Russel Norman

Focussing on things that matter, Ctd

I’ve been talking to a few National MPs over the past few weeks and a recurring theme is arising.

Why is John Key pursuing changing the flag?

For years National, and of course me, have mercilessly bashed the Labour party for concentrating on things that no one but them cared about.

We had lightbulbs and shower heads, and a plethora of social engineering type legislation that exercised small minorities while the rest of New Zealand got on with life.

Now it seems that John Key’s government has fallen into the same trap as Helen Clark’s.

Focussing and expending political capital on things that really don’t matter.

When Kiwis wake up in the morning they are thinking of work, paying their bills, making the mortgage, the warrant of fitness of the car, getting the kids to school etc.

I’ll bet a dollar to a knob of goat poo that nobody except John Key steps into their slippers in the morning thinking “We must change the flag”.

When John Key announced this I groaned.    Read more »

Where was this story during the Christchurch East by-election?

Media are at it again – only highlighting National’s use of taxpayers’ funded travel during by-elections.

The by-election battle for Northland has seen a steady stream of Government ministers visit the region.

And all that travel is putting scrutiny on their use of taxpayer-funded resources like Crown limousines.

Northland has never seen so many Crown cars with a flock of ministers and MPs parading through the electorate every day to support National’s candidate, Mark Osborne.

“It’s pretty extraordinary that National is not only pork barrelling the electorate, but accessing the pork themselves to get themselves around the electorate,” says Russel Norman, Green Party co-leader.

Oh really?  And your party’s co-leadership battles are all funded from non-taxpayer funds?   Like when they all flew to Auckland to be on TV?   Yeah, I didn’t think so.   Read more »

And James Shaw makes four

The Greens now have four blokes to choose from for their male co-leader role vacated by Russel Norman.

Wellington-based MP James Shaw will bid to be the Green Party’s co-leader, after earlier saying it was “highly unlikely” he’d run.

It is understood the first-term MP is planning to make the announcement on Monday, after telling caucus colleagues at a meeting earlier this week.

Last month Shaw said it was too early in his parliamentary career. However, he appears to have had a change of heart after being approached by supportive members, including at a recent policy conference in the Hunua ranges, south of Auckland.    Read more »

Hooton asks “Where is Colin Craig?”

Matthew Hooton in his NBR column asks where is Colin Craig?

The country’s going to hell in a handbasket.

Prime Minister John Key has again been photographed being kissed by drag queens.

Police commissioner Mike Bush has allowed uniformed officers to march in the annual Pride parade.

Same-sex marriage continues with gay abandon.

Schools are teaching students as young as five the correct names of body parts and what kinds of personal interaction is allowed and not allowed, rather than leaving them to work it out in the playground as they did in the good old days.

Parents are still not allowed to smack their kids.

God is displeased, sending drought to the South Island and plague to Auckland’s Sodom and Gomorrah, Grey Lynn.

The conditions are ripe for a conservative backlash.  So where is Colin Craig?

If Matthew Hooton is asking that question it shows how out of the political loop he is these days.

From May 2012, Mr Craig invested an enormous amount of time and at least $3,354,600 in his Conservative Party.  For his efforts, the party scored a credible 95,598 party votes last year, 3.97% of the total.  It was up on the 59,237 votes the party won in its first outing 2011, 2.65% of those cast.

Like all party leaders, Mr Craig had a rough time through the election campaign.  He was mocked mercilessly by the liberal establishment, who considered him a greater threat than he turned out to be. His own party plastered an unflattering mug shot of him on hoardings across the country.  Worst of all, his press secretary resigned mysteriously two days before the election, slamming him as  “manipulative.” Mr Craig denied any “unchristian” or “untoward” behaviour.

Read more »

Oh the irony: Greens call for cross-party support

To be honest, I didn’t think the Greens knew there was such a thing as working together with people, but it’s nice to see they’ve heard of the concept when trying to score some quick political points.   Especially as it wasn’t the Greens that brought the issue up in the first place.

The Greens say MPs shouldn’t be given pay increases that are out of step with those of most other Kiwis.

“MPs’ salaries are going up by $8200 but the median income rose only $1300 last year,” said co-leader Russel Norman.

“We’re calling for cross-party support to agree on a system of index linking.”

The 5.5 percent increase was announced yesterday by the independent Remuneration Authority.

MPs’ pay has risen to $156,000 a year, the prime minister’s to $452,300 and cabinet ministers’ to $283,400.

The remuneration authority needs a kick up the hoohaa.  With inflation near zero percent, and general market increases in the range of 1.7 (from memory), there is no way to justify a 5.5% increase.   You could say they’ve increased New Zealand’s productivity, but we’re still running deficits, so I’m not sure how you can earn 5.5% and look the tax payer in the eye.   Read more »

Will the Green Taliban ever be part of a coalition government?


I don’t think so.  They are petulant and self righteous, and expect way too much in return for their actual support base.

What about Labour and the Greens, eh? Can’t live together, can’t live apart.

