Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Labour and the Greens in a tree...

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  • Sacha,

    That research provides evidence that parties who cooperate before an election, rather than campaign completely independently, ultimately are more likely to win government. That’s a pretty good reason to formalize things.

    So who in Labour decided to do the opposite before the 2014 election?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Art Croft,

    Your polling figures declaring that the left is finally on the rise could be taken from anytime with in the last 10 years. Ten years when National have relentlessly thumped the left. I don't think National will be panicking just yet.

    Plus the MOU isn't worth the paper its printed on given that Winston can break it in half with his little finger.

    Wouldn't it be better to merge the brands completely? Then voters would know real change was in the air and that no matter how the votes turned out LabGreen was a solid brand not a union of possible convenience. I also think it would clarify what Labour stands for.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2016 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    So, while I welcome this step, at long last, to have a kind of MOU between Labour and Greens, I have very mixed feelings about the present situation. Is it really the right time, when Labour have with recent changes of position (Auckland housing, dropping CGT, dropping GST exemption for certain foods, ambiguous talk about a UBI, and so forth), and a very unclear policy direction (no clear words on tax reform), and nobody really knowing that well about where the party stands on many issues?

    The Greens seem more consistent with their program, so they must be hoping Labour gets a good, convincing and wider voter appealing policy platform together. Unless Labour delivers such by the end of this year, at least by very early next year, I think this exercise will not get them far. For Labour it may look like a desperate attempt to show position and to convince potential voters, that they are able to work together with the Greens, and to signal, look, we will be "the alternative".

    I have some concern with the leaders, as Metiria seems to look a bit more tired now, besides a still "forming" co-leader, and as Andrew is still struggling to find more appeal with voters (see his low polling).

    So is it really the right time, or the right step at the wrong time, I wonder? It may actually backfire, or not fire at all.

    Then there is now one somewhat suspicious, perhaps disgruntled third party, particularly its leader, who will feel an extra need now, to play his own game, and follow a different agenda. He will feel encouraged now, to run the popular underdog campaign, being the party for those forgotten by the two big parties, at a time where mass immigration is putting pressure on New Zealand housing, infrastructure, health-, education- and social services, last not least also the environment.

    I see an election outcome few here will expect, where NZ First may rise to be the strong and vocal opposition party, which may gain favour and support from former, disgruntled National voters and former Labour voters rushing to them, and putting it at perhaps 15 or more percent in the polls and even in election results. It will be Nats and Lab-Greens competing to gain his favour, and it will be very interesting, as neither Nats nor Labour and Green will dare run an election campaign on issues like immigration, that may be at a time the housing market is near collapse, where a sizeable lot of voters are turning anti immigration, and will also cast protest votes.

    Many will see Winston as the only alternative, the others too weak and damaged to convince, and he will be the absolute king maker, perhaps tying knots with Labour again, and the Greens being left out once more (given the MOU will end on election night).

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    I see an election outcome few here will expect, where NZ First may rise to be the strong and vocal opposition party, which may gain favour and support from former, disgruntled National voters and former Labour voters rushing to them, and putting it at perhaps 15 or more percent in the polls and even in election results.

    I doubt many of us would be surprised. Opinions welcome.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sacha,

    I doubt many of us would be surprised. Opinions welcome.

    For all I know Marc C may be a trained haruspex, employing a form of divination that us effete liberals would find too offal to contemplate.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Art Croft,

    Your polling figures declaring that the left is finally on the rise could be taken from anytime with in the last 10 years. Ten years when National have relentlessly thumped the left. I don't think National will be panicking just yet.

    I agree. Trying to extrapolate the future based on a chart like this, which shows the declared effect happening once before, is dodgy at best. It's great bait for people willing to see patterns which don't necessarily exist.

    I hope it's not long before discussion shift back to policy, and what can be expected from this partnership, instead of just ongoing meta-commentary about political gamesmanship. New voters aren't likely to be attracted to either party based on talk about their existing or anticipated polling performance.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to izogi,

    ongoing meta-commentary about political gamesmanship

    like this, you mean? Trevett manages to make it about her pin-up PM. Longest job interview ..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Marc C,

    Is it really the right time, when Labour have with recent changes of position (Auckland housing, dropping CGT, dropping GST exemption for certain foods, ambiguous talk about a UBI, and so forth), and a very unclear policy direction (no clear words on tax reform), and nobody really knowing that well about where the party stands on many issues

    I think you've nailed it, Marc. The Greens have always been a party of principle with consistent policies, whereas for the last few years Labour have been all over the place.

    Their refusal to cooperate with the Greens in 2014, dropping the CGT, teaming up with National during the last election to oust Hone Harawira, supporting the TPPA despite its evil investor/state dispute settlement process... at the moment it's hard to see our current Labour Party as anything other than National-lite.

    It's not as if National are invulnerable. New Zealanders used to be defined by our egalitarianism and sense of fair play. There are numerous examples of the Nats often cruel application of neoliberal economics which should be anathema to the majority of kiwis. For instance...

