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Monday, 17 July 2017

The Party’s over: Greens vs Winston

Last week was a long time in politics.

It started with lingering stain that is Todd Barclay, continued with the latest political polling and the Barry Coates blog post but ended with the circus sideshow that has been the Green/NZ First Feud.

Most commentators saw it as another one of those sandpit squabbles which have come to characterize NZ politics at election time but it took Jane Bowron to call it for what it was.

And what it was was nothing more than the death knell of the NZ political Left because the Greens, in going after Winston, have made a critical (and fundamental) mistake.

To be sure it made sense for the Greens to try and escape the trap that they have always been in previously come elections; that of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride come polling day, with them always somewhere to the left of Labour and being taken for granted come any negotiation on forming a government.

What did not make any sense was their lashing out at Winston and NZ First, as such an action was the direct opposite of any message they needed to be sending to either NZ First or the electorate (that message being that despite the differences they could try and work to get along if in government together).

The fact that it was a targeted and planned attack, that they let Labour know in advance and that Andrew Little let it go ahead shows exactly what kind of government NZ would get if these three ever tried to form one.

The political party that should have been the target for any attack by the Greens should have been Labour, which was what Barry Coates blog post last week was all about (by making it clear that the Greens would not tolerate an unfaithful Labour cutting them out of a Labour/NZ First government by relegating them to the backwater of confidence and supply) but James Shaw (in possibly a career destroying maneuver) pulled Coates back into line, censured him and his message and then allowed Meteiria Turei to go ballistic on NZ First.

The result was the Greens not only sending mixed messages to the electorate and the other parties but also ultimately ending up sending the wrong message by making it clear that the Greens would tolerate being relegated to confidence and supply and would not do anything to upset the apple-cart while Labour and NZ First divvied up the spoils of forming a government.

And what we are now left with is the deep seated suspicion that a Greens/Labour/NZ First Ménage a trios will never work hardening into a filth encrusted reality; a clear message to Labour that it can flirt all it wants with NZ First and the Greens will suck it up; and (this is the biggie) that this election is almost certainly in the bag for National if they can hold the line for nine more weeks.

That’s right, it’s over, I’m calling it now and saving myself a further nine weeks of watching this freak show of retards trying desperately to pretend that all is well, that a Jeremy Corbin Style last minute surge is just around the corner and all those liberal dreams will come true if they just wish enough.

What is the most disturbing about all of this is that there was a way out and Barry Coates had shown that the Greens (or at least some inside the party) were cognizant of the long hard road out out of electoral hell and would pull the trigger on any antics by Labour (who we all know doesn’t want the Greens except for the previously mentioned confidence and supply) to shove them back down by scuppering any Left of center government which excluded them from the cabinet table.

It’s a position I support, I have always thought that the Greens needed to escape the corner they had painted themselves into and by presenting the credible threat of destabilizing a future Labour government which just took them for granted and cut them out of power, they had done just that. The message was simple; “let us sit at the table or none of us* will sit at the table!”

But Noooooooo, James Shaw (because let’s be honest here, Shaw is running the party now, Turei is just a glorified deputy) cancelled that message and instead rolled over showed his belly and killed stone dead any chance that the Greens will derive any real benefit from this election.

Why is that you ask?

The answer is simple.

Without a credible means for the Greens to escape the confidence and supply corner Labour is free to wheel and deal with NZ First if the numbers get close come polling day with no backlash from the Greens if they are pushed aside, which allows Winston to impose any conditions he likes to give his vote to Labour and the Greens will simply go meekly along.

And if such a situation develops then the Greens will be cut from the cabinet table, given a few scraps to keep them happy and see them reliving 2005 all over again.

But if that was all then there might be a chance of National not being in power after the election but this dumpster fire of a train wreck does not stop there because in launching their attack on NZ First and prompting the predictable Pitbull reply from Winston they demonstrated to the voting public what will happen if these three amigos ever get together in the Beehive.

