The Dim-Post

March 17, 2014

New Zealand First and the Greens

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 3:31 pm

Bryce Edwards has an overview of the two ‘secondary parties’, New Zealand First and the Greens, and the status of their relationship with Labour, and I think a lot of the stuff he’s linking to is absurd. To wit:

Speculation continues about whether Peters is more likely to go into coalition with National or Labour. There are many good arguments for both prospects. But there are increasing signs that Peters might smartly position his party to operate on the ‘cross benches’, where arguably he may have much more power. By essentially holding a minority government to ransom, a party on the cross benches could have major influence over legislation on a day-by-day basis.

This is something Matthew Hooton has argued could happen: ‘Mr Peters’ greatest driver is to be at the centre of events. The best way for him to achieve that in 2014 is to stay outside the government, offering no one confidence and supply. That would enable Mr Key’s government to limp on but without Mr Peters having to take responsibility for its decisions. Even more attractive, whenever he was so inclined, he could engage on an issue, putting himself on centre stage. To pass a Budget, the government would either have to negotiate with him for months in advance or – more likely – have to present it to Parliament with no surety of passage. Dramatic concessions could then be demanded in exchange for NZ First’s votes. No doubt it would all end in tears but it would be a rollicking three years. Mr Peters would love it. He could then retire to the north, go fishing and have a good laugh with his mates’

I don’t know if Hooton believes any of this or not. But Peters is very predictable. He wants a senior Cabinet role and corresponding dignity and salary. The chances of him sitting on the cross-benches and depriving himself of these prizes is zero. If he’s kingmaker after the election he’ll go into coalition with National because a National-New Zealand First government affords him higher status than a Labour-Greens-New Zealand First government. Although obviously his ability to enter into a coalition with Labour will give him leverage when negotiating the terms of his deal with National.

Also:

With the relevance of New Zealand First apparently increasing, it appears as if the Greens are correspondingly decreasing in relevance. This is partly due to the Greens faring poorly in recent opinion polls, but also because they appear to have no leverage over Labour to ensure they are included in any potential Labour-led Government after 20 September.

Labour now appears to be tilting more towards NZ First, and away from the Greens.

There’s no doubt that Labour would love to be in coalition with New Zealand First and not the Green Party. The problem is they’re at least 200,000 votes short of making that happen, and trending down, and Labour/NZ First need to win those votes from either National or the Green Party and not from each other. The chances of that happening aren’t zero but they’re pretty close. Problematically for Labour, 42% of their 2011 voters want to see a Labour-Greens government, while only 25% want to see a Labour-New Zealand First government (numbers sourced from the NZES). So Shane Jones’ attacks on the Greens might be enormously satisfying to Labour’s MPs who view the Greens as a bunch of loathsome hippies who are stealing their votes, but is more likely to damage the party’s support among their actual voters.

The most probable post-election scenario today is a National-New Zealand First government. If there’s a Labour government – somehow – it will involve the Greens.

50 Comments »

  1. Winston has mates?

    Comment by Grant Buist — March 17, 2014 @ 3:52 pm

  2. I can’t find a good summary to link to, but this really just reminds me of Philip Tetlock’s work: the more often someone appears in the media giving their opinion, the more likely they are to be (consistently) wrong. And also, that those who give the most black and white prognostications are also more likely to be wrong (but it is probably the outrageousness of their black and white predictions that makes them better media fodder which is why they keep being quoted).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_E._Tetlock

    Comment by James — March 17, 2014 @ 3:55 pm

  3. The reason I think he may go for the cross-benches this time is because he has already been deputy and acting PM, Treasurer and Minister of Foreign Affairs – or, I should say, he has held these titles.

    He can’t really trump any of these – the prime ministership is not going to happen – and he wasn’t that successful in any of these roles (I know there is this myth he was a good foreign minister, but I’m not sure of any particular outcome).

    So, if he can’t get better than he has had before, why not go for cross benches and get to be Mr Important another way – by getting to grandstand on chosen issues when he can be bothered? This is broadly what he indicated he would do in 2005, remember. While he does like status, he is not motivated personally by money so there lower salary is not likely to be a factor.