    * The sale of state assets, at a loss if necessary to satisfy ideology
    * Sacrificing sovereignty to multinationals via the ISDS
    * Privatising health -- how's that Compass deal going?
    * Privatising education -- more charter schools, anyone?
    * The continuing disposal of our social housing stock in the midst of the country's biggest housing crisis
    * Complicity in providing financial shelter and money laundering services to the world's criminals
    * The complete absence of principle which allowed Judith Collins back into cabinet

    The iniquity of these policies should inspire revolution, but they're not.

    As the principle opposition party, it's Labour's role to articulate to the masses this ongoing transfer of wealth from the public to the private sector with its subsequent catastrophic outcomes for the poor. But we're saddled with a weak opposition which seems unable to even verbalise National's game plan, let alone provide a viable alternative.

    Sure, the game has become more difficult since the advent of Crosby/Textor manipulation and the weakening of our investigative media. But these things make the presense of a strong left wing voice even more important. Labour might look to Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the US for inspiration.

    It's time for Labour to prioritise principle over power and take a hard look at what they really stand for.

    </rant>

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Sacha,

    Hear 'em, scare 'em...

    meta-commentary about political gamesmanship
    ...like this, you mean?

    It's a bit rich Trevett pointing a mocking finger at "Little's Big Love government" when National is in bed with 3 parties already...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    It’s time for Labour to prioritise principle over power and take a hard look at what they really stand for.

    You know what, the Greens might also need to take stock.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Hepatic cat...

    employing a form of divination that us effete liberals would find too offal to contemplate

    Entrailer trash...
    ...or Liver birds?
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to steven crawford,

    the Greens might also need to take stock

    Vote rustlers?

    One does wonder if there will be Epsom & Ohariu-like candidate 'withdrawal' and instructions to voters re MP and Party vote in some areas?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Johnson, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Trevett just wrote one of the most pointless articles I have ever seen . It’s basically a press release for National.

    hamilton • Since Mar 2016 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Sacha,

    like this, you mean? Trevett manages to make it about her pin-up PM. Longest job interview ..

    Yes, pretty much. It's the shallow end of journalism which only ever frames politics as sport. Instead of investigating and reporting with substance, it commentates on every single development in terms of strategy, winning and losing.

    Patrick Gower's brilliant at it, which is why I almost never bother with him.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Here's something I wrote back in 2015 about a possible Labour/Green coalition back then before Cunliffe's cockup:

    In Germany, Social Democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder led a successful and effective Social Democrat/Green coalition (1998-2005) for two Bundestag terms. In Finland, Social Democrat Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen's government included Cabinet minister representation from both the Green League and Finnish People's Party (akin to New Zealand First), so it might be interesting to focus on how that worked (1995-2002). Iceland saw (out lesbian) Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdasdottir lead a 'red/green' coalition in power for four years (2009-2013). There are therefore ample examples of functional and stable social democratic/green coalitions in place within Western Europe should anyone wish to consult them for precedents. In Canada, the centrist Liberal Party and Green Party of Canada also have an informal 'red/green' relationship in the House of Commons. I would suggest that instead of unsubstantiated and subjective opinion, television news and current affairs programmes research these prior instances, as indeed should Labour and the Greens themselves. Germany, Finland and Iceland suggest that a red/green coalition is stable and workable.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    So, what about factoring in NZF?

    What about 'traffic light coalitions' that might conceivably include Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First? These have existed overseas. In particularly, the Czech Republic may offer some interesting insights into how this might unfold. Rather like New Zealand First, the Czech Peoples Party is predominantly targeted at elderly voters and its political existence is marginal, depending on whether or not it is acting as a protest vote or taking advantage of the cyclical weakness of one of the major Czech political parties. However, in Denmark, the Danish Peoples Party has aligned itself with the centre-right Conservatives and Liberals in government over the last decade, which might hearten New Zealand First (and National?), or not. Similarly, in 2007, the Polish Peoples Party formed a coalition with the centre-right Civic Platform, the major winner in that year's national election. However, again, in Slovakia, its Peoples Party formed a coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats (2006-2010). Thus, if Winston Peters chose to play a more constructive role in current New Zealand electoral politics, he would have precedents on both sides of his prospective balancing act. The Czech Republic and Slovakia offer one set of examples, while Denmark and Poland offer the other option. However, the Czech Republic seems to be the only example of a 'traffic light' coalition arrangement.

    Winston could go either way, judging from the behaviour of his counterparts and closest political equivalents elsewhere.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    And finally, here are my references:

    Charles Lees: The Red/Green Coalition in Germany: Politics, Personalities and Power: Manchester: Palgrave: 2000.

    Werner Reutter: Germany on the Road to Normalcy: Politics and Policies of the Red/Green Federal Government: 1998-2002Manchester: Palgrave: 2004

    Franko Zelko and Caroline Brinkman: Green Parties: Reflections on the First Three Decades: Washington DC: Heinrich Boll Foundation: 2006.

