Toad on why the centre-left lost power

November 18th, 2008 at 3:56 pm by David Farrar

Toad from the Greens has an insightful piece as to why the centre-left lost power:

  1. The Taito Phillip Field Affair Allegations of misconduct against Field had been simmering since just before the 2005 election. Instead of implementing a proper investigation with the teeth to interview witnesses under oath, Clark implemented an Claytons inquiry that was widely perceived as a whitewash designed to clear Field. Then despite further very serious allegations, Field was retained in the Labour Caucus right through to February 2007, creating a perception of tolerance of impropriety and possible corruption.

    Dead right. It was a disgrace, and even after the Ingram report they defended Field with Cullen saying he was just working harder for his constituents than National MPs did. Richard Prebble showed the correct way to respond to allegations of corruption around an MP – Helen Clark did the opposite.
  2. The Labour’s handling of the pledge card and the ’s report was appalling. The should have simply admitted “we got it wrong, and we’ll pay the money back” (as the did). Instead, they allowed the pledge card affair to drag on interminably, and were subjected to daily allegations in Parliament of corruption. They hadn’t actually done anthing that most other political parties had done, but their reluctance to own up to their mistake and put it right undermined public confidence in them as a Government.

    They only conceded to pay the money back after they had taken all the flak for resisting. And the attacks on the Auditor-General were disgraceful.

  3. Much like Taito Phillip Field actually, although the allegations were not so serious. The perception was created, through Clark’s continued tolerance of Benson-Pope through the “tennis balls affair” in which he had quite clearly been economical with the truth. He was finally dispatched in July 2007 after allegations of him lying to Parliament over matters relating to the appointment of a Communications Manager in the Ministry for the Environment. Clark said at the time, “The way in which certain issues have been handled this week has led to a loss of credibility and on that basis I have accepted Mr Benson-Pope’s offer to stand aside”. Pity for her that she didn’t realise he had lost credibility much earlier.

    Benson-Pope clearly lied about the tennis ball incident, with 11 or so pupils recalling it. And the issue was not whether or not he was a perfect teacher – it was that he called his former pupils liars and denied an incidents. He created all the problems for himself by the way he went on the attack.

  4. The This was handled by Labour in the most appalling way. The original Bill was so poorly drafted that Justice Minister Mark Burton deserved the sack for allowing a Bill that was such a shambles to come before Parliament. He was later quietly stood down, but by that time the damage had been done. Labour railroaded the Bill through Parliament, refusing to consider very pertinent submissions from organisations such as the Human Rights Commission or suggestions from the Green Party who were left with a “take it or leave it” option. This allowed the right to create the perception of the , and consequently of Labour, being undemocratic – a task which the NZ Herald took up with great gusto.

    Here I will have a go at . The bloody Greens voted for the EFA, and they voted against many good amendments that would have made it a lot better. They sacrificed any moral high ground on electoral issues with their shameful kowtowing to Labour. If the Greens had the backbone at the beginning to say we won’t vote for this at first reading unless you consult with all parties, then the EFA would never have happened. I’m actually getting sick of how many people on the left are now decrying the EFA, when they never spoke up at the time.

    And while the final EFA was bad enough, I agree Mark Burton should have been shot for letting the original EFB through – that was the most draconian law I have ever seen with statutory declaraions needed to send an e-mail to a mate on a topical issue.

  5. Winston Peters Need I say more. Clark stood by Peters as allegation after allegation of impropriety and, in the last few weeks, even corruption emerged against Peters. In her first and second terms he would have been promptly dispatched, at least temporarily, for allegations of far less substance, but her continued tolerance of him as a Minister allowed her and her government to be tarred with the same brush as Peters.

    Here at least the Greens can take a bow, and did put some heat on Clark. Clark’s legacy will always be tained by her disgraceful defence of Peters, and her total lack of concern with the evidence from the Serious Fraud Office and the Muerant papers about possible policies for cash.

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52 Responses to “Toad on why the centre-left lost power”

  1. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    I think Im more inclined to agree with the thrust of Micheal Bassetts reasons
    http://www.michaelbassett.co.nz/articleview2.php?id=198&yh=2008&yl=2007

    (same in some parts)

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  2. llew (1,533 comments) says:

    Now you mention it, the Meurant angle’s gone very quiet.

