Earthquake bill passes tonight

The Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act passed tonight. The Act gives the Govt the power to make and break almost every law in the country until April 2012, in the pursuit of the recovery of Canterbury after the earthquake. It uses Orders In Council, a kind of regulation promulgated by Government Ministers and rubber stamped by the Governor General, in order to make and break all other laws.

We tried to improve the legislation. We moved half a dozen amendments, but National and Labour opposed most.

We tried to allow courts to review Ministers’ decisions to recommend Orders in Council. Lab and Nat opposed.

We tried to get Orders in Council published within 24 hours and presented to next day’s sitting of Parliament. Nats and Lab opposed.

We tried to get a majority of elected Cantabrians onto Recovery Commission (rather than a majority of central govt appointees as it is now). Nat and Lab opposed.

We tried to limit the laws that could be altered by OIC to those actually listed, rather than all laws. And we tried to remove Local Govt Official Info and Meetings Act from that list. Nats opposed.

We tried to get a 6 month sunset clause written into the Act, with the ability to move a motion to extend it for another 6 months. Nat and Lab opposed.

We did get the Official Info Act to apply to the Recovery Commission.

And then after all that we had to decide how to vote on it. We decided to vote for it to support Canterbury’s recovery. But it was with a heavy heart given all our reservations about the act.

This Govt really does not respect basic constitutional principles, as we saw with the ECAN democracy abolition act also.

351 thoughts on “Earthquake bill passes tonight

  1. Bizarre, Geoff. Even without the earthquake act, Key already had all the power he needs to do whatever he wants regarding the GG. What exactly do you think he’d have done different on Henry’s show and since if the act hadn’t been passed?

  2. Regime shows its racist colours In the course of an interview with Prime Minister John Key on the state television network TVNZ, presenter Paul Henry, a self-confessed monarchist, remarked that Governor-General Anand Satyanand “doesn’t look or sound like a New Zealander”. Key allowed Henry’s racist remark to pass. One reason for Key’s failure to respond appropriately is that Satyanand, of Indian ethnic origin, was appointed on the recommendation of the previous Labour government, and the Indian population of New Zealand is generally supportive of the Labour Party. Another is that Key himself has been courting European racial sentiment. His suggestion that “New Zealanders should not be tenants in their own country” in the context of the Crafar farms sale was designed to stoke European fears of large-scale Chinese ownership farms, forests, and residential accommodation in this country. There is no evidence that Key is concerned for the millions of New Zealanders who right now are “tenants” of European landlords, corporate farmers or forestry companies.

    Satyanand was appointed because of his ethnicity. But his ethnicity is no ground on which to judge him. Satyanand is a man of evident personal integrity who has allowed himself to become the instrument of a corrupt regime. He has no democratic credentials, no popular support, and no moral authority. He has no right to rule over us. He has no right to make laws through Orders-In-Council.

    So why has the regime that he serves so viciously turned against him? The nub of the matter is the extraordinary powers which parliament has granted to the executive through the Canterbury Earthquake Act. As it rules by decree, the regime wants to be represented by a person who
    “looks and sounds like a New Zealander”. Expect John Key to follow Paul Henry’s suggestion by appointing a European or Maori with some public standing as the next Governor-General.

  3. Should I upgrade my website to make it more immediately accessible as Valis suggests?
    Reasons not to:
    1. I lack the time and the skill.

    Blogs are turn-key these days. You do yourself a disservice.

    2. There is no widespread demand for me to effect such changes

    Afraid I can’t argue with that.

    3. Fast moving web communications are a little like fast food – speed of delivery and quality of content often seem to be inversely related.

    Sure, but there are some very good debates too. And by coming here, you certainly aren’t against the concept at least.

    4. Most importantly, there are far better sites than mine out there already.

    Doing your own thing is all it’s about. You don’t have to beat anyone. But your choice, of course.

  4. With respect, to borrow a phrase from BJ Chip, the moderator of frogblog does reserve the right not to publish a submitted comment. This comment is awaiting moderator approval before it appears on your screen. Valis might say that frog does not reserve the right not to publish, but I am sure that frog would be obliged to contradict Valis on that point.

    [frog: Sorry Geoff, but Valis has it right. If you log into this blog before posting, your comments do not go into moderation. You have an account and must have used it in the past, as non-account comments were only enabled recently, so not sure why you don't use it any more, but you could. Posts made without logging in go into moderation just to ensure spam doesn't get through and are always approved otherwise.]

    Should I upgrade my website to make it more immediately accessible as Valis suggests?
    Reasons not to:
    1. I lack the time and the skill.
    2. There is no widespread demand for me to effect such changes
    3. Fast moving web communications are a little like fast food – speed of delivery and quality of content often seem to be inversely related.
    4. Most importantly, there are far better sites than mine out there already. I have just been looking at Bryce Edwards website http://liberation.typepad.com
    It is better written than mine, has a more more attractive format, and the content is excellent. I can do my own thing, but I cannot beat what is already out there. So I won’t waste time trying.

    If you still want to have stuff published on http://www.republican.co.nz just email it to geoff.fischer@xtra.co.nz

    It isn’t hard.

  5. I invite people to submit comment to http://www.republican.co.nz.

    I’m sure it’s just me, but I can’t find any of those reader comments on your site. Would you post a link to them, please.

    Like the editor of any newspaper, and like the moderator of frogblog, I reserve the right not to publish a submitted comment.

    Yes, like the editor of a newspaper, but not like frogblog. The difference is that anyone can create an account and have their comments appear on frog in real time (and they’re only ever removed if a severe personal attack). This is not a trivial point, but a fundamental enabler to blog debates. I’m happy to take back my comment that you allow no debate, it’s just so much easier to have one on a proper blog than a “newspaper”.

    And frankly, given that you so often characterise my comments as misrepresentations, coming from ulterior motives, being a front for someone else, or otherwise implying a lack of integrity, I have to wonder whether much of what I might want to say would be censored.

    My website is technically very basic, and the content is only of interest to a select group. It does not compare with frogblog in either technical excellence or public appeal.

    If you want to really open up debate on your site and increase your traffic too, you should consider using one of the many blog packages available. You don’t need to be a technical expert to do all the basics well, that’s why there’s about 400 million active blogs out there.

  6. Valis wrote: “If you don’t want debate, stay on your own blog where you don’t allow it”.
    and then “Simply that you can come here and say whatever you want knowing everyone will see it. That is not possible on your site where there is no standard blog comment facility to make comments in context, only an invitation to make “submissions”, which may or may not be published.”

    I invite people to submit comment to http://www.republican.co.nz.
    Like the editor of any newspaper, and like the moderator of frogblog, I reserve the right not to publish a submitted comment.

    However I state that if I do not post a comment on the website, I will post a statement explaining why the submitted comment was not posted. I note that most editors and moderators do not give any such undertaking.

    As it happens, I have never found it necessary to decline to post a comment. I think that in itself exposes the claim that I “don’t allow” debate “on my own blog” as being quite false.

    I hesitate to speculate upon what grounds I might consider refusing to post. However I would ask any submitters to try to conform with the following guidelines:
    Please refrain from the use of obscene language.
    Please do not post very large documents, or a large number of documents, with the sole purpose of overloading the system.

    My website is technically very basic, and the content is only of interest to a select group. It does not compare with frogblog in either technical excellence or public appeal. However I suggest that Valis has no valid grounds on which to criticise my commitment to free debate.

  7. I will respond to Valis because he appears to be a voice for Green Party opinion and even if only on that basis, deserves a response.

    That’s sporting of you.

    Valis wrote: “If you don’t want debate, stay on your own blog where you don’t allow it”.
    I ask Valis, or any other Green Party member, to explain the allegation.

    Simply that you can come here and say whatever you want knowing everyone will see it. That is not possible on your site where there is no standard blog comment facility to make comments in context, only an invitation to make “submissions”, which may or may not be published.

    My actual statement is of course open to debate. I don’t have a problem with that. My objection was to the misrepresentation of my opinions. I never said, as Valis claimed, that “all is well in the US because it has a written constitution”

    Of course you didn’t say that. You only implied it. I did not seek to misrepresent you. That is my honest understanding of your words. Further, I do not think it an odd understanding, but one which most people would find reasonable. I’m confident enough of this that I’d welcome other readers to comment one way or the other.

    My advice to members of the Green Party is to debate strongly, but with integrity. Do not misrepresent the opinions of your opponents. Refrain from making allegations which you cannot substantiate.

    One thing no one will ever accuse you of, Geoff, is lacking chutzpah.

  8. I will respond to Valis because he appears to be a voice for Green Party opinion and even if only on that basis, deserves a response.
    Valis wrote: “If you don’t want debate, stay on your own blog where you don’t allow it”.
    I ask Valis, or any other Green Party member, to explain the allegation.

    Valis wrote: “But Geoff’s analysis is simplistic in places, particularly the suggestion that all is well in the US because it has a written constitution”. He goes on to justify this representation of my opinion by quoting my actual statement which was “This abrupt plunge into autocratic government was possible because New Zealand is a monarchy in which the Crown is the ultimate authority. It could not have happened in a nation with a democratic constitution. It would be unthinkable in the United States for example”.

    My actual statement is of course open to debate. I don’t have a problem with that. My objection was to the misrepresentation of my opinions. I never said, as Valis claimed, that “all is well in the US because it has a written constitution”

    My advice to members of the Green Party is to debate strongly, but with integrity. Do not misrepresent the opinions of your opponents. Refrain from making allegations which you cannot substantiate.

  9. Oh hell, Geoff, get over yourself. What you said was:

    This abrupt plunge into autocratic government was possible because New Zealand is a monarchy in which the Crown is the ultimate authority. It could not have happened in a nation with a democratic constitution. It would be unthinkable in the United States for example.

    You feel it “unthinkable” and I say it’s already happened. If you think I’m wrong, argue the point. Dropping the ball and going after the man every time your ego is pricked is no strategy for a blog, you must know by now. If you don’t want debate, stay on your own blog where you don’t allow it.

  10. Valis wrote: “But Geoff’s analysis is simplistic in places, particularly the suggestion that all is well in the US because it has a written constitution.”
    Of course I have never suggested any such thing. Valis so consistently seeks to misrepresent me that one is left to wonder “who is this person who hides behind the name of “Valis”? What is his motive? Who is his sponsor?”
    “frog” knows the answer but “frog” is not telling.

  11. I’ve no problems with the thrust of this; I support getting rid of the monarchy and having a written constitution. But Geoff’s analysis is simplistic in places, particularly the suggestion that all is well in the US because it has a written constitution. As we saw through the Bush years, the legislative branch can cede significant powers to the executive by simply deciding not to discharge their oversight responsibilities. Indeed, the strongest argument made for impeachment at the time was that if Bush was not made to answer for his actions, his new powers would pass legitimately to the next President and would be nearly impossible to rescind. Monarchy or no, and despite that the potential is certainly there, NZ has not yet descended into the same depths of corruption as the US even though it is in a worse position on paper.

    As for CERRA, it is both a huge potential problem that must be watched closely, but also one that is likely to be limited in scope both because it is very time bound and because almost the entire time it will be in force, the govt will be fighting for re-election.

  12. Fair enough Geoff, and I am with you on the need for a written Constitution… There is no such thing as a constitution with a small ‘c’ when it comes to running a country :-)

    respectfully
    BJ

  13. I wrote “constitution” with a small “c”. You, BJ Chip, have changed it to a capital “C”. You don’t see a constitution with a capital “C” and neither do I. The realm of New Zealand has a constitution as I have a physical constitution, namely a host of processes and relationships which are stable and ordered – most of the time. On September 14 the New Zealand constitution suffered an epileptic fit, and bit off its own tongue.
    I am working towards a republic with a written Constitution. That I believe is the safe and proper way to go.

  14. A minor point Geoff, but WHAT New Zealand “Constitution” would that be? given that there is no single place where it is all actually organized, written down and sensible to ordinary folk. I don’t actually consider that the country has any such thing, though there are those who claim that the informal arrangements that serve us in place of one, are binding.

    :-)

    BJ

  15. The New Zealand constitution exposes the nation to a particular risk of absolutist and autocratic government. The “Crown” in New Zealand is the executive power. The Crown appoints the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Governor General and the judiciary. The Crown controls the police and military forces, and through the Ministers of the Crown, the state bureaucracy. Because the legislature (Parliament) in effect elects the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, it may appear to be the dominant institution of government. But Parliament, is formally subservient to the Crown through the oath of allegiance, and it is also politically subservient to the executive because most parliamentarians covet a ministerial portfolio, and that ambition encourages an attitude of deference towards the executive. Legislators can only be elevated to the executive (ministerial rank) by the grace and favour of the Prime Minister.

    In jurisdictions where there is a clear distinction between the legislative and executive roles the legislature jealously protects its perogatives against the executive, and uses control of supply (the right to levy taxes) as a check upon the actions of the administration. In New Zealand there is no such separation of powers and interests. The legislature is subservient to the executive because the executive can confer privileges upon or withdraw privileges from, individual legislators. As a result the executive is able to manipulate the legislature, to the point that it has now acquired autocratic powers. Parliament has abdicated its legislative powers in favour of the executive through the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act. What is worse, in the same act by which parliamentarians surrendered their own legislative powers, they have also removed the power of the judiciary to review and control the actions of the executive. With the legislature sidelined by consent, and the judiciary sidelined by fiat, the realm of New Zealand is now a formal autocracy.

    This abrupt plunge into autocratic government was possible because New Zealand is a monarchy in which the Crown is the ultimate authority. It could not have happened in a nation with a democratic constitution. It would be unthinkable in the United States for example. The US Congress could not constitutionally surrender its power to legislate, even if it wished to do so. It could not strip away the rights of the judiciary. Most importantly, it would have no reason to do any of these things. By contrast, New Zealand parliamentarians have the both the motive and the ability to institute absolute rule. And absolutism comes naturally to an institution that has been trained for generations to give allegiance to the hereditary monarch of a foreign power.

    How does the office of Governor-General fit into all this? Sadly, all too well. Governors-General drawn from the judiciary have higher standards of personal integrity than the casually corrupt politicians who appoint them to the office. But as judges, they are trained not to question the prerogative of the legislature. When Parliament, however reluctantly, surrenders to the demands of the executive, then a judicial Governor General will also surrender. And this is exactly what Anand Satyanand has done. He has signed off the Earthquake Act, and he has signed every Order-In-Council subsequent to that Act. His personal integrity is of no use or relevance in this situation. He is a pawn of the executive, rendered incapable of resisting the autocracy by his own judicial ethics.

    The lesson of the Canterbury earthquake is that no good can come of tinkering with the monarchist constitution. It is fundamentally flawed, and must be totally uprooted. The legislature must be separated from the executive. The judiciary must be protected from both the legislature and the executive. The Queen and the Governor-General must be thrown out in favour of a Head of State who acts as protector of the constitution.

    from http://www.republican.co.nz

  16. [The] imposition of totalitarian rule means that resistance is not only justified, it could be regarded as obligatory

    I’m not sure if that’s altogether positive but, yeah, I’ve abandoned hope of any real change coming via the parliamentary process. The weakness is that, regardless of their hue, politicians are politicians; they spend too much time together in their “bubble” managing:

    Our so-called political leaders, however, have no new vision to offer. The palliatives they are proposing are almost interchangeable. Their approach can best be described as ‘managerialism’ — an almost value-free attempt to win or retain power by trying to deliver whatever opinion polls tell them the majority of voters want. True leadership — based on a clearly articulated set of values, not fatuous talk of ‘fairness for all’ — is nowhere to be seen.

    I do agree with your sentiments, though, and note that history is bejeweled with examples of people forcing change from outside government. Until our “managers” stop acting like Bambi on ice, I’ll be taking it to the streets, for sure.

  17. On the positive side, BLip, the imposition of totalitarian rule means that resistance is not only justified, it could be regarded as obligatory. By abdicating its own rights and responsibilities, parliament has given us the right to take our rights and freedoms into our own hands.

  18. When I was building I saw plenty of dangerous jerry built farm buildings (many farm buildings do not require a consent). Owner modifications to houses and baches are often dodgy, to say the least.
    Reducing inspection and consent requirements has already resulted in millions of dollars in leaky homes.

  19. Photo. You were ripped off for your deck. I charged $1200 for plans for a bedroom extension which also went close to a boundary. If everything is prepared properly by someone who knows what they are doing consents are not that hard.
    Without the consent process we would have had Haiti not Christchurch.
    The need is for more staff to process consents faster in Christchurch, not bypassing an effective process.

  20. Still no evidence, then?

    Meanwhile your new BFF has extended the police powers so they can do as they wish without consequence, and amended the Local Government Act so as to obviate legislative requirements for the local council to:

    “(a) seek to identify all reasonably practicable options for the achievement of the objective of a decision; and (b) assess those options by considering— (i) the benefits and costs of each option in terms of the present and future social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of the district or region” – without any subsequent liability.

    There goes any concern for the implications of current activities on the environment, the community, or the public purse. The Transport Act has also been “tweaked” so as to allow trucks of any weight, load and dimension to travel anywhere in the country. Yep, just what Canterbury needs.

    Still, can’t complain, our MPs voted for it didn’t they?

  21. BLip – so you’d have the status quo and years of process before anybody could do anything to rebuild.

    Cantabrians can consider themselves lucky that people with your opinion are not in charge. It would be a bureaucratic nightmare.

  22. photonz said:

    It took me months, and thousands of extra dollars in plans, additional plans to neighbours that have to be signed off with specific permissions, all for a small deck because it was 10cm less than two metres from the neighbours boundary.

    So the sum total of your evidence that the Gerry Dictatorship will save money and time is an anecdotal sob story about your wee deck? Brilliant. Nothing to see here, then. Lets go home.

  23. Great thread. I’ve learnt a bit, but still not enough to make any comment of substance. I guess I just want to be part of this epic/historic thread.
    The disgruntled (I’m being polite) greenies expressing themselves here are one of the reasons I’m pround to vote Green.
    The GP may have cocked-up this vote, but they’re still the best/only choice for the future. Even with a bloody Aussie at the helm :)

  24. Lew, your choices are not consistent either. It is easier for me to believe they think they’ve done right than that they’ve been bullshitting for years – that is what would not make sense. But I’m not going to keep arguing the point. I wanted to show that there was a third option that not only fit the facts, but could be accepted even if one did not approve of the vote. I’ve done that and people will make up their own minds.

  25. I take your point, Geoff, assuming one speaks for a group is one of several assumptions often made that shouldn’t be. There are times when it is appropriate though, like when a member of the Green Party says something generally held to be true within the Party. Even then one can get it wrong, though there are usually others around to helpfully correct.

  26. I suggest that contributors to these discussions refrain from using the first person plural, which is unnecessary, distracting and tends to polarise rather than unite.

    Ideas are expounded and criticised by individuals, and any merit those ideas may have is not determined by the number of people associated with one side of the argument or another.

    It is particularly unhelpful for a contributor to imply a measure of support for an idea or a position by the use of the word “we” when no formal authority has been extended to speak on behalf of any other person or persons.

    I have offended in this respect at least once in the current discussion -for which I now withdraw and apologise.

  27. BLiP – your doomsday scenario for Christchurch is extemist.

    BLiP says “Accordingly, what evidence can you show that that suspending democracy and justice in Christchurch will save *any* money or time?”

    Have you actually thought about what you’ve said?

    It took me months, and thousands of extra dollars in plans, additional plans to neighbours that have to be signed off with specific permissions, all for a small deck because it was 10cm less than two metres from the neighbours boundary.

    The rediculous thing is the neighbour who we had to get permission from can’t even see the deck.

    Equally rediculous is the fact that by getting resource consent for the deck, we had to also apply for retrospective recsource consent for our house (built 70 years ago) because it is also less than 2m from the boundary.

    Similarly without the earthquake bill, a lot of Chch properties would have been forced to go through a resource consent process, possible objections and appeals, just to rebuild exactly what has been standing for 100 years.

    And you can’t see any time and money savings from the Eatrthquake Bill – duh!

  28. So you can vote to fast track rebuilding Christchuch with it’s risks, or vote to slow track it, with huge cost to Cantabrians and increasing the disruption of their lives by years.

    Seeking to minimise the situation is definitely a spin-meister tactic. Sure, perhaps, maybe, some of the the building processes could be hurried along, but don’t forget it is the regulations and codes which assisted in preventing the loss of life – and – if its just about the building regulations, then why include *every* law on the books? In what way are the people of Christchurch better able to assist in the rebuilding of their city if they are no longer able to participate in the decision making process? How are the workers shifting the rubble better off now that there are no enforceable safety regulations? Who’s looking after the disposal of the asbestos and, when its eventually discovered buried beneath a kindergarten in a few years, who is liable? What provision is there now for a tender process to ensure the work is carried out economically and not just handed over with an open cheque to Gerry’s mates? How come the first people lining up for assistance were the transport operators, the lawyers, the real estate agents, and landlords? . . . please, if there’s anything we’ve learned from this debacle its that the situation is not an either/or one and nor can it be defended with bald statements.

    Accordingly, what evidence can you show that that suspending democracy and justice in Christchurch will save *any* money or time?

  29. Valis, the two things are not consistent. Giving Gerry Brownlee the keys to the kingdom without the most rudimentary checks or balances is manifestly antithetical to the Greens’ oft-stated principles of good governance, distributed power and the rule of law. They’ve now gone and voted for just such power to be given. Either they’re bullshitting us now about their intentions at the time of the vote, or they were bullshitting us all that time when they were standing on those principles. The two things don’t square; the rhetoric before and the reality now. One is false (or both are false to an extent, which is no better).

    L

  30. As per usual, the whole issue is not the simplistic black and white scenario many people try to make out.

    Clearly Christchurch needs help to avoid the massive delays of planning permissions, resource consents, appeals to the environment court, high court appeals etc, that can add five or more years to projects under normal conditions.

    With these processes overloaded, that could easily double.

    So we need to be able to fast track rebuilding Christchurch, and this can’t be done unless normal processes are bypassed to some extent.

    Removing the checks and balances obviously carries risk, but having them in place slows everything right down – even more so because of bottlenecks with so much rebuilding going on.

    So you can vote to fast track rebuilding Christchuch with it’s risks, or vote to slow track it, with huge cost to Cantabrians and increasing the disruption of their lives by years.

    You can argue that the Green vote makes no difference, but if you truely beleive that, then the same goes for most Green parliamentary votes.

  31. Second question first. I’m assuming that those of you using “we” to refer to the Green party whilst posting (apparently) as a full-time job on the Green party blog to steadfastly defend the Green party’s appallingly unprincipled and poorly justified decision to support this bill are the Green party’s PR flacks.

    When I say “we” I only mean Green Party members. I know some of the posters here and know that at least some of those posting most often do not work for the Greens, and further that some who do have by no means been slavishly supportive of the decision made.

    To the first question: did the greens make an error, or was abandoning their principles a considered strategy?

    Or do they really think they did the right thing? I think it was the wrong thing so I’m not shilling for them, but that I think it was wrong doesn’t mean I must conclude they’re lying about it.

    If they made an error of judgement and now regret it, they look like fools;

    They haven’t claimed this, so not in the picture as far as I’m concerned.

    if this was the plan all along and they went into this with eyes open, knowing they’d vote for it despite its manifest flaws, then they look like traitors.

    Again it’s only logical to call them traitors if they’re lying about what they say they believe.

    Either they’re being dishonest about the reasons and circumstances behind the vote, or they’ve been dishonest all along about the party’s commitment to principles of justice, the rule of law and good governance. Between the Devil and the deep blue sea on this one.

    Yes, if you can imagine no alternative, you’re stuck with one of those.

    I can understand a political leader not wanting to look like a fool in public. To this end one might maintain that an error was a plan, and set up all sorts of spurious TINA, part of the solution, in the tent, reasonable people can differ post-hoc rationalisations to lessen it. Regardless of what Russel Norman says in public, to date I have seen nothing to persuade me that this isn’t what he’s doing. But that’s largely belause I believe the Greens haven’t been fooling everyone all these years with regard to their principles. Maybe I’m the fool.

    I don’t think you’re a fool, but while I thought I was a cynic, you’ve taught me the meaning of the word.

    An example to be clear. Toad said:

    I sent a somewhat intemperate email to Kennedy Graham last week. I don’t agree with his response, but I can accept where he was coming from as reasoned and thoughtful when the Green MPs made the decision to support the Bill at Third Reading. He wanted to be part of the Canterbury reconstruction effort, and had been given a clear message by the Government that if the Greens voted against the Bill they would be locked out of subsequent consultation.

    Not asking you to agree with Kennedy, but do you really think he’s lying? My experience of Kennedy is that he would sooner slit his wrists than risk his integrity. My experience of Russel is also one of brutal honesty, not easily diverted by the likely reaction. These attributes fit the scenario too.

  32. Valis,

    Second question first. I’m assuming that those of you using “we” to refer to the Green party whilst posting (apparently) as a full-time job on the Green party blog to steadfastly defend the Green party’s appallingly unprincipled and poorly justified decision to support this bill are the Green party’s PR flacks. Not based on any evidence other than that, but that looks like pretty good evidence to me. Happy to be disabused of the notion if it’s untrue.

    To the first question: did the greens make an error, or was abandoning their principles a considered strategy? If they made an error of judgement and now regret it, they look like fools; if this was the plan all along and they went into this with eyes open, knowing they’d vote for it despite its manifest flaws, then they look like traitors. Either they’re being dishonest about the reasons and circumstances behind the vote, or they’ve been dishonest all along about the party’s commitment to principles of justice, the rule of law and good governance. Between the Devil and the deep blue sea on this one.

