After we learn the Greens’ role in the new government, the focus should turn to who gets jobs such as Foreign Affairs

Media attention since the general election has focused largely on the shape of any formal relationship between Labour and the Greens in the formation of the next government.     

But the need for party leaders to negotiate, talk or whatever with other party leaders to forge a government partnership is very different from three years ago.

The 2017 election on September 23 was followed by a prolonged bout of negotiations which ultimately resulted in the announcement on October 19 that New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and his party had chosen to put Labour into power.

Peters landed the jobs of deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister in the new government.

At this year’s election Labour won an outright majority on election night and does not need a coalition partner to form a government. Continue reading “After we learn the Greens’ role in the new government, the focus should turn to who gets jobs such as Foreign Affairs”

How the Greens’ wealth tax proposal could be a political lifeline for Winston Peters and his party

The  Green Party’s  major new election  policy  for  a  wealth  tax has, not  unexpectedly,  had a mixed  reception, not   least  from  politicians of  other parties.

The  policy  to  tax the  wealthy  to  fund a payment of at least  $325 a week   for anyone  not  in  full-time  work,  predictably brought  cheers  from  trade  unions  and  child  poverty  lobby groups.  But it provoked scorn  from  the  other side of the  fence,  where  the  idea undermines  the  core  principle  of  capitalism as  the  driver of  economic  growth.

Interestingly,  one  sample of   public opinion  on the issue   showed   85%  against—and   only 15% in favour.

But  that lopsided  result has its  upside for  the Greens   and brings a  glow to those  within  the Green Party  who worked  up  the policy.  It  could  guarantee    the  Green   Party  is  not   overwhelmed    by  the halo effect  at  present  enveloping   Prime Minister    Jacinda  Ardern,   which  could result  in  the  kind of election landslide  delivering an outright majority  in Parliament for Labour.

If it  lifted the Green  Party’s  current  ratings  of  around 6-7%  to  double-digit levels   it  would be a  major  victory.   Continue reading “How the Greens’ wealth tax proposal could be a political lifeline for Winston Peters and his party”

Blogger sees red at Green co-leader’s urging the handout of dole money without question

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson was mentioned in despatches during the week, in a post which dealt with MPs’ air travel expenses.

We mention her again today because of her eagerness to have taxpayers become more generous to the unemployed, no matter – apparently – how feckless or disinclined to find work they might be.

Our earlier mention of Davidson and the Greens was triggered by Taxpayers’ Union data, gleaned from the latest Parliamentary expense disclosures, which showed the list MPs from the Greens (on average) are spending more than a third more than Labour’s equivalent.

Average air travel spending for non-ministerial list MPs by party:

Greens – $9,816
NZ First – $8,059
National – $7,332
Labour – $6,499 Continue reading “Blogger sees red at Green co-leader’s urging the handout of dole money without question”

The Greens have a little list – and the high-flying MPs on it are big spenders of public money

Keep an eye out for armies of tree planters hard at work.

No, not the One Billion Tree programme.  We refer to the tree planting that is essential to offset the carbon emissions generated by high-flying Green Party MPs.

Newshub drew our attention the other day to Climate Change Minister James Shaw’s international travel expenses, the highest of all ministers from October to the end of December, at $77,771, compared to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s $54,487.

When asked to justify the expenses, Mr Shaw told Magic Talk on Friday the Green Party offsets all travel through tree-planting, something he said he’d “recommend people do”. 

“Those programmes have to be verified and part of the verification process is that the tree planted has to be additional to what’s already being planted. We do that through a programme that’s run by Enviro-Mark.”

“I am carbon neutral. But, the best thing to do would be to reduce emissions – that’s the main thing you’ve got to do. You can’t just buy your way out of trouble with offsets,” Mr Shaw said.  Continue reading “The Greens have a little list – and the high-flying MPs on it are big spenders of public money”

Climate change challenge for the Nats is to take scientists’ advice on GE and gazump the Greens

Prince  Charles  has called  for a   new  economic  model  in  order  to  save  the planet.  Speaking  at  the World Economic Forum in  Davos,  he pleaded with world leaders and businesses to revolutionise the interaction between nature and global financial markets,saving the planet from “approaching catastrophe”.

