Monday, January 22, 2018


Kiwipolitico is a left leaning blog with more than tinge of Green.    Their criticism of the Green's list selection process cannot therefore be dismissed lightly.   I have taken the liberty of reproducing the article written by 'Pablo' below ....

12 weeks after the election the Green Party’s 14th ranked candidate in 2017 opts out of politics and joins a morning television program. Shortly after the election it is discovered that one of their new MPs fudged her credentials as a human rights lawyer.  Another successful newcomer has a more established social media presence than the business experience she claims to have. The former co-leader was ousted after volunteering (at whose behest is still a mystery) that she committed benefit and electoral fraud when younger.  

The first three people replaced seasoned politicians such as Kennedy Graham, who capably handled his MP responsibilities.    Mojo Mathers, an eloquent champion of the disabled, just missed out entering parliament at number 9 on the list, having been leapfrogged by neophytes at numbers 7 and 8). Two of the three new candidates mentioned above come from well-to-do Auckland backgrounds (which is a stretch from the traditional Greens grassroots) and share with the third (another Aucklander) a complete lack of political experience other than undergraduate degrees and campaigning for office. The unsuccessful list candidate-turned-TV-bubblehead recently is quoted as saying that her single greatest moment was to be invited onto a TV dancing show rather that being selected as a candidate for a party that she once said she felt “passionate” about.

Let me clear that I am sure that the ACT Party attracts weirdos and self-aggrandized liars in droves, and that even the two major parties and NZ First could well have people with inflated resumes and/or dubious backgrounds on their MP rosters. But I expect more from the Greens because they are supposed to be the truth that speaks to power in parliament and the idealists who hold parliamentary cynics in check as well as keep Labour honest from the Left side of the table. So I am a bit disappointed by how things played out in the run up and aftermath of the election.

Beyond the fact that all the list shake ups in 2017 managed to do is lose the Greens votes when compared to the previous elections (11 percent and 14 seats in 2011, 10.70 percent and 14 seats in 2014 to 6.3 percent and 8 seats in 2017), they also resulted in the Greens being the third-party step-child in the Labour-NZ First led government coalition. The distribution of cabinet seats is evidence of that (no Green minsters in a 20 member Cabinet). The Greens may claim that the 2017 list was the "strongest ever" but if so the strength being measured did not translate into votes or political power. In fact, one can argue that their strength, such at it is, lies in the first six names on the list, with what followed being a mix of opportunistic shoulder tapping for newcomers and insult to steadfast old-timers.

Renovation and rejuvenation are always part of any Party’s reproductive process, but in this instance what resulted was a political still birth.

Given what I outlined in the first paragraph, I think that to some degree this is due to poor candidate vetting and selection processes within the Greens. In 2017 the operative campaign logic appeared to be about style over substance and the seemingly naive belief that everything a candidate claimed to be true about themselves was in fact true. This is dangerous because not only do political opponents have the means to verify candidate claims in a hostile manner (as was seen in the case of the human rights lawyer), but it leaves the Party exposed to ridicule and marginalisation should candidates with doctored or inflated resumes be shown to be inept or incompetent in fulfilling roles assigned to them because of their supposed expertise.

Again, this is of no consequence when we talk about blowhard parties like ACT. Nor do I wish to be mean to the people in question (I simply think they needed to spend more time honing their political skills by working for the party and/or in public policy-related fields). But the Greens worked hard for two decades to be taken seriously on the national stage and it would be a pity if they squander the gains made by allowing unqualified candidates/MPs to champion their cause without proper due diligence having been done on their backgrounds. Because at the rate they are going (losing more than four percentage points compared to the previous two elections), the Greens risk following the path of the Maori Party into political oblivion.

Now if the rumored new Green Centre Party becomes a reality that would really set the cat among the pigeons. 


pdm said...

The Greens system is flawed because all of the membership gets a vote not only on political aspirants but also on the leadership and list rankings. I suggest that alone makes it impossible to get the best possible people into parliament.

Snowflake said...

That’s right PMS. You can’t have a democratic process to decide who can stand for Parliament in a democracy! The very thought!

pdm said...

Snowflake I think the political process is toO deep for you to understand.

BTW if you are going to debate with me please show me the courtesy of using my correct nom de plume - your immaturity shows.

The Veteran said...

Snowflake ... what the writer was suggesting is that the 'democratic process' Green style is flawed.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

For the edification of Snowflake

People elect representatives they trust to make sound decisions. That's democracy.

Simpeltons elect morons they do not trust to make decisions as prescribed by the simpeltons.

That's the Greens.

Snowflake said...

What on earth do you mean pms? Are you saying that having party members select candidates for elections is the wrong approach? Pray tell, young lady, how do you think this should happen? You’re obviously an expert. Perhaps the way the Nats do it in Southland, where they get a child to stack the selection meeting with his family members. How did that one work out again?