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  3. homepaddock (431 comments) says:

    6. Squandering the good times and leaving the cupboard bare now we’re facing recession.
    7. Politicising the public service.
    8. Turning middle and upper income earners into beneficiaries.
    9. Politics of envy.

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  4. dad4justice (7,736 comments) says:

    10. The Stroppy Mallard Mauler.
    11. H1 and H2 infectious diseases.

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  5. dime (9,392 comments) says:

    12 their secret agenda – the planned “mini budget” for december

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  6. big bruv (13,227 comments) says:

    Toad forgets that the prospect of a Labour/Green govt was also one of the reasons the left lost so badly.

    I honesty do not believe it was a rejection of Clark as much as a rejection of the frightening prospect of the Greens being around the cabinet table.

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  7. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    Is it me or is something missing from toad’s list?

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  8. What would Hayek say (51 comments) says:

    Danyl would that missing something be like the fact the we haven’t progressed up the OECD ladder and the country considered that national is more likely to handle an economic downturn better than labour/greens?

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  9. Peter (1,578 comments) says:

    They still think s59 was a “success”, and that Bradford is a star performer.

    They need to get out from under their urban-latte-sippin’ lily pads more often….

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  10. wreck1080 (3,726 comments) says:

    Peters was never found guilty of anything.

    Or, have I missed something?

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  11. unaha-closp (1,111 comments) says:

    S.59?

    The extreme position long adopted by the Greens and backed Labour into an unattractive hard left corner. It took conciliation work performed by John Key to form the final legislation in partnership with Helen Clark, this proved John Key to be an effective leader capable of working with anyone.

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  12. Peter (1,578 comments) says:

    >>as much as a rejection of the frightening prospect of the Greens being around the cabinet table.

    Absolutely. I wonder if the Greens will ever realise just how much of the population truly despise them?

    With any luck, they’ll appoint Bradford as co-leader, and thus take themselves out next election.

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  13. Hagues (711 comments) says:

    wreck1080 “Peters was never found guilty of anything. Or, have I missed something?”

    He was found guilty of not declaring a gift by the privledges committee.

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  14. unaha-closp (1,111 comments) says:

    The “left” adopted the politics of exclusion,

    The Greens say we will only work with Labour: to all right-wing voters concerned about the enviroment – piss off.

    NZFirst say we will only work with Labour: to all non-senile social conservatives – piss off.

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  15. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Good one Toad, truly Toad is infected with lefty disease, I note not one of his excuses mentions the Melons and their place in this little fracas. Yes, Toad has not learnt or listened at all as many on this blog before the election told Toad the Melons didn’t stand a snowballs change in hell of getting hold of the reins of power. Perhaps Toad should question why the Melons failed to inspire the people to vote Melon. Surly the Melons realised that they would have to pull their weight as the polls had Liarbore down as dead ducks, it was up to the Melons to lift their game.Sorry Toad but your game doesn’t even come near to par. Some free advice Toad, dump the commies, stop dictating to the people and stick to your core interests.

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  16. trout (900 comments) says:

    Thre coup-de-grace inflicted on the ‘Labour led government’ had to be Key’s declaration that he would not work with Winston Peters. The timing (the day before the SFO announced an inquiry) was impeccable; but most of all the announcement sent a bunch of messages to the electorate. It demonstrated that Key was decisive, was prepared to make a principled decision at the risk of great cost later on, and probably as important the public knew that they were to be spared a repeat of the egoist performance of Peters playing one side off against the other before a Government could be formed. The Labour leadership was gobsmacked. For the electorate it was is such a relief after being ruled by a Government that was mired in the issues covered by Toad; a Government that prevaricated, misled, and avoided doing the right thing in a desperate endeavour to cling on to power.

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  17. JC (906 comments) says:

    And the elephant in the living room?

    After all that, 40% of NZers still voted for those who formed the most corrupt government of at least the last 100 years. Nearly 5% of our rellies and friends voted for Winston.. after the most graphic and compelling evidence of betrayal we’ve seen since, well, since Winston arrived on the scene decades ago with his reptilian brand of politics.

