The Dim-Post

March 13, 2015

Shaw up the Greens

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 3:38 pm

My friend James – last seen on this blog demagoguing it up at the Te Aro Meet the Candidates event – has entered the Green Party leadership contest. I’ll be helping him with his campaign so will possibly not be the most impartial commentator on the race.

The data-based argument for James’ leadership is basically the chart below. He wasn’t an MP when he ran in Wellington Central last year yet more people there voted Green than any other electorate in the country. The Greens need to grow their vote if they’re going to break out of their marginal position in Parliament, and James can do that. Some of the other candidates in the race have (many) more years of Parliamentary experience than him – but the Greens already have a very experienced co-leader in Metiria Turei. The strength of the co-leader model is that new co-leaders can be, well, new and invigorate the caucus (which is what happened when Russel Norman came in).

james

The way the leadership contest works is that there will be branch/electorate Green Party meetings before the AGM. Those meetings will direct their delegates on how to vote, which they do by ranking candidates in order of preference. So if you’re a member of the party and you want to be involved in the leadership process, go to the local meeting and make your case.

69 Comments »

  1. With all due respect to James, that’s a very poor starting point for a data-based argument. Wellington Central is choc-full of green votes because the demographics of the seat heavily lean to young urban liberals. If the Greens didn’t make 30% in that seat, then we’d all be calling it a poor result.

    Comment by Phil — March 13, 2015 @ 4:49 pm

  2. After watching Labour hold two elections for senior positions in the event months I am convinced they have stumbled on the way leaders should be elected. I hear stories about What goes on with the current Green delegate method that I do not think it is a safe way of getting a fair result.

    Comment by Ron Wilson — March 13, 2015 @ 4:55 pm

  3. The Greens didn’t make 30% in that seat. In either of the elections James Shaw stood.

    In terms of ability to grow the vote, of the three you show Wellington Central is third (1.92% higher in 2014 than 2011), not far behind Rongotai (2.28%), but miles behind Mt Albert (4.67%).

    Comment by BB — March 13, 2015 @ 4:56 pm

  4. Credit where it’s due, the Greens’ rejuvenation process has given them several credible candidates for leader. As opposed to Labour who have far more ex-leaders and deputy leaders in caucus than potential future ones.

    Unsolicited campaign advice for James Shaw: if you hug trees and go morris dancing, the media will say you hug trees and go morris dancing. Whereas if you win the Nobel Prize for Economics and wear smart suits, the media will say you hug trees and go morris dancing. How he responds to this is up to him (I’d opt for disemboweling reporters, but that may contravene the party constitution). But it’s depressingly inevitable, so he’d better have a line prepared.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — March 13, 2015 @ 5:14 pm

  5. Ron Wilson wrote I hear stories about What goes on with the current Green delegate method that I do not think it is a safe way of getting a fair result.

    pray do tell

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — March 13, 2015 @ 5:43 pm

  6. @Phil: I’m glad I’m not the only one who was going to say that.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 13, 2015 @ 5:58 pm

  7. @ Phil: Yeah, particularly given that James’ vote (total and share) actually declined slightly from 2011 to 2014. The Greens certainly weren’t campaigning for the electorate vote here, but it’s a pretty strong contra-indication of Shaw’s personal qualities or local organisation playing any meaningful part in the increased Party vote; you’d expect at least a small increase in his vote if that was the case.

    Comment by NBH — March 13, 2015 @ 6:52 pm

  8. The candidates are all great – ponder how many other parties are that spoilt for choice with only one leader to elect. However, electorate-based comparisons seem pretty unrevealing. I wish Green party members all the best in selecting.

    Comment by Sacha — March 13, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

  9. What that graph says to me is that Jeanette Elley, candidate for Mt Albert, did – like James – * an great job at getting a strong Green party vote. Campaigning as an MP is inherently easier (more time, resources), so kudos to those two.

    As someone who encouraged James to stand, I am heartened to see that he has made this decision, it is good for the party to showcase his and the other candidate’s talents.

