Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Every Election, there's a seat or several whose outcomes are fantastically interesting to watch. This is because they are the ones that are actually balanced upon the knife-edge - where a few dozen votes one way or 'tuther will actually help to determine the shape and course of our politics for years or even decades to come.

Customarily, attention is placed upon a handful of 'well-known' 'hot-spots'. I hardly need to cite their names: Ohariu, Te Tai Tokerau and Auckland Central spring instantly to mind, and we can probably add other 'swing' seats like Maungakiekie to that list. Further, as developments in Northland in early 2015 so amply demonstrate ... sometimes even the perceived 'safe' or outright 'fortress' seats can be the ones where History finds its 'first draft' authoring happening.

But there are other, lesser known battlegrounds who - whilst they might not immediately spring to mind - will be just as important in directing where things will go from here in our politics.

One of these is the Lower North Island seat of Wairarapa.

Now, conventional wisdom holds that this is a relatively 'safe' Blue seat. As the old saying goes, you could stand a stuffed poodle in the electorate - and provided it was wearing a National rosette, it would probably win.

This metaphor has found new currency in the person of Alastair Scott - who manages to combine the classical Nat 'born to rule' mentality [i.e. the 'poodle' genetics and hairdo] with a complete lack of actual action or interest in the affairs of his Electorate [as in - he's "stuffed" in  one or possibly two senses].

What this means in practice is, serious political observers are asking searching questions about whether we might once again see this seat change to a colour that's something other than Blue.

And to be fair, it wasn't that long ago [a mere twelve years] that this seat was the relatively safe demesne of Georgina Byer. I won't say it was a "Labour Seat", because from those I've talked to it appears more that Wairarapians were motivated to vote for the candidate and their own personal merits rather than those of her Party. [A fact which may be further adduced by Byer consistently scoring several thousand more candidate votes than Labour picked up for Party votes - a pattern which promptly reversed itself as soon as Labour attempted to stand a non-Byer candidate in that Electorate in 2005].

But looking forward to later this year, it is not the resurrection of Labour fortunes that I am predicting - although there seems little doubt that the serious challenger to Scott shares one feature in common with Byer ... that of also being a former Mayer of Carterton.

However, for those of us seeking to roll National's Alaistar Scott, there is a bit of a fly in the ointment. One other than Scott himself, I mean.

You see, the Wairarapa has hitherto fallen prey to what we might term "Epsom-Ohariu-Central" disease. A most curious malady, wherein the combined vote-totals for the two or more non-Government parties easily exceeds the figure which the questionably popular Nat(-supporting) reprobate gets ... but due to somebody's pig-headedness leading to vote-splitting - the ACT, United Future, or Nat candidate keeps winning regardless.

Ordinarily, the 'spoiler' figure is the Greens' local representative. In Ohariu, for instance, at literally every single election since the seat came back into existence, Peter Dunne would have been GONE but for whichever errant Green standard-bearer was running taking votes away from the Labour Party's candidate. And in Auckland Central likewise - at every election since Labour last held the seat under Judith Tizard, it's been a strong Greens vote that's rendered the Labourites unable to overtake Nikki Kaye. Epsom, of course, is a little bit different - in that it's the National candidate rather than Labour who's triennially robbed of a victory he quite plainly doesn't want - but is otherwise an instance of the exact same pattern.

Northland nearly fell victim to the same disease in 2015 - but with Labour quite sensibly deciding to functionally pull their candidate [thus reducing Labour's electorate votes from 8969 the year before to 1380 in the by-election], such a fate was happily avoided. And the course of New Zealand politics arguably shifted rather more than slightly towards a better future with a more marginalized National Party. Hopefully, anyway.

All of which bring us back handily to Wairarapa later this year.

Now, a cursory analysis of electoral results for the last twenty years shows that Labour has CONSISTENTLY been losing both Electorate and Party votes there since their peak in 1999. Admittedly, they continued to hold the seat right up until 2005 - but with the departure of the aforementioned Georgina Byer, apart from one brief relative surge of a mighty 837 candidate votes between 2005 and 2008, their overall trend has just been down, down, down. Finally falling into the single-digit thousands at the last election with their this year's candidate, Kieran McAnulty.

They're now on 9,452 and 25.41% for the candidate vote [a slippage of 6.23% from the previous election], and 7,712 and 20.56% for the party vote [minus 2.74% from 2011].

Or, in other words, the odds of McAnulty (who I hear's a nice guy,  by the way) somehow managing to make up the quite substantial 6,771 and 18.20% gap between himself and National's Alaister Scott ... are perhaps rather long. Particularly given the observable swing against Labour in both rural seats and nationwide that some pundits have noted.