    I can understand a political leader not wanting to look like a fool in public. To this end one might maintain that an error was a plan, and set up all sorts of spurious TINA, part of the solution, in the tent, reasonable people can differ post-hoc rationalisations to lessen it. Regardless of what Russel Norman says in public, to date I have seen nothing to persuade me that this isn’t what he’s doing. But that’s largely belause I believe the Greens haven’t been fooling everyone all these years with regard to their principles. Maybe I’m the fool.

    L

  33. Lew, in what way has Russel not been honest? Is it impossible that he and Kennedy could have a different view of what was right in the situation? I’ve said I don’t agree and I’ve told them so, but like toad, I’ve no reason to disbelieve their sincerity on this.

    And what spin doctors exactly? Surely you’re not referring to bj, as his argument for pragmatism regarding media portrayal is not what Russel argued at all. He says above:

    I reluctantly supported the bill because on balance I thought it was the right thing to do. I’m sure with hindsight one can do the pragmatic political calculations but my view is that my job is to first figure out what’s the right thing to do and then best manage the political pragmatics.

    So he’s saying exactly the opposite, that he made the decision despite any potential backlash.

  34. Toad

    Yeah, I’m with you, mate. Its a week since the vote and I’ve calmed down a lot. Chances are I’ll be attending conferences (and voting for the list) and out there trudging around the neighbourhood delivering pamphlets and explaining policy to friends and family, but it will be with a heavy heart. Whatever ideals I ascribed to the Greens have been replaced with the fact that, really, we are the best of a bad bunch. Nothing more.

  35. toad, cross-posted.

    I’ve written extensively on this theme regarding Labour’s decision to turn on tangata whenua in 2004: they gained a temporary electoral advantage, but at the cost of selling out the political equivalent of their immortal soul. Not a good trade.

    The Greens like to talk about the economy as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment — without the environment, there is no economy. The same is true of pragmatism and principle: the former is only sustainable where it does not unduly degrade the latter. So while pragmatism is crucial — and its lack is part of the Greens’ slender grip on electoral security — when not demonstrably backed by principle it is impermanent. As the ACT party, having abandoned their principled (if unpopular) commitment to hard liberalism are presently learning.

    I, too, am averse to abandoning parties on the basis of one policy position or bad decision (no matter how appalling). Else I’d never have voted for Labour because of the the Foreshore & Seabed Act, and probably have never given them the time of day in the first place because of Rogernomics. But I don’t think behaviour like this should be rewarded, so I’m not advocating people join up and enthusiastically try to make the parties better. It’s on the leaders to atone for their errors. They can start by being honest with their constituents: not running bullshit self-justification and employing their spin-doctors to run week-long defences of the indefensible.

    L

  36. BJ, no, it shouldn’t be the party’s only strategy. In that respect, if this does indicate a diversification of the Greens’ political game then that’s good, for what it’s worth. But this was not the time to strike out and try something a bit clever. If there was ever an issue upon which to make a symbolic stand, the dismantling of our democracy was it, no?

    There was nothing ‘smooth’ about it. This was political action on the hoof. To an extent that was forced by the Blitzkrieg manner in which the bill was brought to the house, but the Greens are wise to that sort of tactic. They’ve been warning NZ about it for most of a decade.

    L

  37. BJ, BLiP, Lew:

    Where I am coming from is that there is a place for both pragmatism and principle. But where I draw the line is where the pragmatism negates the principle. I can live with a pragmatic approach were it moves public policy less in the direction that the Greens would prefer. That is pragmatism.

    What I find difficult, is if the Greens support public policy that moves against Green principles and policy – as I have no doubt the Brownlee Enabling Act does. This is an abomination of an Act, that provides potential for the worst excesses of antidemocratic behaviour by a Government similar to that engaged in by Muldoon under the (thankfully repealed) Economic Stabilisation Act.

    That said, BLiP, I still think we should accept this is a mistake of judgment made under pressure of urgency by the Green MPs, and stick by the Green Party. I sent a somewhat intemperate email to Kennedy Graham last week. I don’t agree with his response, but I can accept where he was coming from as reasoned and thoughtful when the Green MPs made the decision to support the Bill at Third Reading. He wanted to be part of the Canterbury reconstruction effort, and had been given a clear message by the Government that if the Greens voted against the Bill they would be locked out of subsequent consultation.

    I am not suggesting that was the right decision, but I don’t think we should abandon the Greens because of it.

    Better option for people who are not Green members but support most Green policy, imo, is to join the Party and get involved. At least the Greens (unlike any other party) have lots of mechanisms to hold their caucus to account. Although, I have to admit, this instance reveals not sufficient to deal with urgent and controversial legislation.

    I’ll try to work on that too. Anyone going to join me?

  38. BLiP, Lew

    Yes, well summed up, the question it leaves is whether being principled should be the sole political strategy we use.

    In other words, it can be read as pushing pragmatic considerations straight out onto the street, but EVER so smoothly.

    I don’t think that’s what you meant. We need the balance, we need the principled approach and the pragmatic political considerations… After all, this particular pragmatist is simply applying a longer view to the needs of our other principles.

    Meh… I don’t WANT to make this thread longer.

    respectfully
    BJ

    :-)

  39. My latest thoughts on the matter are here. In short, when your political strategy is to be principled, then refusing to act on principle is not a pragmatic decision.

    Bravo! 300 posts summed up in one sentence.

  40. re dog photo/blog..sure..

    re ‘c’..i don’t see this as killing this incarnation of a green party…

    but i do see it as a bloody big alarm bell….ringing/pealing..

    and that’s a ‘shit!’ re sparky…..

    ..i am still grieving over nina…

    we are firmly off-topic..oh no..!..hang on..!

    option ‘c’ was entertained/discussed…

    ..we’re ok…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  41. Hey Phil! I didn’t get the SST this weekend (snowed in we were!) but I’ll get hold of one!
    Exciting! I’m looking foward to reading it/looking at the photo. The one I took of you and your gorgeous hounds on my veranda is a great photo and I’d like to post it on my blog – okay?

    (This looks to be the last week we’ll have my dog Sparky – he’s wound down to almost nothing now – that’s not going to be easy.)

  42. btw robert..didyou see the sunday startimes..?

    me and the dogs were in there..

    pushing/promoting/unveiling(?) the radical-concept of ..

    ..vegan-dogs…

    (the dogs look good…my chins are on show…

    ..but ya do that…for the cause…eh..?)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  43. and for all this talk of:..’what would the media have said?’…

    ..i am sure this has ‘the media’ somewhat bemused..

    ..given as in their interviews with the ‘astonished’ commmentators…

    ..they themselves have been expressing similar/agreeing surprise/puzzlement … at the greens’ actions..

    ..so..it is obvious they expected the greens to vote against this…

    does that not make a total pile of horse-shit of the norman-defence..

    ..of ‘what would the media have said?’…?

    (a defence lately disinterred by one robert guyon..)…?

    ..so…what does that leave him/them..?

    ..save for standing naked…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  44. Let’s tease out both possibilities Phil –
    The Greens fail because they decide to oppose ‘supporting Canterbury’
    or
    the Greens fail because their supporters abandon them in disgust.

    Which do you think the more likely?

  45. yr what if? is farcical/nonsensical….

    the greens not getting over 5% will come about with a mass-realisation of their irrelevancy..

    and that will be all their own doing…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  46. Now if pragmatic approaches consistently produce bad outcomes

    Which they do not.

    The problem with this decision has to do with a missed opportunity because there is a plausible strategy to prevent the problems that Robert and I both perceive as real from happening. That it took roughly a day before I came to that conclusion indicates that the pragmatic approach to this particular combination of issues provided no clear answer. Two sides of this issue and the memory of the brethren’s campaign still resonates on the risk side.

    If only an elite few are able to get it right, consistently

    I don’t think it works that way either. Most people who adopt pragmatism find that it works and know that it has limits. There is no elite to be selected. That we DO select an elite to govern us has nothing to do with pragmatism but is an artifact of self-government.

    I believe that if we are to achieve positive outcomes there has to be a balance between ethical and pragmatic approaches.

    I agree. Just exactly where that balance gets placed is another issue.

    Also the principle of sustainability I use when I don’t use pragmatism, is a little different from some of the other folks who wear Green. Social Justice is an aspect of sustainability, but for me it is the sustainability that is the touchstone. If another Josef Stalin showed up to unite the world in a brutal dictatorship… but forced it to become sustainable in the process I wouldn’t cheer but I would be relieved… because humans, even horrible dictators, last but a few 10’s of years and are always eventually replaced with saner humans (one wonders about North Korea though), but extinction is forever.

    I don’t think our caucus failed us by misplaced pragmatism but by failing to see the possibilities inherent in a situation which contained some real but actually manageable risks.

    On the other hand there is continuing argument from both sides over what will happen as a result of this decision, and over what would have happened if a different decision had been made. I suggest this speculation is a waste of time, mental energy, and good will.

    Right again. I still reckon our MPs should apologize contritely, but we HAVE to move on.

    …and I personally shouldn’t be here at all right now :-)

    Thanks for your help Geoff.

    respectfully
    BJ

  47. In an earlier comment I pointed out that while the consequences for us were all bad regardless of how we voted, by voting as we did we at least retained some control over them. One of those consequences is that by voting for the bill we have to be promptly informed of any Orders in Council. Since every other party voted against having any such orders gazetted within 24hours, it is only the Greens who can guarantee that these orders will be publicised and at least subjected to public and media scrutiny, despite judicial scrutiny being prohibited.

    By opting for the “better dead than red” position so strongly advocated by many on this thread the LabNACTs would have been given an unrestricted ability to implement the policies of their corporate backers. And have no illusions, the hidden agenda of the LabNACTs is to establish NZ as a Corporate State.

  48. Ooookay! How about this then – let’s say the media did use the Green’s opposition to ‘what Canterbury desperately needed at the time’ to damage the vote and the Greens missed out on the 5% needed to get across the line –
    Would the principled stand have been worthwhile?
    I’m saying ‘if’.

  49. um..!..no..!..robert…

    you are advancing nothing new there…just a rehash of the norman-excuse…

    and all those matters have been already dealt with/answered most ably…

    ..by the commenters in this thread…

    (and don’t get me started on the nine-years spent/wasted as clarks’ sock-puppet..eh..?

    a few hot water cylinders got wrapped..and that was about it..eh…?

    everything else environmentally…’went south’..eh..?..)

    i mean..even the ‘flagship’ house insulation scheme..from that era…

    ..has been ramped up to such a degree under nact…

    ..as to make the efforts under the labour/green regime..

    ..to become a thing of some embarrassment…eh..?..)

    basically what has brought the greens to this…

    is that instead of choosing two leaders..in tanczos/bradford..

    ..who were/are charismatic/very able debaters/arguers…

    (and steeped in principle-politics..)

    ..the membership bought into the (scare/anti)hype…

    ..and elected two ‘safe’ apparatchiks/career-politicians…

    ..who see the centre…

    …as their natural/self-interest home…

    ..what to do now…?

    ..now that this road has been taken/bed has been made…?

    ..hopefully they will see the errors of their ways…

    ..and go gangbusters to prove their critics wrong..

    ..(that’s my most optimistic/’convivial’-solution/outcome…)

    ..but there will need to be some serious soul-searching/discussion/re-branding before then…

    ..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  50. My latest thoughts on the matter are here. In short, when your political strategy is to be principled, then refusing to act on principle is not a pragmatic decision.

    L

  51. Phil – Coddington was a manic shrew on Q&A on Sunday, over the secondary teacher’s issue, whining on and on about performance pay til she was blue in the face (just sayin’)
    Here’s something to consider;
    The voting public has its dander up at present, as has the media. ACT, Hide, Roy and Garrett have given them/us a taste of blood and there is a willingness to eviscerate someone/something/anyone/anything just now.
    A Green Party refusal to back the recovery in Christchurch would have been the perfect fodder for the next meal – perfect!
    A small party, with a glaring issue, just waiting to be blown out of all proportion by the media and hungrilly gobbled up by the public.
    This could have been a very bad time for us.
    I have no doubt that wounded ACToids would have made a meal of it all.
    How about that, eh? (said in a convivial manner Phil, as you know).

  52. andrew campbell and deborah coddington on nat-rad just expressed their astonishment at both the greens voting for(great-leader) brownlee…

    campbell (who used to work for the greens/and is an avowed green supporter)..

    …also echoed what many here have been saying…

    that the greens have moved away from being a party of principles…

    ..and that they need to get back there…quick-smart…

    ..’cos they are giving every appearance of being lost…

    ..a party of nothing…

    ..campbell advises them to look to their past..

    …to what ‘worked’ before…

    ..(back when they were a party of principles…)

    ..and really…the rot really first showed when turei/the greens refused to promote her medical marijuana private members bill..

    (out of media/reactionary-fear…

    ..i mean..forget that over 50% of kiwis have at some time smoked…eh..?..)

    turei is a lawyer…and to ask us to believe she has not the skills to argue such a persuasive-case..is a stretch too far…

    (and once again..if she couldn’t perform that task..?..why is she there…?

    don’t forget..we are talking medical-marijuana here…

    ..not full legalisation/taxation…

    (which they should be arguing..but really…!…ha..!…eh..?..)

    so..now with the criticism almost universal…

    we are getting the same reaction as back when turei was asked to explain her inaction on the medical-cannabis bill..

    ..a sullen silence…

    ..and a refusal to engage..

    ..and that is not good enough…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  53. SJW

    I never claimed you *said* you hated him, just that you did… because you insulted him and said you would join the party in order to get rid of him… which allows reasonable people to draw the conclusion.

    …and we all know I didn’t make any of it up.

    So you are gone. Which is probably as good a result as I can hope for.

    Even though I didn’t want it and it isn’t “good”.

    People do scrap some here. Politely.

    I don’t think there are any really stupid people on this blog… everyone has something to contribute and anyone can be mistaken. We’ve got the politeness thing going and we like it that way. You were rude. QoT was crude.

    Maybe that works for you other places, maybe it shocks New Zealanders into submission. I didn’t particularly want to offend… but I’m from New York…. and holding back quite a bit.

    Lew and Felix and Phil and Ben and others here were persuasive… you were just… annoying (somehow still being polite).

    This thread is done. It has served its purpose and it would be a good idea for the MPs to take note of it and maybe work out how to cope with the fact that there is consensus that they did make an error.

    An apology really is in order as a result. That’s not going to help much in the real world but done is done and we have to move on.

    They also need to rebalance towards a more aggressive opposition.

    …and to limit the “kryptonite effect” (should that “but you voted for it” come up) they must all be prepared and primed with our amendments and who opposed them… because those have to be the IMMEDIATE response. Aggressively. This will not be as effective as having voted against it, but it can mitigate the damage. Each one of them has to know that response like a catechism and be able to deliver it like a hellfire and brimstone sermon.

    Otherwise I think I’m done with this. Calling me names here might get noticed… or not. I have a life outside this blog, not lately but I have to get back to it.

    Frog, it might even be a good idea to start a new one with something from our MPs (like an apology) and lock this one up… but you can’t lock this one until something new is available. That’s just a suggestion. Take or leave.

    respectfully
    BJ

  54. I have been impressed by the range and the passion of this debate, and particularly impressed by the quality of some of the comment.

    I am compelled to think that BJ chip represents the thinking of the Green Party caucus, and I believe that thinking, while ostensibly highly rational, is fundamentally flawed.

    The pragmatic approach depends on the ability of its practitioners to gauge the consequences of any action. An action which is anticipated to have desirable consequences is deemed to be a “good” action. But the theory falls down when we are unable to reliably predict consequences. It fell down in the case of the Earthquake Act because the caucus did not anticipate the outrage from Green party members and supporters.

    The caucus and BJ Chip now seem to concede that they “might have got it wrong” and try to defend themselves by saying that they “did not have the benefit of hindsight”. Yet pragmatism depends on the ability to assess consequences before the event. If you can’t foresee consequences, then it is safer to take an ethical position. It does not appear that the caucus took an ethical position on the Earthquake Act. They took a pragmatic position, and they miscalculated consequences in at least one very important respect. They laid claim to foresight, and they got it seriously wrong. In other words, they failed. For a pragmatist to end up with unintended consequences is equivalent to an idealist undertaking a “wrong” or “sinful” action. It is a failure on one’s own terms.

    The theory of pragmatism is that actions are justified by good outcomes. Now if pragmatic approaches consistently produce bad outcomes, or unintended consequences, then pragmatism fails as a philosophical system by its own criteria. If only an elite few are able to get it right, consistently, then pragmatism may in theory be a workable philosophical system, but would remain problematic in practice because one would need to have reliable ways of selecting that suitably qualified group of elite decision makers. That process of selection, as we have seen in western economies and political systems of the current era, is fraught with difficulty to the extent that it should be avoided as far as possible.

    I am stating the case against pragmatism, because it has been largely unchallenged in modern secular societies, but I do not go so far as to say there is no place for it. I believe that if we are to achieve positive outcomes there has to be a balance between ethical and pragmatic approaches. Recent events show that balance has been lacking in the Green Party caucus, but it is not so lacking in the Green Party itself. There have been some very wise, balanced and thoughtful contributions to this thread from Green Party members who understand that there are times to be pragmatic, and times to take a stand on principle. I get the feeling those voices have been muted within the Green Party over recent years. They should be heard.

    On the other hand there is continuing argument from both sides over what will happen as a result of this decision, and over what would have happened if a different decision had been made. I suggest this speculation is a waste of time, mental energy, and good will. Don’t fret over what will happen, or would have happened. Just get on with the job, and deal with what actually does happen. But next time, make sure you do the right thing. Not the smart thing. Not the popular thing. Not the socially acceptable thing. Not the politically expedient thing. Not even the prudent thing. The right thing. That is the way forward if you have the courage to take it.

  55. Those on the right who place principle before partisanship (which leads such as Farrar to support a National Party authoritarianism they would not accept from Labour) are equally concerned about the legislation.

    http://pc.blogspot.com/

  56. bjchip:
    you are a pathetic liar.
    i not once said i hate anyone.
    you choose to make shit up,
    your motives i can only guess at,
    but your straw man tactics are your most foul modus operandi.

    @robertguyton
    yes, goodbye from me.

  57. SJW

    “please show me where i said what you attribute to me”

    I quoted you directly.

    You can find YOUR words in YOUR posts by searching back through this thread using my post as a reference.

    If your goal was to be offended or offensive, you succeeded before you ever encountered me and you got offensive with me, not the other way around. I didn’t pick this fight mate, you did. If you don’t like the way it worked out for you… Don’t pick fights!

    BJ

  58. Hemebond, thanks for letting us know about the “Shock Doctrine”. I’ve just reserved it from the library and look forward to reading it.

  59. Hemebond – the ‘Shock Doctrine’ article is very interesting.
    Q – Who wouldn’t exploit such a situation?
    A – The Green Party.
    sjw – so it’s goodbye from you.
    Valis – perhaps indirectly then, her message has gotten through (I’ll certainly take that wager!)

  60. I’m betting Sue Bradford has contacted each of our Green MPs and monstered them over the way they voted on this bill!

    Afraid I’d lay money that she contacted none of them.

  61. bj wrote:
    Remember some of the bombs you’ve been throwing in this forum before accusing others. You have featured prominently in the insults category here.

    your constant, unrelenting an unapologetic method of putting words into other commenters’ mouths and accusing other comenters is quite disgusting.
    please show me where i said what you attribute to me.
    quoting parts of what i said to infer things is not sufficient.
    if your goal is to deter me from ever contributing here again or ever voting Green again, i can honestly say that you have probably achieved your goal.

  62. I’m betting Sue Bradford has contacted each of our Green MPs and monstered them over the way they voted on this bill!
    I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that!
    Perhaps that explains the radio silence.

  63. “So so so… you all can count me as persuaded that this was an error. Can you at the same time allow it is not a catastrophe?”
    .

    I never saw it as catastrophe, but certainly a missed opportunity. The real reason that my rage at this has transferred to the greens is that they are the party I voted for and whose vote was opposite to my expectations of such. I expect this BS from National but not the greens.

    As I said earlier, in light of Labour’s flaccid deflation the Greens should be finding strategies to take Labour’s place (and as much of their vote as possible) to step up and become The opposition. It’s clear that all we can expect from Labour at the next election is attempts to be exactly like National.

    This was an opportunity to say that it is not acceptable to erode our democratic rights to such a degree even in a time of disaster and that a government that would propose to do so has nothing but contempt for the rights of the people they purport to represent.

    what’s done is done, so let’s chalk it up and move on.

  64. and i dunno if you saw q&a..but sue bradford was unable to hide her dismay at both labour and the greens..

    ..for their passing of this bill…

    (so…were nandor/sue running the greens..

    ..it is clear it would be a different model from this one…)

    and in britain..clegg has just told the lib-dems to forget about being a leftwing alternative to labour…

    ..and to ‘just enjoy being in power’…

    why am i thinking a similar speech from norman/turei ..

    …is just a ministerial heartbeat away…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  65. could we try on trade-me…?

    ‘green party wants/needs ‘big brass ones’…

    (this is a matter of some urgency…!..)

    applications..(with photo)..to etc etc…?

    or … should the query be filed under ‘lost & found’…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  66. bjchip just drop it. You’ve made your point in about 42 ways now and we’ve all read it and none of us (well, almost none) agrees with you. I’m unsubscribing now. Everything has been said.

  67. Phil

    I agree with you. See my comment from yesterday evening about it probably being worth the risk. They ARE making too conservative an approach to being in opposition. I don’t think it is their seats they are concerned about but this does rather underscore that we could use someone with big brass ones to make our points… and that doesn’t appear to be what we have.

    respectfully
    BJ

  68. Ben

    I think your point is good, and I would say Goebbels was the source, without looking it up.

    What I think you are missing is that the deference to bureaucratic authority here is an ingrained habit.

    New Zealanders have a system without a written and explicit constitutional law, without explicit law with respect to electoral processes ( it is up to the electoral commission to decide ), or assault (it is up to the police to decide)… and I am sure the list is a lot longer. The system works pretty well for the most part…

    Largely because they DO get upset when something is exposed as being done by some individual deciding, or in violation of their common perception of fairness… and they have a reasonably decent free press.

    So I do not perceive the same degree of risk that you do…

    At the same time, I would not want to see the Green Party make this sort of decision again.

    BJ

  69. bj…aside from the ‘anti-democratic’ aspects of this vote…

    ..what has me mildly agitated is the wasted opportunity for the green party leadership to stand up….for what is right/correct..

    ..and thus be given the opportunity to explain/enhance themselves…

    …a pulpit..as it were…

    ..they constantly whinge that the media ignores them….

    ..and they missed this opportunity to point out the possible downsides in (precedent-setting) voting for the suppression of all democratic rights..

    and as i said before…if they are incapable of performing that (not difficult you’d think..?) task..

    ..and terrified by the/any prospect of having to..?

    ..they should just f*ck off..and let someone else try..

    ..eh..?

    i mean.. you add this to the other policy of principle they totally wimped out on..

    ..the medical marijuana members bill that turei/the green party totally/ineptly/willfully mis-handled/ignored..

    ..and for those same ‘but what would the media say..?’-reasons..

    ..and you get a clear picture of a party caring for little..

    ..but their own survival…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  70. Felix – I want you to know that whoever down-ticked your comment, it wasn’t me :-) I reckon you’ve done us all a lot of good here just now.

    Thanks
    BJ

  71. Phil

    There are only two points IMHO that argue that this vote was correct.

    1. That there is a risk of a later attack on us based on our vote, as having abandoned the people of Canterbury with various vicious lies attached.

    a. in their hour of need
    b. for our ideology
    c. because we hate growth
    d. because we hate roads
    .
    .
    .

    2. Because the people of Canterbury do in fact need to do things quickly (this summer) and have no time for all the various considerations and consultations we normally impose by law.

    There are (as noted by many people now) quite a few points to argue that it was not correct. I am persuaded that it may not have been, as a good pre-emptive attack on the first point could turn it into a vote winner… unless of course this government does NOT abuse its power. (Yeah Right!)

    So so so… you all can count me as persuaded that this was an error. Can you at the same time allow it is not a catastrophe? That what we DID do in opposition was not nothing, and that there are and were real risks with the perceptions of the general public (which isn’t anyone here at this point in this thread ) attending to such a vote?

    respectfully
    BJ

  72. Generally speaking I believe that the Green party’s strongest position to work from is in the context of the broader left political movement

    Broader left… yes, we are that. Sustainability is inherently left of center as a concept ( “Reality has a notorious left-wing bias” ).

    However, I think that our strongest position has to also ensure that the far-left radicals are not catered to at the expense of the overall vote. The center isn’t where we want to be, but we cannot stray too far.

    At 5-8% we are at the far-left fringe of electability. There is no substantial voter pool further left of us from which to draw and going THERE will only abandon what little power we have. Of course this isn’t exactly a left-right spectrum. We should note that Greens are about sustainability.

    Sustainability in finance for instance, resonates extremely well with Libertarians. Sustainability in society is of course, the basis for our emphasis on social equality.

    Which argues that sustainability is the vector to focus on, not left-right-ism (socialism-capitalism ?).

    However, in this case the instinctive reaction of the left is quite possibly the correct one.