    It is strong field, and all of the candidates are capable. I have probably spent the most time with James, and I think he would make an effective leader. Like Kevin, James has enterprise-level organisational experience, which I think is an important facet when it comes to leading a forward-thinking political party.

    Last time, I really wanted Nandor to win (dude has X factor to the max), I am interested to see how the contenders perform on the campaign trail.

    . I hear stories about What goes on with the current Green delegate method that I do not think it is a safe way of getting a fair result.

    In terms of the delegate method, you have got to remember that:

    a) it is STV, so the second vote can also be a significant vote
    b) it it delivered the wrong result, then this would be corrected when the initial list is ranked at the beginning of the election year , or else during the general ranking process (which is the entire party)

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — March 13, 2015 @ 7:17 pm

  10. The Greens should be very wary of this guy.
    They could lose the votes of literally hundreds of more radical activists if a centrist like him becomes co-leader.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — March 13, 2015 @ 7:40 pm

  11. I guess this is as good a time as any to mention that the Greens are the only party which has a leadership election which women are forbidden to participate in.

    I understand the need to ensure a female voice in the leadership, but I don’t see the need to reserve a place for men when men are already so deeply privileged in so many ways. What is it about the idea of two female co-leaders that the Greens find so frightening? There are plenty of female Green MPs and activists who would make a great team with Metiria, and yet Green rules prevent them from standing. What is the justification for this? That the male perspective is so valuable that the party literally cannot do without it?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 13, 2015 @ 7:55 pm

  12. @kalvarnsen Nice troll. When are your mates in National going *elect* a woman as their leader, hmmm ?

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — March 13, 2015 @ 8:14 pm

  13. @ Phil: Yeah, particularly given that James’ vote (total and share) actually declined slightly from 2011 to 2014

    This did not actually happen. The Wellington Central % of party vote went up about 2%, even though it declined a bit nationally.

    Comment by danylmc — March 13, 2015 @ 8:18 pm

  14. @ danylmc: I mean his personal *electorate* vote. If the increase in the Party Vote was due specifically to James’ qualities you would expect at least a small increase in his own total (you’d expect at least a minor coat-tailing effect as people responded to his campaigning, and as far as I’m aware there wasn’t a change in strategy around the WC electorate vote from 2011 to confuse matters). That it actually went down slightly suggests that the Party Vote result was more likely due to Wellington Central voters responding more strongly to national-level messages/developments.

    I should note here that from what I’ve heard, James seems like a really talented guy and it’s good to see him stand; like Phil, I’m just taking a small issue with the ‘data-driven’ talking point.

    Comment by NBH — March 13, 2015 @ 8:47 pm

  15. @Mikaere: I’ve never voted for National in my life. Ad hominem much?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 13, 2015 @ 8:58 pm

  16. “the idea of two female co-leaders”

    this is the latest focus-grouped line, right? seen it earlier today. #pffft

    Comment by Sacha — March 13, 2015 @ 9:03 pm

  17. @11) The finest example of concern trolling yet seen on this blog. Bravo.

    Comment by Alex Braae — March 13, 2015 @ 9:12 pm

  18. As a Wellington Central voter I had no idea who the Green candidate was.

    TIL it was someone called James Shaw.

    Comment by Thomas Beagle (@thomasbeagle) — March 13, 2015 @ 9:17 pm

  19. The last thing that many voters heard about the Greens before the election was that “they might go with National”. That was the story Russel Norman seemed to deliberately stir on the Friday before the election day, and he spent a day promoting an ambiguous position on radio and television before the party started to shut it down and put Metiria in front of the media. This was after a campaign based on attacking National’s failures. The week after that disappeared, as Dotcom and normal election noise drowned everything out.

    It’s actually really hard to say anything about those places where the vote stayed static or went down, as many of those are places in which there are many people who wanted to vote against the government. Dunedin North, for example.