Snowflake said...

BTW “Veteran”, Paul Buchanan is not a greenie, so your fundamental premise is false. Nice going.

David said...

For the edification of Adolf, Americans elect representatives they trust to make sound decisions, and the elect a President to lead those sound decisions. How's that working out? The anniversary of Trump's inauguration is marked by his inability to do his job.

back to the point of the post - why do those of you on the right hate democracy so much?

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Au contraire, david. The American president is doing his job very well. He's backed the scmuck Shumer (translation - vagabond,shithead) into a corner from which he can't escape.

That's his job.

David said...

Au contraire, Adolf. Trump has backed himself into a corner of his own making.

"Problems start from the top. They have to get solved from the top. The president’s the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room, and he’s got to lead…. The right guy would get everybody into a room and would make a deal. You gotta get ‘em into a room. You gotta to talk to them. You gotta to cajole. You gotta do what you do when you make deals.”

Donald Trump, Fox, 2013, during the last shutdown.

Five years later, is the president ready to “make a deal”? Is he able to? Does he even know what a deal would look like?

David said...

Meanwhile, the Chinese piss themselves laughing at how hopeless the American system has become.

If there was any legacy that has survived the transfer of power, it was the spirit of noncooperation across party lines.


The Western democratic system is hailed by the developed world as near perfect and the most superior political system to run a country.

However, what's happening in the United States today will make more people worldwide reflect on the viability and legitimacy of such a chaotic political system.

After all, for most people, the most important criterion for an effective political system is how it helps to resolve their problems, not telling them whom to blame.

pdm said...

Snowflake using National as an example and for your information they have had my party vote only once since MMP began their system is obviously more effective than the Greens method as follows:

2017 Election Electorate Seats List Seats Total
National 41 15 56
Green Party 0 8 8

A pretty comprehensive result in favour of the National method I would say.

As far as the Barclay issue is concerned this is a big indictment on the National Party Head Office who allowed it to develop and fester -ultimately to their cost on election day.

The Veteran said...

Snowflake #1 WTF are you rabbiting on with your reference to Paul Buchanan. Are you saying he's 'Pablo'? And, more to the point, there's is no fundamental premise to my post. Pablos's saying it, not me.

#2 Threadjacking my post and turning it into an anti-Trump tirade and do it again and you may find yourself enjoying a break from posting on my blog.

pdm said...

Sorry the figures compressed but I am sure with time and help even Snowlflake will understand what I am saying.

Anonymous said...

It is not just the Greens or NZ, the whole of the democratic process over the English speaking world is unravelling. PDM hit the nail on the head...Because of vested interests, greed and the lack of oversight in choosing political candidates is leading to the demise of democracy.

Candidates from all parties should go before an examining board for a look at their background and all all forms of employment and remuneration should stop. Their salary should be brought up to middle CEO level and that is what they should survive on not private income from private companies. At the moment being a politician is a part time job.

30% of NZ wealth is owned by 1% of the people.....42% of the richest in the world own more than 3.9 Billion of the poorest...(yes, that is billion.) This is bad for democracy with the shrinking middle class, the glue that holds society together, gradually disappearing, usually downwards.

Having troll dlt ( no longer worthy of capitals) lecture the blog on democracy is the final insult to our collective intelligence.

Lord Egbut

Anonymous said...

Sorry.......Typo, that should read 42 people NOT 42%

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Legbut refers to 'our collective intelligence' when he possesses none.

He lost the war in Rhodesia and yet the winner, Mugabe, applied all the redistributionist policies for which fool Legbut yearns. Only yesterday I heard the new president of Zimbabwe wants the white farmers to come back. They can't come back. They're dead and the dumb bastards who now 'own' the properties don't know how to grow any food.

That's the world as Legbut would have it.

J Bloggs said...

Veteran: Pablo at kiwipolitico is Paul Buchanan's blogging persona.

Anonymous said...

Hope your'e going to delete J Bloggs 1;20.
Or is using the name instead of blogging title of Veteran ok now.

Gerald said...

"lecture on democracy"
Nah nothing educational in anything Adolt posts.
Just insults and shallow comments.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Well, that puts Gerald back on the persona non grata list.

The Veteran said...

Snowflake 5.11 and J Bloggs 1.20 ... I am not at all happy at your 'outing' PB on my blog. I assume you didn't have his permission to do in which case that is all the more reprehensible. There are many reasons why a blogger might wish to post under a pseudo-name and that is their privilege to be respected.

I say no more.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Vet, he is self identified as 'Pablo' at Kiwipolitico on the 'Your New Zealand' blog.

"Paul Buchanan had some similar points to make in his blog post, Too Clever. On the TPP protests, he said, “Unfortunately, it has activists who seemingly are more interested in establishing and maintaining their street credentials as ‘radicals’ or ‘militants’ than using protest and civil disobedience as an effective counter-hegemonic tool.”"