    JC

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  18. burt (7,797 comments) says:

    So to sum up what toad said….

    The govt were utterly corrupt and self serving and the people got sick and tired of it.

    Yep – I agree with that.

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  19. jacob van hartog (309 comments) says:

    Richard Prebble showed the correct way to respond to allegations of corruption around an MP -….

    This must mean Donna, her rorting ways started once she become a crucial vote in the dying Shipley _ACT- Alamein Kopu government.
    The enquiry found breaches at the highest levels of the cabinet including Tau Henare, Bill English to accomodate her wishes, meaning give me the money or you dont get my vote. She was clever enough to get the money sent to the Trusts she controlled, but there was no accountability for the spending

    [DPF: Her trust did some very good work and was worth funding. No one realised she was stealing money from it. Once the allegations emerged, Prebble acted to push her out of ACT and Parliament in a way that Helen Clark never ever did with Taito Philip Field - in fact she did the opposite]

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  20. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    JC –
    Of that 40%, you’ve got teachers who were scared into voting Labour by the NZEI and PPTA
    You’ve got some parents stupid enough to believe Labour candidates who lied about WFF
    and the rest, who unfortunately too stupid or too blinkered to now fuck off to Australia or in Paul the Wombat’s case, Vancouver.
    Perhaps we could have a Big Whip Round for them? Oh, that’s right, Labour will need them to pay for their overspend once the Party returns are in and they’re found to have broken the law….again.

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  21. wreck1080 (3,726 comments) says:

    >Hagues
    >He was found guilty of not declaring a gift by the privledges committee.

    Are you sure that was what he was found guilty of? It seems an incredibly minor oversight since he was not punished.

    Winnie, has not been found criminally liable for any wrong doing at all.

    Although, I suspect it is the system that is corrupt too.

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  22. Hagues (711 comments) says:

    Been censored (sp?) by parliament was considered punishment. Sure it sounds like a wet bus ticket, but that is what it is.

    I would tend to think that the lack of a criminal prosecution was due to a corrupt system since there was plenty to suggest the appropriate laws were not being adhered to.

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  23. Brian Smaller (3,984 comments) says:

    ” I’m actually getting sick of how many people on the left are now decrying the EFA, when they never spoke up at the time.”

    There is no big bad Helen to scare them into acquiescence now.

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  24. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    Look at me! I HATE lefties too!

    Nice work guys. Very very impressive discussions of the facts we are seeing on this thread.

    [DPF: About as good as your analysis of why the left lost]

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  25. WebWrat (516 comments) says:

    But still people on both sides of the fence say that Clark was a great politician and leader … what utter bullshit! She was a disgraceful, self-serving, power hungry mongrel that didn’t care what she did to this once proud nation. Her coalition partners helped her along, even tho’ they must have known like anyone with an IQ larger than their shoe size that she and Labour had ditched their core principles and were hell bent on the destruction of ours.

    I think of John Key as a surgeon that has performed a successful operation to remove a malignant tumor.

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  26. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    [DPF: About as good as your analysis of why the left lost]

    Pardon? What analysis was that?

    [DPF: My point exactly.]

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  27. Rex Widerstrom (5,254 comments) says:

    Hagues: Winnie was censured, not censored, though god knows he should have been both :-D

    But I see people leaping all over toad… who posted the bits DPF has quoted as a comment on The Standard yesterday. And it was as if your great aunt just sicked up down her Laura Ashley frock. Everyone politely looked the other way and talked about anything but the substance of toad’s comments. Last time I checked the thread I was the only person to have praised toad’s analysis.

    To have not just someone of the left but a reasonably influential person on the left make such admissions is a significant step. Yes, it’s after the fact. Yes, it leaves out some other important reasons. And yes – most disappointingly – it accepts no blame on behalf of the Greens. How one can essentially admit the previous government was arrogant yet overlook Bradford’s role in forcing s59 down people’s throats I don’t know.

    But admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, as they say. And here we have the Greens admitting that Labour and NZF’s corruption was so widespread and so toxic it infected the government they shared. This wouldn’t have made it into “print” if it didn’t reflect the thoughts being harboured amongst influential Greens.