Because what the Public sees is what we saw in the latest Colmar Brunton polling, with National down 2% but still at 47% (with that lost 2% undoubtedly going to NZ First given it went up 2%) and Labour slumping 3% to 27% while the Greens went up 2% to 11%.

That leaves National strong enough (amazingly in the wake of the Todd Barclay scandal) to hold of a Labour/NZ First Government and almost strong enough to hold off a NZ First/Labour/Greens government (because let’s be honest here Winston has to go with Labour as if he does not then National won’t need him given the Labour/Greens numbers anyway).

It also sees the Greens cannibalizing any vote increase they get from Labour given the shifts we saw which means that the better the Greens looks the worse for Labour and vice versa and nothing else.

And while there is always the possibility of such a three-way government forming it’s the stability of such a beast that will immediately turn most voters off voting for it and send them backing anyone but the Greens or Labour otherwise we would have seen some major shifts in the high 40s that national keeps on polling no matter how badly things get.

To be sure the Greens threat to torpedo an unfaithful Labour was always more effective as a threat and less so if they actually enacted it but as any games theorist knows, a threat has to be credible to be effective and when Shaw pulled Coates into line that threat lost all credibility.

If it had stopped here things would have been prickly but OK but in then going on to lash out at NZ First the Greens doubled down on failure by ensuring that the very outcome they are seeking to avoid will definitely happen now if Andrew Little and Winston Peters ever sit down to form a government.

At best it’s a sacrificial maneuver by the Greens to ensure that Labour and NZ First can oust National but in doing so it guts the Green voter base by selling every single one of them down the river in favor of the MPs, and only the MPs, getting any real payoff if such a government is ever formed.

At worst its dangerous mixed messages and a total turn off for any of that 47% thats gung-ho for National that might have wavered had such stupidity not been enacted.

So if you’re a Green voter, you have been pushed out into the cold by Shaw and Co so they can get to be MPs but remain outside government and even worse NZ First will get to call the shots and there will be nothing the Greens can do about it.

And with the Greens attack on NZ First you can guarantee that Winnie will be making very sure that the Greens stay well away from the levers of power while he gets exactly whatever he asks for by a desperate Labour post election.

In some way I can see the demented logic that Shaw is operating on but it is, in essence, throwing himself (and the party) on the grenade that is National to ensure that someone else (Labour and NZ First) gets to benefit.

So with nine weeks before we go to the polls how well do you think this little exercise in political expediency will go down? Will this draw any more voters to the Green camp or will it send them back to Labour or even worse to National or the NZ First.

For me I can’t see this ending well as selling out your constituents normally happens after you are secure in power not before.

What happens now is that everything, again, hinges on Winston where as if the Greens had stuck with the line tossed out by Barry Coates things could have hinged on the Greens instead but the Greens then attacking Winston makes it all the more easy for National to sell any deal it might want if they need to based on the "any government but those three idiots" argument.

And in such a volatile environment we now have to deal with a resurgent NZ First that is willing to be wined and dined by both National and Labour while the Greens return to being the Bridesmaid, again, and all possibility of a Green agenda gets washed aside in Winston's rhetoric or Little’s brainless political platitudes.

For me this is the shift I noted a year ago when I first discussed the changes Shaw had made on the Greens when he took over to make the party in his own image and its all now crystallizing into a cascade of failure.

I also feel the need to add here that this is not a scenario that I was wanting to see or am happy about but if the Greens feel that this is the way forward then so be it, its their party and they will end up crying.

*-“Us” being Labour/NZ First and the Greens.


