Gareth Morgan contemplates a true BlueGreen party

People like me should be Green party supporters.

I enjoy the bush, rivers, and oceans. My hobbies involve the environment…fishing, hunting, camping, tramping, kayaking and swimming. We are all a bit green, in that we all want clean rivers, oceans, air bush and mountains.

We aren’t Green party supporters because simply put their socialist, or should I say communist, roots just scare the pants off most people.

For most of the election cycle the Greens bleat on about socialist issues, and for 6 weeks of the years present themselves as caring environmentalists. The problem they have is most people just see the mentalist part.

If the Greens were smart they’d abandon their socialism, focus on the environment and come to a governing arrangement with John Key. He’d entertain it for sure.

Gareth Morgan, who I rarely agree with (except on cats), takes this one step further. He thinks there should be a BlueGreen party.

The election hasn?t provided answers for people concerned to keep the Kiwi way of life ? including those who voted National. On socio-economic issues National is most deserving, but on environmental issues it most definitely has not made the grade. With its intended RMA reforms, National threatens to propel NZ even further toward environmentally-degrading economic growth rather than the ideal of strong economic growth in harmony with environmental protection.

Labour?s ongoing slide confirms that in the voters? minds at least, its offerings have become less and less relevant to the needs and aspirations of modern day New Zealand. But for me, the most frustrating aspect of the election result is the entrenched inability of the Green Party to grasp that the environmental message is something that appeals to middle-of-the-road New Zealanders, not just Lefties.

Sadly the Green Party?s policies for environmental sustainability have always come with a nasty fishhook ? the out-dated edict that social justice can only be achieved by rehashed socialism. This has rendered the Green Party a real melon to mainstream New Zealand ? a watermelon to be precise, far too red on the inside for middle New Zealand to stomach. ?

At the other end of the socio-economic spectrum, the National Party has long had its own Bluegreens Advisory Group, recognition that environmental protection is relevant. But when push comes to shove, National?s advisory group quickly cowers to the priorities of short-term unsustainable growth. Neither the Conservation nor Environment Ministers are in senior positions in the National cabinet ? being ranked 13th and 15th respectively in a Cabinet of 20. National?s is more a green wash than a serious commitment to clever and clean growth.

The time is overdue for a Bluegreens political party, one that is happy to work with whoever is the senior party in government, and is focussed properly on improving our environment, society and economy together. Without this there is a large swathe of voters who are not represented adequately in Parliament. Can the Green Party assume that role? I doubt it very much, theirs is very much a socialist heritage and they exhibit an ongoing reluctance to get real on the importance of the economy. With their voter support capped at 10% (about the same as the craziest party in parliament, Winston Peter?s conspiracy theorists), the electorate continues to see no hope for the Green Party ? the adverse impact on jobs and incomes is unpalatable.

He echoes the same issues I outlined, and continue to outline.

As technology advances ? and it continues to at a dazzling pace ? the necessity for dirty and dumb is diminishing just as rapidly ? yet neither National nor Labour have grasped this. A Bluegreen coalition partner would force them to.

A Bluegreen party would emphatically express New Zealanders? preference for clever and clean as the way we want our dollars earned, while leaving National and Labour to fight over how social justice is best promoted ? via National?s preference for capacity building through education and training, delivering more flexible employment and wage-setting practices; or via Labour?s penchant for widening and lifting of social assistance, greater progressivity of income tax, widening the tax base on income from capital, and greater protection of labour in the workplace.

That is why today I am calling for a Bluegreen party ? a party with a true environmental focus1 rather than a socialist party in drag. Tomorrow we will look at some of the policies such a party could pursue, policies that without a Bluegreen party are being left off the political agenda completely.

Sounds very interesting.

It is certainly something I’d be interested in supporting.