Will the Green Taliban ever be part of a coalition government?

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I don’t think so. ?They are petulant and self righteous, and expect way too much in return for their actual support base.

What about Labour and the Greens, eh? Can’t live together, can’t live apart.

Just how the two parties can co-habit on the Left has been one of the longest-running conundrums since MMP was a pup.

How can they turn being allies – or is that just very good friends – into benefits for both? And how can they draw the line between potential co-operation in government and competition for votes?

And then there have been the parties playing gooseberry: once upon a time United Future; ever and always New Zealand First.

As centre parties camped on the fulcrum of power they have been able to force the Greens out of government, when Labour has been in power, leaving them no option but to grimace and bear it.

The real problem for Labour is that it needs to position itself as partnering with Winston instead of the Greens, because not enough voters like the idea of the Green Taliban getting near the levers of power on the back of a Labour vote.

A vote for Labour is a vote for a Labour Green government. ?And how much did the voters run away from that? ? ?Last time, they did it in unprecedented numbers.

Instead of learning from this, the Greens are even more self-righteous!

The alternatives for the Greens have been to play tough with Labour, which the Greens see as too risky given their majority Labour-leaning supporters, or a more radical version of the same idea; repositioning to go either Left or Right depending on the electoral mathematics. Both – but especially the latter – implicitly see the Greens as a smaller force than their current 10-12 per cent level, but a more potent one.

Putting the theory another way: you can either be big or in government – but not both.

Right now the Greens are in the middle of another round of soul searching about just that problem. It seems inevitable, marginal changes aside, that they will fall back on their long-standing position; co-operate with National where possible for policy wins, but faced with a choice of a Labour or National government, Labour every time.

When Norman announced his resignation he made it clear that the two aspects of being Green – environmentalism and social justice issues – are inseparable. To paraphrase him: “Why would we want to save the planet, but not care about the quality of life and welfare of the people who live on it?”

Until they become an environmental party that can work with?anyone in government, the Greens will be forever destined to be a protest party. ?The parliamentary wing of Forest and Bird, Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd.

The real issue is why is it that Green voters haven’t figured out that they have been wasting their vote for some time now? ? ?ACT voters worked it out. ?Apart from Epsom, people figured that voting for National made much more sense. ?Better get something of half of what you want then nothing of most of what you want. ?Right?

Not in politics. ? The Taliban are seen as a force for good that will drag anyone else in parliament onto the mat for a telling off. ?But nothing actually gets achieved by the Greens. ?For 10 percent of the population at least, they deliver next to nothing – with the exception of being the sugar in the government’s petrol tank.

With the departure of “play-away” Norman, and the increasing pressure for Metiria to go the same way, it will be interesting to see if there is enough pragmatism inside the Green Party to initiate a shift away from their communist social policy and start driving the Green Taliban towards a Green Planet where they can work with anyone on cleaner rivers, cleaner air and healthy food for everyone.

The Greens are certainly effective agitators and saboteurs. ?But are they ever going to be ready to be statesmen-like and ready for the responsibility of governance?

 

– Vernon Small, The Dominion Post

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