    Anyway, I think it is possible for his last hurrah.

    But, I agree with you, he is more likely to go National than Labour/Green. I made this point in the column Bryce linked to, which can be found (free) here: http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2014/03/hooton-addled-thinking-winston-peters/

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — March 17, 2014 @ 3:56 pm

  4. I don’t often agree with people who claim that Mr Hooton is a weapons grade stirrer. Sadly this time I do.
    Famous for calling Winston the word that ranks highest in the “likely to get smacked by the wife if uttered” charts, I find it astonishing that he believes Winston has more to him than simply trying to collect the full set of jobs in The NZ politic.
    He is all about the money. Beginning, middle and end of story. Of course he will go with National. He will NEVER go into an arrangement that includes the Green Taliban if he can go home to National and enrich himself further.
    They can call him grand vizier, maharajah and Emperor Enrique Von Spunkuncle as long as it comes with a massive salary and the opportunity to tickle a few wealthy special interest groups.
    Any discussion otherwise can only be the stirrings of retards or stirrers.
    The Greens are not going to be a part of any government at the end of this year and we can look forward to another three years of Gareth Hughes living it large while he travels up and down the country lecturing adults.

    Comment by Russell — March 17, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

  5. This is broadly what he indicated he would do in 2005, remember.

    Yeah. And how’d that work out again?

    I think we also should be careful about the terms we’re using here. You can’t have a situation where Peters both holds the balance of power, but “stay[s] outside the government, offering no one confidence and supply.” He’d have to either (1) abstain on such votes (which would in practice allow National to govern – there’s no functional difference between that and a vote for them), or (2) positively vote to give confidence and supply to National (or Labour and the Greens). And he’d have to do so quite soon after the election – he might be able to string out negotiations for a few months, but he can’t play “wait and see” forever. Because If he doesn’t commit to one or the other actions, then the Gov. Gen. may conclude there’s no viable government in the offing, and so pull the plug and call a new election.

    Furthermore, what exactly is the difference between Peters “sitting on the crossbenches”, giving National support on confidence and supply (in practice), but making them beg for his vote on everything else and Peters having a ministerial post, giving National support on confidence and supply, but making them beg for his vote on everything else? Remember, we don’t do formal coalitions in NZ – at the moment, ACT, United Future and the Maori Party are not a part of the Government, and National has to on a case-by-case basis negotiate their vote for whatever it wants. What reduces their strength is that (1) they are micro-parties, (2) two of them depend on National for their survival, and (3) National can trade them off against one-another and still find majorities. But this idea that “Peters on the cross-benches” would enjoy some sort of greater status and influence than “Peters as Minister” seems bonkers to me.

    What’s really at issue is, how stroppy is Peters prepared to be in his (assumed) last term? And how much crap is Key prepared to take from him, before throwing up his hands and saying “this won’t work – the people need to give us a governing arrangement that isn’t fundamentally unstable”?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 17, 2014 @ 4:22 pm

  6. You may have misunderstood me Russell. I agree that there is little if anything more to him than collecting the full set of jobs. My point is that he already has (with the exception of the prime ministership which he will never get). Therefore, to get more status/attention etc, he needs to look at other options – and the cross benches may provide the opportunity to play drama queen that he craves.

    I think you are wrong, though, when you say it is about the money, in a personal sense. While he will sell policy for donations in so blatant a way hat no other political figure in NZ comes close, he doesn’t seek to line his own personal pocket and never has.

    Really, given he basically PROMISED to go to the cross benches in 2005 and then became foreign minister, why is it so difficult to accept that – having said on N2N and elsewhere that formal coalitions are best for New Zealand – he would therefore opt for the cross bench?

