Paid to Win – Simon Lusk’s Guide to Campaigning Part II Which Party?

Simon Lusk is one of the few full time political campaigners in New Zealand, and is releasing a practical guide to campaigning in New Zealand, “Paid to Win“, one chapter at a time.

His second chapter is titled “Which Party” and gives advice on which party aspiring politicians or political activists should join.

This chapter deals with which party to join, why minor parties never effect real change, why a safe seat matters, and other factors in deciding when and where a candidate should run.

Simon’s views on the likelihood of a successful career in a minor party are spot on, and while the Greens will howl with rage his comments about them are spot on.

When I first started getting to know good political operators inside Labour I mentioned that Labour had an inherent advantage because they had the Greens.

Under MMP National do not have any strong coalition partners, while Labour have the Greens.

The response to this statement was telling. I was asked emphatically, “Have you ever worked with the Greens?” I had not, but filed this away for future reference. 

I subsequently worked with the Greens on a project in Hawkes Bay. They are an absolute nightmare to work with, and they are the one party I will not make any effort at all to work with again in the future.

The Greens holier than thou attitude is reinforced by a failure to understand the rules of the game make the game possible to play. I tried setting up a deal with the local Greens, working for several weeks to do it. I had an agreement that I thought was water tight, but when we went public they changed their position without telling me. They were then irate that I was upset with them for being so unprofessional.

The Greens are a bit like a member of a rugby team who turns up to a game on a pogo stick. They refuse to touch the ball, and become bitter and twisted when you tell them they need to play by the official rules, and not bounce around on a pogo stick and expect the rest of us to accept they are different.

Despite being in parliament since 1999, and three years before that as part of the Alliance, the Greens have never been in government or achieved anything of significance. This looks set to continue as Labour would far rather go into coalition with New Zealand First than the Greens, and the Greens would have to support a Labour led government like they did between 2005 and 2008.


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  • ozbob68

    Metiria Turei on a pogo stick – gonna take a lot of disinfectant to get that image out of my mind.

    • Cadwallader

      I am about to start, not with disinfectant but whisky.

    • Stuarts.burgers

      I do hope it was a designer Pogo Stick as the Materiel Girl should only have the best.

  • Pluto

    The Greens are a temporary port of call for some university students who want to protest about something.
    Those that stick around longer become bitter and twisted ideologists, their MO is to yell longest and loudest. Catch one by the tail and all you get is shrieking.
    In other words, a total waste of space.

    • andrew carrot

      Then they head to Mana

  • Rex

    The Greens are a 2 person Party. Cross Norman or Turea and you are out. Bit like the old Soviet machine. I guess Wussell has had experience there.

    • peterwn

      The Soviets would have probably sent him to a mental hospital, as they did to dissidents who by definition must be crazy.

  • Curious

    These words need to be repeated long and loud to anyone who will listen. This is my experience of the Greens too but on a more personal level. I had the misfortune to live next door to a ” good friend” (her words) of Mad Cath. My neighbour was great when things went her way but a nightmare if they didn’t. She got herself on the local community board and was constantly telling them she spoke for the beach residents and she had consulted us on everything, consultation was usually a vague mention of something and when challenged by the rest of us she would change the subject.
    Nightmare and unprofessional just begins to describe them but unfortunately we need to give them power to finally be rid of them.

  • Dog Breath

    What really annoys me about the Greens, many of their public statements that are so outrageous and incorrect such that even they must know they are talking BS but does not stop them making these statements while implying they are the party with integrity and honesty. Makes my blood boil.