Blue Green party: background reading

Stoked to see Gareth Morgan’s post yesterday calling for a Blue-Green party. He sums it up well in this passage

A Bluegreen party would emphatically express New Zealanders’ preference for clever and clean as the way we want our dollars earned, while leaving National and Labour to fight over how social justice is best promoted – via National’s preference for capacity building through education and training, delivering more flexible employment and wage-setting practices; or via Labour’s penchant for widening and lifting of social assistance, greater progressivity of income tax, widening the tax base on income from capital, and greater protection of labour in the workplace.

Matt and I have been talking about this since 2008 when all the TVHE authors took a political compass test as a gimmick to provide content for the blog. Due to a combination of laziness, a lack of money and no desire to get involved in politics, we haven’t done anything about our great idea. That was 6 years ago and a lot has changed since, but we still think there is room for a centrist Green party and so are stoked to see Gareth using his profile to have a serious conversation about it.

Matt did a good post on this about a year ago (There is some pretty robust discussion in the comments section).  When discussing the failed Progressive Greens party at the 1996 (which David Farrar mentions in his post on Gareth’s post) he noted:

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. [emphasis added]

Matt was also called for a new Green party when analysing the NZ Power proposals, which he argued were about redistribution rather than efficencny:

The Greens seem to really just be a left wing party at heart – not a true Green party.  For me the essence of a “Green” focus must be on the environment and our scarce capital stock.  However, they are willing to sacrifice any focus on this capital stock in order to push through redistributionist or central planning style policies.

Seamus over at Offsetting also discussed the prospect of a Teal Coalition involving the current Green Party, though that proved to not be a popular idea with both National and the political left.

Most importantly, we recently had a discussion on twitter of potential names, I doubt Gareth will use these, but they are a good chuckle:

  • Kumara Republic

    Sounds a little bit like the LibDems in Britain.

  • True, don’t forget this:

    http://www.tvhe.co.nz/2010/05/18/we-need-a-new-green-party/

    Also Kiwiblog made the point about Progressive Greens: http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/09/gareth_morgan_calls_for_a_bluegreen_party.html

    There is a discussion here – how much higher is this vote now. Just because we would be part of it doesn’t necessarily mean it would be very big, us and our friends are a biased sample 😉

    • Updated:)

    • And I agree completely. NZ Economists on twitter isn’t a very representative sample!

      Twitter in general, or the NZ people I follow definitely is a representative sample…nobody was happy with the election outcome!

  • jh

    I think if you want the public to vote for you on the environment. you have to start at the local level. For example I went to a neighbourhood rezoning meeting; I spotted the spin when central government was mentioned like mother sending the kids off to school. I asked the first question: ” you said central government has certain imperatives; is it true that population increase is one of the imperatives of central government”
    Answer “Oh well, we have immigration and you have to increase the population to increase the wealth, so
    I suppose it is an imperative of central government”.
    The Greens took the view that immigration was disconnected from Auckland’s housing problems. If you can’t see the connection or follow the logic of incomes/taxes/infrastructure, you aren’t seeing limits to growth (at least as a concept). Likewise if you think the decline of the regions should be arrested by over achievement in some field.

    • Local council are tough beasts … turnout is so low and there are questions about competence and accountability all the time. Perhaps it is an area that needs addressing!

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  • Ian

    New Zealand really needs a decent centrist social-liberal party, like those common in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. Our constitution allows so much power to the party in Government. MMP should be a tool to check that power by requiring consensus government. While some may be happy we have a majority government, in my view it is dangerous to leave power in the hands of so few people (realistically a small group of senior cabinet ministers – Key, English, Joyce, Brownlee (Collins…) et al.)

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