    James Shaw is one of the reasons the vote was high in Wellington Central. He’s a very likeable, hard working and well-organised man, capable of commanding the support of many volunteers. Which is exactly what you need in an election campaign. But is this data-point enough to prove anything other than that? No.

    Comment by George D — March 13, 2015 @ 9:57 pm

  20. Hi Team, when comparing data election to election remember boundary changes. In both Welly Central, Auckland Central, Mount Albert and Dunedin North. For exmple Grey Lynn shifted from Auckland Central to Grey Lynn…

    Comment by Luke — March 13, 2015 @ 10:18 pm

  21. Good luck Danyl.

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 13, 2015 @ 10:28 pm

  22. OK, I guess nobody cares about the male co-leader thing, fair enough.

    @Luke: The only boundary change is that Wellington Central lost Wadestown, which is relatively pro-Nat territory, so if anything the boundary changes would have slightly helped the Greens.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 13, 2015 @ 10:49 pm

  23. @ Mikaere

    I seem to recall the nats “electing” the first country’s female finance minister and the first female PM. Strange you’d forget such a thing, especially as it didn’t require a quota

    Comment by insider — March 13, 2015 @ 10:56 pm

  24. Good luck to Shaw, but better luck to Hague.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 14, 2015 @ 1:13 am

  25. Shaw, Hague and Gareth Hughes look like equally capable candidates.

    Insider: and both of them didn’t even last a term in their respective roles.

    And regarding electoral systems, I say keep MMP in place, but change the electorate voting system from FPP to preferential voting or STV, if only to fix the problem of teapot deals.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — March 14, 2015 @ 2:32 am

  26. @Kumara: To be fair, Jenny Shipley losing her job as PM wasn’t really down to the National party’s sexism.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 14, 2015 @ 4:36 am

  27. I listened to Shaw in a radio interview. My non-partisan response was that with guy like this at the helm, the Green Party could hoover up new votes. To my ears he sounded committed (but anyone can do that) and, more importantly, coherent and competent (which is sometimes a big ask).
    He sounded like a politician from a mainstream organisation, which, if the Green Party is to elevate itself from its tendency to seem ‘addled’, I’d suggest is precisely the kind of image the Green Party needs to project and often fails to achieve.

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 14, 2015 @ 7:59 am

  28. @Lee: Did Russell sound like he wasn’t from a mainstream organisation? Did he sound incoherent and/or incompetent?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 14, 2015 @ 9:30 am

  29. What is his work/business history, or did he go straight from school to politics

    Comment by Sam O'Shea — March 14, 2015 @ 11:51 am

  30. No Kalvarnsen, he came across quite well.
    He could have stayed on, but I think we will never really know what caused him to resign. I have a theory, but won’t share it because it might look like I’m being deliberately mischievous – or “sympathy trolling”, I believe is the current passive-aggeessive phraseology. At the end I think, though he’d had a gutsful Of whatever it was.

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 14, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

  31. I’ve party-voted Green in the last two elections, and voted Green for the electorate vote in Wellington Central last year, so I’m fairly interested in this contest.

    I’m uneasy at the idea of someone who has little experience but solid raw talent taking on the leadership role. The Greens should balance the desire for raw talent with respecting those who have paid their dues. I’d be uneasy if they went the pure meritocratic approach like right wing parties tend to do.

    His corporate background is also a bit of a turn-off. I’m sure he’s a true leftie with strong environmental values, but superficially (since I don’t know much about him) it’s hard to get excited about someone who works at PWC on a left wing ticket (with apologies to my friends who work at PWC😉 I’m reminded of the chap who took over the Environmental Defense Fund in the 1980s in the US, Fred Krupp. Young (at the time), talented, and corporate friendly – too corporate friendly.

    IMO the Greens have gone far enough toward the centre. If they move any further right they’ll poach votes from Labour and depress their own turnout. Using myself as an example voter, if they drop their corporate tax rate policy down to something like Labour’s, and weaken their climate change policy, I’ll probably switch to a more left wing party at the next election.

