Envirologue by Dave Hansford

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Envirologue: Choose Wisely, Grasshopper: the Dilemma of James Shaw

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  • william blake,

    It’s only Thursday ffs, he gave Key arseholes at question time on Tuesday, give the guy a chance.

    (Or are you suggesting he needs to call a NATO air strike on Michelle Boag to keep the Greens relevant?)

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • matthew, in reply to william blake,

    Its not too early to discuss this. I for one have been a green party supporter my whole voting life (lapsed as a member) because never because of their environmental credentials. There is a significant portion of their membership and their voting base for whom social justice is far more important than environmental policies. I hope shaw does increase the vote by taking support from the nats but there is avery real risk that some of the core support will drift away into splinter groups (mana...?) That fail to break the threshold to win seats in Parliament.

    auckland • Since Nov 2013 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Well, the Yugoslav wars were fairly horrible. There is however the fact that every country in former Yugoslavia is now more or less democratic. If the West hadn't attacked, at best there might be a Fiji style pseudo-democracy in the Serb-majority territory, and at worst Milosevic and co still in power.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    Yes, their vote collapsed yet again last election night. They shed more than 36,500 votes – a 14.8 per cent drop on 2011 – and one MP.

    Anyone want to fact check this? It’s really wrong.

    247000 in 2011. 257000 in 2014. That’s not shedding any votes.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to matthew,

    It is too late to discuss this. The party decided on Shaw, he wasn't my first choice and he has a lot of work ahead to match Russel Norman. If you are suggesting this is a watershed moment, then a large change of support was inevitable whom ever took the lead.

    A wise friend commented that Shaw was unlikely to put the Greens further right than Labour.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to william blake,

    It is too late to discuss this.

    The sheer persistence and hard work that the Greens put into gathering signatures for the no asset sales petition gave the impression that they were the party that genuinely valued the opinion of ordinary people. I'd hoped that Shaw's leadership might see a continuance of that, but you seem to be proclaiming that the leadership now knows best.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    It's a litle weird that a 1000+ word piece on Green leadership doesn't mention Metiria Turei.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    I'm no fan of James Shaw, who was my third place pick for co-leader, but really, when you say:

    This whole argument is predicated upon a contention that the Greens are somehow failing in the first place.

    I would respond by saying your whole argument is predicated on accepting the views of people like Hooton and Farrar, who have a vested interest in making it look like the Greens are shifting to the Centre or Centre Right; you seem to be buying into the very conspiracy theory about the Greens you ostensibly oppose. Are you really suggesting that the party membership of the Greens, who you "No True Scotsman" construe as follows:

    [Are] characterised by a deep ethical, philosophical and political commitment. These are the ten per cent, and historically, they have punished parties they consider to have deserted their dogma.

    are really under the sway of the practitioners of the Right's Dark Arts? Because either the Right are far more powerful and able to change the hearts and minds of the stalwart co-leader electing Greens membership, or they are merely successfully getting some of us to see enemies in our midsts in order to generate blogposts just like this.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Tim Hannah,

    Yes, their vote collapsed yet again last election night. They shed more than 36,500 votes – a 14.8 per cent drop on 2011 – and one MP.

    Anyone want to fact check this? It’s really wrong.

    247000 in 2011. 257000 in 2014. That’s not shedding any votes.

    +1 to everything Tim Hannah says.

    Dave I find your column bizarre. Not only wrong on facts but missing any discussion of co-leader Metiria, the other Green MPs, or their actual policy.

    I understand you don't like James Shaw, but comparing his election to the bombing of Yugoslavia is just plain odd.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tim Hannah,

    And once specials were counted they did not lose any MPs either.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith,

    So are there any proposed policy changes that demonstrate this Shavian push to the right? Or is Dave just knitting with the collected navel fluff from Hooton and Farrar?

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    Why are people assuming that Shaw is this wolf in sheep's clothing right wing assassin? I don't think he's said anything to warrant that. He might not have a track record yet, but that doesn't mean we can make one up.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    Also when someone is called centre/left in Germany doesn't that mean way more left than anyone in NZ politics?

