Thursday 13 April 2023

A Test For The Greens.

Top Ten? Over the next few weeks the Green Party membership has the opportunity to study the provisional list presented to them by the party’s ruling bodies. If the provisional list seems wildly out-of-sympathy with the membership’s mood, then members have the power to re-organise it from top to bottom. Exactly where Elizabeth Kerekere ends up being ranked will be a test of the Greens’ political credibility and ethical strength.

THE EXPOSURE OF ELIZABETH KEREKERE is at once trivial and important. That members of the same political party can harbour intense dislike for one another should surprise no one. As the Nineteenth Century British statesman, Benjamin Disraeli, famously quipped: “No, Mr Speaker, before me sit my opponents. My enemies are seated behind me.” That the full measure of a member’s dislike may occasionally surface in view of the public is equally unsurprising – no matter how amusing its expression. What is indisputably important, however, is when the inadvertent revelation on internal party animosities reveal ambitions and machinations serious enough to affect the future political course of the entire nation.

Elizabeth Kerekere is not only an ambitious politician, but also, within the confines of the contemporary Green Party (of which more later) an effective one. To rise from an unwinnable nineteenth ranking on the Green Party List in 2017, to ninth position (and a parliamentary seat) in 2020, to a provisional ranking of fourth in 2023, indicates a willingness to exploit the dynamic internal divisions currently racking the Green Party. Kerekere’s leadership role in securing the passage of the legislation outlawing so-called “gay conversion therapy”, coupled with her ground-breaking academic research into takatāpui (a Māori person who is gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender) strongly suggests an ideological orientation towards the Greens’ ultra-radical faction.

Editor of The Daily Blog, Martyn Bradbury, explicitly identifies Kerekere as: “someone who has been rumoured to have been positioning a far more extreme woke clique within the Greens”. The accidental release of Kerekere’s chat-group criticism of fellow Green MP Chloe Swarbrick – “omg what a cry-baby” – is characterised by Bradbury as “messaging co-conspirators who are involved in manoeuvring a new co-leadership team of Kerekere and Ricardo [Menendez-March]”.

Menendez-March was born in Mexico to a Mexican father and a New Zealand mother. Returning to New Zealand with his mother, Menendez-March first entered the political arena as a serious player when he became the convenor of Auckland Action Against Poverty. An articulate and resourceful advocate, he was unsparing in his criticism of Jacinda Ardern’s failure to deliver on her promise to dramatically reduce child poverty and homelessness in New Zealand. Ranked tenth on the Green Party List, Menendez-March entered Parliament one place behind Kerekere in 2020.

With neither Kerekere nor Menendez-March susceptible to the increasingly disqualifying “Cis” prefix (she being lesbian and he gay) and with both MPs being considerably more comfortable espousing radical cultural ideas than most of their Green Party caucus colleagues, it was hardly surprising that they should find themselves cheered-on by the two Green Party “networks” at the core of the ultra-radical faction – the Rainbow Greens and the fervently anti-capitalist, Green Left.

Adding a further wrinkle to this factional manoeuvring on the part of the “ultras” is the overlap between party activists on the one hand and parliamentary staffers on the other. Well-resourced and supremely well-located at the very centre of political power, these staffer-activists appear to have been extraordinarily successful at lifting their preferred parliamentary candidates into winning positions on the Party List. Undoubtedly there are some within the Greens who blame these radical apparatchiks for the fiasco surrounding James Shaw’s re-election as Green Party co-leader in 2022. Inevitably, less radical Greens will also blame them for Kerekere’s dramatic rise from 9 to 4 in the List rankings.

Those familiar with left-wing political history will object that all “big change” parties have their ultra factions. No matter how fierce they might appear, however, the radicals’ numbers are so small that, should they be foolish enough to force key policy issues, a huge moderate majority stands ready to slap them down. The question is: has the Green Party still got a moderate majority? Or, have the Greens – always a very cliquey outfit – undergone the same degree of membership burn-off that has undermined so many “progressive” organisations? There is a degree of emotional violence in highly-motivated radical activists that only the most robust spirits are either willing or able to face down.

