Hooton on the Red/Green civil union

Matthew Hooton writes in NBR about the Red/Green civil union:

One of the parties to this week’s red-green pact knew exactly what it was doing.

Since its formation, the Green Party’s political goal has always been to supplant Labour as the main party on the left. Professional politicians’ usual lust for office drives some of that.

But the Greens’ goal is also based on their belief that history is on their side: that the industrial and technological revolutions and the ascent of unrestrained consumerism have rendered the old-fashioned notion of “labour” obsolete while generating intolerable social injustice and planet-threatening environmental degradation.

The Greens acknowledge Labour had a vital role in protecting workers from the horrors of the dark Satanic mills but believe the issues of the future are all theirs.  Moreover, in contrast to the class warfare of the traditional left, part of the green message has always been inclusive: that, from Bill Gates to a Bangladeshi peasant, we’re all in it together and the politics of hate doesn’t get us very far.

Except hate and loathing is all Labour knows.

Since Ms Clark’s departure to the UN, the New Zealand Labour Party has disagreed with all this.  First Phil Goff and then David Cunliffe believed the road to the prime ministership involved a sharp turn to the left.  Consequently, they led their party to its two worst results since the 1920s before the Great Depression.

Undeterred, the union bosses and extreme left activists who now control the party’s leadership imposed Andrew Little on the caucus, the first union boss to lead Labour since the 1950s (with the arguable exception of Mike Moore) and the most left wing since the 1970s.

As ordered, Mr Little’s rhetoric is old-fashioned, angry, xenophobic and hate-filled towards his class enemies.  The polls have responded accordingly.

Yeah, downwards for Labour and for Andrew Little.

When he put his pen to the red-green pact negotiated by his chief of staff, former Unite union boss Matt McCarten, and his Green opposite number, former Finsec union organiser Andrew Campbell, Mr Little was publicly acknowledging that there will never again be a Labour-dominated government in the mould of the Clark, Lange, Fraser or Savage regimes.

None of this is to say Labour has yet reached its nadir.

As Green co-leaders Metiria Turei and James Shaw very well know but the hapless Mr Little apparently does not, the pact has at least five likely electoral effects, all of them disadvantageous to Labour.

Total disaster. Labour is in its hundredth year, and it may well be its last.

It licenses left-wing Labour voters to tick Green, drives centrist Labour voters to National, prevents centrist National voters from crossing over to Labour, sends a few Green-voting Remuera doctors’ wives back to National, yet solidifies the vast bulk of the Greens’ existing support by eliminating fears the Greens could coalesce with National.  Labour is also now at risk of losing MPs from what could be called its Shane Jones faction to NZ First.  The Greens can anticipate a net increase in their polling, as can National but the pact is all downside for Labour.

On top of that National could employ a decapitation strategy to lose a few seats that are unimportant in the scheme of things to deny Labour any list MPs….Andrew Little being one of them.

If the red-green pact takes out Mr Dunne and the Maori Party, while further weakening Labour, what was already extremely likely becomes a near certainty: that Mr Peters will hold the balance of power.  He is now able to say – and already is – that his is the only party in Parliament not to engage in dodgy electoral deals.  In coalition negotiations, he will be able to ask for anything he wants.  And we all know what that will be, don’t we?

Winston Peters is the biggest winner of them all. I’ve heard his facial muscles are so sore from all the smiling that he is having to have acupuncture to alleviate it.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.