Monday, January 17, 2005



Putting their cards on the table

Over the weekend, Jeanette Fitzsimons of the Greens gave a "state of the planet" address on Waiheke Island. Media coverage has focused on the sensational aspect - the (rapidly approaching) demise of cheap oil and consequent need for change - and in the process missed something important: there is no mention whatsoever of the issue that divided the Greens and Labour last election, genetic modification. Instead, the Greens are signalling, both to Labour voters and their own, that they want there to be a left coalition (rather than a right one) after the next election:

we have to work with Labour. We have to encourage them in their infant steps to sustainability, convince them of the urgency of the energy issue, oppose them strongly when they panic and slip back to authoritarian and unsustainable ways. We will lose some of the battles. But we are asking you to give us the numbers and the power this year to give New Zealand, and the planet, a future.

And their silence on GE shows that they are willing to give up something significant to do it.

This can only be good news for the left. The Greens and Labour should be natural allies, not enemies.

5 comments:

The two parties should be natural allies, while respecting and acknowledging their different ideologies, analyses and support bases. The fight last time left me little short of despair; it will not be repeated.

Posted by Jordan : 1/17/2005 04:16:00 PM

I don't agree with you Jordan. Labour cannot work constructively with the Greens because it is owned by big business. Labour's track record on social policy since 1999 shows that it has repudiated its founding principles. I think the Greens would be best to sit on the cross benches and allow Labour a majority on a case by case basis, otherwise they'll get dumped on.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/17/2005 06:44:00 PM

You must inhabit a different New Zealand.

Posted by Jordan : 1/18/2005 12:29:00 PM

I'll second that. While Labour and the Greens have different goals, particularly as to the desirability of economic growth (or rather, the type of growth there should be), there's more than enough overlap to allow constructive cooperation and for progress in broadly the right direction.

And in social policy, I think Labour has rediscovered its roots. The problem is one of speed (or rather, the lack of it). And it's precisely here that the Greens can give them a push...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/18/2005 01:17:00 PM

I'm not so sure of the success of a labour green coalition. Labour seems to be heading towards more conservative 'third way' polices.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/21/2005 12:19:00 PM