Tuesday, April 30, 2019

When should the Greens get their Winston out?

Back in February, Green co-leader James Shaw asked a good question: does the government deserve to be re-elected if they failed to implement a capital gains tax? I've been clear that IMHO the government doesn't. But in the Herald (non-paywalled), David Cormack asks the natural followup: what about the Greens? And they suggest that the Greens should behave like NZ First and start throwing their weight around:

Senior Green MPs tell me that barring the waka jumping legislation, there has been nothing they really want to put a handbrake on, and in fact they'd want change to happen faster, harder. Except it's a symbolic move to get your Winston out to demonstrate that it's there.

So start banging on how about Labour seems to be just a slightly friendlier neolib face than John Key's National was, the same face we've had staring at us for decades now. Show us that if New Zealanders want transformation they need to give their votes to a party that wants to make real change. Where's the welfare reform report? Rumour has it that the Government is sitting on it waiting to make a decision so it doesn't repeat the same mistakes it did with the Tax Working Group's Report. Start pressuring them to make real change.

And I mean for goodness sake Greens, climate change has never had so much attention. High school kids are striking from school! Teenagers are speaking to foreign leaders about actually wanting to have a planet to grow up on. You were the first party to talk about climate change. You should be the ones shouting loudest now. Where's the Carbon Zero bill? Get that through then tell everyone how awesome you are.

I think the idea of disruption is contrary to the Greens' internal culture: they're cooperative, good team players. Unfortunately, good team players get screwed in politics, just as they do everywhere else - but that's still no reason to be an arsehole just for the sake of it. Which is what Cormack is suggesting. The Zero Carbon Bill though? That is the Greens' reason for existence, what they are about as a party. They need to deliver, for their supporters, and for the planet. And if their partners refuse - if Winston uses his veto, or Labour collaborates with National to water it down into more time-wasting, ineffective bullshit, then I fully expect the Greens to pull the plug and topple the government. Because the future is at stake, and it cannot afford for us to piss about on this.