Is the Green party heavily risk averse? Do they think the rest of us are as well?

According to a recent post on Frog Blog it would appear so.

As well as randomly comparing the current crisis to the methodologically flawed “shock doctrine”, frog states that NZ MUST:

invest in rebuilding our local communities so that they are economically independent and self sustainable

This would surely only be the best thing to do if you have an extremely pessimistic outlook for the world and world trade.

Let us remember that there is a trade-off between the comfort and lack of “risk” associated with “sustainability” and the “return” associated with the world of free trade. If our nation is determined to produce things here that we are comparatively (relative to the rest of the world) worse at producing, then we will have a lower income – we will be able to buy less things.

Now, if we are especially afraid of a bad outcome, or if we place the probability of a collapse in world trade highly, then a movement towards sustainability within the nation makes sense. However, if we are not of this world view – the sacrifice associated with “sustainability” is not worth it.

Conclusion

I think the Green party, as well as the ACT party, both have the best intentions in mind. They want to help “society” – where their view of society stems from their own set of experiences and associated beliefs. However, has either party ever wondered why their view of what would help society differs so markedly from the others view (without trying to pin it on selfishness or stupidness).

Furthermore, has either party wondered why they can’t get a commanding share of the vote. I am sure that both parties put it down as a historical accident – they may say that “after all, most people in this country will vote National or Labour no matter what”. However, I see it differently – the majority of New Zealanders don’t vote for either party because the majority of New Zealanders don’t agree with their views on society and how government can help.

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  • Stephen

    “I see it differently – the majority of New Zealanders don’t vote for either party because the majority of New Zealanders don’t agree with their views on society and how government can help.”

    This could go for DAYS, but anyway: Most people don’t put a lot of effort into their voting decision, so they are pretty vulnerable to being taken in by characterisations of the afore-mentioned parties as ‘tree-hugging, basket weaving eco-fascists’ or ‘baby eating corporate fat cats’. There is a certain orthodoxy in politics embodied by the Nats and Labour (or LabNats if you’re a Green) which people are pretty aware of due to the long lives of the two parties – the other parties are just ‘weird’ therefore ‘bad’.

    Perhaps the Greens will get a bit more attention once the ‘personality’ parties (ACT, Anderton, UF, NZF) fade, as there won’t be as much info out there to absorb, but unitl then…

  • adamsmith1922

    Referring to the Greens I have the theory that their vision is of independent and sustainable communities at the village level.

    There is, in my mind at least, a great fear that the Green vision would take us backwards. Their world would make the famed Indian licence raj appear a model of an open economy.

    We would have import substitution – poor quality, expensive products with little choice. Indeed it would be like what many have told me NZ was like before 1984, but far, far worse.

  • adamsmith1922

    Sorry, I meant to add – contrary to what many now profess to believe, for many the NZ of the1970s to the mid 1980s was not a land flowing with milk and money, but one of restriction, shortage of choice and low quality domestic product.

    for example before I came to live in NZ I was advised to buy several pairs of quality shoes as these would not be easily available in NZ, certainly not at an acceptable price.

    Interestingly I bought a shirt in NZ some 18 months ago it cost me $84 and was made of a synthetic fabric, ready made from the Philippines. On my present trip to Singapore I have bought 5 tailor made shirts in quality cotton for an average $120 each, less than I paid 3 years ago.

    I have Singapore shirts I have had for over 5 years, the synthetics tend to wear out in 3.

  • goonix

    I think you should steer clear of political posts Matt. 😛 As has been pointed out, both ACT and the Greens are frequently portrayed as ‘extremists’, a view you seem to wish to further entrench. I’ve no doubt that following a ‘Green’ manifesto would see us decline strongly as a nation. However, at the same time I respect the Greens for actually holding consistent principles that they apply to all aspects of their policy, as opposed to the vote-grabbing we see from the two centre parties. I’ve got to say that more freedom would be a good thing, especially after these past nine years.

  • goonix

    As for ACT being a ‘personality’ party – no. It survived from Prebble to Hide and will continue to be the libertarian voice in parliament well into the future. Winston, Dunne and Anderton are personality parties, ACT most certainly is not.

  • Stephen

    “It survived from Prebble to Hide” – depends on who is suddenly going to win a seat for ACT when Hide goes, which they really need in light of current polling levels.

    Re: the Greens taking us back to ‘Poland with sunshine’ days 😀 , perhaps it is worth pointing out their desire to do away with taxes on labour, entrepreneurship etc (‘goods’) by taxing ‘bads’ like waste, pollution etc and sin taxes – in essence using Pigovian taxes. I have no idea what effect this would have in a macro-economic sense, but will be watching for their tax policy when it comes out.

