Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Day After Tomorrow

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  • simon g, in reply to BenWilson,

    Eventually that massive sector of the Green support who voted for them so we could get the National Party again will surely rear its head.

    Yep. They've had plenty of encouragement to do so, but they do seem remarkably shy.

    Regardless of the make-up of the next government, these Centrist greens (or Pure greens, or whatever they will call themselves) will have up to three years to organise and choose one of two options: a) good old-fashioned entryism, to change the Green Party from within, or b) forming a new party to harness this huge desire for Unleft Greenery and storm the 5% citadel next election.

    It's not as if they'd have a problem getting seed money. Every astroturfer from the Free Speech Coalition to the Taxpayers' Union would be happy to share their mailing lists (which are probably identical). And they would get plenty of headlines. All they'll be missing is voters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to simon g,

    whatever they will call themselves

    you kind of suggest it yourself: Astroturf Party (for fake greenery, and fake concern).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to linger,

    How can they have meaningful data on this at all?

    Yep, I asked myself the same question.

    Here's the authors explanatory page about the book;
    http://vjmpublishing.nz/?p=3346

    And the link on that page to the data sets on each NZ electorate;
    https://www.parliament.nz/en/mps-and-electorates/electorate-profiles/

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Ah, I see: it isn’t based on correlations between individual voter characteristics and individual voting preference, but rather on correlations between electorate-wide population characteristics and electorate-wide voting preference. (And that means that for now the specials are not included, which may affect the conclusions.) Fair enough. I hope the analysis includes a Bonferroni correction or similar adjustment for the number of significance tests performed, though; otherwise there’s so many potential explanatory variables going in that there’s a risk of getting a large number of spuriously significant results.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    You don’t believe that Jacinda already recaptured all the ex-Labour voters who had drifted into the Green camp?

    absolutely not. im sure because I’m one of them.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Attachment

    Being BlueGreen.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls,

    So keeping the Greens happy is the price of keeping National in power.
    But getting National out of power is the price of giving the country a sustainable future.

    Fairly easy calculation if you are genuinely supportive of green issues, I'd have thought.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 325 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to BenWilson,

    Keep talking up the blue greens.

    I'm not. Have never felt the slightest inclination to do so. I'm commenting on how the Nats' desperation to conjure up an alternative to Winston is playing in our media, and the bearing that the play has on our collective destiny.

    With regard to that, it became obvious long ago that the future of western civilisation requires us to shift towards a sustainable society. I joined the Greens after the 1990 election to help make it happen. We were anti-establishment twenty years earlier, due to the left being as much a part of the problem as the right. That's why we became neither left nor right. If the left ever decides to co-create a sustainable society with us, I'll be delighted. I have no problem giving our leftist greenies credit for the work they've been doing to make it happen (whilst criticising them for preventing us representing the Green movement as a whole).

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    How else do you explain the 10% drop??

    This authors analysis suggests some of it was in part a move to TOP;

    http://vjmpublishing.nz/?p=4785

    Annoying and frustrating. It looks like a whole bunch of salaried educated Green voters threw away their vote to TOP. If you were a cynical conspiracy theorist you might even suggest that that was the intent of TOP in the first place.

    To some degree I understand their frustration with The Greens, I feel it myself. The Greens are the only party with real climate change policies and real commitment to environmental values. But there is also a bunch of woo in The Greens. I love the social values and the commitment to equality but I can also see why some folks would rather see that policy not be the primary focus.

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

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Continuing the general theme of "unsolicited advice for the Greens from uninformed sources", here's the latest: the Rotorua Daily Post manages three factual errors in one short editorial. Helpfully available on the NZ Herald website, in the ignorance-sharing process known as Hosking (I hosk, you hosk, everybody hosk).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I'm completely convinced that the Nats are totally scared of doing a deal with Winston, and equally scared that he'll make a deal with the red/greens, and that the current overture to the Greens is a cynical ploy to get some leverage over Winston.

