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Monday, April 04, 2011

Do the Greens have all the political offensive tactics of a moss?

The Greens frustrate the hell out of me.

On the one hand every word passed by their silky sweet lips I endorse 1000%! They are the only Party that is future proofing by calculating climate change, peak oil and the need for a greener transformation of sustainability into our economic structure. Their stance on human rights is inspiring and their tireless championing of justice is to be admired. Their MP's are intelligent and always well considered and passionate about the need for change.

They are quite simply the tops.

But that's where I part company. The thing that drives me up the bloody wall about the Greens is that they have all the political offensive tactics of a moss. Every election they get beaten up by Labour and abused, or in the case of National, used. Their Ghandi-esk no violence approach to the bear pit of bare knuckle politics, as wonderfully idealistic as that is, just doesn't exist in the real world, and I hate to point this out, but if National get elected, the environment will be the least of your worries.

The Greens have real power, but they use it poorly, there should not be a myopic focus on winning an electorate seat any longer. As the third largest political party in the country, the Greens and their representation is now above the 5% threshold wobbles.

Strategy should be much better focused on pressure points. The only way you ever make Labour do anything progressive is by grabbing the back of their heads, ramming it against a wall and then place the muzzle of a gun just beneath their ear and scream 'DO IT'. If you don't do it that way, Labour always wander off the path and start trying to manage rednecks rather than challenge them.

Tactics should recognize this. Take Auckland Central as a classic example. Denise Roche is a dedicated and brilliant Green Party candidate with a fantastic record and she won't win. In 2008 she gained 4 592 votes, Nikki Kaye won 14 677 and dear old Judith whom we are all thankful to this week, won 13 180. Denise is not going to win over 10 000 votes. In 2005 Nandor only won 5327, and that's Nandor! Denise is great, but she ain't no Nandor, if his high tide mark was 5327, her 4592 is a blunt reality the Greens should accept beyond the current 'Just do it' strategy.

While Denise would have a mountain to climb by trying to win an electorate seat fuelled by Party fears that as the 3rd largest political party they still have to fret about the 5% threshold, she does have a huge amount of power and a strong hand to play.

Denise should in the first week of the election go to Nikki Kaye and Jacinda Ardern with a Central Auckland Green Agenda listing her wants and requiring the establishment of a Green Council at the electorate level that Denise would chair to make sure her list is implemented. Which ever candidate signed up, Denise would call on her large Auckland Central Green Party voting block to vote for that Candidate while giving the Greens their party vote.

The argument against this has always been that people don't like this type of tactical voting, and I would counter that Green Party supporters are pretty bright and would be all for a neo-gramscian counter hegemonic movement.

Denise could be the queen maker in Auckland Central which should be recognised in a high Party list ranking while also being able to implement real policy directly at an electorate level.

Such electoral dynamism is the kind of strategy and new thinking the Greens desperately need if they are to maximize their influence. Stop being frightened by the 5% threshold, you've been blooded, you are in the game, get in the fight.

Trying to win electorates is a waste of energy. Kinda ironic for the Greens.



At 4/4/11 10:47 am, Blogger dave said...

We've all had enough, where's the Tumeke Party Bomber?

At 4/4/11 12:03 pm, Blogger Neil said...

I find a little fanciful the idea of a Green Council chaired by Denise Roche to hold whoever wins the seat to account.

Given that Green Party supporters are pretty bright I reckon they know who to vote for. The National Party agenda is not one that Green supporters can stomach.

At 4/4/11 12:49 pm, Blogger dcrown said...

so sad but so true

At 4/4/11 4:17 pm, Blogger Steve Withers said...

I've known a few (very few!) Green voters dim enough to give their local vote to the Greens and the party vote to someone else. I know staunch Greens who vote Green local and on the list. I also know a lot of Greens who vote green for the party and then they give their local vote to whoever they see as being the best tactical vote.....Not who they actually want but instead who they can stomach. The same old stuff we oldies remember so well from the bad old First Past the Post days.

I suspect any green bloc would resist machinations and break out as it always does - as above.