The Green Party of Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald, within which the principal ideological divide fell between the radical environmentalists and the eco-socialists (with some avant-garde “Treatyism” and second-wave feminism off to the side) has long since ceased to exist. The Green Party of 2023 is a volatile mixture of “decolonising” Māori nationalism, revolutionary anti-capitalism, and uncompromising Rainbow zealotry. The idea that these are nothing more than frothing eddies of youthful activism, and that deep down the slower currents of ecological wisdom and political responsibility continue to flow serenely on, may soon be exposed as the purest wishful thinking.

The way to tell will be to examine the final Green Party List. Over the next few weeks the Green Party membership has the opportunity to study the provisional list presented to them by the party’s ruling bodies. If the provisional list seems wildly out-of-sympathy with the membership’s mood, then members have the power to re-organise it from top to bottom.

If those deep currents of ecological wisdom and political responsibility really do exist, and are not merely figments of progressive New Zealand’s imagination, then the all-too-obvious activist-staffer-Green MP shenanigans revealed in the leaked chat-group exchanges will be severely punished. Elizabeth Kerekere will be lucky to find herself left where she is at ninth position on the Party List. A Green Party determined to signal to the electorate that it has no place for such “mean” and all-consuming ambition would slot her in at twenty-ninth!

If, however, Kerekere remains where she is, or even leapfrogs over Chloe Swarbrick into third position, then we will know that there is no steadying majority of moderate Greens to keep the party within the confines of electability. It will be clear that the extraordinary civility and gentle strength that won the admiration of even the Greens’ electoral rivals under Fitzsimons and Donald really has gone. The effect upon the tens-of-thousands of Green Party voters who recoiled in disgust when the chat-group exchanges were leaked will be profound. Their faith in the Green Party as a responsible political organisation run by principled grown-ups (already strained by the nonsense associated with Shaw’s re-election and Marama Davidson’s “It’s Cis, white males” comment) will be shattered – and their votes will be lost.

That will be extremely important. Because it may well see the Greens fall below the crucial 5 percent MMP threshold. On current polling, a Labour Party stripped of its Green allies will have insufficient parliamentary support (even with Te Pāti Māori) to form a government. Electoral victory will be claimed by National and Act.

And that will be no trivial matter.

This essay was originally posted on the website on Monday, 10 April 2023.


Guerilla Surgeon said...

You don't have to be a radical to be against gay conversion therapy. Plenty of conservatives have the sense to be against it. Largely because it doesn't work.

Ah, woke again. As one Internet acquaintance of mine put it.

"Define woke.
Depends who's using it.

a) Culturally aware.
b) Insufficiently bigoted.

It's not that hard"

On the other hand, the Internet is full of conservatives being asked what woke means and not being able to tell us. Except perhaps under oath. When they tend to give the correct definition.😇

LittleKeith said...

It's tough to say what the "Greens" are about today except to say all things woke. They don't like real men, sure don't like whitey and being straight is not popular either.

On the big issues of the day that don't involve microaggressions against anyone who dares question their world view, Posie Parker, they seem devoid of ideas. On transport, which should be well canvassed by a real Green Party the best we've seen in imagination is subsidising Grey Lynner's Tesla purchases, and adding an $8-10 grand to Elon's bottom line on the taxpayer, or at the other extreme, E bikes for all and car bans. Bugger else in between.

They can't work out how to manage feminism clashing with transism and it will only get worse. On that they're stumped. Their causes they search for are becoming more militant and violent by the day. And alienating!

I would love to see the current Green Party's demise. They are devisive and just dumb but there is possibly just enough support for the current crazy wokes in NZ to save their skins this time around.

Ironically, the abundantly European white blue eyed Chloe seems at odds with them. Correctly focusing on something like alcohol harm reduction is not only intelligent but common sense, something the Greens sadly lack. And yet she's a "cry baby". It will be interesting to see if she survives this election! And by virtue the Greens!

Tom Hunter said...

Running from Woke, with a 2022 quote from uber-Libertine Boomer Lefty, Bill Maher:

“James Carville knew how to win, and he blamed the Democratic losses this November 2nd on “Stupid Wokeness”. To which AOC fired back that… ‘Wokeness is a term used almost exclusively by older people, so that should tell you all you need to know.’


