The Dim-Post

September 24, 2015

On the Green’s Red Peak deal

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 11:37 am

One of the defining moments in John Key’s rise to popularity as opposition leader was when he made a deal with Helen Clark to support the Bradford smacking amendment. Key ‘rescued’ Clark, much to the outrage of National Party partisans, but he also transformed himself from an opposition leader to a potential Prime Minister. The public isn’t really interested in politicians yelling nonsense at each other. They like people who can get things done, and Key did something.

I’ve been a bit mystified as to why Andrew Little didn’t exploit Key’s weakness over the flag referendum to emulate his old trick. And now the Greens have done it. People are saying that they’ve played into Key’s hands, and so on, just as some in National said of Key’s deal with Clark. But if Key was such a ten-dimensional chess grand-master he wouldn’t have botched his precious legacy project so badly it needed the Greens to save it. The Greens ‘did’ something, which is hard to do in opposition and some persuadable voters will give them points for it.

72 Comments »

  1. Labour fucked up the initial response and was playing catchup from there. If Little had offered to meet with Key without conditions in the first place, you’d be complimenting him instead.

    Key walked Labour into the trap (well, Labour fell) and then saw the advantage of saving his arse and showing the Greens to be competent and practical compared with Labour. Yes, a win for Greens, but also for Key. FFS Labour.

    Comment by RHT — September 24, 2015 @ 11:41 am

  2. Little did offer to meet with Key without conditions. Key accepted. This is on the record in Hansard. Then Key refused to actually meet. The politically smart thing here for the Left was to leave Key to stew in his juices or force a compromise. The Greens have handed Key everything he wanted, and for nothing. But in the process they’ve screwed Labour and done serious damage to the relationship and their internal party unity as the implications of the deal start to sink in.

    Comment by Jamesey — September 24, 2015 @ 11:52 am

  3. If Little had offered to meet with Key without conditions in the first place, you’d be complimenting him instead.

    It was Key who put conditions on the meeting. And do you really think Key wants the Greens to help him out? he must be royally annoyed that he has lost control of the process.

    Comment by Ross — September 24, 2015 @ 12:05 pm

  4. Also: the Greens have consistently supported the flag referendum. So I don’t think its a problem for them at all to propose this. They’re not the Labour Party, and their purpose is to advance their policies, not do what Labour wants.

    Comment by idiotsavant23 — September 24, 2015 @ 12:05 pm

  5. You will recall that the PM said there was no way that Red Peak would be added to the list of options.

    Asked if he could guarantee it would not be an option on the ballot paper in November, Mr Key said: “I can, because this is the issue, there was a well set out process, the committee decided the four, sent them to Cabinet, Cabinet had the right to overrule them but chose not to, they accepted the recommendations.

    “To accept any other flag – the All Blacks one with the silver fern, any other one – we would have to change the law, and we’re not going back to Parliament to change the law.”

    http://publicaddress.net/speaker/so-who-exactly-placed-conditions-on-that/

    Comment by Ross — September 24, 2015 @ 12:08 pm

  6. Criminalising smacking was something the entire country cared about. The flag is meaningless window dressing and a waste of time. Labour are better for avoiding any involvement.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 24, 2015 @ 12:22 pm

  7. @NRT – It’s not about ‘what Labour wants’. It’s about lending false legitimacy to Key’s strapped chicken referendum process and screwing your coalition partner – all over a stupid flag.

    Comment by Jamesey — September 24, 2015 @ 12:26 pm

  8. Reblogged this on Talking Southern Auckland.

    Comment by Ben Ross - Talking Auckland — September 24, 2015 @ 12:26 pm

  9. It’s the perfect example of how the parties operate, of who does and doesn’t “get” opposition politics.

    If two knights were riding past a tower which held a damsel in distress, the red knight would say “The ogre who imprisoned you, he’s the one to blame.”. He would be absolutely right, and fully justified in doing nothing to solve a problem he didn’t create.

    The green one would just save the damsel – and win the cheers of the town.

    The red knight would still be wondering why.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 24, 2015 @ 12:30 pm

  10. Sammy, speaking of knights:

    Sir Edgbert, knight of the realm, was hurrying home on a cold, dark, wet night when, suddenly, his horse suffered a major coronary and died on the spot. All Sir Edgbert could do was collect up what belongings he could and tramp onwards.

