Political positioning, a call to boost Kiwibank, a plan to cut child poverty in NZ plus candidate and campaign training.
The Green Party’s AGM in Auckland has had it all over the long weekend.
Political positioning was confirmed yesterday and summed up by Metiria thus:
We’re more likely to support Labour on confidence and supply, and think it is highly unlikely that we could support a National Government on confidence and supply, but it is on the table … It’s more likely we could work project-by-project with National like we do now on home insulation, tourism infrastructure and toxic site management
The Greens position has at least two features: it’s constructive and it’s honest ie. willing to talk with either of the big Parties, realistic that support for a National-led Government is improbable.
Russel Norman led off with a speech outlining five steps for a cleaner, greener economy. It featured a call to give Kiwibank the Government’s master banking contract.
The Green Party is serious about fixing our banking system so that we are no longer mortgage slaves to the Aussie banks….Our Government’s banking should be done by our New Zealand bank.
Moving the Government’s accounts to Kiwibank would require a careful transition over several years, he noted. And the short term step would be to tender the Government’s master banking contract and to break up the current Westpac monopoly.
As well as announcing the Party’s political position, Metiria talked about how the Greens would tackle poverty in NZ. In addition to steps like raising the minimum wage and giving more Kiwis access to the Training Incentive Allowance, she noted perversity in the way the In Work Tax Credit operates:.
Imagine Jane, with a husband who has a job, Jane works 20 hours a week at a primary school in Westmere. She qualifies for the $60 per week In Work Tax Credit. Sarah, a single mum, works 20 hours a week at a school in Grey Lynn, but she is also on the DBP. Sarah is disqualified from receiving the In Work Tax Credit because she gets a benefit. It leaves her and her kids struggling with $60 a week less.
The easiest way to correct this inequity was to extend the same tax support to all children whether their parents were in or out of work, she said.
The conference, spread over the Queen’s Birthday Weekend (happy birthday to all queens out there), also saw a bunch of candidate training and branch development sessions. Everything from how to use social media more effectively to accounting practices for hard working local treasurers.
Aussie Greens leader Senator Bob Brown offered some inspiration as guest speaker on Monday, sending delegates home with a burst of enthusiasm.
So, six months out from the election, the Party has a talented crop of candidates, a clear sense of urgency, ambition and direction….bring on November.