Greens sign MoU with National

I confess it makes an interesting headline, that! nevertheless, here is a video of the press conference, for your viewing pleasure:

Despite what a few on frogblog have been saying, this MoU is exactly what we said we would do before, during and after the election – that is – work constructively with National on areas of common ground. This agreement has only three areas named in the appendix, but i am sure there will be more.

The biggie, of course, is the billion dollar Green Homes Fund, which the Nats (Nick Smith) said he would scrap during the election campaign. No doubt more settled minds have reviewed the incredibly good return on investment and the rapidity with which such a programme can create jobs, so the Nats have put it back on the table. We’ll see how far it goes.

Then there is the more complex area of energy efficiency, where Jeanette was leading the charge during the last term of government. This is an area where we hold some expertise, but I am sure will be like picking through a thicket of thorns working with Gerry on this one!

Another area of common interest has to do with the trans-tasman regulation of therapeutics. I don’t understand all the details, but I do understand that allowing big pharma in Australia to regulate small cottage industries in New Zealand is not likely to be in our best interests.

What other areas do frogblog readers think the two parties should be working together?

76 Comments Posted

  1. You really haven’t been paying attention if you think this is a sudden development. But we’ve been as critical of the Nats in recent times as ever. That there will be a few areas we agree to work on does not change our overall opposition to the vast majority of their programme.

  2. This is so funny! A few months go by and then ” can we be friends too”
    I have not been on the bloggs much since the election, and the contrast is remarkable!! 😀

  3. I always thought a benign dictatorship was the best system of governance. The dictatorship part doesn’t seem too difficult to achieve. The benign bit poses somewhat more of a problem.
    I’ll stick with democracy in the mean time!

  4. You overestimate the power a small party has on the larger party and underestimate other beneficial aspects of greater diversity, like the workings of select committees. It’s a bad argument for a two party system. When the last of the personality parties go, we’ll likely have 5 parties in Parliament for the foreseeable future. That’s not too many.

  5. Neither house needs to be particularly big.

    One needs to oversee the other on constitutional matters, else we get bull*hit like the EFA and other attempts to subvert our rights.

    The house of representatives is essentially admin, and it is far too large. We simply don’t need waves of talking heads.

    >>Those minority interests you refer to disdainfully are people

    Sure they are. But they are out of order when they leverage their position (balance of power) to impose their will on the majority by holding the major party to ransom. For that, they need a mandate from the people.

    Not enough people like your ideas? Tough. Work harder to convince them.

  6. So its huge and cumbersome, but you’d add a whole new chamber. Not that I’d necessarily argue. A small country still has to deal with most of the matters of govt a large country does. Govt can’t simply be proportional to the size of the population. We used to have provincial govt and an upper House. Our current arrangements are not over done. Which has little to to with the voting method in any case. Yes, FPP is neater, simplistic even, which can be a good quality but not always so. Democracy is messy as someone famous once said. Those minority interests you refer to disdainfully are people. Things might be simpler if they could be ignored, but they cannot in any case. The problems just pop up in another context. Better to have the debate fully in Parliament.

  7. I don’t think either system is ideal. We have a huge, cumbersome parliamentary system for such a tiny country – it’s patently ridiculous.

    FPP is neater, but I’d also like to see an upper house and a constitution.

  8. BP… are you saying you want a return to FPP or a change to some other form of proportional representation?

    Personally I think MMP is flawed if Act get in parliament with 5 seats but NZ First don’t, all because Rodney has a safe seat in Epsom. The most obvious change to MMP would be for parties getting under 5% of the vote but winning an electorate only getting that electorate seat (or seats). The other change would be to remove the 5% barrier altogether. I guess we could see the Bill & Ben Party having the balance of power in that situation – though that could be kinda cool.

  9. Those inside can never see what is obvious to those outside. It’s amusing….

    >>MMP will be staying – in this era of inclusive government.

    I suspect it might, because National are making it look easy. But really, we’re a small country, and MMP is too convoluted.

    Parliament isn’t any more representative. It’s beholden to minority interest groups.

    I guess that was the point, huh….

  10. Then on 7 % you will remain…..

    Perhaps that’s what you do want, huh. A well paid activist position?
    In which case, the sooner we get rid of MMP, the better.

