Tava leaves Greens (not his cup of tea)

In 2015 Vernon Tava stood for the Green co-leadership when Russel Norman stepped down – James Shaw won that contest.

Politik has reported that Tava has now left the Greens as he thinks they have become too socialist (which is a common view outside the Green Party).

Top Green resigns and says party has become socialist

A former top Green official .and leadership contender in 2015 has resigned from the party because he believes it has lost its way and  he is now working with National.

As for the Greens, he said he began to part ways with them because he began to doubt whether the environment was seriously at the top of their agenda.

He also began to doubt that there was any genuine will on the part of the party to work with the Government whoever they were.

That was a central theme of his campaign for the party co-leadership in 2015.

He talked about the primacy of environmental values in the party and said the party should re-focus on its core Green values.

He said the charter’s values of ecological wisdom and social responsibility were neither left nor right.

And he went on to suggest he would be happy in Government with National.

That’s something the Green Party, and especially co-leader Metiria Turei, seem staunchly against.

“Currently we say it is not enough that you care about the environment and that have a concern for ecological wisdom and social responsibility but you must also identify as left.

“And in doing that we alienate all the people who might share those values.

“Conservation, after all, can be inherently conservative.

“We leave these people out.”

He said the party needed support from across the spectrum because the problems facing the country were too urgent and too pressing.

“The Green Party should be the sustainable axis around which every government turns, he said.

I’ve voted Green in the past, and I would strongly support an environment focused Green Party that was prepared to deal with any government, no matter which party led it (that doesn’t mean I would vote for them but I would give them serious consideration).

Currently Green support growth seems to have stalled. It’s hard to see much change to that as they seem to promote socialist policies more than environmental ones, and hitch themselves to Labour only.


“I  had joined what I thought was an environmental party and I did find that on the whole, it was more of a socialist party.”

Tava says his fundamental question of the Greens was to ask how serious they were about the environment.

“Is it that we will only protect the environment when it feels good or will do what it takes to work with whoever is in Government.”

“When Russel Norman really started going after John Key, a lot of us were very unhappy about that.

“It was like we’d burned the bridge, and the party was traditionally always meant to be above the fray, and you didn’t hear Jeannette Fitzsimons or Rod Donald making personalised attacks against people.

“So there was a feeling, and a lot of founder members did express this to me.”

The focus and feel of the Green Party has certainly changed a lot since the days of Fitzsimons and Donald.

Tava is not alone in that view — postings on “The Standard” website yesterday over the Greens disappointing showing in the Mt Albert by-election make frequent reference to the party being the true left wing party.

This prompted a response from lprent, who posted National bolster their moribund blue-greens and a standard grump:

FFS: Individuals write here and have individual voices. “The Standard” is a dumb computer program that allows them to discuss their opinions to each other. Give attribution to those making comments or posts rather than to the machine.

He sort of has a point but The Standard (commenters at) often refers to ‘the media’ and named media outlets as being culprits without attribution to individual voices, it’s very common elsewhere as well to generalise about sources.

But his point loses it’s impact when you see anonymously authored hit job posts like Poor Tory Farrar – is ‘Natwatch’ a dumb computer program? Without an identifiable voice who can blame people referring to it as ‘The Standard’?

Back to the Greens, Prentice’s post and some of the comments adds some interesting points to discussions on where the Greens fit in now, who they appeal to, and whether they can break through their support ceiling with their current approach closely allied with Labour.

One late comment from ‘s y d’ is actually quite perceptive:

To summarise.

The Green Party will be stuck on 11% cos most of us are just too poor to be able to give a fuck about streams, dolphins, driftnetting, fracking, mining or the next thing to be destroyed in the ceaseless march to elysium.

Only the rich get to choose to go hiking, everyone else can get the bus, or get in their 1998 nissan sentra.

The poor, the deprived, those in poverty generally worry about their own predicaments on a day to day basis, they are likely to not much thought to the environment.

Neither are they likely to give much thought to voting, they are probably  a significant part of the ‘missing million’.

This is a bit of  Green dilemma. Are they really green, or have they become too red for voters?

