Saturday, June 4, 2011

Decision-time for the Greens

The Greens have their election-year conference this weekend, and one of their tasks is to make a decision that few would have ever considered possible just three years ago - the Dom-Post reports:

The Green Party is going into its three-day conference embroiled in an intense political debate about whether it can work with National.

Tomorrow co-leader Metiria Turei will announce the party's position on potential support for a government. Its draft remit – which will be considered by members during the weekend – offers slim hope of a deal with National.

The preference is to align with Labour. But, unlike in 2008, the document does not entirely shut the door on a confidence-and-supply agreement with National, although says it is "unlikely".

Since the Budget, when National laid out plans for partial asset sales, discussions among Green Party members has heated up

These are indeed interesting times. Have the Greens concluded that Labour's chances of forming a government in November are miniscule? For them to even be openly talking about the possibility of some kind of accord with National is in itself remarkable.

Well, perhaps not openly; the Greens demand transparency from everyone else, but these discussions will be hush-hush - read on:

The remit document was circulated around branches after its publication in April and members will debate it in a closed-door session at Te Mahurehure Cultural Centre, Pt Chevalier, in Auckland this afternoon.


This is certainly a most interesting development though. The Greens have had some one-off policy wins with National, and perhaps the party leadership, especially those in the parliamentary wing can see that National and John Key are not the baby-eating monsters that Helen Clark and Michael Cullen made them out to be in 2008.

It could also be that the Greens simply don't trust Labour, and who could blame them? Through nine years of government, Helen Clark repeatedly jilted the Greens at the altar.

Whatever the reasoning behind this weekend's discussions, it's bound to cause some ripples within the Greens' support base. We can't imagine fellow blogger Robert Guyton for example suddenly warming to an alliance between his beloved Greens and John Key whom he recently described, among other things as "unctuous".

There IS another possible explanation; perhaps the Greens have awoken to the risk on being outflanked on the left by the Mana Party, which enjoys the support of several former Green activists. Perhaps this is the start of a move by the Greens towards the centre.

Whatever; we'll know the outcome once the Greens emerge from behind their closed doors this weekend. But we doubt that Phil Goff is going to find to much consolation.

12 comments:

robertguyton said...

Completely unremarkable, in my opinion. The Greens, along with every other party, consider their relationships at this time of the election cycle.
This is not new and this is not news.
I'm entirely confident that the Greens will make the correct decision around this issue - they consistently make good decisions. I wish I could say the same about the two bigger-but-not-so-big parties. Their histories, distant and recent, are littered with bad decisions.
Why only yesterday, John Key said... nevermind Cloth-ears!

Inventory2 said...

Nice try Robert, but you're not convincing. Whatever happened to this hard line?

"After analysing policy in 12 key areas canvassing everything from the environment to social policy the Greens decided they could not form a government with National, give it confidence and supply, nor abstain in order to let it govern.

" They're just too far away from the direction that the Greens believe we have to go for the sake of our children and the planet."


http://www.odt.co.nz/28186/greens-rule-out-support-for-nats

Where do "our children and the planet" fit in 2011?

robertguyton said...

"Where do "our children and the planet" fit in 2011?"

Only a Tory could ask that question Inv2.
Our children and our plant 'fit' at the very top of Green priorities. The Greens position on the proposed lignite mining in Southland clearly shows that. Key's position however, that he supports the mining, shows "our children and our planet" aren't even on his list. His is choked with coal smoke, greenhouse gases, oils spills, super-highways and wads and wads of filthy lucre - that's the kind of man he is. Eh Inv2.

Inventory2 said...

"that's the kind of man he is. Eh Inv2."

You may think that Rob, but clearly Russel and Metiria don't, otherwise they wouldn't be voicing the National option publicly. My take is that it is a politcally pragmatic decision; the Greens can see that the tide is still out on Labour, and that their only way to have any influence going forward is to talk constructively with the Nats. And to their credit, the Greens have had some wins during this term.

robertguyton said...

Nonsense and wishful thinking Inv2.

You say,
"The Green Party is going into its three-day conference embroiled in an intense political debate about whether it can work with National."

You later add,
"
"After analysing policy in 12 key areas canvassing everything from the environment to social policy the Greens decided they could not form a government with National, give it confidence and supply, nor abstain in order to let it govern.

" They're just too far away from the direction that the Greens believe we have to go for the sake of our children and the planet."

I'm hoping you are able to see the disconnect you have - the Greens are discussing the possibilities (all of them) but have not yet decided, just as last time. You've jumped the gun and over-egged your pudding.

Inventory2 said...

Oh Robert; why must you quote so selctively? After the first line you quoted, these two followed:

"Tomorrow co-leader Metiria Turei will announce the party's position on potential support for a government. Its draft remit – which will be considered by members during the weekend – offers slim hope of a deal with National.

The preference is to align with Labour. But, unlike in 2008, the document does not entirely shut the door on a confidence-and-supply agreement with National, although says it is "unlikely". "


The big question though is this one; are you, as a Green Party member comfortable if the party conference decides that it COULD give National confidence and supply?

robertguyton said...

I'm always comfortable with such discussions Inv2, and welcome them. The Greens can clearly see National and key for what they are and will make their decision based on the effect of it on the well-being of the environment and on New Zealanders.
If only Key would do the same.
But he doesn't.
As you know.

Anonymous said...

If I were the Nats I'd give the Greenies the same cold shoulder treatment reserved for Winston. Their stridency and their yearns to unplug the world are reminiscent of radical Islam.

Cadwallader.

robertguyton said...

It's fools like cadwallader that have dug the deep pit, reeking of coal dust, cowshit and asphalt, that our environment is becoming.
Lord preserve us from vandals like him!

Inventory2 said...

I wouldn't go quite that far Cadwallader, but the Greens certainly have a Utopian view on everything that ignores the realities of life.

Inventory2 said...

In case you hadn't noticed Rob, dairying is all that seperates us from Greece at the moment. Don't bite the hand that feeds you :)

robertguyton said...

The Green's have a Utopian view Inv2?
Thank God they do, but let's call it what it is 'aspirational' - ha!
(I wish my refined sense of decency would allow me to call cadwallader 'codswalloper', but it doesn't!)
Cows, our Saviour Inv2?
That's the Tory Way - 'environmental destruction? What environmental destruction - the Economy's booming!!
Harrumph harrumph!