Is a vote for Greens a vote for Labour?

An often asked question gets an airing on Reddit: For undecided left voters, Is it really going to matter whether people vote for the Greens or for Labour? Do Labour need all the help they can get, or is a vote for either a vote for the same team?

The vote on the right is pretty clear cut for people. National suits most right of centre voters, and if your opinions are a little more fringe then you’ve got Act.

The vote on the left has become a lot less centralised in Labour. I think it’s a smart move that the Greens and Labour are working together to change the government this election, but I imagine it could be a little confusing for undecided voters.

Some responses:


There are two things in play for me with that vote decision, assuming Labour are actually able to form a government following the election and thus start enacting legislation. Firstly, and obviously, the more votes the Greens get, the more of their policy proposals will get the time of day because there’s a world of difference between a party bringing 6 seats and a party bringing 20, so the more you like Green policy, the more likely you should be to vote Green.


On the other hand, if Winston says he’ll go with whichever major party gets the highest party vote (like he did in 2005), a vote for the Greens might undermine Labour’s chances and send NZF into bed with National.

A quite different scenario from SirNippleClamp:

In a perfect world I’d love Labour-Greens to form government with the support of National as a silent partner that votes on confidence and supply; send a message to NZ First voters that they’ll never have a say in government so they might as well stop wasting their time voting for the asshole aka Winston Peters in the first place.

Would national consider anything like that? Labour+Greens would need to get more vote than National for a start, and then National would need to agree.

Would Labour as ‘a silent partner’ for National. Greens have suggested they wouldn’t.


If you want to thwart NZ First then vote TOP. That would give National another option for a coalition, but at the same time not diminish the Left because if Labour + Greens do get enough votes then TOP will happily partner with them.


Depends on who wins the majority vote. If the Greens go into Parliament on 30% and Labour only hits 24%, then the Greens take the Prime Minister’s office and Labour might get the Deputy.

I’m voting Greens because I don’t like the way Labour’s been talking about stuff like immigration lately. Either vote is a vote for the same political bloc, but one for Greens is tipping the balance slightly more to the left, which I think results in a better New Zealand.

And if wakes up Labour and causes them to reevaluate how they’re going to campaign, then that’s a bonus, and maybe they get me back in 2020.


I’m thinking of voting for the Maori Party to reduce the chance that New Zealand First will be part of the government while still keeping the chance of a Labour-led government alive should the election result be very different from the polls.


For undecided left voters… do we even have a choice? Labour and Greens are both solidly centrist these days. Where is the real alternative? At least last time I thought I could count on Hone keeping his seat and so voted Mana… nothing for me this time.

A range of views there, showing that there are a range of possibilities.

A vote for Greens is effectively a vote for a Labour led Government, but the balance of power between Labour and the Greens is also important, especially to the parties.

So if you want a Labour-Green government it makes sense to vote for which of the two parties you want to increase their balance of power.

Labour on 40% and Greens on 10% would be a much different power ratio to Labour on 30% and Greens on 20%.

Dunne to support Genter’s medicinal cannabis bill

When Green MP Julie Anne Genter’s medicinal cannabis bill was drawn from the Member’s ballot Peter Dunne said he would decide on whether he would support it or not when it cam time to vote on it at it’s first reading in Parliament.

Dunne said he had major reservations about the bill and it was unworkable.

However Dunne has now said he will support the bill at it’s first reading when he was taking part in a panel discussion  at the Drug Symposium.

RNZ: Peter Dunne to back first reading of medicinal cannabis bill

Today Mr Dunne said he’d been talking to Julie Anne Genter and he will vote in support of the bill in it’s first reading.

“There are a lot of things in the bill that would need to be changed before it could proceed further, but I think it’s a useful discussion to have, and to see where the Select Committee gets to”.

Getting Dunne onside at least for the first reading is a success for Genter, but the bill will still requite support from NZ First or from at least a chunk of National if they are allowed a conscience vote.

At the symposium MPs from the ACT, Maori, Green and Labour parties said they would all support the bill, but more votes from wither NZ First or National would be needed.

National MP Chris Bishop said his party hasn’t made it’s mind up yet.

“It’s one of those issues where we do want to have a good discussion about it as a Caucus. We may decide to have it as a conscience vote where MPs can vote individually. We may also decide to have it as a party vote where the National Party takes a party position.