A Clayton chief of staff?


Good heavens! @RMAHarman suggests in this morning’s Politik that Clayton Cosgrove is likely to become @philgoffmp’s Chief of Staff if Mayor

That’s a big Good Grief! if true. Not exactly a team of young guns.

But I can’t find it at Politik, nor anywhere else.

Premature speculation on Ohariu

The Labour-Green Memorandum of Understanding has sparked speculation about whether the parties will do deals on contesting electorates. There has been particular focus on Ohariu.

Richard Harman at Politik: Labour-Green pact could see the end of Dunne

The Labour/Green pact announced yesterday may pave the way for Greens Co-Leader James Shaw to stand against Peter Dunne in Ohariu.

If Labour didn’t stand a candidate — and Labour sources say that’s a real possibility — then, on paper, based on the last election results, Mr Dunne would lose his seat.

Te Reo Putake also considers this in Stick a Fork in Him, He’s Dunne.

I think this is premature. ‘Labour sources’ speculating does not mean the Greens are on board. In any case Shaw has done very well in Wellington Central so why doesn’t Labour consider standing Grant Robertson aside to give Shaw a clear run there?

It is also unlikely to be known until the end of this year or early next year whether Peter Dunne will even stand again in Ohariu. He is the longest standing MP in Parliament, being first elected in 1984 as a Labour MP, 32 years ago.

Even ‘on paper’ is debatable. Results from 2014 in Ohariu:

  • Dunne 13,569
  • Anderson (Labour) 12,859
  • Hudson (National) 6,120
  • Woodley (Greens) 2,764
  • Conservative (Brunner) 1,038
  • Others 466

Sure Labour+Green > Dunne but it’s not that simple.

Dunne+National+Conservative > Labour+Green by a wide margin.

It is unknown how many Green voters would switch to vote for a Labour candidate, or how many Labour voters would vote for a Green candidate.

And if Labour and Greens do a deal and only stand one candidate between them it could substantially change the view of voters.

Dunne and National get heavily criticised for ‘a jack-up’ by opponents and by some media, even though National still stand a candidate.

There was plenty of nudge-nudge, wink-wink by Labour and Greens last election.

If they went further and only stood one candidate between them it would at least even up the jack-up criticism and may swing it against them.

It would also mean that National could choose to not stand a candidate at all without fear of being ostracised if Labour and Greens have done the same.

Also it is impossible to judge the mood of the electorate in about 16 months time.

If voters warm up to a Labour-Green alliance then the parties may benefit. But current indications are that it is more likely that Labour looks lost.

And there is also a strong voter resistance to Greens getting into power. If given a virtual choice of LabourGreen voters may turn away from both parties.

Winston Peters is already milking Labour’s current weakness for all it’s worth, and it’s pretty much certain he will go for cream in response to the current Labour-Green arrangement. If the red and green machine cranks up more Peters will be like a cat given a term’s supply of cream.

Greens may decide they have to put all their efforts into at least maintaining their party vote, a further slip next would be quite demoralising for them.

Or they may decide to attack Labour’s weakness, refuse any jack-ups  and go for electorate seats.

A Labour collapse is currently looking more likely than a Labour revival. Greens won’t want NZ First to pick up all the spoils if they think the former will happen.

Amongst all this speculation on Ohariu is based on too many unknowns and looks premature. Especially if Dunne shakes his head and walks away from the current mess of New Zealand politics.

One thing I haven’t seen speculated on is the shell of the United Future party. That is an opportunity for disaffected and demoralised Labourites or a new force in politics (a Trump or Sanders?). It would be far easier to pick up an existing party than start from scratch.

If ever there was a gap in the political market for a new (or reborn) party it is now.

Ohariu is relatively minor in the scheme of things.

As the centre vote grows tired of National, gives up on Labour, continues to want to keep Greens out of Government and wants an alternative to Winston First there is a ready made opportunity.

Ohariu could be the cornerstone of an opportunity. If anyone can be bothered, politics in New Zealand is not a particularly attractive pastime at the moment.

