Choosing dangerous myopia over a sinking ship

I reckon Nandor is an exceedingly strategic political thinker.  But I’m at a loss to understand how he reconciles these two statements from his Waikato Times opinion piece yesterday:

The Government’s position on climate change is dangerously myopic… National itself is treating climate change negotiations like a trade negotiation, trying to get sweet deals and special favours for New Zealand.


The Greens made it very clear in the election campaign that they were not interested in talking to National. I thought at the time that it was an extraordinarily stupid thing to do, to fasten your lifeboat to a sinking ship.

Everyone in the Greens knew before the election that Labour was doomed.  Strategically a tired, fourth-term Labour government, propped up by a larger Green caucus, would have been poisonous for us. National was where the game was at. But letting voters know who we would prefer to form a government with before they vote is not about strategy, it’s about honesty.  And honestly the Green Party could not claim to stick to its principles if at the same time it joined the Dunne-Turia-Hide rush to the cabinet table; not if that cabinet table was “dangerously myopic” on the issue most important to the Greens.

This has nothing to do with being “genuinely independent of Labour”.  It is to do with negotiating and campaigning honestly and democratically.  Sometimes that will mean campaigning against National for it’s appalling policy on climate change (among other issues).  But that does not make us Labour’s friend or ally.  Our current enemy’s enemy is not necessarily our friend.


3 thoughts on “Choosing dangerous myopia over a sinking ship

  1. I suspect that Nandor’s intention, possibly not well edited in the piece published, was to say that positioning ourselves as independant, rather than preferring to work with either of the two centre-parties, would have been more logical.

    Neither of Labour nor National’s campaigns showed any real points of difference; Key waited until after the election was over to announce just how some of the vague policies referred to would be enacted.
    The first week of ‘legislations-passed-under-urgency’ was arrogant to the extreme.

    I for one would have liked to have seen which minor parties we considered it preferable to work with; high on my list would have been the Maaori party, with whom we have, on matters arising during the final year of Labour’s third term, accomplished some genuine, well-considered achievements.
    Policy-based campaigning, however, vanished fairly early on in the race, as wild promises and mud-slinging took over.
    No wonder the electorate was confused!

    Those who did gain constituency seats in the new Labour lineup are an interesting bunch, and many new MP’s have considerable integrity and grassroots appeal. This may not be so much a ‘turn-down’ as a ‘new broom’ for Labour, who may be able to develop beyond this defeat and build a new generation of ministers into a more cohesive and updated opponent to National for the 2011 election. Time will tell.

  2. Katie- indeed, saying we couldn’t be in coalition with either major party but would abstain on confidence and supply and work with them on an issue-by-issue basis would’ve been a smart move. The advantage of saying we’d prefer Labour was to prod a few people who were worried leftwards, I think, and avoid the potential disaster f 61 National MPs.

    It’s hard to know which would be the better choice overall.

  3. I agree with both the above comments. We should have said what policies (our policies) were most important to us right now and what it is we will/would work to do.

    It is not dishonest not to say what parties we would negotiate with. We should accept reality and negotiate with anybody. We have little to gain and a lot to loose by continuing the impression, the false impression, that we are Labours poodle.


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