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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?

  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