Harman: where the Greens are being led

Richard Harman has an interesting post at Politik on WHERE JAMES SHAW IS LEADING THE GREENS.

They are still a political party that marches to a different political drum to everybody else in Parliament.

That they do often frustrates Labour whilst it gets right up the nose of New Zealand First and is largely dismissed by National as at best peripheral; at worst irrelevant.

They certainly do politics differently and all the other parties have difficulty coming to terms with their style and aims.

One thing in particular the Green Party has done very well at is changing leaders, they have always had someone top step up to gaps that are left by past leaders.

But just as the Maori Party has had to transition itself from grievance mode to Government so the Greens are realising they have to do the same if they want to have any real influence on this country’s future.

And if anybody symbolises that move it is co-leader James Shaw who won his post less than 12 months ago.

Since then the party has appointed the outgoing and highly competent Andrew Campbell as Chief of Staff and made a subtle reshaping of the party’s spokesmanships.

Now the Greens are beginning to look much more like a party that could fit comfortably into Crown limousine seats.

The Green leadership and caucus perhaps, but it will take longer for the membership to work out what is necessary to become a significantly  influential party.

It’s a constant theme; that generational change will be more sympathetic to the ideas that the Greens are trying to promote.

He believes generational change will also impact into Parliament and that we will get a more flexible approach to party alignments as politicians behave less like first past the post MPs and more like European-style proportional representation MPs.

Greens seem to be particularly attractive to two demographics, young idealists, environmental and socialist,  and middle-aged+ with a bit of hippy/alternative feel-good do-gooders.

And there’s a contrast between the well off members wanting to do good for the poor.

During the leadership road show and elections last year it was clear there was a frustration among many Greens that after 20 years they had really had little impact on Government.

Shaw acknowledges this which is why the party is busy preparing itself for Government now.

“We’re positioning ourselves to be successful in Government.

“Part of that is demonstrating that we are capable; that we have got what it takes to be in Government and part of it is the internal work that we need to do to actually ready ourselves for that.”

After 20 years being out of Government, the party really has no choice.

Yes, it’s pointless having ambitions of making a real difference in politics unless you find ways of have a real say in government.

Greens grew from a marginal party to a safely sized party (in threshold terms) as they picked up support that deserted Labour.

They have a real challenge holding or further growing support as Labour regains sufficient support to be in a strong position to form a government again.

Or they could convince their membership that a coalition with National would be a path to more power.

And National may find it easier to work with Shaw and the Greens than with Peters and NZ First.

It’s no wonder Labour is in trouble

Attention has been given to a group of people with an interest in Labour wanting to set up a ‘think tank” to broaden discussion within the party.

Another person with a close interest in Labour, Greg Presland, blogged on this asking Is this progress?

Richard Harman has blogged on Politik on proposals for a right wing third way think tank being formed in New Zealand.  The think tank is apparently to be modelled on the British Organisation Progress which is a UK based think tank associated with the Labour Party espousing a Blairite third way approach to politics.

Those linked include Stuart Nash, Josie Pagani, Nick Legget and Phil Quin.

Presland concludes:

Apart from an obvious philosophical difference the most frustrating thing for me with a Blairite third way approach is its insistence on triangulating issues.  Being a pale insipid pink is thought to be sufficient.

And the basic problem is that the issues that our world face are so huge that a slightly more benign approach is not going to solve them.  How are we going to deal with climate change for instance by making the ETS slightly more efficient?

The last attempt at formation of such a group, the infamous backbone group in the late 1980s ended in the formation of the Act Party.  Harman reported that there was a heated discussion in Caucus about the current proposal.  No doubt some MPs are keen to avoid past experiences.

That’s relatively mild disapproval of wide views and discussion.

There was some support for the idea in comments, but there was also signs an insidious problem that’s frequently on show at The Standard.

Fellow Standard author and another with a close interest in Labour, Te Reo Putake, commented:

In one way this is a good thing; we’ll be able to identify and ignore the people in the party who are the biggest problem. The downside is that it’s just one more place for the msm to go for anti-Labour stories.

It doesn’t sound like The Standard is much of a broad church. It’s parishioners piss on each other.

