Keep a bucket handy: a pro-Green Herald editorial

Apparently the Greens are the most coherent coalition partner.? Thought I’d ease you into this piece:

They seem more than happy, understandably for a party that has waited 21 years in Parliament for a slice of some power. It has quietly secured some modest policy by agreement with governments of Labour and National during that time, but now it is in a position to make some much more far-reaching change to New Zealand’s environment, economy and lifestyle.

Indeed, when Labour’s agreements with both its partners were published this week, it was the Greens’ deal that offered a more coherent, focused, forward-looking prospectus. Its guiding target is a “net zero emissions economy by 2050”. Labour has agreed to legislate a Zero Carbon Act and establish a standing Climate Commission to monitor progress on reducing all greenhouse emissions from New Zealand, including from agriculture.

The commission’s influence could soon be noticed in our power bills, transport choices, farming and urban planning. By 2035, all our electricity may be generated by hydro, geothermal heat and other renewable sources. Immediately, solar panels for schools are to be investigated. More money from the national land transport fund, raised from road taxes, is to be diverted to railways for cities and regions, and for cycling and walking tracks.

Already a scheduled Auckland east-west motorway link has been put on hold and work is to proceed on light rail from the city centre to the airport down Dominion Rd. This seems most impractical when existing railway could more easily have a short connection to the airport and trains seem more suitable for travellers with baggage.

The Greens will need to defend their programme in keen debates over the next three years, not least in farming communities that will not just see livestock emissions tackled but government support for irrigation will be wound down in the drive to clean up rivers. Labour will probably be happy to let the Greens take the lead in these debates, and the blame if public opinion is not persuaded. The Greens can also expect the credit if they prove popular.

Smaller parties in government have found it difficult to get credit so far, that may be the reason so few have survived. A striking feature of the latest agreements is Labour’s undertaking to help its partners receive recognition for their policies. The new Prime Minister already impresses as an inclusive personality who may not fail to acknowledge contributions of her political partners at every opportunity.

In a sense she owes her position to the Greens as much as to NZ First. Were it not for Metiria Turei’s admissions taking votes from Labour initially, Labour would not have changed its leader and the election result could have been quite different. But here they are, and the Greens look set to make their mark at last.

The Greens will be fine.? They got all the feel-good stuff where they can’t really fail.? The only thing they need to do is say they don’t get enough money to do a proper job.

If they are smart, they will not use this opportunity to try to change the world.? Especially when it comes to stealing more roads and turning it into pointless light rail.? Much better to stick to fluffy dolphins and cute powelliphanta.

I suspect the Greens? totally over-inflated egos will get in the way at some stage, and they will take a stand “on principle” thinking that’s the way things work.? ?In politics, taking an immovable position before you have had all the negotiations is naive and counter-productive.



– NZ Herald