Angry with the Green Party's lack of strategic thinking

By Rob Scovell, in , posted: 11-Feb-2010 17:33

This is a bit of a rant. A reasoned rant though, I would hope, if that's not an oxymoron.

The Coromandel Mining issue has come to a head again.

The pressure group against it managed to get a compromise Private Member's bill through in 1997 that provided a limited measure of protection.

The measures introduced then are under review. It looks very much like the mining lobby bided its time waiting for a National government with a stronger parliamentary position than in 1997, to bring about their agenda.

At a time like this we need a strong Green Party. 

But the Green Party shot itself in the foot and inadvertently contributed to the downfall of Helen Clarke's government. How did they do this? By providing a massive great big nail for the coffin of the Clark government in the form of the 'anti-smacking bill' as it's popularly known. 

Labour was reviewing Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which allows the indefensible to be defended. The Greens weren't happy with the pace of things so rushed in with their own bill to amend the Act. 

I should say at this point that I am 100% behind the anti-smacking principle. I voted 'Yes' in the badly worded, cringingly argued referendum last year, against the current of the majority of New Zealand voters. 

But the timing of the bill was all wrong. The presentation of the bill was all wrong. It was a measure against child abuse. It was popularised as an example of Nanny State telling parents what to do and that image stuck. Those opposed to the Green/Labour/UF coalition were able to use it in their campaign to convince New Zealanders that it was 'time for a change'. They were very successful in presenting it as evidence that the coalition was out of touch with average New Zealanders. 

This typifies the main problem with the Greens -- their alarming lack of political strategy and their focus on issues that either do not interest or irritate or downright repel ordinary New Zealanders. 

If it hadn't been for this bill, maybe, just maybe the Nats would not be in their position of strength today. The Greens would not have lost the little credibility they had.

The Coromandel Mining issue and the National government's policy of making GDP growth its overriding priority show the need for a strong Green party. A Green party with cojones. A Green party that really does connect with ordinary kiwis. We all know what the environmental problems are that we face and they are serious. The Green Party is too cerebral, preachy, sandaly, alternative. It comes across as weak and pusillanimous. We need a Green party with political nous, credibility, and the ability to engage with the forceful demands of a business lobby that means business and knows what it wants and how to get it. A Green party that your average kiwi bloke feels comfortable supporting because it has presented its case in his language. 

But honestly, I don't know where that Green party is going to emerge from.

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Comment by rphenix, on 11-Feb-2010 21:54

I was completely sick of Labour and the Greens by the end of the last election, yes the anti smacking bill was a big one.  The stupidity of the copyright law changes they were bringing through with Sue Bradford hell bent on ignoring anyones arguments against it was another you cant keep bringing in things the general populace doesnt agree with and stay in power. 

As national's mandate is to really look after business and therefore higher income earners at the expense of the blue collar workers dont worry they will have themselves voted out soon enough so the cycle continues.  Unfortunantly we dont have a good choice when it comes to chosing a polical party.  Whoe else is there? Mr Rodgernomics ? or perhaps Winston? hah yeah right.

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