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — March 14, 2015 @ 2:52 pm

  32. Perhaps the future will see the formation of a centre labour / green party – it appears both separate organisations are too entrenched in their ideological views to provide a place which encourages certain types of voters to participate.

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 14, 2015 @ 8:01 pm

  33. @Lee: So what makes you think Shaw (presuming he becomes leader) will improve on Russell’s performance if the abilities and attributes he has are all ones that Russell had too? It’s hard to argue “voters will respond better to a leader who sounds coherent” if the last leader sounds coherent, too.

    Personally I think the Greens don’t need to worry so much about losing the ‘Crazy hippy’ image. It’s a very real thing, but most of the people who adhere to it are people who’d never vote Green anyway.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 14, 2015 @ 8:02 pm

  34. kalvarnsen #26: precisely. What sank both Richardson & Shipley was bare-faced hubris.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — March 14, 2015 @ 8:42 pm

  35. James Shaw does seem like a good campaigner, but the stats don’t prove anything, because Wellington Central was already the Green Party’s highest polling seat when Sue Kedgley was the candidate.

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — March 14, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

  36. @Seb then what, pray tell, would be your ideas for how they can break through the 10% barrier? Your opinion sounds awfully supportive of the status quo, which did nothing for them last election

    Comment by Maximilian Bircher-Benner — March 14, 2015 @ 10:29 pm

  37. For what it’s worth I went to school with James over 30 years ago. It was a private religious school which you might think is even more of a black mark. But you’d be wrong: children rarely choose their own schools and it was the kind that specialised in subverting its own intentions, accidentally turning a surprising proportion of christians into life long atheists, the children of middle class corporate and business owning parents into committed lefties, conformists into rebels etc. James was if anything an exception – from day one a rebel at the petty injustices that are the daily bread at a school like that. He didn’t change into the self you see, he was already there as a very young boy. He’s the real thing.

    Look, life is complicated and you may have reservations about the PWC side etc, but the world is as it is, and maybe he had to make a living, and he found it easier to work with the grain – I’m guilty of the same. A big student loan is designed to make you make certain choices, maybe he had one. We are not all cut out to take vows of poverty once we graduate. I’m just saying don’t judge too quickly on the PWC data point.

    I don’t care about the inexperience, he’s landed on his feet in parliament and I think he has as good a shot as any of the other (quality, experienced) candidates at taking the Greens forward, more even. Key thing is he is just as much the real thing as they are, since he was a kid. Best of luck James.

    Comment by Joe-90 — March 14, 2015 @ 11:46 pm

  38. Pretty sure Russel mostly stepped down because he has two young kids and now a baby, and spending time with them as a dad is incompatible with being a party leader.

    Wellington Central was a good seat for the Greens under Sue Kedgley – who was also a high profile MP. James managed to grow the vote – by a lot – from outside Parliament, which is unusual.

    IMO the Greens have gone far enough toward the centre.

    I agree. I also think that lots of political activists obsess about political positioning – moving to the center, moving to the right, or whatever. Most voters care way more about ‘valence issues’. Do politicians seem trustworthy, competent ect. ‘Can they run the country?’ I think the Greens can win WAY more voters on valency without compromising their values at all. That’s what they’ve been doing under Russel and Met, but with mixed success.

    Comment by danylmc — March 15, 2015 @ 8:42 am

  39. Shaw wants to channel the free market towards equitable and better socially good out comes as defined by the greens.

    A wise and glorious committee with a community focus will harness the mighty power of the free market, while keeping a watchful eye on greedy self interest, to achieve Green policy aims.

    Comrades vote Shaw! We should all follow Co-Leader Shaw anywhere but only out of curiosity.