This is a term folks like you brought out very recently and have been proudly displaying at every march since.

Just last year The Guardian declared ‘Woke’, ‘the word of our era’.

I guess they didn’t get the message from the Mean Girls Club: ‘We don’t use that emoji anymore. Huh! Woke? Please. We say fetch now.

You can tell how badly this has exploded in the face of the Far Left, going from cool to crap in just a couple of years, by the same Guardian now running stories about how the dreaded RWNJ's "weaponised" the word.

Wah! You did it to yourselves - and they should have interviewed your stable mate over at The Daily Blog, "Bomber" Bradbury, who very much enjoys rubbing it in the faces of his fellow Lefties who have turned to such middle class bullshit rather than sticking to good old Marxist class warfare stuff.

John Hurley said...

In my first election I voted for the Values Party. They had that adv about the futility of economic growth.
Now i see Julie-Anne Genter saying "Auckland is a fantastic city; more people isn't a problem"

Just words

I'm thinking the left have been coming out; gotten over confident. As the Bible says "by their fruits ye shall know them". They are all ideologically linked. Bryce Edwards has called out Hattotuwa and Giovanni Tiso, Tsu Ming Mok and Russell Brown aren't happy. That and Posie Parker.
It matters because it reflects on the wider "progressive movement". It is "progress" and if you don't agree you will be called "racist; bigot..." etc etc.
One thing I'm becoming aware of is that many older Christchurch people feel alienated by what has happened in Central Christchurch.

DS said...

One thing I'd note about the Green list - it utterly neglects the South Island. Contrary to the way the Greens themselves behave, their party does relatively better in the South than the North. Its voters also tend to be well-off, well-educated urban Pakeha - they do poorly among the poor and non-white.

Patricia said...

I can’t understand the vitriol around the Cis comment. For gods statistically it has to be correct. It doesn’t matter the number of convictions for they are always slanted against the poor and Maori

Anonymous said...

“Green” is such a powerful brand that I think it will survive all sorts of radical members — it will take the implementation of really stupid green policy to see the electorate take notice of the danger of this party, as is now happening in Germany.

Ps. You need to google “cis”, gay people can be cis as I understand it, it’s about identified gender versus sex assigned at birth, rather than sexuality.

Madame Blavatsky said...

"The Green Party of 2023 is a volatile mixture of “decolonising” Māori nationalism, revolutionary anti-capitalism, and uncompromising Rainbow zealotry."

I wonder what happened to the aspect of their movement designated by the word "Green"? They don't even bother now to hide their true reason for being (as if it hasn't been starkly obvious for about 20 years) which is acting as a vehicle for subversive and completely negative ideologies, fuelled by venom and resentment, and designed to deconstruct and dismantle social norms and institutional forms, rather than to build anything positive.

Lucky for them that our society is so degenerate that it pumps out enough misanthropes and malcontents to keep the party members in well-paying positions within the venerable institution that symbolises the thing they detest the most, and whose careers are largely funded by the people in this country whom the radical Greens would happily squash like bugs if ever given sufficient political sway. The kindest thing we can say about them is that they are shameless hypocrites and opportunists.

As an addendum, Gorilla Surgeon wonders what "woke" means (I don't like the term myself, because I think it disguises the motives and the origins of the thing it denotes). It is really quite simple: "woke" just means "hyper politically correct intolerance."

The Barron said...

Green: adjective

Deficient in sophistication and savoir faire : NAIVE was green and credulous

ENVIOUS —used especially in the phrase green with envy

[Mirriam - Webster]

Unknown said...

Man, I just want a party that cares about the environment. I don't care what genitals should mush together, I just don't want cows shitting in rivers.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

This whole thing has provided me with hours of innocent amusement. Not that I care that much in one sense that I don't use young people's slang, except of course taking the piss out of conservatives using it.

But if you can't figure it out I'll define it for you.

"Anything anyone does that I don't like."

You're welcome.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Guerilla Surgeon.

