Greens lost in corridors of Beehive
Disappearance of perennial rebels a problem for the Government.
It’s a spin on that classic gag about the sad sack who would attend the opening of an envelope.
However, in this case, it was as if Climate Change Minister James Shaw sent the envelope to himself and did his own PR to get others to attend.
It seemed a sad way to launch a massive project for Shaw – consultation on making New Zealand carbon-neutral by 2050.
The eve of the consultation was marked with an event at which Shaw accepted an ‘‘open letter’’ offering a hearty ‘‘congratulations’’ from the World Wildlife Fund and a number of the country’s mayors. We know about it because, oddly, the event appeared to be arranged by Shaw’s office.
The promise of carbon neutrality was a big concession in the Greens’ confidence and supply deal with Labour, and the legislation that is set to come from it will be a key part of the machinery that may see New Zealand clean up its act on climate change.
They should rightly crow about it. But not by appearing to have arranged the World Wildlife Fund to do it for them.
It seems the good old cagerattling Greens have been lost to the halls of the Beehive. Where on earth are the Tibetan flag-waving Greens? The Trans-Pacific Partnership-protesting Greens? The spy-base hating, tree-chaining, Parliament-scaling and benefit fraud-condoning Greens?
Actually, that last one went too far.
Ever since former leader Metiria Turei sent her party on a downward spiral ahead of the election by proudly admitting her historical benefit fraud, they’ve not been a team.
The election of Marama Davidson as co-leader appears to have changed very little.
Maybe they’re spooked. But there has to be a happy medium between contrived letters of (self) congratulations, and a full confessional of past crimes to capture a headline or two.
It’s for precisely that reason the party elected Davidson. She promised them she would say the things her opponent, Julie Anne Genter and Shaw couldn’t, because they were ministers – that is, she would speak out against the Government.
Instead, Davidson has made a small series of lukewarm statements – most recently, calling on National (rightly) to issue an apology for the meth-testing debacle, but ignoring the fact Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s own one had not, at that point, eventuated. He’d been quick to rule out compensation, though.
So far, so conformist to the Government agenda.
At this rate, it’s short odds that if offered a ministerial post Davidson would be happy to accept it. It seems like she’s fixing for one.
Meanwhile, Shaw is in danger of falling down the same ministerial rabbit hole as former Ma¯ori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell – becoming engrossed in the importance of his ministerial work, while hoping that speaks for itself.
Flavell, and his party’s brutal demise, is proof that it doesn’t. But in co-leader Marama Fox that party still had a wild card who was prepared to speak out – at times forcefully – against the Government.
But consistent polling shows the Greens on a slow march down the same path as Flavell and Fox. If that isn’t enough to wake the party from their stupor, then it’s not just their problem but the Government’s.
Where on earth are the Tibetan flagwaving Greens?
Greens co-leader James Shaw announces the start of consultation on the Zero Carbon Bill.