Why?

Open thread time people! Please feel free to share in comments why you’re a Green, or if you’re not, why you’re interested in us anyway!

I had this question put to me recently. It’s a great question for anyone that supports anything political, and having not examined it perhaps as closely as I could have in the past, it actually threw me looking for an answer for a few seconds.

I’ve always been a lefty in a family of lefties- the only time I know of any of my immediate family voting right of centre has been an incidence of strategic votes. I was the one who didn’t laugh when communism came up in a pol sci lecture, who thought left-libertarians who argued for an expansive welfare state were awesome, and for a long time my group conscience has been incredibly strong. In that sense, my choice has always been relatively narrow in New Zealand politics, as most parties here are desperately clinging to the political centre.

For my part, I came to the voting booth when I first voted looking to the Green Party with two strong principles behind me that I felt the Party matched. There was both the impressive understanding of and advocacy for youth by the Greens, and my feminist streak that’s been fueled by the incredibly strong women in my family, and was easily matched by the large amount of women MPs and feminists in the Greens’ lineup. I’ve since stayed over my concerns and criticisms of capitalistic free-market society, the reality of climate change, the worrying overpopulation of our planet and over-consumption of our resources, and principled and strong stands by the Party on civil rights and equality that goes beyond just identity politics and into the practicals of society- like valuing unpaid work. But most importantly, I value the unique openness, representativeness, integrity, and straight-forward style that the Party has adopted in managing its affairs.

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10 thoughts on “Why?

  1. I’m not a Green Member but I’ve been a Green voter for the past few elections. I’ve posted on my blog why I think the Green vote really matters, now more than ever.

    http://freshly-ground.blogspot.com/2008/08/politics-of-dependence.html

    Briefly, I see the Greens as the only party who advocate self-reliance and personal responsibility. And in an age where the mass institution of global trade must by necessity face a decline, what could be more important than helping people learn to look after themselves better?

  2. I’m a green member because the Greens want to achieve all the good stuff that politics aims for (health, education, employment, energy, the environment etc etc) but they’re not prepared to trample over the rights of the planet or it’s people to get there. I feel they want to get things done the right way once and for all. None of this diddling about with bits and pieces…. they just want to revamp the whole damn system.

  3. Ironically, it was former National Party “Think Big” and National Development Act architect, Minister of Energy, Finance Minister and general “Mr Fixit” Bill Birch who made me a Green.

    But that was in his first term as a backbech MP, long before his notoriety. He had this bizarre idea of building New Zealand’s first nuclear power station on the shore of the Manukau Harbour in his electorate, which also happened to also be my electorate.

    Having read a little about nuclear energy, I was none too impresed with the idea, and somehow discovered that a group called the Environmental Defence Society existed. So I joined. I had also seen the Values Party poll reasonably well in the 1972 election, although getting no MPs under the undemocratic FPP system.

    So I joined them too, although was not particularly active politically as a member. And then joined the Greens when they emerged from the ashes of the Values Party in 1990.

    I’ve also had several period in my life when I’ve been more engaged in community-based politics than national political parties, notably when the Greens were part of the Alliance. I intensely disliked the authoritarian nature of the Leadership of that Party, and campaigned for the Greens in the 1999 election.

    But I was brought back to joining the Greens the day the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification reported. That night, when I got home from work, my first priority was to renew my long-expired Green Party membership and commit myself to being actively involved in supporting the Green Party again.

  4. I am not a Green. When I first started thinking about politics, I felt the government could solve everything. I was certainly statist, socialist, whatever you want to call it – I figured central control of everything would be far more efficient.

    Fortunately that stage didn’t last long, as the more I learnt about politics and life in general the more I realised that that system does not allow individual freedom. It has failed where it has been tried, and ends up bloated and inefficient.

    Now the more I consider politics, the more right-wing I become – because capitalism works. It is that simple. I still feel state institutions are best for some things – public health systems are good, and state control of roading works best for example. State welfare is a valuable safety net. But I have found with many people that the older they get the more right-wing they become, and I am no exception.

    I am also not a Green because I care about the environment, and don’t believe the Greens environmental solutions are practical. I am not a Green because I am a Christian, and many Green / Labour policies over the past 9 years have directly attacked values Christians hold dear. I am also not a Green because I disagree with the hippie-style impractical pacifism that the Greens often seem to promote, and realise the practical fact that the world is not a nice place and just because you talk nicely to people doesn’t mean they won’t decide to attack you.

    I am now standing for the Family Party, because I care deeply about the environment and about the people of New Zealand, and I believe our policies around the environment and social issues are far more practical and sensible, and preserve individual freedoms far better, than the policies proposed by the Green party.

