Saturday, August 24, 2013

Will the Greens be worried?

Very little has been said about the Green Party since David Shearer announced his resignation as leader of the Labour Party less than 48 hours ago.

But John Armstrong has been. And the Greens will be very nervous about this little morsel tucked away in a column Armstrong wrote yesterday in which he opined that Labour has no option but to choose David Cunliffe as its new leader; here's what Armstrong said:

Cunliffe is capable of pitching Labour's message leftwards, at the same time reaching rightwards to centrist voters who are currently happy enough with Key's pragmatic style of governing.
Cunliffe's first priority would be to rebuild Labour's brand and stop the Greens cannibalising its core vote.
Russel Norman has been allowed to become the de-facto leader of the opposition. Cunliffe would seek to reassert Labour's authority and make it clear who calls the shots on the centre-left. If that required giving the Greens a few verbal slaps, so be it.

Alert readers will remember Clare Curran's outrage prior to the 2011 General Election at the Greens "white-anting" Labour. She took an absolute kicking over that, including these comment onthe Red Alert blog-post that she has authored:

  • Yes, and its terrible. But if you want to do anything about it, you actually need to persuade people to vote for you. Instead, you’re just arrogantly demanding we do, like some medieval king ordering his peasants. Some people might regard that as counterproductive.
  • Unbelievable arrogance from the Labour Party. And given Labour’s history over the last 30 years, the amazing thing is that the unions have allowed such arrogance to develop. Labour should have lost their support long ago.
  • I’ve been fence-sitting between Labour and the Greens for a number of years now and recently took the plunge to become a full member of the Green party. Posts like this show this was the right thing to do.

David Cunliffe would certainly lead Labour back towards the Left. And given that National's poll ratings have been relatively constant since 2008, the rise in the Greens' popularity has been at Labour's expense. That was vividly evident at the 2011 election where Labour's vote collapsed and the Greens polled an historic high.

So the Greens might well be worried about the prospect of a David Cunliffe-led Labour Party. Cunliffe is not the sort to play second fiddle to anyone and Russel Norman might have to adjust to being the junior opposition coalition partner rather than the de-facto Leader of the Opposition.

Then again, some of those who defected from Labour may now be happy on Planet Green. Whatever; a fascinating power struggle lies ahead.


bsprout said...

It is rather sad that the future of any political party now appears to rest on the shoulders on one individual. national has relied on John Key and New Zealand First would quickly collapse without Winston. It is also apparent that if a party's success is determined by the popularity of the leader than fluctuations in the polls are likely to reflect directly on the leadership.

What many haven't fully understood is that the growing support for the Greens is not dependent on the leadership alone, but the strength of our policy and the principles that we stand by. Russel and Metiria have performed well as leaders but for us change in leadership doesn't result in a period in A&E. Business continues as usual and we have many potential leaders waiting to step up when necessary. :-)

Keeping Stock said...

Oh bollocks bsprout; if Russel and Metiria met an unfortunate end today, do you REALLY believe that a Green Party led by Gareth Hughes and Cath Delahunty would poll in the teens? Mate; I want some of what you've been drinking :)

Whafe said...

bsprout, you spout off your thoughts like they are a given fact...

National is by no means perfect, but I certainly believe that the National party would not go tits up like Labour has, basically since she beast left the party in a dire state post the election loss, which amplified who stalin leadership approach...

Show some substance as to why you believe the Greens have a great unti built without there leaders.

PM of NZ said...

Red Russel has his mind on matters other than the incestuous implosion of the Labia Party. He is too busy writing to those who submitted on snapper the other day (I got his email), looking to harvest a new crop of deluded greens. Making wild unsubstantiated supposedly scientific claims about snapper and sea grass in major harbours around New Zealand in the hope of getting some uniformed nutters to sign up.

Keeping Stock said...

@ PM of NZ - assuming that you didn't write directly to the Green Party, would this be the same Russel Norman who was so worried about John Key spying on New Zealanders' communications? That seems to me to be just a little hypocritical?

PM of NZ said...

KS, no I didn't write directly, but left the boxes ticked on the snapper submission to include some other tag-along pollies knowing full well that they would not miss the chance to harvest email addresses for potential recruits. Both Silent T and Red Russel have tried with off-topic subjects. As you suggest, slightly hypocritical in the extreme.

I guess I won't be hearing from Hone Hatfield though, especially when I noted that the undeclared undersize catch allocated by race to his people by white mofos is of some concern.

Keeping Stock said...

Check out the lead post in about 5 mins PM :)

bsprout said...

I've been away for the weekend and just returned. KS, when Jeanette and Rod were replaced commentators thought it would be the end of the Green Party and yet we are polling at double the numbers we did before. Is this all on Russel or Metiria's leadership or that people are seeing that the environment, social issues and good process is important?

I didn't dismiss the importance of good leadership and who is chosen as the public face of the party, I merely pointed out that it is less important for the Greens. When I've spoken to members of the public during campaigns they are more likely to talk about our policies than our leadership. This is not apparent when discussing other parties.

Whafe You forget the turbulent times and leadership changes that National has experienced. Under Bill English National plummeted to only 20% of the vote and from 2001 to 2006 there were three leadership changes. Even given the fact that the Greens have co-leaders we have had only four leaders elected since 1990 and none of the changes involved an internal coup. Over the same time period Labour has had five leaders and National also has had five.