Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: The Day After Tomorrow

154 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 3 4 5 6 7 Newer→ Last

  • simon g,

    In one master stroke, Jim Bolger brilliantly pulls back the curtain on the whole Nat-Green fantasy, by using an analogy so jaw-droppingly absurd that nobody - not even the bored press gallery - can take this story and its promoters seriously any more.

    On TV3's The Project Bolger said that the Greens need a Rosa Parks. If they had one, they would negotiate with National.

    Credit to Jesse Mulligan for keeping a straight face. The audience couldn't.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to BenWilson,

    I put it to you that the average Green position on the Left-Right direction is NOT in the middle, it is NOT more Right wing than Labour. I agree that it is more "Green" than Labour.

    Yes, that's the warping effect of the leftist parliamentary alignment. The alignment warps the position of the Green movement in the public mind because it confines Green political representation to the leftist Greens only. As you note, we agree this allows our leftist greenies to differentiate themselves from Labour, but do you not see the disenfranchisement it causes to the authentic Greens within the party? Those who self-identify as neither left nor right, I mean. Those who entered politics to represent the entire Green movement on an authentic basis.

    I get the definite impression that you either don't believe people like me exist, or you don't believe the Green Party ought to represent us. It puzzles me. I empathise with the concern you expressed re going with the Nats, but I don't go along with your assumptions around doing so. For instance I can't currently think of any of our current policies that I'd support changing. The Political Compass website located me precisely in the center of the left-libertarian quadrant: the red dot showed up on my certificate printout right in the middle of Bernie Sanders' face. But values politics making me an archetypal leftist doesn't affect my choice to reject both left & right political alignments which has guided me continuously since 1971 (identity politics frame). It's identity politics which creates the political contexts for folks to work together for mutual benefits.

    Collaboration derives more from people identifying with each other than shared values. Have you operated as a political activist? If so, in what contexts? Participation often changes our views, I've found. Most blog commentators seem to lack practical political experience. When someone comments from both personal experience as well as a dispassionate observer's perspective, that combination of insider & outsider views conveys more helpful information to interested others...

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    those who have (like me) been part of the Green movement their whole lives and vote Green in rejection of the left/right accordingly. This portion of the electorate is larger than all the swing-voters combined

    Do you have evidence for that?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    For me there’s an almost total disjunct between conservatism (“we should keep doing what we’re doing now, because that’s working out really well so far for me and my mates personally”) and conservation (“we should preserve the environment against change that would otherwise threaten future choices and freedoms”). I don’t see any possible common ground between “conservative” lassez-faire capitalism and social or environmental sustainability. I do see considerable common ground between environmental sustainability and social sustainability, in terms of having a commitment to being pro-active rather than reactive, being future-oriented rather than past-oriented, seeking to help all others rather than just those like you, and setting quantifiable long-term goals, together with a realistic plan for achieving them, measured against shorter-term benchmarks. As long as National is characterised by short-term minimal managerialism, it’s not a suitable vehicle for Green objectives. So, “blue-greens” … well, I’m willing to believe they may exist, but on both a theoretical basis and a practical basis it’s not obvious to me how. Can you explain this position in more concrete terms?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1930 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    you seem to be discounting those who have (like me) been part of the Green movement their whole lives and vote Green in rejection of the left/right accordingly.

    No, I'm aware of you, I just don't think your specific position represents anything like a majority in the support of the Green Party.

    As you note, we agree this allows our leftist greenies to differentiate themselves from Labour, but do you not see the disenfranchisement it causes to the authentic Greens within the party? Those who self-identify as neither left nor right, I mean. Those who entered politics to represent the entire Green movement on an authentic basis.

    The disenfranchisement you feel is actually a consequence of lacking the numbers, even within the Green movement, to actualize power around your "authentic" position, which is, of course, no more authentic than anyone else's. What you entered politics for does not raise the value of your vote.