    After staggering for a spell, he decides that he must get alternative transport. Accordingly, he heads for the nearest building which, as luck would have it, is a small farm. He strides up to the door, bangs on it and shouts ‘A horse! A horse!. I must have a horse!”.

    The door opens to reveal a young girl. She looks at Sir Edgbert and says, “Your pardon, good night but my father and brothers are returning from the village on the other side of the forest and will not be back before noon tomorrow. They are riding all our horses”.

    Sir Edgbert is saddened by this and says “But I must return home immediately. Have you any idea where I may acquire alternative transportation?”

    The young girl says “I know of no other horses hereabouts, but sometimes my brothers ride our Great Dane dog when the need arises. Would use of that help?”

    Sir Edgbert is desperate and says “If I must, I must. Show me the animal”. The young girl leads the way around to the back of the farmhouse to a stable. She disappears inside and returns leading an enormous dog which is quite of a size for riding. Unfortunately, the dog has seen better days. Its coat is threadbare, its legs are spindly and its breathing is laboured.

    Sir Edgbert looks at the young girl and says, “Surely, you wouldn’t send a knight out on a dog like this?”

    Comment by Ross — September 24, 2015 @ 12:46 pm

  11. There’s a lot of anger towards John Key being expressed through this process, and this is probably what Labour have been hearing (with their attempt to cripple the referendum by making NZrs vote ‘yes/no’ on an unknown flag). They’re pretty annoyed about losing that play right now.

    Comment by Moses — September 24, 2015 @ 1:04 pm

  12. @Jamesey: not “lending false legitimacy to Key’s strapped chicken referendum process and screwing your coalition partner – all over a stupid flag” is the very definition of what Labour wants. But the Greens don’t want that. They have their own goals, which do not always coincide with Labour’s. Working towards them is not “screwing your coalition partner”; its accepting that you won’t always agree on everything and getting on with it.

    The sooner Labour hacks grow up and stop being pouty about this, the sooner they can work constructively with the Greens. And if its just “a stupid flag” as you call it – implying that it is an unimportant issue – then this shouldn’t be any sort of problem.

    (BTW, I disagree with the Greens on this: think the process is a farce, and adding one decent option by legislation at the end of it doesn’t change that. But they and I have different goals on this. We’re not going to change our respective minds, so there’s no point talking about it; better to focus on the areas where we do agree)

    Comment by idiotsavant23 — September 24, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

  13. I think the issue is where the Greens stitched up a deal with National to vote against Labour’s yes/no amendment – which the Greens support in principle and always have – in exchange for something National could have done itself. It’s utterly unprincipled and goes against what they’ve agreed with Labour. That’s kind of reason enough to be angry. Also stupid meta-politics from the Greens in exchange for one day of positive headlines from the press gallery. It’s not just Labour hacks who are annoyed about this. There are Greens who are shaking their heads in dismay at this short-termism.

    Comment by Jamesey — September 24, 2015 @ 1:51 pm

  14. I think the issue is where the Greens stitched up a deal with National to vote against Labour’s yes/no amendment…

    Possibly indicative of why the Labour party and its activists don’t seem to get MMP.
    Newsflash – the Greens owe Labour sweet F.A.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 24, 2015 @ 2:14 pm

  15. The Greens also got one back on Act after the latter party made them look stupid over the RWC pub opening bill. Act was pushing for Red Peak too, but the Greens got it done.

    Comment by Nick K — September 24, 2015 @ 2:24 pm

  16. They do when they’ve made explicit commitments that they then break. The Greens constantly talk about wanting to work with Labour constructively as a coherent opposition, and lately both parties have done that with the cooperation over the joint refugee bills and the joint questions to Key on Tuesday. This kind of thing undermines all of that, and all the trust that goes with it. People in Labour are right to be annoyed.

    Comment by Jamesey — September 24, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

  17. 13. “It’s utterly unprincipled”

    No it’s not, it has made the referendum better than it was before. What exactly is the principle you are trying to promote?

    Comment by Danx — September 24, 2015 @ 2:28 pm

  18. Possibly indicative of why the Labour party and its activists don’t seem to get MMP.

    Except this issue has nothing to do with MMP.