Polls show there is strong public support for changes to cannabis and drug law, especially related to medicinal cannabis.

It would be a travesty of democracy if Parliament didn’t allow this bill to at least progress past the first reading.


Greens, NZ First back budget tax plan

Labour has voted against the budget tax plan, but their supposed partner Greens along with NZ First have backed it.

Stuff: Labour and Greens split over Budget tax cuts despite joint ‘fiscal responsibility’ deal

The Budget tax cut plan has split the Opposition, with Labour voting against the changes and the Greens and NZ First voting in favour.

From April 2018, the moves, which lift the bottom two tax thresholds, will give $10.70 a week to those earning more than $22,000, and $20.38 to those on more than $52,000 a year.

But the simultaneous axing of a $10 a week credit for low earners with no dependents means some will only be better off by only $1 a week – leading Labour leader Andrew Little to dub it the “dollar Bill Budget”.

Speaking after a Grant Thornton post-Budget breakfast in Wellington, he said the Greens, who were voting in favour of the tax threshold changes, were an independent party and could do what they wanted.

Of course they can – but if they do the opposite to Labour on a budget vote their joint approach to campaigning and ‘fiscal responsibility’ it looks a bit awry.

He said not too much should be read into the fact the two parties were voting in opposite ways on the tax package.

“They’ve made their political judgment on the basis of this Budget at this time. But both our parties have pretty clear agreement about the level of discipline required in fiscal management if we have the privilege of forming a government.”

Labour took a different view on whether the package was well targeted and well prioritised.

“If we have the privilege of forming government there is a level of jointness in our platforms – and we make those decisions more jointly and in a more connected way than we do when we are two parties in opposition, albeit working closely together,” he said.

“You can vote different ways and that (BRRs) document retains its integrity.”

Yeah, right.

Burt the Greens are for and against the changes.

Marama Davidson: Small change that is sorely needed

The big headline of the Government’s Budget yesterday was its Family Incomes Package – a range of measures including changes to income tax thresholds and the Family Tax Credit.

Overall the Budget is a huge disappointment and a missed opportunity to make real progress on pressing social and environmental issues. We want more support for those who need it most, and we want that sooner than National.  To make that a reality, we need to change the Government.

But right now, we are debating National’s family package in Parliament. The Green Party is supporting these changes, not because they’re perfect – far from it – but because we want families to get more support and we strongly believe it is not our role to deny those families that.

With these changes, the Government has turned on the tap that has been long denied to communities for some desperately needed relief. But it’s only a tiny drop. For our lowest income families, these changes are a trickle, and in the words of the Child Poverty Action Group, what is actually needed is a tide.

Five dollars extra is pittance for people on lower incomes, but things are so tough that sadly $5 makes a meaningful difference for too many people’s lives. We should not be proud of that. Some families have become so used to scraping a meal together on so little, that five extra dollars is actually a big deal.

That’s why we are not going to stand in the way of families getting more money where it is sorely needed.

But we are introducing two changes to this Bill to try to make it fairer. The first brings the start date forward, so that the increase to the Family Tax Credit would start on the 1st of July, rather than waiting until 1st April 2018. Making children who are cold, hungry and sick wait another year for relief is negligent.

The second change increases the income threshold which the tax credit is abated from $35,000 to $50,000 and lowers the abatement rate from 25cents to 5 cents.

Lowering the abatement rate will means family that are earning under $50,000 will get to keep much more of this money.

There’s no doubt that it’s a cynical election year budget designed to keep National in Government rather than solve the huge challenges this country faces.

We urgently need to invest more money in housing, education, health and mental health and the environment. In order to make that a reality we need to change the Government – nothing we say will convince National to make those bold choices.

But right now we live among communities where we hear, on a daily basis, the stories of heartbreak that are harming families and children.

While we won’t stand in the way of the tax cuts for the lowest incomes, the Greens will keep working for the real changes that are needed to ensure all everyone has what they need to live; good lives, warm secure healthy homes, enough healthy kai and enough to pay the bills.

That is the leadership that our people want and deserve.

Bill English on UN Israel vote

Prime Minister Bill English has commented in support of the New Zealand position on the United Nations vote that condemned Israeli settlements.

NZ Herald reports:

Speaking today before he flew out to Europe for an official visit, Prime Minister Bill English said the issues surrounding the resolution were highly politicised in Israel.