    I get the definite impression that you either don’t believe people like me exist, or you don’t believe the Green Party ought to represent us.

    Not at all. I think it represents you well out of proportion to your actual numbers, but I don't have a problem with that. Environmentalism is the origin and soul of the Green movement. But as it's become larger it's also become broader, and more sophisticated. It's not a one-issue party any more.

    The Political Compass website located me precisely in the center of the left-libertarian quadrant: the red dot showed up on my certificate printout right in the middle of Bernie Sanders’ face

    Ergo, you are left wing.

    But values politics making me an archetypal leftist doesn’t affect my choice to reject both left & right political alignment

    I get that your position along that axis is not what you consider most important. But I'm yet to see the numbers on how it goes with the Green voters as a whole group that convince me they'd be willing en masse to sacrifice that position along the Left-Right axis (and every issue that make it up) purely for environmentalist concessions. I think they'd object both on moral and practical grounds. Moral because it involves giving up lots of important belief structures. Practically because environmentalism is fundamentally a matter of human self control and regulation, something that is anathema to the political Right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    maybe it's a leftist position, but it's pretty clear the laissez faire policies National holds at its core are damaging both the environmental and social fabric, in a very much connect manner.
    of course it's a terrible position for poor national, to have only the one option, NZF. having another would, at the least, give them so much more bargaining clout. But beyond a misunderstanding of green thinking (which sees people and ecology as part of the same whole) has anyone - any of the commentariat who push this unlikely partnership - given any serious examples of what national might offer?
    that's the rub, alas. while they keep scoffing 'fart tax' and nanny state, there's just nothing there.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2109 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Why don't we all cut the bullshit and just say the major block on any Teal Coalition is that the other grand coalition would be the grassroots of both parties uniting to burn the motherfucker down?

    Credit to Jesse Mulligan for keeping a straight face. The audience couldn't.

    Really, I thought they were giggling at Bolger not having Mulligan trying to coalition-splain his arse.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Sacha,

    I joined the Greens after the 1990 election because they got 7% of the total vote, so I read that as indicating enough of the public were rejecting the left & right to make a better future viable. Worth spending my time & energy on. So, because that was prior to the party deciding to adopt the leftist parliamentary alignment, the party was representing the Green movement on the authentic basis.

    When I later persuaded our conference to adopt the leftist alignment, I did so with emphatic advocacy because the Bolger govt had recently enlisted leading environmentalists and the spectre of National capturing the Green movement in Aotearoa loomed large at the time. The need for us to oppose that trend was essential & I don't resile from what I did but do regret inadvertent creation of the sectarianism within the party that has become toxic.

    Seeing that 7% as the bedrock real Green support base, I've watched the oscillations around it at every election since. I predict that special votes will bring the current Green vote up to that and confirm that my opinion remains valid.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    There really is probably room for a second Green party in NZ, but the 5% rule means that such a party will never evolve.

    This really annoys me. I like MMP far more than what came before it, but to me this recent election has been a clearer demonstration of what's been happening for a while now: the small parties are withering away and not being replaced.

    We've had MMP for 21 years. That's 8 elections! So far it's been impossible for any new party to be elected without help from a rogue incumbent, or from another party. ACT and the Alliance both started with incumbents. JA's Progressives had Jim Anderton. The Maori Party started with incumbents. NZ First has been built around a single incumbent's personality cult. The Greens had Helen Clark asking Labour's supporters in Coromandel to elect Fitzsimons. Mana was/is Hone Harawira. United Future has always had Dunne (until now). NO new party has been able to enter parliament without somebody on the inside unlocking the door to let them in, despite several very well resourced parties trying.

    Over that 21 years, these parties have been disappearing and they haven't been replaced. It's only been mildly less obvious because National decided to keep United Future and ACT alive as zombie puppet parties, to exploit overhang thanks to National's instructed supporters in trusted seats, but without those parties having any inspiring policies that anyone realistically wants to vote for. Even NZ First will, most likely, vanish once its leader leaves. Then we'll be left with just Labour, the Greens (if we're lucky), National and possibly a yellow National finger puppet.