    Comment by Simon — March 15, 2015 @ 11:58 am

  40. I saw all the candidates on the Nation. Very impressed. My prefs would be Hague/Shaw equal, then Hughes. The new guy is impressive too. I thought Hughes was super but a wee bit simplistic while Hague could express the deeper issues and Shaw had a sense of urgency. To me Hague and Shaw are candidates of a high calibre and, wow, I look forward to seeing them shine in future no matter who wins this contest. I can’t vote because I (foolishly?) joined the Labour Party thinking that was the best pathway to a change of direction for NZ.

    Comment by OAP — March 15, 2015 @ 2:23 pm

  41. Wellington Central was a good seat for the Greens under Sue Kedgley..

    Assuming the population of Wellington Central doesn’t consist to a greater extent than normal of deranged hippies, that’s a pretty solid endorsement for the view that electorate votes largely falling on party lines.

    …accidentally turning a surprising proportion of christians into life long atheists…

    A risk that Christians who raise you to think for yourself necessarily expose themselves to – I’m forever indebted to the willingness of some to undergo that risk.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — March 15, 2015 @ 8:18 pm

  42. Joe-90: “children rarely choose their own schools and it was the kind that specialised in subverting its own intentions, accidentally turning a surprising proportion of christians into life long atheists, the children of middle class corporate and business owning parents into committed lefties, conformists into rebels etc.”

    And I had similar experiences in my youth as a repeatedly misdiagnosed Aspie. To add to that, it only reinforced in my mind all the worst stereotypes about Etonian elitism and Social Darwinism.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — March 15, 2015 @ 8:27 pm

  43. Sorry Kalvarnsen for late reply. Although t I thought Russel came across well, this doesn’t mean I thought he had the same kind of charisma that Shaw exhibits. I just think Shaw will come across better, this is not an attempt to white-ant Norman (post-mortem), just my opinion.
    The problem now, is I can’t prove that: to defend it would require an autopsy of Norman’s gafffes or indiscretions (and they can be detected), and a wish-list of Shaw’s unproven potential.That would be a bit sillly, as we are all human and all make errors. So rather than make this into what could only project as a biased opinion, let me admit the bias, or call it gut-feeling and leave it at that.

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 16, 2015 @ 7:20 am

  44. >Most voters care way more about ‘valence issues’. Do politicians seem trustworthy, competent ect. ‘Can they run the country?’ I think the Greens can win WAY more voters on valency without compromising their values at all. That’s what they’ve been doing under Russel and Met, but with mixed success.

    They may have maxed out what valency issues can achieve for a party not positioned spatially between the two main contenders. Going after valency as a priority seems like a pretty tenuous path – essentially you’re competing with all the parties for it. It only takes Labour to sweep up what is to them a very small fraction just through a few solid months of the valency buzzwords panning out for them to rip a big chunk out of the Green vote. Or Winston Peters could do it. Or Colin Craig. They’re all competing to look honest, trustworthy, sensible, sound, solid, kiwi, etc. All those intangible things that can rise and fall on a gaffe here, a bad photo there. In fact, most of them are defined by negatives in the first place, so they’re best achieved by not making any headlines, getting no press, taking no position.

    I guess I can buy the idea inherent in valency theory that an obsession with position at the expense of valence can be costly. But ultimately it’s an *extremely* shallow and superficial political theory, suggesting that actual differentiation amongst political choices is not the most important factor. It’s a highly conservative view right from the start, which embodies the disempowerment that many already feel in the face of our farcical levels of political choice. I struggle to see how it can really help a party that is predicated around changing the political landscape. Its main purpose will be to turn any party that follows it into a carbon copy of the main centrist parties. In the end it’s just a checklist of gaffes to avoid. It’s very much secondary to spatial positioning, in reality. If it isn’t then our political system actually is a farce. It’s about the paint and carpet and not the structure of the house or its location. Sure, you should paint the house and clean the carpet when its time to sell, but don’t expect that to count for way more than its location and number of rooms and basic structural integrity.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — March 16, 2015 @ 10:28 am

  45. Joe-90 wrote: “For what it’s worth I went to school with James over 30 years ago. It was a private religious school which you might think is even more of a black mark.”