  1. I don't know why people imagine that NZ First would willingly form association with Labour/ Green.
    It is NZF party policy to work with the party with votes if at all possible.
    The referendum on Maori seats could become a bottom line issue, and in effect its designed to free up Winston, and come back as a referendum on the English Government.
    I think we will lose that referendum, but it lets Winston off the hook, aloof from the the hysterical Marxist media party who can then turn on the more hard line opinion which we will provide them with.
    If the media scream at the internet will anyone hear them.?
    The Coates admission that Greens would opt out of something that was never likely to happen will damage them. It is no wonder so many people Green as ludicrous misguided socialists.

    So now Peters can campaign on Health, Housing, New Zealanders first, Immigration, and Regional development as he always wanted to do.
    We look set to reach the 14% expected votes already. That target will be exceeded, as the undecideds come in [ more than 5% not measured in the polls].

    The left have so abused the name calling of racist, xenophobe, Nazi, fascist and so on that finally, and in a good place [ Green ] it is now counter productive.
    World wide the left are in trouble, being replaced by elitist unelected Globalism and with Nationalists on the other side.
    I would hate to have to read the psychotic stuff you escaped over at Kiwi politico.

    1. I took my Knicks over at KP as marks of me doing my job. Be they left or right.

      Do agree abt CHCH and Wagner. National are trying to keep their heads down in the wake of tapegate and keep on with the small news=good news angle that they have been running.

    2. I am genuinely interested to see how the referendum will go. It might not be as much of a dead issue as you might think once (or if) the ideological baggage is removed.

  2. I forgot to say that the Nats saw the danger they are in with Christchurch Central so they fed the Cathedral recovery idea with a lot of money, letting Nicky Wagner announce it.

  3. Remember how ACT and the Maori Party used to attack each other despite both being in coalition with National?

    1. PS: Why no anonymous comments anymore E.A?

    2. Hi Moxon:

      Welcome to the small but elite pool of KF posters that is that avant guard of the Kiwi blogsphere.

      I take your point about ACT and the Maori party but they were true minnows in the National govt and much more dependant on National than the other way around.

      NZF and the Greens would be sizeable vote blocks of any govt they were in with Labour and their dependence on the tripartite holding would be equal or possibly even less than Labour (who has no hope if either were to pull the plug) hence why any future combination of them is going to be the jealous love triangle from hell.

      In response to your question about the removal of anon names: I changed it as there seemed to be a few anon posters and I could not tell who was who or if they were posting consistently or not so I enabled the naming function.

      But you can still register your name as "anon" or whatever you like and I can tell who is who.

      I feel it ads to the convivial atmosphere.

    3. "Welcome to the small but elite pool of KF posters "

      Isn't it basically just Paul and you

    4. Its the funny thing, I get plenty of traffic for a small blog, well over 100 on a good day but few commentators.

      So yes mostly Paul and myself and the individual called "Anon" who posted for a while but seemed to be trolling for effect rather than commenting and dropped off when that was pointed out.

      So yes a "small" and "elite" pool of KF posters, LOL, mostly just grins was that comment.

      I was serious about the avant guard bit though.

    5. "I get plenty of traffic for a small blog, well over 100 on a good day but few commentators"

      Why do you think that is?

    6. At first I thought it was me but after doing some research online it seems to be a problem that all small blogs face.

      Its sorta like the mob effect, people don't want to be the only one commenting but will happily jump in when they see lots of comments. So with small blogs there is an unwillingness to be the first in.

      When I was on KP I did not have this issue because KP had a bigger readership and also long standing commentators who would comment on most posts. Those take time to build it seems. I read lots of blogs by do not regularly comment.

      Also it can depend on the tone and topic of the post, if it does not invite comment then some dont wish to add to it, or if people agree then again they feel they have no need to add further.

      Also there is a degree of subject matter and knowledge depth. I get this in my job when I present a paper or report on something I know about and realize that I am the only SME (subject matter expert) in the room and I have just bamboozled everyone else. People don't want to comment out of fear of being seen as foolish.

      Also some of my stuff is just pure rant, it would be like leaving comments in the margin of your sisters diary.

      And it could just be me.