    The Liberal Party of Canada (mainstream left) has articulated something similar in their election manifesto probably a world first for a mainstream party..?

  • Stephen

    Er I spose my point was – is such policy in such an crucial area (tax) really so so regressive? Perhaps it is more the Greens’ stance on trade?

  • John

    “Sorry, I meant to add – contrary to what many now profess to believe, for many the NZ of the1970s to the mid 1980s was not a land flowing with milk and money, but one of restriction, shortage of choice and low quality domestic product.

    for example before I came to live in NZ I was advised to buy several pairs of quality shoes as these would not be easily available in NZ, certainly not at an acceptable price.”

    In those days you could live wherever you wanted to, for example, in the 1980’s Queenstown was a holiday town and the only people who lived there were those who really liked the place. Since then we have globalised the property market and sold off coastal property etc as fast as we can. If you were to take out sale of property to migrants and overseas investors where would that leave many of our “successful” business people?

  • John

    The green sustainability thing is about not relying on frivolous consumer goods for happiness (consumerism). They used to say “the best things in life are free” but we don’t hear that anymore.

  • adamsmith1922

    Having lived in a number of countries where property ownership was confined to citizens and permanent residents I have no real problems with putting in place restrictions on foreigners owning land as such, providing such measures do not create a privileged class of landowners who profit from the restrictions – thus still causing what some perceive as the current problems.

    Incidentally, I would suggest that some anecdote infers that property costs in NZ have always tended to be high versus income, but masked by the effect of inheritance.

  • Stephen

    I can confidently say that property (well, a house) used to be about 3 times the average wage, now it is about 6-ish.

  • Steve

    property is overvalued, but that is different to what this post is about; see all the other posts to understand this issues, which is different from the pollitical landscape.

    The way I see it, and even reenforced bythose supporters of the greens, is that the Greens are a rebranded form or marxism, (be it community based, rather than necessarily nationwide) with environmental overtones which people find appealing.

    ACT is simply a slightly lessor form of libertarian. It is a true traditional right wing party on (most) economic issues, and a liberal/civil libertarian party, on (most) social issues (the exception may be justice etc where they are prob more right wing again).

    Since we live in a socialist country the mainstream view is left from centre but not at the communist end of the sprectrum, so both parties are seen as extremists. If we lived in America, ACT would be seen as mainstream, and if we lived in europe the greens would be seen as closer to mainstream.

  • Stephen

    Don’t really think ACT would be mainstream anywhere – they have picked policies from all over the world, but doesn’t seem like any of those countries have any more than a couple of those policies in total…

    The German Greens are/were in a govt coalition, but over there they really are closer to the mainstream i.e. more right than they are here…

  • “Most people don’t put a lot of effort into their voting decision, so they are pretty vulnerable to being taken in by characterisations of the afore-mentioned parties as ‘tree-hugging, basket weaving eco-fascists’ or ‘baby eating corporate fat cats’”

    True. But it is also amazing how far many of these terms actually go in describing attitudes in some of our political parties (in an exaggerated, cartoon type way).

    “We would have import substitution – poor quality, expensive products with little choice. Indeed it would be like what many have told me NZ was like before 1984, but far, far worse.”

    I suspect it would be as well – given that the policy recommendations you suggested are what they say.

    And the policies make sense if we believe that international transport is about to end (or for many other Green policies it involves assuming that people are stupid, something that vexes me) – otherwise it is a touch extreme.

    “I think you should steer clear of political posts Matt.”

    I don’t know, just because I hold different priors to you doesn’t make my opinion wrong, it is a blog after all 🙂

    “As has been pointed out, both ACT and the Greens are frequently portrayed as ‘extremists’, a view you seem to wish to further entrench”

    Given the policies of both parties, yes this is something I would say. Both parties are far too idealistic, and neither of them represents a particularly palatable trade-off between equity and efficiency – that seems extreme to me.

    Now to the next comments

  • “In those days you could live wherever you wanted to, for example, in the 1980’s Queenstown was a holiday town and the only people who lived there were those who really liked the place”

    Interesting. Furthermore, in the 1980’s I bet milk and meat were very cheap – given that they had heavy domestic subsidies.

    The reason that economists believe the current situation is preferable is because, by opening up trade with the rest of the world we have been able to focus on the things we are good at making and we have been able to trade them for a whole bunch of good quality stuff we don’t make.