    The error of too conservative an approach to our opposition involves considerations that the far left doesn’t ever entertain, though the not so far left has been known to think about them.

    One questions whether there was a new thing here, whether the fact that the impetus to use our vote to “make a statement” in addition to all the statements we’d already made, was coming from the left, actually weighed against it at a higher level – ( I have to hope not, as that instinctive recoil from the way the bill was phrased and presented is a valuable thing to have and MUST be considered as one of the touchstones for the decisions we made ) – or whether there was indeed no voice for that revulsion among our MPs, who were the ONLY people present to make the decision (which would perhaps be worse).

    I don’t think either of those things is true, but I suspect that some of the folks here think one or both of them is operating.

    My view is that any amount of power and influence is worthless if you arrive at it without your principles intact.

    Yes.

    respectfully
    BJ

  73. BLiP

    to “symbolise” opposition to laws which run counter to our policy – that’s their job. Following your logic, the MPs might as well stay at home because every vote against the government is symbolic.

    That is a good point. Yet if our expression of opposition lends itself to easy distortion as this does, we run a risk of not being able to gain any of our policy objectives.

    On balance and in hindsight we may have made a mistake, but I don’t think that totally discounting that risk as is being done by some here, is justified either.

    respectfully
    BJ

  74. And not a word after “but you voted for it” will be worth a damn out there in the cold, pragmatic world of realpolitik which the Greens have now decided to enter. In that world “but you voted for it, so STFU”

    You might be right… I don’t think it is as bad as that, because the context in which such discussions occur allow the arguments to be aired… but you may be right in terms of the government itself.

    Moreover, we’d best have ready a list of the amendments that failed to go through and the parties who voted against them, so that the instant the Kryptonite is brought out, the counterstrike can be made immediately. It is true that unless it is the very next thing said in such a debate, that it will be ignored.

    Our amendments that the other parties voted down may mean nothing when debating a government spokesperson…. but discussing it with a media talking-head? The context will be some abuse of the law we attempted to amend …which will be publicized well enough to prove us correct.

    Overall I am persuaded this may have been a wrong decision. My previously expressed choice to take the risk to make the point more strongly, speaks to that.

    What I cannot however see, is any reason for the seriously bad tempers displayed by a few here. We’ve had 2 days of discussing this and our MPs had much much less than that to consider it and none to consult with us. The considerations that lead me to hesitate before deciding to take the risk and vote against were far more prominent and immediate for them.

    This is not the end of the world people. Even if it was a mistake.

    respectfully
    BJ

  75. SJW

    You’ve made the point that you hate Dr Norman

    you really are quite the straw man artist, aren’t you?

    (You to Dr Norman)
    “your lack of integrity and thoughtfulness is breathtaking.”

    “i will definitely consider joining the Green Party with the goal of having you removed from the co-leadership and MMP list.”

    You wanted to join in order to vote the man out. WTF. You want to take that back? Remember some of the bombs you’ve been throwing in this forum before accusing others. You have featured prominently in the insults category here.
    (directed at me, and I hadn’t formed any opinion of you nor insulted you at all at that point)
    “your last comment appears to be a rambling load of compost.”

    The amount of insult you’ve engaged in here, and comments like “end of the the Green party as we know it” are simply over-the-top.

    because they have the luxury of hindsight

    nothing to do with hindsight.
    hindsight is when something turns out in a way one could not reasonably predict.

    No… redefining hindsight isn’t going to be permitted in your attempt to fix blame here. Which is what you are clearly trying to do.

    “the ability to understand, after something has happened, what should have been done or what caused the event”

    ….has nothing to do with “reasonable expectations” and everything to do with being caught up in the moment.

    The nonsense coming from people who have TRANSFERRED their rage that this bill was impossible to prevent, to Greens who did all they could do except risk political suicide, to prevent it, is damaging indeed. I allowed that there were aspects of this that could be regarded as mistaken.

    The “purists” here have however, no ability to allow that the result is anything but our fault.

    We didn’t write the bill, we tried but could not amend the bill, we could not stop the bill.

    What this country needs is a Constitution to sit on Brownlee and his ilk. Something more substantial than vague hand-waving and references to Te Tiriti. Not fixing blame. We have to fix the problem.

    You have been one of the clearest voices calling for what amounts to the destruction of the party as it exists and its replacement with something that conforms to your expectations, though you have yet to explain what that might be, or the degree to which it would actually be electable and gain power in the REAL world.

    So I find your diatribes offensive…. and I have shown you the reasons…. and I have so far I think, managed to refrain from direct insult.

    Do you think you can pull it in and discuss it calmly or do you want to go directly for the gutter?

    BJ

  76. bj wrote:
    You’ve made the point that you hate Dr Norman

    you really are quite the straw man artist, aren’t you?
    personally, i think attributing specific things to specific people when they did not write anything of the sort is far more vitriolic than calling someone’s excuses “sad-arsed”.
    but that’s just my opinion, eh?
    and you are entitled to yours, too.
    but please, enough of the fictitious attributions, ok?

  77. bj wrote:
    because they have the luxury of hindsight

    nothing to do with hindsight.
    hindsight is when something turns out in a way one could not reasonably predict.
    voting for legislation that these MPs argued was very bad is just a huge blunder.
    they did not want to be seen to be out of step with everyone else.
    in my assessment, that kind of thinking is the beginning of the end for the Green Party as we know it.
    i really hope the party can come back from this and tell their supporters how they (1) intend to make amends; and (2) will try to ensure this type of bad judgment is not repeated in the future. the people who want to vote Green are entitled to know how they intend to sort this out. it is not minor and cannot be brushed off with a “we were only doing the best we could in very difficult circumstances” explanation.

  78. It strikes me the defenders of the Green’s vote on this need to remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Whatever the short term reasons are for a decision such as this, one must also think about the long term consequences.

  79. …directed principally at QoT, sjw, felix and Jeremy Harris… how would you describe your political positions in general?

    Green voter. Was a member, but have let it lapse due to dissatisfaction with the direction the party appears to be taking under the current co-leadership. This most recent blunder is just the latest in a long line of decisions in what is often described as a “dash for the centre”.

    Generally speaking I believe that the Green party’s strongest position to work from is in the context of the broader left political movement and I see that position being eroded. The current Green leadership seems to have embraced the idea that attaining and retaining power for the party itself is more important than holding on to that principled ground.

    My view is that any amount of power and influence is worthless if you arrive at it without your principles intact.

  80. Following your logic, the MPs might as well stay at home because every vote against the government is symbolic.

    Exactly, BLiP. If they can vote for this on the grounds that “it was going to pass regardless” then they may as well vote for almost everything the govt puts up. It’s a ridiculous argument.

    BJ, fair point about the hindsight. For the record, I’m not one of those who think the Green MPs did this out of any self-interest. I just think they made (in hindsight) a really dumb tactical mistake.

  81. bj said:

    First that the vote itself could only be symbolic, a message, and second that that message could absolutely be distorted when the election rolls around.

    First, the Green MPs are in parliament to “symbolise” opposition to laws which run counter to our policy – that’s their job. Following your logic, the MPs might as well stay at home because every vote against the government is symbolic. Second, there’s now no need for any message to be “distorted” because the record shows, in black in white, that when fate looked our MPs in the eye and asked “well, what about it?” they collectively pissed their pants. Worse than that, they stood up and made great speeches about why the legislation was so bad but then *still* voted for it!! They couldn’t have handed Crosby/Textor a better example of utter hypocrisy.

  82. let’s boil it down to basics..bj..

    how about using (concise) bullet-points to list the reason(s) why they should have voted for it..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  83. About a week before the earth quake I began reading Naomi Kleins’ The Shock Doctrine. It’s about the rise of disaster capitalism and it was quite a scary coincidence when I read about this law being introduced here in New Zealand. Has anyone else here read this book?

  84. Yes Felix, those people could call me a hypocrite and if *I* were interviewed by one of them and they did I would be able to come back at them with the amendments we offered that THEIR favorite mother fornicating parties voted down… and ask them sweetly about the actual needs of the people of Canterbury, and I probably would do it just that way too. Because that would get a lot of press. I can be a not-very-nice person.

    The hypocrisy charge works both ways here though, because if we are complaining about some abuse of power they will have to be defending that abuse of power or agreeing with us…. and either way the abuse gets air-time.

    You have a point that they can make the charge, and I have to agree that it COULD make our work a bit more difficult, but I think that the argument that we have been silenced by this vote is not as powerful as you do.

    Damned if we did and damned if we didn’t and no time to decide and now people with the benefit of hindsight are biting the part that they can see.

    :-)

    BJ

  85. BJ,

    “if they give us such idiotic cr@p we can give it back chapter and verse”

    And not a word after “but you voted for it” will be worth a damn out there in the cold, pragmatic world of realpolitik which the Greens have now decided to enter. In that world “but you voted for it, so STFU” is the super-hero version of the “Nine Long Years” gambit which paralysed the Nats from 1999-2004 and has paralysed Labour for the term so far. You can’t beat it; in the battle of the soundbite, it’s political kryptonite because when they say it, they’re right. You voted for it: it’s your law, you swing by the same rope as the rest if and when it all comes apart. And so you should.

    The māori party look like they’re about to learn this lesson with the replacement for the FSA. The Greens have a strong and well-articulated position on this issue. Just look at the contrast.

    L

  86. bj

    (someone) this is the Greens cannot ever, ever, EVER question Gerry Brownlee’s orders-in-council because they f#$%ing SUPPORTED IT

    (bjchip) Qot, you seem to think we can’t take it to Brownlee because of this vote, in spite of our objections before the vote which made if [unneeded profanity] clear that we didn’t “support” it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocrisy … Don’t even try to argue any further. You’ve reached the wall, thank you.

    (me) This thread will soon be illegal and/or impossible to read, the thoughts in here will be against the law, those silenced who speak up.

    (bjchip) No Benjamin. That’s not going to happen here now. Stupid as the LAW actually is there is no way that New Zealanders will stand for that sort of abuse.. not yet, not for a little earthquake at any rate. New Zealanders are very jealous of their “free speech”. Too jealous perhaps, but that sort of thing is still far out of reach for them. Any attempt to move in that direction would probably bring down the government entirely… from inside… and not slowly either.

    May I refer you to my comment posted on September 15, 2010 at 8:56 PM here please.

    Also, I don’t know who said it but the quote goes that when one doesn’t know history then one is bound to repeat it. And if you (Russel, Norman, Gareth n all too) had done your history homework then you would have recognised on the spot that this is how authoritarian regimes are made. Textbook really.

  87. Yes Phil, it is messy, and I truly don’t know that this was NOT a mistake, but I can’t believe some of the stuff that people are willing to accuse us of because they have the luxury of hindsight.

    BJ

  88. Before we voted we told them it was a sh!t law and if they give us such idiotic cr@p we can give it back chapter and verse and ask them why THEY rejected the amendments and we can ask if they really really wanted to not aid Canterbury given the emergency.

    Getting people to examine the facts happens no matter which side of the debate you come in from…. and our vote is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for abuse of the law.

    However, I also gave examples of the sort of lies that are available to the parallel campaigners, and when that happens in the campaign it is a very real danger that can’t get answered.

    I think people are making a big deal over a small thing… a vote when no change to the law would have been made anyway, and I know that that cuts both ways. “We knew that Canterbury would get its aid anyway no matter how we voted”.

    I just don’t think this was as big a mistake as it is being blown up to be and I am incredibly frustrated by the reasoning that isn’t being done. First that the vote itself could only be symbolic, a message, and second that that message could absolutely be distorted when the election rolls around.

    I can see how this may have been a missed opportunity at some levels, and QoT was quite articulate earlier, about how we might have spun it over the next week or so. That isn’t the time of risk IMHO. The risk comes when most people have forgotten everything else, but the vote is still on the public record and we go into an election. How much of a risk? Nobody knows. On past performance by National and its fellow-travelers, it is significant.

    SJW – most of my impression comes from QoT, but there are others who are “politely” vitriolic, implying among other things that our MPs reasoned this way in order to keep their jobs. You know that has showed up here… the word craven was used… and I find most of the anger to be without actual logic. I am sorry, but the reasoning is very very poor… and then there is this from you (among others).

    “just sad-arsed rationalisation of an extremely poor decision”

    … which is YOUR opinion of the quality of the decision and a rather interesting choice of words if you did not intend to be insulting. Vitriol can be politely phrased and still be vitriolic.

    We aren’t silenced, and we did not silence ourselves.

    You have been one of the more aggressive people here. You want to debate that? Phil is Phil and we get on well because he’s very catholic about it, he insults everyone and we know him well. You’ve made the point that you hate Dr Norman quite thoroughly because he made what MIGHT be a bad decision under pressure. You can’t tell me that you know what is going to happen at the next election because you don’t, nobody does. We CAN remember past elections however, with lies from TV3 and pamphlets from the brethren and all the rest of the shenanigans that the hooligans of the right wing get up to.

    So telling me that the danger of that isn’t real is simply wrong.

    Still it MIGHT have been the right thing to do, to risk that and vote against anyway. I don’t think so because I don’t see that much upside to it unless we could actually force the country to come to the debate and face the fact that their leaders had made an utterly cr@p law.

    COULD we have done that? I don’t know. The decision had to be made without much debate about the possibilities. We all learned of it after the fact. I don’t know for certain how I would have taken the issue on if I were an MP. I think I might have voted “no” and taken the risk that I could get people to listen. Maybe. Remember however, that our amendments were voted down with no support even from Labour… all day.

    No, it was not a good situation for making a good decision, and this one was harder than most… but “sorry-arsed” ? The GOVERNMENT is to blame for putting this through this way, not the Greens.

    I can accept that in some ways this was a mistake because there was an opportunity here. Can you understand that in some ways it may not have been, because there is a countervailing risk?

    Join the party and vote Russell out and what will you gain? My question has to do with that vision you have… because it may be a good vision, but I don’t think it counts well the reality of politics.

    I’m done here I think. I don’t see anyone making any new points and I don’t see any particularly good alternatives being presented. The error, if it was an error, cannot be characterized as the disaster it has been.

    BJ

  89. ah well..bj…10/10 for effort..eh..?

    in polishing the turd..

    (messy tho’..eh..?..however you look at it…that turd-polishing…eh..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  90. BJ,

    Twice now it has been patiently explained to you why your silly strawman is so silly and yet there you go again, in the first sentence of your comment.

    You’re attributing statements (and sentiments) to people who never said anything of the sort.

    Of course you can write Farrar off as a nutjob – no argument from me there – but who is suggesting otherwise? He happens to write (one of?) the most frequently read blogs in the country.

    Whether you or I agree with him is irrelevant, just as it’s irrelevant what you think of John Campbell, Barry Soper, that walrus-looking guy on TV1, Paul Henry, Noelle McCarthy, or any of the other people who are going to tell the people of NZ, over and over again, that the Greens are hypocritical to oppose the effects of this law after voting for it. Do you get this? It doesn’t matter if the criticism is legitimate or not, it will still undermine all of our best efforts.

    Please take a moment to read what QoT, myself and others have written before responding again. It’s ok to have a difference of opinion about this but quite another thing to misrepresent other people’s statements.

  91. Gosh QoT

    Farrar is such an authority. His pronouncements have the force of law?

    He is so full of sh!t that if we gave him an enema we could bury him in a shoebox. He can say what he likes and we can tell him he is full of it too, just not on “his” blog as he is a hypersensitive wuss besides being full of sh!t.

    So once again, how are we actually declawed? We can speak, we can continue to move amendments, we can call Brownlee what he is.

    We can and you know it, and whether you are a green or a left-left hanger-on, or something else I AM curious about where the bulk of the vitriol is coming from. I missed that you had linked to your own blog there… not everyone does their own blog and I was curious about all, not just you, but I apologize for missing that.

    Someplace along the way, you lost perspective on this issue. Likely early in the piece as you appear to be one angry angry person, and have some other issues with us. I can’t fix that, but I am not inclined to argue cases with you about all the things you are angry about.

    Anger doesn’t help anything at all. Ever. If you allow your enemy to make you angry you have handed him another weapon with which to strike you. If you become angry it prevents you from acting rationally. It helps you to alienate people who would otherwise be your friends and makes people who simply did not notice before dislike you.

    Your business. I try not to become angry, here or anywhere. It isn’t productive. You are angry with us, but not because of something that is real.

    What is clear however, is that we aren’t going to overcome the chip you have on your shoulder with respect to Greens. This isn’t the only issue involved. I see that. Which is fine. One has to ask why you bothered to come here in that case, but the answer to that is actually self-evident.

    So so so… but you will see that you (and David Farrar) are wrong about what we can say about this bill, vote or no vote.

    BJ

  92. Explain to me the law that prevents us from objecting to his actions when he goes over-the-top. You won’t because there is no such f#%@! law Which means that your “analysis” is fundamentally wrong.

    Are you actually serious with that strawman, BJ? Really? Of course there’s no “law” against it. There’s just the fact that people like me who are trying to explain why the Greens have just voluntarily declawed themselves have already been vindicated. (H/T to felix for spotting that).

    And sorry, but I don’t actually feel the need to justify your insinuations about what part of the political spectrum I’m on. You could take the effort to click my name and read my previous writing, but feel free to just continue implying that the dozens of negative comments here aren’t really from Green supporters instead.

  93. RE: Kiwi ingenuity and two story “relocatables.” I have already done it. I was research director for Industrialised building Systems in the mid seventies. Go to this URL for a summary of prefabricated building in NZ”:
    http://www.hera.org.nz/Folder?Action=View%20File&Folder_id=105&File=Offsite%20Unplugged.pdf
    Then read what we achieved. We won international prizes and were also negotiating a licence in the US when the recession brought us down.
    The Xibis house (there is one opposite the Mangere Town centre, had a modular ground floor and a loft upper story with dormer windows that was prefabricated and assembled on site. The on site assembly took one day.

    2.5 1950s-70s: Modernism
    A number of prefabricated homes were available in the 1950s to 1970s, including architect Roger
    Walker’s Vintage Homes, Robert Lockwood’s Modulock Homes, and Keith Clark’s Industrialised
    Building Systems (IBS). Few of these prefabricated housing businesses survive in their original form.
    In the late 1960s Industrialised Building Systems (IBS) began under the leadership of Palmerston
    North property developer Keith Clark. The IBS team ambitiously planned for three separate consortia
    in New Zealand and six in Australia with each factory forecast to produce up to 1200 homes per
    annum, or 25 per week.14 The IBS design was based on a system of room modules which enabled
    ‘parts [to] be re-sold back to the factory, additional ones bought, and worn out ones replaced’.15 By
    1972 a 1400 square foot family house, a motel unit and a weekend home were built in the IBS factory
    at Avondale. Stage Two of IBS was the creation of Xibis (pronounced Zybiss), a house consisting of
    ground floor modules, with roof panels installed on site to create the second storey. Despite
    considerable interest from customers in New Zealand, Australia and the United States, IBS collapsed
    in 1978 during the economic recession. IBS left a legacy of enduring successes, one of them being
    that they created the first one-piece fibreglass showers, which are still evident in New Zealand homes
    today.

  94. BJ,

    Your response to QoT is such a man of straw argument that it barely requires rebuttal, but anyway…

    No-one has said there is a “law” which states that you can’t go after Brownlee and this act – it’s hilarious that you chose those words to emphasise in your comment btw – the point is that when Green MPs do take Brownlee to task (as I’m sure they will), they will be flatly told by the govt, by the media, and by every political commentator in the country to suck it up because they voted for it too.

    Yeah it may be unfair, but it always is with Green politics. Get used to those words “you voted for it too” because you’re going to be hearing them an awful lot from all sides whenever this issue is raised.

    From a purely cynical marketing point of view it’s a terrible slogan to have attached to your brand. Surely that’s the kind of thing a pragmatist should be concerned with.

  95. Paul

    I think that from here our MPs have to redouble their efforts to get some oversight into place and keep Brownlee in such a glare of scrutiny that he doesn’t dare break wind, and make sure the law is duly expired and not extended.

    Otherwise our business is to ensure that the rebuilding is done with something more than a passing nod to ecologically sound, energy efficient construction.

    …and we get on with the things that actually have to be made sustainable, like the economy, the monetary system… getting a constitutional convention organized, the need for which seems a lot clearer in the aftermath of this bill.

    How about clearly separating powers. As in, lawyers can become judges and sit in the court and decide stuff, but they CANNOT BECOME MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT. A Maori upper house, which appoints its own PM, and our house of reps which appoints a PM, and for something to be law the two have to agree, but this arrangement replaces the treaty of Waitangi, as it gives the Maori joint governance.

    Just for starters.

    respectfully
    BJ

  96. .are the same as you made/make in support of the green parliamentarians doing absolutely nothing with the medical marijuana bill….

    I did? I do? I don’t think you are reading ME here, because I don’t and didn’t.

    I was persuaded long ago that with more than 50% of popular approval for marijuana reform, and only 8% of the vote, we aren’t likely to be limiting ourselves in any way by espousing that particular cause. It won’t cost us votes. The people who aren’t voting for us who could…. aren’t avoiding us because of marijuana.

    Something I pointed out inside the party fora over a year ago…

    See, this pragmatist sh!t can work for you too :-)

    BJ

  97. and really….ten years+ of green mp’s has brought us what..?..exactly…?

    ten years of this let’s-be-cuddly-for-everyone…

    ..has brought us/the environment what..?…exactly..?

    on all levels we are worse off…

    the whole (appeasing) green party parliamentary arc…

    ..has been a lesson in abject failure…

    ..the only ‘result’ has been for the career/opportunist mp’s..

    ..(you know who you are..!…)

    those who see/have used the green party as a vehicle for personal ambition..

    and are really…in their personal lives..

    so far removed from ‘green’…

    as to be a sick joke…

    (bbq..?..anyone..?..’love that new leather jacket..!’)

    and these mp’s are all standing on the shoulders of the commenters in this thread…

    (not that you’d know it…from their studious ignoring of the very real questions/issues raised in this thread/by their actions..

    ..eh…?

    ..their no-show does bring the phrase ‘gutless-bastards’ to mind tho’..

    ..eh..?

    ..that..and their overweening contempt/ignoring for/of those on whose shoulders they stand..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  98. this is the Greens cannot ever, ever, EVER question Gerry Brownlee’s orders-in-council because they f#$%ing SUPPORTED IT

    Qot, you seem to think we can’t take it to Brownlee because of this vote, in spite of our objections before the vote which made if f#$%ing clear that we didn’t “support” it.

    Explain to me the law that prevents us from objecting to his actions when he goes over-the-top. You won’t because there is no such f#%@! law Which means that your “analysis” is fundamentally wrong.

    We have not silenced ourselves. We know that but why are you banging on about it as though we have? Because that is the only way to make this the catastrophe that you want to present? Because that is the only way to turn the party back into a bunch of fuzzy headed idealists shouting slogans in the streets?

    The viciousness and lack of logic in some of these attacks indicate to me that there is another card in play here. Is there?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I am also curious, in a neutral way, about where in the political spectrum some of this is actually coming from. In other words, directed principally at QoT, sjw, felix and Jeremy Harris… how would you describe your political positions in general? I think asking is more reasonable than guessing.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    This thread will soon be illegal and/or impossible to read, the thoughts in here will be against the law, those silenced who speak up.

    No Benjamin. That’s not going to happen here now. Stupid as the LAW actually is there is no way that New Zealanders will stand for that sort of abuse.. not yet, not for a little earthquake at any rate. New Zealanders are very jealous of their “free speech”. Too jealous perhaps, but that sort of thing is still far out of reach for them. Any attempt to move in that direction would probably bring down the government entirely… from inside… and not slowly either.

    respectfully
    BJ

  99. c’mon bj..!..whats to ‘consult’ about…?

    it’s a no-brainer…!

    and..y’know..!..all these incrementalist/pragmatist/don’t-scare-the-horses arguments you have been presenting..

    ..are the same as you made/make in support of the green parliamentarians doing absolutely nothing with the medical marijuana bill….

    ..eh..?

    they didn’t apply there…

    and they don’t apply here either…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  100. We are arguing here, perhaps, about what many of us feel was a failure in appropriate decision making which is only one small part of this party’s raison d’etre.

    …and which was rendered impractical by the use, by National of urgency due to the emergency. There was no time to consult.

    BJ

  101. I agree with almost everything you’ve said jock, except the part where the only guiding principle violated was decision making. It seems theres 2 camps here, one that thinks that the ecologically wise and socially responsible thing to do was take a position that best guaranteed these principles could be fought for in the future, and those that think these principles were grossly violated by voting for the bill.

    Idealistically all parties have far more to think about than their core policies/principles, and I for one (and not the only) would have thought democracy (being as it’s the vessel they use to institute their policies/principles) would be at the top of the list for all parties. And thats not mentioning the potential social and ecological ramifications of this act.

    And the pragmatists fear that if they stick to their principles too thoroughly they won’t have the opportunity to fight for them in the future. Or perhaps I just don’t understand the pragmatic viewpoint.

    So what other lessons have we learned that I missed? And where do we go from here, since we are where we are whether we like it or not?

  102. I wonder if it’s time to wind up this thread. As usual, when threads go on interminably, things start to get a bit out of hand, the postings become repetitive and/or less relevant, and ad hominems become more apparent.