    So let’s not be churlish and instead give some credit for the admission and hope that it leads to some further soul-searching and continued development of the backbone we saw forming when Norman stood up to Winston at the Privileges Committee.

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  28. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    DPF – I fully agree with you (in retrospect) re the EFA, which is the only part of my analysis that you put a serious challenge to.

    I think we stuffed up, and when we could not have got the Government to agree to amendments, or even a further round of submissions, should have put up a bottom line and opposed it unless they moved.

    All good in hindsight though. I’m quite happy to admit what I think was a mistake on behalf of the Greens in that regard – no-one has perfect political judgment, otherwise they would be in government forever.

    Um, like Peter Dunne, the eternal Minister of Revenue, who manages to continue in that role despite the compostion of successive governments. Hmm!

    [DPF: Yes agree hindsight is 20/20. And as you said, agree with most of the other stuff. I would add on Cullen's resistance to tax cuts as a major factor]

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  29. reid (15,918 comments) says:

    Yeah but Toad do you want to make a difference or be Minister of Revenue?

    Look I’m sure many agree with Rex’s summation and good on you for being so forthcoming.

    I’m usually much less interested however in the “what” than I am in the “why.” To that end, what puzzles me is that the issues you cite and quite frankly there are many others that in my view also contributed to the result, were self-evident not only in hindsight but at the very time. You go back through the threads and you’ll see all the conservative blogs emerging with similar themes to the ones you cite above, but saying so at the time the issue was developing.

    In other words, you could see the writing on the wall and your polling must have been telling you a broadly similar story, at least I hope it was. So I can’t see how you can plead ignorance at the time, the writing was very large, in big letters.

    Therefore, why didn’t you listen – you had the eyes and ears, you can’t plead ignorance of that. Furthermore the issues were ethically clear, there was no doubt as to what was the ethically correct position on all those issues. My hypothesis is that you traded the lessor evil. You exchanged your finely honed principles of doing what is right, just and true; in order to avoid collaborating with the enemy.

    Two q’s:
    1) if it wasn’t that then what was it?
    2) of all the parties in politics I imagine you see yourselves as one of, if not the, most principled. What is it about the conservative brand that leads you to prefer to betray such a high ideal rather than associate yourselves with them even if only peripherally?

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  30. WebWrat (516 comments) says:

    “Therefore, why didn’t you listen – you had the eyes and ears, ……”

    Arrogance.

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  31. reid (15,918 comments) says:

    See that’s what puzzles me WebWrat. Liarbore are arrogant, Greens aren’t.

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  32. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    reid: I’ve acknowledged that I think the Greens stuffed up in agreeing to support the EFA in its final form.

    The problem that National had in getting Green support is that many of their policies ran in a totally opposite direction to Green policies – especially in the environmental area.

    For example, the Nats propose circumventing due process and fast-tracking development proposals of “national significance” (which means whatever the Minister deems it to mean) under the Resource Management Act. Totally contradictory to Green policy – environmental sustainability is more important than short-term economic gain.

    The Nats propose lifting the moratorium on thermal electricity generation (which will even allow new and seriously polluting coal-fired stations). There is no need for additional coal, or for that matter, any other thermal electricity generation source. All the evidence indicates that renewable energy sources can meet all our immediate needs.

    I could cite a few others that run totally contrary to Green policy, but don’t want to take up too much space here.

    The point is, that the Green Party, under the democratic mandate of its AGM, assessed the policies and programmes of National and Labour, and determined that they could potentially support Labour to form a Government, too much of National’s policy ran in a contradictory direction to the Greens for this to be viable with our membership and most of our voters.

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  33. reid (15,918 comments) says:

    Yeah sure toad I understand that. What I’m asking though is even if in general terms you supported Labour why didn’t you at the time, stand up for truth and justice when Labour crossed the line of palpaple transgression?

    The Greens have always been a far more principled wing of the political left, as is Jim Anderton. Sometimes you need to make that call even if it’s only to show your supporters that you truly stand by what you profess and yet, even when there were multiple opportunities which could have been done without pulling down the temple, neither of you made any attempt.

    Why?

