Turei slams NZ First in child protection

Green co-leader Metiria Turei has strongly criticised NZ First for proposing a referendum on the ‘anti-smacking’ law.

Winston Peters brought this up in a speech in March – see Who wants to re-visit the ‘anti-smacking’ law? – but it resurfaced on Q+A yesterday, where NZ First MP Tracey Martin was interviewed along with Sue Bradford.

10 years on from the so called “anti-smacking” law – NZ First calls for a binding referendum

NZ First MP Tracey Martin told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that the law change has had a “chilling effect” on NZ parents including herself.

“Well, we’ve always argued, for 25 years, around binding a referenda on issues like this, where our citizens need to speak. We have a representative democracy. 113 temporarily empowered politicians decided this for all the parents of New Zealand. The parents of New Zealand need to be able to speak on it,” said Mrs Martin.

“I remember me being a parent when this bill went through, and I felt that the language that was being used, the politicians that were telling me that if I lightly smacked my child, I was then committing abuse. I found that personally offensive. It had a chilling effect on my parenting. And I believe other parents out there feel the same,” she said.

However, Former Green Party MP and the architect behind the law changes Sue Bradford disagrees.

“For New Zealand First to want us to go backwards on something that’s so important for our babies, children and young people, I just find incredible.”

“From the point of view of protecting our children and babies and saying actually our young kids should have the right to grow up without violence,” says Mrs Bradford.

Turei responded: NZ First putting politics before child protection

NZ First has chosen to put political game playing ahead of the safety of children by proposing a referendum on the ten year old amendments to the Crimes Act.

NZ First MP Tracy Martin said on Q&A this morning that her Party wants to hold a binding referendum to repeal the 2007 amendment to section 59 of the Crimes Act.

“I think it’s appalling that NZ First is willing to remove a basic protection for our kids in the hope it’ll buy them a few votes in election year,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“This law change simply removed a legal loophole that had allowed people who assaulted children to escape charges by claiming it was ‘parental correction’.

“Parents aren’t being prosecuted for lightly smacking their children. NZ First is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

“It’s sad that a political party would choose to use its resources to campaign on removing child protections rather than finding solutions to child abuse,” said Ms Turei.

But it’s election year and populist vote pandering seems to take precedent over protection of children from violence.


Shaw could work with Peters with gritted teeth

James Shaw has said he would prefer not to have to work with Winston Peters, but would if it meant changing the Government (getting National out of power).

This suggests he sees a NZ First dictated coalition as better for the country than the current Government.

It also implies that he thinks a Labour+Green+NZ First collation would do better for Green policy preferences than National+Green

Newshub: ‘If I have to’ – Greens co-leader James Shaw on working with Winston Peters

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says he’ll work with Winston Peters if that’s what it takes to change the Government.

“If you look at the trends in the polls… it’s about level pegging,” says Mr Shaw. “This is a very close election.”

“I can [work with Mr Peters] if I have to. Ultimately, it wouldn’t be my first choice.”

It may be the Greens only choice if they refuse to work with National.

Last year Mr Shaw and his co-leader Metiria Turei were split on whether working with the National Party was a possibility – Mr Shaw open to it, and Ms Turei “100 percent” against it.

It is claimed that Green Party members, who theoretically at least would make any decision on who they would and wouldn’t go into coalition with, are strongly against working with National.

On current polling Labour+Greens are nowhere near getting a majority, and Labour has gone backwards in the latest Newshub poll to 26%. Greens didn’t pick up all Labour’s shed support, they were on 12.5% but combined that is less than 40%.

NZ First rose more to 9.4% and may challenge Greens for the third party spot. They may have no choice than to go with NZ First and Labour.

If that happens it won’t only be Shaw with gritted teeth.

In an interview with The Spinoff in March, Ms Turei said despite Mr Peters being “annoying as hell” and holding “racist views”, she admired him for his tenacity and the advice he’s given her over the years.

Shane Jones looks set to join NZ First and seems to have more rancid racist views – see Jones signals a rancid approach.

Greens claim to be much better than this, but Shaw suggests they would join with it anyway, ironically to oust National who have more open immigration policies than Labour and especially NZ First.

Who needs principles when you want power?

Turei clarifies NZ First preferences

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

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

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


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

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

Greens fail MMP basics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greens – 2017 list

The Greens have revealed their final party list that they will go into the 2017 election with.

Green Party unveils strongest ever candidate list

The Green Party is excited to today reveal its final candidate list for the upcoming election, with a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent set to take the party into government.

The final list was voted on by Green Party members, after a draft list was created by candidates and party delegates in April.

“I am confident this exceptional group of people will take us to our best ever election result and into government in September,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“We will be continuing our work on the big issues New Zealanders care deeply about – our people, our environment and our planet – and we will take that work into government.

“This list reflects the progress the Green Party has made in the 27 years since our inception. We are bigger, bolder and more diverse than we’ve ever been. We have supporters in every neighbourhood, town and city in Aotearoa New Zealand, and a candidate in most areas.