    Comment by Ross — September 24, 2015 @ 2:29 pm

  19. No Right Turn can’t accept that sometimes the Greens are capable of getting it wrong, and maybe it isn’t always Labour’s fault.

    Comment by Jamesey — September 24, 2015 @ 2:48 pm

  20. It’s a huge win for the Greens.

    A) They prove that they can actually work constructively with National.
    B) They get a huge bonus from the voters for being pragmatic and getting things done. (If you can’t beat them, join them to at least improve things.)
    C) Labour certainly can’t take them for granted

    Labour had it’s chance, but they overplayed their cards, they stumpled (once again) and dropped the ball.
    It would have been silly if the Greens would have not picked it up and ran with it out of some misplaced loyalty to Labour. Especially given how often Labour has snubbed them in the past.

    Look and learn Andrew Little and Trevor Mallard. This is how it’s done.

    Comment by eszett — September 24, 2015 @ 3:14 pm

  21. Everyone is assuming National would have let a Labour-led proposal that was identical to the Greens-led one go through. It is not clear that they would have. National just wanted Labour to look bad here so giving them a win wasn;t something they wanted to do. I agree Labour played it badly (who really cares about 2 referendums?) but it was always up to National whether this went ahead or not.

    Comment by Danx — September 24, 2015 @ 3:27 pm

  22. “…The sooner Labour hacks grow up and stop being pouty about this…” coming from the queen of pouts himself that is pretty rich.

    “…Newsflash – the Greens owe Labour sweet F.A…”

    Wow. Just wow. Let’s all recall this moment when Labour does a deal with NZ First to govern that shuts out the Greens unless they support a National government, because when that happened last time the entitled shrieking of the Greens was a sight to behold.

    The Green leadership at the moment seems to be completely detached from political reality, probably because they live entirely in the Thorndon bubble.

    First of all, they are far to weak in the polls to be pissing off Labour. Their support has been in the 10% doldrums for while now. Most of the support they are losing is going to Labour, because a good 4-5% of Green voters have always been dissaffected Labour voters to begin with. Doing Key a favour on the flag referendum is just going to further the suspicion amongst that group of Green voters that James Shaw will value a place for himself around the cabinet table over being Green all day long. Secondly, since the Greens are far to l33t and far to lazy to be bothered to do the hard work and win an electorate seat as a lifeboat being at a soft 10% and having 12 MPs is only 5.1% away from having no-one in parliament at all. Remember 2005, when the Greens just scrambled home.

    Doing Key a favour, combined with the Greens traditional abysmal on the ground organisation, means they shouldn’t be so cavalier about their relationship with Labour and who is voting for them, because at the end of the day they need ex-Labour voters far, far more than Labour needs ex-Green ones to stay in Parliament.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 24, 2015 @ 3:28 pm

  23. Except this issue has nothing to do with MMP.

    Yeah it does, given it’ll be a while (if ever) until Labour governs alone again.

    Let’s all recall this moment…

    You demonstrate my point. The sanctimony/hypocrisy is hilarious to behold, given Labour’s track record.
    What’s good for the goose etc.

    far to lazy to be bothered to do the hard work and win an electorate seat…they shouldn’t be so cavalier about their relationship with Labour and who is voting for them…

    If it wasn’t for those peksy Green’s, Labour would be sailing to victory blah blah blah.
    Back in my day…..zzzzzzz

    Comment by Gregor W — September 24, 2015 @ 3:42 pm

  24. How was Gareth Hughes’s bill thwarting Labour’s strategy? surely Labour already had no chance of getting its amendments through, and couldn’t have, whatever the Greens did?

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — September 24, 2015 @ 3:43 pm

  25. So Labour have been pretty petty on this issue and playing meaningless opposition politics to stymie the Government, (granted, I agree with all of you that National has been as bad or worse) even though they nominally support changing the flag. This is not how the Greens operate. If they support a policy, they will try and get the best version of the policy they can through Parliament, and this is an example. They’re not going to abandon that just because Labour doesn’t like it. The Green proposals to co-operate more closely also involved communicating clearly with Labour what issues they could both agree with. The thing about coalitions is that you’re never required to support all of each other’s ideas. Those of you who seem to think the Greens should always be on Labour’s side just because they eventually want a coalition government are being very unrealistic.

