Prue Hyman – ‘Party Vote Green’

Scared of ‘frightening the horses?’

Jacinda’s scared of ‘frightening the horses.’

So vote Green for real change !

By Prue Hyman

I said last month that I ought to be writing about the election with Jacinda Ardern’s accession to the Labour leadership and Metiria Turia’s benefit stretching revelations (that was before she resigned the co-leadership) – but that I couldn’t face it and would do so in September.

So I’ve looked back at what I wrote for KIN in September 2014 and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I found that I should almost repeat that article – so here are my thoughts.

Suspicions about Labour

I said: “I’m suspicious of whether Labour have really changed their spots after 30 years of largely right wing policies.”

OK, they inherited a tough situation in 1984. But we should not forget that they initiated with Rogernomics the deregulation and related policies which

Roger Douglas — Labour’s author of ‘Rogernomics’

substantially widened inequality in New Zealand from 1984 to 1990.

And only recently have they started to question the agendas of unfettered free trade, privatisation and selling off New Zealand land and assets often at bargain basement prices which they themselves instituted.

National went further and handed resources, dividends and power over NZ corporations and even government policies to largely overseas based corporations.

National also took much further in the 1990’s the policies which widened inequality, with benefit cuts and the Employment Contracts Act, vastly worsening the situation of those at the bottom of the income distribution.

Former Labour PM Helen Clark — ‘National lite?’

And Labour led governments from 1999 to 2008 were National-lite in major economic policy directions, doing little to reverse their previous extreme ideologically led policies.”

Things have got even worse

Nothing there to change except that it’s even worse — Labour are barely even challenging free trade: their only reservation on the potential TPP agreement of 11 (without the US) is over the need to retain the right not to sell land and houses to speculators from overseas.Nothing on

  •  protection for the environment
  • Labour rights
  • Maori sovereignty
  •  the right of overseas TNCs to sue on supposed unfair treatment
  •  Pharmac.

Jacinda Ardern, however personable, is very cautious and even right wing, clearly very over aware of frightening the horses. Her tax policies have simply ruled out raising the top income tax rate or introducing inheritance tax, so her working party is prevented from doing much that is radical. Maybe a comprehensive capital gains tax, but maybe not even that.

Party vote for the Greens

So if you are bolder and Greens-inclined on policies (and how could any left leaning person not be!) you need to party vote for them.

Do what you like with your electorate votes – vote for the person you think will be the best MP with perspectives close to your own and who has a good chance of getting in – which may well be the Labour candidate — but for the party vote, vote Green!  

The worst result

It is a total fallacy that you need to vote Labour if you really prefer Greens simply on the grounds of ‘safety’ – the worst possible result for both Greens and Labour is for Greens to get 4.9% of the party vote, for all those votes to be wasted and spread around ALL the other parties.

Think how you’ll feel if you really wanted good Greens representation, but decide to vote Labour and the Greens just miss out of Parliament altogether.

Thank heavens, it won’t happen: I am totally confident that the Greens will get a minimum of 7 or 8%, hopefully their previous 11%, and maybe even 15% – their policies deserve that and more and enough people have sense to make sure it happens.

Labour-led  Government must work with the Greens

It’s vital to make sure that a Labour led government has no option but to form a coalition with the Greens, rather than New Zealand First.

Of course I applaud their rise in the polls at the expense of National while not trusting them any more than their past attitude to the Greens deserves.

I am highly critical of Labour but much more so of a tired right wing National government.

A word on TOP

Gareth Morgan and one of his targets

A word on The Opportunities Party. I actually applaud warmly many of their policies – they can be bold when coming in new and heavily Gareth Morgan’s baby.

But he is a paradox of over reliance on markets while having great ideas about unfair market failure – hence for example rightly advocating a fair balance of taxation on wealth.

He is also rightly trenchant on the need to restore true democracy and constitutional reform, exposing the abuses of power by government ministers and the cowing of public servants (see for example http://www.top.org.nz/democracy_reset_and_power_intoxicated_ministers_of_the_crown ). I’m glad he’s putting his material out in the campaign, but a vote for him is truly wasted (no chance of 5%) and if at the expense of the Greens, a bad mistake.

Green women predominate

One other point of importance is that 7 of the top 10 Green candidates on the list are women – which is more than the top ten lists of Labour, National and NZ First combined!

Metiria Turei — ‘treated appallingly’

And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the media treatment of Metiria Turei, while predictable, was appalling – showing the class, race, and gender biases.

that are ingrained in society: the general treatment of benefit fraud compared with business fraud exposed by Lisa Marriot is totally clear on this.  

We certainly need to get out the vote and not despair – a change of government is in the air.

Encourage all your contacts to vote, whatever their views.

A supposed democracy without even a high turnout is a weak shell. And I hope I wake up at least reasonably happy on September 24th.

The Greens policies on climate change, clean rivers and attacking poverty and inequality certainly make my 15% dream (ignore the opinion polls!) totally justified.

Interesting stuff as always Prue, plenty of food for thought. The price we probably have to pay for getting a government to the left of National, is Labour not pushing too hard on some of the policies you suggest. It may sound gutless, but Jacinda “frightening the horses” would probably result in three more years of the Tories.

Labour does have policies on the three key Green issues you mention: climate change, clean water and poverty, as well as sensible and practical ideas for dealing with housing, education and health issues.

It is a pity that they still want a TPPA which, as you infer, would benefit foreign owned corporations and adversely affect Pharmac’s role in medicine provision.

As regards the environment, it is unfortunate that both Labour and the Greens don’t support ending the poisoning of our land. In fact, of the “major parties” only New Zealand First backs the banning of 1080, in line with most European countries and US states, because it recognises that the green pellets kill anything that breathes such as birds, insects and deer.

It is hard to justify your comments on media treatment of Meritira Turei “showing the class, race, and gender biases”. All credit to her for owning up to earlier benefit fraud, but her arrogance in thinking that the public would accept her staying on as Greens co-leader was seriously misplaced. The messy consequences put the party in a tailspin from which it is only just recovering.

She received the same sort of media treatment that was dished out to another “criminal” politician: white, male Todd Barclay.

The Greens will make it back into parliament and hopefully will be a key element of a government of the left.