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — March 17, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

  7. Andrew, my theory is your option (1). He usually abstains, which is, as you say, the same as supporting the larger bloc (let’s assume that’s Nat/Act/UF/MP rather than Labour/Green/Mana but this could work the other way). But, when he wants, he can threaten to proactively vote with the smaller bloc to give it the numbers to defeat the government on an issue. And the Budget would be wonderful for him – we tend to think that Budgets aren’t presented unless the govt has the numbers. But there is no constitutional reason he couldn’t say “you present a budget and then I’ll decide what I think” and then play silly buggers like happens in the US. I was the first commentator to predict in late 2004 / early 2005 he would seek to be foreign minister. Linda Clark (I think it still was, but maybe Kathryn) laughed at me. But you have to expect the unexpected when it comes to his charlatan.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — March 17, 2014 @ 4:31 pm

  8. That both Green and National supporters are sh*tting themselves over NZF is a pretty good sign Winnie is tending toward Labour.

    Comment by Ant — March 17, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

  9. Ant, I don’t think anyone is shitting themselves. Danyl and I (broadly speaking) both agree that Peters will back a National-led govt if he has balance of power, either formally (Danyl’s theory which I think is very plausible) or by doing nothing (my other theory, which Danyl and Andrew think is mental but which I still think is entirely plausible). Peters backing Labour, if the Greens are needed to, is much less likely.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — March 17, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

  10. Why would a situation with a minority government reliant on a third party for confidence and supply be cause for the G-G to call an election? Surely in that case the G-G should wait until that government fails to make confidence or supply, at which point either the PM goes to the country, another government is installed, or it becomes clear no government would have the confidence of the House and then the G-G calls for an election.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — March 17, 2014 @ 5:50 pm

  11. I can’t see a Labour-NZ First-Greens coalition happening. NZ First and the Greens hate each other so much the combination would explode violently soon after creation. And of course all 3 know that.

    My guess as to how that possibility would play out in post-election negotiations is that the Green party would get cold feet, figuring it would be better to be in opposition than to be in a minor coalition party suffering an inevitable fate of irrelevance as their main policies get discarded.

    The only possibility I can see flying is a Labour-NZ First minority government with confidence and supply from the Greens. Even that I doubt would be stable. It would take Peter’s about 10 minutes to come up with some small-minded prejudiced policy that blows the whole thing apart.

    Comment by Ralph — March 17, 2014 @ 6:13 pm

  12. Why would a situation with a minority government reliant on a third party for confidence and supply be cause for the G-G to call an election?

    It isn’t. It’s what we’ve got now. My point simply was that Peters will be called on to show his hand on a regular basis – including at some point in before Christmas this year. So when it comes to this “put up or shut up”, what’s Peters going to do? Bring down the Government and force a new election? What do we think would happen to Peters and NZ First at that poll (answers making reference to 1999 and the Alliance in 2002, please)? Which is the ultimate discipline on his “hold up” power – if he overdoes it (and especially if he does it in respect of a budget), then National can walk away and that’s the end of NZ First as a political force.

    He usually abstains, which is, as you say, the same as supporting the larger bloc (let’s assume that’s Nat/Act/UF/MP rather than Labour/Green/Mana but this could work the other way). But, when he wants, he can threaten to proactively vote with the smaller bloc to give it the numbers to defeat the government on an issue.

    Well, I guess. But what I don’t get is why Peters wouldn’t deploy this power, whilst also taking on ministerial office. Your reason seems to be “because he’s done ministerial jobs before, and wouldn’t want to do them again because Peters is a man always jonsing after a new sort of fix.” But … really? Being a Minister and running things is great! And every time Peters has been anywhere near such office, he’s grabbed at it eagerly. So, maybe he’s what you say he is – but also, maybe not.

    But anyway – it actually doesn’t matter. Whether Peters goes “cross bench” or enters an enhanced agreement for supply and confidence, the outcome is much the same. And it’s entirely possible Peters has no idea what he intends doing – so we’re all making predictions about the unknowable.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 17, 2014 @ 6:30 pm

  13. “there is no constitutional reason he couldn’t say “you present a budget and then I’ll decide what I think” and then play silly buggers like happens in the US”

    “…or enters an enhanced agreement for supply and confidence”

    Isn’t what Matthew saying that WP would enter a confidence but not supply agreement? If so, there would only be non constitution reason to prevent it in the sense that we don’t have an American style constitution so anything goes. An agreement of the type you’re talking about doesn’t exist under our current consitutional arrangements. Not that that prevents one being introduced, but it seems to make the your claim meaningless.