    Comment by Matthew Whitehead — September 24, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

  26. A psychologist would be kept very busy with Labour MPs and apologists.

    To the chase: it’s projection. Blame the Greens, and it’s sorted. No self-analysis required.

    If we look a little deeper we see … Jacinda Ardern on the steps of Parliament, standing next to Gareth Hughes and brandishing Red Peak for the cameras. While inside Parliament Trevor Mallard says Red Peak is “rubbish” (quote) and accuses the Greens of “sanctimonious clapatrap” (again, quote). While Andrew Little says he won’t vote, but sort of wants Red Peak on the ballot, but on his terms, which obviously he can’t dictate (numbers, numbers). We know who speaks for the Greens, but who speaks for Labour?

    None of this would matter (it’s only flags, FFS) if it didn’t reflect a much bigger problem. A caucus that can’t cohere, and won’t until the last of the ancien regime has gone. There’s only one party that can sort that out, and it sure as hell ain’t the Greens. And a lot of us are tired of waiting for them to do it, and feel no desire to defend them while they don’t.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 24, 2015 @ 4:31 pm

  27. Ah, Red Pique, so entertaining. I look forward to The Peters’ Prime Ministership. Will he let any of his MPs be Ministers or will just the Big Bauble be enough?

    Comment by Tinakori — September 24, 2015 @ 4:50 pm

  28. They get a huge bonus from the voters for being pragmatic and getting things done.

    Yes, I can just see tens of thousands of voters at the next election voting Green because Red Peak was added to the list of awful flag options.

    Comment by Ross — September 24, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

  29. The Greens action makes it more likely that Key will get a flag change, which he’ll see and spin as a win.

    If (as still seems likely) there is a vote for no change in the second referendum, then Key will be pissed off. We know from interviews a couple of years ago that these things niggle him – it might be the tipping point that leads him to retire to Hawaii and a well paid job courtesy of the US.

    Comment by richdrich — September 24, 2015 @ 5:10 pm

  30. The flag referendum is still a farce even with the insertion of Red Peak. Some people have convinced themselves Red Peak is somehow “better” than the flags on offer, but I think when the actual voting happens we’ll see that is not the case.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 24, 2015 @ 5:25 pm

  31. The strength of the Greens is that it follows principled, rational, facts based decision making following good process.

    Their behaviour over red flag betrays all that, in favour of the unpricipled behaviour common to national and, often labour. No robust process, just some amateur flag designers deciding to pick winners.

    Disgusting.

    Comment by Andrew R — September 24, 2015 @ 5:41 pm

  32. Andrew, the Greens believe in grassroots decision-making. It’s perfectly within their principles to support adding a flag option that had a grassroots campaign to add it to the referendum.

    Comment by Matthew Whitehead — September 24, 2015 @ 5:54 pm

  33. @Matthew: There was a grassroots campaign behind reducing the number of MPs to 99, yet the Greens don’t back that.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 24, 2015 @ 6:54 pm

  34. I don’t follow the argument that goes – I’ll vote for Red Peak but then vote against change if it doesn’t go through.

    I can understand not participating if one thinks badly of the process but to half participate and then object that other people have chosen a different design doesn’t look particularly honourable.

    Comment by NeilM — September 24, 2015 @ 8:03 pm

  35. Duncan Garner has labelled the Red Peak campaign ‘government by social media’. In the absence of serious media counterweights to Mike Hosking & Co, social media is the best NZ has got.

    While Red Peak is a big improvement on the 4 designed-by-committee finalists, I can’t help but think it’ll be a protest vote against how the whole process was handled to begin with.

    And does anyone detect a contradiction between the PM’s rush to remove the Union Jack from the flag, and his cargo-cultism over knighthoods and the British Monarchy?

    Comment by Kumara Republic — September 24, 2015 @ 8:04 pm

  36. Duncan Garner has labelled the Red Peak campaign ‘government by social media’.

    As opposed to enlightened broadcasters who hear the real voice of the people in talkback callers, taxi drivers, media panels drawn from half a dozen regular hacks, and their drunk mates at the barbie …

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 24, 2015 @ 8:13 pm

  37. As for Labour, outwitted again with addition of being upstaged by the Greens.

    It was pretty much inevitable they’d come to grief. They have a policy of changing the flag, Little personally wants to change the flag and like Red Peak but thought they could ride the anti-Key sentiment instead of sticking to principle.