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  34. xenophon (25 comments) says:

    You would think that after 30 years of trying (unsuccessfully) to participate in government, the Values / Greens bloc, which fervently preached the virtues of MMP, would understand that the whiole system is based on having no fundamental principles. What you are saying Toad, is that the Greens are so pure and principled that they cannot contemplate supporting a National led administration despite the serial rejections you have had from the Left. That is why you will never achieve political power and relevance, and will remain a largely single issue pressure group – a victim of the fatally flawed system you fought so hard to implement.

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  35. francis (712 comments) says:

    The EFA was such a bitter pill that the Greens actually lost staff over it. Integrity does live somewhere inside the Green movement. I wish those voices were listened to by the leadership.

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  36. JC (906 comments) says:

    Reid,

    “Why?”

    Because they became a political party as opposed to a ginger group.

    Ask yourself who and what inspired the RMA.. the non existent Green party or the Native Forests Action Council, Greenpeace and several others?
    Ask how come NZ has nearly the worst carbon record in the developed world with the Greens on the political ticket?
    Ask how come the political Greens are old when the NFAC was peopled with people in their 20s and 30s?
    Ask why the Greens need far left social policies to tick over the 5%?

    One answer to these questions is that the major parties outflanked the Greens on green issues well over a decade ago and left them with outdated and unworkable policies from the USSR.

    And how come wealthy countries have the better to best pollution control compared to socialist and poor countries?
    And why no clean nuclear power?

    And why is it getting colder?

    JC

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  37. 3-coil (1,200 comments) says:

    Toad – that is a reasonably impressive list of Labour’s dodgy dealings, but it does beg one simple question: why were the Greens so fucking stupid to hitch their wagon to such a corrupt bunch of crooks?

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  38. reid (15,918 comments) says:

    Yeah JC but, (the dreaded but…. maybe an ‘and’ or an ampersand… :))

    Sure, understand imperatives of political vs ginger groups but as I say, they could still called Liarbore on at least one issue if not more, without pulling down the temple

    Don’t know history of RMA – always assumed Upton had designed it but unknown as to his input/impetus

    Understand Greens have diverse support segments, some perhaps quite “unusual” e.g. commies, but surely they aren’t in toto over 1%???

    Understand Greens’ agenda has become somewhat outflanked by majors. However surely this is recoverable by “whiter than white” strategies etc???

    Personally I agree with your comments and q’s re: AGW and nuclear power, but is this relevant to the issue? As 3-coil puts it, “why were the Greens so fucking stupid to hitch their wagon to such a corrupt bunch of crooks?”

    Seriously it’s a genuine mystery to me, as to why the Greens, being politically sophisticated after many Parliamentary terms, decided not to call their coalition partner on acts that clearly and evidentially violate their ethical code of “good guy fair play.”

    Can you imagine ACT not calling the Nats if the Nats decided for some reason to do something fiscally nuts? They would do it in a heartbeat, agreement or not. Exactly the same parallel applies. I guarantee there is nothing in the relevant agreements either then or now that stops any party from calling out their coalition partners in such circumstances.

    So why didn’t they do it?

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  39. WebWrat (516 comments) says:

    # reid (1380) Vote: Add rating 3 Subtract rating 1 Says:
    November 18th, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    See that’s what puzzles me WebWrat. Liarbore are arrogant, Greens aren’t.

    Sorry reid … just spotted your reply.

    Isn’t it arrogant to keep ramming their old fashioned, socialist bullshit down our throats when it is obvious that the majority of Kiwis don’t want a bar of it. A heap of Kiwis have rellies, friends or other close ties to people that went to Europe, Korea and Viet Nam to fight against this totalitarian crap.

    Or are they just naive and dogmatic.

    Look at the kudos/votes JK got from showing a bit of integrity by not wanting to deal with Winnie.

    Greens could have prospered and gained a bit of respect by showing some spine (glad they didn’t) and standing up to that other crowd instead of believing the medias constant Labour=good message and crawling up their arse.

    Note to Toad: Do you notice that most Greens discussion is of your negative/commo side and very little about what could be your positive/environmental side. Doesn’t that tell you anything?

    Most independant, free thinking individuals abhore being steriotyped, constrained and dictated to.

    My dear old Dad earned … I’ll say that again … earned the DFC and bar fighting against what you want to do to us.

    As long as my arse points down, you will never convice me that you are taking the right approach.

