Why the Greens keep taking one in the chook

Duncan Garner explains why the Greens continually take one in the chook and never have any power.

Emotional scenes flowed from the Green Party this week. It was as if they had won the election outright and they were handing out the ministerial jobs, perks and lollies.

But no. Not this time. Not the last time. Not in 20 long years. The Greens are never that lucky in politics. Always the bridesmaid, perennially shafted.

Normally by their supposed allies Labour – who preferred Peter Dunne and Winston Peters as support parties ahead of the Greens.

So what really happened this week? Nothing much. The Greens released their party list. Normally it’s a complete bore. But the Greens are media darlings. And this was like a beauty contest.

And no one cares. Poor little Chloe Swarbrick always looks like Damien Thorn from The Omen standing in the line up. It is like she is incapable of smiling…maybe she is just that joyless.

She always looks like she is about to burst into tears.

No-one asks any hard questions because the Greens have never made any tough decisions or been responsible for anything.

The mass home insulation programme years ago was their idea, but both major parties stole that and stamped their own logo on it. And that’s about the extent of the Greens’ influence. It’s hard to beat them up, when, well, what for?

Jubilant photos of the Green-grinners on happy pills were plastered across sexy social media sites and the traditional media websites, too.

Shock horror: They have young people, white people, an older grey guy they referred to as the ‘eye-candy’, a Maori and wow-wee, a real-life refugee who just happens to be a rock-star lawyer with looks. So they got our attention.

But – and here’s the big but – are they any closer to government? Nope. Not that you’d know that from this week.

The Greens’ chances of being in power still rely on Labour. Bugger that, but that’s the rough path they have chosen.

Helen Clark shafted them…twice. Winston Peters hates them and will shaft them. They’ve painted themselves into the socialist corner.

Here’s how that will work out for them.

They have fully hitched their wagon to a struggling Labour locomotive.

If Labour gets in a position to govern then the Greens might have some influence. If they don’t, then the Greens are once again assigned to the oblivion benches again.

Damn, that must be frustrating. Why burn all that carbon in planes and taxis getting to Parliament if you can’t make a difference?

Yes, they’re a strong voice in opposition but surely they want to be in power one day – don’t they? But they’ve chosen to work only with Labour.

Greens really are the natural party of opposition.

Apparently, National is evil, too Right-wing, doesn’t care about the environment, has made our rivers dirty and the list goes on. But I wonder what life would be like if they hadn’t thrown their lot in with just Labour.

What would a Blue-Green government look like? Imagine if the Greens had left the door open to prop up either of the big parties in office? Is Labour really that economically different from National?

Why couldn’t the Greens have been truly independent and said we’ll keep both the bastards honest and just fight for our principles and influence in any government we can be part of?

I said this to Russel Norman once outside TV3’s studios. He just laughed. Now he is off playing eco-terrorist and the ex-McGillycuddy Serious Party candidate is running the asylum.

When the Labour-Green memorandum of understanding to work together came out, Jesus wept and so did the centre-Left. Labour and Green voters went all weak at the knees.

All those voters thought enough had been done to govern and it was only a matter of time. But I thought it was a stupid deal that assigned the Greens as Labour’s Mini Me.

They closed off their options and became Labour’s little play thing.

Between Labour and the Greens, both parties have just over 40 per cent of the vote. That’s called opposition.

Uh huh.

They need to grow their vote – not cannibalise the vote from each other.

And I have yet to see that happen. They can target young voters with cool young candidates but historically these young ones haven’t gone to the polls.

They answer pollsters’ calls but lie in bed on Election Day. So unreliable. That’s the Greens’ problem. They need to grow their vote.

Young people don’t vote.

I would love to see solutions for dirty rivers, climate change, child poverty and sustainable Green solutions for housing and transport. They are now modern ideas not silly ideas from 1970s hippies.

Yet the Greens are stuck in the past strategically by limiting who they will work with. I for one would love them to stand solo and work with all-comers.

And imagine this message from Bill English; Sorry Winston, we’re going with the Greens. This year I promise you won’t hear that.

Nope, and no government will be formed without Winston involved in 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.