I wrote this as an email to a relative who is also a Green.
Even though it came at the cost of a national mp i am pleased that ken graham has made it into parliament. i think he wil be a valuable addition and as i sadi to you on the phone perhaps he can do for mainstream environmentalism in new zealand as his brother doug did for treaty settlements.
I think you will find the next 3 years will be preoccupied with using cullens newly created national savings to build infrastructure. that is what will bring prosperity to new zealand rather than a further slide to second class world citizenship.
Key has shown he is going to engage with Maori and I think you will see that in 3 years time Maori have delievered for their constituents by advancing treaty settlements, ensuring welfare is reformed so it is a hand up and not a hammock for maori and sensibly boosting maori participation in education and commerce. That will be a truly wonderful thing for Maori and for New Zealand if Maori are able to move on from 70 years of being patronised by Labour.
the challenge for the greens is to grow up and understand that shrill protest wil achieve nothing but parliamentary opposition and newspaper headlines. working constructively might actually achieve something.
The ETS is going to be reformed. Clark and New Zealand do not have the luxury of being able to afford to be on the bleeding edge of climate changes to economy.
Key is open to state investment in infrastructure. If you want his attention and you want to reduce nz CO2 production then get your people to work on carbon reducing approaches to energy production. dont waste time advocating reductions in consumer consumption. it is at the supply end that genuine change will come. you will get some success by supporting investment into energy production research.
Dont approach pastoral lease reform from the perspective of saving more snails. work on the basis of the true economic value of those leases and the need for farmers to pay a fair value to new zealand taxpayers for that.
Dont sabotage new zealands economy by attacking the true green ness of production. do the research to prove that environmental damage does more to damage the new zealand brand and reduce the value of our exports in the long run. Brands have value for consumers because they provide something people can trust. that is why people pay a premium for them.
The opportunity for New Zealand is to be the Waitrose of global food production. We need to get past the commoditisation of our exports. Our free range grass fed meat should not be exported as 75% chemical lean to be mixed in with factory grown beef from asia and the us. It should be on processed and branded and command a premium because of the purity of its origins.
The part the Greens can play is to be the economic and environmental custodians of the brand. Historically there have been many greens who are simply anti capitalist. This simply gets in the way of understanding the best way to protect our environment is to value it properly. as people get wealthier around the world they value a clean environment more. And they value unadulterated lands even more. The way Timberlands was finally discredited was because of the realisation there was a greater value to the virgin trees than to ripping down the forest to get at the timber. That lesson does not appear to have been learned and applied elsewhere.
Key is going to win the next election because he occupies the centre. The Greens can wait hopelessly for the next Labour government to ignore them again or they can move on from being watermelons opposed to all economic activity. There is obviously a core element of green voters who will not understand as long as they breathe that market democracy is the best combination to bring prosperity and freedom. They need to be handled in the same way National is a broad church of statist authoritarians and libertarians.
I would be interested to hear your views on where you think the Greens will go over the next 6 years.