Just lose the attitude, GS. Now. Your assumed superiority to everyone commenting on Bowalley Road is sorely testing my patience.

Address the content of the posts seriously and respectfully - as others do.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

You mistake my posts for assumed superiority. I was attempting lightness as you suggested, but obviously you don't see it that way. I tend to give people a Mulligan on this due to the nature of the conversation which is not face-to-face and therefore loses something and is open to misinterpretation. But if it suits you I can be out of here. It will be you and the Conservatives of course and they will patronise you when they think you're correct and castigate you when you think you're not. But if that's the way you want it that's fine by me, you're not the only cab on the rank. Now that – is attitude.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Incidentally, I can't see how you can possibly interpret my calling out the hypocrisy of people who only worry about left-wing restrictions on freedom of speech is anything but serious.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

You know what, I'm sorry it's come to this. But I refuse to be told off like an errant schoolboy about my "attitude" when I don't set out to have one, and as far as I can see, just about every conservative comment on this blog has a very similar "attitude", and you've never said a dicky bird about phrases like "liberal luvvies". They probably don't think they're sounding superior either – and as I said I tend to give them a Mulligan because of the nature of the conversation which precludes face-to-face subtleties.
But if you want a serious discussion – here's one. Probably my final one. The right has weaponised the word woke, and to a lesser extent identity politics. Every time someone from the left uses those words in a derogatory fashion, you're offering aid and comfort to the enemy. I'm not saying you shouldn't call out what you consider is wrong, but you shouldn't be calling it "woke".
Funny, I've been coming to your blog now for years, and one thing I've noticed over the years is that while you take criticism from the right with equanimity and perhaps wear it as a badge of honour – quite rightly – you don't like criticism from the left. It seems to me that you and your mate Bradbury seem to think that somehow you own the space on the left. You don't. There are people on the left with just as valid opinions about things as you. Let's face it, the left is not the naïve revolutionary philosophy it was in the 19th century or the hidebound Stalinist nonsense it became in the 20th. If you don't respect people's opinions fine, you're perfectly entitled to do that. But don't hit them with right-wing epithets. Because you and Bradbury are coming to look less and less like revolutionaries, and more and more like dinosaurs.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Guerilla Surgeon.

You are, of course, free to take your commentary wherever you please, GS. I would, however, be very sorry to lose it.

My complaint was more about tone - not content.

Political points, in my experience, are always made most forcefully when they are delivered without rancorous decoration and address the issues at hand - not the people responding to them.

I value your contributions, GS, always have, it's just your damned cantankerousness that sets my teeth on edge.

But, if we can't have one without the other, then I would vote to have both. So, please, stick around.

Tom Hunter said...

Chuckle. I must say that GS's presumed tone of intellectual superiority has never set my teeth on edge because it's no different to 90% of the rest of the Left and has been that way for years now. It's entirely expected and I and many other RWNJ's find it funny coming from people whose ideas have repeatedly crashed and burned across a range of areas, woke being merely one of the latest courtesy of the "smart and cool" folk of the Left.

It's also amazing how often we end up beating such smart people.

But I'll leave GS's attempted gaslighting of "Woke" with this last one, Dear Wokesters, You Named Yourselves:

In 2014, after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the #staywoke hashtag became a digital rallying cry around Black Lives Matter activism. Then, in the Trump years, progressives freed the slogan from its BLM context and deployed it wherever needed. Which is why you’d see pieces in the New York Times such as, “In Defense of ‘Woke,’” by Damon Young. In 2017, a photo of a baby wearing a “stay woke” sign at a Women’s March event went viral. Stacey Abrams spoke at something called the “stay woke” rally in 2018. When the pandemic hit in 2020, #stayhome #staywoke hashtags appeared on liberal Twitter. By the time George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, every white liberal interested in signaling his revolutionary sympathies was advertising his wokeness.

As Aja Romano noted candidly in Vox in October 2020, “‘woke’ has evolved into a single-word summation of leftist political ideology, centered on social justice politics and critical race theory. This framing of ‘woke’ is bipartisan: It’s used as a shorthand for political progressiveness by the left, and as a denigration of leftist culture by the right.