“I am thrilled that there will be highly skilled Green Party representatives in the next government and Parliament, who are experts in their given fields.

“Our returning MPs are joined in the top 20 candidates by new Māori and Pasifika candidates, a human rights lawyer and refugee, indigenous rights activists, climate change campaigners, business people, a farmer, a former diplomat, and a TV presenter.

“This list truly reflects 21st century Aotearoa New Zealand. Chloe Swarbrick will become New Zealand’s youngest MP in 42 years. In Jack McDonald we have one of Te Ao Māori’s leading young voices, Pasifika candidate Teanau Tuiono is a noted activist and expert on climate change, and human rights lawyer Golriz Gharhraman will become Parliament’s first MP who came to New Zealand as a refugee.

“The Green team will go into this critically important election united and determined.

“We will be a force to be reckoned with this election and in the next Parliament,” said Mr Shaw.

 Green Party list:

  1. TUREI, Metiria
  2. SHAW, James
  3. DAVIDSON, Marama
  4. GENTER, Julie Anne
  5. SAGE, Eugenie
  6. HUGHES, Gareth
  7. LOGIE, Jan
  8. GRAHAM, Kennedy
  9. SWARBRICK, Chloe
  10. GHAHRAMAN, Golriz
  11. MATHERS, Mojo
  12. COATES, Barry
  13. MCDONALD, Jack
  14. HART, John
  15. ROCHE, Denise
  16. CLENDON, David
  17. HOLT, Hayley
  18. CROSSEN, Teall
  19. TUIONO, Teanau
  20. TAMU, Leilani

There are currently 14 Green MPs. They will be hoping to do better than that this election.

They have promoted younger mainly female candidates. They presumably want to retain the support of those who voted Green last election and grow the young female vote, and maybe the young male vote as well to increase their overall party vote.

However most people are barely aware of party lists so a lot will still depend on the pulling power of leaders Metiria Turei and James Shaw.

‘A budget for all mothers’

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

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

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

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

Our Budget for all Mothers will help by:

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

Not means tested.

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

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

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

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

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

More information

How Green is this PR?

When I saw this headline I thought it was relevant to a post I wanted to do:  How PR ‘completely transformed’ New Zealand politics: Metiria Turei, Green Party co-leader

But it was another sort of PR – proportional representation. The post was by the UK Electoral Reform Society.

What I wanted to write about was this ‘Public Relations’ exercise by the Greens:


That image is very young female dominant.

Remember Jeannette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald? The current crop of Greens seem to have forgotten about the past.

The Greens are obviously trying to repackage themselves and attract more voters.

The target of this PR is not the hippy greens, nor the impoverished people the Greens say the represent, nor the Maori that Metiria Turei had seemed keen on targeting not long ago.

This is certainly a new Green image, without much green showing at all, in colour and in character.

It’s a curious combination of personal. The only ones on the North & South cover who are current MPs are co-leaders Turei and James Shaw, neither of whom look like they would be at home in a garden.

The others are all candidates for this year’s election.

Only one of them, John Hart, has stood for the Greens before. He was 18 on their list last election, and has climbed to 12 on their ‘initial list’ announced last week. If he remains around that position on their final list (after members vote on it) he stands a very good chance of becoming an MP. It doesn’t look it in the cover photo but he’s a farmer.

Next is Chloe Swarbrick, placed at 13 on the initial list so a god chance of success. She is young (22) and was given a lot of publicity by media in the Auckland mayoral contest last year, and more since then. She chose Greens to advance her political career, but she’s a young urban whose green credentials aren’t clear.

Then there’s Golriz Ghahraman, at 15 on the initial list in the maybe zone. They currently have 14 MPs and will either have to increase their vote or Ghahraman will have to improve her position on the final list. She has impressive credentials – Barrister, United Nations Consultant (International Human Rights Law, Justice), United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime – but is far from a typical Green.

And there is Hayley Holt, she has pretty much no show from 29 on the initial list (the Greens only show the Top 20 Green Party Candidates on their candidate photo page. She is “snowboarder and ballroom dancer notable for her appearances on several reality television series”. gain not a very typical greenie.

I presume the Greens have done their research and are targeting the trendy urban celebrity (mainly Auckland) voter types.

But they risk losing traditional green support.

Possibly more importantly, they may find that the fluid Green support, those who like a strong environmental voice in Parliament (I’ve voted Green on that basis in the days of Donald and Fitzsimons), may not like what they see in the New Green look.



…is barely green.

I barely recognised James Shaw on the cover, and didn’t recognise John Hart. This is his Green candidate photo:


Maybe the typical North & South readers don’t like the typical Green look. (I think Hart would be a good MP).

Remember how Greens used to look?


The Spinoff – Turei and Shaw

An interesting interview of Green leader Metiria Turei and James Shaw at The Spinoff by Toby Manhire –  The art of the deal: The Spinoff meets the Green leaders

A follow up post looks at key aspects of it – Greens ready to govern with Winston Peters despite his ‘racist views’ – Metiria Turei

That headline raises some of the key questions of this year’s election – can Labour form a coalition with both Greens and NZ First? And what would that end up looking like in the way of priority policies?