    The loss of cheap milk and houses in Queenstown is a loss – but the gain from cheaper vehicles and cheaper TV’s far outstrips that. If you want to see the alternative, look at the cost of cars in South Africa 😉

    “The green sustainability thing is about not relying on frivolous consumer goods for happiness (consumerism). They used to say “the best things in life are free” but we don’t hear that anymore.”

    Ok. If people want to consume stuff because it makes them happy that is fine by me – calling their choice “frivolous” appears to be a bit pretentious, although I am sure you don’t mean it in that way judging by the typically high quality of your comments here.

    “Consumerism” is a term that has been coined so that people on the far left have some holistic “ism” to criticism, so that normal people don’t realise they are the ones being put down.

    “Since we live in a socialist country the mainstream view is left from centre but not at the communist end of the sprectrum, so both parties are seen as extremists.”

    I think you are right that it stems from our reference point Steve.

  • goonix

    Steve – “If we lived in America, ACT would be seen as mainstream, and if we lived in europe the greens would be seen as closer to mainstream.”

    There is no way ACT would be seen as mainstream in the US due to ACT’s liberal social stance on issues. Not to mention that the USA’s “free” economy is that in name only.

    Matt – “Given the policies of both parties, yes this is something I would say. Both parties are far too idealistic, and neither of them represents a particularly palatable trade-off between equity and efficiency – that seems extreme to me.”

    What is the trouble with holding a consistent set of principles? The two centrist parties will say anything to get votes, yet that’s something you admire?

  • “What is the trouble with holding a consistent set of principles?”

    I never even said anything about consistency in the whole thing. I do prefer parties to be consistent – but consistency alone isn’t sufficient to make me vote for a party is it 😉 . If a party consistently wants to do things I don’t want it to do I’m hardly going to vote for it ahead of a inconsistent party that is at least willing to implement some policies I do support

  • goonix

    How can you tell what the party will do though when they don’t have a consistent set of principles? They are elected and then have three years to do whatever they want. Look at some of Labour’s recent legislation, like the Electoral Finance Act – I don’t think voters thought they’d be buying into that sort of anti-democratic censorship when they elected Labour last election.

  • anybody there ever get into geonomics?

  • “How can you tell what the party will do though when they don’t have a consistent set of principles? They are elected and then have three years to do whatever they want. Look at some of Labour’s recent legislation, like the Electoral Finance Act – I don’t think voters thought they’d be buying into that sort of anti-democratic censorship when they elected Labour last election.”

    Agreed, you are completely right here.

    However, even given there inconsistence, I believed that the range of policies that they were likely to introduce was better than I expected from the more consistent small parties.

    Now, given my view of the inflation debate, and how it is going to be an issue at some point over the next three years, I can’t physically vote for Labour anymore – as I believe they will ruin the Reserve Bank Act.

    As a result, I am really leaning towards voting for National of all parties – even though I don’t trust them in a lot of ways. Why, because I trust Bill English to protect the RBA and other economic policies – at least to a sufficient enough degree.

    If anything shakes that then I really will have no idea who to vote for.

    “anybody there ever get into geonomics?”

    What is that?

  • Stephen

    As a result, I am really leaning towards voting for National of all parties – even though I don’t trust them in a lot of ways. Why, because I trust Bill English to protect the RBA and other economic policies – at least to a sufficient enough degree.

    “Vote National, get the status quo”?

  • ““Vote National, get the status quo”?”

    For me – yes. There are things I would want to change – but no party is offering what I would deem a fair social trade-off

  • Stephen

    I see.

    Heh, reminds, me of this on Kiwiblog

    “I only date and marry mainstream New Zealanders. Vote National”

    “I only have consensual relationships with those that don’t want to put it all at risk. Vote Labour”

    “I only mix with successful individuals. Vote Act”

    “I don’t breed with immigrants or criminals. Vote NZ First”

    “I don’t date. Vote Progressives”

    “We’re all part of the whanau. Vote Maori”.

    “I only date those who vote for accountability and fiscal responsibility…”

    “Quote a line from Atlas Shrugged to me and i’m yours! Vote Libz”

    “I only date after marriage. Vote United Future”

    “I only date individuals non-aggressively with mutual voluntary consent and with full respect for each other’s private property. Vote Libertarianz”

    “I only date stoners. Vote ALP… um… ACL… er… shit… f**k it, you wanna get high?”

    “I only date hedgehogs. Vote McGillicuddy Serious”

    “I only date people who vote Green, in a non threatening, gender neutral way”

  • 😀