    Comment by BeShakey — March 17, 2014 @ 6:37 pm

  14. I think what Matthew’s suggesting is that Peters could say to National “put your budget into the House, and we’ll only vote for it if we like it (i.e. it contains enough of the things we want to see in it)”. That means, of course, that he would be threatening that he may not vote for it … which would then force the Government to resign and a new election get held (assuming there isn’t an alternative governing coalition that could step up instead).

    This is, of course, what differentiates the NZ case from the US one. In the US, there is no means to force an early election … the players in Congress are forced to deal with the numbers they’ve got until the next rigidly prescribed election takes place. So, we see brinkmanship shutdowns and short-term continuances as each party tries to position itself for that campaign. That sort of grandstanding political game just can’t happen in NZ, because at each vote in the budget process the Government must win, or else resign. So, once again, Peters will face a series of “put up or shut up” moments – on most of which he will cave, because he has as much (if not more) to lose if the whole thing crashes down and a new election is held.

    And given that’s what the reality of “cross bench” support holds, why is it preferable to telling Key “you’ll only get your budget through if I say so, buddy boy”, while also getting to be Minister of Something Important?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 17, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

  15. abstain on such votes (which would in practice allow National to govern – there’s no functional difference between that and a vote for them

    Which is why you need an accountant as well as a lawyer🙂

    Say National and their other partners have 51/120 MPs and Winston has ten, with Labour/Green having 59. If Winston abstains, National would lose a confidence motion 59 to 51. He needs to vote positively with National.
    Alternatively, the National block has 56 MPs, Labour/Green have 55 and Winston has nine. With Winston abstaining, National can win confidence 56 to 55.

    Comment by richdrich — March 17, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

  16. Johns a nice guy but not a leader. While you have so called legal highs destroying our youth, foreign investors dominating the Auckland housing market (often with dirty money) and an almost dead fishing industry taken over by a slave policy,(condoned by our famous ” sustainable” seafood company) thing appear to be on a slide. Thats why Winston will get my vote. Besides hes in my age group.

    Comment by bosun — March 17, 2014 @ 8:44 pm

  17. Alternatively, the National block has 56 MPs, Labour/Green have 55 and Winston has nine. With Winston abstaining, National can win confidence 56 to 55.

    Sure. The discussion is predicated on the National block having more MPs than the Labour block – which is what both Matthew and I think is the more likely result come September. If it doesn’t turn out that way, then things change.

    Thats why Winston will get my vote.

    I don’t know many (if any) Winston voters. So I’m genuinely interested – what do you think Peters should do if he’s in a position to put either National or Labour/Greens into Government?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 17, 2014 @ 9:18 pm

  18. I see. I thought you were arguing that unless the G-G sees evidence of a commitment to provide supply they should assume there’s no viable gov’t.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — March 17, 2014 @ 9:21 pm

  19. “because a National-New Zealand First government affords him higher status than a Labour-Greens-New Zealand First government”

    Does it?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 17, 2014 @ 10:19 pm

  20. At 29%, to National’s 50% (an improbable figure, inflated by consistent sampling errors), the Greens will not only be part of Government, but a very large part.

    The situation is not as dire for Labour as it might appear. They must bring over 4% from National, approximately one in ten National voters. Weakening the Greens would be tempting, but any successfully dissuaded Green voters will split across National, Labour, and non-vote columns.

    Comment by George — March 18, 2014 @ 7:40 am

  21. “The situation is not as dire for Labour as it might appear. They must bring over 4% from National, approximately one in ten National voters. Weakening the Greens would be tempting, but any successfully dissuaded Green voters will split across National, Labour, and non-vote columns.”