    We are a group of very disparate people trying to make some sense of the world and our society, united for the most part under the four guiding principle of this party – Ecological Wisdom, Social Responsibility, Appropriate Decision Making and Non-Violence – principles that are worth restating here; I have an assumption that the four principles were chosen to reflect something of traditional Maori values in their “Te Whare Tapa Wha”.

    We are arguing here, perhaps, about what many of us feel was a failure in appropriate decision making which is only one small part of this party’s raison d’etre. We will have many much more difficult matters to contend with over the next few years, that will test us all, not just in the Green Party, but in our national and world community.

    For the most part, this party functions well, and our quarrels are at least worthy ones, not like the tawdry ones of many other parties, as long as no-one finds out that Russell is an Australian immigrant who’s overstayed his visa, that is.

    But these arguments have been well worth it. I wonder if our parliamentary representatives feel a bit punch drunk, may be even a bit resentful of some of the comments here? They’d only be human if they did. It would have been a bit bruising for them to have seen the vehemence expressed here.

    But as I pointed out in an earlier post, Labour MPs have come under the same withering criticism.

    This was more than anything a failure of our system. Much the same sort of urgency, the acceptance of a need for action, hyped up media reporting and lack of thought and examination, and resolve to seem “united”, or to support a worthy cause was seen in the UK in the time leading up to the Iraq war, though of course this failure was of several orders of magnitude bigger, with a catastrophic and lethal effect on hundreds of thousands of innocent people. The people of Canterbury will suffer some shoddy decision making process and likely some shoddy redevelopments, and a temporary, but very serious loss of their normal rights as citizens, but hopefully no lives will be lost, and normal order will eventually be restored.

    So a sense of proportion wouldn’t go amiss. At the same time, this was a very important failure of our Parliament, and the Green party, through the actions of Green MPs, has its own share of the blame. I trust the matter will be part of an ongoing discussion in the party – that when similar issues arise in the future, MPs, far from being threatened by their supporters, should be delighted and encouraged in the knowledge that when the chips are down, we want our MPs to show real leadership and commitment to their principles, even if there’s a perceived risk to their wider popularity, and to abandon the caution of their parliamentary brains, because the parliamentary brain is a very poor provider of principle.

  103. Bollix felix. Being a supporter and not a member is great. And to anyone who just this week found that they really wish to devote their time an energy to help from the inside, you are extremely welcome. To the few (and I think it just a few), who don’t really want to work for the party, but may decide to join now – and for how long? – I suggest to you check your motives. Things aren’t likely to turn out how you want anyway if you turn up to your first meeting stating “I’m just here to get rid of Russel”. To those few people, if I’ve insulted you, think about why.

  104. Absolutely, Valis. Because in general elections we don’t vote any more, we just add up the number of members each party has and assign seats in Parliament accordingly.

    Oh wait, no, we do get to vote! Whether we’re the One True Party Faithful or not. And frankly it’s probably the non-member voters who you may want to be worried about when pulling cr*p like this, what with them being less likely to be blindly loyal and all.

  105. Valis,

    Do you think only party members vote Green? You just insulted a large group of Green supporters, activists, volunteers, and voters. Well done.

    Also, just spotted this comment at kiwiblog. Note DPF’s response. May as well get used to it.

  106. Don’t be daft, no one’s going to stop you. I just think if Russel is going to answer to anyone, it shouldn’t be those who don’t care enough about the party in the first place to be members already.

  107. so, who is this “us all” you refer to?
    please be more specific.

    Us is all the people who thought of joining the Green Party sometime in the last 20 years rather than the last 2 days.

  108. What would matter would be what other people would say in their parallel campaign attack advertisements just before the election, and given the changes to the electoral act and the nature of our opponents you have to assume that those attack ads, as untruthful in nature as they have always been, will be used against us.</i?

    FFS. It is nothing new that the centre parties will distort Green positions to portray the party as out-of-touch hippies.

    The big bloody problem is that THEY WON'T HAVE TO DISTORT SH!T. This isn't "waaaaa showerheads", this is you voted to suspend the democratic rule of law. This isn’t “maybe they’ll attack us for opposing Canterbury”, this is the Greens cannot ever, ever, EVER question Gerry Brownlee’s orders-in-council because they f#$%ing SUPPORTED IT.

    I cannot believe I’m the one being criticised [on The Standard's post on this] for a poor analysis of the possible media reaction by a bunch of people who don’t seem to get that the Greens are forever tarred by this decision, and have bluntly, openly stated that avoiding poor media reaction and voting against their consciences is more important than having principles and sticking to them.

  109. @Valis
    Do us all a favour and stay the hell away,

    so, who is this “us all” you refer to?
    please be more specific.

    i don’t want to waste my votes again.
    the only way i see is to change the Green leadership.
    it’s called “democracy”.
    but of course you’re more into telling others what to do, aren’t you.
    any relation to Brownshirt?

  110. Seldom are new political parties such as the Greens given the opportunity to declare their pricipled positions in defence of the best of the tradition received across generations (constitutional process – the place of law, transparency and holding those in power accountable) and to relate this to a more modern work of ensuring that in the future our economy is built on similar sure foundations – sustainability and the preservation of the environment estate.

    An opportunity lost.

  111. To sprout, in reply to your post from Friday 17 Sept 10:54; and to everyone else, especially those that call themselves pragmatic.

    Look, I’m just another guy. I’m not a member of the Green Party, or any other party. That is mainly because I have, over the years, seen most leaders of most political parties in most countries work against my and others’ needs and opinions. Life is too short to get disappointed like that.

    Yes, I know about the education minister, about education policies. About another power grab in the shape of the search and surveillance bill. About the attack on workers’ rights. About schedule 4. About another bunch of issues. Each of these issues deserves an outburst of disgust and rage.

    Now like it or not but there’s a catch. I have to work, I have to sleep, I have something that they call a life, and I am not intending to die from a rage induced heart attack at 42. I can just not afford to be outraged about every issue.

    Still, I have so far sent in a few submissions. Long ones, written myself; short ones, using Greenpeace’s forms. I think most Kiwis cannot make that claim. I have at least contributed to the head count at a few protests.

    Now I am not a New Zealander. I’m an immigrant. My passport features a residence permit. Where I’m from is irrelevant, my older posts may or may not contain hints.

    Where I come from I have never taken serious political action. Here I have. That is because I adore Aotearoa, I am part of it, and I will have a say about stuff and things here.

    This ‘having a say’ has this week been made pointless, or impossible. As history shows it will soon be illegal and dangerous. When it comes to power grabs, the pessimists usually have it right; so here’s a bit of pessimism: This thread will soon be illegal and/or impossible to read, the thoughts in here will be against the law, those silenced who speak up.

    Oh, and, another bit of pessimism. The National Party will get more than half the seats in the next parliament. Due to these ‘emergency’ powers. My guess.

    And all that is not what I was seeking when I settled here.

  112. You can’t seriously say that you voted for this travesty to protect your votes. This has cost you mine! ..and I was going to vote for you.
    The ones who were not going to vote for you because you voted no were never going to vote for you anyway.

  113. “a floor, not a slab”
    The only modern houses I’ve noticed condemned are because the slab has broken. I betcha the traditional floor has handled it better. Modern floors should be able to be insulated to a VERY high standard.
    I’m wondering if they might not be able to pick up some of the old houses that have ruined foundations, give them a state of the art recon and relocate (with correct orientation to the sun) to a new subdivision.
    Take up the cause Greenz. QUALITY should be the preferred outcome.

  114. we elected to accept it at the end.
    yes, the Green MPs should not have accepted it and did not need to accept it. your logic is pathetic.

  115. Russel Norman wrote:

    Then the question for us in the House was, given the necessity of some kind of earthquake powers, yet the fact that Nats went right over the top on it, should we still support the bill? Reasonable people of good intent can differ on the answer to this question, and clearly they do. So don’t impugn our motives…

    so, Dr. Norman, no apology or contrition or self-reflection from you. just sad-arsed rationalisation of an extremely poor decision. i will definitely consider joining the Green Party with the goal of having you removed from the co-leadership and MMP list.

  116. Actually, a relocatable can be built to quite a high standard. The only limitations I know of are that they have a floor, not a slab, during transport (necessary for structural integrity) and they need to be a reasonable size and shape (though they can be “stitched together on site) to fit through the roads. They are however, one story high.

    Everything else is optional. PVC double glazing standard and R whatever you like.

    That said they are generally more earthquake resistant than whatever the hell they replace.

    So they are an opportunity of sorts, as Owen points out. I suspect too, that if we REALLY wanted to, ingenious Kiwis could scratch out a way to make ‘em 2 stories for the compact lots.

    respectfully
    BJ

  117. Russel said:

    I reluctantly supported the bill because on balance I thought it was the right thing to do.

    Here’s a piece from our “Vision”:

    Our children, our elders, our families and our communities are at the centre of national life. Each person’s unique contribution is valued. Participation, justice and quality of life for all are valued over individual attainment of wealth.

    Thanks for nothing.

  118. Folks

    I am in no way agreeing that just because we voted for this thing we aren’t entitled to rubbish it thoroughly. That has been said several times over and I don’t believe it for a second. I am not so consistent, and I daresay none of the rest of us are either. We had to accept this garbage because mistake or no mistake, vote or no vote, it was dumped on us without our consent and we are not obliged to remain silent just because we elected to accept it at the end.

    BJ

  119. It would seem then, Owen, that in New Zealand it takes an earthquake for developers, councils and the government to come up with a plan for public and private housing? This says rather less about this legislation and rather more about the failure of leadership in New Zealand over many years. The Green Party has been pushing for the government and councils to get involved in house building for a very long time; plenty of time to meet the highest standards, preserve the landscape and farmland, and provide every citizen with his or her basic right, a comfortable and warm home, and one that might more easily resist the ravages of time, and be less wasteful of our resources. I wonder what standard these relocatable homes might attain?

  120. @jockmoron 4:46 PM

    Point taken, but I don’t want our MPs to be the least bad – I want them to be the best.

    Sure, it was totally symbolic because the Bill was going to pass anyway, but the Greens have always stood up strongly for democracy in the past. I was incredibly proud of the stance our MPs took, and have continued to take, on the anti-democratic ECan Act that abolished regional democracy in Canterbury.

    However, I find it very difficult to rationalise that principled stand with voting at Third Reading for this authoritarian abomination of an Act.

    That said, I will continue to support and campaign for the Green Party. I believe our MPs still at heart support the principles the Green Party was founded on, including the appropriate decisionmaking principle of which this Act falls seriously foul.

    The way I see it, our MPs are human, and humans make mistakes. I believe they made a serious mistake in this instance, but in the circumstances of legislation being rushed through Parliament in response to a natural disaster and having to make decisions very quickly without the time to consult the Party membership or even its Policy Committee, I think it was an understandable mistake.

    Let’s not compound the Green MPs’ mistake by abandoning support for the Greens, as some are suggesting on this thread. All that will lead to is many more years of the likes of Gerry Brownlee driving public policy in an anti-democratic and anti-environmental direction.

  121. I wonder if the Parliament has taken note of what happened in New Orleans after Katrina. I was invited to give a paper at a conference in Houston and was fascinated by two papers about the housing programme called “the Road to Home.”
    The officials started off determined to get all the homeless re-housed. But they dithered around – mainly trying to sort out which level of government was responsible for what. During the dithering two ideological camps emerged. One group of planner/urban designers saw a chance to “tidy up” these old messy neighbourhoods and create a new modern utopia. The other group were equally convinced that the messiness was a key part of New Orlean’s charm and heritage and that it should be rebuilt. Plans were prepared and shot down and prepared and shot down.
    Eventuall the homeless realised they were on a road to nowhere and 130,000 families simply left the city and most went to nearby Houston where builders were happy to provide affordable housing.

    Once housing neighbourhoods are abandoned voluntarily or by force they become open battlefields on which interest groups go to war.

  122. On the bright side:
    A development company is currently in discussion with a technical advisor to the Government seeking pricing and time lines to provide new urban neighborhoods on the boundary of Christchurch on non-liquifiable soils. This is part of a scoping exercise looking at a range of remedial options. It seems that the costs of building earthquake resistant homes on liquefiable soils are so high building new neighbourhoods elsewhere is a more cost effective solution.

    The company has suggested that given easy working terrain and assuming reasonable topographical information and land is available for immediate occupation they could prepare a a concept plan and principle engineering solutions for presentation to Council within 2 weeks.

    Assuming a Special meeting Council and a degree of trust on their part– based on comprehensive insurance and guarantees – the Concept could be approved at the meeting. Machinery could start stripping topsoil within a week while detailed engineering design was undertaken.

    The government/s could let contracts for the construction of several relocatable house designs to be built off-site to be relocated on site in a programmed manner as partially completed sites are delivered for occupation.

    The company sees no practical or physical reason why a well managed and sequenced approach cannot deliver 1000 new households within 12 months of today.

    The cost-savings would be dramatic.

    What a challenge and demonstration of ‘can do’ this would be.

    For once we would know the true costs of compliance and delays and the peer reviews and all the safequards that actually safeguard nothing but the consultants’ cash flows.
    And we may have the first affordable family housing in twenty years!

  123. “The intentions perhaps can be rationalised, but I don’t think they can be ethically sustained. ”

    Indeed

  124. A fascinating thread, and I’ve enjoyed both the reasoned and the less reasoned postings. I am sure this will not fracture the Green Party, but it is, rightly, causing some stress and distress. It is to me a very heartening thing to see this level and depth of discussion, and this level of emotional commitment, to our democratic institutions and way of life.

    Would I be right in saying that the overriding concern of those that were upset by this vote was a feeling of betrayal by the Green parliamentarians to the democratic process? After all, this bill wasn’t really anything to do with environmentalism; there should be, and I hope there are, even more Labour party supporters who would feel betrayed by their Parliamentarians as well.

    So, I did a quick review of the Labour Party blog, “Red Alert”, and found this page as it appears in “The Standard” http://thestandard.org.nz/labour-grassroots-revolt-against-quake-act-betrayal/. Indeed, you could interchange the two threads and they’d work pretty well. Interesting too that a few people commented that they they’d got used to Labour’s failures, but were really surprised by the Greens’ one.

    So this wasn’t just a failure of the Green MPs, it was also a failure, as in the eyes of many of their supporters, by the Labour MPs. In other words, a failure of Parliamentary democracy, after all it was the National party that introduced this bill.

    And I think this really touches the nub of what is happening in the world at the moment, the failure of political institutions around the world to work democratically and instead to become increasingly distant from, even distrustful of, the people they represent. There’s the UK Parliament and its shameful backing of the invasion of Iraq, the US and the so-called “Patriots Bill”, France, and the illegal deportation of Romanies. etc. etc.

    Parliaments and legislatures around the world are failing. They are failing their own standards, and they are very much failing their constituents – most egregiously by the so-called left wing parties that should be protecting them. They have presided over an increasing division between the well-off and the poor,; they continue to capitulate to media and commercial interests, and in doing so have allowed the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression to occur. For the Greens we most fully understand their almost total failure to get to grips with Global Warming and other environmental issues. They continue to bail out crooked institutions, but are cutting back on funding for the more deserving. In New Zealand we’ve had the rorting of electricity consumers to the tune of $4.3 billion and $6 billion of people’s hard earned savings have evaporated and hardly anyone has been brought to book. This money starts to add up.

    For me, and I only speak for myself, this vote by the Green parliamentarians was a failure of to understand that by voting the way they did, they were becoming part of this anti-democratic process. The intentions perhaps can be rationalised, but I don’t think they can be ethically sustained.

    The Green Party, MPs and supporters and members, really need to continue to discuss this matter. It is not trivial, and attempts by the Green MPs to suggest it is not so important should be strongly resisted. On the other hand it is not the end of the world. If some are so aggrieved that they won’t vote for the Greens again, that’s sad, but I wonder which party they could vote for?

    I hope the Greens can build from this dispute, I’m sure we will. But at the same time, please all you Green MPs (and I could say the same to Labour MPs, whose failure is an order of magnitude greater than yours) – trust your more radical instincts, stop looking so much for your back; you will defend all our interests better with a more confrontational and assertive posture. Far from alienating your constituents, you will bring much joy, because radicalism is the rocket fuel of politics.

  125. now that inspires a thought: Maybe the god-like earthquake recovery powers should have been invested in the mega mitre 10 guy. He’d get a lot more done than Gerry and I’d trust him at least a thousand times as much!!!

  126. I bet ACT are happy though! government just got a whole lot smaller (not that Gerry is particularly small or anything). They might not even need to exist anymore?

    But hey we still have democracy, right? one man, one vote? yep, just one man, only one vote.

  127. “With Brownlee getting all these powers we need the party in parliament as the core of resistance to this nonsense… ”

    And so far that core resistance has consisted of voting for Brownlee to get these powers. Nothing like starting the game with an own-goal. How is your strategy of promoting ourselves as “nonsense-resistors” reconcilable with our behaviour of totally buying into the nonsense????

  128. “of the pool of potentially fatally disaffected current Green voters, and the pool of potential new Green voters”

    except the pool of potential new green voters contains a considerable element that might choose to vote green because they were the only opposition to this unbelievably unjust law. including a large number of people in canterbury whose rights are going to be pushed aside in the name of making life easy for property developers.

    it’s time the Greens stepped up and became The Opposition.

  129. I think the greens should have abstained at the very least.

    Rather than costing us votes, this is the sort of issue that, properly managed could have won a lot of votes. This law is going to become National’s achilles heel in the next election and the greens have just given up the opportunity to attack it.

    Does anyone have faith in Gerry Brownlee’s ability to resist abusing his god-like powers? As I/S and BJ have already pointed out the abuse has begun already and come the election we can’t criticise this crappy law because we supported it.

    WRONG. DECISION.

  130. Felix

    That IS a good question. My only way to think about it is to consider the guessed at relative sizes of the pool of potentially fatally disaffected current Green voters, and the pool of potential new Green voters. I can only guess at those but given the size of our vote, and the fact that a lot of us aren’t so offended as to cut off our nose to spite our face, I have to guess that the potential pool is the larger of the two by a fairly large factor.

    There is too much guesswork involved though.

    respectfully
    BJ

  131. BJ: Somehow I don’t see voting for (almost) all laws in ChCh to be alterable by one MP, an MP who couldn’t give a shit about our local environment, our city plan, heritage buildings, or democracy, somehow I don’t see how in the hell that is a voice for sustainability.

    Ok, so you couldn’t have actually stopped it. And you did manage to change it ever so slightly. You’ve still failed to convince me that rolling over was the right thing to do. Rolling over simply so your opponents don’t harass you: guess what? thats what they’re there for.

    See my post (September 17, 2010 at 11:12 AM)

    This had nothing to do with “so your opponents don’t harass you”. The stakes are a lot higher than that. I think you are minimizing the possible consequence.

    With Brownlee getting all these powers we need the party in parliament as the core of resistance to this nonsense… and stronger in the next election. To send him where he belongs, not to send a message that could cost us votes. We are the ones who did in fact resist it for a whole day against the whole of the rest of the parliament.

    All this angst over what the vote was, when the vote was not going to change anything… .

    respectfully
    BJ

  132. so..russel…your response is to stare down yr critics…?

    ..and the criticisms…?

    ..defend it ’till the end…eh..?

    (and getting snippy with it…?…

    “..So don’t impugn our motives…”

    um..!..hubris..?..anyone…?…)

    you still have not presented one reason to vote for this..

    ..but every reason to oppose it…

    (btw..are you having a go at beating yr record to date of 53 ‘disapproval’s..?..)

    ..and ..reading this thread…

    …are you not able to understand how you have offended your core…?

    ..if not..why not…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  133. Russell, with all respect to the hell difficult position you were in I believe you got it wrong. The bill went too far, so far too far that it was unsupportable. I don’t disagree that extraordinary efforts are needed, but something so repugnant to democratic principles should have been opposed.

    You could then have the moral high ground. You could point out you would have supported it if they put appropriate checks on Government action, simple principles that millions of people died standing up for.

    You could have made this clear, you would have got a chance to answer the critics and debate the problem in the public arena. You would have had a chance to raise public awareness of just how terrible this law is.

    Instead the Greens were a lemming caught up in a wave of public opinion and spin. Something that has never been allowed to happen before.

    Shame.

  134. Geoff, spoken with all the cynicism of a true fundi. I for one reject the notion that all MPs are equally unprincipled, or at least end up so. And the Green Party will not rupture over this either, as you will see.

  135. Unsurprisingly (!) I have a rather different take on this than some on this thread. I reluctantly supported the bill because on balance I thought it was the right thing to do. I’m sure with hindsight one can do the pragmatic political calculations but my view is that my job is to first figure out what’s the right thing to do and then best manage the political pragmatics.

    Perhaps most of all what’s missing from this thread is an acceptance that the Govt does need some degree of extraordinary powers to deal with the earthquake. The RMA, the Local Govt Act and all manner of acts rightly have all sorts of processes in place that don’t suit the situation in Canty after the earthquake.

    If you accept that, then it is a question of how far those extraordinary powers should go. It is common ground that Nats pushed them way too far.

    Then the question for us in the House was, given the necessity of some kind of earthquake powers, yet the fact that Nats went right over the top on it, should we still support the bill? Reasonable people of good intent can differ on the answer to this question, and clearly they do. So don’t impugn our motives – we have stood against the tides of public opinion on many issues over many years when we thought it was right to do so, and no doubt we will again.

    It is galling to think that the Nats have these powers, but they happen to be in govt during a major natural calamity and whatever Govt was in place was always going to need to exercise some kind of extraordinary powers to deal with an extraordinary situation.

    We’ll just have to do our best to keep them in check.

  136. The trick for the GPANZ has been to maintain a sensible balance between the pragmatists and idealists (sorry, I don’t really like the fundi/realo terminology). It seems to me that the party has now lost that balance, and is in the process of rupturing. And I would say the reason for that was that the pragmatists became overly dominant. The pragmatists actually need the idealists – and in large numbers – for their own political survival. They don’t have a safe seat, such as Jim Anderson’s Progressives had in Christchurch. They don’t have a big brother to help them along, such as ACT has in the National Party. They can’t expect soft-soap treatment from the mass media, like Peter Dunne’s United Future Party. They needed their idealists, the idealists were the only thing to keep them going long term, and now I think they have blown it. It is a historic moment. You will look back on this and say it was a turning point – one way or another.

  137. Green supporters are shocked and betrayed by what has taken place, but there is little point in blaming the parliamentarians. The rank and file of the Labour Party, and following them, the New Labour Party suffered the same sense of betrayal when their respective parties made the transition from idealistic grass roots organisations to parliamentary political machines run by career politicians. This sacrifice of principle didn’t happened because Russel, or Metiria, or Kevin or Kennedy or Catherine or Sue or Gareth have been elected to the caucus. It happened because that is the nature of parliamentary politics. Sooner or later it will happen to any parliamentary political party. Those who don’t like it, leave and find other ways of realizing their ideals. Those who do like it, stay and enjoy their political careers for as long as fortune permits.

  138. BJ,

    Would you care to comment on my suggestion that while attempting to mitigate against the potential loss of new Green voters you are simultaneously alienating existing Green voters?

  139. I believe this thread is of historic importance. For the Green Party, for New Zealand, and possibly for the wider world. It indicates a deep divide within the GPANZ, which like most such divides is fundamentally philosophical. I mean philosophical in the true sense of the word. There is a philosophical school known as pragmatism. Most of us – all those who are not students of philosophy – may not even be aware of its existence. But it dominates all political and social thought in the west.

    Geoff, I don’t wish to argue this isn’t a big deal, but there is no revelation here or historic importance that I can see, at least for Greens. The issue of principle vs pragmatism (or fundis vs realos in Green jargon) is an old one and has existed as long as Green parties have (and surely forever for that matter). You can even look it up on Wiki.

    The reason the argument exists is due to the urgency Greens feel exists regarding many issues, particularly environmental issues. So a principled position on climate change might hold out for a solution that achieves equity between rich and poor, while a more pragmatic one might argue that if we don’t act fast regardless, we won’t be around to argue anything else. Regardless of which side you’re on, surely it is possible to understand and be tempted even by the other. Such questions will always haunt us and are simply too daunting for some. So I have a great respect for those who are willing to engage with such difficult questions, like our Green MPs and members. We are all fighting for the same thing and we shouldn’t expect the issues to have easy solutions.

    BJ Chip is consistently articulating pragmatic principles. And the Green MPs are following those same principles. I am not just saying that they are “pragmatists”. Or if I am, I am saying “pragmatist” in the way that you would say “Marxist”. I am talking not of particular judgements, or spontaneous actions, but of a philosophical system on which the key social and political structures of western secular democratic societies are based.

    You are both right and wrong about the Green MPs. Right in the sense that all politicians are at least somewhat pragmatic. They would not survive in politics for long otherwise and I believe this applies to all politicians, not just Western ones. But wrong in the sense that pragmatism isn’t all that drives them.

    I’ve said many times I agree with a lot of what you say, yet I also seem to be one of your greatest critics on this blog at least. This is in part because you argue in black/white terms, when the realo/fundi argument exists on a spectrum. This is the reason lots of people are agreeing with you on this thread, but few ever offer support for your position on swearing the oath to become an MP.

    A party political organisation cannot act solely and all the time on pure principle, as opposed to a non-party political org that can, because they exist only to influence others, and not to engage in law making. A trivial example would be working even with a friendly party on legislation, where some compromise is always needed to reach agreement. However, most Green parties try to act as far towards the principled end of the spectrum as possible. So for instance, we do not trade between votes (despite what some say about the MoU) and we could hardly be called populist, given the number of unpopular positions we espouse. So I can assure you that principle preoccupies our MPs who are as often as not (more often than not?) criticised for being less effective than they might otherwise be as a result of their concern for principle.