  5. I’m a Green because they are the only party with a serious commitment to tackling the collective problem of climate change, but I’m PROUD to be a Green because of the way our MPs and most of our members live our core principles of appropriate decision making and non-violence.

  6. The Greens have many strands: there’s a warm-fuzzy isn’t-nature-awesome bit. Well, it is awesome. But that’s not me. There’s a communitarian do-everything-locally bit. I like strong local communities, but that’s not me either.

    I’m from another strand of Greens: the cold-hearted realists who can do the maths, who see the brutal logic of limited resources and unlimited growth and who see that if I want a good life for my kids (and grandkids, one day) then I’d better do something now.

    I’m also the kind of cold-hearted realist who favours human rights for all because otherwise it could be me or my kids who end up lacking them. I’ve got this thing about Truth and Integrity in politics because long-term it’s the only thing that works (my little company takes a similar approach: in an industry full of hype we don’t hype our stuff because promising more than you can deliver is just damaging long-term). Likewise I support non-violence where practical simply because the evidence is that it works – violence is very occasionally necessary, but very often it just makes things worse in the medium to long term. I favor evidence-based policies – with the research and statistics to back them. The Greens are just the best party around on that score.

    The rest is just details. Sorry it’s so long, skip if you’re bored…

    Back in May 2006 the Sunday papers published stories about how global warming was a myth, based on a press release by a guy called Augie Auer. I read it. It conflicted with other things I’d read. Being a curious bloke about science I did a bit of research. It became obvious that Auer was just repeating stuff from a guy called Fred Singer, and Singer gave actual references (notably to a Nasa report on isotrope analysis of atmospheric CO2). So I read them. Then I build a little math model of what Auer was saying – both about where C02 came from and the relative effects of C02 vs H20. It was obvious then that Auer was talking utter tripe (confusing static vs dynamic equilibria), with extremely misleading numbers to confuse the public.

    But you can’t tell that these numbers about the atmosphere are distorted and misleading unless you pulled out the references and did a bit of calculus. Most people haven’t got the science background, or the time, to do that. I thought the public needed to be protected against such shifty and misleading propaganda. That week I joined the Green Party and sent them $100.

  7. I became a Green because I read the Charter and it made so much sense to me. It was a holistic approach to politics which none of the other parties demonstrated in their manifestos.

    I stayed a Green because I believe that the people most suited to making decisions about their communities are the people that live in them.

    I stayed a Green because I believe in positive change for positive changes’ sake. Not for ego, not for power, not for money but because it’s the right thing to do.

    In my time working closely with the Green MPs I saw how committed they were to supporting and engaging with communities to facilitate appropriate decisions. And they don’t do it because it helps them in the polls. I know that every single one of our MPs will continue the work they do if they stop being MPs.

    I could go on for ages..

    Mr Dennis, I hope you and the Family Party will join other members of our community in supporting the Ploughshare activists when they are in court this week http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/76028/index.php

    I would think that actively engaging in Non Violent Direct Peace Action to actively stop the needless killing of helpless civilians in a power grab over the resources created for us all to share is a very Christian thing to do.

    Pacifism isn’t about lying down to die, it’s about standing up to live.

  8. I became a Green when I found out about the heinous Student Loan scheme, upon my late return to uni in 1999. Green policy around Universal Allowances and cutting Student Debt appealed to me.
    It was a good (election) year to get in, and I learnt how to deliver leaflets in Rongotai electorate.
    I slowly got stroppier, then by 2002, I’d got into the Anti-War movement, and Green policy and activism became a core part of my life. And there was the GE Moratorium to defend, as well.
    Some people in Parliament became mates, and I’ve watched swathes of young people move through the EPA and OOP jobs, some becoming activists in the process. Can’t think of a nicer bunch of folk to get through the next decade around.
    I’ve been interested in policy development since I began post-Grad study, so feminism, ecological wisdom, social justice and anarcho-pacifist tendancies are driving my involvement in Green discussions now.

    Seeya on the barricades! 😉

  9. I joined the Greens when I left high school, and I felt I needed an outlet for my activism (having chaired an Amnesty International group). I knew Keith Locke and Nandor were heavily involved in domestic and international social justice, and felt like I wanted to be a part of that.

    I stayed a member because from literally the very first day I was made part of the process, my opinions were asked and then taken seriously. The process is incredibly important, as Kakariki has said, and open and participatory decision making is one of the four principles for a reason.

    The MPs aren’t perfect, and they don’t get everything right. However, the democratic processes of the party mean that it isn’t personal agendas or horse-trading that drives decisions, but policy hammered out by members.

    I love how the Greens are committed to the Treaty, and also like that the Green MPs are heavily involved in activism which isn’t in the “job description” of an MP, because they believe in it, and because they believe that what happens within the four walls of Parliament is only a small section of politics.

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