    Think about it.

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  40. WebWrat (516 comments) says:

    I also want to say Toad, that I haven’t bothered reading your stuff that DPF has quoted at the top. You are just trying a ploy to earn a few brownie points now that you find you are relics of the last failed administration.

    Well too late Ethal … you should have been speaking out when it was all happening.

    The odd token gesture was seen for what it was …. the odd token gesture which paled in comparison to your social engineering.

    At the end of the day, a little bit of integrity goes a long way.

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  41. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (856 comments) says:

    Reid, the RMA was invented by Geoffrey Palmer, Upton just introduced it and made it happen. The theory remains elegant. Problem is that theories often are, but give it to Council planning departments to implement without guidance (or accountability) and what a lot of fun its been.

    Toad is rewriting history.

    The farcical “polling” of supporters before the election. At the time the Greens actually said that the environmental policies of labour and national were pretty similar. The reasons the Greens wouldnt look at National was that National’s “social equity” policies were the antithesis of “green” positions.

    Now Toad is trying to pretend it was environmental differences. Naughty naughty toad, there’s a pot of boiling water with your name on it for that.

    I would comment that perhaps the greens were beginning to realise that their supporters actually had an environmental perspective and weren’t that keen on the hard communism expounded by Norman, Bradford, Locke, delahunty etc. (ie., back to the middle-class wishywashyness of kedgely). But he, as Napoleon said, never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake.

    Oh and toad, still proud of your section 59 trophy victory? – made any kids safer has it?

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  42. dad4justice (7,736 comments) says:

    Oh Toad, what the lefty green party done to address appalling child abuse statistics? Kids are vulnerable when Utopian dreamers start up the pc- nanny state social engineering machine of madness. Bring on boot camps and crunch a tree hugger. By the RIGHT March!

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  43. Scott (1,703 comments) says:

    I think Toads reasons are all valid. However I would add, as others have done, the anti-smacking bill which alienated many of the Labour party working-class faithful.

    I did read the link to Michael Bassett’s analysis as well. He accuses Helen Clark and labour of seeking power for powers sake and having no principles.

    I actually think the driving force of Helen Clark and many of the radical elements of the Labour party has been the liberalisation of laws relating to gay rights. I think Helen is passionate about gay rights and she put controversial legislation through such as the civil unions bill, despite massive opposition, because she believes in it. A fourth Labour term would have given us even more radical legislation — lowering of the age of consent, transsexuals as the next victimised group and probably legislation approving of polygamous relationships.

    Thank God we have been spared another three years of social engineering!

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  44. Ryan Sproull (7,027 comments) says:

    I actually think the driving force of Helen Clark and many of the radical elements of the Labour party has been the liberalisation of laws relating to gay rights.

    Liberalisation, or “freedom-making”.

    A fourth Labour term would have given us even more radical legislation — lowering of the age of consent, transsexuals as the next victimised group and probably legislation approving of polygamous relationships.

    Hey, if it was good enough for King Solomon, it’s good enough for us.

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  45. big bruv (13,227 comments) says:

    Come on Toad, who do you think you are fooling when you say that “The problem that National had in getting Green support is that many of their policies ran in a totally opposite direction to Green policies – especially in the environmental area”?

    The Labour govt had an appalling environmental record yet you chose to go with them, the choice you guys made had nothing to do with the environment, hell you only mentioned the environment as an aside.

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  46. Manolo (13,339 comments) says:

    The Luddites love to muddy the waters to confuse the unsupecting public, but regardless of this tactic it’s obvious that Labour’s bad track record was only possible with the help of the Green Party.

    They did support every piece of legislation Labour submitted, and did their best to get their “clean” hands on the public purse. Their appetite for control has been their downfall.

    I’m very happy with what the recent election has delivered to the motley array of socialists, communists, unrepentant hippies, tree-huggers and lunatics that make up the Green Party.

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  47. JC (906 comments) says:

    Reid,

    Think about two of the most impressive pressure groups of the last 40 years. The environmentalists who pushed and prodded govts from the 60s to 80s. A lot of it was crap, but there was enough substance in it to move people into insisting the govt do something about the environment.
    To a person those Greens were young, attractive and fired up. They told lots of lies sure, but the power of their speeches was undeniable.. Guy Salmon and Gwenny Davis, the American/Canadian born firecracker Molly Melish, and the attractive, quiet but enormously elequent Fitzsimons. They researched well and picked holes in the govt’s arguments and exposed the often confused objectives of national policy.

