Wrong data analysis of ‘teal vote’ support for the Greens

*/With the possibility of a Blue-Green party being raised again questions are being asked about whether there might be  enough voter support for another environmental party.

However the wrong questions are being asked – of ‘current Green voters’, and those who voted Green last election. They strongly prefer red over blue, or Labour over National.

Stuff: ‘Teal’ vote within Green Party minuscule, data suggests

Data suggests the supposed “teal” section of National-leaning Green voters is tiny.

But data from the New Zealand Election Study, a long-running scientific analysis of voter behaviour, suggests the overwhelming majority of current Green voters lean left.

The study consists of a survey of 3445 respondents following the election, who are asked a huge variety of questions. Their votes are validated and the results weighted to the wider voting public.

Fully 84.42 per cent of those who party voted Green said they would prefer Labour to lead the Government. Just under a tenth (8.47 per cent) picked National while 5.02 per cent said they didn’t know and 2.09 per cent said they didn’t want either party to lead.

Furthermore, these voters overwhelmingly rated themselves as left-of-centre politically – far more than Labour voters did.

Roughly three quarters (74.63 per cent) of Green voters rated themselves as left-of-centre on a ten point scale. Another fifth (20.1 per cent) either “didn’t know” or put themselves in the centre. Just 5.26 per cent rated themselves as right of centre.

This compared to just over half (50.58 per cent) of Labour voters who rated themselves as left-of-centre.

But there were only 6.27% of voters who chose Greens in the 2017 election. This was well down on the 10.7% who voted green in 2014, and much lower than up to 15% they were getting in polls two years ago. That’s a lot of potential voters who could consider an alternative environmental party.

There could easily be voters who chose National, Labour or NZ First last election. Or people who didn’t vote because they didn’t like any of the parties on offer.

The best way of determining possible levels of Blue-green party support is to poll everyone and ask them, and not limiting the data analysis to dedicated Green party voters.

And the only way of knowing for sure is to stand in the next election, and see what all voters indicate their preference.

‘Preliminary discussions’ on Blue-Green party

National’s lack of partner parties is a real problem for them under MMP. They either have to take a punt that they can become a single party government, something that has never been allowed by voters under MMP. Or they can hope that a new party starts up that can either be anchored by an electorate MP, or can get 5% (also something never achieved by a new party under MMP).

There has been talk of a more business friendly environmental party for years. The Green Party has often been criticised for it’s fairly extreme social stances, and this limits it’s support from b=voters who want a strong environmental voice in Parliament. Co-leaders like Metiria Turei and Marama Davidson are well supported on the left, but deter more moderately minded environmentalist leaning voters.

Lucy Bennett reports that Blue-Greens movement could be National’s answer to toppling Ardern

Talk of a new centrist green political party which could potentially partner with National in a future government coalition is starting to become more than just speculation.

It is understood preliminary discussions among interested parties have already been held on creating a party that combines economic and environmental credentials, filling a demand not already taken up by existing political parties.

It is also understood former Green Party leadership contender and one-time National candidate hopeful Vernon Tava is the front-runner to lead the party.

James Shaw probably wouldn’t be out of place in a Blue-Green party but I doubt that he would jump the Green ship – unless a Blue-Green startup looked like cannibalising Green party support to the extent that they were at risk of missing the 5% cut?

Tava told the Herald on Sunday a party that had the environment at its heart was missing from the political landscape and it was a great idea. He would consider leading such a party.

“It’s certainly something I would take seriously,” he said.

“I’ve always said it’s a great idea and what we need.”

Despite his Green Party origins, Tava has close links to National Party figures and was campaign chair for National MP Erica Stanford, who holds Murray McCully’s old seat of East Coast Bays.

There has been talk for some time about the possibility of other small parties to bolster National, but National will want to ensure any such party does not carve into its own vote.

National leader Simon Bridges said it was no secret National wanted to see new parties emerge this year.

“What would be most pleasing to see is parties that are additional to National’s support base. Not just for the National Party, but for the public, a genuine green party and an indigenous Māori movement are two reasonably likely scenarios this year,” he said.

Of course National would love to see partner party options for them. But would a Blue-Green party help National take over power from Labour?

I’d certainly be interested in some sort of Blue-Green party. I have voted Greens in the past but have concerns over their strong social/socialist stances. I have concerns about how far left a Labour-Green coalition might go.

But I would be most likely to support a Blue-Green party that was independent and would be willing to partner either National or Labour (or Labour-Greens).