    You mean he wasn’t raised in a lesbian-run commune in the Aro Valley?

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — March 16, 2015 @ 10:55 am

  46. @Ben

    When you say ‘Going after valency as a priority seems like a pretty tenuous path’, do you mean ‘Why would the Greens bother trying to look competent’?

    Just trying to decode

    A.

    P.S. Valency is important but likeability is important too. Key has it, Rod and Jeanette had it in spades, Russel had it although rather undermined by being Australian and ‘give me back my flag’. Sounds like James Shaw has it. Does Metiria have it?

    Comment by Antoine — March 16, 2015 @ 11:04 am

  47. @ Danyl

    > Most voters care way more about ‘valence issues’. Do politicians seem trustworthy, competent ect. ‘Can they run the country?’ I think the Greens can win WAY more voters on valency without compromising their values at all. That’s what they’ve been doing under Russel and Met, but with mixed success.

    A large part of the problem is that 100 little steps forward by Russel and Metiria could be reversed by one large step back by someone like Browning or Delahunty.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — March 16, 2015 @ 11:21 am

  48. >When you say ‘Going after valency as a priority seems like a pretty tenuous path’, do you mean ‘Why would the Greens bother trying to look competent’?

    Clearly not. I mean that looking competent is a given goal for all parties, and parties that have never even been in government have a bloody hard time of looking more competent with zero track record. It only takes a very small effort to look competent by, say, Labour to swing a large number of people who are basing their core decisions about politics on apparent competency, because Labour has people in it who have actually run the government of the country for years and years, and stands a far higher chance of running it again than the Greens do. They could lose all their valency gains very rapidly.

    That said, I think valency is very poorly defined and doesn’t necessarily stand in contrast to spatial models at all, it just possibly has more dimensions. If it’s just an appeal not to see politics solely on the left-right dimension then fine. But I think it makes stronger claims than that, somehow suggesting that political choice is entirely untethered to spatial positioning. That seems very unlikely to me. It’s like the Green-ness of the Greens is somehow irrelevant and secondary to whether they’re honest and competent, and people could just as easily switch to voting ACT if they broke with tradition and started looking honest and competent.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — March 16, 2015 @ 11:26 am

  49. I thought James performed well on the Nation/Q+A? debate. The failure of the others to have the slightest idea of current economic indicators was embarrassing.
    My only concern is if James has influence on the laws of this country, will I be charged with murder, or the like, for running over a hedgehog or will snails qualify for the dole?

    Comment by King Kong — March 16, 2015 @ 11:53 am

  50. @Ben

    > looking competent is a given goal for all parties

    I don’t think that’s right. NZ First makes no apparent effort to appear competent, but gets about as many votes as the Greens. Not all voters are looking for competency.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — March 16, 2015 @ 12:00 pm

  51. >NZ First makes no apparent effort to appear competent

    Winston Peters has been in government since I was a kid, with a number of ministerial portfolios. He doesn’t even have to try to look competent to his target demographic – they think of his grin every time they pull out their Winston card for a free ride on the bus. He was extremely quick to distance himself from Brendan Horan when the allegations of dishonesty came out. Winnie puts a lot of effort into valence. But I agree, his actual positioning is also very important. If you were reading what I said at all closely, you’d see that’s what I’m actually saying. Just because Winston gives the impression of an old and competent hand, doesn’t mean that his support wouldn’t abandon him if he suddenly decided to become an environmentalist.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — March 16, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

  52. @Ben

    I’m not sure I 100% agree with your characterisation of NZ 1st. But yes, I do agree with your original fundamental point that ‘valency’ need not be the Greens’ top priority. As a fringe party they can afford to look a bit wacky.

    Labour however, is in a different position. Labour needs to attract a substantial proportion of the mainstream vote and to do that they need to look able.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — March 16, 2015 @ 1:41 pm

  53. >As a fringe party they can afford to look a bit wacky.