    Now I do understand that if you are an absolute fundi, nothing else matters. But you can hardly expect in that case for any political party to ever match your views and it seems almost pointless to even criticise in such circumstances. You either decide not to even vote, or you come off the pedestal enough to seek a party that most matches your ideal. That doesn’t mean there aren’t bottom lines, and that of course is what we’re arguing about at present.

    I think it important that GP supporters have a consciousness of the philosophy because it is at the root of the decisions which you regard as a massive political betrayal.

    In my view this is not a massive political betrayal, even if it was a big mistake. But that some will argue otherwise goes to show that the Greens exist greatly to the fundi end of the spectrum, for otherwise the very idea of a betrayal makes little sense.

  140. Brownlee just exempted canterbury local authorities from using the special consultative procedure for asset transfers or changes in the mode of service delivery. Or, in English, Brownlee just gave Bob Parker the power to sell Christchurch’s buses without any need for consultation. Thanks a bundle, Russel. I hope you’re happy now.

  141. What a ripper of a thread!
    It sure is shaking up a few issues.
    I think you should have voted against this bill and when attacked by whoever just said…
    IT’S NOT OUR FAULT!

  142. I return to my original point. If Russel and Metiria could not actually think of a way to say “We don’t think giving Gerry Brownlee the right to suspend the Crimes Act … in AUCKLAND … is a good way to help Canterbury”

    QoT, it wouldn’t matter what we said now, nor how well we said it. Indeed we said most of this in the effort to amend the bill.

    What would matter would be what other people would say in their parallel campaign attack advertisements just before the election, and given the changes to the electoral act and the nature of our opponents you have to assume that those attack ads, as untruthful in nature as they have always been, will be used against us.

    You make a good argument, one which might counter such an effort and the reasoning that this might have been a wrong choice is closely taken, but it is by no means the disaster that you are portraying it.

    We, as a party, had to consider the downside of being the only ones to vote against emergency relief for Canterbury. That would be something people remember about us, and that would be something that could be used against us when YOUR argument is long forgotten and voter’s minds are focused on the election.

    BJ

  143. ..how can you defend/minimise that..?

    Actually Phil, I have done so in detail and you aren’t giving any detailed reasons why I might be wrong.

    Going on and on about how our vote enabled it… and ignoring that we had no effective say in it at all.. is not an argument unless repetition is a form of logic.

    respectfully
    BJ

  144. Phil

    I was responding to a pair of comments which equated this with Greens protecting their jobs and simultaneously being afraid to do them. The posts in question exercised me a bit. Hysteria tends to put me off my game and I reckon that the thread is calming down a bit, not getting worse. So the “increasingly” was not called for.

    You are correct too that overall this has been a very significant thread in that a lot of ground has been covered and a number of very significant points have been made… and MOST of the people posting have not been over-the-top.

    Geoff has done well for us by highlighting the pragmatism vs idealism issue. It is a good spot that… that there is an internal conflict between the two philosophies. I really have to go over and give him a workout someday.

    As for the memorandum of understanding, I reckon it is a dead-letter. On current form National can expect our support when Hell is a Hockey-Rink. It certainly isn’t a binding document… :-)

    respectfully
    BJ

  145. BJ: Somehow I don’t see voting for (almost) all laws in ChCh to be alterable by one MP, an MP who couldn’t give a shit about our local environment, our city plan, heritage buildings, or democracy, somehow I don’t see how in the hell that is a voice for sustainability.

    Ok, so you couldn’t have actually stopped it. And you did manage to change it ever so slightly. You’ve still failed to convince me that rolling over was the right thing to do. Rolling over simply so your opponents don’t harass you: guess what? thats what they’re there for.

  146. bj said…
    “..but we could not keep Brownlee from the power he is already abusing..”

    but they voted for it….!

    what don’t you ‘get’ about that..?..b.j..?

    they voted for a rightwing totalitarian dictatorship…

    they voted to throw away all our legal/democratic rights/laws…

    ..f.f.s..!

    ..how can you defend/minimise that..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  147. The Greens must remain in the game.
    If voting against the bill meant falling out of contention (losing at the next election) then they were correct not to do that.
    They (we) have copped a lot of criticism from what seems to be our rank and file, but that can be shouldered and those people can be returned to supporting the party through what the Greens do from this point on.
    The opposition in the House to the bill was admirable, lets give credit where it is due.
    The task of preventing it’s passing was beyond Herculean.
    Attacking our MPs will do nothing to make the bill dissapear.
    Threatening that you won’t vote Green has no apparent benefit at all.
    Let’s try a new approach.
    Supporting them will have positive consequences in other areas that we hold dear.

  148. bj said:..”..expecting all the MPs to respond to the increasingly irrational accusations here is almost as unreasonable as expecting them to invite each and every one of you to tea. This blog is not their job…”

    um..!..bj..!

    ..i consider most of the contributions to this thread to be both reasoned and rational…not to mention coherent..

    (in fact view it as one of the most significant discussions here…ever..)

    your attempt to denigrate them only reflects on you/the paucity of your arguments/defences…

    and the green mp’s/leadership will ignore the concerns/questions raised here at their peril…

    mind you..if what kevin haugue and bj are arguing is ‘it’..?

    well..f*ck me..!…eh…?

    it’s now another 24 hrs later..and i am still totally gosmacked/searching for reasons why t.f. you didn’t vote against this bill…?

    and the question is:..can you come back from this..?..regain some/any credibility/gravitas…?

    or have you memorandum-of-understanding-ed yr slves into nothing of much use…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  149. I think bj nails it. I would prefer we’d voted against, but I know that the MPs on the spot who had to decide did what they thought was right and not without a lot of angst. They have said why and it had nothing to do with media. People are free to disagree with their choice, but there is no issue of integrity to answer here and accusations of a sell out are shameful.

    To those who feel strongly, please write to Russel and Kennedy directly rather than speculate into a frenzy.

  150. This was about possibly losing the only voice for sustainability that exists in New Zealand, and that is my pragmatic “ideal-breaker”

    I find the willingness of so many of you to risk this to exactly zero effect except to “send a message” rather disheartening.

    It is exactly the same mind-set as put Bush in office in the USA.

    Maybe the risk wasn’t as great as all that… I don’t know. Past performances by our opponents do not however, leave me much room for such optimism.

    BJ

  151. earlier in this thread i asked if sue bradford would have voted for this bill..

    here is the answer to that question…

    http://pundit.co.nz/content/earthquake-fascism-and-prostitution-madness

    “…This week I was shocked to see the earthquake recovery legislation rushed through the House with support from all political parties

    Even the Greens were willing to vote for a bill which gives Government powers nothing short of totalitarian – with appreciation to Andrew Geddis for his excellent comment on the matter here on Pundit yesterday.

    However, last week, and in a different way, I was equally horrified to see the Manukau City Council (Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places) Bill pass its first reading by a large majority, including with the support or abstention of three Green Party MPs.

    I am beginning to wonder what is going through the minds of some of my former colleagues, and of Parliament itself, in its acceptance of totalitarian rights for the state and – apparently – of the right of a local council to formulate its own criminal law overriding national legislation…”

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  152. bj

    You talk about “losing votes” at the next election but I think what you really mean is “missing out on picking up potential new votes”. And I appreciate that that is a genuine concern.

    But please remember that this decision will cost the Greens actual votes, from people who have voted Green for a long time.

  153. Jeremy and Paul

    instead you became another party just looking for it’s pay check

    This is not and has never been about our individual parliamentarian’s jobs and you should be ashamed to even imply that.

    This was about possibly losing the only voice for sustainability that exists in New Zealand, and that is my pragmatic “ideal-breaker”, the test that I apply to my impulses to “send a message”. It is the test the party has to apply.

    To call them, doing what they are doing, “craven” is over-the-top, even for a blog comment and I doubt that you can back it up with ANY real example of such behaviour.

    Furthermore, expecting all the MPs to respond to the increasingly irrational accusations here is almost as unreasonable as expecting them to invite each and every one of you to tea. This blog is not their job.

    sometimes you have to do the right thing and communicate that to the public, that’s why we’ve put you there. Instead you’ve allowed yourselves to be controlled by the media.

    That’s one of the best arguments that this was a wrong decision to take. The problem is that it is only part of the picture.

    The electability issue is not just about “the media”. The likely distortion is not necessarily by media but by advertisements and leaflets authorized by who knows who now that the electoral law was changed and not NOW, but just before the vote is taken. We know we don’t have the deep pockets to respond to such disinformation campaigns and as I pointed out above, there is no cause to expect them to be even remotely truthful.

    Which makes keeping such ammunition out of the hands of the insane people running the parallel campaigns for National and ACT a reasonable consideration.

    This WAS a close decision, taken in haste. Even if it was an error, and I do not agree it was, it was certainly not the catastrophic betrayal that some of these posts are bewailing.

    I am sympathetic to the angst here, but we could not keep Brownlee from the power he is already abusing. Accusations of betrayal are thus entirely illogical on the face of it.

    BJ

  154. The disregard for the democratic process and the concentrating of power to individuals over and above existing law is of huge concern and I agree the potential for abuse of power through this Act is great. However, it frustrates me that people are responding with such energy to this issue but have been noticeably absent from the battles against currently occurring abuses of power that are already causing great harm.

    We have an Education Minister who refuses to accept advice, bullies and dictates to her demoralized Ministry, forces through badly conceived policy (supported by political spin and deliberate misinformation) and threatens the sacking of anyone who expresses concern. New Zealand’s internationally regarded education system is rapidly being dismantled with advisory services sacked and leading academics sidelined and the profession instructed that they exist to do the bidding of the Minister. Early Childhood Education has been financially decimated and the need for qualifications questioned. I cannot imagine a better example of unbridled power and the fully realized abuse of that power! Where has been the out pouring of emotion on this issue within this blog?

    Yes, our MPs could have made a principled stand and voted against this legislation and the outcome of that stand may have had a positive impact or a damaging one (there are strong arguments on both sides), but either way their influence would be slight.

    I strongly support our MPs as the most qualified and able individuals in our party to fulfill the roles we elected them to. They have proven their worth in so many ways over the years and have won numerous battles against the odds. They are not perfect, they are human, they have to make huge calls on our behalf in an unforgiving environment and under pressures we can only imagine. The judgement call in this situation will probably be debated for many years but let’s not get so carried away we drop the ball entirely, there is too much at stake.

  155. I’m a long-time loyal Green and have great respect for our parliamentarians in almost every case. I wish they had voted against this bill on principle, especially since they spoke so strongly against it. I do understand the stress of the situation and how this might happen.

    An apology from our mps for that could help – without attempting to justify it. A simple “got it wrong this time” would show that we are being listened to and also that our very human mps have the humility to admit mistakes. I think they are capable of that.

  156. So the MPs can do what they see fit to do in the full knowledge that your voting option is limited to one.

    Gerrit, those folks are not so arrogant as this would seem to imply. Their lack of alternatives in New Zealand is however, quite profound.

    Labour is about LABOUR, first and foremost. Environment gets short shrift and sustainability is seldom spoken of.

    Maori are divided within their own party, with Maori-National, Maori-Labour and Maori-Green sub-factions. The Maori-National are currently driving things, but there is I think, a fair bit of dissension and I can’t guess the outcome.

    National and ACT are not options for Green voters for obvious reasons.

    No other party has the numbers to make it into parliament… unless Winston First should manage to come back like something from a Romero flick… and I can’t imagine our idealists going there.

    Basically we can vote Labour, Green or Fish (throwaway vote for a minor party or spoiled ballot)… with the ability to put National back in power by voting Fish, and a good chance of a similar result by voting Labour as pushing us below 5% (say 4.9%) causes 4.9% of the left of center vote to be wasted entirely.

    The electorate as a whole, tends towards pragmatism. Intentions are not as important as results. A shift towards greater pragmatism, rather than a shift to the center, is what has the idealists here exercised.

    Yet this is still a largely ideals-based party. Our principles remain, and our vision remains. I can’t imagine us doing what we are accused of by so many here. We have moved a bit towards pragmatism and I think we should see where it takes us with the wider (and more pragmatic) electorate. Nobody is pushing for the party to forsake its core values, and it has not done so.

    Despite the accusations above.

    I suspect Geoff has a point though, that some people are going to decide to “fish or cut bait”. I don’t think they are right, but they have a right to be as wrong as they like.

    I reserve that right to myself as well for that matter :-)

    respectfully
    BJ

  157. The bottom line for those who are pushing the “the Greens might be out line” is:

    If voting against Gerry Brownlee being given dictatorial powers isn’t a good enough reason to risk your Parliamentary career what is..?

    The Green MPs (excepting Russell and Kevin) are noticable by their silence on this issue… Falling prey to the same craven politicking that all the other parties are subject too…

  158. Incredible! You list all the reasons why this should never have been voted for, then you vote for it! I could understand voting for it if your very sensible ammendments had been approved, but they weren’t. I’m afraid, can’t complain about how bad this thing is after supporting it.

    I understand maybe you were concerned about how you would be labelled by the media, but f*ckit guys, sometimes you have to do the right thing and communicate that to the public, that’s why we’ve put you there. Instead you’ve allowed yourselves to be controlled by the media. Shameful.

  159. stick by our principles through thick and thin – because they’re meaningless if you only stick by them when it’s easy.

    Which is also exactly whats wrong with the bill.

    I’m grateful that the greens tired to at least amend this atrocity, but by voting for it you ruled out any real ability to argue later. Heck, next election you could have been the only party standing with principles and a respect for democracy, instead you became another party just looking for it’s pay check. And you thought that would get you votes?

    Politics in this country is a sham.

  160. If we hadn’t been there, Gerry Brownlee would still have dictatorial powers.

    Oh, good. So given the chance to make a principled stand, and say “We disagree with this legislation fucking our democracy, and knowing that our vote will not actually prevent aid being rendered to Canterbury we must vote against it because it is a dangerous law” the Greens instead opted for rolling over?

    I am so, so f#$%ing over the “we would get thrashed by the media” line. What, is this somehow new? Have Green policies and stands for what’s right traditionally been sympathetically reported and genuinely investigated by the media who now, suddenly, without precedent, are magically going to start painting the party as extremist/hippies/out-of-touch/ivory-tower freaks? Oh wait, no, that’s what they always do, which is one of the best reasons to stick by our principles through thick and thin – because they’re meaningless if you only stick by them when it’s easy.

    I return to my original point. If Russel and Metiria could not actually think of a way to say “We don’t think giving Gerry Brownlee the right to suspend the Crimes Act … in AUCKLAND … is a good way to help Canterbury” then please get the hell away from any kind of political leadership position.

  161. Geoff

    I don’t have time to go into something else that is this long and involved, but it looks like an interesting read. I got far enough to spot where you created a corollary to “the road to hell” called “the road to paradise”, and suspect that this is mistaken. Certainly it is not generally followed or accepted by any of us “Yanks”, there being instead a void where that precept is being invoked as a cause. We are not so consistent as to require such a thing.

    However, I do not have enough time to do it justice.

    I will try to get around to this again, it appears entertaining. Do remind me in a month or so when I expect/hope to have a few hours to spend on it.

    Thanks
    BJ

  162. Shrub

    I was betrayed by every Green MP. How can any of you expect to be taken seriously again? You voted to keep hold of your jobs.

    Disgusted.

    Bottom line is that you and ALL the other Greens voters, wretched in disgust, will do one thing for certain next election.

    Vote for the Greens.

    So the MPs can do what they see fit to do in the full knowledge that your voting option is limited to one.

    To not vote for the Greens means that your list vote is double wasted and the chances of the Greens (who rely 100% on the list vote) being returned to the parliament are thus so much more limited.

    Welcome to the reality of parliamentary political parties.

    Labour and National voters have known for years that they only court you during the election stage, after that they ignore us the voter, until they need our vote again.

    Guess the Greens voters are on as learning curve.

  163. Well, I’m one voter who gave my party vote to the Greens in the last 2 elections, but probably now won’t be voting Green in the next election – not with the current Green Party leadership – after they voted for the Christchurch quake “enabling” Act. I’m with Sue Bradford on her criticism of Green Party MPs’ poor voting performance recently.

    Sorry, but I think Russel Norman should go as leader. I no longer see him as a strong or principled leader that I would like to see in any party I vote for. Metiria Turei could still turn her performance around IMO, but needs to do better.

    I would like to see a party strongly lead the debate and policies for a green new deal.

  164. There is no question but that this is true.

    There was no problem, only the one invented by the right wing, anti-planning law and anti-resource management law clique, that are itching to demolish this legislation.

    …and I am quite sure that our parliamentarians considered that.

    However, that does NOT change the fact that the proposed legislation was presented under urgency and driven through in a day of debate which was entirely one-sided, with a lot of people who had to know better arguing against our team. We lost. We knew that there was nothing that was going to stop Brownlee’s Brownshirts and we understand risks to the party based on past performances by their proxies.

    I don’t think the position taken was a mistake, it was a close call to make at the end of a long day with desperately little time to decide, and I think it was the right call. The arguments taken here are good arguments, because we MIGHT have found support sufficient to make the media step up and publicize the reasoning, but if we did not manage that, the risk of seeing those pamphlets and mass disaffection by people who were thinking about us but concerned about our “trustworthiness” in terms of government is quite real too.

    A close call, and the vitriolic invective directed at the party on this issue is not justified, given that our votes had absolutely no effect on the result whatsoever. So much of what I hear has that tacit sub-text that had we voted against it, things would be different. How many of you are harboring that notion in the back of your minds as you castigate people who worked harder than anyone else to prevent the legislation from passing as it was proposed? It could not make a difference!!! Labour might have helped, but did not. Maori might have helped, but did not.

    This is the tendency of our parliament to make vague suggestions and leave the actual work of lawmaking to the police or the electoral commission or some other bureaucratic diktat, writ large. With no written constitution to prohibit it, and no habit of explicit law to fall back on, we are skrewed in depth. With the habit of the media to misrepresent us, we as a party are done twice.

    Face that part of your ANGER is the fact that we were powerless to prevent this result, please.

    respectfully
    BJ

  165. I was betrayed by every Green MP. How can any of you expect to be taken seriously again? You voted to keep hold of your jobs.

    Disgusted.

  166. I believe this thread is of historic importance. For the Green Party, for New Zealand, and possibly for the wider world. It indicates a deep divide within the GPANZ, which like most such divides is fundamentally philosophical. I mean philosophical in the true sense of the word. There is a philosophical school known as pragmatism. Most of us – all those who are not students of philosophy – may not even be aware of its existence. But it dominates all political and social thought in the west. BJ Chip is consistently articulating pragmatic principles. And the Green MPs are following those same principles. I am not just saying that they are “pragmatists”. Or if I am, I am saying “pragmatist” in the way that you would say “Marxist”. I am talking not of particular judgements, or spontaneous actions, but of a philosophical system on which the key social and political structures of western secular democratic societies are based. I think it important that GP supporters have a consciousness of the philosophy because it is at the root of the decisions which you regard as a massive political betrayal. Several years ago (search down through the index page) I commented rather extensively on “The case against pragmatism” on my website http://www.republican.co.nz But there is a lot more to be said on the subject, and if anyone here wants to say it, I would welcome their input. I have also posted an article relating to this particular debate on the same site. Contributions in that area would also be welcome.
    Kia kaha, kia marie.

  167. SPC

    I would be absolutely delighted to see our one-chamber form of parliament questioned. I would be delighted to see a constitutional convention mustered to write us a constitution that provided a Maori upper house, some restraint on the government of the day, and a replacement to Te Tiriti that is less ambiguous.

    BJ

  168. Greens are not going to the center. We are naturally left of center… and we cannot survive being left of left, right of center or dead-center.

    BJ

  169. Well, this thread certainly cluttered up my inbox.

    Some further points to ponder:

    By what process was the present legislation in regard to planning going to hold up the reconstruction of Canterbury? Have we heard from anyone exactly what the problem was? Have we heard anyone state that people of Canterbury are so disputatious and divided that they couldn’t cope with the present legislation, despite the fact that we have abundant proof that the people of Canterbury, in the face of considerable personal loss and stress, have pulled together in the most amazing display of cooperative spirit and endeavour? So why was this bill needed? What convinced our parliamentarians that the people of Canterbury, having displayed this spirit under the most pressing and stressful circumstances, couldn’t be trusted to continue to display it in the future?

    There was no problem, only the one invented by the right wing, anti-planning law and anti-resource management law clique, that are itching to demolish this legislation. This earthquake is the justification, the rationalisation, of these antidemocratic ideologues to push through the most appalling legislation on the coat-tails of more reasonable, but somewhat unthinking, citizens’ over-hyped concerns. That alone should have given the Green parliamentarians some pause for thought

    Today the Dominion Post publishes an article quoting Dean Knight, senior lecturer at Victoria’s law faculty, who said this bill “was a constitutional outrage……A quick read shows that it grants extreme executive power- unbridled and effectively unchecked – in a way that has the potential to undermine our very democratic foundations”. The Green parliamentarians understood this, their eloquent speeches showed this clearly. But their actions didn’t, that’s the problem. This powerful broadside at this legislation could have been wonderful ammunition for the Greens in defending their position, but it’s been squandered, because we now have no position to defend.

    To Kevin and Russell and all Green parliamentarians

    I admire you all, the skills you bring into parliament, the personal qualities that delineates each of you in our minds, the commitment you all have to Green values and not least your leadership roles. Most of the time I think you do a great job, and you earn the support of the membership many times over. But in this particular instance I am sure that your “Parliamentary” instincts have betrayed your “Democratic” instincts, and I would really urge you to think more seriously about so many of the comments in this thread.

    To Kevin in particular, and his “hesitant” comments (why are they hesitant?);

    You write: “some on the thread have talked about the importance of symbolism”. If they have, they are wrong, but so are you. There is absolutely nothing “symbolic” about voting against this legislation. By the party’s own oratory, it was obvious that you considered this legislation was an affront to democracy. By implying that voting against this measure would have been a symbolic gesture, you are implying this legislation wasn’t worth fighting over, thus betraying the very arguments you were employing.

    But even worse, Kevin, is the second point you make about the Green’s nine votes “being neither here nor there”. I can’t believe I hear a Green parliamentarian say this. Just what effort did it take you personally to get into Parliament; just what effort of thousands of Green supporters did it take to get you and your colleagues into Parliament; just what effort did it take the huge numbers of voters to put a X against the Green party, seduced as they would otherwise be by the siren calls of the other major parties. Kevin, your vote can never be “neither here nor there”, it’s all you have, just as it’s all we have. It’s precisely because a vote against this bill would have been so contentious that would have given it so much greater value. You parliamentarians undermined the value of the one thing that you have. It’s as if you had been given the chance to use a canon; instead you opted for a squib.

    And as you yourself understand only so plainly, it is absurd that you can suggest that you “stand by the people of Canterbury” by colluding with the demolition of their normal political rights. What have the people of Canterbury done so wrong as to be so badly put on by their fellow citizens?

    Finally you state: “. I understand too that there are some people for whom a single issue becomes so important that their vote is cast entirely on that issue. However, political parties can’t really work on that basis” No of course they can’t, and most of those posting here as true Green supporters and sharply criticising this vote will continue to support the party, just as you do. But Kevin, there are issues and issues. It is not a sufficient argument to suggest this was just one other. Many of us posting here are suggesting, some more politely than others, that if you couldn’t make a principled stand on this issue, just what sort of issue is required for you to do so?

  170. QoT

    If we hadn’t been there, Gerry Brownlee would still have dictatorial powers. No limitations were going to be accepted, and we tried to get limits placed on them right up until the vote under urgency came up. There wasn’t a damned thing that we could have done to stop this that wasn’t done. How we voted on it in the end was irrelevant except in terms of sending a message.

    That message however, would have carried a risk of a price to be paid… and the decision to vote had to be taken after a long and very bitter battle with everyone else in the house.

    What WILL cost us more votes?

    “Well you can’t really complain about Gerry Brownlee violating human rights, you voted for it.”

    “Greens are fanatical about preventing the building of anything anywhere, to the point of choosing to leave 100,000 people in Christchurch homeless”

    “Greens can’t be trusted with power, they denied assistance to the people of Canterbury because they want to see the land returned to nature”

    ….

    Attacks on us do NOT have to have an element of truth in them. Most in the past 7 years, have not. Take a vote against and add whatever lies you care to add and you have an election pamphlet.

    At best this was a difficult, rushed decision and while I think they got it right it has to be regarded as a judgment call, not something that is so clear as it appears to idealists. Certainly not something that justifies the level of angst being demonstrated here.

    respectfully
    BJ

  171. I am a Christchurch resident. I would like to be able to rely on politicians to vote with our best interests in mind, especially when emergencies of this magnitude happen. It is not in our best interests to have our government and civil liberties eroded, without legal recourse, using our civil emergency as an excuse. Nature screws us; the government puts the boot in while claiming it’s for our own good. Lovely.

    I am deeply disturbed that you were so afraid that you might be seen as being unsupportive of Christchurch residents that you were willing to be unsupportive of Christchurch residents: merrily selling our democracy down the river instead.

    This issue is more important than worrying about your popularity figures. Abstaining from the vote does not obstruct it in the least; it does, however, raise a flag that this legislation is dangerous. It puts you in a better position to push hard for reform, with the people behind you, rather than having them feel disappointed and disillusioned at your inability to protect our basic democratic rights.