It pays to remind oneself what a Green voter is. It's someone who, by virtue of the fact they have already opted to not follow the red and blue herds, is a more independent thinker than either of those. Underlying that is the values informed by information that sees them act that way. This sort of independence of mind is Green Standard Issue....and it is independent and thus fiercely democratic.

No one tells a Green what to do. They wouldn't be Greens if you could.

At 4/4/11 8:44 pm, Blogger savehappyvalley said...

greens won't support nikki kaye whose party doesn't do anything about climate change, support rail or clean energy.. nikki's party is all about coal and selling oil to foreign companies, while building more motorways.

At 4/4/11 9:40 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

I think Steve that you have captured the essence of the Greens, but I also think there are enough within that voting block of 5000 voters who would see the benefit of using the power they do have to become queen maker handing Denise an Auckland Central Green Agenda that can make environmentally tangible changes.

Denise can't win the seat, she would require 10 000 more votes, that isn't going to happen. Rather than electoral stalemate, why not play to the strength Denise has as Queen maker to further actual environmental stakeholdings at an electoral level which Denise herself could evaluate. Would so many Green Party voters walk away from such a means to achieve better environmental outcomes? I believe Green Party voters are smart enough to see the value in that strategy.

At 5/4/11 7:58 am, Blogger AAMC said...

Off topic but; as a long time Green voter, I agree Bomber, a bit more street fighting and a bit less meditation please.

The issue I have at the moment though is Russel Norman, he may be a nice guy in real life, but he comes across as an arsehole! I'm inclined to vote on policy rather than a beauty contest, but it can't help.

At 5/4/11 9:30 am, Blogger Steve Withers said...

Bomber: I guess it would boiled down to whether or not anyone had faith such a promise would be kept. The fate of the Maori Party on the Seabed and Foreshore WRT National could be informative here...and they had seats in the House. I've seen Canadian parties make such "deals" with blocs and most often they person who gave something up ends up with nothing. Another Kiwi example would be Social Credit and National with respect to the Clyde Dam legislation.

At 5/4/11 9:34 am, Blogger Jackson Wood said...

Ummm... Where did you get the idea that the Greens are trying to win Auckland Central or any electorate seat?

I thought most people with an iota of political intelligence would see this as a strategy so that electorate candidates get asked along to electorate meetings in the lead up to the election so they can say "PARTY VOTE GREEN".

By the logic of this post they wouldn't run any electorate candidates and therefore not get invited to any local debates, etc.

It's pretty important to most electorates to have that personal connection and single person and it's worked well as a tactic for the past three elections.

Think you misread this one, Bomber.

At 5/4/11 9:39 am, Blogger Bomber said...

And Jackson you have utterly missed my point. I am saying fear that they might fall below the 5% threshold is driving the electorate seat vote, I'm suggesting that fear is unfounded and as such Denise could use that electorate vote to become Queen maker in Auckland Central.

At 5/4/11 9:49 am, Blogger Jackson Wood said...

Oh. I see what you're saying now : )

The only problem is: would Labour go for that? I'm not so sure.

At 5/4/11 9:51 am, Blogger Peter said...

The electorate race stuff is irrelevant; Bomber's suggestion is that Greens trade votes for promises. It's a nice idea but I can't see Labour or National doing the deal - otherwise why hasn't it already happened?

If I thought there was some chance that they might do a deal then I would be proposing a much fairer swap for a clear majority in Akl Central, e.g. a Ministry. Asking for a new Green Council with oversight on environmental performance is a weak gambit and would backfire when taxpayers realised the Greens had extracted more funds for bureaucracy.

At 5/4/11 3:13 pm, Blogger caroline said...

Bomber, the Green party isn't being driven to try and win an electorate seat by a fear of getting below the 5% threshold. one, there is no fear of falling below the 5% threshold, and 2, there is no attempt to win an electorate seat. Your thesis is wrong.

At 5/4/11 7:16 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

Caroline, I am so glad we agree - so seeing as there is no fear of dropping below 5% and that electorate vote is currently being wasted, why not channel it into queen maker/King Maker Green agenda's across the electorates it will work in?


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