But hark. A Challenger appears. Looking at Ron Mark's results for the same election - 8,630 votes and 23.20% [both rather mark-ed increases on NZ First's previous results in the electorate and part of an ongoing upward trend] - it's quite frankly re-mark-able that he managed such an incredibly strong result despite only announcing his candidacy a mere twenty five days out from the Election. This is particularly the case when we consider that his two main opponents [one each from Labour and National - the good old "coca-cola/pepsi tag-team"] had been actively campaigning and engaged in the electorate for most of the previous three years.

Now imagine just how well Ron is poised to do, given he's been an MP for the Wairarapa for the last three years - and the number of issues like local opposition to forced amalgamation of local body authorities, and fighting for improved infrastructure, where he's been able to take the leading representing the views and voices of his constituents. Indeed, looking at his intensive efforts on this front over the past term, you'd probably be forgiven for thinking he actually already WAS the elected electorate MP for the area.

Adding to this, we have the fact that by almost any poll or talkback radio reconnaissance, New Zealand First is absolutely surging. This is particularly the case in rural seats, as it should be, and I would dare say that a Government-neglected region like the Wairarapa will quite likely be leading the pack.

I therefore think it's pretty fair to state that Ron's in with a serious shot. Not least because of the striking number of folks down there who appear to be considerably more enthused about Ron than they are about Winston or the rest of the Party. I had a hard time keeping track of the number of people who straight-up told us when we were doorknocking there last year that they were reluctant to vote for New Zealand First, but would have absolutely no problem supporting Ron when it came to the crunch.

Or, in other words, I'd hazard that Ron Mark is far more capable of drawing in soft-Nat support than Kieran McAnulty is. And the stats from 2014 showing Ron doing twice as well as McAnulty when it came to bringing in votes from outside his own party go some ways towards proving this.

So with all of this in mind, you'd think that the immediately obvious thing for Labour to do if they were really interested in removing the National party carbuncle from the seat ... would be to hang up their shoes and run a party-vote only campaign. Doing as they so successfully did in Northland in 2015, and allowing Our Man Ron a clear shot at taking down the local Nat baronobody.

But unfortunately, there are few things more prone to self-defeating fits of 'pride' than a man backed into a corner - and as far as I can tell, the local Labour Party just isn't getting the message. Instead, they're calling in favours and rattling chains to try and get as high a profile of support-crew for McAnulty as they possibly can. Which thus far amounts to two local Mayors - Lynn Patterson, the incumbent Mayor of Masterton and one of her predecessors, Bob Francis - attempting to rally otherwise flagging support for McAnulty's campaign.

It's a free country and a free election, of course (subject to the limits of the Electoral Finance Act and occasional legal threats for playing a song which demeans the government) - but those Labour-people out there attempting to desperately corral Wairarapians into the polling booths for McAnulty really do need to sit down and ask themselves whether what they're doing is really going to help unseat Alastair Scott come September.

Particularly as an argument can quite easily be mounted that attempting to 'rope in' well-known local figures on one's side when you're flagging in the polls in a manner that suggests you've Red Peaked ... may very well be read as a sign of implicit desperation.

Now obviously, when it comes to matters electoral, i'm slightly biased. I genuinely do not like the National Party, and have not infrequently been of the opinion that some parts of the Labour Party can be little better.

But to accomplish the great and mighty deed of rolling National in the Wairarapa (a victory which will have flow-on strategic effects for the rest of the country), it is necessary for ALL us non-Government supporters to work together. We've got to unite behind the one candidate in this electorate who's actually capable of drawing votes from Labour, National, New Zealand First and elsewhere in order to actually outnumber Scott's share of the vote.

In short, we've got to send the Nats a message. Together, with one voice. Namely - that on September 23rd ... Alaistar Scott is Gone!

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Kiwi Motörhead - New Zealand First Convention Coverage 2017

I realized something the other day. New Zealand First is basically the Kiwi Politics equivalent to Motorhead. And while I'd not be entirely surprised as to which of Winston or Lemmy would be more potentially insulted by a comparison to the other ... even looking beyond the black-and-white colour-scheme, snaggly-toothed attitude, and frequent fan-base amongst West Auckland, there are some rather overt similarities.

Prime among these is that the stereotypical statement on Motorhead's several decades of musical output which I've now heard from any number of musical critics - that they've basically released the same album over and over again for much of the last thirty years - also applies just as evenly to New Zealand First seemingly every electoral cycle.

Standing there on Sunday afternoon listening to the latest in a long line of Winston Convention-Campaign stump-speeches, this struck me as perhaps the best characterization for what I was witnessing.

Consider several of the key points of policy which he announced: a referendum on the Maori Seats, another referendum on the size of Parliament, and the movement away from Westpac to having KiwiBank as the Government's official banker.

There are some tweaks inherent in each of them [for example, the referendum on the Maori Seats policy now makes no mention of it being a plebiscite only for Maori; and the commentary on reducing the size of Parliament has moved from attempting to uphold a previous referendum result that's now nearly two decades old - and to seeking a new mandate for the policy entirely] ... but I had heard it all before.