  172. It’s an interesting word this word trust, many activists on the left have lost trust in the leadership of the Labour Party and Green Party. Perhaps because they understand the history of emergency powers around the world and what has happened afterward.

    Do people have more trust in parties which in times of “national emergency” support giving up the norms of transparency and accountability so the trains run on time and there is security from some threat? TINA is often a fraud.

    It’s entirely possible that our one chamber form of parliament will be ultimately questioned over this.

  173. Idealists are seldom trusted to govern and people voting against emergency assistance to a stricken region are not likely to be trusted.

    Absolutely, bj. Because if there’s one party in Parliament not entirely comprised of idealists, it’s definitely the Greens. *headdesk*

    And the race for the holy grail of The Centre has begun…

  174. Of course bjchip, so then the Green Party in not voting the courage of their convictions did so because of a fear that it might cost them votes. The problem is that where it might actually cost them votes, an MMP election, that is where the greatest threat to the continuance of the party in parliament actually lies.

    It’s much easier to oppose what a government does with power given by parliament, if the awarding of this power was opposed and the grounds for this opposition stated.

    And opposition to this bill was not opposition to assistance to Canterbury …

  175. SPC

    in any “deal” to overlook the legal and democratic principles of our constitution

    The object here is to not get LESS votes, there is no “deal” to get more. There is sometimes a “deal” to get insulation, or fuel economy standards or something else… one does not “deal” to get votes.

    Nor did we “overlook” anything. We objected to all of it AND recognized that rape was inevitable no matter what we did. The only question then was how to best survive the experience.

    Getting more VOTES depends on being trusted to govern by more people. Idealists are seldom trusted to govern and people voting against emergency assistance to a stricken region are not likely to be trusted.

    Even if that would have been the “right” thing to do.

    respectfully
    BJ

  176. One does have to wonder what benefit accrues to Cantabrians, of having overloaded trucks destroying already damaged roads.

    We can certainly start Brownshirt err Brownlee now, and make the point as clear as possible that this is, with the ink barely dry, an unnecessary abuse of the powers granted in the bill and an illustration of the reasons why the limitations we advocated were needed.

    You have to remember as you take out your anger on us Greens, is that this was happening with or without us. It was happening no matter how we voted. All we could do was, and is, to speak as loudly and as forcefully as possible.

    BJ

  177. bjchip

    Who exactly is the Green Party’s partner in any “deal” to overlook the legal and democratic principles of our constitution in return for more
    votes? The party is soon going to have to say why MMP is right and it’s argument is going to be undermined by any sense that it does not add value beyond the focus on the primacy of vote winning of the old 2 party system. Just how the minor parties add value is going to be a difficult sell with ACT in melt down (after the exile of NZF) and the MP ultimately the target of a campaign to end the Maori seats.

    The Green Party is dependent on the MMP electoral vote to do any future deals. Earning respect as a party of principle is important to that end.

  178. I apologise in advance if this gets a little potty-mouthed, but I am frankly p!ssed off.

    If the Green Party’s MPs honestly could not find a simple, soundbite-friendly way to explain not supporting this Bill (how about, “We don’t think it’s a good idea to give Gerry Brownlee the power to make murder legal”? How about, “We would support any Bill which is actually about helping Canterbury, this Bill is about giving Gerry Brownlee dictatorial powers.” THERE YOU GO, NO CHARGE), then what the flying f#$% are you doing in politics?

    And for all the bloody media-would-bag-us apologists … let’s pretend it’s September 2011. Or even June 2011, given some people’s predictions. What do you think is going to cost more voters – having voted against a foregone conclusion a year earlier, or having every party (including Labour!) and pundit being able to say “Well you can’t really complain about Gerry Brownlee violating human rights, you voted for it.”

    Frankly, F$%^ your principled speeches. No one is going to look at your speeches when Gerry Brownlee declares a thousand-year ECan Reich, they’re going to say “well, if you didn’t want him to have this power you shouldn’t have voted for him to have this power.”

    Actually, though, it’s probably a good thing that no one will look at your speeches. Then they’ll realise you’re a pack of hypocrites as well as cowards (and really, really sh!t political players).

  179. Yes Robert, I figured we had a better than even chance of getting under 5% and respectfully, we missed being tossed out on our collective butts by 0.1% in that election. This is called a “near death” experience and we were damned fortunate to get through it.

    …and we must do significantly better than that if we expect to be relevant to any political arrangements after the next election.

    I have pointed out elsewhere that Cannabis reform doesn’t fall into the category of problematical policies. It appears so superficially but support exceeds 50% of the population generally and we get only 8% of the vote. People who would not vote for us because they are disinformed about cannabis are not likely Green voters in any case. That is, they already don’t vote for us for some other reasons, and we are unlikely to lose votes in making the point more clear.

    We are not espousing easy causes. Sustainability means, HAS to mean, less consumption by us. That is not welcomed by people who have been binging on money and environmental resources borrowed from future generations. It is a hard sell we absolutely have to make as Greens.

    We get into areas relating to social-justice which we cannot neglect but which I regard as secondary to sustainability and I dislike expending political capital on them, accepting the necessity because a single-issue party isn’t a party at all.

    We run on about medical marijuana and Te Tiriti, and often come at things differently from the bulk of the population… and I suspect that Te Tiriti is an issue that has potential to bite us on the bum at the next election if we are not a lot more specific about what we mean. There are a number of statements that are apt to find their way into those flyers I mentioned. Ambiguity is dangerous in this regard.

    WHY NOT GO FOR BROKE AND SAY EVERYTHING WE TRULY BELIEVE IN!

    If I thought for an instant that what we said would be correctly reported and that people would understand it, I’d agree with that approach. I LOVE transparency. We can’t have it.

    The world doesn’t permit such clear communications between us and everyone else. Nobody’s fault, nobody has the tools to make it happen. So our words get filtered through media that is often hostile, usually ignorant and invariably short of time for long explanations of complex situations. They then get repeated out of context by secondary reporters who are even more likely to be biased and willing to misquote and mislead to make us appear to match their prejudices.

    Reality says we have to consider what HAPPENS to what we say before we say anything.

    …and the rest? Wonderful ideals, but you are wrong to demand that they apply to politics. You want ideals, you get deals. Preferring to have no coat at all rather than cut one to fit your cloth is just a good way to be left out in the cold.

    I can be wrong about the best way to get the results I want. Anyone can be wrong at that level, but I am not wrong about the error of pursuing ideals instead of results. I have made this reasoning clear with the example of Nader in the USA. If one has a choice between the unattainable ideal and the attainable deal, you go for the deal.

    One must always consider the price attached.

    BJ

  180. I wouldn’t like to see the demise of the Green Party that would be very tragic. I mean who else would I vote for? The Communist Party?

    For those who know their history know that in 1933 the German National Socialist Party rammed through parliament declaring a state of emergency, it was called The Enabling Act; does that sound familiar? And was there any real need for it? OK someone burnt down the Reigstag, so what? Hardly a destruction of a whole city.

    Unlike those times we have more immediate information at our disposal via technology, the net etc. If I have got the story correctly the Recovery Act was a dictatorial piece of legislation that was a complete over re-action to the situation. The Greens rightly put forward a number of amendments to moderate it,they were repeatedly voted down by NAT?LAB.

    OK I think the MP’s were right to challenge and moderate the bill but why on earth did they vote it through when they knew there were serious flaws? Did they honestly think to vote against the bill would invite a media lampooning? Did all the Green MP’S vote against? And whose advice did they take before voting?

    I could be wrong but I have a sneaking suspicion that someone led them up the garden path but I would like to have more information.

  181. So principle and democracy itself are things that the Green Party’s survival is more important than …

    Yes.

    Lets go back to first principles: the Green party is an organisation of environmentally aware people who want to be part of the parliamentry process to attempt to effect change for the better, in line with the party’s aims.

    It’s hard to be a party in parliament if people don’t vote for you. A parliamentary party with no MPs isn’t very influential as a party.

    If being in parliament means sucking it up once in a while, thats what you do. The “greater good” arguemnt applies.

    There are plenty of environmental organisations that are not parliamentary parties; they don’t have the same strictures, are answerable to no-one, and can thus afford to be more principled. On the other hand, they have no power to effect any sort of change; at best they can affect public opinion.

  182. http://legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2010/0319/latest/whole.html?search=ts_regulation_canterbury+earthquake_resel&p=1#dlm3240309

    This one just pisses me off… Us transport campaigners have been fighting tooth and nail to make Joyce pay a political price for his 53 ton truck trial and now he gets it in Canterbury – no public opinion, no debate with a flick of Brownlee’s pen, we have spent many an hour writing letters to the editor, editorials, we survey hundreds of local authorities (most of the work done by a campaigner now in the last throws of cancer – who gets to see a dictator minimize one of his last campaigns in possibly his final days) and you helped piss it away…

  183. SPC and RobertGuyton

    The issue isn’t about public vs principled support. Its not even about loss of democracy, or empowering Gerry.

    It’s about the very survival of the Green Party as a force in parliament.

    The ‘quake and subsequent rebuilding of Canterbury is almost guaranteed to be the biggest event to occur between now and the next election. At the time of the next election, the ‘quake aftermath and the rebuilding will still be ongoing, and thus will feature in the election rhetoric. It will be discussed and debated ad nauseum during the election campaign.

    Had the Greens chosen to go against the otherwise unanimous support the Bill had last night, then the portrayal of that action come the campaigning would be that the Greens are against Canterbury, against the people of Canterbury, and against the rebuilding of Canterbury.

    As BJ correctly implies, that bad publicity many months away may be enough to swing Green-curious voters (to misuse a phrase), the major party disenfrancees away from the Greens. These people are an important part of the Green party support. Lose them, the Greens could drop below 5%.

    Thats just too high a price to pay for a pointless stand, principled or otherwise.

    This scenario is one that no other party has faced (at least in recent times). The fact that ACT have a serving criminal will be water under the bridge in times ahead, a flash in the pan. Who even remembers the credit card scandals, such a big deal just months ago. The destruction of part of Canterbury and its drawn out reconstruction will be with us for years.

    This is all a really big deal. How much clearer can it be made…?

  184. Without the OIA applying there is a lack of transparency.

    And how are those who make decisions – such as awarding contracts without tenders to be accountable … (what if the parliamentary majority NACT receive party funding donations from those receiving the government money …).

    It is not as if there is any legal review being allowed …

  185. That one is rather innocuous, Jeremy. But I agree with you in principle – the potential anti-democratic abuse of this Act is immense.

  186. bjchip – respectfully, you said the same thing (It could be expected to appear in some campaign flyer or advertisements, in the final month of the election (leaving no time to answer the charge)
    about Section 59. The Greens then, are screwed at every election (cannabis reform etc.) If that’s the case WHY NOT GO FOR BROKE AND SAY EVERYTHING WE TRULY BELIEVE IN!
    Revelation! A Party that speaks its mind – is up-front!
    Yikes!!!
    Transparency!

  187. gee..bj…you really are flying in the face of popular opinion…

    supporting this one…

    and that ‘they will say nasty things about us’-defence..

    really has me hanging my head…eh..?

    c.f..’marketplace of ideas’…?)

    the slave-owners didn’t like the abolitionists…

    the capitalist-pigs ‘didn’t like’ the unions..

    such highschool-reasoning dosen’t really wash….

    (why the need to be loved by all…?..)

    btw..i totally agree with you re nader + american green = bush/death…

    (the auckland greens also split the left vote…

    ..and gave us the first banks-dominated council…

    ..what i call their nader-moment…)

    but i digress…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  188. Mr Hague, Mr Russel.

    When you say that this is some ‘single issue’ due to which ‘some people’ might not vote for the Greens any more, then you are ignoring the elephant in the room.

    The elephant is that with this bill there is no point in voting any more.

    No point at all.

    By voting for this bill, you have taken given Parliament’s power to Gerry Brownlee. The parliament, as a reminder, represents your voters.

    I.e. you MPs have this week made yourselves dispensable. For my part I will remember that at the next election. Just in case power ever gets transferred back to parliament.

    You also seem to forget that the powers that Mr Brownlee now has, it should be an easy task to influence opinions and resources during the election campaign. Remember that when you fall below the 5% threshold.

    Actually I would have expected some of the highly paid experts in parliament to work on constitutional safeguards and all that. But — no parliament, no safeguards.

    I’m sad.

    Best regards and farewell,
    Benjamin.

  189. Politicians of all stripes do not seem to realise that we do not vote for them. We vote to remove the last lot we did not like. Unfortunately the only way to remove them is to vote for the lot we did not like in the previous election.

  190. D Buckley. How come NACT gets elected when they are entirely ideological. Imposing policies which fly in the face of all the evidence.

    This has me boiling as much as when we finally got rid of the poison dwarf. Only to have the Rogernomes, as soon as they got their hands on the levers, getting drunk with power and acting like teenage vandals in a toy shop. We actually had to vote National to stop them!

  191. Robert

    Are we speculating that the Greens would have lost public support by taking a principled stand on this issue?

    Based on prior performances by the media and our political opponents, that is a possible result. I think it more likely than not, but not immediately, nor even certainly. It could be expected to appear in some campaign flyer or advertisements, in the final month of the election (leaving no time to answer the charge).

    That we might ultimately be understood would be cold comfort at 4.95%

    Picking our battles seems wiser and we can I think, persuade people that this bill is badly written…. because it is, and restrain Brownlee by using any excesses at as a hammer.

    BJ

  192. Kevin Hague wrote:

    Green MPs…made a series of awesome speeches dissecting the weaknesses and flaws of the Bill and proposing constructive alternatives. The Bill was changed as a result and the Government was forced to make a number of concessions and assurances that will have political force and can be used in interpreting the law in future…When it came to the vote itself, our 9 votes were neither here nor there in terms of the outcome… In contrast, for those whose principal interest is in the idea of “Parliament standing by the people of Canterbury” it is the vote that counts, rather than the debate.

    Mr. Hague, thank you for joining this important public discussion of your vote on Tuesday. I am having difficulty following your line of argument. You say the important thing is that you argued vigorously to change the bill so it wasn’t so bad, but the government and Labour mainly rejected your proposals and only one or two survived. Then you say you voted in favor of this bad piece of legislation because a vote against would not stop the passing of the bill and it would somehow signal that you were not trying to help the people of Canterbury rebuild. This logic I find highly flawed, and if this is your level of reasoning, my votes for the Green Party at the last four elections have been betrayed. If you continue to defend your vote using this line of argument, you have lost my vote. I want to see the whole caucus admit they got it wrong. Russel, Metiria, all of you. And put forward clear actions for making amends. The fact that you appear to be in denial about this grave mistake is not a good sign. But I really hope you will see that you got it wrong after further reflection, and be honest with Green voters.

  193. SPC – I’d be surprised if in the early stages of the Maori Party’s life, there were any sitting around saying ‘we must win back the right to go to court to contest decisions’.
    They were wanting a clearer solution.
    What they’ve got is very poor change.

  194. Are we speculating that the Greens would have lost public support by taking a principled stand on this issue?
    Making strong points in the House was a good thing to have done.
    Were none of those points transferable to the wider community?
    Would we not have understood?
    There are some pretty pithy summations floating around the blogarena.
    Many of them feature the name Nero.

  195. You see this is where you are so misguided, you didn’t do any of those things, those that voted for Bush and Gore did… You can sleep well knowing you did the right thing and work to help other realise why voting, and voting well, is so very important…

    I’m sorry. If there is no chance of other people doing the right thing, and I know that MY doing “the right thing” will cause the worst possible result for me I should, quite rationally, take what I CAN get, not try for the unattainable. I have only one vote to spend.

    The most powerful way to spend it is to vote for the person most likely to beat the person I like least.

    Nader had no chance of beating Bush. Zero, and that makes voting for him exactly the same IN EFFECT as tearing up my ballot.

    Not voting, not voting against the person I like least, and getting myself the worst possible result.

    Getting the worst possible result is not the right thing to do at all.

    Even if Nader was the best guy for the job.

    The RESULT is the important thing, not the intention. Good intentions do not keep the troops out of foreign countries or the CO2 out of the atmosphere. Good intentions don’t get ANYTHING done. Feeling good about what you tried to do when what you actually did got people killed, is absurd.

    BJ

  196. dbuckley, is your premise the idea that parties that uphold principle are less electable?

    However emergency law, as with security law, by nature over-rides constitutional prudence. Just as unregulated economic growth does sustainability and conservation of the environment estate. Here the two issues coincide and relate to why we have MMP and the Green Party’s contribution to our political system and economic debate.

    Urging restraint is an essential part of the democratic process and here it was the Green Party’s role to do so. By opposing the legislation with votes, the party would have created more mainstream media impact on the concerns – such as lack of court review etc (the National ACT parliamentary majority now have capacity to do what they like without constitutional restraint).

  197. “when people give up on what they believe in to stay in power so they can pass 10 laws they don’t agree with so 1 they do can pass they do, and the bar of integrity and leadership gets set lower and lower”

    Hey Jeremy! The Maori Party!

  198. Serious question: Had the Green Party voted against this bill, then there is a reasonable (but obviously not certain) likelihood that they would not be in Parliament next term.

    Is that a better outcome than “betrayal” over this issue? Is voting against with zero possibility of altering the outcome worth a term in the wilderness?

    Those who think it wouldn’t come to that are, of course, entitled to their opinion, but I think they would be found wanting in the final analysis.

  199. Kevin, the best way to get the wider public to take an interest in the debate on the bill in parliament was to have voted against it.

  200. I helped put the Green Party into parliament to do what it can to protect my interests and the wider interests of the environment. Yesterday I was betrayed.

  201. In the final analysis voting is the whole purpose of parliamentarians’ existence. It is the way they make law. It is the unique means by which they can “make a difference”.

    It is sometimes supposed that parliamentarians are the “voice of the people” or that they “speak for the people”. In actuality the people speak for themselves. They do say every day, in their places of work, in their homes, on the marae, at hui and social gatherings of all kinds. What the people cannot do is vote in the House of Representatives. They rely on parliamentarians to do that for them. So one cannot say in any circumstances at all that “it does not matter” how the representative votes. Representatives are sent to parliament to vote. How they vote is the one thing above all else that does matter.

    I accept voting is hugely important, but it is not the only reason they exist. If that were true, simply casting the vote and not commenting further would be fine, but that clearly would not be enough. MPs need to work to set the agenda and change minds on issues. The discursive power that comes with the role is extremely important, particularly for a small party.

    They go to parliament carrying an expectation that they will vote in certain ways which reflect the interests and beliefs of their constituents. It follows that When a representative casts a vote against the interests and beliefs of his constituency on the express grounds that it will improve the representative’s own chances of re-election, then the constituents have not only been betrayed: they have been insulted. That is why Green voters have reacted with fury and dismay to the decision of the parliamentary Green Party.

    Just because some have put forward possible election impact as a reason, doesn’t mean it is the reason. I see no cause to believe Kevin and other MPs are lying about this.

    Some people are surprised that every single parliamentarian voted to suspend the rule of law in New Zealand. I am not. I have seen that every single New Zealand parliamentarian has cravenly agreed to pledge allegiance to the hereditary monarch of a foreign power.

    I’ve been waiting for that old chestnut! I agree with lots of things you say, but to claim these things are equivalent is nothing short of daft.

    At the same time, I accept that the parliamentarians are right about one thing. It actually doesn’t very much matter how they vote. The destiny of the nation is in the hands of its people. Parliament can pass draconian laws which are abhorrent to justice and an affront to the dignity of the people. Parliament can surrender to the demands of an autocratic clique. But we the people go about our business as we always have. If we find ourselves at odds with the coercive apparatus of a regime which is antagonistic to everything we hold dear, then we ignore the state where we can, and fight it when we must.

    Happy to agree with all of that, Geoff.

  202. “.. This is not one of them ..”

    wot..!..signing up for the cancellation odf all our laws/democratic-rights…
    ‘is not one of them’..?

    That’s not what I meant, but can see I didn’t put it well. I was reacting to the suggestion that the decision to support the bill was taken because MPs were afraid of the media stoush. It wasn’t.

    “…In fact very much effort is put into managing the media maul …”

    well..out here we don’t see a hell of a lot of that..eh..?

    That is part of the point, yes.

    “.. and much goes into direct comms too, so that people receive our message uncorrupted…”

    oh..!..btw..just spewing out press releases…and then crying ‘cos they don’t get printed verbatim…

    ..is not quite enough…eh..?

    Wouldn’t waste effort on direct comms if it was.

    “… But it does no one credit to deny the reality that when questioning the status quo and the conventional wisdom, one will be met with huge resistance that is sometimes all but impossible to overcome except over a very long time frame…”

    puh-leeze…!..green issues are all over the media/in our minds/psyches..

    we just don’t seem to hear any arguments/ideas/solutions from the greens…

    (and i speak as a media/political-junkie…who is looking for it..)

    With it being so easy and everyone else such a pack of wallies, I can’t see why you haven’t been put in charge already, eh.

  203. Well, I would have found it very hard to sleep at night knowing that by my doing the “right” thing according to my ideals I had put Dubya in power, arranged the deaths of over 100,000 people in Iraq, ignored and disrespected the science of global warming, removed earth monitoring from the NASA mission statement, ignored the warnings about Al-Qaeda, pushed the Iranians into a corner… the list is actually VERY long.

    You see this is where you are so misguided, you didn’t do any of those things, those that voted for Bush and Gore did… You can sleep well knowing you did the right thing and work to help other realise why voting, and voting well, is so very important…

    There is almost always a difference. This instance perhaps not so much of a difference, but idealists are almost never elected and are even less often re-elected. A political party of idealists is never going to have the clout to realize any of its ideals and will often accomplish the opposite of what it desires.

    If you attempt something you cannot possibly do you have failed twice. First by failing to do the impossible thing, and second by failing to do the possible thing that you might have done instead.

    And the slide down the slippery slope begins, when people give up on what they believe in to stay in power so they can pass 10 laws they don’t agree with so 1 they do can pass they do, and the bar of integrity and leadership gets set lower and lower so the object becomes to “beat the other guy” rather than “serve the people”…

    The Greens began down this path Tuesday, Labour and National were already there… I feel sorry for the MPs that voted for this, the Green Party voting to allow Gerry Brownlee to suspend the RMA single-handedly and without any judicial review… But voting for someone as qualified and noble as Nader is what keeps you up nights BJ..?

    The Green MPs should be sick to their stomach and ashamed of themselves…

  204. Key will treat the elderly, the teachers, the beneficiaries and the low income earners with something just prior to the election and their discontent will vanish.
    ACT imploding? Vacuums will do that.
    The Maori Party? Aue te mamae! Shouldna upset Titiwhai!

  205. “…There are times when there are better ways to use our effort than fighting the media…”

    i see it more as seduction..rather than open warfare…

    “.. This is not one of them ..”

    wot..!..signing up for the cancellation odf all our laws/democratic-rights…
    ‘is not one of them’..?

    um..!..wot is then…?..in yr mind/judgment..?

    “…In fact very much effort is put into managing the media maul …”

    well..out here we don’t see a hell of a lot of that..eh..?

    “.. and much goes into direct comms too, so that people receive our message uncorrupted…”

    oh..!..btw..just spewing out press releases…and then crying ‘cos they don’t get printed verbatim…

    ..is not quite enough…eh..?

    “… But it does no one credit to deny the reality that when questioning the status quo and the conventional wisdom, one will be met with huge resistance that is sometimes all but impossible to overcome except over a very long time frame…”

    puh-leeze…!..green issues are all over the media/in our minds/psyches..

    we just don’t seem to hear any arguments/ideas/solutions from the greens…

    (and i speak as a media/political-junkie…who is looking for it..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  206. The Sprout- I agree, but given the current concerns National have something to prove as well and if they tried to hide stuff people would smell a rat.

    Robert-Yes, the odds are in NACT’s favour (and their cronies) and that is the political reality. What we can say is that the Greens are the most active opposition (Labour has followed our lead with mining and Ecan) and if we didn’t exist things would be so much worse. The Super City is barely realized and the dust hasn’t fully settled on the Ecan corpse.

    If we keep firing the questions and focussing the spotlights things are bound to shift in our favour. The Maori Party are compromised and divided, Act is imploding, Labour is still suffering from an identity crises and the Greens remain consistent and purposeful. The elderly feel abandoned by National, Educators across all sectors feel victimized, beneficiaries are under siege, those on low incomes (most workers) are struggling, so how many votes do dairy farmers and corporate CEOs really have?

  207. i’m with ping-pong..

    on that most cynical (vote-gathering)level…

    the greens just blew a big opportunity to define themselves as the party of principle/s..

    however you view it…

    it’s a fail of epic proportions…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  208. and one in which ..’till now..the greens seem quite happy to be in the role of whinging-loser…

    No, that’s crap. There are times when there are better ways to use our effort than fighting the media. This is not one of them and hasn’t been offered as a reason anyway. In fact very much effort is put into managing the media maul, and much goes into direct comms too, so that people receive our message uncorrupted. But it does no one credit to deny the reality that when questioning the status quo and the conventional wisdom, one will be met with huge resistance that is sometimes all but impossible to overcome except over a very long time frame.

  209. y’see..bj..i see the media/selling green ideas process as being more of an ongoing rolling brawl/maul..in the market-place of ideas…

    and one in which ..’till now..the greens seem quite happy to be in the role of whinging-loser…

    Phil

    In this regard there is some truth.