    7. There's a lot to unpick here.

      Saying "my blog doesn't get many comments because it is a small blog" is like saying "I'm not very tall because I'm quite short". What makes it a small blog?

      Are you happy with the idea that your posts don't always invite comment?

      Do you think of yourself as a subject matter expert on many of the subjects you write about?

    8. Being small is basically a traffic issue.

      If for example you knew that only 10% of your readers would make comment then a smaller blog will simply get less comments.

      If you read some of the bigger political blogs its usualy the same people who post on threads and its clear that a community of sorts has developed so they feel comfortable making comment and have an interest in doing so.

      Same as in how some people read the paper and feel the need to write to the editor but most of us read it and dont.

      As for the invitation to comment I found that on KP I got comment and there was no real change in my style or content so either I got black listed when I left or again the dynamic of size has come into play.

      In terms of being a subject matter expert I consider myself such in that my education and career have given me a level of knowledge in some areas (immigration, security, risk and politics) that would be on par with a SME along with my experiences and time spent living in foreign climes (over a decade) to pad out my perspective so in that way yes, but I am also just an enthusiastic amateur on some things but then again that is the nature of blogging.

      I try to stick to what I know but like any writer I also have to keep on pushing my knowledge out and onward and s o write sometimes simply to write or write from the perspective of an amateur.

      Also as I write fiction elsewhere and for the purpose of entertainment I find that like a journalist that its less about being an expert in all areas but simply writing and reporting facts with some opinion as embellishment.

    9. But again, talking about traffic is just restating the question.

      The blog is small, the blog doesn't get many comments, the blog doesn't have much traffic... these are all just different ways to say essentially the same thing.

      The question is, why do so few people come here?

      You may well be a subject matter expert in politics (and other issues) but I don't think your posts are intimidating enough to defer comment.

      But have you noticed you get more comments on posts which fall outside your SME? Although I guess pretty much everything here comes under the broad rubric of 'politics' so in that sense you are an expert in everything you post on this blog.

    10. Actually it is rather simple.

      I know "traffic" sounds like a cop out but its the same mechanic as any media outlet in this day and age.

      My blog is content driven but I am only one person so my content is not daily is is more weekly.

      My blog is only linked to a few other blogs so most of my hits come from those blogs which I am linked to right after I post and from those who do web searches for terms that turn up in my blog.

      This means low traffic numbers and just low level of comments.

      people want daily content and lots of things, links and such, even when I was at KP just the fact that I was blogging as part of a team and posting more regulary and daily helped to drive the numbers of hits up.

      And I could be wrong but from what the numbers were like at KP my content did help drive the number of hits and such up, it was just me and Pablo not being able to agree that was the issue.

      And as I said I have no clear answer why I don't get comments, although this thread has now hit an all time high, I can only speculate and base it on what I know.

      It could be because my posts dont "invite comment" as I read on one site about how to "blog sucessfully" but I think formlaic writing only works so well so I have ot be true to my work to some extent.

      And I blog just as much as an outlet for my thoughts with no real want to fame nor fortune as much as I would love to have a big successful blog like those I link to.

      To be fair though the biggest posts I ever wrote which generated the most comments were the ones which were the most controversial but I don't want to simply write such things all the time so I try to balance posts out a bit in tone and content.

      If you are talking about promoting this blog now that is an area I have considered and I have have been working on some ideas to help do that (some obvious, some less so) to get traction for this blog but those take time and in the digital age I am competing with every other similar blog out there.

      I am working on some good ideas and time will tell if they are successful, I hope they are.

    11. " I blog just as much as an outlet for my thoughts with no real want to fame nor fortune"

      Well I guess that says it all

  4. Hi Paul: In the wake of this I think yourself and any other card carrying members of NZF can feel pretty secure that the Green threat has been neutralised.

    But, and this is a big BUT, if Nationals polling holds then NZF WILL have to deal with Labour (and the Greens) as National won't need NZF, or any other party, to form a govt as the Green/Labour block alone is not enough to oust National.