In an unprecedented royal intrusion on government policy,  he argues market-based solutions and tax reform are the best options to halt the damaging impacts of climate change.Outlining 10 ways to transform financial markets and reduce global emissions, Prince Charles said nothing short of a revolution was required.

“I’ve come to realise it is not a lack of capital holding us back but rather the way in which we deploy it. Therefore, to move forward we need nothing short of a paradigm shift – one that inspires action at revolutionary levels and pace.”

He called for companies and countries to outline how they will move to net zero emissions – a signal he is not satisfied with the commitments made under the Paris climate accord. The United Kingdom has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050 but Australia and other countries have been reluctant to make similar promises. Continue reading “Climate change challenge for the Nats is to take scientists’ advice on GE and gazump the Greens”

Germany’s former foreign minister on life after NATO

German politician Joschka Fischer has had a remarkable career.  From street violence and helping to set up the Green party, he matured into the foreign minister and vice-chancellor of a united Germany, serving until 2005.  His understanding of power politics led him to support the use of force in the former Yugoslavia, though he drew the line at getting rid of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Now, with NATO leaders dispersing after their meeting outside London, he has turned his attention to the future of the alliance (read here). Continue reading “Germany’s former foreign minister on life after NATO”

Population growth may not be threatening – but does govt fostering of fecundity make Green sense?

David Farrar, at Kiwiblog, brings comfort to his readers today with an item which advises against becoming over-population alarmists.

Reproduced from HumanProgress.org, a project of the Cato Institute, the item says unwarranted panic about overpopulation is a big problem that has led to human rights abuses and much pointless suffering.

It invites us to consider the long history of overpopulation alarmism and how the doomsayers’ fears have failed to materialise again and again.

Inevitably, we are reminded that – two centuries ago – Thomas Malthus’s Essay on Population warned that out-of-control population growth would deplete resources and bring about widespread famine. Continue reading “Population growth may not be threatening – but does govt fostering of fecundity make Green sense?”

A Green dilemma – trying to square govt support for families with the degrading environmental consequences

With Green Party support, the Government will remove a disincentive to the population growth that experts reckon is the number one contributor to the degradation of the global environment.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced the removal of the disincentive among changes to the country’s welfare system (but just a few, for now) in response to the report from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group.

The government will remove the benefit sanction which penalised solo mothers who did not name their child’s father, the fellow who should be picking up the tab for raising the child – or his fair share of it – that resulted from a procreative romp in the hay.

Taxpayers – lucky us – will take over this responsibility. Continue reading “A Green dilemma – trying to square govt support for families with the degrading environmental consequences”

Treaty considerations colour the Greens’ thinking about democracy and the dilution of our voting power

The Green Party’s disappointment at the voting down of the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill was expressed in a press statement  headed Ngāi Tahu Representation Bill would have been a step forward.

A step forward to what?

Or rather, a step away from what?

Ngai Tahu gave a strong clue to the answer to the second question in 2015, when they shamelessly declared that restoring full democratic elections would be a “step backwards” for Canterbury

The Greens endorsed this sentiment when co-leader Marama Davidson said tangata whenua have guaranteed political rights on a national level but

“ … representation is often lacking or non-existent in local government. This does not always make for robust decision making and in the past has led to significant breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”    Continue reading “Treaty considerations colour the Greens’ thinking about democracy and the dilution of our voting power”

‘Democracy’ rhetoric suggests Greens will oppose Ngai Tahu power grab – but let’s not count on it

The Green Party’s urge to strengthen our democracy through a Member’s Bill, the Electoral Strengthening Democracy Bill, should portend Green willingness to try to stall a Ngai Tahu power grab in Canterbury.  But don’t hold your breath.

Green electoral reform spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman, who is introducing the bill, said New Zealand proudly has a strong democratic system  – but

“… there is definitely room for improvement to ensure we have the best democratic system possible and that access is fair”.

And:

“The Bill seeks to stop unfair influence and potential corruption in politics.”

This implies the Greens will help to stymie passage of the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill,  a measure designed to allow Ngai Tahu to bypass the electoral system and appoint two representatives with full voting rights on to the Canterbury Regional Council.

Continue reading “‘Democracy’ rhetoric suggests Greens will oppose Ngai Tahu power grab – but let’s not count on it”