  11. But keep in mind that’s based on the misconception the greens are an environmental party.

    Their misconception is that an environmental party could be compatible with an anti-environmental party.

  12. Peterquixote – I had better get this response out before ii die of laughter.

    Just a little backgrounder here pq (whoever you may be)…Around 2 or 3 years ago my wife and I had a most delightful meeting in Wellingon with the charming Frog and delightful Sue – where we discussed all these housing issues in quite some depth.

    iI was just remarkable how much we agreed on……well at least remarkable to me.

    On the other hand – many of the meetings I have had with some of the property / construction industry people, economists and bureacrats, have been rather tense affairs. Well – meetings with the ones who havent been quick enough to avoid me.

    I have every confidence that the Frog and Sue will play a very constructive part in restoring housing affordability in this country. And Im looking forward very much to speaking to the Environmental people Auckland early June.

  13. Agree with Blue Peter fwog,
    Amphibian you is so slow,
    like forever fwog, we have been saying to you
    green and red makes dirty colour kahki,
    keep the green let go of the red,
    let go of Sue Bradford next listing,
    she holds you back in Socialism,
    New Zealand is no longer interested in socialism fwog,

    let go of the dead Petra Kelly Euro socialist activist model
    informing us how to think and live fwog.

    Look at the support you have here fwog for this move which you should have taken a few elections ago,

    Now, Remove all trace of socialist doctrine from your heart fwog,

    And while you are on about housing fwwog, reconsider the fundamental facts that Hugh Pavletich has demonstrated,
    I know you can do it fwog,

  14. Dump the activist-left-Euro template, and replace it with a distinctly kiwi take (middle or the road, pragmatic, labour-ish with a lot of nature talking points) and you’d be bigger than Labour.

  15. >>Blow me down!

    Doesn’t surprise me one bit.

    But keep in mind that’s based on the misconception the greens are an environmental party.

    Which has been my point all along – there are a *lot* of votes to be had by an environmental party, but the green party is too locked into the far-l@ft.

  16. It does show maturity.

    I agree, but think it shows this more of the MMP system than of either Party. The Greens are only doing what we said we would all along and the Nats signaled it too. But yes, this is the first time there has been an opportunity for these two parties to work this way so good on them for giving it a go.

    Hopefully this move brings out the green (what people like) and suppresses the red (unelectable).

    You’ll likely be disappointed as there is nothing in the agreement that will suppress anything. As there is no compulsion on either side, what comes “out” is mainly up to the Nats since they don’t depend on Green votes to stay in govt. Just like with Labour, where the Greens made policy progress mainly in those areas where Labour wanted to, the Nats have even less reason to stray into places that scare them. Given the huge attack we’ve seen from them on the environment thus far, it will be interesting to see where this relationship leads. I think a hope of the Greens is that the ability to engage means various ideas will be put to the Nats that might not otherwise have been fully considered by them. But I doubt anyone believes the Nats will be changing their spots anytime soon.

  17. of the 7% who do a proportion won’t realise you support Maori title to foreshore and seabed and tino rangitiratanga (a series of tribal cantons).

  18. # toad Says:
    April 10th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    jh, that’s what the Greens have always done – voted according to our policies.
    however the policies are decided in the Red Cave.

    I mean a more refined process involving the wider community. In other words the Greens could all go on holiday and Peace Justice Aotearoa could walk in and take over. Nobody would notice much difference.

  19. It does show maturity.

    A lot of National supporters want environmental and animal welfare concerns addressed, and if the Greens want to step up and do that , then what’s the problem?

    Hopefully this move brings out the green (what people like) and suppresses the red (unelectable).

  20. The National Party and the Greens are to be warmly congratulated in taking this important step of getting a structure in place to engage in meaningful dialogue.

    As I see it – this is most welcome political progress in New Zealand. The reality is that we as New Zealanders agree more often than we disagree – and when we do disagree in an environment of mutual respect, we can and do have the capacity to resolve issues.

    Well done John, Janette and Russel.

  21. I know for a fact that Sue supports this deal, which is the exact sort of issue by issue working arrangement she has advocated all along. I know further that it was developed with full Caucus involvement and signed off by Caucus and the Executive committee of the Party. This is the logical outcome of the political position adopted by the Party at last year’s AGM, campaigned on openly before the election and signaled in public statements by Jeanette several times since the election.