If a Blue-Green party looked to be largely a National puppet party I would be disappointed and I think many other potential supporters would be too. I doubt that it would succeed. If National jacked up an electorate for a Blue-Green party I suspect that wouldn’t go down well with many voters.

I could easily get enthusiastic about genuine independent Blue-Green party as long as it would sit in the middle-ish and drive the best deal it could get out of any other parties who were voted into Parliament.

 

 

Ex-Green Tava on Turei

Vernon Tava stood for Green co-leadership in 2015 when Russel Norman stood down from Green co-leadership and resigned from Parliament. The position was won by James Shaw.

In February this year Tava resigned from 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 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.

Metiria Turei strongly opposes supporting a National led government returning.

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

But he didn’t win the leadership, and he watched as the party signed its Memorandum of Understanding with Labour, and that was enough.

“When I stood for co-leader one of the great things about that was that we travelled around the country and I was contacted by a lot of the older, founder members who thought it was no longer the party of Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald.

Greens tend to claim that the environment and social issues are inextricably linked and you can’t promote one without the other.

Tava disagrees, and has come out and said Metiria Turei’s attitude proves the Greens aren’t 100 percent pure:

We are now entering the third week of Metiria Turei’s welfare fraud scandal with less than eight weeks until the election, and it is still a story.

Labour have distanced themselves, understandably concerned that her stance is anathema to the political centre; her welfare policy announcement has been eclipsed, and it seems that she has done irreparable damage to both her personal integrity and the Green brand.

Turei’s lack of contrition is irksome. Her evasion of any sense of personal responsibility in saying that the Government “made me poor and it made me lie” have infuriated both law-abiding beneficiaries and those of us who get up and go to work each day.

While there is probably wide sympathy for the difficulties faced by beneficiaries who struggle financially, there are probably many people who are troubled by Turei’s no fault, no blame attitude to rorting the system.

Saying, as Turei does, that the solution to poverty is “simply to give them more money”, without conditions or obligations to seek work, and that fraud is an acceptable means of obtaining whatever money one feels they need, makes a very poor case for redistributive justice through taxation and does little to end dependency.

More money and less punitive conditions for beneficiaries is a very worthy issue to campaign for, but Turei and her supporters seem to fail to see that there are potential with a no questions asked taxpayer handouts alongside approving of fraud if you think your need warrants it, on a moral basis, and on a state dependency basis.

The cost is another factor not thought through – if being a beneficiary provided a comfortable income and a comfortable home with no requirement to work or to be honest then the number of people wanting a free lunch as well as a free breakfast, tea and everything else they felt they ‘deserved’ could surge.

Lawmakers cannot credibly advocate breaking the law. Turei has been in Parliament since 2002 and seeks the position of Minister of Social Development, but has been unable to answer questions about how she could pursue prosecutions against those who would defraud even the more generous entitlements she advocates.

Politicians from other parties, including Andrew little and Jacinda Ardern, have said that MPs cannot condone breaking the law.

Turei’s defenders wax lyrical about the “privilege” of her critics. Ironically, she is indulging in another, more insidious, form of privilege in inciting fraud and attempting to argue some kind of moral justification. Others who follow her example will not be able to evade the consequences that someone on her considerable taxpayer-funded income is able to.

This is deeply irresponsible. Benefit fraud is not civil disobedience, nor is it a noble protest against a supposedly unjust system. It is cheating.

There is another privilege being pushed – the privilege of being something other than white and male. It has become common to see the opinions of white males being rubbished and discounted on Twitter.

It seems that benefit fraud is acceptable to Turei and her supporters as long as you are female, brown and have children.

The tension between being a protesters’ collective or a parliamentary party has always been an issue for the Greens, but Turei has gone a lot further than merely admitting legal wrong-doing – she has condoned it.

Metiria Turei may have secured a hard-left segment of the Green base and appealed to demographics who tend not to turn out on election day, but it will be at the cost of a far larger group of voters disappointed to discover the party that earlier this year claimed that “honest politics is what we stand for” is not 100 percent pure after all.

What Turei seems to want looks like 100% pure socialism. I’m not sure whether all her supporters see that.

But Tava looks male and looks white-ish so his views may mean 0% to the Green Party he has left. Same as mine.

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.

Tava:

“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?

Kevin Hague favourite for Green leadership

It’s not surprising to see it reported that Kevin Hague is the frontrunner in the Green co-leadership race, ahead of James Shaw. I would have been surprised if either of the other two, Gareth Hughes and Vernon Tava, were seriously contesting.

