In the last couple of weeks Parliament has very much splintered along its party lines. The National Party have continued to drift like a rudderless warship, with exploding munitions going off. New Zealand First have been assailed by more allegations about their finances. Labour have sailed on, trying to avoid too much looking in the rear vision more at the National Party, whilst not paying enough attention to the need for a comprehensive plan for the New Zealand economy. A.C.T. has gone full fringe lunatic.
And the Greens? To be honest, they have actually knuckled down and got on with some seriously heavy policy releases. They have had their annual conference and seem to have avoided the shenanigans afflicting the other parties.
To be clear I am not a Green Party supporter. Much of their social policy is too deep in left-field for me. There are numerous reasons, I am never going to vote Green. Before I go into those reasons it is not an attack on their philosophy, as there does need to be significantly greater environmental responsibility. There does need to be much much recognition of indigenous peoples around the world and the political machinations that go on in the United Nations Security Council are hurting a huge number of people around the planet. So, why then am I not supporting the Greens:
- I am a staunch believer in New Zealand having a Defence Force – always have been; always will be. It is not that I like war. On the contrary I think it is the absolute last resort. Having stood in trenches in Passchendaele and . But no self respecting nation goes fully disarmed.
- We need to be coldly honest with ourselves about the need to get off oil and coal – the Green Party want to get off both by 2030. This is not realistic, and there has thus far been only superficial planning across all economic sectors.
- Until we address abuse of males we will never address abuse of females because many of the males are psychologically damaged, and wired not to trust others; were never shown how to resolve anger issues
- Too many are N.I.M.B.Y.’ist in terms of accepting development in their back yards, good or bad – they like wind turbines, but do not like the fact that they kill birds; waste-to-energy
However I am compelled to write this column in part as a rebuttal of the conservatism afflicting many in New Zealand First, but also because the Green Party actually play a very important role in New Zealand politics that no other party is capable of, never mind willing.
First, the Greens bring pressure to bear on human rights issues that none of the other four parties are capable or willing to do against China and the United States. Whether it is about the abuses of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang or the propensity of the United States for starting unwanted and unnecessary wars in other countries, the Greens are always honest about their stance. For me as a human rights activist who thinks much of the injustice in the world would disappear if we respected human rights more this is important.
Second, although their far left fringe will disagree, they have never sold out on the need to end the neoliberal economic model that we find ourselves trapped in. Their taxation policy released at the end of June was quite clever and introduces a wealth tax. It set a net wealth tax of 1% for those worth more than $1 million and a 2% tax for those worth more than $2 million. This is not to say I support it. I have already set down my own thoughts on tax in other articles, but the Greens are making an attempt to understand something none of the other parties in Parliament do – or appear to want to: the tax system does not work fairly for low income people.
This is also not to say that I want them dominating any Government. But if they picked up another three or four Members of Parliament at this election, it would be a reward for being pragmatic in a term where they had to stare down some significant policy defeats.