From the above comment, he sounds pretty much like a 'greenie' to me.

Anonymous said... are correct of course. But I suggest that you are referring to those with valid arguments and are willing to debate a subject not those who continually lie, deceive and destroy debate with insults. Purveyors of lies and fake news are not welcome here, particularly those with only 1.7% of a working brain.

If I might give an example, Adolf troll DLT recently posted a photo of Obama awarding Weinstein, Cosby etc a freedom medal. This is a photoshopped fake first seen on a known Sputnik facebook account. If this blog cannot monitor fake news then we are a part of the problem. Troll 1.7% is fake or has a Walter Mitty complex and is not the good old Kiwi/OZ boy he pretends to be. His outpourings are a privilege not to be respected.

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... 'valid argument' exists only in the eye of the beholder. But I do subscribe to Chris Trotter's view that you should comment with 'courtesy and respect'. Hard to at times when some remarks get fair up ones nose.

Anonymous said...

Must disagree Veteran, it suits the purpose, and is the raison d'etre of this blog to put the boot into labour using what ever means available and using paid stooges and mental defectives like the troll DLT suit the purpose admirably,,,even though you would not entertain them. You are using them as much as they are using you.

Lord Egbut

Pablo said...

As the author of the cited essay, let me clarify a couple for things.

First, I am indeed Paul G. Buchanan. I use the blog moniker (my childhood family name) because when I started writing the blog I was living in Singapore and wanted to separate my profession life from the more personal tone of the blog, especially when discussing political subjects and those touching on Singapore (e.g. one party capitalist authoritarianism).

Second, although I am a realist when it comes to foreign policy and international security affairs, I am social democratic otherwise. This has to do with growing up in Latin America and writing about working class politics as an academic. There is no contradiction between the two orientations.

Third, I wrote the piece (and an earlier one) about the Greens because after several elections where I gave them my party vote, I decided not to last year. This is due in immediate measure because of their selection of shallow and opportunistic political dilettantes to top 15 candidate slots and because, in longer measure, they have shifted from have a working class-based ideological core (i.e. watermelons) to a more corporate-friendly focus (the so-called blue Greens, which I have termed "algae"). Readers on this blog may welcome the shift from red to blue within the Greens, but I do not.

So there you have it. My reasons for writing the post and the background to it. Cheers.

The Veteran said...

Thank PB ... appreciated. I posted your piece simply because I thought criticism from someone with clear Green sympathies should be accorded a degree of respect.

Only comment I have is that your blue/greens and my blue/greens are quite different animals. Your blue/greens have locked themselves into a political corner and by doing so consigned themselves to forever feeding off Labour's scraps.

Pablo said...


Thanks. I agree with you completely on that last point. Diminishing talent in their MP ranks+increasingly shallow policy platform=following the Maori Party into oblivion.

And here is a conspiracy theory for you: Shaw put Turei up to revealing the benefit fraud (which then led to revelations of her electoral fraud) in order to remove her as one of the last "red" elements of the watermelon core and consolidate his "blue" position. An internal "coup," in other words. Not sure that it is true but I would not be surprised if it was.

The Veteran said...

PB ... thank you. Conspiracy theory ... I have always preferred cock-up over conspiracy but you can never be sure. What I do find interesting is that other Green Party's haven't marginalised themselves the way the Greens here have (eg the German Greens). I completely agree with your point that MPs need to have some life experience of the real world behind them. National tends to manage that; Labour less so; the present crop of Greens and not much at all.

I suspect most of our readers will have moved away from this thread. I'll let my promoting Judith Collins to run a bit more before posting a 'heads up' directing people back to pick up on our conversation. Enjoyed it.

Psycho Milt said...

As a Green voter and donor (although not a party member), I have a few thoughts on this:

1. Pablo is overly harsh on Golriz Ghahraman. National's dirty politics crew have had a good go at trying to make out that she padded her CV or whatever you might want to call it, but I've yet to see anything that looks like evidence. Good propaganda though, as demonstrated by Pablo's assumption that it's true.

2. Democracy's a bitch. Letting the membership vote on the party list is a terrible idea for cynical Realpolitik outfits like Labour and National that consider winning votes an end in itself, but it's an attractive one for the kind of people who'd join and/or vote for a Green Party. The results may vary pretty wildly, but if you value principle above coming first, democracy is important.

3. People always go on about the supposed golden days of Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons, but let's not forget that the MPs of that time consisted to a great extent of deranged hippies (eg Kedgeley) or opportunistic communists (eg Locke). The current Green Party MPs are a huge improvement on that.

4. The drop in the Green vote this election compared to the last couple of election correlates to an increase in the Labour vote, and in this case I'd be willing to bet correlation does equal causation. It's a reflection less on the individual MPs chosen for the party list than on the lack of NZ voter interest in stopping the environmental damage we're doing.