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Strategy could pay off for Greens | Stuff.co.nz

Former Green MP Sue Bradford hates it and the re-elected Catherine Delahunty has said she'd quit rather than vote for a National Party Budget.

But the slim chance that the Greens could do a deal to support a John Key-led Government might just have been the tactical master-stroke that led them to an historic result in the 2011 election.

I'm somewhat sceptical that there was much right-wing crossover to the Greens this time. I think it's more a matter of soaking up crossover when National's support declines. For that, the strategy, visibly, is to work with the government on environmental issues :

Gordon Campbell » Blog Archive » On the election outcomes

On Saturday night, Prime Minister John Key signalled that the environment would be the only likely area where the two parties could possibly co-operate. Well, in a press release a week before the election, the Greens claimed "water" to be the key environmental issue of this election, and that it had a three part plan to fix the problems.

1) Set standards for clean water and intensive agriculture;

2) Introduce a fair charge for irrigation water and;

3) Support water clean-up initiatives.

"Our standards for clean water will require stock exclusion from rivers and lakes within five years. Planting riverbanks and excluding stock from waterways has been shown to significantly improve water quality within three years," said Dr Norman.

Give that the "fair charge" would cost farmers some $370 $570 million per year, that part of the plan won't be a goer for National. But a watered down version of the plan (sorry) could be worthwhile for the Greens to put on the table for discussion, both as an environmental issue and as a job creation project.

Personally I find this a valid strategy, if it actually allows environmental issues to be addressed. Inviting crossover voting, I also consider legitimate. It worked in the early days of the Green Party, then became impossible due to the high visibility of Green MPs Sue Bradford and Keith Locke, formerly well-known extraparliamentory agitators (and crossovers via the Alliance). They have now both retired, which facilitates a certain re-branding :

Towards a new theory of the Greens: the election campaign | Pundit

This general election campaign was focused. It was tight, as Jolyon White found out. There were three top priority policies: kids, rivers, and jobs.

They were smart choices. There was an instantly recognisable social policy, an environmental one, and an economic one. Each of them was individually also all three: social, environmental and economic.

The billboard slogan was "party vote Green, for a richer new Zealand". They showed some healthy children swimming in a clean river, and wind-powered energy for green jobs. They suggested, perhaps, that a richer New Zealand could be reached by a different route than the fossil-fuelled, dairy-fed path we've been on. [...]
But for all the strengths and wins of the 2011 campaign, it also failed, irrespective of the size of the resulting vote. Because it did not give real profile to the difference in Green values, or confront the need for a change in values. It did not spell out that a party vote Green is not just a vote for a smart-thinking smart-looking more environmentally-friendly party branded under a different colour.

I agree with the above blogger that the ethos gets lost in the wash, but that, I hope, is more an election-campaign issue than a genuine loss of soul.

People who vote Green due to environmental issues can, in many cases, end up adhering to the whole palette of values. I think it's wise to leave the door open.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Nov 27th, 2011 at 05:57:32 PM EST

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