Just how the two parties can co-habit on the Left has been one of the longest-running conundrums since MMP was a pup.

How can they turn being allies – or is that just very good friends – into benefits for both? And how can they draw the line between potential co-operation in government and competition for votes?

And then there have been the parties playing gooseberry: once upon a time United Future; ever and always New Zealand First.

As centre parties camped on the fulcrum of power they have been able to force the Greens out of government, when Labour has been in power, leaving them no option but to grimace and bear it.

The real problem for Labour is that it needs to position itself as partnering with Winston instead of the Greens, because not enough voters like the idea of the Green Taliban getting near the levers of power on the back of a Labour vote.

A vote for Labour is a vote for a Labour Green government.  And how much did the voters run away from that?    Last time, they did it in unprecedented numbers.

Instead of learning from this, the Greens are even more self-righteous! Read more »

Party that campaigned on undermining national security upset they are not invited to the national security meeting

Credit: Mark Mitchell

Credit: Mark Mitchell

How precious can you get?   The Green Taliban have spent years saying the likes of the GCSB should be disbanded, our armed forces should not enter theatres of war, and the SIS and the Government can’t be trusted, but they would very much like to be part of the group of people to deal with national security issues.

National and Labour have shut all other parties out of Parliament’s most powerful committee – the committee that will oversee a major review of the country’s intelligence services. Read more »

The problem with ‘ethical investing’

Yet again the Green party is lecturing us on ‘ethical investing’.

Can anyone see a problem with that?

The Green Party has called for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to quit its investments in companies producing fossil fuel.

The fund’s chief executive, Adrian Orr, said it took the issue of climate change seriously and expected its exposure to fossil fuels to fall over time, and investment in renewables to rise.

“But a simple divestment call? The world is just not that straightforward,” he said.

The fund, set up by the previous Labour Government to partially pre-fund future New Zealand Superannuation payments, had $676 million invested in companies directly involved in fossil fuel production as of last June. That represented about 2 per cent of the fund’s assets.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman, in a paper released yesterday, makes an ethical case for not investing in companies whose activities are literally fuelling potentially catastrophic climate change.

He also points to a financial risk of stranded assets, citing analysis by the International Energy Agency and other bodies that the world’s coal, oil and gas companies already have in their proven reserves at least three times as much carbon as can be burned without exceeding the internationally agreed target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.   Read more »

Whaleoil Guest Blogger Kevin Hague to run for leader of Green Party

Whaleoil Guest Blogger Kevin Hague is ready to lead the Green Taliban.  Now I like Kevin, but (and the fact this is even possible…) he has less charisma than Russel Noman.

Green MP Kevin Hague is the first person to officially put himself forward as a possible co-leader to take the party’s reins after Russel Norman leaves in May.

Speculation had been rife Mr Hague would contest the role, but he had remained silent on his run.

Well, since Russel Norman got the message to find things to do at home, it has been a pretty open secret Kevin wasn’t entirely a bystander in the downfall of the Great Australian flagbearer for the Green Party.

Dr Norman announced last month he would not stand as co-leader at the party’s annual general meeting in May, after nine years in the job.

Today Mr Hague, who had been the caucus strategist for the past six years, said he, along with Dr Norman and fellow co-leader Metiria Turei, had “improved the capability of our team”.

“Now with Russel stepping down I relish the opportunity and the responsibility of taking the Green Party to the next stage of entering government,” he said.

“To do that we’re going to need to be pretty clear about who we are, what we stand for.”

Mr Hague also spoke about finding “common ground” with other parties, including National.

I have no doubt he will be an efficient leader for the Greens, but the problem will be that he must not make himself the main messenger; instead making sure his media friendly MPs get the air time.

Positioning the Green Party to work with National would be a double edged sword.  For one it would keep National from drifting right, but it would also mean there is space for ACT and the Conservative Party to gain ground.

And, of course, little parties get eaten by their major coalition partners.  The Greens would be forever tainted.  Just look at the likes of the Maori Party and the Alliance – they were blamed for everything that the coalition government did.


– 3 News, Chris Trotter, Rodney Hide

Gordon Campbell: From loonie Greens to boring Greens

His likely successor – Kevin Hague – will face the same problems after Norman has stepped down in May. At the moment, Hague is not confirming whether or not he is a contender, but the cupboard is not exactly full of other options. (It would be theoretically possible for the Greens to elevate talented new MP James Shaw, but unlikely.) In the meantime, Norman will continue as Co-Leader and as the Greens’ finance spokesperson.

When the party annual conference in May anoints the new leader however, there is a compelling argument for Norman to relinquish that finance role as well, in favour of Shaw. Not only would that help ensure that Hague is not upstaged by his predecessor, but the finance role would provide a useful platform for Shaw to lift his national profile, and widen his support base within the party. Hague would bring his own skills to the job. He is a solid performer and a good off-the-cuff public speaker, with prior senior management experience in public health. Hopefully, under Hague and Metiria Turei, the Greens might be able to gain some added traction with voters on health issues. Read more »