    But what they have been doing this term is targeting Green voters not National ones, or at least that part of the Green vote they think is more left than Green – the two not being identical (unless you are very blinkered indeed). I assume the strategy was go for the left then the centre (unless the yeah but nah strategy is a real one rather than the result of constant bumbling)

    Comment by Tinakori — March 18, 2014 @ 9:00 am

  22. @Tinakori: Are you really saying that Labour haven’t been going after National at all? You do realise the Labour party has MPs who aren’t Shane Jones, right?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 18, 2014 @ 9:52 am

  23. You do realise the Labour party has MPs who aren’t Shane Jones, right?

    You would think. But saying that, I can’t think of many hits landed recently by the front bench that havn’t been directed at the GP.
    This isn’t indicative of anything other than extreme incompetence as opposed to dedicated action, though.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 18, 2014 @ 10:07 am

  24. What’s the reasoning behind assuming that the Maori Party would stick with the National Party block if there’s a potentially viable Labour-led alternative?

    Historically it has more in common with Labour, and the main reason for splitting in 2008 (as I understood it) was the impossibility of forming a government with Labour after that election, and deciding it’d be better to still have an opportunity to get some policies through.

    Comment by izogi — March 18, 2014 @ 11:21 am

  25. @Gregor: Well, do you think Jones’ attacks on the Greens have ‘hit’?

    @Izogi: Bear in mind that a lot of people joining the Maori party back in 2004 did so out of explicit disatisfaction with Labour. It’s been a while, admittedly, but politicians can have long memories.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 18, 2014 @ 11:31 am

  26. Historically it has more in common with Labour, and the main reason for splitting in 2008 (as I understood it) was the impossibility of forming a government with Labour after that election

    Mostly the personal animosity between Helen & Tariana, including the ‘last cab off the rank’ crack and the ‘haters and wreckers’ jibe by Clark against the Maori party in 2004-05. Clark’s been gone for a while, but Turia’s seen no need to mend that particular bridge. Once Turia has gone, a major potential roadblock will be removed.

    Comment by Paul Rowe — March 18, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

  27. “Are you really saying that Labour haven’t been going after National at all? You do realise the Labour party has MPs who aren’t Shane Jones, right?”

    Labour’s policy announcements under Shearer and (more so) Cunliffe have skewed towards the left of the party rather than the centre or the right. This, I assume, was to try and get back Labour voters who had strayed from the plantation.

    On the question of the Maori Party, their key opponents in the Labour Party these days are the Labour Maori MPs who want their seats back

    Comment by Tinakori — March 18, 2014 @ 1:23 pm

  28. Well, do you think Jones’ attacks on the Greens have ‘hit’?

    @kalvarnsen – I’ve posted before that I think they will have hit with soft-centrists btu i’m not sure what the endgame is.

    I don’t think it will weaken the Greens core constituency who can see through Jones’ blow-hard, schoolboy antics.
    It might have a slight impact on soft-left voters who have switched to the GP over the last 2 elections, but one would have to be pretty squint-eyed to see the NZLP front bench as honestly representing the aspirations of working NZ.
    If anything, it will scare wavering coft-centrist voters who liked Key in ’08 but have become disenchated with asset sales etc. back into the National fold which is on the face of it counterproductive.

    If the master plan is to cannibalise the soft-left, then it’s pretty mucha zero-sum game, unless the end state is a strengthened NZLP with a resurgent NZF as govt, with the GP once again being the bridesmaid.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 18, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

  29. And further, a lot of GP folks (in my circles at least) see Hughes and Delhuntey as somewhat hapless, unseasoned innocents – sort of like benign Clare Curran’s – rather than the more credible operators like Graham, Genter and Hague.

    So Jones scoring easy hits doesn’t really factor.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 18, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

  30. Everything you say is predicated on the assumption that NZF will be returned with several seats.

    Let’s assume Winston doesn’t get any seats…

    Comment by Ross — March 18, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

  31. @Gregor W: Well, it may not hurt the Greens’ core constituency, but the Greens need to go beyond their core constituency if they want to improve their vote.