Radio NZ reports Two-horse race for Green Party leadership.

With two weeks till the votes are counted, initial reports put experienced MP Kevin Hague out in front alongside the party’s newest MP James Shaw.

Mr Hague, Mr Shaw and fellow MP Gareth Hughes, as well as Green Party member Vernon Tava, are standing to be the Greens’ male co-leader following the resignation of Russel Norman.

This is probably a bit soon for Shaw, having only just become an MP last year. Tava was always going to be an outsider from outside Parliament.

I think either Hague or Shaw would be a good bet for the Greens.

Mr Hughes said it showed the strength in the Green Party that all four could potentially lead the party.

Anyone could potentially lead the party. Some would be better than others.

I’ll be cheeky and quote alongside that:

Metiria Turei is the sole nomination to be re-elected as female co-leader.

Does that show a weakness on the female side of the Green Party? Maybe, maybe not, incumbents often go unchallenged.

It could be difficult for the new male co-leader not to be overshadowed by Turei. Hague is probably the one who could match and balance her best.

So Hague is my favourite to get the nod, but the Greens sometimes have funny ways of thinking.

Green leadership contenders

There’s been no more nominations for the male co-leader position vacated by Russel Norman so there will four contenders:

  • Kevin Hague
  • Gareth Hughes
  • James Shaw
  • Vernon Tava

I think the leading contenders will be Hague – experienced and reliable – versus a contrasting new hope for the future, James Shaw.

My pick is the safer option, Hague. Shaw’s time will come – he had initially said he wouldn’t stand this time due to only being an MP for a few months but changed his mind.

Tava has some interesting ideas but with no chance of being an MP for the next two and a half years, and has said he doesn’t know if he will stand for the Green list in 2017, so I don’t think he has much chance.

Hughes may appeal to some Greens with his ‘do what members choose’ approach but his reliance on ‘hey Clint; guidance must count against him, ultimately people like leaders who are prepared to lead.

There’s been just one nomination for the female co-leader position. Metiria Turei has tweeted:

Whew! Reckon my chances are pretty good…

But she points out there’s still a vote:

Yep.  We have a no confidance option for delegates who dont want to vote for me (or any candidate)

I don’t know if the vote is made public but I’d expect Greens to avoid controversy over Turei being elected without a solid endorsement.

The voting will be done at the Green AGM on 30 May so that’s another 6 weeks in leadership limbo with Norman phasing out.

And Turei has had a low profile over the last month, maybe contemplating her own future, maybe not wanting to dominate the leadership as Norman fades away.

Green leadership contenders on spying

The Nation had a panel discussion with the four Green male co-leader contenders (note that there could, nominations don’t close for another month).

They were asked about the GCSB and spying.

Vernon Tava: “extremely carefully circumscribed”, “far, far stronger oversight”, “treated very, very carefully”, “extremely tight rein”.

James Shaw: “rules around it have to be very clear”, “ transparent oversight”. He seems to contradict himself with “I think the thing that we’ve had in the last few years that people have become increasingly worried about is this idea that everyone is being spied on” but “I think there’s sort of an expectation in our society that that’s OK”.

Gareth Hughes: “I support NZ having domestic intelligence abilities with appropriate oversight and transparency, but we should not be spying on other countries”, “I think we should have a GCSB with appropriate oversight, and I think they should be supporting our companies to prepare themselves against cyber-attack intrusions”.

Kevin Hague: “I definitely would bail out of Five Eyes, and I would shut down the GCSB. I think, uh, that isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for surveillance, provided that there is a reasonable cause and that is independently verified. Um, and I think Gareth’s right that it could be the police that actually carries out that function.”

No GCSB, no foreign surveillance or intelligence seems to be a very naive position to have. It’s not likely to happen with both National and Labour seeing the need for the GCSB.

Greens complained that they don’t have a member on the Security and Intelligence Committee but if they oppose the GCSB and any foreign surveillance or intelligence gathering perhaps their exclusion shouldn’t be surprising.

3 News Transcript:

Is there a place for spying in our society? Vernon?

Tava: It needs to be extremely carefully circumscribed. There are people— you know, we’re seeing with the 1080 threat. You know, we’re seeing there are people who want to do malevolent things. But we need far, far stronger oversight and far less politically oriented oversight than we’re seeing now. It needs to be treated very, very carefully.

So it’s OK to spy as long as you keep a tight rein on it?

Tava: Extremely tight rein.

James?