    They’ve been trying to have things both ways on a range of issues – opposing things right up to voting for them ( eg security issues) and does anyone really think they’d ever vote against the TPP?

    They seem to it know who they want to vote for them.

    Comment by NeilM — September 24, 2015 @ 8:14 pm

  38. seem not to know

    Comment by NeilM — September 24, 2015 @ 8:16 pm

  39. I don’t follow the argument that goes – I’ll vote for Red Peak but then vote against change if it doesn’t go through.

    I can understand not participating if one thinks badly of the process but to half participate and then object that other people have chosen a different design doesn’t look particularly honourable.

    It’s not that difficult Neil. I try and make it as simple as i can for you though.

    Imagine you think the four original selections are pretty shit flags. You don’t have to believe this personally, I’m asking you to just imagine that you think this.

    Imagine that you think Red Peak is not a shit flag and so that therefore you think it is better than any of the other four. Again, you don’t have to believe this yourself

    Imagine further, that you had come to think that Red Peak is actually a pretty good flag, and that you would in fact be happy to take it a replacement for our current flag.

    So here are the thoughts I’m asking you to imagine that you have:

    1: I would be happy to replace our current flag with Red Peak. It’s a flag I like, I think Red Peak is a good flag.
    2: The other four alternative flags are shit flags that I think it would be a mistake to exchange for our current flag.

    So, and here’s is the bit where it comes to the final referendum

    the last referendum will ask if you think we should change our flag to a presented alternative. If you think the presented alternative would make a good replacement, you should vote ‘change’. If you think it would make a shitty alternative, you should vote ‘no change’.

    Voting ‘no change’ is not ‘objecting that other people have chosen a different design’. That’s just silly. It is answering the question that is actually asked and actually participating in the democratic process. Voting for something you actually think is shitty, is the dishonorable thing to do.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 24, 2015 @ 8:41 pm

  40. If someone normally as decent as Shearer is now accusing the Greens of being underhanded then that’s strong indication of how badly they handled this and of how greatly they hoped playing the spoiler would pay off for them.

    A bit of creative leadership earlier on could have actually done everyone some good rather than the reflexive outrage at anything Key proposes – especially if it’s something one actually supports.

    Now they’ve voted to have Red Peak added – do they still oppose the referendum? Had they advocated that changing the flag meant dealing with our colonial past, moving forward as a nation – all those meaningful left wing positions then – that’s what we could be talking about.

    I’ve blabbed on about this before, it was a choice one could make.

    Comment by NeilM — September 24, 2015 @ 8:55 pm

  41. It’s not that difficult Neil. I try and make it as simple as i can for you though.

    I stopped reading there. If I wanted passive aggression I can get at The Standard..

    Comment by NeilM — September 24, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

  42. Well Neil, if you go around accusing people of being dishonorable making other weird accusations about people’s motives, I’d think you could find passive aggressive responses pretty much anywhere.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 24, 2015 @ 9:07 pm

  43. @Kalvarsen: The Greens generally favour grassroots politics. That doesn’t mean they’re a direct democracy party like some parties claim to be. They can sometimes agree and sometimes disagree with a popular campaign, and they had good reasons for thinking 120 MPs are good for the country. See: https://home.greens.org.nz/features/case-120-mps and https://home.greens.org.nz/features/why-do-we-need-120-mps. Basically, the Greens thought 99 MPs would risk Cabinet wielding too much power, and would either necessitate larger electorates or weaken the proportionality of Parliament by reducing the number of list seats.

    Man people are splitting hairs over this to try and find something wrong with the Greens’ position.

    Comment by Matthew Whitehead — September 24, 2015 @ 9:13 pm

  44. “Weaken the proportionality of Parliament” and “necessitate larger electorates” are also ways of saying “make it harder for the Greens to get into Parliament” — it’s amazing how the correct thing to do just happens to line up with the Green interest there, eh?

    Comment by Keir Leslie — September 24, 2015 @ 11:18 pm

  45. You really have become a Green Party shill. Shame; your blog used to be so good.

    Comment by Tim — September 25, 2015 @ 12:00 am

  46. @Matthew: So we both agree that the Greens don’t support everything that comes from the “grassroots”. The question remains, then, why they are supporting Red Peak – what makes it good in a way that the other grassroots campaigns they didn’t support were not as good?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 25, 2015 @ 6:59 am

  47. It’s quite simple. This is a great way for The Greens to score a massive PR victory and make themselves more credible in the eyes of the voting public.
    Labour (as usual) turned the given situation into a parody by mishandling it to such an extent that they have become exposed as a laughing stock.

