Hamlisch Rutherford has a column up on Stuff examining the Green Party’s adversarial relationship with multi-national corporations and the energy sector ending:
If the Green Party ever wants to be taken seriously in the corporate sector as part of a government now might be the time to reassure people that cooler heads will prevail.
This is a good time to throw in the disclaimer that my wife now works for the Green Party but I have the same problem here as I’ve always had with Fran O’Sullivan’s columns begging politicians from all parties to be nicer to corporate executives and shareholders. I’ve never understood why left-wing parties need to be nice to the corporate sector and these columnists never explain it. It’s just a given. Another odd feature of New Zealand mainstream political discourse in which corporate executives are simultaneously god-like wealth creators who just need government to get out of the way of their genius and fragile neurotics who constantly need to be ‘reassured’ by everyone so they can have ‘confidence’. (And who repeatedly need government owned companies to be privitised so they can invest in them because they can’t grow their own.)
But political parties do things out of self-interest. Basically they want people to vote for them. In electoral terms the corporate sector accounts for a few thousand voters, most of whom are high-net worth older white men with right or far-right voting preferences. They will never vote for the Green Party and even if they did, somehow, it wouldn’t boost the Green vote by much. Executives and shareholders have great power outside the electoral system, obviously. They can (and do) donate vast sums of money to political parties, and they can convince journalists to write columns advocating for their interests. But to capture that power the Greens would have to be nothing like the Green Party (currently polling about 15%) and more like the ACT Party (0%).
The final point I’d make here is that we never, ever see columns from from pundits and political journalists pleading for, say, National to reassure unionised workers, or ACT to reach out to Pacific Island voters, even though in electoral terms these groups are hundreds of times larger than the corporate sector. Just this repeated insistence that every one needs to be really, really nice to banks and multinational corporations, even if it makes no sense for them to do so.