Prime Minister John Key (cleverly pictured wearing a Swanndri) was given some quick-fire questions from Jamie Mackay on the Farming Show. When asked what was New Zealand’s greatest weakness or threat, he answered “The Green Party”. Although it was a light-hearted interview, one could see a deliberate intent in his answer as he often says similar things in the House in response to tricky questions from Green MPs. When asked which member of the opposition he would like to eat dinner with, he suggested Russel Norman because “he would be able to pay the bill by printing some money while we’re having the dinner.”
During the last election the Greens were being talked up as having more to offer than Labour and we were seriously courted as a possible coalition partner. I remember one prominent National member telling me candidly that he would prefer working with the Greens rather than the ‘fruit loops’ they often have to go into coalition with.
We even had a memorandum of understanding with National in the first term and the home insulation scheme (one aspect of the agreement) is now touted as one of the most successful initiatives of this Government and claimed as one of the main tools for addressing child poverty.
The Green threat is just so much spin when in reality the Greens credibility in economics is very strong. Julie Anne Genter, one of our younger MPs, won over those with sound credentials in economics and law according to Stephen Franks:
Julie Ann Genter MP last night won over the LEANZ audience, Most turned up cautiously sceptical, expecting perhaps at best some nuggets amongst a lot of green faith.
Instead we got one of the best presentations I've seen. Genter won over the audience with a lively, fact filled, economically sophisticated argument for abolishing the power of local authorities to impose minimum or maximum parking space requirements on specific site uses. Her case could be summarised as proving why the best plan for private land parking may be no plan.
The conditions – among them that management of publicly owned parking be sophisticated and directed to maximising the value of the land concerned did not raise hackles.
If you get a chance, go along to hear the Green MP who is not there to tell people how they should get to work or use their land.
To say that the Greens are the biggest threat to the New Zealand economy is also utter nonsense when green industries are the fastest growing in most economies and New Zealand is well behind the rest of the world in this area. The Greens' opposition to National's coal mining and oil drilling plans are not a threat to our economy because there are so many better and more sustainable alternatives and the economic risks of both industries could potentially do more harm than good.
The real threat the Greens pose is not in regard to New Zealand’s future, but the future of the National Party. It is the Greens who have really challenged the Government’s credibility over the last two years and have been the most effective party in opposition. The fact that Key is taking every opportunity to talk us down is proof of that.