Dom Post on Labour and Greens

May 29th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Yesterday’s Dom Post editorial:

It is a toss-up which is more embarrassing for the Party – former associate immigration minister Shane Jones’ explanation for granting citizenship to a shadowy Chinese millionaire with multiple identities or leader David Shearer’s initial acceptance of that explanation.

Not just an initial acceptance, it seems.

However, Labour’s problems go far deeper than Mr Shearer’s timorous leadership and Mr Jones’ quixotic approach to his ministerial responsibilities.

While Labour’s leader and senior spokespeople um and ah about what they would do differently from the Government, its putative ally, the Green Party, is eating its lunch.

Having shed itself of the nutty Sue Bradford, now helping the Mana Party plumb public opinion poll depths, its 14 MPs are bringing a previously unseen focus to environmental issues.

There will be many who shudder at the prospect of the introduction of a carbon tax, and the other tax changes proposed by Green Party co-leader Russel Norman in a pre-Budget article in last week’s . The party’s philosophical objections to major roading projects and its feel-good plans for state-owned power companies are equally alarming.

However, there is no disputing that the know their stuff and are arguing from a position of principle. The contrast with Labour could not be starker. It is apparent every day – in Parliament during question time, and on the airwaves.

The Greens are sharper and more intellectually rigorous. Labour’s MPs give the impression they are waiting to be told by their researchers what the public thinks about an issue before taking a position. The Greens, on the other hand, are setting out to change public opinion.

It is interesting to have the Dominion Post saying this. I made much the same comments in my NZ Herald column a couple of months ago, and concluded that if you are a genuine left-wing voter then it is hard to see why you would vote Labour rather than the Greens.

But while the Greens continue to expose the inadequacies of their Labour opposites, there is little prospect of Labour reasserting itself.

Labour needs to deal with its historical baggage and sort out what it stands for quickly. Otherwise it might as well forget about the 2014 election and start planning for 2017.

The Labour Governments of Helen Clark managed to form Governments on winning around 40% of the vote. Labour’s ambition nowadays seems to be to get 30%, and hope that Greens, Mana and NZ First can get enough votes to propel them into office.

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7 Responses to “Dom Post on Labour and Greens”

  1. onthenumber8 (20 comments) says:

    “Labour’s ambition nowadays seems to be to get 30%, and hope that Greens, Mana and NZ First can get enough votes to propel them into office.”

    The fact is anyone who votes either NZ First or Mana probably wants a Labour led government. I would prefer to see Labour grow some balls and rule out a working relationship with Hone Harawira and Winston Peters and see the voters flock their way.

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  2. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    ‘ The greens are sharper and more intellectually rigorous”, yeah and I’m the queen mother. Just the other morning doctor woo was on the tele telling all that were silly enough to be watching that the only way out of our finical problems is to boost exports. This same idiot if he came to power would instantly impose large carbon taxes on the very same sector of society that is suppose to save the country. Doctor Woo and his poxy party are flakes and are totally full of shit.

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  3. Keeping Stock (9,791 comments) says:

    I disagree Cows; the Greens have played a very smart game so far in the life of this Parliament. Russel Norman has fronted most issues, and Metiria Turei has been kept in the background. I doubt whether that is accidental. And several times when she has been asking transport questions, Julie Anne Genter has been moved forward into Turei’s bench; is this a sign of things to come perhaps?

    It’s just a pity that Russel screwed up with his “chicken” jibe last week; up to then he had hardly put a foot wrong in terms of presentation (as much as I dislike his politics), and was looking far more authoritative than either David Shearer or the old codger from St Mary’s Bay.

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  4. Paulus (2,298 comments) says:

    The Greens, principally women are far better Educated than the Unionists, Queers, and Teachers in Labour.
    Most of the Greens are white, middle class and University educated to a high degree.
    They are confident in their abilities to portray a well diverse party.

    Frankly they frighten me as they are only interested in their own process, and are firm in their belief that only they are right.

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  5. YesWeDid (1,003 comments) says:

    It’s only a matter of time before we have a Labour/Green coalition government.

    If I was a National party supporter I’d be furious that they are wasting their time in government idly ambling along hoping the economy magically comes right while doing a big fat load of nothing.

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  6. mikenmild (8,890 comments) says:

    ‘wasting their time in government idly ambling along hoping the economy magically comes right while doing a big fat load of nothing’
    You know they are the National Party, right? Not exactly a track record of doing much.

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  7. s.russell (1,486 comments) says:

    The Labour Party does too have a strong core of high principle that it loses no opportunity to advocate for. That principle is protecting the rag bag of special interests that give it money and support. Thye party does not dare espouse any more coherent philosophy, as any philosophy acceptable to those special interests would repel middle New Zealand. So it fudges, calls black white and white black, demands incompatible things and tries its best to focus on trivialities rather than core issues on which its lack of coherent thought might be exposed. It is hard to see how it can escape this trap.

    The Greens passionately believe in their (nutty) philosophy and are principled, coherent and consistent in their advocacy. This gives them a huge advantage over Labour. I fear that a Labour-Green Government will actually be a Green-Labour one because the Greens will be the ones with the ideas, intellectual firepower and energy to drive the agenda. Heaven help us.

    Much as more radical action might be justified on economic grounds, National is rightly cautious because fickle voters could easily hand power to the left without thinking about it (remember that National only won by 1 seat last year). However those who accuse National of doing nothing obviously have their eyes shut. It is actually doing a very great many small things that add up to huge improvements in productivity – especially in the government sector.

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