    It’s like a cup tie in which the goalie imagined he’d heard the final whistle, so wandered off for hard-earned celebratory drink, allowing the other side to tap the ball into the net, amazed that such an opportunity could ever present itself.

    Post match, the the goalie’s team now cries ‘foul’ because it is so much easier to say than ‘clusterf**k’ when you’ve had a few too many to drink..

    Comment by Lee Clark — September 25, 2015 @ 7:51 am

  48. Do you think anyone noticed or cares.

    Comment by Richard Williams — September 25, 2015 @ 8:15 am

  49. So far, we’ve got the right wingers all lauding the Greens, and the Green core supporters lovingly stroking the gigantic chip on their shoulder. Everyone else thinks the deal that Shaw and Key cooked up stinks. If the Greens really wanted to be populist, they wouldn’t have caved to the chattering classes on the flag – they would have led the charge to open the pubs for the RWC. Tone deaf idiots.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 25, 2015 @ 9:11 am

  50. “I stopped reading there.”

    You shouldn’t have. It was a very clear response to your bizarre statement.

    Comment by Teensy — September 25, 2015 @ 9:17 am

  51. …core supporters lovingly stroking the gigantic chip on their shoulder…

    Butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth, Sanc.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 25, 2015 @ 10:07 am

  52. 49. Yeah, it really stinks! Imagine getting a true alternative added to the referendum in exchange for… what exactly? what did they give up for this?

    Comment by Danx — September 25, 2015 @ 11:40 am

  53. This is a great way for The Greens to score a massive PR victory and make themselves more credible in the eyes of the voting public.

    Yes as I said earlier, the Greens will garner massive support and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are able to govern alone in 2017.

    Comment by Ross — September 25, 2015 @ 3:34 pm

  54. Imagine getting a true alternative added to the referendum

    Well, that is your opinion, but what will your opinion be if this true alternative fails to flatter and the public decide on no change?

    Then again, Judith Collins is against Red Peak which is likely to greatly increase its popularity.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/72410479/red-peak-will-cost-380000-to-go-on-ballot

    Comment by Ross — September 25, 2015 @ 3:39 pm

  55. Metiria Turei @metiria

    “support the use of a referendum for this decision. I dont support the timing of it or the use of so much money.”

    Yet the Greens are happy to support Red Peak at an additional $380,000? Weird.

    Comment by Ross — September 25, 2015 @ 3:44 pm

  56. Labour voted for it too. A simple fact that seems to be forgotten. Therefore they support the extra cost.

    Their complaint seems to be that they voted for somebody else’s bill, not that they opposed the bill. Not the strongest argument to make.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 25, 2015 @ 5:07 pm

  57. In brief my position’s been may as well make the most of things now rather than wait for a “better” process because that better process will never arrive.

    The current squabbling between Labour and the Greens doesn’t really suggest they could organise anything that didn’t descend into partisan bickering either.

    I’d say the chances of any move to a Republic are pretty much zero for a generation. None of the political parties will trust each not to sabotage things for short term electoral gain.

    Comment by NeilM — September 25, 2015 @ 6:52 pm

  58. Labour voted for it too. A simple fact that seems to be forgotten.

    Labour have a bit of a habit of bitterly complaining about something they then vote for.

    If they disagree with what the Greens did on principle then surely the principled thing would then be not to vote for it.

    The complaints that the Greens have sold out to Key don’t really make a great deal of sense when they’ve voted for exactly the same thing.

    Comment by NeilM — September 25, 2015 @ 9:06 pm

  59. I think this whole flag ‘debate’ could be summed up as a handbag-fight about who thought of what first.

    Comment by Lee Clark — September 26, 2015 @ 5:35 am

  60. “The current squabbling between Labour and the Greens doesn’t really suggest they could organise anything that didn’t descend into partisan bickering either.”

    Lovely troll NeilM, but you miss the central point that there need to be two sides to bicker.