    Having said that I think you’re wrong. As I said in another thread, the number of people who will go off the Greens because Shane Jones had a go at them is, in my opinion, absolutely minute to the point of effective (if not actual) nonexistence. Even the kind of people who waver between Labour and the Greens are probably wavering away from Labour precisely because they don’t like the Shane Jones types. And I don’t think the Greens will really refuse a coalition with Labour because Shane said something nasty. The real cost to Labour of Jones’ huffing and puffing is the opportunity cost – time Jones spends going after the Greens is time that could be spent going after National. And while it’s true that not all of Labour’s policy blows on National have hit, I disagree that they’ve been totally ineffectual.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 18, 2014 @ 9:43 pm

  32. The real cost to Labour of Jones’ huffing and puffing is the opportunity cost – time Jones spends going after the Greens is time that could be spent going after National.

    But doesn’t Jones’ huffing and puffing send a message to folks who backed National in the past, are now thinking they might switch to Labour, but are scared that the only way Labour can govern is in an arrangement with the Greens. To wit, we won’t put up with any nonsense from these tree-hugging sqwuakers … and it’s us who’ll be wearing the pants in the House.

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 18, 2014 @ 9:50 pm

  33. The real cost to Labour of Jones’ huffing and puffing is the opportunity cost – time Jones spends going after the Greens is time that could be spent going after National.

    It was Jones that landed the best hit against National Labour has made in a long time.

    Effective because it wasn’t yet again Key Eats Children that Cunliffe and his The Standard advisors still go in for.

    Jones did create a lot wealth for maori before entering parliament. And he still senses where peole are worried about money etc but not in any contrived focus group way,

    So he may put off voters but then he gets voters like me to pay attention.

    But Labour going nowhere it doesn’t really matter.

    Comment by NeilM — March 18, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

  34. @Flashing: Yeah, that is possible. I don’t agree with Danyl that Labour should never attack the Greens or that it’s somehow immoral. (It’s worth noting that Green attacks on Labour never attract the same kind of criticism, despite the Greens “needing” Labour just as much as vice versa, if not more). But I dunno, that seems kind of convoluted, and I think it will take more to win those voters over en masse than addressing their concerns about the Greens.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 18, 2014 @ 10:22 pm

  35. The Greens’ reaction to criticism from Labour is telling.

    Like Colin Craig they believe the authority of their message comes from a power higher than normal politics. For Craig it’s God, for the Greens it’s the Environmnet.

    And to both any criticism is self evidently not just wrong but heretical,

    Comment by NeilM — March 18, 2014 @ 11:04 pm

  36. Shane Jones’ recent behaviour certainly made Labour less attractive in my eyes. Perhaps he has something to do with Labour’s slide in the recent polls. Buffoonery is rarely attractive to the majority of voters….though there are always the 5% or so who love it for the sheer joy of witnessing mischief.

    Comment by Steve W — March 19, 2014 @ 7:22 am

  37. NeilM – I’d have more time for your comments on the Greens if you were a Green supporter. But listening to non-supporters “interpret” Green behaviour (as you have done) verges on the comical.

    Comment by Steve W — March 19, 2014 @ 7:24 am

  38. @kalvarnsen

    Well, it may not hurt the Greens’ core constituency, but the Greens need to go beyond their core constituency if they want to improve their vote.

    I would say that the GP need to continue to modify and grow their core constinuency rather than go “beyond” it. This has been the sucessful strategy for some time.

    the number of people who will go off the Greens because Shane Jones had a go at them is, in my opinion, absolutely minute to the point of effective (if not actual) nonexistence.

    I agree. Hence my use of the conditional modifiers “might” and “slight” when describing the impact on soft-left voters.
    My point was more focused on the ‘magic centre’, particularly those – and I’m assuming this is a sizeable proportion of the electorate – who will never vote Green, but who are happy to switch their votes between the Red and Blue teams.

    And I don’t think the Greens will really refuse a coalition with Labour because Shane said something nasty.