    Elizabeth Bomberg: Green Parties and Politics in the European Community: London: Routledge: 1998.

    Tad Shull: Redefining Red and Green: Ideology and Strategy in European Politics: Albany: State University of New York Press: 1999

    http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/31/printer_14922.php

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Johnson,

    It’s basically a press release for National.

    like i say, auditioning.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sam Bradford,

    Voters should be pleased with this.

    This is how it should work. You cast your vote for Labour or Greens, knowing that they'll have different priorities and your vote will affect the relative weighting of those priorities. But Labour can fuck this up, as they have in the past, by refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Green vote and sidelining them once they're in government.

    Of course, the media will spin it as 'bad news for Labour! centrist voters scared off by loony Greens!' But that's because they're idiots. We already spend far too much political capital on the demographic represented by the Herald/Stuff article comments, those fake swinging voters who still burble on about Aunty Helen and lightbulbs.

    I do agree that NZF will do well this election. The political moment suits them perfectly.

    New Zealand • Since Jul 2014 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Except that for the last three elections it has always been clear that Labour couldn't govern without The Greens.

    Everyone knew this.

    Yet despite everyone knowing it was Labour/Green vs National the public still voted National ... Or more accurately the Labour/Green voters chose not to vote leaving the National voters to elect the government.

    This MOU changes nothing.

    Unless Labour and The Greens can get together and and take best from each party and create a manifesto from that and ditch the least appealing parts from each party, then there is still nothing for the non-National voters to love.

    Show me joint policy.

    Show me that both parties understand that the public have real problems with some of the elements in both parties and move to limit those negative elements.

    Show me that both parties are capable of learning and are not stuck in ideological backwaters.

    Otherwise Winston is right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Howard Edwards, in reply to izogi,

    +1

    Or more correctly

    1+(1+(1+(1+ ....)) .....)

    Albany • Since Apr 2013 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • Sam Bradford, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    yes, but... Labour used to put on this charade of 'we won't need the Greens', in fact they preferred pissing on them to attacking National, which strikes me as grievously counterproductive. This might, _might_ help energise Left voters a little. I agree re: policy; Labour haven't lost the centre because of policies the public don't like, they've lost it because they crumble and withdraw at the slightest criticism rather than stridently making the case for what they believe in (other than not being National). Jeez, if they committed solidly to something bold (that would be criticised!) like UBI I'd probably join the Labour Party.

    New Zealand • Since Jul 2014 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    One does wonder if there will be Epsom & Ohariu-like candidate ‘withdrawal’ and instructions to voters re MP and Party vote in some areas?

    That only works with micro-parties having a single electorate MP (e.g Epsom and Ohariu) where National get extra MPs because Dunne & Seymour don't come off their party vote based totals.

    If the Greens/Labour chose to run a single candidate and won a National-held electorate, they'd just get an electorate MP rather than a list one.

    The only place a single-candidate strategy might work is in Ohariu itself (a no candidate / vote for the National candidate option might be effective in Epsom).

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

  • Fen Tex,

    The first is about timing – this is the right time...

    I disagree. The time for this was years ago and the bad blood between Labour and the Greens has been an example of Labour incompetence and inability to form a government in the MMP environment.

    And it doesn't mean anything until we see one party concede policy to the other and/or both assert who from either party will speak for portfolios and an active demonstration of how the two will combine and cooperate as an opposition asking to be government.

    Without that it will be a meaningless stunt that only highlights persisting division and inability to govern rather than suggest it's absence.

    Christchurch • Since Oct 2014 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Soper box rants...
    Bloody hell - Barry Soper is almost frothing at the mouth as he tries to pack as much vitriol into his diatribe / column today:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11648756
    he gets so worked up basic english escapes him:

    But Little and Metiria Turei, both lawyers in a previous life, he for the trade unions and she as an anarchist, a former candidate for the McGillicuddy Serious Party and then for the Legalise Cannabis Party before becoming a corporate lawyer, strode confidentially into the impressive wood panelled, Old Legislative Council Chamber to announce their betrothal to the wildly applauding apparatchiks.

    and basic Parliamentary knowledge:

    National's campaign architect Stephen Joyce was immediately swyping* his iPhone on hearing the announcement, tweeting that with Labour handing The Greens a rose, does that make Winston Naz?

    Soper runs with Steven Joyce's oh so witty Bachelor analogy (on TV news last night) while not referencing or crediting it - he barely makes any sense - ending with this oblique scatological reference, classy stuff...

    If you mix red paint with green you get brown and Peters has after all been described as the blowfly of New Zealand politics!

    Hmmm blowfiles tend to be Blue Green and that's a National thing I thought...
    ...and Soper gets paid for writing this crap??!!

    *(who knows swyping might be a thing, I'm not tech-savvy enough to know_

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

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