The real reason the Greens attack NZ First

Photo Ross Giblin, copyright Dominion Post, Fairfax.

Rob Hosking at NBR explains the real reason the Greens attacked NZ First:

Co-leader Metiria Turei had a crack at Mr Peters for racist rhetoric at a regional party meeting in Nelson and then followed up with stronger words, which Mr Peters returned with interest.

It is a bit of electoral virtue and vice signalling: an early round of the pre-election mix of shadow boxing and square dancing.

Mr Peters’ anti-immigrant rhetoric, which has been a feature of his politics since 1996, could only be dealt with by a strong “progressive” vote, Ms Turei says.

That’s code for “Labour are a bunch of desperate, gutless sellouts who will cave to NZ First’s knuckle-draggers.”

It’s also code for “hey Labour – that memorandum of understanding we have? It’s pretty much over.”

The only way for a true “progressive” government, she says, is for people to vote for the Greens – essentially the way to stop a Labour-led government being shoved around by Mr Peters is a vote for the Greens.

Which shows that Metiria Turei can’t count. The left-wing vote is just being juggled between Labour and the Greens. They actually need to attract votes from the centre, but National has those all shored up. That leaves Winston…and he won’t give up his voters for the Greens. Any Labour centrist who can’t bring themselves to vote for National will logically vote for Winston, especially if the Greens carry on like this.

So, what is going on?

Ms Turei was trying to send a clear message to disgruntled/despairing Labour voters: The Green Party’s recent dropping of its own anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric are part of this, and are very much part of a strategy to harden up the Green Party brand and not have it subsumed in Labour’s – as it has been, to some degree, since the memorandum of understanding between the two parties in mid-2016.

Labour are in disarray. Their leader is languishing in the polls, so is the party and there are just 80 days until the election. The Greens are seeking to pillage their partner’s vote and attempt to take them over.

For all the pantomime huffing and puffing between her and Mr Peters, Mr Peters actually loved the fact she’d done what she’d done.

The real target, and the real injured party, is the Labour Party.

But she muddied her message somewhat by turning around and saying the Greens could and would, probably, work with NZ First in government, if given the chance.

Partly, this is emblematic of the Green Party’s current problem: it is mid-transition from being a party of protest to a party of government –or at least, it hopes so.

Right now it is in about mid-leap across the ravine from one side to the other, and it’s not quite clear it is going to make it.

The other problem is the Greens cannot really go with anyone else if they want to be in government: It is Labour or no-one.

And because Labour is still caught between 25-30% in the polls, that has to mean Labour and New Zealand First, or no one.

Labour can’t get there…and the Greens know it, so now they start undermining and hoping to grab Labour voters.

Mr Peters was sending a message of his own – and it was a lot clearer than Ms Turei’s signal.

It has two parts.

One is to provincial and farming voters who might otherwise vote National but who, for various reasons, are unhappy with the government.

Those voters tend to not like the Greens very much: Seeing Mr Peters in a public stoush with the Greens co-leader is all good stuff for Mr Peters’ pitch to that group.

It says New Zealand First is on their side against those politically correct tree-huggers if Mr Peters winds up in a government with them.

And it also reminds them – and everyone else – that Mr Peters and NZ First have options and clout – and it will use that clout.

As I have said all along.



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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.