Shaw: Yeah, I agree. I mean, I think the rules around it have to be very clear. There has to be transparent oversight. People need to understand what we’re doing. I think the thing that we’ve had in the last few years that people have become increasingly worried about is this idea that everyone is being spied on. You know, countries have spied on each other from time immemorial. Uh, for, you know, trade deals. Uh, you know, wars. All that kind of thing. I think there’s sort of an expectation in our society that that’s OK. I don’t think that there’s an expectation that it is okay to spy on everybody.

So, Gareth, is it OK to spy on people?

Hughes: I support the police having intelligence-gathering, uh, abilities with appropriate oversight. When it comes to the Five Eyes network, you know, I’m a dad. I teach my kids to do what’s right. Spying on our friends and allies. Spying on our major trading partner, that’s not right.

So leave Five Eyes and shut down the GCSB?

Hughes: I believe NZ should get out of the Five Eyes network. I don’t believe it’s in our economic interest. I don’t believe it is the right thing to do. I support NZ having domestic intelligence abilities with appropriate oversight and transparency, but we should not be spying on other countries.

But you name-checked the police, then. You said it’s OK for the police. What about the GCSB? Yes or no?

Hughes: I think we should have a GCSB with appropriate oversight, and I think they should be supporting our companies to prepare themselves against cyber-attack intrusions.

So, Kevin, bail out of Five Eyes as Gareth says?

Hague: Yeah, I definitely would bail out of Five Eyes, and I would shut down the GCSB. I think, uh, that isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for surveillance, provided that there is a reasonable cause and that is independently verified. Um, and I think Gareth’s right that it could be the police that actually carries out that function.

But are you aware what damage that would do to us to bail out of that agreement?

Hague: I don’t see any damage. What are you thinking of?

Economic damage with our trading partners.

Hague: Yeah, I don’t believe it would result.

Hughes: How do you think our major trading partner, China, feels about us gathering their data? How do you think our allies and friends in the Pacific feel about it? Now, two decades ago, NZ stood up for an independent foreign policy. What we see now is we’re part of this—

Well, in the Pacific, a lot of the island nations have said they are not bothered by it. They accept it.

Hughes: And, to be frank, they’re in a different power situation vis-a-vis NZ. I don’t think they want, seriously, us to be surveilling and scooping up all of their communications.

Green financial n…n…nou…nous…nah

The four Greens who have put themselves forward to replace Russel Norman as co-leader have a bit of homework to do if they want to get up to speed financially.

They were interviewed on The Nation this morning and 3 News reports  Green candidates fumble financial questioning.

Three of the four candidates for the Green Party leadership have failed to answer general knowledge financial questions.

Co-leader Russel Norman, renowned for giving the environmentally-focused party financial credibility, is resigning his leadership.

Green Party MPs James Shaw, Gareth Hughes and Kevin Hague, as well as party co-convenor Vernon Tava, have thrown their hats in the ring.

And financial hats are not their strength.

Mr Hughes thought the inflation rate was around two percent. It’s 0.8.

Mr Hague thought economic growth in the last year was 0.25 percent. It’s 2.9.

Mr Tava thought the Official Cash Rate was 7.8 percent. It’s 3.5.

“That’s the sort of data I could just look up on my phone right now,” Mr Tava said in his defence.

It’s very hard to be on top of all things in politics but these are fairly basic financial questions.

Perhaps whichever of them becomes co-leader will hand over financial responsibility to Metiria Turei.

Fourth candidate may be lining up for Green leadership

Stuff reports that there may be a fourth contender to replace Russel Norman as male Green co-leader. They say that it’s likley that rookie MP James Shaw is set to announce he’s putting himself forward after earlier saying it would be very unlikely due to his inexperience as a new term MP.

Three others have already announced they will contest the leadership, MPs Kevin Hague and Gareth Hughes and 3 News reported:

, a Green Party co-convenor in Auckland, is reported to be throwing his hat in the ring to be the party’s new male co-leader.

Mr Tava has decided to stand for the leadership.

He is a Waitemata Local Board member and is deputy chair of the board’s finance committee as well as being involved in work on parks and open spaces, and heritage, urban design and planning

Tava is not on the Green list so can’t get into Parliament this term.

Norman was elected co-leader while outside Parliament but came in via the list when one MP resigned and the next two on the Green list stood aside.

Hague will still probably be the front runner but Shaw has been talked of as a future leader.

After the last two Green leader selections (Norman and Turei)  losing contenders resigned as MPs – Nandor Tanczos.and Sue Bradford. I think that’s less likely this time.