Steppin (and Growin) up

This is a bit late but better late than never I say

The Green Party Campaign Conference was held during the weekend in Otara (coincidently, so was the Jehovah Witness convention, but I won’t comment on that). From all accounts I’ve heard it went well. Exceptionally well organised and useful for all who attended.

The main public focus is of course on the Leaders’ speeches. Jeanette’s speech has gained the most publicity as hers was the speech where the criticism of Labour lay. But when you look at the actual speech, you will see that the criticism that is there is incredibly constructive. Jeanette wasn’t slagging them off as human beings but rather pointing out the disagreements the Greens have with Labour over policy priorities.

In particular, Jeanette discussed the lack of prioritisation of environmental issues by Labour so far this year:

Climate change and the approaching end of cheap oil make energy policy the most important economic issue facing the country but you will never hear that from the Government. It was telling that, in Helen Clark’s speech last week at the opening of Parliament, she did not mention the environment, climate change, or peak oil once. It was even more telling that when the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation spoke in the debate that followed, neither of them mentioned the environment either. The ecological basis of our lives and the most urgent global issues of our times – climate change and peak oil – just don’t rate highly on Labour’s agenda. Only the Greens put these issues before the House, and that is why any future Labour Government will need the Greens pulling it towards sustainable, long-term thinking.

Personally, I think Jeanette underlines perfectly why we need a solid Labour/Green relationship afetr the next election. We shouldn’t expect Labour to be perfect on environmental issues as it’s never been a focus of their politics. However, environmental politics is exceptionally important at the moment and it has been the focus of Green politics for decades. So (whether people agree or not) the Greens have a definite level of expertise and international experience to draw on in environmental areas.

A lot of people (naturally) judge a party’s strengths by their current crop of MPs. But one thing that became clear from the campaign conference over the weekend is the awesome calibre of the other Green candidates. The list ranking process is going to be exceptionally difficult this year. I’d definitely like to see at least five of the candidates who aren’t currently sitting get into parliament this year.

So looking at the responses from the land of politically geeky bloggers…
Jordan’s response is just the sort of response the Greens would have been looking for in this strategy. I was interested to see some of the comments that were posted there. ‘Looke’ said

Strangely I thought that since the greens were liberal that they might get on with act, you know, in a liberal to liberal way on some ideas. Now I know that could never happen.

Might interest him/her to know that the Greens and ACT vote together more often than you would think. Particularly on issues of liberty, eg the only parties to vote against the inherently discriminatory ‘Boy Racer Act’.

On the other side of the fence Mr Farrar again wows us all with his indepth analysis.

I had to laugh that the Greens are branding themselves the “serious and stable” party.

He might be interested to know that this is also the opinion held by the majority of independent political commentators. IMHO, the biggest problem the Greens have in terms of constituency credibility is that they are too serious and appear to have lost their radical edge that made them sexy enough to vote for in the first place. But if Mr Farrar and buddies think we’re nuts then I guess that just further boosts the Green ‘street cred’ :o)

Overall, I’m really impressed with how organised the Greens are this year. They will be fronting a strong campaign and will manage to get their issues out in a more positive visionary way than they have in the past. And I can’t wait to vote on the list…

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2 responses to “Steppin (and Growin) up

  1. “IMHO, the biggest problem the Greens have in terms of constituency credibility is that they are too serious and appear to have lost their radical edge that made them sexy enough to vote for in the first place.”

    A real danger with relying on a constituency that demands a ‘radical edge’ is that these are the people you lose very quickly on entering a government.

    It appears to me that the Green leadership want to approach this election with more modest political goals – this makes a formal coalition with Labour more likely. The focus on climate change and peak oil also makes it likely the Greens will be shut out of big spending social or ecnomic portfolios after the election.

    I hope party activists like yourself don’t let the Greens stray too far!

    PS: Thanks for the link 🙂

  2. Heh I never said or implied you were all nuts. I just found the way the headline was portrayed as very humourous, and couldn’t resist a poke.

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