    This means that there is a very real possibility of Winton doing a deal with Labour as a full strength National won't want or need him while a desperate Labour (and Greens) will.

    This means we could potentially see that dreaded three way as my feeling is that this is Winstons last election and last real chance to enact his dream and go out a hero.

  5. David Farrar is hiding away at a Nat strategy conference the last few days.
    On his return the Winston roller should come out. It goes like this.
    Winston = Integrity failure.
    1/ Whisky devil priest.
    2/ Dishonesty [ tricky considering the Clutha business, and Slackjaw with the surveillance of New Zealanders ]
    3/ False or unlikely Manifesto. [ Over at Whale oil you will see the relevant argument that enactment of policy depends on the numbers]
    4/ Parkinsons, loss of memory and function. [The hand tremors older people and drinkers display is common. As an A grade alcoholic in a former life, I couldn't sign my own name sometimes].

    Present numbers for Nat [ with 6% undecideds allocated ] give them 44%, not enough.
    They see the claw back from NZ First as likely with the scare campaign,
    He's the very devil you know.

  6. "Whisky devil priest" : now that is a title, I cant wait to see the media call him that.

    The problem for the Nats is if the slip far enough in the polls they will have to play ball and slandering Winston prior makes it all the more harder, this is why the Greens mucked this up so badly.

    My feeling is whatever plans come out of Nationals Doctor Evil like liar this weekend will have that in mind.

    Will check out Whale Oil though.

    1. Whale Oil is a fucking sewer

    2. That it might be but for a perspective from that side of the line its the place to go.

    3. Yep. And for the perspective of an earthworm, sticking your head in a pile of rotten leaves is the place to go.

      The question is, is this perspective worth anything

    4. I think it is, at worst it would fall under the dictum of "know your enemy" but at best of knowing what is going on out there so as to not be blindsided.

    5. Do you feel like you don't already know what motivates Whale Oil posters?

    6. I have no idea, but then I don't know what motivates people to post in general on any blog outside of my own desire to have a say. If life has taught me one thing its not to assume that i know what another group might be thinking or to ascribe binary labels to them (ie in/out, good/bad).

    7. But if you can never know what another group thinks, what good is informing yourself? No matter how much information you gather at Whaleoil (or wherever) you still won't be able to know what they think or what motivates them, so isn't it just expending effort for no benefit?

    8. Also, while it might seem noble to eschew binary labels, surely you wouldn't go so far as to refuse to call a group of antisemites (to use the obvious example) "bad"?

      I mean one could argue that one can't make judgements of them as total people based on their opinion about Jewish people, antisemites might well be great parents, charity workers, pioneering heart surgeons etc etc. But I think this is splitting hairs.

      You've said you have a preference for simple language, so it seems to me that you should be able to appreciate that calling antisemites "bad" really means "antisemites exercise a negative effect on society when they exercise their antisemitism" without explicitly saying so, and that using the longer, more pedantic version adds little to the discourse that "bad" didn't already provide. Particularly if we are going to prioritise using language that is accessible to everybody and accepting of emotion, not just dry analysis. Which is, again, I think, a value that is important to you.

      So trying to cast oneself as non-judgemental of groups may sound laudible, but I worry that you are refusing to make value judgements when comparing, say, a group of antisemites to a group of boardgame enthusiasts, which seems ridiculous. Unless of course you don't have a problem with antisemitism*

      *if you don't though, please don't take the time to explain or elucidate your anti-anti-semitism in the reply, it would add nothing to this conversation.

    9. I don't think everyone, or anyone particular at Whaleoil is an antisemite as while I don't read their posts that often I don't recall any antisemitic comments being there. If you have seen that send me the link and I might change my views on the particular poster.

      Also by discussing the antisemite issue and making it a priority issue you are prioritizing that one thing over all others. Are you equating an antisemitic view as being worse over all other forms of racisim and sexisim etc?