    Genuine question...Germany seems pretty socialist when it comes to domestic policy, and socially liberal.... just also massively zenophobic! I am basing this purely on personal experience, but my point is that making direct comparisons with the German Greens is very problematic as it's a totally different political culture.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    That the country veered wildly off to the right last September is a matter of record

    Without wishing to labour the point, no it didn’t.
    Read the stats.

    The Nat vote was actually slightly down. Labour was down 2.35%. The party with significant upswing was NZF, up 2.06%, Winston Peters as ever the wildcard.

    Mana gambled on allying with Kim Dotcom and it didn’t work out. Because Harawira (narrowly) lost his electorate seat, the 1.42% of votes for Mana were wasted.

    One of the quirks of our MMP system is the exception to the 5% threshold if an electorate seat is won. United Future has an MP although they won only 0.22% of the popular vote.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    Thanks for this critical post, Dave, it is necessary to raise the questions and issues you mentioned. But to be honest, it was not the "Luftwaffe" that bombarded Serb forces and caused collateral damage, that force had seized to exist since the defeat of the Nazis. And after all, German involvement in the Serbia campaign, of course led by the US again, was rather minimal.

    But you hit it on the nail with the troubles the German Greens encountered, after going into government with the SPD under Schroeder.

    I dare say, they have not recovered since, and are now only the fourth party by size and MPs in the German Bundestag, behind even the Left Party.

    The MSM is always playing games with politicians and politics, and many journalists (I do not even call them that anymore) are just out for opportune stories and hyped up momentum. They no longer report objectively and about bare facts, they like to attract ratings, so they constantly distort, manipulate, exaggerate and pump up little stories and try to make them headlines.

    It is the main problem for Labour also, to give too much credit to the MSM, who play games with politicians, report them out of context and try to expose stuff that may be irrelevant. Labour fell into that trap for three elections now.

    So the Greens are well advised, so is Mr Shaw, to stay on line, to not let themselves be used and manipulated, to not get tempted, and to present themselves as a truly independent party, no matter the polls and stay within their convincing policy and general direction.

    Stuff the media, stuff the ones that are largely employed by private vested interests, that cater to consumerism, the commercial sector and the status quo, and once you take them too seriously, you will be fodder for them and lost.

    James Shaw should learn other aspects and perspectives to add to his business knowledge, and become a co leader that is inclusive and stays on line, and not listen to these spin masters there are.

    It was a serious mistake already, to offer to talk to the PM about climate change targets, and he got the answer one had to expect. Do not even talk or negotiate with the devil, stay well clear, stay on Green Party course, and also stay loyal to a progressive alternative, alongside Labour, the only option I see sensible at this time, despite of their problems.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman,

    Our branch backed James, with roughly the same proportions as emerged at the AGM. There was plenty of discussion, but very little of it was about left, right or centre. Nobody doubted that all the candidates were committed Greens. We were more interested in the specific requirements of the co-leader role.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    A disaster is a long way down the track, well a few decades, nature moves slowly but inexorably. Human lives come and go, and being as we are, finite creatures it isnt always immediately obvious what went wrong and when. Hell! Someone only figured out just over a century ago, Evolution.
    Mr Shaw may be a bad choice time will tell. And I dont like how he is being called a “John Key of the Greens”
    But these tosspots have gotta come up with some drivel if only to calm their rampant neuroses. Some people are only happy when they are yapping.
    I’d like to see a whole lot of things happen. Getting rid of currency trading, social and education ideas that dont try to make money out of the young or sick, people giving a shit about their environment.
    But I’ve kinda given up, as I dont have a lot in common with most of my generation now. And our systems and the people in them seek to perpetuate corrupt principles and ideas. But good luck to you all. At some stage down the track some generation is going to have to take a hit in very ugly ways.
    It would have been easier to do it in the 60’s let the kids walk away from the cities pull consumerism back a notch or two but it didnt happen. I dont know, like everyone else, what the future will bring.
    But what present govts are doing isnt going to make a great future for most, or for countries and by extension this planet.
    The Third Stone from the Sun.And just cause I can..

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Hansford,

    It seems some readers have interpreted from this blog that I’m the one typecasting James Shaw as some sort of centrist “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. If you read it carefully, you’ll see that I am in fact, levelling that charge at some of the commentary that has been passed this week, and before James’ selection. I go further, and maintain that commentary in fact had an ulterior provocation to it.

