Key is Prime Minister-designate

Given that it’s now Sunday, it should probably be safe to resume posting without violating electoral law or unethically influencing the election. 😉

John Key is our Prime Minister for the next three years- not an unforeseen event, but one that many Greens will have been hoping to avoid. Change is the only constant in a democratic society, and it would be bad if Labour continued to lead the government indefinitely without offering anything new, even if National won the election on a similar premise. Nonetheless, as we’ve proved in the past with Labour, there will be common ground- perhaps less this time- that we can make with a government with which we still have significant differences. It is promising that Key praised Helen Clark’s leadership, that he mentioned he wants to be Prime Minister to all New Zealanders and not just those who voted National, and finally that he has spoken of engaging the Maori Party. These things suggest that there may be issues like the changes to §59 of the crimes act on which National can once again work with the Greens, despite its usual aversion to multipartisanship.

With a voice that is once more even stronger in Parliament, and one of our chief centrist foils out of the picture, the Green Party is still in a good position after the election, even if we’re likely to be sitting on the cross-benches in opposition to the governing coalition. It may not be as many as we were hoping from our strong polling, but we have two new MPs, and possibly also a third on the way if the special votes favour us.

Finally: I’d like to thank every New Zealander who went out and voted, or who voted in advance, regardless of who they voted for. This is what our country is about. This is part of our heritage as one of the world’s oldest continuous democracies. It is a right and a privilege that we should neither take for granted nor throw away. You made this new government and our new Green MPs a reality.

edit: I totally forgot to mention that although Helen Clark will be serving as an MP for this term, she resigned her leadership of the Labour Party in her concession speech. As a strong principled leader and one of New Zealand’s foremost women, I think it is no understatement to say that this is both an end of an era and a loss to New Zealand as a whole- even if it is, perhaps, the best move for the Labour Party.


5 thoughts on “Key is Prime Minister-designate

  1. Ari, you seem like a nice guy, but …WTF!!!

    “…one of our chief centrist foils out of the picture…” – a reference to NZ First dipping out of Parliament, no doubt. But what makes you claim NZ First were a foil to Green policies being implemented? Especially when it was Dunne who mostly railed against the Greens in the house and in public? And insisted on not having the Greens in government? (a blessing in disguise).

    And you seem to imply you want S59 – even after Sue Bradords amendments – to be repealed?!#@??? That’s just crazy talk. You do realise that any un wanted physical contact is a technical assault, punishable by a year in jail? The only thing that stops us all of being guilty of assault every day in our minor forgotten contacts with people, is he range of clauses like S59 that excuse such contact if ‘reasonable’.

    S59 as amended still allows for adults to have physical contact on a child against the child’s will to:
    * move or restrain the child
    * prevent them from harming themselves or others
    * prevent them breaking laws
    * and the dangerously waffly ‘ensure good behaviour’ stuff

    Ditch S59 totally and you will have no legal means of placing a child in full tantrum mode in a ‘time-out’ space against their will. Parents will not be able to drag Jimmy by the hand from the park when he wants to stay til 11pm… etc

    Crikey. Please read a lot of the sensible comments on then latest thread on Frogblog about why the Greens haven’t broken above the 7% barrier into wider public acceptance.

    It was sodding hard work campaigning for the Greens in south Auckland, and it is very dispiriting to see the same dangerous attitudes of ‘we can do what we like and stuff the public’ and ‘the enemy is that ever-so-distracting Winston, not the real tories like Act/Nats/Dunne’ still in the Greens…. sigh.

  2. Great post, Ari.

    I was too demoralised to post anything last night, and only caught up on sleep & food for most of today. I’m just getting around to looking at posts here, on frogblog and (horrors!) over on the members fora on the main Greens website.

    I’ve been so busy running around that I missed a few things over the last month, so I guess getting back to something like a usual browsing routine is the order of the day.

    It’s been great seeing your writing on this blog, I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. Perhaps we should keep this going, whaddya say? Steve needs feedback!

  3. “These things suggest that there may be issues like the repeal of §59 of the crimes act on which National can once again work with the Greens, despite its usual aversion to multipartisanship”

    Wasn’t it Jeanette Fitzsimons who said you would not support a National lead government? By eliminating that possibility, you exclude a lot of people who are both Green and Centre right. That’s your call of course but it seems be an attitude with heavy partisan and doctrinal undertones.

  4. Squaredrive- Caught me, I’m used to talking about the repeal of §59 from debating this law change earlier in the process. No, I don’t want to remove the provisions in the law- as far as I’m concerned it’s fine as-is.

    It was sodding hard work campaigning for the Greens in south Auckland, and it is very dispiriting to see the same dangerous attitudes of ‘we can do what we like and stuff the public’ and ‘the enemy is that ever-so-distracting Winston, not the real tories like Act/Nats/Dunne’ still in the Greens…. sigh.

    I don’t think we can “do what we like”. I think, however, that it’s worth making changes that may be unpopular in the short term as part of a long-term strategy to make our country a better place.

    I also have to say that I don’t view ANYBODY as the “enemy”. To the extent I do, ACT is clearly the closest thing I have to a political opponent, and I regard them as the extremists of our political system. I actually put a lot of effort into trying to get people to vote for Chavel as well as the Greens in my electorate. You know what’s sad? If people who had voted for Gareth voted for Chavel, we could’ve got rid of Dunne this time. Still, I can’t exactly blame them- Gareth is a great guy. 🙂

    Katie- Thanks for the kind words. 🙂 I’m certainly up for keeping on going. (I’m about to mail Steve on this)

    Graham- We’ve said we would not support them as a government (ie. vote for them or abstain on confidence and supply) due to the fact that many of their policy decisions are simply going in the opposite direction to our own. That’s not the same as being unable to work with them in any capacity- we’ll certainly try and find as much common ground as we can with all of Parliament, left, centre, or right. That’s what we mean when we talk about political pragmatism 🙂

    Hopefully National is willing to listen to our ideas to cut costs for New Zealanders, for instance by promoting or paying for insulation, solar panels, energy-efficiency plans, etc… We’ll see. I’d love to be able to work with them as much as we’ve worked with Labour. The problem is that they are distancing themselves from us- something they have a right to do, but something which undermines the criticisms of their supporters that the Greens should work with them.

  5. As I’ve posted somewhere else – oh, I’ve been busy, it could be anywhere .. – there are areas that we have some policy-development advantages over the National government, especially on their Blue-green policies (which, incidentally, they stole Ian Ewen-Street to create, after the 2005 elections ..).
    They will definitely need our assistance to pass any green-ish policy, as Act most certainly won’t help out with anything that smacks of telling them to consume less, waste less or spend less, let alone pick up their mess after themselves.

    Key has been gambling on electorate boredom & a feel for change – however, this may come back to bite him if anyone cross-checks before-and-after election statements.

    I’m just in the process of viewing the policy doc for his ‘mortgage safety-net’ policy for middle-class redundees, as I have a fairly good idea what MSD policy already allows for those who have been made jobless.
    I’m curious to se whether he’s referred to current MSD policy when he built a shadow policy, or whether he’s just written up a wishlist to keep certain parts of the electorate happy. I might post on that later … 😉

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