    I haven’t suggested they would. It would make no sense for the GP to do so.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 19, 2014 @ 8:56 am

  39. “…Shane Jones’ recent behaviour certainly made Labour less attractive in my eyes… …Buffoonery is rarely attractive…”

    and

    “…NeilM – I’d have more time for your comments on the Greens if you were a Green supporter. But listening to non-supporters “interpret” Green behaviour (as you have done) verges on the comical…”

    So in the first quote you provide a textbook example of Green distain of populist politicians, then in the second you give us a textbook example of Green arrogance, whilst condemning someone who actually pretty much summed you up.

    Green hipster exceptionalism, providing fodder for “I Can Has Cheezburger?” memes since forever.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 19, 2014 @ 9:14 am

  40. The biggest problem with the Greens isn’t actually the ones who might make it into cabinet. Julie-Anne Genter in particular would I suspect be an exceptionally good transport minister (although Gerry Brownlee has made sure that particular bar is set quite low). No. the biggest problem with the Greens is how thoroughly annoying many of their supporters are, combining as they often do all the virtues I dislike with none of the vices I admire (hat tip to Winston Churchill).

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 19, 2014 @ 9:30 am

  41. @Sanc – amazing that you can gain so much insight into the psychology GP supporters from a couple of simple statements. We all prostrate ourselves before your superior wisdom on such matters, of course.

    That aside, I think equating Jones’ antics with populism is a bit of a stretch.
    Populists tend to attempt to pit the proles against the elite. Given that Jones is firmly in the elite, he’s not attacking privilege in any meaniful manner and as a politician, he comes across as a lazy, smirking, unlikeable asshole, outside of (presumably narrow) population of conservative-left/soft-right voters who like their politicians lazy, smirking and asshole-ish (and who knows how big that is given that Jones rides 1.1% in the Herald’s preferred PM poll?), I suspect he doesn’t hold much broad appeal.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 19, 2014 @ 9:50 am

  42. “I would say that the GP need to continue to modify and grow their core constinuency rather than go “beyond” it. This has been the sucessful strategy for some time.”

    Yes, obviously the long-term hope is to turn occasional voters into core voters, and the Greens have already done that recently – their core vote seems to have expanded from about 4-5% in 1999 to about 7-8% more recently. But before you can win people over as core voters, you need to win them as swing voters, which is what I was talking about. (And for that matter, it’s always nice to have some capacity to attract people outside your core vote – swing voters are better than no voters at all!)

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 19, 2014 @ 10:16 am

  43. “Populists tend to attempt to pit the proles against the elite. Given that Jones is firmly in the elite…”

    So nobody in the elite can be a populist?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 19, 2014 @ 10:17 am

  44. Of course they can, the late Tony Benn being a good example. Please read the rest of the sentence.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 19, 2014 @ 10:25 am

  45. As the man behind what has been called the longest suicide note in history – the Labour manifesto when Michael Foot was the leader – I am not sure Tony Benn could be described as a populist, unless it is a failed one.

    Comment by Tinakori — March 19, 2014 @ 10:35 am

  46. You said that nobody in the elite can attack privilege in a meaningful manner. Seemed pretty clear.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 19, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

  47. Seemed pretty clear.

    Sure. If you omit the qualifiers “…he’s not attacking privilege in any meaniful manner and as a politician, he comes across as a lazy, smirking, unlikeable asshole…” etc.
    Read what you want to read I guess.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 19, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

  48. Oh, sorry, I misread you – I thought that was part of a single statement, not two components of a list.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 19, 2014 @ 12:15 pm

  49. I am not sure Tony Benn could be described as a populist, unless it is a failed one.

    I think Benn does met the criteria of ‘member of the elite who is also a populist’ if for nothing other than that he was a consistent critic of power, apparently held deeply democratic sentiments and railed against privilege. Whether he was successful or not is really a differnet matter.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 19, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

  50. Labour support will climb dramatically but National will still lead, so we may have a Labour-NZ First coalition without the Greens being involved. Peters goes for National when we think he’s going to support Labour, and vive versa. People will turn to Labour because there’s going to be a lot more bad press for the Nats this year.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — March 20, 2014 @ 3:59 pm


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