    However I do think this is a wonderful chance for the Greens to troll the Nats big time, I think it starts with a quiet note to Winston: "here, hold my beer while I go and mess with their heads" so Winston knows they're not really serious ... the the Greens partake in a public bidding war with the Nats (it's sort of already started), getting them to offer more and more as "reasonable environmental policies" that the Nats think they could agree to .... this could move the center of acceptable environmental policy for the future without the Greens agreeing to anything and leaving Winston free to do his thing

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    That’s why we became neither left nor right.

    I can't speak for the party or it's members, or you, or your motivations or political analysis. But I can speak to the supporters, being one, and having seen analysis of their views, and I assure you, they are of the Left. I voted for the Greens in a large part because they are of the Left. In answer to your question of whether every former Labour voter abandoned the Greens already for Ardern, the answer is a clear no in my case, although if the Greens seek to jettison my take on their Leftness, I will certainly jettison my support for them in future.

    This is not some unwelcome hitching of my baggage onto the Greens, it is a response to their stated policy and my own view that environmentalism is deeply and fundamentally at odds with the free market views of our current political right. I don't actually place environmentalism that high in how I prioritize political agendas, but it is so strongly correlated with other aspects of social justice and sensible planning for the future that it makes no odds for me. If the Greens revert to being a party that places cleaning rivers ahead of child poverty and homelessness and gets in bed with National, I will dump them immediately. It was their unambiguous statements over a long period of time to the effect that these core values matter to them that places my alignment near them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to BenWilson,

    I assure you, they are of the Left

    I assure you they aren't. That's just your perception, not the reality. To get the reality (acknowledge the twin tribes within) you'll have to ditch that binary frame you're using. The triadic frame originated in the late sixties, so the only valid excuse for ignorance that younger generations have is that they're too busy struggling to survive to learn from history. Okay, fair enough, but why not try another tribal view from the real Greens, that of Nandor Tanczos: https://nandor.net.nz/2017/09/29/the-politics-of-green-coalitions/

    His view is from a much younger generation than me, but he's correct nonetheless. So it is actually possible for younger Greens to suss the deep nature of political reality - it's only the ideological blinkers they wear that prevent leftist greens from seeing the big picture. However they have no valid excuse for their unethical conduct when they try to get away with their pretence that non-aligned Greens don't exist, when they still constitute the unrepresented tribe within the Green Party.

    Such behaviour is also undemocratic. Our leftists should be ashamed of themselves. Democracy is meant to be inclusive, and in our era that means minority groups get to be recognised and represented. And Russel Norman's straw poll at our 2015 conference is evidence that our tribe is actually bigger than the leftist greens.

    Remember when James Shaw told us that 18% of voters in the 2014 election considered voting Green but didn't? I suggested the Greens explore this potential via further polling. I take the fact that we've not been informed of progress on that as implying that they did but didn't like what they discovered: relatively few such potential Green voters are leftists. That's why the leftist parliamentary alignment is operating as a hand-brake on the progress of the Greens in Aotearoa.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Several caveats are necessary when looking at the results of those correlational analyses. They’re interesting, but I’d regard them as indicative rather than conclusive.
    (i) Based on correlation only, and data is electorate-population-level, not individual-level, so the chain between evidence and causal interpretation is very indirect. Strictly, the evidence behind a claim such as

    the correlation between being aged 5-14 and voting Green increased sharply, from -0.42 in 2014 to -0.08 in 2017

    is of the form “people who live in areas where there are larger numbers of young children than average were slightly less likely than average to vote Green; but they were even more strongly less likely to vote Green in 2014”. (Which perhaps means that people in such areas were less likely to abandon the Greens in 2017, and possibly indicates that parents of young children were less likely to abandon the Greens in 2017, though that is an extra interpretive leap.)
    (ii) Pearson correlation coefficients are highly sensitive to outliers, and it only takes a few very oddly-behaving electorates (say, because one local candidate is personally popular and attracts more votes for their party than the national average) to create significant associations, or conversely, to mask otherwise consistent associations. (Changes in high-profile personnel may be an important confound when looking at changes in correlation between 2014 and 2017.)
    (iii) 9000 correlations were analyzed. Sounds impressive, but I would actually regard it as a problem, as it becomes impossible to attach a reliable statistical significance level to any one result among this number. The analysis doesn’t seem to have corrected reported significance for the number of tests performed.
    (iv) The results do not yet include the 15% of specials. If the special votes are distributed unevenly by electorate, or demographically, or by party preference, the correlation matrix may change considerably.
    (v) Results for smaller parties will be especially uncertain, as the numbers of supporters per electorate are relatively small, and those supporters may not necessarily be typical of the electorate population.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to linger,

    Several caveats

    Believe me I'm very conscious of those caveats and you are absolutely right to point them out.