  22. Well frogs, this nice smiling prince you insist on kissing is a gourmand who dines on rare amphibians and you’re on the endangered but tasty list. Get to work on those transnational bike paths, yr shanks are gonna need boofing up if yr new mate Brownlee’s gonna get a decent meal out of you.
    It was nearly two days before I could pick up any threads on this shameful blue-rinsing MOU. Except for Mr Irish over @ the Standard there was nothing.
    This deal smells bad looks bad spells bad Is bad.
    Stop being suckers? ha! You Are suckers and I can’t wait for the images of Kedgeree bent over the desk with her new minister busily working on radical new approaches to lip gel, Norman Gunston shaking hands with his minister over radical new approaches to using both sides of the tissue in parliamentary bogs.
    This move makes me so mad and what can I do? At the Rights Election win I resolved to sit back for three years – mostly off-shore and watch the Old-Boys unravel 9 good years of good governance, reline their pockets, rewind their grand-dads fob watches to pre-anthropogenic(sic)global warming times, and kick some overseas butt with our defence forces BUT I never saw the left helping their new opposition out! never saw that/this. Just awful and getting worse. This explains the blue stripe alongside the green – on a white background – of your horrible little logo. Will you ram through urgency your giddy new policy gains?
    How will you sleep at night?

  23. If you get a billion in retrofitting I might concede the deal was worth doing but I doubt you’ll get anything like that. The Nat’s have been creeping toward home insulation for a few months now because they realise a failure to do so is a big popular stick they will be hit with.

    If anything this deal and its greenwash aspect means they’ll be able to get away with spending less than they would have had to while looking like they are doing more.

    I don’t blame the greens as a whole. I know for a fact that Sue Bradford is not happy with this deal. What it is is a Russel Norman fiasco. He thinks he’s a big player and that’s allowed him to be played like the amateur he is. It’s a pity the idiot has taken down the green brand with him.

    I watched him destroy the grass roots of the party in his last roll. Why are you rewarding his failure by letting him destroy the parliamentary wing?

    He is a dangerous amateur and Key has played him like a fiddle. Stop being suckers.

  24. har har toadie; an NZ doesn’t even’t have a Left (unless someone is watching all three SUP activists) – you right-winghers are gonna realize John’s a nice guy. He’s survived his associates, which is no small feat in itself!

  25. This one is interesting too:

    Margaret Mutu
    Our tikanga determines that :
    We are tangata whenua – we are the hosts for all who visit this country (and hence need to determine immigration policy)
    We have a duty of manaaki manuhiri – we are obliged to look after our guests and ensure they are well-treated and respected.
    And if they decide to stay then they need a good understanding of our tikanga so that we can all live here in harmony.
    We also need a good understanding of our guest’s tikanga so that we know how to look after them properly.
    Pākehā settlement and introduced legal system has not and can not change these fundamental values and principles but it has made it very difficult for us to carry out our responsibilities.
    [Note that all but tangata whenua are visitors, but they (generously) allow us to stay here ].

  26. sweatdisorder, Nandor is little changed since he left Parliament, but its good you are listening now.

  27. Bro: We Poor are all on the police “Radar”. Cain’t go out – and the kids all come from overlong running dog capitalist ad-breaks on the TeeVee.

  28. Frog

    Would that be the same “low wage” earners who in the last couple of years had had a tax cut, WFF or the single earners payment?

    Would those so called “rich” be anybody earning 40-60k per year?

    The middle class has been raped by Labour and the Greens for the last nine years, they more than any other deserve a tax cut.

    If the “poor” are so hard off then perhaps they can lay off the KFC, smokes and booze for a while, hell, they could even stop having kids they cannot afford.

  29. Nandor had really impressed me since he left the greens as an mp. Maybe, he was free to say what he thought. Before, when he was a green mp, all I saw was dope smoking and skate boarding, but since hes been gone (no, not Kelly Clarkson,, but the song does have a wee bit of symbolism for Nandor, “I can breathe for the first time”;-) he seems to have grown . The way things are happening at the moment, maybe JK will offer him a role somewhere. Hope so, because I am just starting to like what he is saying; I am hope he has more to offer.

