Greens new co-leader less scary?

The Editor, The Wellingtonian,

15 June, 2015

Dear Editor;

The problem with Gordon Campbell’s observation (Wellingtonian, 4 June) that some pundits say voters might be less reluctant to vote Green with James Shaw as co-leader is that it rests on the notion that the electorate looks on the Greens as a bit flaky or worse.   (Campbell’s article in Scoop, 2 June, helpfully puts a finer point on his analysis.)  But the Greens have always been the most honest, respectful, and realistic party in parliament and it is wrong to suggest that the electorate sees them as anything but that.  Instead, the reason why the electorate is reluctant to vote Green in any great numbers, and some use language like ‘crazy Greens’ or ‘loony left’, is that the implications of the Green analysis are terrifying to them, namely that significant change is required to the way most global human societies are organized with its accompanying ideology of exploitation.  That analysis challenges fundamentally the consumer society which they (we all) have been molded into.

To the extent that the membership of the Greens has fallen for this same analysis, it reveals that much loss of nerve.  Green political parties worldwide have long faced reluctant electorates.  But with climate change, nuclear arsenals, and global finance grabbing more and more of global wealth, it is clear that a radical approach is the only sane way in the long run, and the ‘long run’ is the one that will count.  It’s not so much about maximizing votes now, as about being ready to counter the impulse toward global suicide when the desperate attempts to pursue the old options, as we’ve become familiar with here in New Zealand, have run their course.


Richard Keller

published 18 June, 2015


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