    I don’t know what efforts the party makes in regard to pushing information into media channels, getting good coverage and information out to those who for better or worse, shape public opinion through their accurate reporting or mis-representation of facts.

    I’d like to see us taking it to them, publicly giving them the lie and making them acknowledge their misrepresentations. You don’t fight with people who buy printing ink by the railroad tank car.

    respectfully
    BJ

  210. In the final analysis voting is the whole purpose of parliamentarians’ existence. It is the way they make law. It is the unique means by which they can “make a difference”.

    It is sometimes supposed that parliamentarians are the “voice of the people” or that they “speak for the people”. In actuality the people speak for themselves. They do say every day, in their places of work, in their homes, on the marae, at hui and social gatherings of all kinds. What the people cannot do is vote in the House of Representatives. They rely on parliamentarians to do that for them. So one cannot say in any circumstances at all that “it does not matter” how the representative votes. Representatives are sent to parliament to vote. How they vote is the one thing above all else that does matter.

    They go to parliament carrying an expectation that they will vote in certain ways which reflect the interests and beliefs of their constituents. It follows that When a representative casts a vote against the interests and beliefs of his constituency on the express grounds that it will improve the representative’s own chances of re-election, then the constituents have not only been betrayed: they have been insulted. That is why Green voters have reacted with fury and dismay to the decision of the parliamentary Green Party.

    Some people are surprised that every single parliamentarian voted to suspend the rule of law in New Zealand. I am not. I have seen that every single New Zealand parliamentarian has cravenly agreed to pledge allegiance to the hereditary monarch of a foreign power. I have seen that they themselves have brought into question their loyalty to their nation and to democratic principle. I have heard the casuistry by which they seek to justify that decision. And I am not surprised to see the same servility shown, and the same casuistry employed, by the same people in an attempt to justify voting in favour of the suspension of the rule of law at the whim of central government.

    At the same time, I accept that the parliamentarians are right about one thing. It actually doesn’t very much matter how they vote. The destiny of the nation is in the hands of its people. Parliament can pass draconian laws which are abhorrent to justice and an affront to the dignity of the people. Parliament can surrender to the demands of an autocratic clique. But we the people go about our business as we always have. If we find ourselves at odds with the coercive apparatus of a regime which is antagonistic to everything we hold dear, then we ignore the state where we can, and fight it when we must.

  211. Jeremy

    Absolutely, that’s how you sleep at night… They may be crazy but I admire the hell out of the Libnz for saying what they believe, putting a party together election after election when they have no hope…

    Well, I would have found it very hard to sleep at night knowing that by my doing the “right” thing according to my ideals I had put Dubya in power, arranged the deaths of over 100,000 people in Iraq, ignored and disrespected the science of global warming, removed earth monitoring from the NASA mission statement, ignored the warnings about Al-Qaeda, pushed the Iranians into a corner… the list is actually VERY long.

    Greens there sometimes assert, to this very day, that there was no difference between Gore and Bush. Bad and Worse were the choices available so they chose Nader and elected Bush. The consequences for the planet are still being counted…

    There is almost always a difference. This instance perhaps not so much of a difference, but idealists are almost never elected and are even less often re-elected. A political party of idealists is never going to have the clout to realize any of its ideals and will often accomplish the opposite of what it desires.

    If you attempt something you cannot possibly do you have failed twice. First by failing to do the impossible thing, and second by failing to do the possible thing that you might have done instead.

    Politics is the art of the possible.

    respectfully
    BJ

  212. As a Green voter I am also extremely disappointed. A political party’s first step must always been to maintain democracy, as everything else flows from that. I am getting so tired of the constant concern for political expediency and yearn for principled, thoughtful actions. As someone already said, who do I vote for now?

  213. I can’t believe the naivete of you lot.

    If the Greens had gone against this then they would have been roasted as being anti-Canterbury-rebuilding, and that moniker would stick, as Canty will still be rebuilding come the next election.

    The trick in politics is to pick your battles.

    This wasn’t the battle to engage in, as its a lose-lose situation.

  214. sprout, are you familiar with this government’s record on OIAs? they are treated with the same contempt for Parliamentary and constitutional process as evinced by the ChCh Act.
    try lodging an OIA on anything the government doesn’t want discussed and see what happens

  215. Were the ‘hawks’ able to do anything about the Super City power shift or the Ecan ‘grab’?
    Those were small-fry compared to this.
    How did we fare with the minnows do you think sprout?

  216. When the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commission website is set up I hope you’ll all join me and send the following e-mail:

    I XXXX XXXX,

    Request under the Official Information Act copies of all minutes of committee meetings, reports and Orders in Council relating to any matter before the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commission and I request that this OIA request be applicable and ongoing until April 12 2012.

    Sincerely,

    XXXX XXXX
    123 Fake St
    Wellington

  217. Robert-Our strongest defense will be our ability to expose those who abuse their status in a timely and forceful fashion, the OIA is a useful tool to that end. New Zealanders hate abuses of privilege and there is a growing distrust of many in NACT for that reason. The fact that political commentators “across the board” have a sense of unease is another factor in our favour. The hawks are watching!

  218. Kevin Hague,

    “For Green Party supporters who believe that we got it wrong, I’m sorry to have disappointed you. I understand too that there are some people for whom a single issue becomes so simportant that their vote is cast entirely on that issue.”

    I’m not a Green party supporter as such, but can I politely ask: if the maintenance of our liberal-democratic institutions aren’t a touchstone for you, then a) why the hell should anyone vote for you, and b) what on earth is?

    The electorate needs this question answered, by all parties. But the Greens, having placed themselves upon the pedestal of principled support for the institutions which were blithely sacrificed the other night have more to answer for than other parties from whom such might be reasonably expected.

    L

  219. But sprout, there is the stink of a authoritarian, strategising-for-future-gain, dictatorial, taking-advantage-of-an-emergency-to-veil-core-desires National Government around all this, isn’t there.
    The sense on unease this has caused across the board of political commentors is palpable and for good reason I think. Where there is smoke…there’s usually some smouldering lignite.

  220. Robert-Totally agree, and while Gordon Campbell has exposed the many flaws within this act he acknowledges the concession to make the decision process open to Official Information Act inquiries. This ensures that if powers are abused and the process goes astray, nothing can be hidden. The fact that so many of us will be watching like hawks (a reasonable expectation given the emotions expressed here) any transgressions will be exposed in a timely fashion.

  221. Our Green MPs must watch developments in Canterbury like hawks, with special focus on the ramifications of this bill, protesting loudly at any abuse, ensuring that it is discontinued at the earliest possible moment and that it in no way becomes a precedent for later machinations by any government. That might help to regain the support of those here who have despaired at what has unfolded. The concerns the Green MPs expressed in the House should become widely known and adopted/accepted by those in the public awake enough to have have had reservations about what’s happened here.

  222. Does this apply to elections as well?

    Should I vote for the candidate I like best even though that person has NO chance of winning?

    Absolutely, that’s how you sleep at night… They may be crazy but I admire the hell out of the Libnz for saying what they believe, putting a party together election after election when they have no hope… It seems like our MPs and you have forgotten, that ultimately, that is what democracy boils down to… This Act has made a mockery of that principle as now it doesn’t matter who we vote for, or what laws they pass, as an oafish woodworking teacher from Christchurch can override them with a flick of a pen…

    My faith in NZ democracy has been profoundly shaken and craven politicking on yours, or the Greens, or anybodys part for that matter, is a disgrace…

    We urgently need either some or all of the following; an upper house, a formal constitution challengable in the court, an elected head of state with veto powers… The children in Parliament at the moment have proven they can’t safely play with the toys…

  223. I had missed Kevin’s comment when I wrote the one above, I hope everyone reads it. We are well served by our Green MPs, they are only human but they punch well above their weight in parliament and with greater consistency and principle than any other party.

  224. “..Phil

    The only option I am aware of, would have been to sue TV3 for their lies. I believe that that option was considered at the time…”

    um..!..no..!..the other ‘option’ was for the greens to make some semblance of a fist of persuading the media/people of the efficacies/savings/greeness of those showerheads..

    not to just snivel in a corner..pondering suing tv3 (!)..f.f.s…!

    “…The point I was making and that you are ignoring here, is that we do not control the media and their message. Nor should we…”

    well..where to start with that one..?

    y’see..bj..i see the media/selling green ideas process as being more of an ongoing rolling brawl/maul..in the market-place of ideas…

    and one in which ..’till now..the greens seem quite happy to be in the role of whinging-loser…

    scared of selling the logic/reason/humanity of medical-marijuana…

    and now scared of of standing up for our basic democratic rights..

    ..in situations of eye-ball-to-eyeball..

    you really do have quite the blink…

    ..eh..?

    (and as just an afterthought…d’ya reckon sue bradford would have voted for this..?

    ..just asking..!..)

    have you memorandum-of-understanding yrslves into irrelevancy..(or in this case…worse..!..)

    ..are you dazzled by possible ministerial-roles….?

    ..and are thus terrified of ‘rocking the boat’…?

    w.t.f. explains all this..?

    ..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  225. Thanks for adding some perspective and wisdom to this debate, BJ, I was beginning to think I was a lone voice.

    What appears to be lost amongst the angst is that the intent of this bill is not bad. This bill is not legalizing rape or approving the construction of a dam on a wild, untamed river, it is supporting the recovery of an earthquake ravaged city. If the Greens were to make principled stands I would prefer it picked its battles and this is one battle we didn’t need to win at all cost.

  226. Phil

    The only option I am aware of, would have been to sue TV3 for their lies. I believe that that option was considered at the time.

    The point I was making and that you are ignoring here, is that we do not control the media and their message. Nor should we.

    How voting for, against, sideways or fish would ‘make a difference’ except in the perceptions of a tiny fraction of people who are looking to us to send messages instead of gaining enough fecking power to actually stop a rightwing coup is beyond me. Politics is the art of the possible.

    As for public opinion, I reckon that if we are to be elected we cannot ever wholly ignore public PERCEPTION. If I could be sure that what we do and say were going to be accurately reported and not twisted in the course of things I would accept public opinion as what it is. We’d then just do what is right and educate the people who are willing to listen and I think we would get on well enough. Our policies are sound. That perfect world isn’t the real world and we have to deal with the real, not the ideal.

    As for “aiding and abetting a rightwing coup”, one has to consider that our proposed amendments and limitations, were all the opposition there was… and to call that “aiding or abetting” severely overstates your case.

    At the end we had to vote and we had no allies. I have outlined the choices and reasoning I think were followed and I think we did it right.

    respectfully
    BJ

  227. even granny-herald has an alarm-bell-ringing editorial…

    saying much what commenters are saying here…

    (i’ve had a sleep on it…done some yoga….had a toke….

    and i still can’t come anywhere near understanding w.t.f. you were all thinking..(or not..!)

    had you voted against it..you would be strengthening yr ‘principled-brand’…

    and would have access to the media…

    to explain yr actions…

    (and that would have been a ‘bad thing’…?…)

    is this just another sympton of the greens inability to focus on ‘their people’…

    and to reach for the impossible..being all things to all people..?

    why are you so afraid of testing yr arguments/debates…?

    a hint of opposition/’bad-press’…

    ..has you abandoning all reason/’belief’…

    once again…f.f.s…!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  228. It is with considerable hesitancy that I enter this thread. I can’t immediately bring to mind any heated online debates that resulted in some kind of resolution or even convergence. Indeed the clash of strong viewpoints in this thread reflects perfectly the dilemma that we faced on Tuesday about how to vote. It was an extremely hard decision to make, but of course one that we now have to live with despite our inevitable doubts about whether we made the right decision.

    Some on the thread have talked about the importance of symbolism. I hope those who are sure that we made the wrong call either watched the whole debate or will now do so (or read the Hansard). Green MPs, particularly Kennedy and Russel, made a series of awesome speeches dissecting the weaknesses and flaws of the Bill and proposing constructive alternatives. The Bill was changed as a result and the Government was forced to make a number of concessions and assurances that will have political force and can be used in interpreting the law in future. My judgment is that those people most interested in the symbolism of legislative debate around constitutional issues will be more interested in the Hansard record than the vote itself, and there is some evidence of that already.

    When it came to the vote itself, as others have said, our 9 votes were neither here nor there in terms of the outcome. Voting against the Bill at third reading would have been consistent with the critique we mounted against it but, in terms of this signalling for people mainly concerned about the constitutional implications, would have added little extra value. In contrast, for those whose principal interest is in the idea of “Parliament standing by the people of Canterbury” it is the vote that counts, rather than the debate.

    We wanted to be clear that we do stand by the people of Canterbury and acknowledge the need to expedite some processes to facilitate recovery, while also strenuously disagreeing with the approach being taken and doing our very best to improve it. In the context within which we had to work we believed that our very active efforts to change the Bill and to put down the markers in the debate against which the Government should be judged, but to vote for the Bill at third reading was the best match for that set of objectives.

    I acknowledge and fully respect that others believe that either our assessment of the balance of those objectives was wrong or that there would have been better ways of achieving those two objectives. For Green Party supporters who believe that we got it wrong, I’m sorry to have disappointed you. I understand too that there are some people for whom a single issue becomes so simportant that their vote is cast entirely on that issue. However, political parties can’t really work on that basis. We have to do our best to have policy and make decisions across a very broad range of issues, and then ask voters to judge this whole mix, and our behaviour on everything, even if there are aspects with which they disapprove. My hope is that most people who disapprove of the judgment call we made on Tuesday will be able to consider it against this broader context.

  229. bj,

    We had no power to save it, only to take a position which would very likely cost us votes in the next general election.

    By that logic the greens should vote for everything the largest party in parliament puts up.

    To do otherwise would very likely cost votes in the next general election.

  230. “..What would have been sent? “a clear message to all of NZ about where the Greens stand” ? Do you really believe that ?

    After seeing the mess the media managed to make of our position on shower heads, NZ getting a clear message about us opposing the prompt reconstruction of Canterbury after a massive quake seems a lot more likely…”

    so..bj..you are advocating a green party cowed to the current public opinion…?

    and don’t get me started on their utter failure to sell something so logical/basic as environmentally-sound showerheads..!..f.f.f..!

    and hey..!..here’s a bet there has been no analysis of that failure…

    ..eh..?

    and while i am not surprised at my chagrin…

    ..i am at the depth of feelings/disdain/dismay being shown here by many obviously die-hard greens..

    norman/turei should be very very nervous…

    people are looking to them/the greens ‘to make a difference’..

    not to aid and abet a feckin’ rightwing coup…

    f.f.s..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  231. Voting for this bill was all about spin. If the greens want to become a party of spin go ahead, but it’s not going to win you any votes and it WILL lose you some. You say the media could lose you some votes? What about alienating your core constituency?

  232. Rimu:

    Faced with a similar situation, I chose not to submit to a mendacious mass media organisation (APN). Instead I did what I deemed to be right, and took the truth directly to my local community. It has cost me time and money, but I have achieved my object within prescribed limits.

    That may be difficult for a party which wants to be a national political prescence, and which relies on nationwide or global media organisations as its main line of communication to the voters. But you should not surrender to people who tell, or threaten to tell, lies about you. You can’t allow them to dictate your actions and compromise your principles.

  233. You are talking crap BJ, you vote for a law if you think it’s a good law…

    You vote against a law if you think it’s a bad law…

    Does this apply to elections as well?

    Should I vote for the candidate I like best even though that person has NO chance of winning?

    That’s a fair proxy for the morality of this situation.

    That’s the decision taken by the US Greens when they elected George W. Bush to office by thinking with their hearts. Wrong damned organ. One has to consider the RESULTS of one’s morally justified outrage before indulging in it.

    At least one result was perfectly clear. Voting against it would not have stopped it. The only issue would be the result of abstaining or voting for it. Would being the only party that did not vote for the bill avoid the possibility of being attacked for failing to vote for it. No certainty in that… no real advantage in it, and hard to position not voting as taking a principled stand. The choices were yes-no, and the only result of the no vote would have been a whack at our public image with a message that we put principles ahead of the people of Canterbury.

    respectfully
    BJ

  234. Good on ya for trying to get the amendments in. They could have helped.

    But you still supported the bill. You could have stood your ground and opposed it like you are supposed to. Where are the people with OUR voice. As a Cantabrian I AM DISAPPOINTED IN YOU. We want to be able to rebuild our own city, not give the man who wants to dig everything up and export it overseas a dictatorship… Where are the people we can turn to when it all turns to shit? Obviously not here now since you voted for it!

    So pissed off right now…

  235. “You known this would be untrue, I know it”

    No I do not know it. I have seen how things are turned on us by those who wish to paint us into an unelectable corner. You have seen that as well.

    Whether that would have happened this time is not clear, we took the path that avoided providing that opportunity to our opponents.

    There are a lot of dumb people out there. As Twain said “God must have loved idiots, because he made so many of them”. It is important to us, as a political party, to avoid doing things that allow them to be confused.

    I have mixed feelings about this even now, which is indicative of the difficulty that our MPs faced at the end of a long day in which everything they tried to do to make the bill more suitable to New Zealand than to Myanmar… was rejected by every other party. We all know that the bill is execrably written and can only be regarded with contempt for its authors.

    So we have to fix it.

    However, the likelihood that had we voted against it, that that vote would be brought up by our political opponents out of context and in support of a completely false attack, seems to me to be around 9 to 1. That it COULD be is a dead certainty. Whether we could manage an effective defense is only (on current form) about 50-50.

    Point is, I really don’t know and despite your surety you do not AFAIK, possess a crystal ball either. Of course if you do, I would like to contact you about some fund raising activities at the TAB. :-)

    respectfully
    BJ

  236. If the people out there really are so dumb as to not be able to work out things for themselves, then I think the battle is lost

    Work things out for themselves? How can they possibly do that?!

    I just went to tvnz.co.nz and looked up the media coverage of this bill. I found these two news stories http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/earthquake-recovery-legislation-announced-3775611 http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/quake-legislation-welcome-news-3775802 both of which read like National party press releases. Anyone who used those two news stories as their sole source of info about this bill (which, sadly, will be 99% of people) would have NO idea about the broad powers Gerry Brownlee has gotten, or why the Greens would want to oppose the bill.

    You absolutely cannot have any faith that the public will automatically see what is right and truthful. They don’t read legislation or watch parliament TV, they half listen to a few seconds of TV3 in the background as they cook dinner.

    It’s not that they are stupid, they just have other things on their minds and do not have the information they need to form a reality-based judgement.

    Given that unfortunate reality, the only impression 99% of people would have gotten about the story is “John Key (who is awesome) tries to do something for the poor people of Chch, Greens grandstand about bullshit in order to try score cheap political points”.

    Sad, but true.

  237. To me it’s bad enough that this bill passed. That’s done, and as far as I’m concerned every MP is at least equally responsible. I’m just surprised and feel let down that the Green Party MPs were amongst them. I didn’t expect it, and it goes against what I thought the Green Party usually stands for and what I’ve seen it stand for in the past.

    What I find very very disturbing in hindsight is that such a bill was ever legally allowed to pass in our parliament without amendments. As written it puts centuries of experience and carefully considered law-making and accountability at risk at the whim of a tiny number of people whom we’re asked to “trust”. Until now I thought the system was designed so we’d never have to trust anyone with so much power. Even if you trust Gerry Brownlee and friends (and I don’t, just as I wouldn’t trust anyone—it’s nothing personal against Mr Brownlee here), we don’t even know for certain who they’ll be for the entire duration until the sunset clause…. whenever that might be extended until.

    A clause requiring a larger-than-usual-majority wouldn’t have worked here, because it seems that all our MPs were either shell-shocked by a disaster, under peer pressure to follow the party line, or somehow paranoid about what the media might do to them the day after. Despite some MPs stating on the record that they’re uneasy about the most absurd clauses, they still voted for it, and that’s what counts. It went through in the blink of an eye with unanimous support, and we waved goodbye to the fundamentals of our parliamentary democracy. How could this have been allowed to happen so easily?

    I’m sad that the Green Party voted for this but I sympathise with how it probably happened. MPs shouldn’t be allowed to make these sorts of decisions on their own, especially on short notice, and they shouldn’t even be asked. Giving someone dictatorial powers, benign or otherwise, is what revolutions are for. I didn’t vote for my representatives simply so they could vote that representation and accountability away. I guess I’m naive, but I assumed the system wouldn’t let that happen.

    Obviously the government needs to have tools to address this kind of disaster appropriately, but it didn’t need this bill for that and some more barbed wire might have required certain amendments be made. If our parliament survives the next few years and has a chance to look back and acknowledge what happened with MPs given so much flexibility and how it could have worked instead, then maybe it’s a strong argument for improving our constitutional framework? A plan or two in the filing cabinet about how to deal with a disaster on this scale without throwing away the fundamentals of the parliamentary democracy would probably also be handy.

    If something as trivial as the media, or fears of it, caused our parliamentary system to be sacrificed in this way, technically or otherwise, we’re in serious trouble and need to look at the system more carefully.

  238. BJ,

    Sure … politics is about getting and keeping political power (which is perhaps the problem, but thats a different issue). You reckon that if the Greens hadn’t voted for the bill then they would have been unfairly painted as opposing the earthquake reconstruction. You known this would be untrue, I know it, most of the people posting here know it, why do you think others would not also recognise the untruth? If the people out there really are so dumb as to not be able to work out things for themselves, then I think the battle is lost, and they deserve the government they get.

    Sprout: you talk about protecting the “Green brand”. I was about to write about how politics is not about brands, and this use of the term “brand” reflects the unhealthy influence of marketing/advertising type people. However, upon further reflection I reckon you’re right to use the term “brand” when referring to political parties. When I visit the supermarket I am confronted with choices between many brands. For example, Purex (strong on softness), Kleenex (long roll), Earthcare (softer, stronger, whiter and better for the environment) and Homebrand (cheap). Despite the outside differences, and even some minor differences on the inside, we all know that the contents are essentially the same and have the same use … just like the political parties.

    Cheers,

    Miuela.

  239. You are talking crap BJ, you vote for a law if you think it’s a good law…

    You vote against a law if you think it’s a bad law… The Gerry Brownlee Dictorial Enabling Act is a horrible law…

    The press, political posters and constitutional academics are slamming this law – the Greens lost an opportunity to be elevated in the public eye, not denigrated…

    Parliament, not just the government, passed this law, unanimously, that includes the Greens to their eternal shame…

  240. @sjw

    What would have been sent? “a clear message to all of NZ about where the Greens stand” ? Do you really believe that ?

    After seeing the mess the media managed to make of our position on shower heads, NZ getting a clear message about us opposing the prompt reconstruction of Canterbury after a massive quake seems a lot more likely.

    Politics is not about sending messages. It is about getting and keeping political power (of which we have damned little) for the purpose of accomplishing change in government policy and laws.

    Our habit of confusing these two objectives is a hobble we apply to our own legs before each race.

    In retrospect I think that our representatives did the right thing at the time. Now as Trond notes, it is time to make the amendments that need to be made to this ill-conceived measure…

    The mistake of thinking that we supported the errors in this legislation is huge, the amendments and changes we attempted to insert in it speak to our recognition of the errors in the legislation. The error of being the sole vote in opposition to emergency aid to Canterbury would have been larger.

    respectfully
    BJ

  241. Commenting to amend myself here – I’m not saying that I think it was actually politically necessary, just that I can see that how you might argue that it was. And given that, that the clear next step would be to be extraordinarily vocal about the flaws and compromises you made.

    We’re on a slippery slope here, and the time to protest is now.

  242. I can’t blame the green party for supporting this, nor can I really blame anyone except the bill’s architects for sloppy drafting and potentially, malicious sneakiness in allowing a National-party appointed dictator to bypass certain laws. It was political necessity – standing up and putting obstacles in the path of emergency legislation is political suicide.

    Now that the ‘necessary’ bill has passed, how soon till we see the member’s bills amending this legislation to fix it? You were forced into this corner, but there’s nothing saying you can’t fight back now that you’re able. Expecting to hear some announcements soon.

  243. Thank you BJ, I was considering commenting that the posts seem to be becoming increasingly incoherent but you’ve done a better job than I could. I would point out to others that however our MPs voted, all of the consequences would have been unwanted. The only difference between them is that one set would have been controlled entirely by others, voting as we did we retained some control over them.

    At the next election those of you who are going to have difficulty in supporting the Greens from now on will face a similar dilemma to our MPs. Will you stick to your principles and vote for a party who’s policies you generally oppose or will you swallow the rat and vote for the party most of who’s policies you like?

    Speaking from the silt pile, I’m writing this at an ungodly hour of the morning because we had a noticeable aftershock an hour ago, about magnitude 3.5 I would say. The new fault line runs 50m away from my flat on the edge of the CBD. Across the road from me two buildings collapsed into the third standing between them. 100m away on the other side of the fault stands a similar collapse. Weirdly the worst that happened to my flat (in a block of old 1936 apartments) was that the grit on the pelmet dropped onto my desk and the bicycle fell over. Yesterday I had an elderly member sobbing on my shoulder, she was so relieved to have someone she could just let go with.

    Coping with this situation I certainly don’t need the distraction of having to defend publicly the unfair charge that the Greens are being dogs in the manger. I also don’t want to be defending the charge when fighting two campaign, 2011 General Election and MMP referendum.

    Just as I’m pasting this post we have another aftershock.