  30. jarbury, the relevent clause of the Mou states:

    To keep the details of working discussions confidential until negotiations are concluded, whether the result ends in agreement or not

    That does not prevent the Greens from publicly expounding their policy positions on issues they are in discussion with the Nats on. Nor does it prevent the Greens from criticising the Nats on things thay have put into the public arena.

    It simply means that neither Party will disclose for political gain progress (or lack thereof) re progress on negotiations towards an agreed position. If the negotiations break down, then the Greens can call a halt to the negotiation process and go public as to why. So can the Nats, for that matter. But I’m confident the Greens’ arguements if that happens will carry more sway with out supporters than the Nats’ ones will.

  31. What’s the deal about the Greens having to “keep quiet” on issues that the two parties are currently discussing though? There was a comment on The Standard that National could invite the Greens to “discuss” contentious issues so they couldn’t speak out on the, without ever really practically believing in coming to an agreement with the Greens on that issue.

    In other words, what will the Greens be gagged on? Just the three issues already mentioned or potentially many more in the future? That’s my other worry (other than the perception).

  32. jarbury said: Whether or not people vote with their hearts or their heads will probably be shown at the next election.

    That’s why I think it was important that this be done early in the election cycle.

    That allows enough time to ensure the public perception of the condemnation by the Greens of the Nats’ proposals for private prisons, the RMA gutting, NZAID being screwed, ACC being privatised, Auckland being screwed, the ETS on hold until the “science is settled” (that’s actually the Luddite ACT Party’s deal with the Nats), the lack of respect for democratic procedure and select commitees shown by the government, the inaction over the recession, the readying for sale of state assets such as TVNZ, the acceptance of pay inequality between the sexes in the public service as a necessary evil of the recession, and so on…

    Those who question the Greens doing making any sort of arrangement with National will surely be reassured by Green responses to these likely initiatives from National.

  33. ….and I’m sure you Greenies(i love it!) would do better if you included an intelligent and profound thinker such as Nandor in your Parliamentary Team – the Nats might make him an offer y’know.

  34. Another area the Greens should be working with National on is taking urgent action to achieve the target set in the Road Safety 2010 Strategy of no more than 61 deaths per 10 billion vkt, which will bring NZ into line with where UK, Sweden and Netherlands were ten years ago.

    Last years road toll was 90 deaths per 10 billion vkt whereas UK, Sweden and Netherlands were all close to 40.

    The only realistic way of cutting the road toll by one-third in just 18 months is to do these two things:

    1) admit that the media friendly target of no more than 300 deaths in 2010 should have been revised every year to reflect the fact that the expected 50% traffic growth during the decade has not occurred. According to the MfE encironmental report card actual traffic growth from 2000 till 2007 was just 12%. Consequently VKT is likely to be no more than 42bn in 2010, producing a target road toll of no more than 250 deaths.

    2) Postpone all possible urban motorway investigations/design work to allow Transit to concentrate on installing safety barriers and widening all shoulders to safely accommodate rumble strips and cyclists. Currently only 600 km of State Highways have rumble strips and a further 600km is programmed for the current financial year. The only reason that can’t be increased to 6,000 km this year is the amount of resources tied up in congestion ‘solutions’. Motorway road works have very low employment per million dollars whereas shoulder widening has very high employment per million dollars. Inattention and fatigue are two of the biggest killers on our roads, far more common than sober speeding but, officially, less common than drunk driving.

    Warning drivers that they are running out of their lane when they still have time to correct the situation without panicing and overcorrecting will achieve the desired one-third reduction in the road toll provided NZers are shocked into taking the challenge seriously by being told that we aren’t close to achieving the target as they have been repeatedly led to believe.

    Another useful strategy will be to compare the road toll with the number of deaths from smoking or air pollution, using premature deaths for the road toll in addition to the standard ‘death within 30 days of a crash’ limitation that applies to the official road toll. USA studies indicate that the number of premature deaths consequent to car crashes is currently close to the number of hospital admissions from car crashes in the current year.

  35. I think the issue is perception versus reality. We all know that in politics perception is just as important as reality.