    New parties with new ideas that people get inspired by simply cannot break through the 5% barrier, in part because many of those inspired people are too concerned about their vote being wasted and possibly also because the threshold is simply too high. We seriously need to fix this, at least as much as anything else on an incoming government agenda.

    In 2011 we voted to retain MMP with the understanding that there would be a review towards making it work even better. That review was published, and I found it quite offensive when Judith Collins threw it out on arbitrary grounds. It was essentially using the privilege of being in government to trample on everyone who might want to be. Probably Collins and National's strategists were after short term gain, and saw changes as a threat which might allow un-planned parties to come along and challenge National's traditional vote and campaigning style, which largely relies on everyone in that voting bloc being forced to target their vote at a rusty bucket of conflicting ideas.

    That decision of Collins' is finally coming back to bite. National + puppets failed to get enough votes, Labour+Greens failed to get enough votes, and there are so few parties remaining in the mix that the options for forming a government are very limited, and largely reliant on the unpredictable guy who nobody wants to deal with.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to izogi,

    The 5% threshold will be lowered when a party makes it a negotiating bottom line. Not holding my breath for that from either of the big two, though Collins is a particularly disgusting example.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    I read that as indicating enough of the public were rejecting the left & right

    Do we know where the earlier Values party supporters saw themselves?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Sacha,

    Talking about the party of bottom lines, I was surprised to see Tracey Martin, on the final episode of Back Benches, arguing that 5% was a good value for the threshold. Apparently it's the fault of the small parties "for not perfecting the art of surviving".

    If that's a genuine view then I seriously wonder if NZ First MPs, if not just Tracey Martin, are deceived about the impact which their leader has on the votes they get. Or maybe I'm wrong and all those people are voting for the party rather than its leader of exaggerated personality?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    tbh the Commission’s recommendation on thresholds (–> 4%) was too weak, and in combination with the recommendation to remove the so-called “coat-tailing” exception, would not have improved the proportionality of MMP at all — so it was a relief those got tossed, so we can try again.
    As I’ve said before, the threshold should be set below a level equivalent to support that can win more than one electorate (which solves both problems at once). A plurality in an electorate can be reached with votes equivalent to 0.5% of the total, so a 1% threshold is sufficiently high. Sure, this could allow some strange minority views into Parliament; but giving everyone a chance of representation is really the point of a representatative democracy, isn’t it? (And it’s not like we haven’t already had anti-fluoridists, anti-vaccinationists, racists, sexists and bigots in Parliament under our systems to date.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1930 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to linger,

    this could allow some strange minority views into Parliament; but giving everyone a chance of representation is really the point of a representatative democracy, isn’t it?

    Absolutely!

    The idea that we exclude some views from parliament because less than 5% hold those views is just wrong. 5% is 150000 out of the 3 million odd voters!

    By contrast ACT has 11000 voters.

    The coat-tailing is stupid

    But the 5% rule is simply wrong

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to izogi,

    leader of exaggerated personality

    Am I wrong for immediately thinking of the "rodents of unusual size" from The Princess Bride ?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1930 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Seeing that 7% as the bedrock real Green support base

    It's credible. But I still don't buy that a significant proportion of those 7% are not inherently left wing. And the high water marks, the best results ever reached by the Party are almost certainly swingers on the left.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to linger,

    Hi @linger. I agree that the 4% thing really isn't low enough. Certainly if there's not some parallel measure. eg. Giving people an alternative vote, in case their first choice doesn't get enough, would also help people vote for a low-polling party with less concern of their vote being wasted.

