Tag Archives: Green Party

Green Party appeal to workers

16 Sep

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Kia ora

Party vote Green for a cleaner, fairer, smarter New Zealand

Workers will get a better, fairer deal under the Green Party.

Our workers’ plan will restore the Kiwi dream built on the idea that if you work hard and do your fair share, your income will rise consistently. We will ensure you have better protections and make sure you will have what you need for a good life.

Increasing the minimum wage to $18 by 2017

We will increase the minimum wage to $15 this year after the election, and then increase it again to $16 in April next year. We will then increase the minimum wage in $1 increments each year we are in Government, so that by 2017 the minimum wage will be $18.

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Labour: Ever heard of tactical voting?

5 Sep


By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

Reprinted from The Daily Blog

The vote is now so close that a refusal by Labour to consider tactical voting is more than stupid – it could be suicidal.

Current polling indicates that the Maori Party candidates have a modest lead in two electorates – Waiariki and Te Tai Hauāuru. I think that the polls exaggerate that lead but let us accept they are accurate for now.

The party is second place is Mana in Waiariki and Labour in Te Tai Hauāuru. The combined Mana and Labour electorate vote would be enough to defeat the Maori Party candidates and prevent them bringing anyone in from the list if that were possible.

That would eliminate 2 or three potential National Party allies in the next parliament. That could be enough to prevent the National Party being able to form a majority government. It is very unlikely that Act or United Future can win more than the seats they have been gifted by National.

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Workers to get a better, fairer deal under Green Party

2 Sep

Green Party co-leader Russell Norman speaking to Unite Union delegates conference 2011

The Green Party today announced a workers’ package that is part of its plan to build a fairer society where all workers have enough to live on.

The key policy points in the Green Party’s plan to make life better for all New Zealand workers are:

1. Lifting low wages by moving the minimum wage to $18 an hour by 2017 and introducing a Living Wage for the core Government sector.

2. A new legislative minimum redundancy package of four weeks’ pay.

3. Bringing top pay back into line requiring companies to report on the gap between top and bottom pay.

4. Measures to boost bargaining power and make workplaces safer and more democratic.

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Facts to arm voters at the polls

14 Jan

“Labour and the Greens require Mana’s Hone Harawira to retain Tai Tokerau and bring in a couple of others. Co-operation to take Waiariki away from the Maori Party is critical to them.”

By Matt McCarten

(Reprinted from the Herald on Sunday, January 12, 2014)

This is election year, and here are 10 things punters around the watercooler tomorrow should know.

1. Polling indicates all party support levels are pretty consistent. Past elections show polling numbers don’t change a lot in election year. Therefore the election will be close and determined by the minor parties’ fortunes.

2. The respected Pundit website’s poll of polls shows National is likely to get 58 seats and Labour and the Greens 59 seats. The minor parties get six MPs: Maori Party three; Act 1, United Future one and Mana one, making 123 MPs in total. NZ First and Conservatives fall under the threshold.

3. If the above happens on election day there will be an “overhang”, and any prime minister would require support from 62 MPs to govern. John Key wants the Maori Party and either Act or Peter Dunne. David Cunliffe obviously needs the Greens. Mana needs three MPs to get the left across the line.

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Just one MP may call the shots

9 Jan

It’s on the bus for parliamentarians who lose their seats – and their perks

By Matt McCarten

(Reprinted from Herald on Sunday, January 5, 2014)

I know you may think it’s too early to think about politics, particularly as we are all in switch-off mode after the Christmas and New Year stress period. How many resolutions have you broken so far? Are you looking to your 2014 career prospects with dread or optimism?

It’s election year this year. It’s life and death for our politicians.

When the clock struck midnight on Tuesday, every MP – apart from the handful of MPs voluntarily resigning from Parliament – would have thought: “I want to keep my job and perks”. Then they would resolve to get themselves better prospects in 2014.

Here’s the challenge for them. Under our adversarial electoral system, for any MP to get a job, someone else has to lose theirs. For any MP to get promoted, someone has to lose their job. All MPs must watch their backs to keep their jobs (they really are trying to knife each other) and they have to kill someone to get their next promotion. It’s a kill or be killed environment.

Opposition parties’ official job really is to defeat the Government parties. If they are successful, the Government ministers lose their power, perks and pay. Their staff go, too. Instead of having a chauffeur on call they have to catch cabs. If they lose their seat they get to wait for a bus. For many politicians, the thought of getting a real job is worse than death and they’ll do anything to prevent it.