“But the position of the New Zealand Government should have been well understood … we have got a realistic understanding of the pressures in the Middle East. That’s why in our time on the Security Council we wanted to see some advancement on the Middle East peace process. And the resolution in that sense is pretty balanced.

That sounds much the same as Murray McCully has said.

“New Zealand has been a long time friend of Israel, we have a range of connections, trade, increasingly technology and innovation. And it would be a shame if us expressing a view that might not line up exactly with the Israeli Government was seen as somehow being unfriendly or changing that relationship.”

Some advancement on the Middle East peace process would be a good thing, but the prospects don’t look good at the moment.

Both Israel and the Palestinians have to want a lasting solution, and it’s doubtful either do.

Why Britons voted to leave EU

There have been a number of claims that the vote to leave the EU proved a single issue, but obviously there are different reasons amongst 16 million voters.

The Guardian profiles 10 who voted to leave in Meet 10 Britons who voted to leave the EU, illustrating some diversity.

For a better standard of life

I want a stable country where people from all counties across the UK are heard and not fed scraps from the south. I don’t want to fear that when my daughter has children there’s no room in schools due to overcrowding, or if she has health issues a medical appointment doesn’t take longer than growing a baby.

The working classes have been betrayed, to be poor is now a sin

The bosses love foreign workers. They are non-union, cheap and pliable. The British people who used to do those jobs have not gone on to university, they have gone on the dole or worse. There is also an issue over the conditions that the foreign workers have to endure, and the housing situation in the UK is abysmal.

A way to hurt the government and banks

I would like to see economic reform where one person’s wealth isn’t the debt of another’s, and people are rewarded for their contribution rather than what they can extort from others through rents and fines.

Non-EU citizens are discriminated against

I voted for a fair immigration policy. My wife is a non-EU citizen from Thailand and we are discriminated against. If I didn’t earn £20,000 or more – the required figure – the choice would be to claim benefits and then when it came to my wife’s visa renewal she would have to leave. Her visa costs almost £1,500 every every two-and-a-half years.

Take back control from non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels

For me it was all about sovereignty, the ability to make our own decisions and not be ruled by the faceless, non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels; not to be frogmarched into ever greater political union and the creation of a European superstate which no one ever sought my opinion over. It was about regaining control over our own borders and regaining a say into our own destiny.

It was also about uncontrolled migration, but never about the economy.

To support UK industry

I voted to support the UK fishing industry as UK fisherman are only allocated 30% of the quota for fishing in their own territorial waters. Hopefully all UK jobs, businesses and perhaps companies will now stop importing goods and food that could be bought in the UK, in turn supporting UK industry and creating jobs. Perhaps we will eventually start producing world class cars and machinery again, because all of that’s gone tits up since joining the EU with all the rules and regulations.

The EU is failing. The euro is collapsing, and the whole EU is going backwards while the rest of the world overtakes.

Britain will do very well outside the EU

I wobbled a bit this morning when I saw the reactions on Facebook. Around 98% of my Facebook friends were strongly remain. At our staff briefing the headteacher talked about it being a bad day. All my colleagues seemed to have voted remain, so I’ve kept my vote private. I’ve yet to come out on Facebook and I’m not sure I will, as I may have a lot of anger thrown at me.

The EU is doomed to fail in the long- to very-long term, and Britain will do very well outside it. The EU is undeniably failing economically, and its principal solution seems to be increasing what is most likely to be causing the failure.

To make politicians accountable

I am a socialist and believe in democracy, and my main sticking point was the secret TTIP discussions and I was fearful for our NHS. I am an EU national as well as a British citizen, and I also didn’t like the lies from the remain camp telling us that our workers’ rights exist only because of the EU. Trade unions fought for our rights as they have always done.

We need to hold our politicians accountable and vote them out if necessary.

There is no mention of inequality in any of the ten statements.

More details in Meet 10 Britons who voted to leave the EU

Voting with the US and the UN

Last day/s to vote on flag

The Electoral Commission is advising that votes in the flag referendum should be posted today to ensure they are received on time in the flag referendum, so if you want to vote but haven’t yet then it’s time to act.

The closing date is Thursday (24 March) and I think in the first referendum as long as they were postmarked before or on the final day they were accepted, so if you don’t do it today then tomorrow or Wednesday may also make the cut.

