A few tips for David Shearer in congratulating him on ascendency to the Labour Party leadership

Congratulations, David, on being elected Labour Party Leader. Here are a few thoughts from a Green activist on how to best get an effective progressive Government after the next election:

  1. The Greens are your best friends outside your own Party. Don’t go trying to claw back votes from the Greens, or they may not continue to be so. There are plenty of soft National votes to target.
  2. A progressive government will necessarily involve both the Greens and Labour. Both parties should focus on our political enemies on the other side of the divide, who care little for either social justice or ecological sustainability.
  3. Stop stealing Green policies (e.g. $15 minimum wage, removing the employment status discrimination in Working for Families, introducing Capital Gains Tax) and claiming them as you own. Voters will see that for what it is. Instead, give the Greens credit for good policy advances, and acknowledge the Greens for those initiatives.  In return, the Greens are likely to address issues Labour has raised, such as your concern about the sustainability of NZ Superannuation, which is a valid economic concern the Greens have not yet addressed.
  4. Don’t worry about the Greens’ and Labour’s respective share of the vote. Trust the Greens’ “highly unlikely” position on giving National support on confidence and supply.
  5. Adopt a “degree to disagree” position with the Green on issues we have significant policy differences about – e.g. foreign investment and trade policy, finite resource exploitation policy, and drugs and alcohol policy.  We can sort those out post-election 2014, when we see how the numbers stack up.
  6. Don’t trust New Zealand First. They sold us all down the river in 1996 when they campaigned on defeating a National Government and then supported one post-election.  They also had a large part to play in the defeat of the Labour-led Government in 2008.
  7. Don’t continue to shut out Mana. They may have only one vote at the moment, but I suspect they will grow. They are a strong force for observing and promoting Te Tiriti and for positive social change – things I hope the Greens and Labour agree on.
  8. Don’t shut out the Maori Party. For reasons I think are misguided, they are on the other side at the moment. But if National (including its most bigoted supporters) can accommodate them and survive, so can the Greens and Labour; and we can do more to deliver Te Tiriti obligations and economic and social justice to Maori Party supporters than National could dream of getting away with.

Now MMP is locked in for our lifetimes, we have to get past the old FPP thinking. It is voting blocs that count now, not the dominance of one of the two old Parties.