I know nothing about politics, and try not to blog about it – in fact, I hope to not post on it again. So please don’t be too mean to me
But I also like to write blog posts, and find the entire idea of getting the Conservative Party into parliament as a coalition partner for National to be weird. Especially after this “Ask Colin Craig” event on NBR.
Now sure, there could be room in parliament for a socially conservative/religious party, that is all well and good. And given the current make-up of the National party it would likely lean towards National – but with the Conservative Party’s willingness to be economically interventionist, they also have more in common with where Labour and the NZ Greens are going.
With ACT burnt up, the Conservative party, and calls for a new version of ACT seem to be the only ideas flying around about future coalition partners for National.
But why can’t we have an economically centrist Green party?
Yeah I know in 1996 we had the progressive Greens who only got 0.26% of the vote, and I know that National supposedly has its own ‘blue-green’ core (although you would never think it given the comments Gerry Brownlee comes out with regarding transport and global warming). But let’s be honest, that was 17 years ago and National’s blue-green core doesn’t come across as having much sway on policy.
A lot of people who couldn’t vote in 1996 have pretty strong feelings about the environment, about the idea that environmental quality is a public good, and about the scientific consensus regarding global warming. Furthermore, when it comes to urban design and the significant demographic and cost changes (think oil prices, and efficacy of differing transport options) in the last decade a lot of people want the government to at least acknowledge these things.
A economically centrist (or be it centre-left or centre-right) could work with National or Labour. It would likely be competitive in electorates such as Auckland Central, Wellington Central, and Coromandel – put in a strong candidate and get support from a main party and one of these seats could turn. And from National’s perspective, it would likely take away votes from Labour and the Greens – improving their odds at forming a government. For many of the rest of us, having a Green party that could work with either of the major parties would mean environmental issues would get more play – which would make us more likely to vote for such a party.
Why put effort into getting a party into power that will eat part of your own base, and deal badly with satire, when the same effort could be expended getting a centrist Green party rolling.
Note: Before you say “but the current Green party could go either way” I have to admit I just don’t believe you, or them when they say it.
This implies two things – first if my belief is true, then the statement in itself is just false, and given the way the Green party talks about some policies (note that I like a lot of the people in the Green party) they are unlikely to work within a National government, or even a government that is economically moderate (note many of the broad macro suggests by Labour and the Greens are NOT moderate). Second – even if my belief is completely false, it is a belief I am not alone in sharing and basing my voting decisions on, as a result I often end up not voting Greens even though I have a strong preference for environmental policies.
Anyway, this isn’t my comparative advantage. Tomorrow I’ll write about something I know at least a little bit about