    The reality is that the Greens have gained out of this deal. The $1 billion insulation programme will happen now and that is great. They also get some gains out of seeing what cabinet is up to, and have to give little back in response. So the reality is good for the Greens.

    However, the perception is bad for the Greens. It “looks” like the Greens are now supporting the National government, who they disagree with on about 95% of issues. The perception is that National now have shifted to the centre by getting the Greens’ support, and that the Greens have “sold out”.

    That’s why my brain is happy with this, but my heart hurts. Whether or not people vote with their hearts or their heads will probably be shown at the next election.

  36. If anyone has that perception now, it will surely be dispelled when the Nats’ Resource Management Act gutting Bill next comes up in Parliament.

    The Greens will fight that tooth and nail, as they will moves to privatise ACC and all the Nats other anti-worker and anti-environment policies.

  37. I really just hope this doesn’t result in the perception being that National are now supported by all but Labour!

  38. naturalhighNZ said: By doing this we suggest that the Green Party support the National Government despite the damage they are doing to low wage New Zealanders with their tax cuts.

    Funnily enough, this is exactly the same argument as that put up by some on the right over the last two Parliamentary terms, claiming the Greens were supporting Labour, despite the Greens opposing Labour on confidence and supply for one of those terms and abstaining for the other.

    Some of the wingnuts are spitting tacks now that the Nats have sold out to the Green “forces of evil”.

    The Greens are an independent political party, and shouldn’t “support” either Labour or National, but should work with either of them to achieve policy gains. I’m proud that they can, and that this demonstrates a principled yet pragmatic approach that will hopefully lead to the Green rivalling Labour and National as major parties.

  39. Samiam – thanks for your offer. Much appreciated. Could you drop me an email please to Thanks.

    And I like your LIM idea too Owen.

    NaturalHigh, I’m sorry you’re disappointed, but we said we would be trying to find issues where we could make progress with National and we have. At the same time we are going to continue to be National’s fiercest critics on issues where that’s appropriate (see my speech on Ryall’s performance in Health, or Russel’s on RMA for example). That’s what being independent and principled implies.

    The home insulation and energy efficiency projects in particular stand to benefit everyone, either directly through warmer, drier, healthier homes, job creation, cheaper power bills etc or indirectly through protecting the environment and reducing Carbon emissions. Would it really have been defensible to wait until 2011 before making progress on these fronts?

  40. If the Green Party were true to itself we would not have done this. We would stand up and say we cannot support a Government that is potentially going to do so much damage.

    By that standard, we’d not have engaged with Labour either. If you want to be nothing but a voice in Parliament, fine, but it must cut both ways. While I greatly value our discursive power and have often argued it is reason enough to be in Parliament, I don’t think it is the sole goal we should strive for. Rather we should seek ways to influence govt so long as doing so doesn’t undermine our principles. In this case we are only supporting the Nats on legislation where they do what we want. We can speak out about anything we disagree with, even in the areas we’ve agreed to work on together if we determine the outcome will not be one we can support. It is the best of both worlds. It is also what our membership endorsed going into the election. What we ultimately get may be peanuts, or it may be more, but let’s give it a chance. We’re showing at least that we are an independent party that will work with anyone to progress our policy and I think that’s a very good thing.

  41. Uh, duh BB. They are giving the tax cuts to the rich, not the low wage earners! All the research shows that if you want economic stimulus from tax cuts, you have to give them to the poor, because they go right out and spend it. The rich pay off debt or save it, with little perceptible stimulus effect.

    By giving the breaks to the rich, they are failing in their claim to be stimulating the economy.

  42. “I am disappointed. By doing this we suggest that the Green Party support the National Government despite the damage they are doing to low wage New Zealanders with their tax cuts.”

    What damage are the Nat’s doing to low wage earners with their tax cuts?

  43. I am disappointed. By doing this we suggest that the Green Party support the National Government despite the damage they are doing to low wage New Zealanders with their tax cuts. The damage they are doing with their overhaul of the RMA. The suggested removal of protected groups of trees for Councils etc etc etc.

    If the Green Party were true to itself we would not have done this. We would stand up and say we cannot support a Government that is potentially going to do so much damage.

    So now we are soft on the edges, and we gain barely anything for it. Peanuts one might say. Great.