With less than six months to a general election, the leaders of the Green Party have insisted they are ready to deal not just with their memorandum-of-understanding partners the Labour Party, but also Winston Peters’ NZ First Party, if that’s what it takes to make it to government.

In an interview for the Spinoff alongside co-leader James Shaw, part of a special series of wide-ranging election-year conversations with party leaders, Metiria Turei said the Greens and NZ First were slowly moving towards friendlier relations, and that his “racist views” were no deal-breaker.

“Oh, I really like him,” Turei told the Spinoff.

“He’s annoying as hell and all those things. But he’s given me really good political advice in the past. And you’ve just got to admire his tenacity, actually. I admire his tenacity, his staying put. For a Māori man in New Zealand politics, he’s been there for a really long time, and I don’t agree with him on lots of stuff, I’ve had huge arguments with him in public about his more racist views … but those are his views and that’s our political disagreement.”

There are some interesting views and impressions in the interview. Both Shaw and Turei come across as determined to get into Government – sort of – but don’t exude confidence that it will happen.

And can Greens shape up as a Government partner and deal with other countries? Russel Norman made a name for himself protesting at a Chinese visit to New Zealand.

While the Greens were ready to compromise in joining a government, said Turei, that did not extend to opening arms to a hypothetical visit by Donald Trump.

“We would not welcome him,” said Turei.

“What we would do in response to his visit I just can’t say, but we certainly would not welcome him, and his misogyny and his racism.”

In coalition relations you have to be able to deal with people who’s perceived behaviour runs contrary to your principles – like Winston Peters.

An interesting question that may not be answered before the election – which countries and leaders would a Green (and Labour and maybe NZ First) government not welcome to New Zealand or not actively engage with on trade and international relationships?

The Alternative Maori Party?

The Green Party used to be known as an alternative party promoting environmental betterment and social goodness.

Under Metiria Turei’s leadership it is putting a lot more emphasis on Maori things.

Yesterday on Facebook:

Top of the billing is the Treaty of Waitangi, something not mentioned by Andrew Little at all in his ‘state of the nation’ speech last week.

In the past Turei and the Greens have only used electorate contests to push hard for the all important party vote, but their are signs of that changing, with Julie Anne Genter having a testing the waters in the Mt Albert by-election, and Chloe Swarbrick challenging to contest Auckland Central saying she wants to win an electorate.

Turei is switching from a quite un-Maori electorate, Dunedin North (where she has been very successful at growing Green support), to the Te Tai Tonga electorate.

I suspect that given her increasing emphasis on Maori she fancies winning a Maori seat.

Are the Greens morphing into an alternative Maori Party?

Labour seems to think it deserves Maori votes due to historical electoral habits, but the Maori vote looks like being hotly contested with five parties with the Maori Party, Mana, Greens and Labour all competing for traditional Maori votes, plus  Winston Peters and Shane Jones looking like going hard out in Northland as well.

Maori 0f Little importance?

When Andrew Little went to Ratana last week he emphasised how important Ratana and Maori issues were to the Labour Party.

RNZ: Andrew Little joins us ahead of Ratana today

Andrew Little says it’s ridiculous to say Labour has lost the support of Ratana and wider Maori voters, and he is confident in the long-standing relationship.

Transcript from the audio:

The relationship we already have is a strong one where we are talking about what’s good, not just for the Ratana people, the Morehu, but what’s good for all Maori, and what’s good for all New Zealand. That’s what Ratana stands for, what T W Ratana championed eighty ninety years ago.

We are in that discussion with Ratana all the time. It’s not just a kind of one-off what somebody says on the 24th or 25th of January.

Sounds good.

So what did Little have to say about what’s good for Ratana morehu and what’s good for Maori in his next big political outing, which was just a few days later on 29th January at the join Labour-Green ‘state of the nation’ event?


He seemed to thing Bill English was important, mentioning him five times. But he didn’t mention Ratana, he didn’t mention Maori, and he didn’t mention the Treaty of Waitangi once.

His speech began:

Welcome to this historic day – the day when we start this important year, united in our resolve to change the government.

We are driven by one simple premise: That we can make this great country a better place for all New Zealanders.

Maori are included in “all New Zealanders”, but there is no specific mention of Maori issues. He mentioned Waitangi once, but that was just in a diss of English.

Metiria Turei spoke before Little and began:

Me aro koe ki te ha o Hineahuone.Mai te timatanga, ko Papatuanuku te whaea whenua, ko Hineahuone te ira tangata tuatahi, he wahine.

Tihei Mauriora!

She mentioned wahine five times, Aotearoa four times, and said “Our Green values of upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi” and “We will uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi”.

In contrast if Maori are important to Little and Labour it wasn’t obvious from his ‘state of the union’ speech.