Green Leaders Show Initiative
The Green Party has firmly established itself as New Zealand's third largest party. The party is now 21 years old and firmly established as a party that is here to stay. We are not a party based on personalities, but policy and principles and when our leaders and MPs retire we have competent and capable people to shift immediately into their places. We are a stable party and although we do have turnover and change within our leadership positions we do this only when necessary and certainly not through overnight coups, undercover plots and individual ego trips. We do not flip flop with policy according to popular whim, our policy is based on research, consultation and wide ranging advice.
Russel and Metiria have constantly proven themselves as capable leaders and politicians of substance. Political commentator, John Hartevelt, described Russel a few months ago as "the real opposition finance spokesman..." and the Q&A panel in the weekend thought that Metiria should not be regarded as a leader of a minor party as both her performance and the Green Party were no longer in the minor category.
We now have the country's election process determined by John Key's media team. John Key has a celebrity image that has been carefully groomed and protected over the last three years. No serious interviews will be contemplated and any leaders' debate will only be against Phil Goff, whom National has successfully spent considerable time and effort in denigrating. Key will still only appear with Goff or on public media on his own terms and it is becoming increasingly clear that his handlers, or he himself, have real doubts about his ability to manage life outside of his protective bubble. His opening address was so totally managed that one wondered if he had a real audience in front of him at all.
Key gets seriously flustered when under real pressure and when challenged by the sort of rational probing that the Greens excel in, the flaky and snide responses he often resorts to in the house would not look good on mainstream television. Despite being recognised as having third party status and being a significant political force (similar to the Liberal Democrats in the UK), National has successfully blocked any involvement of the Greens in influential debates.
This has not phased the Green Party who have successfully built a reputation of being IT capable and highly innovative on limited budgets. While the Key/Goff debate will go ahead New Zealand voters will have an alternative media experience they can turn to. The Green Room is a live video stream that voters can access online and view concurrently with the TVNZ debate. The Green Room will be both informative and entertaining with popular entertainer Michelle A'Court providing humorous insights and an expert panel including business commentator Bernard Hickey and economist Raf Manji providing more substantive comment. Past editor of the Listener, Findlay MacDonald, will interview Metiria and Russel immediately after the TVNZ debate.
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Those who watched the Green Room would have been highly frustrated that Russel or Metiria weren't able to challenge Key or Goff. Findlay MacDonald's interview with the Green leaders afterwards displayed that both had a far better grasp of the issues confronting us than what was displayed on TVNZ.
I hope those who missed it can watch a replay.