This is typical of Labour activists like TRP. He (and others) often identifies people he sees as a problem and tries to drive them away from The Standard.

Ironically he also comments:

The difficulty with that is that these people want to continue the failure. They are offering nothing new.

Very ironic. Then:

We’ve lost two elections since 2008 with leaders who broadly support this kind of regressive, righty thinking. We need new ideas, or at least, a return to the old ideas that work.

He sounds confused. Old ideas that may have worked. Last century sometime. And anyone who begs to differed is excommunicated.

In response to “So, Is the party a broad church or not? It does seem so if you want to do away with those who do not agree with you, Karen.”

Yep: The definition: a group, organization, or doctrine that allows for and caters to a wide range of opinions and people. The fact that the people mentioned in the post are in the LP at one end of the spectrum, and the majority of the members at the other, confirms it. Probably applies to the GP as well.

Claiming to represent “the majority of the members” – intolerant of anyone else.

And TRP had recently demonstrated his approach to people he disagrees with.

11 June 2015 at 11:58 am

[Deleted. Take a month off. TRP]

10 June 2015 at 12:36 pm

[“Falsehoods”. “Thrive for accuracy” I have no time for people who accuse me of lying, as you’ll see shortly. The post, like most here at TS, had a short shelf life. It’s prominent position was brief. It was recognised as inappropriate almost immediately. This is a multiple author site and when mistakes happen we work hard to address the issue as quickly as possible. Now piss off for a week for calling me a liar. TRP]


[Nope he was banned for abusing an author and wasting my time. Yours is for questioning the right to ban. Take a day off, felix. TRP]

Hey Putake

Would you mind telling me why the fuck you’ve deleted my comment? I don’t give a fuck about a ban, [Deleted. If you didn’t give a fuck about a ban, you’d respect it. Come back tomorrow. TRP]

With preachers like that in the Labour church preaching hell and damnation to anyone who strays from their narrow ideology it’s no wonder Labour is in trouble.

Like many people I’m an ex-Labour voter. They don’t want me back. They think they can somehow appeal to people who have never liked politics. How those disaffected voters would be attracted to the TRP doctrine of ‘agree or be shat’ on I have no idea.

Tracey Martin: Fabians and ‘co-operation for progressive government’

Interesting to see NZ First deputy leader Tracey Martin involved with this Fabian Society discussion and is speaking on “political co-operation for progressive government” along with the Green Party General Manager.

Destination: Next Progressive Majority

The Fabian Society invites all those interested to join a discussion with Sir Michael Cullen, Peter Harris, Sarah Helm, Tracey Martin MP, Richard Harman and Lyndy McIntyre at  St  Andrew’s on the Terrace, Wellington, on Sunday 10th May at 1pm. Ideas on strategy, economy, party relations, communication and organising will all be canvassed.

The Destination:Next Progressive Majority is a seminar intended for those who wish to see a change of government in 2017 to a more progressive social democratic policy agenda and ethos.


Hon Sir Michael Cullen – an overall picture of what needs to be done politically to achieve a change to progressive government

Peter Harris – fiscal and economic policy for a progressive government

Sarah Helm/Tracey Martin MP – political co-operation for progressive government

Richard Harman – political communication in the 21st century

Lyndy McIntyre – community organisation for political change

Our MC will be Sandra Grey. The Fabians will be represented by Mike Smith.

Mike Smith is a former General Secretary of the Labour Party, since then has been employed as an advise to Labour leaders and is a trustee of The Standard blog.


  • Sir Michael Cullen was Labour Deputy Prime Minister from 1999-2008. 
  • Peter Harris is an economic consultant and director who has worked in unions and government. 
  • Sarah Helm is the General Manager of the Green Party. 
  • Tracey Martin MP is the Deputy Leader of NZ First. 
  • Richard Harman has had an extensive TV career in political reporting and comment and currently produces Politik. 
  • Lyndy McIntyre organises for the Living Wage campaign.

– source: http://thestandard.org.nz/destination-next-progressive-majority-2/

I wonder how Winston Peters would fit in here.