    What annoyed me most was the seeming arrogance with which it was rapidly thrown out. There was no serious attempt to even discuss the report nor consider change. National spent the better part of the referendum encouraging everyone to support Supplementary Member, which is really just FPP-lite with a pretend gesture towards proportionality. When that didn't work, it asserted its position in government to block any pathway towards making MMP work more effectively for parties that weren't National.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to izogi,

    Oh yes: the fact that what was tossed wasn't good enough doesn't make the tosser any less of a tosser.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1930 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce Ward,

    Front page of the Press today has Michael Wright arguing that it is time to ditch the threshhold entirely. I like that idea but doubt it will get much traction amongst the elected ...

    Nelson • Since Jul 2011 • 32 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bruce Ward,

    Michael Wright arguing that it is time to ditch the threshhold entirely

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/97467871/analysis-its-time-to-ditch-the-mmp-threshold

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Sacha,

    Do we know where the earlier Values party supporters saw themselves?

    Only partially: their schism was created when those who were not leftists and those who were became unable to collaborate any further. Only someone who participated could say if it was a 50:50 split. That's the members. As far as voting supporters goes, I don't recall if polling was done to find out - maybe someone else here knows? I'd guess that they'd all self-identify as progressive, whereas Labour pretended to be progressive but was obviously part of the establishment.

    Because I was part of the earlier more-radical green movement, I never took Values seriously, only voting for them in '78 because Shadbolt had become one of them. They were suit-wearers, so nobody in the counter-culture identified with them in the early seventies, and the counter-culture was mostly apolitical anyway. We were non-violent in those years when radical leftists were fighting the establishment in countries all over the world. Fighting doesn't work anymore. We sussed that in the sixties as teenagers, so the leftists in our generation seemed antiquated. But I hung out in the Resistance Bookshop with them. It was just across the road from the Town Hall in Ak, constantly full of people with hair as long as you could get it to grow, an intense ferment of a multitude of simultaneous conversations, very trendy...

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Sacha,

    I like that: essentially the same outcome as, but simpler mechanism than, a 1% threshold.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1930 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    their schism was created when those who were not leftists and those who were became unable to collaborate any further

    Like the German green realos vs fundis?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Sacha,

    Like the German green realos vs fundis?

    Interesting question. The easy answer is yes, but political reality is always composed of nuances and complexities, so the simplest response is misleading. Political reality is created via praxis (rather than via political philosophy or values).

    You can probably say that alignments and paradigms (belief systems) create the political context in which the players operate, but I believe identifications are the primary motivators because they produce tribal affiliations ("these people are my crowd, I belong here"). The rise of identity politics in the commentariat was produced by the global shift away from ideology in the seventies.

    But the deeper answer to your question explains the realos/fundis divide as pragmatists versus purists: those prioritising short-term gains from compromising their principles & those prioritising adherence to their trajectory toward the sustainable society. It's a false dichotomy in my opinion: competent political players can do both simultaneously.

    From an holistic perspective, the common good or public interest is best served by those who collaborate to do so, and their praxis is what produces the real progress that politics sometimes produces. Our problems derive from identity politics promoting (sectarianism) competition between groups rather than collaboration between them - which is what MMP was meant to enhance. So our current challenge is to make the MoU work & extend consensus to include NZF in order to get the change to a better government.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to izogi,

    Why don't we all cut the bullshit and just say the major block on any Teal Coalition is that the other grand coalition would be the grassroots of both parties uniting to burn the motherfucker down?

    If NZ First somehow manages to survive Winston's retirement, it'll probably and unfortunately be on the back of the twin tidalwaves of Brexitism & Trumpism - I sometimes wonder if there's always going to be a protest vote for NZers cynical of both major parties. As for the Greens, they're the only minor party to have an active succession plan and stand out in their own right, rather than being dependent on major parties to prop them up. A good MMP threshold for NZ would be anywhere between 3-4%, so long as the coat-tail clause is scrapped (we're looking at you, Judith).

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 3 4 5 6 7 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.