    This is actually just a unidirectional whinge.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 26, 2015 @ 6:45 am

  61. Nice.

    Comment by cicada 3301 — September 26, 2015 @ 7:46 am

  62. If Metiria has an idea for how to run referendums on the cheap perhaps she should share it.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 26, 2015 @ 8:28 am

  63. The Green poodle [as seen by the mighty Labour Party of 25% odd at the last election] doesn’t follow instructions from the McCarten and we see lots of Labourites scream traitors…… seriously why doesn’t Labour just grow up and treat potential partners like Adults instead of acting like a child in a sandpit not getting its way…

    Gregor.. you in form….. ; )

    Comment by dave1924 — September 26, 2015 @ 3:12 pm

  64. Danyl the lens which sees this as a win for the Green is pretty much shaped like the Wellington Central electorate. I hate to say it but pretty much the rest of the country concurs with Trevour Mallard’s comments, which could be the first time ever.

    Comment by rsmsingers — September 27, 2015 @ 11:49 pm

  65. rsmsingers – it does depend on how you look at it I guess. But, by a process of elimination, I think a “winner” can be deduced:

    Is it National? No, as Key has been forced to add another flag option and backtrack on previous statements. He must also be being advised that the whole process is doomed in terms of public perception. On the brightside, he does receive somewhat of a ‘get out of jail’ by being able to stick it to Labour as being haters and hypocrites.

    Is it Labour? Definitely no, as Little lost an opportunity to own the opposition narrative, and ended up supporting the process de facto by being painted into a corner. Now they come across as very vocal whiners on an issue that has limited relevance to Labour on a policy basis, especially when it’s likely that we will end up with the dame flag anyway.

    Is it the Greens? Partially yes. They are seen to be making the best of a bullshit referendum process by moving the whole thing forward and a ‘shit, but not total shit’ option on the table. They can claim to be supporting a grassroots movement at limited political cost given we are likely to end up with the same flag, and the money will be spent regardless. They’ve also demonstrated that they are not complete patsies for Labour which is probably more important.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 28, 2015 @ 10:41 am

  66. *same flag anyway

    Comment by Gregor W — September 28, 2015 @ 10:43 am

  67. @ Gregor W: “….Little lost an opportunity to own the opposition narrative…..”

    The events leading up to the Greens’ deal with the government say you’re wrong in this assertion. The evidence – Key’s refusal to meet with Little, even though that meeting was without preconditions – suggests Key would crawl on hands and knees over broken glass to avoid doing any sort of deal with Labour, and exposes what looks like his visceral hatred for Little. Which may of course shed light on what the polls are telling him….

    Be that as it may, what the Greens and the government have done is to completely subvert the flag selection process, and all in pursuit of a design favoured by a tiny minority only of the voting population, let alone the population at large. There’s nothing clever about it: they’ve played the selection panel for fools. What the hell is this: government by Twitter? It surely isn’t government for all the people.

    “…the Greens ……. are seen to be making the best of a bullshit referendum process by moving the whole thing forward and a ‘shit, but not total shit’ option on the table. They can claim to be supporting a grassroots movement at limited political cost given we are likely to end up with the same flag, and the money will be spent regardless”

    No! The Greens have deprived us of any chance that there would be a proper democratic process, that is, a yes/no question in the referendum. As I pointed out earlier, the red peak thing is nothing like a grassroots movement: it’s just social media babble. Now we have some random design, which didn’t make it into the final four, shoehorned into the referendum, completely overriding the selection panel’s decisions. The initial process was crap, but the Greens and Key have succeeded in irreversibly tainting it. By rights, we should every one of us throw their pissant referendum in the rubbish. That’s all it deserves.

    Don’t blame Labour for this; it has nothing to do with them. The Greens – and Key – have behaved like undemocratic arses all by themselves.

    Comment by D'Esterre — September 29, 2015 @ 12:09 am

  68. Heh, ‘visceral hatred’ of .. Little?

    I fear you are mistaking ‘easily duped’ with ‘irrelevant’ and then embroidering the notion to suggest ‘fearsome’.

    It would qualify this lurch towards anarchy by a terrified collective, forced to do questionable things by a shared fear of the political behemoth that the Labour leader has become. Yes. That must be it.