  244. @bjchip:
    why all the excuses?
    the Green MPs made a huge mistake voting in favor of this disgusting legislation. voting against would not have stopped the passingof this act, but it would have sent a clear message to all of NZ about where the Greens stand on dictatorial powers.
    i don’t want excuses, i want an honest answer as to how they intend to make amends.

    btw, your last comment appears to be a rambling load of compost.

  245. I find the fury here just a bit over-the-top. At least one person asks why couldn’t we have taken another couple of days to get this bill sorted out.

    The bill appeared on the agenda under urgency, and there was NOT any time to consult or to consider. That was part of this government’s standard operating procedures and it is THEIR sin, not ours.

    After almost every moderating amendment we offered was hammered by every other party, including labor, it was absolutely and clearly inevitable the bill would pass, no matter what we did. So our democracy is not and was not endangered in any way by our vote. Could not be. Empty gestures do not stop juggernauts.

    We had no power to save it, only to take a position which would very likely cost us votes in the next general election. I said earlier it might not have made waves in 2012 had we voted against it, but I can’t be certain of that and neither can anyone else here.

    There WILL be an election in 2012 (if not sooner), and as angry as any of us may be over this, the strategic values involved are important, and to the wider population the spin that Greens are hostile to NZ and to building, or rebuilding anything, would be a very easy pitch…

    What bothers me is that it didn’t matter and some of us are acting as though the party has become allied with ACT.

    There is no logic in this, and taking out your disappointment that our country is in the hands of dimwits with delusions of grandeur who can ram through whatever they damned well please and most of our fellow citizens want it that way…. on the party does no good whatsoever on any level.

    Justifiable anger, but with whom? Direct that anger at the people and the lack of controls (like a written constitution that can’t be set aside so easily) that permit it to happen. We didn’t permit it to happen. We objected, we offered amendments, we tried.

    Sometimes stuff happens no matter what WE try. Losing votes in the process isn’t however, my first choice of unintended consequences.

    BJ

  246. Support of this Act was a terrible mistake.

    It would not have been political suicide to vote against it. The problem with modern politics is that the politicians are too scared to stick to their principles if they perceive it might lose votes.

    Its about time they (the politicians) woke up and realised that people _want_ representatives who stick up for their principles. The reason why Labour and National are Tweedledeem and Tweedeledum is precisely because they are too spineless to stand up for any principles, and instead gravitate towards the “centre” which is supposedly the home of countless swinging voters. What they don’t realise is that many swinging voters “swing” because they see no substantive difference between the parties, and end up voting for the guy with the nicest smile.

    Its seems the Green’s are falling into the same trap.

  247. I am impressed by the passion in these comments to Russel’s post, they are grounded by high principles and driven by a need to protect the Green brand. However I am concerned by the fury and frustration expressed about this particular issue when many commenting would not be likely to have known about the worrying details if Russel hadn’t exposed it here.

    Please link to Russel Norman (under Posts by author) and see all his recent posts. Where was the support when he has exposed and challenged other actions and activities from this government and put himself on the line to do so? I’m worried that the big picture is being lost and to suggest that our MPs have “sold out” may be a bit rash.

  248. As a Green Party member, and as a former resident of Lyttelton, and as a current owner of a Christchurch property who has just written out a cheque for $1,000 for removing an unstable chimney (probably only the beginning of repair costs but hey the house is basically okay); –
    I am VERY DISAPPOINTED with the Green Party MPs for having voted for this complete travesty of a piece of legislation. Its totally wrong in so many ways for the executive to grant itself the role of Parliament to decide what and which laws will apply where and when. What on Earth were you thinking? To me this action is the complete opposite of what the Green Party is about. How could you have done this?
    What ever are you going to next? Join the AGW deniers at NZ Climate ‘Science’ (sic) Coalition? Join the big emitters at Greenhouse Policy Coalition? Maybe help Meridian dam a few wild rivers?
    I am honestly thinking of resigning my membership over this issue.

  249. It was not consistent to draw attention to the undemocratic measures in developing the Super City in Auckland, and the subversion of the elected environment body in Canterbury, and to then support this legislation.

    The only way to uphold values in the long term, is to not sacrifice them for reasons of short term expediency.

    The party MP’s probably did not accurately represent their party and supporters in the decision made. Admit it, and concede in retrospect an error of judgment. Possibly seek a Select Committee be established that Brownlee has to report to …

  250. Russel: very bad mistake it is not a disgrace to be in the minority especially if the minority is in the right.

    This earthquake has only disrupted Christchurch in the material sense and the earthquake Commission and Insurance Companies have the capitil to rebuild.

    And from what I hear Christchurch residents have made an extraordinary recovery regardless of the Act.

    So if you were thinking and doubting the legitimacy of this act in terms of NAT/ACT/LAB rhetoric of:- ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water'; then why the hel! did you vote for it? Because the Green Party would be seen as not being the socially minded lot, doing their bit and supporting the clean up of Christchurch?

    The NAT/ACT rhetoric see the earthquake disaster as a golden opportunity to declare a ‘phony’ state of emergency in order to further erode peoples rights. To further promote the class war on all workers that they have been doing ever since they got into power!!!!!!

    So what is it bricks and mortar or democracy for future generations?
    And to what extent has the GP been infiltrated?

  251. so..to summarise…

    the green party mp’s have just voted in a rightwing dictatorship..

    ’till april 2012…

    guess who’s laughing now…?

    ..bainimarama in fiji…?

    ..just for starters…?

    (even farrar at kiwiblog is admitting we are now ‘technically’ … a dictatorship…

    ..and he is hoping it will be a benign one…(!)

    and just so we are clear here…

    ..with this precedent now being set…

    ..(civil unrest..?…martial law..?..easy-peasy…!…)

    our pretences at being a democracy are just that…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  252. “…Abandon principle for pragmatism, and you will come to grief…”

    pragmatism/incrementalism has ruled/been the rule in the green party…

    ..for quite some time now…

    and you have to ask when pragmatism slips over into irrelevancy…

    was/is it this bill..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  253. I am astounded. Rebuilding Canterbury did not in any way require this travesty. There can be no excuse for supporting this legislation. None.
    There was no need to support it, and every reason not to. Words fail me.

  254. It seems, from what has been said here, that the GP decision to vote for the “Earthquake Bill” might have been made out of fear of how either rival parties or the mass media would portray any decision to vote against the bill.

    Rival parties are always going to attack your decisions. That is the nature of politics. You don’t run away. You stand your ground. The mass media is no different. The local newspaper here in Rotorua(the APN owned “Daily Post”) devotes whole editorials to accusing me of everything from “holding the city to ransom” to, rather more mundanely, being “a right old stick in the mud”. It makes not a jot of difference. So far no one in our community has wanted to lynch me, no one refuses to deal with me, no one declines to talk to me. The mass media may occupy a position of power within the regime, but outside the regime it has no more power than it merits – which is next to none.

    So stick by your principles Russel and Metiria, and everything will turn out well in the end. Abandon principle for pragmatism, and you will come to grief.

  255. I recognise that the Greens have a ‘memo of understanding’ which states that the party will try to support & work with this N-ACT Govt. on issues that are beneficial to all sides, but that has to go both ways. This current Govt. really doesn’t need the Greens support to ‘ram through’ any legislation they choose to introduce, as long as they have the ACT &/or the Maori party to give confidence/supply. Maybe its time to reassess this memo ?
    I think this bill has been rushed through without the time to carefully consider its impact ? & I thought LABOUR was in opposition too..??
    Kia-ora

  256. Russel, thanks for your comment, but please accept that it did not answer my questions, or anyone else’s for that matter I think.

    On the matter of supporting Cantabrians and looking unsupportive and all that, here’s a quote. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to find out who said it.

    “””
    … after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. [...] voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
    “””

    Nip it in the bud, I’d like to say. The bud is in full bloom now.

  257. Geoff, hyperbole is exaggeration, blowing things out of proportion. Shane didn’t have to invent anything out of thin air – his theory fits the known facts easily. Your posts up to this one have been reasonable, but now you’re starting to get paranoid. If you’ve any proof that Key or anyone else has some secret power to force a Green vote one way or the other, say so. Otherwise it isn’t a very helpful contribution to an already difficult issue.

  258. Very disappointed in our Green MP’s at the moment.
    This sort of draconian powers are what we have in a dictatorship.
    More evidence we do not have a democracy. Just a change of self important self appointed dictators every three years.

  259. Shane Gallagher says “it was not worth dying in a ditch” to oppose the removal of virtually all constitutional rights and protections. This statement tends to confirms my initial impression that there is more to the events in parliament than meets the eye. Why would all parties in parliament submit to this draconian legislation? Why would the Green Party in particular choose to alienate the vast majority of their supporters by voting for the bill? What threats were made? What privileged information do the parliamentarians have?

    In an earlier post I suggested that the response was hugely disproportionate to the scale of the problem. Now I am not so sure. It seems that something pretty bloody serious must be taking place within the New Zealand state apparatus to precipitate this “coup from above”. And the Green MPs are not permitted to tell us what exactly has taken place, or is taking place at this moment. They are not telling us what hold John Key has over them. Is Shane Gallagher engaging in political hyperbole? Or are the Green members of parliament really fearful of “dying in a ditch” in the manner of Rosa Luxembourg?

    The best we can hope for out of all this is that the entire membership of the New Zealand House of Representatives ends up looking incredibly stupid. A more likely scenario is that we will wake up in a few weeks time to discover that the New Zealand state is on the brink of destruction.

  260. Hello Russell,

    I thought my comments were quite forceful, but later ones make it appear quite reasoned. I don’t think by voting for this bill you (completely) abandoned your principals, and I agree, the moral outrage of the press and other politicians that the Greens were abandoning Cantabrians would have been deafening. But you do have to recognise that you’ve aggrieved a good number of your own supporters and membership. They don’t have to deal with the day to day political realities of Parliamentary debate and decision making, or the really nasty side of politics, the politics, but nevertheless they are the people who put you where you are.

    I would consider this a partial failure of principle, and won’t come without some cost, because if the principles are the right ones, they are always worth more. Whether Labour supported this bill or not, isn’t important, Labour is barely at times distinguishable from National, and Labour certainly has no loyalty to the Greens, or only if self-interest demands it.

    I think the comments by Geoff Fischer about the failings of the system are apposite – we do rely on people of conscience to buck the system, to point out its failings, and not to sustain them. Some grit in the wheels of power is a very important democratic principle.

    There are some impassioned feelings made plain here, which is good. As a consequence, the Green parliamentarians are going to have to have some serious discussion about this matter and the deep, and not unreasonable, concerns raised here. There are going to be much more serious issues to manage in the future than earthquakes in Canterbury, even than national politics or political jokes such as Rodney Hide.

    What is happening in the world at the moment is not just a political debate, it is a huge chasm of understanding. In which case, ordinary political expediency is not going to suffice – we are fighting a war, it may be intellectual or ethical presently, and we may not understand that it is a war, but it is, it is a war between greed and enlightenment. Eventually it is even possible we, humanity that is, will literally be fighting each other with bullets or rockets over these principles and people will die bleeding in the streets. This is what motivates me more than anything else in the Green movement, a care to our future social cohesion. In which case, the political expediency of this vote for this “earthquake bill” can be seen for what it is, a loss in a battle. The war isn’t lost, but no war is ever won by continuing battlefield failures.

    Kia Ora

    John M

  261. Very disappointed in the Greens here.
    You don’t vote in favour of a bad bill “just because everyone else is and we want to show our support for CHCH”
    There are other ways of showing support – like standing up for principles…but…I guess the greens have shown us just how principled they actually are!
    Weak effort!
    a D for thought processes
    an E for standing up for principles

  262. michaela..i heard there is a job opening in the greens for a craven apologist…

    thought of applying..?

    “..damned if we do, damned if we don’t ..”

    bullshit..

    yes..!..dammed if you do..

    ..but if you don’t..and explain what for/why…

    you are seen as defending all our rights..

    as it stands…

    ..the greens have voted for a police-state…

    i see this as more damaging to your brand…

    ..than garrett is to his..

    i mean..!..seriously…!

    did no-body feckin’ argue against this blind folly..?

    btw..yr silence/refusal to respond to this chorus of condemnation..

    ..from so many greens..

    ..is doing yr case/credibility no good at all..eh..?

    can i suggest you front-up…?

    and have another go at ‘explaining’..?

    that first attempt went down like a cup o’ cold-sick..eh..?

    ..and..(excuse the metaphor mix-up)..only seems to have inflamed things…

    ..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  263. Here’s one view from Christchurch. Our MPs were in a damned if we do, damned if we don’t situation so the choice would have to be which option would be the easiest to recover from. As earlier noted, had we voted against or abstained, the LabNACTs and the media would have been all over us for trying to obstruct Canerbury’s recovery. This may well have severely interfered with the sustainability initiatives that Aoraki Greens have in train. Even after the spin furore had died down the psychological primacy effect would have made it easy to resurect the jibe during the election campaign. Furthermore, the insider’s money is on an early election, probably July, to avoid the Rugby World cup, making it even easier to resurect.

    One of the problems with having a written set of principles is that inevitably there will be times when they contradict themselves (the Godel effect) or lead to ethical dilemas; e.g. supporting bad legislation or queering our ability to make a real difference in the future both short and long term. At the very least we can look forward to being able to say, for the umpteenth time, “We told you so”.

    Had the Green’s amendments been accepted there wouldn’t have been any problems. Critics of our choice might be better employed in asking why Labour supported the NACT’s in voting down the amendments.

  264. In the end I think we wanted to send a clear message of support to people trying to rebuild in Canterbury

    if you really believe this tripe, you should not be co-leader of the Greens. you voted to trash democracy in NZ. you should be ashamed.

    Whether we voted for or against the bill will have made little impact on that I suspect.

    what the hell is this? “ah, we turned up but left our brains at home”?
    your lack of integrity and thoughtfulness is breathtaking.

  265. “This Govt really does not respect basic constitutional principles” – And you thought you’d join them?

    Hey Russel, you’d have shown us far more support by supporting our rights and the law. Frankly the damage is quite minor anyway, why could not the current legislation deal with it?

  266. Bad move to vote for it. A day or two more could have got a much more reasonable bill together. It smacks of kneejerk without thinking about the consequences as usual.

    You are saying that you trust the government not to abuse these powers.

  267. Russell can you ask your Auckland MPs to organise a march up Queen St against this b**ls**t…?

    I’m absolutely f****** furious…

    Time to lead…

  268. My initial reaction was “hell no I wouldn’t have voted for that” too. I definitely see where people are coming from on this. Gerry Brownlee has been given a *lot* of rope, perhaps too much.

    But let’s not forget who wrote this bill and had it passed under urgency, thus putting the Greens in the position they found themselves. Also remember that every other party supported it too, with far fewer objections than the Greens.

    It’s a no win situation.

    I’d like to hear what the people of Christchurch think of this…

  269. “..@ rimu – since when has the Greens support of a Bill been based on their potential media image?..”

    um..!…medical-marijuana..?..anyone…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  270. “..had they voted against it, the media and the public would have been all over them..”

    yr foundation-premise is bullshit…

    ..it’s called ‘arguing the principle’…eh..?

    “..If (and when) National – who are the ones who brought in this crazy bill – start abusing it then the Greens can be there to point those out..”

    um..!..and not having voted for it wd have hampered them then..?

    ..and having voted for it strengthens their hand how..?..exactly..?

    and..you have no problem with signing away all our rights..until april 2012..?

    ‘cos there was a feckin’ earthquake in christchurch..?

    that was the ‘only way’..?

    i feckin’ doubt it..eh..?

    but you are ‘happy’…eh..?

    good on ya..!

    carry on..!..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  271. I support the MPs on this – the party was put in an impossible position – had they voted against it, the media and the public would have been all over them. The Green party would have been hammered from all quarters -it was an impossible argument to win without the support of Labour. People are far too traumatized and emotional to think rationally about this. It would have been political suicide pure and simple.

    Some people think the Greens should die in a ditch over this – I think it would have the height of stupidity.
    We need a strong Green presence in Parliament. If (and when) National – who are the ones who brought in this crazy bill – start abusing it then the Greens can be there to point those out. We need the Greens to be there for the future of us all and sometimes that means making the odd compromise in highly exceptional circumstances. It is easy being an activist – actually being a politician means that you have to make some tough choices and this was one – as an activist you can be black and white and no harm but as a politician part of your responsibility is to stay in power so that you can make a difference.

    I support what the MPS did and they used good judgment in a very difficult situation.

  272. Really disappointed in you, Greens. I thought you had more principles than that.

    This isn’t about earthquake recovery, it’s about removing democractic rights in NZ. I thought that you, of all the parties, would have been against this. I thought you were better than this.

    Stand up for us next time… if it’s not too late already.

  273. It was a terrible idea to vote for this bill.

    What a gutless bunch of morons you are.

    BJ, the “Green Party” may well be a political party, but people vote for them because they represent an amalgam of the ideas of the green movement and various other socially progressive movements. The moment the “Green Party” ceases to represent these ideas there is no point voting for them.

  274. I tend to agree with the folks who reckon this a mistake, though I had an initial reaction, as Rimu did, that this would be spun against us in the next election and the effect of our voting against it would be no different from our abstention.

    So I do understand the quandary this put us in. Overall, I do not think the mistake was as important as some here have made it sound. It is a close thing to call. Those of you who require us to stand on principle, even when it is wholly without effect except to slightly damage our prospects of getting votes in the next election, need to remember that this is a political party, not a movement.

    Yet I do reckon we should have stood our ground and as Phil says, made our position clear. The spin would be spun pretty dry before the election process starts.

    BJ

  275. that’s a tad ingenuous there rimu…

    they would have been oppposing autoratic abrogation of all our laws/rights…

    ..not opposing the rebuilding of christchurch…

    ..and if they are unable to define/make that distinction…

    ..maybe they should just give up..?

    the one time you could have shown spine…

    ..you..instead..became supine…

    ..to be honest..i am still gobsmacked….

    ..that with so little apparant fore-thought/care…

    ..you vote to throw away all our legal/political rights…

    ..from now until f*cken april 2012…(!)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  276. I respect why you voted for it, I think you did the right thing in the end. No point giving the other parties reason to accuse you (wrongly) of voting ‘against help for canterbury’. Anyone who understands politics of the media will understand.

    I hope this is not the end of it though. I hope you are willing to rally public opposition to this draconian bill. If nothing else it is the thin edge of the wedge.

    It is little more than a coup against the constitution.
    It is dictatorship by deceit.

    There are other options.

  277. @ rich – you could always vote for the party who didn’t support the Bill.

    @ rimu – since when has the Greens support of a Bill been based on their potential media image?

  278. I’m curious what people think the reaction in the media, etc would have been to the Greens being the only party to oppose the rebuilding of Chch (you know that’s how it would have been spun)

  279. Laws are not “signals”. The rule of law is what keeps us from despotism, and last night the Green caucus helped tear it up. I’m seriously considering whether to leave the Green Party or stay on and campaign for a new leadership with some spine.

    NZers need someone to vote for that tries to *stop* abusive authoritarian government. The Green Party just failed to be that body.

  280. It seems to me that Russel and the Green MPs need to come up with more convincing explanations and/or justifications of their conduct. They will have to show respect for the intelligence of Green Party suppporters. Complete candour would be a good start.

  281. Politics and ideology make uncomfortable bedfellows and especially so when related to public perceptions. I am proud of the fact our Green MPs were the minority voice speaking out strongly against the worrying aspects of this legislation. It was obviously going to be passed (despite Green concerns) and, as the intent of the bill was to expedite a quick recovery from the disaster, to vote against it would have indicated a lack of good will for that recovery from our party. Compromise is a reality when working in Parliament and this is one that sits uncomfortably with me but I can see the reasoning behind it.

    The best thing now is to make sure that the flaws in the legislation aren’t used and abused and good process and transparency is encouraged and supported.

    To all our Green MPs, kia kaha!

  282. In the past I’ve expected the Greens to be the one party we could rely on to place democratic principle and people’s basic rights above a temporary drop in the polls. Frankly, I can’t think of a single event in New Zealand history that has been, at least in theory, a greater abandonment of both. Every MP and party who supported this rushed and autocratic piece of constitutionally repugnant trash ought to be ashamed.

    I will not be voting at the next election. It’s obvious that democracy means nothing to any of our current politicians.

  283. This was a spineless decision driven by expediency rather than the democratic principles the party is supposedly based on.

    If the people of NZ can’t even rely on the Green Party to protect their democratic rights then we are truly screwed.

  284. You could have voted against or you could have abstained. I’m very disappointed in you (and every other opposition MP). You sacrificed principle for political cover, and that sucks.

    Is giving Brownlee absolute power over Canterbury supporting the people of Christchurch? I don’t bloody think so.

  285. Hi Russel. I realise it’s a difficult position to be in, and it’s done now. If I was faced with the same situation I couldn’t say how I’d react.

    I guess I just have trouble accepting how Christchurch is helped by giving the government all the tools it needs to step around whatever rules it chooses and become a dictatorship, especially when there are more appropriate measures that could be taken. To me that’s not helping people of Christchurch, it’s insulting them by abusing their situation.

    Thanks for at least trying to get the amendments in, at least.

  286. On the surface this bill appears to be about supporting the people of Canterbury, in their endevours to rebuild.. but in clear light of day, it looks like another knee-jerk reaction from ‘smile & wave’ & his fellow power brokers to keep the voters on side in 2011..
    the so-called ‘opposition’ are on the same band-wagon.. maybe its time to take a deep breath & look again at this ? Kia-ora

  287. I’m heavily dissappointed in the Green MPs for voting for this bill. This is not giving support to the people of Christchurch. This is unprincipled spinelessness. When the power granted to ministers is abused, all the MPs who voted for it will be culpable.

  288. not enough reasons there..russel…

    you vote against it…and clearly state your reasons why..

    ..then..as it all turns to custard..(as it will..)

    ..you are the ‘go to’…the dissenter proven correct…

    ..do your advisors present you with such scenarios/options..?

    y’know..there are other ways ‘to send a clear message of support to people trying to rebuild in Canterbury..”

    ..eh..?

    you didn’t have to vote for this exercise in fascism…

    f.f.s..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  289. Russel, you could have sent a message of support to the people of Christchurch by getting Green Party members out there offering aid and comfort. Instead you sent a message of support to a discredited political regime which craves absolute power.

  290. Hi John

    Yep, we could have voted against. We tried hard to improve it, and when we made relatively little progress, we weighed it up at some length. In the end I think we wanted to send a clear message of support to people trying to rebuild in Canterbury and by raising the issues we put a flag on them.

    But I agree that one of key issues now is to rebuild in a sustainable manner. Whether we voted for or against the bill will have made little impact on that I suspect.

  291. so…you voted to suspend all democratic/environmental safeguards…?

    ..and to hand dictatorial powers to a cabal of national righties..?

    ..and that’s ‘cos you didn’t want to be seen to be ‘out of step’…?

    ..(y’know..!..sometimes you lot leave me f*cken incredulous….

    ..this is one of them..)

    you list all the reasons why this bill is so wrong…

    ..and you list all your failed ‘tries’…

    ..and then you voted for it anyway…

    did you not see a role as a ‘check and balance’..?

    ..a questioner..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  292. In reply to “Destiny”

    It is not “too late”. It is never too late. Think of this as just the beginning. The time when people take a hard look at the political system in New Zealand, ask themselves why they have been betrayed by their political “representatives”, and why those working within the system are so swiftly seduced and corrupted by power. Then to find new and better ways of dealing with the challenges facing our nation. Ways that do not rely on “trust” in discredited political institutions. Ways that put trust in God and our own individual abilities to defend what is good and to advance the cause of justice everywhere.

  293. Hello Russell,

    I think you could have voted against the bill, and should have. You are right, these are unprecedented powers, and we are not in a war situation. Rod Oram talked about the earthquake on Nine-to-Noon last week, suggesteing this could be an opportunity to rebuild in a more sympathetic and sustainable manner using modern and best principles of urban planning. I don’t think there’s a chance of this now. The deep fault line running through the NZ psyche, the boom and bust mentality, the atavistic hangover of pioneer days, will get its head, and we’ll see enormous pressure by builders, developers and council to plough ahead regardless.There’ll be a boom in construction for a couple of years, then many more years to rue what might have been.

    It’s never reasonable nor should it be allowable for democracy to abandon political and social safeguards, whatever the threat. This creates a worrying precedent, what excuse will it be next time – social unrest, terrorism, political extremism, financial crisis, Rodney Hide’s migraines? As you say, this government does not respect democratic principles, and I don’t trust them.

    Regards,

    John M

  294. I listened to Kennedy Graham speaking eloquently on the dangers of such legislation. I was impressed. I then heard that the Green Party had voted in favour. I was astonished and dismayed.

    Do I need to reiterate the absolute folly of giving absolute power to any politician? Do I need to point out that the powers sought are hugely disproportionate to the scale of the problem? Do I need to argue that a person who could be trusted with absolute power would never seek or accept it in the first place?

    I do not. The Green Party knows all this. Their problem is that they lack the courage and the sense of principle to oppose what they know to be wrong or to stand by what they know to be right. The same deficiencies which cause them to give their allegiance to the monarchy, now being expressed in the even more dangerous context of providing the basis and precedent for totalitarian rule in New Zealand.

  295. Not a bad call, but a prudent one. If all concerns have been made public then the recovery can continue but with all eyes on the process.

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