    It's exactly the kind of problem you see all the time in genomics where more data points makes rare events almost certain and it's all too easy to make up stories to explain why gene X might affect trait Y, when the only reason gene X looks interesting is because you examined 20000 genes so of course some would correlate with trait Y.

    That said, the same principle that applies to genomics applies here - the data gives you a set of possibly interesting data (genes). Now go out and use some other method to disprove or support.

    We already have some of that data in the form of some of the people who said they switched to TOP from The Greens but that data is suspect as well. If I were in The Greens and really wanted to know, I'd take this data for some electorates and go and do some door knocking to try and actually understand first IF the data is real and second nail down the cause.

    PS thanks to whomever fixed my flub with the quote :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    To get the reality (acknowledge the twin tribes within) you’ll have to ditch that binary frame you’re using.

    No, you just have to understand that when you measure a new dimension you don't magically kill the old ones. Just because there is altitude doesn't take away that you also have a latitude, and a longitude. It could be zero, but 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.

    Furthermore, I think we are talking at cross purposes, because I am referring to what people who actually vote Green think, not what Green official ideology is. I don't care about that very much, just what they have claimed their policy to be and what they have publicly emphasized.

    And Russel Norman’s straw poll at our 2015 conference is evidence that our tribe is actually bigger than the leftist greens.

    I'm not much interested in tribal analysis. I don't think it's anywhere near as simple as that. The views of millions of individuals, including the many thousands who voted Green, including myself, are varied, and when you actually take the time to do large scale samples, rather than straw polls at conferences, inquiring into the broad range of beliefs and sample the entire voting population, it becomes actually very hard to distinguish the clusters that people think exist. You want to simplify it down to one or two crucial issues and make it all about that.

    I don't really know where you're going with this "unethical" and "undemocratic" line. Did you get your vote struck off in one of the meetings or something? People disagreeing with you is exactly how democracy works, and there's nothing unethical about that.

    If you're right, it should be fairly readily apparent in Green polling of their own membership and support. I suggest that what is apparent is the opposite, which is why no one even wants to bother with the subgroup who are close enough to National to consider a deal. The party would fragment, and could be completely destroyed. That might happen anyway, if it turns out this group is large enough to achieve that. But I would not bank on it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    flub

    Not yours - the site doesn't honour end quote tags straight after certain characters. Inserting an extra trailing space is the workaround.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to linger,

    the chain between evidence and causal interpretation is very indirect

    It sure is. This kind of analysis is basically a recipe for spurious correlation.

    Sampling people and asking them would be the more robust way to find out the answer. Of course it is also expensive.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls,

    Patronising claptrap from somebody called Stacey who has apparently earned an opinion column in Stuff: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/97367387/stacey-kirk-honour-above-the-environment-greens-hold-a-deck-of-aces-theyre-refusing-to-play

    While the Greens remain stubbornly ignorant of what they could gain from National, a deal won't work.

    I don't know why she couldn't write "While the Greens are aware of what they could gain from National, they also recognise that a deal won't work and so are not offering one." Except that wouldn't make the Greens look stupid or stubborn, which is the impression I think she wants to put across...

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 325 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to BenWilson,

    I think we are talking at cross purposes, because I am referring to what people who actually vote Green think

    Yes, that's true. Green voters are likely to be mostly influenced by the combination of Green policies and the leftist parliamentary alignment, but 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. This portion of the electorate is larger than all the swing-voters combined, and the latter group produces most of our election outcomes, so discounting the larger group is a big mistake!

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • 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 • 19740 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 • 1942 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 • 10657 posts Report Reply

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