    Comment by Lee Clark — September 29, 2015 @ 5:57 am

  69. @ D’Esterre:

    My point re owning the narrative was that irrespective of what Key was or wasn’t willing to do, Little could have smashed him relentlessly on the issue, every day that Key refused to come to the table.
    That could have become the daily talking point rather than the flag itself; Key overweening arrogance and disdain for democratic process, 3rd term-itis, whatever…
    He failed to do so, thus lost the initiative.

    The notion that the process has somehow been “subverted” or “irreversibly tainted”, or that the panel have been played for fools by the Greens is risible.
    The whole thing has been a sham from start to finish. There was never going to be a democratic process so it’s a waste of time pretending it was ever going to be.

    You’d have to be a fool to seriously believe that any shred of legitimacy has been lent to this farce by the Greens actions.
    They’ve merely seen a political angle to both force an embarrassing position change by Key and show a degree of pragmatism and leadership not often on display by the Left.

    I think in this analysis, they’ve also successfully gauged the mood of the electorate.
    People are tired of this sideshow and want it to be over with. The flag won’t change, Key takes a hit that he wont live down quickly, money that was going to be wasted anyway gets wasted – the government comes out looking like a bunch frivolous fools. Hard to see a political downside there.

    ..the red peak thing is nothing like a grassroots movement: it’s just social media babble.

    I completely agree! Which is why is wrote “They can claim to be supporting a grassroots movement at limited political cost”.
    Red Peak is an ugly piece of shit. If nothing else the inane blathering of the Twitterati will entrench positions on the existing flag. Again, hard for me to see the downside for the Greens here.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 29, 2015 @ 9:26 am

  70. Don’t blame Labour for this; it has nothing to do with them.

    Except they voted for it.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 29, 2015 @ 4:57 pm

  71. @ Lee Clark: “I fear you are mistaking ‘easily duped’ with ‘irrelevant’ and then embroidering the notion to suggest ‘fearsome’.

    It would qualify this lurch towards anarchy by a terrified collective, forced to do questionable things by a shared fear of the political behemoth that the Labour leader has become. Yes. That must be it.”

    Ha! Very droll… When I said “visceral hatred”, that’s what I meant: deep personal animosity. That’s how it comes across when we watch Key in Parliament. Although to be honest, he (Key, I mean) doesn’t seem to like anybody much, except himself. If the government’s polling is so good, no skin off its nose to do a deal over red whatsit with Labour, including the yes/no question. But it didn’t.

    Irrelevant….doesn’t this epithet apply also to the Greens? Yet Key did a deal with them, a deal which cut off any chance that a yes/no question could be in the first round.

    @ Gregor W: “The notion that the process has somehow been “subverted” or “irreversibly tainted”, or that the panel have been played for fools by the Greens is risible.”

    Of course the process has been subverted and irreversibly tainted. It’s now a farce. The process was poor to begin with, but the panel followed it, and did what was asked of it. And then the government and the Greens just threw the rules away. What on earth was the point of the panel and all the rest of it, if they could do that, just to placate a bunch of twitterati throwing a tanty? Had the yes/no question been added, that would have been some improvement. Adding another design not chosen by the panel is just flipping the bird at the process.

    The day we found out about the possibility of a deal, I heard an interview with the Chair of the panel; his disbelief and anger was unmistakable. Not a word from him since, that I’ve heard.

    “The whole thing has been a sham from start to finish. There was never going to be a democratic process so it’s a waste of time pretending it was ever going to be.”

    So: that being your view, I assume that you won’t be voting, then? I’ve been around the clock a time or two, and I’m well aware that while our representatives are democratically elected, they need watching to make sure that they act democratically in Parliament. And we need to make our displeasure known when they don’t live up to that ideal. The process could have been made more democratic, and it wasn’t for the want of many of us speaking out about it that it didn’t happen. God knows why the PM chose to go about it this way: hubris perhaps.

    @ Sammy 3.0: “Except they voted for it.”

    Indeed they did, once it was clear that Iacta aula est, so to speak. And mighty pissed off I am at them as well. No bloody courage!

    Comment by D'Esterre — September 29, 2015 @ 9:34 pm

  72. @D’Esterre – why would I not vote?

    Recognising that the process is a sham does not mean that, presented with an opportunity, I won’t express my disdain by either ballot spoiling or voting for a least worst option.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 30, 2015 @ 6:30 am


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