As the writer then puts it:
Sorry, wokesters. Live by the hashtag, die by the hashtag. It’s not our fault that you made yourselves easy targets of parody and derision. You took every scattered strain of ill-considered social-justice leftism—from defunding the police to erasing biological sex—put it in a box, wrapped it in a bow, and labeled it “woke.” And it turned out to be a gift to the right.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Point taken Chris, but again, I'm sure if we were talking face-to-face there wouldn't be a problem. You lose a lot of nuance without it. Still I will try to couch my comments in more neutral terms, even if I have to bend over backwards. And then perhaps you could maybe restrict your use of conservative snarl words?

David George said...

Patricia: "statistically it [Marama's claim about violence by race?] has to be correct. It doesn’t matter the number of convictions"

Really Pat? If you're doubtful, or in this case completely dismissive, about the validity of the convictions rate, the incidence of reported violence will give an alternative. Let's take a look.
"Fifteen of the world's 20 most peaceful countries are located in Europe while the majority of the most violent are located in the Middle East and Africa."
None of the top ten 'death by murder countries' have a majority 'white' population.

Is there a correlation with race and the incidence of violence within countries when divided into districts, cities etc.? Here are the ten most violent cities in the US:
Number one St. Louis, Mobile, Birmingham, Baltimore, Memphis, Detroit, Cleveland, New Orleans, Shreveport, Baton Rouge.
Lot's of other data there, including the safest cities etc.
Here are the cities by 'black' ethnicity:

Marama is just making things up to confirm her pathological, offensive and divisive racism. Don't be like Marama.

sumsuch said...

GS says everything I would about this 'woke' shit in supposedly Left blogs. I'm often blocked but he's much more diplomatic. Just me and him anti anti-woke on the 2 'Left' blogs. GS, the last Leftist allowed.

Is GS wrong or are you and Martyn? To lose him would be to expose what you are now.

Yes, I'm angry about youses' journey to the irredeemable Right.

We were always right -- Sanders, Corbyn, Reich -- but you thought a mere 40 years of fools mattered in some way.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Fifteen of the world's 20 most peaceful countries are located in Europe while the majority of the most violent are located in the Middle East and Africa."

I suspect it's more the fact that they are irreligious than the fact they are in Europe. In general, the less religious a country as the less crime there is. You only have to look at the US, where the more religious the state is the further down it is on various metrics such as crime, education and health.

Anonymous said...

I hope GS sticks around, he definitely adds to the discussion. But he could do with a catchup on the developments in the understanding of dinosaurs. Over the last 25 years, after an unambiguously feathered dinosaur fossil was found in China, it has been clear birds are living dinosaurs. Dinosaurs didn't all die in the end Cretaceous mass extinction. Some flew away, and their diverse descendants are with us today. That sort of undermines "dinosaur" as an epithet meaning old, outdated, extinct, no longer relevant. Calling people "birds" instead doesn't quite carry the same weight.

But if "dinosaur" means a preference for the way politics used to be conducted, rather than the way they are now, count me in with the dinosaurs. I'm for the old fashioned stuff, like free speech, and open debate. Why would anyone who sincerely believes they have good ideas, and that they can present them in a compelling way, be against working that way? Isn't resorting to shutting opponents down instead, a bit of a vote of no confidence in your own ideas and abilities?

Chloe Swarbrick, on morning TV after being part of shutting down a women's rights free speech event, seemed very pleased with herself, the "rainbow community", and the methods they used. I would ask Chloe to think about how she will defend herself when people using similar methods come after her. Elizabeth Kerekere has all the trump cards for identity politics. Criticise her, (even for breaking covid isolation rules while you're the party covid spokesperson!), and you're not only "racist, white supremacist and colonialist", but also "mysoginist, homophobic and transphobic", and probably "fatphobic" and guilty of "body shaming" as well. All that must add up to "hate speech", and mean silencing those who disagree with you, or that you see standing in your way, is justified. Those like Chloe Swarbrick, for instance.

Can the Greens tame the "purple taniwha" before they become a Purple party rather than a Green one? I don't know, but retirement must be looking a very appealing option to James Shaw about now.