    And second, the Business Roundtable, with it’s quality analysis that moved ministers like Prebble to say there were no counter arguments of similar quality.

    There’s been no similar quality of passion, integrity and quality discussion since MMP and the politicization of lobby groups and think tanks.. just the dreary old socialist cant that was rubbished so thoroughly over 20 years ago. Now we have to rely on politicians to do our thinking for us.. and we are the poorer for it.

    JC

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  48. adc (534 comments) says:

    hey toad

    surely we owe it to the world to burn our own 2000 years of coal in our own “clean” high-tech coal-fired stations, rather than sell it to China and India to burn in their old smelly ones? We’d be doing the world a favour right?

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  49. adc (534 comments) says:

    p.s. toad, you forgot the one that alienated 80% of the population…. Tavarish Bradford and her messing with families… and the LIES….

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  50. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    adc said: you forgot the one that alienated 80% of the population…. Tavarish Bradford and her messing with families

    No I didn’t forget it – it was quite intentionally not on my list. I have addressed it in a comment in response to a similar assertion over at g.blog.

    I don’t agree that s59 had a huge impact in turning voters away from the centre-left. It has to be remembered that National supported the Bill once the compromise position had been agreed.

    If s59 were a huge issue for voters, I would have expected the two parties that formed as a direct consequence of its amendment (the Kiwi Party and the Family Party) and strongly opposed it to make a significant impact at the election. But on election night they together received a miniscule 0.89% of the vote.

    I would also have expected the Greens, who led the s59 amendment, to be punished electorally if it were a huge issue for voters. Instead, the Greens were the only party with a cooperation agreement in support of the last government to swim against the outgoing tide and increase their percentage of the vote.

    Where I think s59 did make an impact was in John Key’s successful potrayal of himself as the broker of the compromise that allowed the amendment to be passed with the support of the vast majority of Parliament rather than a slim majority. I believe that was a turning point in creating the public perception of him as an inclusive politician and of the National Party as moving away from the hard right ideology of the Brash leadership – a perception that National needed to create if it were to pick up the votes of people in the centre who are more appreciative of pragmatism than ideology.

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  51. reid (15,918 comments) says:

    JC, diety, WebWrat, good points and thanks for the info.

    toad, IMO s59 was a breaking point for many blue-collar people who had had enough of social engineering. In my view it contributed to the generally low turnout and I’m waiting for an analysis of the turnout figures in conservative vs lefty booths. If I’m right then it’s the people who didn’t vote that cost the left dearly.

    I agree with your astute observation in the 4th para however.

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  52. adc (534 comments) says:

    toad. I don’t agree with your reasoning about S.59.. this is what I reckon.

    1. 80% of the public felt sold-out by John Key when he came to an agreement about the S.59 bill and National voted for it, instead of against it. I believe he did this because

    a) the bill was going through anyway, it had the numbers
    b) they didn’t want to annoy all the bill proponents who were kicking up a filthy putrid stink labelling anyone who opposed the bill as child molesters or worse. I think they mistakenly believed the proportion of the public that supported the bill was higher than it was due to the hugely disproportionate amount of noise coming from the activists supporting it, and the biased media coverage of it.

    If you recall in the end, only Act and Taito Philip Fields voted against it. Maybe that’s why Act party vote went up. The Family party wasn’t really an option for voters, but Act was, due to Epsom. I think JK turning around on the bill was a mistake, they should have had the balls to stick to their guns.

    2. It was an issue for voters. Even with the referendum, where the voters knew that they would get their say on it finally. They also knew that Labour had used delay tactics (didn’t want to commit electoral suicide by reminding people about the rort on polling day), and would probably ignore the referendum anyway like the last couple. So a vote for Labour was a vote to ignore the referendum result.

    3. You think the greens weren’t punished? I think they were. Get rid of Bradford and the communists and you’ll greatly improve your seats at the next election, if there’s anything left you can make a point of difference on.

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