  44. “they came to New Zealand as part of new Zealand’s refugee quota”

    Then it is about time we stopped that type of rubbish.

  45. Well done Jeanette, Russell and John. A mature, responsible approach to inter-party relations.

    As for what else they should work on – well, I’d love to see the Nats talking with the Greens about implementing economic reforms to address massive market failure around the environment, such as Pigouvian taxes to replace some income taxation. Cullen scoffed at the idea, but its pretty obvious that the market can’t deal with the environment well (due to public good elements and externalities) and regulations are not always the best way to go (efficiency and all that).

    Bill English is aware of the arguments, so here’s hoping!!

  46. # big bro Says:
    April 9th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    > And they are not even Kiwi’s!

    > Who cares about Burmese workers and why are they getting the dole?

    they came to New Zealand as part of new Zealand’s refugee quota, so they are as much kiwis as John Key is.

  47. Owen – We won the budget money last year to do all the state houses, so that, as we hoped, the govt – like local councils – could then be more proactive about private home insulation. (Like on the LIM, or HERS rating, or similar) It is no good the govt pushing private people to insulate when their own houses are not in order. That’s how we won the bid with Labour.

    The fact is, the return on investment for the govt is so good with the bigger insulation programme, that it will still save you, as a taxpayer, big bucks if the govt and the Greens cut a deal on a big insulation programme.

    Trust me, the CBA numbers are compelling, hence the u-turn from the Nats.

    I appreciate that many people claim that we never cost anything or do due diligence. The fact is that we do it all the time, for many of our policies. This one is so clearly an economic winner that no sane party could vote against it. (Not that anyone will have to vote if we cut a deal.)

  48. Pity the Royal Commission never mentioned Broadband and telecommuting in its chapter on Transport.
    The best way to address the insulation problem nationwide is to have councils check for insulation (its not hard) and if a house has no insulation, put it on the LIM report. It would drop the price and make it harder to sell and owners would insulate it to improve resale value. That is why I have insulated old houses I have bought and why I put solar heating into ones I have built or bought.
    But I do resent paying other people to do what I have always done. Of course the state should insulate its own houses for the same reason.

  49. They are here on temporary workers visa’s (as I understand it) so if they have no work they should be sent home.

    They have NO right to tax payer money.

  50. I care BB. You will care too when WINZ falsely gives you a 13 week stand down after you lose your job. never mind it was WINZ who set them up under appalling working conditions in the first place.

  51. And they are not even Kiwi’s!

    Who cares about Burmese workers and why are they getting the dole?

  52. Again Sue B shows her Green credentials by asking a question in the house about benefit entitlements.

    As if anybody cares?

  53. Environmental stuff

    They’d have to get a lot better at it for them to be ready to work with the Greens, I think. It’s unlikely to be a big enough priority for National to get any good progress.

  54. BP – I heartily agree. Broadband ticks all the boxes too. I support the concept entirely and haven’t spent any time with the new nat proposal. Labour thinks its good so the Nats must have changed it a lot! Either way, it does tick the enviro box!

  55. StephenR, this initiative is one of the few that appears to tick all the correct boxes, any government should embrace it.

  56. More environmental stuff would be nice, but I think the Greens were very lucky to get this (Key must’ve been in a good mood). I really can’t see too many reasons for National to do this, and the ones I can see are probably a bit subtle.

  57. Hmmm….broadband. There’s a lot of environmental (and dare I say it, social) gains to be had there

    Aren’t the Nats all over that like white on rice already?

  58. Hmmm….broadband. There’s a lot of environmental (and dare I say it, social) gains to be had there

    Less commuting
    Flexible working arrangements
    Restablishment of small, local communities oriented around work (if there are a lot of home workers in any one area)
    Etc etc…..

  59. Fantastic, well done.
    Now the next stage is to hold the building supply industry insiders to line.
    If the upgrade of the housing stock is to achieve maximum returns then we need to ensure what is fitted is the best product for the job. What is currently promoted by the supply trade is not necessarily best practice in all cases. I have expertise in these matters and would be happy to bring (whoever ?) up to speed on some of this.
    To me this is a far better use of stimulus money than any cycle-way etc.

Comments are closed.