    I have made no judgement whatsoever on James’ credentials, nor on what he has to offer the Greens. I most certainly do not “hate” his appointment, as someone has suggested.

    What I have said is that it’s important that the Green membership, and caucus, consider the various suggestions that his selection should automatically begin any shift to a populist centre with great caution. I for one am anxious that the Greens hold to their philosophical and political course, and offered the example of the German Greens as a cautionary tale (to suggest that I’m comparing James’ selection to the destruction of Yugoslavia is deeply mistaken).

    Any eagerness to be part of a Government is completely understandable – the Greens have been jilted often enough – but the German experience shows that many a fatal overtake has been attempted out of impatience.

    Regarding the Election results: I got my figures, unwisely, from an NBR analysis that, yes, did not include special votes. Mea culpa… Regarding the swing; that depends whether you consider NZ First a left wing party. I don’t.

    Regarding any putative sidelining of Metiria: this blog is concerned entirely with James and his selection, and what it might mean for where the Greens go next. It really is that simple…

    Nelson • Since Apr 2008 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to Marc C,

    It was a serious mistake already, to offer to talk to the PM about climate change targets, and he got the answer one had to expect. Do not even talk or negotiate with the devil, stay well clear,

    Really? TBH I’m pretty much over this tired approach to politics.
    I would hope that James will talk to every member of parliament about climate change.
    The Green Party appear to have the most sensible policy response to the problems facing us. The challenge will be to get as many on board as possible. Keep talking I say.

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to Dave Hansford,

    What I have said is that it’s important that the Green membership, and caucus, consider the various suggestions that his selection should automatically begin any shift to a populist centre with great caution.

    Actually you implied that the membership had already fallen for this narrative -

    But the weekend’s result suggests their membership might be starting to believe it themselves, and that’s pretty bad information upon which to start making critical decisions.

    Do you have any evidence that their voting was based on these suggestions from Hooton and Farrar?

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    It was a serious mistake already, to offer to talk to the PM about climate change targets

    It was the same tactic as Key proposing to PM Clark a compromise on the anti-child-beating law. Very good move.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    Regarding any putative sidelining of Metiria: this blog is concerned entirely with James and his selection, and what it might mean for where the Greens go next. It really is that simple…

    But it isn't that simple.

    The screw up on the election results doesn't in itself invalidate your arguments, but it does suggest you're not that interested in the current NZ Green party. Honestly I reckon that's why you ignore the other leader and anything about the Greens that couldn't be read in the NBR.

    You need more than old critiques of 90's German Greens.

    (Though your conclusion about being careful and not fucking up? Sure, yeah. Yup.)

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Dave Hansford,

    Regarding the swing; that depends whether you consider NZ First a left wing party. I don’t.

    It’s the Winston Peters party: I don’t think he’s readily categorisable as Left or Right. Certainly nothing to base a trend on. He’s been a thorn in the hide of both Labour and the Nats. His presence in Parliament has been almost continuous since the late 1970s: his loss in 2008 was exceptional.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Since his election as co-leader over the weekend, and for long before it, Shaw has been similarly characterised by the commentariat as “modern and moderate” (as though the Greens had, until his emergence, been somehow obsolescent and intractable). [--snip--] But the weekend’s result suggests their membership might be starting to believe it themselves, and that’s pretty bad information upon which to start making critical decisions.

    In that case, I guess the Green Party might need to disprove whatever characterisations are out there through stuff that it actually does instead of what others say it does, and perhaps James Shaw will be more effective at cutting through the FUD from the other sides than Russel Norman tended to be. On the off chance that it's genuinely shifting its from its current voter base towards new and radically different policies under the new co-leadership, I'm sure those voters will find someone else to elect instead. Problem solved.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Almost 58 years to the day, the Luftwaffe was once again pounding Yugoslavia. The NATO bombardment killed civilians, and destroyed hospitals and schools in its wake. What should still be keeping the Greens awake at night is that they helped precipitate the very human calamity the action was supposed to forestall: sectarian massacre and rape. A tide of refugees.

    it's debatable whether the NATO bombing of former Yugoslavia was justified on human-rights grounds. I don't think anyone is accusing NATO of starting the civil war, though, are they? Sectarian massacre and genocide were already happening.

    Your linking of this to Nazi bombing is drawing a very long bow.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

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