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.