      So in short yes being an antisemite is bad but so is being a sexist, a racist and having any other form of prejudice of that nature.

      I make plenty of value judgement and they are freely on display on this blog but you and I might have differing value structures which is why some of my views might not match up with yours.

      Also as for simple language I think you proved my point about keeping things simple when you said that "bad" equals "antisemites exercise a negative effect on society when they exercise their antisemitism". Thats packing a lot into one single three letter word.

      Thats why terms such as antisemite exists because we don't need to unpack the word for all the content and connotation thats packed within.

      Simple language does not mean reductive language, otherwise I would simply say that antisemites are "double plus bad".

      So I am not sure why your trying to steer the discussion into that one particular area but constructing the argument that you have started with that we can never know what a group thinks is false.

      I cant know any persons deepest darkest thoughts until I develop my telepathic powers a bit more but the statements and utterances of one person or a group can be construed as having a fair indication of their views and values so going over to Whaleoil and seeing what is happening there has as much use as going over to the DailyBlog and seeing whats happening there.

      Part of the issue might be semantic when I say I know what those at So and So blog "think" I mean what I take from the content on that blog, not some ability to peer into their actual minds.

      That said I might not know what they are thinking but I can see what views they have, what ideals they want to uphold, what systems they believe in and their manner of discourse but thats not knowing exactly what they are thinking and while I don't always agree with peoples opinions that does not automatically make them "bad".

      So when I make value judgement, and I do make them, I either try and hone them in a bit with words more colorful than "bad" but what I don't do is make value judgement with the assumption that my values system is the same as all other peoples.

      Hitler was an antisemite but I dont think that I would be calling him a "bad man" for what he did, I would be calling him a monster, or a tyrant, a dictator etc etc.

      Plenty of value in those words but also Hitler is an easy example to make how about if you overheard your neighbor make a single racist remark? Would that be enough for you to label them bad? Or just misinformed, or misguided, or would it actually encourage you to find out more about them and their views?

      If I labeled anyone bad and then wrote them off as a source of further information I would not only be embracing ignorance but also going against both my personal and professional characters.

    10. ... and part II

      The nature of both my past and current work is not to make a universal and/or blanket assessment based on binary terms but to go deeper, discern further and make assessment and decisions based on full information.

      Also, just to spice this debate up a little I find the extreme left, just as odious as the extreme right (those over at Whaleoil) and find much that is similar in their views and belief structures. Both sides espouse dangerous opinions and both hold extreme ideological views which border on zealotry.

      Also NZ does not have any real issue with anti-semiteism yet I am amazed how often that it turns up as the default setting for discussions like this here, how about something more homegrown as an example next time.

      Also what the heck is "anti-anti-semitism"?

    11. "I don't think everyone, or anyone particular at Whaleoil is an antisemite as while I don't read their posts that often I don't recall any antisemitic comments being there."

      *Sigh* I guess I should have used a different example. I wasn't pointing the finger at anybody being antisemitic, I was just using it as an example of a group that most people would agree is 'bad'.

      Anyway you said: " If life has taught me one thing its not to assume that i know what another group might be thinking"

      You also said: "the argument that you have started with that we can never know what a group thinks is false."

      ??????? Did you forget what you wrote earlier?

    12. It's really frustrating when you say something, I paraphrase it in my response, and then you start arguing with my paraphrasing of your idea as if it's an idea that I came up with myself out of nowhere.

  7. Hi Moxon:

    Ok, lets steer this back to brass tacks so we dont get sidetracked.

    What is the prime point you are seeking to make?

    We might in fact be in agreement but the verbiage of this discussion seems to have obscured that.

    In reference to the group thinking false quote of mine you used, please see the paragraph below that sentence for my explantion of that point

    1. My point is that sometimes it is necessary and useful to judge a group of people as "bad".