There were 1,707,207 votes received by last Thursday, compared to under 1.2 million (48.78%) at about the same stage of the first referendum, so it’s a healthy turnout of nearly 54% already.

The asset sale turnout was about 47% but that was non-binding and was more of a political campaign run by the opposition.


If you haven’t already voted, tick and post.

Who should be able to vote?

In what looks like attention seeking referendum bashing Winston Peters has come out and said that only citizens should be able to vote in the flag referendum.

Winston Peters: Why should thousands of immigrants have a say on our flag?

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says only citizens should be allowed to vote in the flag referendum.

Mr Peters spoke at a meeting in Whangarei yesterday in which he said restrictions should be placed on people living in the country as residents.

However, he claimed it wasn’t discrimination.

“This is not discrimination. Why should thousands of immigrants who have come here in recent years be involved in making a decision that goes, in the words of the flag committee, “to the very heart of who we are and what we are as a nation”?

He went on to say no other country would allow “outsiders to make a decision about their national identity and it certainly should not happen here”.

Why should Peters come out immigrant bashing now? There is obviously no way eligibility for the flag referendum – nor any national or local body voting – can be changed in a day, and probably won’t be changed in the foreseeable future.

There will be many New Zealand residents who have lived in New Zealand longer than 18 year olds who become eligible to vote here.

This is just grand standing nonsense.

I didn’t notice Peters insisting that only people who owned assets vote in the asset sales referendum. Or only people with children vote in the smacking referendum.

Cameron Slater at Whale Oil claims that Winston has a very good point.

He goes further:

A better argument would be to allow only those who are net taxpayers to vote.

Ludicrous. So that would rule out a lot of pensioners – I don’t think Winston would agree with that.

‘Net taxpayer’ would be highly impractical. Would everyone have to submit detailed income and tax statements every time a referendum or election was held to prove their eligibility?

Many students would be ruled out.

How would ‘net taxpayer’ be defined? Is a public servant a net taxpayer if their income comes from the Government? Members of Parliament?

We have a fairly simple inclusive system of voter eligibility.

Peters knows it won’t change, he’s just grandstanding and continuing his immigrant bashing in what looks like a cynical play to prejudices.

Slater may really want what he suggested. I can think of a few choice phrases he uses to describe people with stupid ideas.

Some people suggest that stupid people shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

Have you posted your flag vote yet?

Amy Adams has just tweeted:

815,000 NZers have voted so far in first flag referendum. Have you?

This is a good reminder. If you intend to vote and haven’t done so yet then you have time to fill in your ballot and post it. Remember what post boxes are?

The five alternative flags

Flag website: The NZ flag — your chance to decide


If you are correctly enrolled, you will receive your voting paper by post from Friday 20 November. You should get your voting paper by Friday 27 November.

Information about five flag options, including pictures and descriptions, will be in your voting pack. Complete your voting paper, put it in the return envelope provided, and drop it into a New Zealand Post postbox by Tuesday 8 December.

Voting Statistics: Total votes to 1 December 815,586

The blue line represents the 2013 Citizens Initiated Referendum and the red line shows the 2015 flag referendum.

So it’s running at just under the asset sales CIR, not great but not a flop that some people hoped.

The more important vote will be next March where we get to choose between the winner of this referendum and the current flag.


Women got vote 122 years ago

A hundred and twenty two years ago women in New Zealand became able to vote, the first country i the world to allow this. It’s hard to imagine a democracy without universal suffrage but it had to be fought hard for at the time.

NZ History: Women and the vote

On 19 September 1893 the governor, Lord Glasgow, signed a new Electoral Act into law. As a result of this landmark legislation, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

In most other democracies – including Britain and the United States – women did not win the right to the vote until after the First World War. New Zealand’s world leadership in women’s suffrage became a central part of our image as a trail-blazing ‘social laboratory’.

That achievement was the result of years of effort by suffrage campaigners, led by Kate Sheppard. In 1891, 1892 and 1893 they compiled a series of massive petitions calling on Parliament to grant the vote to women. In recent years Sheppard’s contribution to New Zealand’s history has been acknowledged on the $10 note.

You can search the 1893 petition database.

My great great grandmother Keziah Norton is on sheet 253.


An interesting bit of earlier history (1865) where men qualified for voting by owning land. Arthur Gibbs is Keziah’s father.

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And from 1875 objections to qualifications for voting:

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