    Well they’ve obviously still got to seem professional. But there’s a natural advantage in all the valence kind of perceptions for parties that are centrist. I guess I’m concerned to understand what it actually means to chase that kind of thing more than their core policy. Do they have to act differently, talk like businessmen, wear suits, have appropriate facial hair? Should they have a media policy that every utterance has to be carefully vetted by a team of handlers? Should they take care never to have a new idea? What does it really actually mean, beyond a bunch of negatives that usually come after the fact when there’s a gaffe of some kind? Is this what people got into the Green Party for?

    Comment by Ben Wilson — March 16, 2015 @ 3:46 pm

  54. Hey, those seem like good questions.

    If only someone read this blog that was involved in the Greens’ comms strategy, they might be able to answer you…

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — March 16, 2015 @ 4:10 pm

  55. While it may be true that valence issues (this is kind of a misapplication of the term but let’s roll with it) are key to political success with voters in general, is this true of Green voters? Green voters, and people who consider voting Green, may well be to a much larger extent expressing policy and identity preferences rather than valence issues compared to the median or the mean voters, who are the voters that are generally at issue in American political science, where this kind of analysis derives from.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — March 16, 2015 @ 8:23 pm

  56. @Keir Leslie

    Hence my point that Labour needs valency more than the Greens or NZ 1st or Mana do.

    One of Labour’s problems is that if the Greens’ valency is low, Labour can get tarnished by association…

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — March 16, 2015 @ 8:42 pm

  57. I’ve said it before, both in response to Danyl’s theory and in other contexts, but I’ll say it again – competence-driven electioneering is a mirage. Of course voters regard competence as important, but that’s only because “competence” is a universal value, like “efficiency” or “honesty”. But if you look at the way voters interpret “competence”, it’s usually simply a reflection of their political preferences. To take the Greens as an example, it’s clear that the Greens have issues with the wider electorate about appearing to be raving hippies who are unfit for government, and it’s also clear that the Greens recognise this and have, for about the last ten years, been working hard to address it. Their success has been, at best, highly qualified. A large part of the electorate just isn’t prepared to see the Greens as competent because it doesn’t mesh with their own political preferences, and no amount of well-researched policy drafting or responsible calls for fiscal accountability will address that.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 16, 2015 @ 10:01 pm

  58. kalvarnsen: ” A large part of the electorate just isn’t prepared to see the Greens as competent because it doesn’t mesh with their own political preferences, and no amount of well-researched policy drafting or responsible calls for fiscal accountability will address that.”

    How much of it is attributable to propaganda successfully painting the Greens as hippie Luddites, and how much of it is down to old-fashioned Waitakere Man ‘school of hard knocks’? Would it take something genuinely cataclysmic like a housing bubble burst to shift the political landscape?

    Comment by Kumara Republic — March 17, 2015 @ 2:16 am

  59. That’s an interesting insight into the catacysmic mentality that Greens appear to exhibit, that pervades others’ perceptions, about them, Kumara.

    Why should people vote Green as the result of a catastrophe like a bursting housing bubble? It suggests that the Greens see themselves as saviours, which might appear a bit pompous to some.
    Many are Greens because they fear the consequences of Global warming, for example or because they have concerns about environmental issues. But everyday folk need brass-tacks present, economic rationales for voting, rather than the sense that they should just ‘do the right thing’. Many people make strenuous efforts to be ‘Green’, but sadly the Green Party fails to come across as competent, or appears to poh-pooh their actions or accuse them of ‘denial’.

    To such people, The Greens present like a cult, or protest group, rather than a credible political option.

    Blaming the media for this perception is a bit rich, when generations of Greens have fought hard to present such a perception even to the extent of cultivating a Green ‘hippie-chic’ as a signifier to signal their membership to others.

