parliament he led a cross-party group on climate change.

Graham was widely respected for his cross-party work, something that is important in an MMP parliament, but something many Greens, including McDonald, fail to appreciate.

“Kennedy Graham is speaking at the BlueGreens forum in Canterbury this weekend. … No wonder he sabotaged us and Metiria [Turei] when it mattered most,” McDonald wrote.

Turei sabotaged the Green campaign and her own political career. Trying to blame this on Graham is reprehensible. Graham stood down on principle, something McDonald doesn’t seem to have any grasp of (both the fact and principles).

“In the context of Kennedy still apparently having many supporters in the Party who were upset he wasn’t allowed back on the list, we need to make sure there isn’t the ability for this to happen in the future and prevent the election of Green MPs whose politics are incompatible with fundamental Green kaupapa.”

If McDonald represents “fundamental Green kaupapa” then the party is stuffed beyond being a fringe party of zealots intolerant of anyone different to their own self perceived perfection.

“We all need to work on bringing together the party and reaching out to those who disagree, but there also needs to be a line in the sand, and for me, Kennedy represents it.”

If a widely respected MP for 9 years and and loyal party member who acted on genuine principle crosses a line for McDonald that’s sad. Does he represents a common culture within the Green Party

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman “liked” the post.

There seems to be a growing influence in the Greens from younger, more fanatical and far less tolerant members, staffers and MPs.

Recently on Twitter:

Ironic given the vitriol McDonald has dumped on Graham, who was an important part of Green diversity that now seems seriously under threat.

If McDonald and like minded Greens represent ‘fundamental Green kaupapa’, and dump on anyone who doesn’t fit their narrow ideals as McDonald has with Graham, there’s no way I’ll consider voting for them again. And I doubt I’ll be the only one  with that view.

This narrow and intolerant approach to politics is a particular problem for climate change – for enduring and effective measures to be taken by our Parliament it will require general cross-party agreement, and that means working with the National Party who have indicated a willingness to deal with climate change.

McDonald’s zealotry and spiteful drawing of lines is more likely to harm rather than help the Green cause. If they dump on too many people they increase their chances of being dumped from Parliament.

 

The Nation – candidates on ‘the big issues’

On The Nation this morning Lisa Owens “talks to more would-be MPs about the big issues”.

The candidates:

Priyanca Radhakrishnan –  union member and a member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network and the National Council of Women (Auckland). Labour candidate for Maungakiekie, 12 on the Labour list so has a good chance of becoming an MP.

Brooke van Velden a public relations consultant and ACT candidate for Auckland Central. The ACT list will be announced this weekend. Interview on RNZ.

Jack McDonald – Ko Taranaki te Iwi. Green candidate for Te Tai Hauāuru and Māori Communications Advisor. at 13 on gthe party list he has a good chance of becoming an MP.

Erica Stanfordstaffer for Murray McCully, has has worked overseas in export sales roles. National candidate for East Coast Bays, should win a safe electorate.

To much to cover on the fly here, but Lisa is putting all four on the spot over personal views and positions versus their party policies and positions. A lot of avoiding of addressing these questions.

They all struggled a bit, it’s the deep end of politics so quite a challenge.

Stanford got feisty at times once she warmed up but tried to disguise what seemed like a lack of general political issues knowledge by focussing on electorate representation, which where she is likely to start her political career.

McDonald was well versed in Green policy and diverted to party speak, avoiding direct answers to most questions. When challenged on Greens lack of focus on environmental issues he quoted the party’s four foundation aims but later comments were on social rather than environmental issues.

When it was suggested that the Greens could and should work with any party on environmental issues he said it was “unfathomable” for the Green Party to work with National in Government.

Priyanca was asked if her being a student immigrant clashed with Labour’s clampdown on immigration which had her scrambling a bit. She mostly recited party mantra.

van Velden looked the most in the deep end, struggling quite a lot. She sometimes switched to ACT policy but had difficulty answering general questions that put her on the spot.

Phil O’Reilly on the panel discussion: “In the Green Room you could cut the ambition with a knife’.

Video: The would-be MPs

Transcript: Lisa Owen interviews new candidates