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Green Party write to KFC to opppose discrimination

6 Sep

Parliament, social change & coalitions

12 Aug

By Mike Treen

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

Can a party that wants fundamental changes in society be a minor part of a coalition government?

My conclusion is no after having been a participant in the Alliance Party’s implosion after attempting to do so from 1999-2002 as part of the Labour-led government. But that does not mean that a minor party can’t be an effective player in parliament for reforms while continuing to build a movement outside of parliament as well for real change.

Similar disasters befell radical left or Green parties in many countries. In most cases there existed a moderate centrist Labour or social democratic party that had strong support from working people but was committed to the existing system including the system of worldwide alliances with the US-led western imperial ambitions.

Pressure always comes on the smaller more radical party to oppose the more right wing parties and support the “lesser evil” of social democracy. Many working people who either have illusions that their traditional party will make real change, or simply accept – albeit unenthusiastically – the reality of lesser evilism will also often want their party to ally with parties to their left rather than their right in the hope of more progressive policies emerging. It is always worth remembering that not all Labour governments are a lesser evil. It would be hard to argue that was true for the 1984-90 Labour government.

This was true in 1999 in New Zealand. There was genuine enthusiasm when Helen Clark extended the olive branch to the Alliance Party at its conference that year and what was effectively an alternative coalition in waiting won the election.

Alliance leader Jim Anderton was made deputy prime minister and three others got cabinet posts but the party essentially disappeared from view into Labour’s embraces and it’s policies were seen as essentially the same. The government remained reasonably popular but the Alliance Party’s support collapsed in the polls. Technically the party retained the right to differentiate its own position from that of the larger partner while remaining in cabinet but this was rarely invoked. Then when the decision was made to send troops to Afghanistan it provoked a bitter internal fight with the vast majority of the party rejecting the decision by Anderton and a majority of Alliance MP’s to support the government’s position. The Alliance was eliminated from parliament at the 2002 election and Anderton’s faction has simply been absorbed into the Labour Party.

The problem for a genuinely radical party is that it only has minority support and cannot impose any significant policy change on a party committed to the existing system. So long as that system is based on serving the 1% them only small and relatively minor progressive changes are achievable. That was the case for the Alliance which achieved the establishment of Kiwibank and Paid Parental Leave and some labour law reforms despite significant opposition from elements in the Labour Party at the time. But these changes weren’t enough to significantly change the position of working people in the country. They weren’t enough to give people hope that unemployment could be eliminated, inequality radically reduced, democratic control exerted over the key sectors of the economy.

If the Alliance had remained outside of cabinet it could probably have negotiated for all the changes it actually achieved but remained free to agitate and mobilise people in the streets for the more radical changes that are needed to make a real improvement to the lives of working people.

The Greens will face a similar challenge if they can achieve a majority able to form a government with Labour after the next election. The Greens have already taken the first significant steps to becoming a “partner” in running the existing system rather than challenging it when they signed up to the ETS as a mechanism to combat climate change. They know that the ETS, or any other market-based mechanism, cannot make any real impact in combating a threat to humanity that has arisen as a consequence of the free market system in the first place.

Protecting the environment and protecting the rights and living standards of the vast majority of people in the world requires the system of capitalism to be superseded. That requires a radical social and political movement that aspires to win a majority in the country – not simply assume the role of “junior partner” to a party that remains fundamentally committed to the current system.

The Mana Movement, which is in my view a system challenging movement, may also face a similar problem if the election is close and Labour and the Greens (and NZ First?) require their vote to form a government. They too will be in a position to negotiate some reforms that benefit the people who support it as part of a negotiated agreement to allow a Labour-led government to be formed. By doing so they will respect the fact that for now they are a minority party and the majority of the people they want to represent have voted for Labour or the Greens. That democratic choice can be respected.

At the same time Mana can retain their freedom of criticism and ability to organise at the grass roots for the generally timid reforms to go further or against any reactionary policies that such a government will inevitably end up promoting. So long as these parties in government are trying to make a system “work” they can’t escape ultimately disappointing their their own supporters because for this system to work it will continue to produce economic crisis, unemployment and environmental destruction. Movements like Mana can then provide a progressive alternative for those people rather than have that disappointment captured by the right.

– See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/08/09/coalition-governments-and-real-change/#sthash.iW2o8OQR.dpuf

(Unite National Director Mike Treen has a blog hosted on theTheDailyBlog website. The site is sponsored by several unions and hosts some of New Zealand’s leading progressive commentators. Mike’s blog will be covering union news and general political comment but the views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of Unite Union.)

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