    So, it may be possible to suggest, that perhaps seeing the Greens as more competent, for wavering voters, might result from increasing numbers of Greens not acting like ‘hippie Luddites’, Kumara. To score more votes, ditch the perception that being ‘Green’ needs one to join the cult of Greeness, and encourage wavering voters with dialogue rather than appearing tosit in judgement of them. This is not a call to reject a value system, rather to put in a bit more hard work to present it.This which is why I think Shaw would be useful to consolidate such a transition.

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 17, 2015 @ 8:23 am

  60. >is this true of Green voters? Green voters, and people who consider voting Green, may well be to a much larger extent expressing policy and identity preferences rather than valence issues compared to the median or the mean voters, who are the voters that are generally at issue in American political science, where this kind of analysis derives from.

    They may, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a pool of untapped potential Green voters who are much more about the valence issues. They should be grabbed if they’re there, at least if Labour is losing them. If Labour starts looking seriously competent again, they could easily disappear through no fault of the Green strategy. Which is why I think it’s not the way to grow your base larger. It’s not really a strategy, it’s just management. It’s definitely not something that inspires Green politicians themselves. They didn’t get into the Green Party so they could have a good comms strategy and a tight ship, and a strong fundraising machine. They got into it to change the world. But that ambition doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have those things.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — March 17, 2015 @ 12:26 pm

  61. I (and a lot of the people i know) voted green in Wellington Central because Labour were so dire and me personally because I respect Russel Norman – I prefer Hague and have no interest in people from the corporate world who have made their money and seen the light – piss off

    Comment by mag rod aigh — March 17, 2015 @ 1:17 pm

  62. mag rod aigh wrote: “I prefer Hague and have no interest in people from the corporate world who have made their money and seen the light”

    James Shaw isn’t someone who ‘made money [in the corporate world] and then saw the light’. He was a Green Party member and candidate before he entered the corporate world, and he entered the corporate world to push ecological sustainability to corporates. I don’t know how successful he was, but I’m pretty certain he was always sincere.

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — March 17, 2015 @ 4:16 pm

  63. Lee Clark: “That’s an interesting insight into the catacysmic mentality that Greens appear to exhibit, that pervades others’ perceptions, about them, Kumara.”

    Not the Green Party’s hypothesis but my own personal views. And there’s just as much of a risk that those who get kicked in the balls by a bubble burst might go Tea Party instead of Occupy. The logical extreme of it happened in Weimar Germany after the Great Depression hit – an angry, desperate and newly bankrupted middle class voted for a “uber-strong leader” who could basically “make Germany’s trains run on time”. It’s all too obvious who that leader was.

    “Blaming the media for this perception is a bit rich”

    It’s bigger than just the media, and I didn’t blame them specifically. Especially considering the rise of public relations and dog-whistle politics.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — March 17, 2015 @ 6:51 pm

  64. No,Kumara, I didn’t think you were pushing a Green Party hypothesis, but I just considered it an inadvertently coincidental idea to discuss. Perception-wise, alongside the examples you suggest, I still don’t think you are giving ‘hippie-chic’ the kind of credit it rightly deserves though…

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 17, 2015 @ 7:07 pm

  65. Kumara@63: That could never happen in New Zealand. Nobody can make our trains run on time.

    Comment by Dr Foster — March 17, 2015 @ 7:20 pm

  66. “That could never happen in New Zealand. Nobody can make our trains run on time”

    The buses in Dunedin run on time (I’m not suggesting this tells you anything about New Zealand cities in general – it’s just a weird thing about Dunedin)

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — March 17, 2015 @ 8:21 pm

  67. I hope he stays away from Twiiter.

    Smug, Snark and Sneer are three dwarfs to stay clear of.

    Comment by NeilM — March 17, 2015 @ 10:49 pm

  68. I’d steer clear of discussing anyone who is vertically challenged here, Neil.

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 18, 2015 @ 7:06 am

  69. NeilM: if you’re talking about Shaw, he already seems pretty active on it. And I’d say there’s little chance the vertically challenged will go Charlie Hebdo on us.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — March 18, 2015 @ 8:14 pm


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