The pattern repeats with many of the other 'big name' bottom-line announcements we've seen from New Zealand First over the course of the most recent campaign cycle are similar re-rubs on old classics. The call to massively bolster our police numbers, for instance, is a fairly direct encore-reprise of something which NZ First both promised - and, more importantly, successfully delivered on - in 2005 immediately before entering into a C&S agreement with the Labour Party. [Which uh .. happened to shut out The Greens after quite a prolonged period of bad-blood and mutual bollocking between the parties. Which appears to be playing upon the mind of at least one of our organizations rather much this month]

And as applies the other substantive comments to be found in Winston's speech yesterday, I literally found myself describing it to an associate who was also there as being a cursory play-through of "Winston's Greatest Hits". It was all there: forceful statements on immigration [although interestingly nuanced, perhaps in response to the Greens' immanent critique. More on that later]; serious commitments to economic justice through opposing foreign ownership and corporate raids disguised as investment; anguished howls about unrepresentative bureaucrats and other (not always unelected) decision-makers being seriously out of touch with the opinion of the ordinary Kiwi; up-to-the-minute cutting references to his opponents; and an absolute, evangelist's insistence upon rolling back both Rogernomics and Ruthanasia in order to institute a proper, post-Neoliberal economic paradigm.

Obviously, that last one was mostly phrased in words of not more than two syllables and bereft of such 'technocratic' jargon.

But lest my Kilmister comparison be received as an insult ... that is not necessarily the spirit in which it was intended.

The plain fact about Motorhead's discography - and why they continued to be such a powerful force for so many decades up until Lemmy's untimely death as part of the huge wave of celebrity-mortalities around 2016 - is that nobody especially minded that they were doing the same thing over and over again every three years ago. Because they not only did it well [with enough subtle tweaks to ensure it wasn't *literally* the same album being re-released over and over], but because too much 'innovation' would arguably have moved the band a little too far from what it actually *was* in the first place. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and all that. We *wanted* to hear Lemmy belt out his old classics in amidst 'new' material that could have been written the same decade or even the same day as the standards.

So it is with Winston.

In whose case, to be fair to him, he is arguably quite justified in re-hashing many of the same themes and talking points Election after Election ... because in many cases, serious action hasn't actually been undertaken by any other party to meaningfully address these issues.

In other words, 'the repeats will continue, until circumstances improve'.

But having said that, there were some interesting differences between Winston Peters Circa 2017 and previous commentaries running right the way back to when I first heard him give a Convention Address what seems like half a lifetime ago in 2010.

Then, the clear vibe was that we were "the resistance". And that, not to put too fine a point on it, the forces being "resisted" weren't just economic or those of the political establishment ['beltway' or otherwise]. Instead, the very nature of causality - of political physics, and the received and applied common wisdom of just about every two-bit commentariat-hack in the land - was what we were seeking to struggle against. To create something unprecedented as a historico-political moment by getting back into Parliament from penury.

And, as it happened, we did. 2011-era Winston taking on the air of a triumphant pro-democracy rebel rolling into some Arab despot's capital somewhere. That's not mere illustrative hyperbole on my part - he literally got up at our 2011 Convention and promised a "Pacific Summer" to follow the "Arab Spring", and doing to our Government in a matter of weeks what it had taken the people of Libya some months if not years to do.

Considering the oblique state of Libya today, wherein reasonably broad swathes of the country seem far worse off now than they ever were under Gaddaffi, it is perhaps for the best that nobody other than some of us grumbly old veterans remember such things.

But if 2009-2011 Winston thought of his political movement as being akin to a guerilla-insurgent band 'off up in the hills' [also a Winston quote - at that point he was comparing himself to Fidel Castro's forces about to take on Batista]; then 2013-2014 Winston was putting on a rather different set of tropes. Here, it was the rallying-cry of a force which had made it back into the heart of Kiwi Politics - and which was absolutely adamant that our voice would be heard. The commentary at the time from those On High was based around the perceived probability of either being able to get an excellent deal by working with others ... or standing strong - alone - and still finding our vocative exploration of principles decidedly hard to ignore.

2017 Winston, by contrast, is seriously different. It's no longer a case of attempting to storm back into Parliament. And even if some might argue that the desire to 'do the impossible' [according to the previously received wisdom, anyway] is still at the heart of his Convention-Day Message ... nowadays, when it comes to his stated desire for New Zealand First to *be* the Government rather than merely form a bolt-on part thereof ... well, it's not like these days anybody's seriously ruling it out.

Will it happen? Who knows. But like I say - it was definitely an interesting change of vibe. [Also rather amusing for me personally, as I've been pushing the whole "New Zealand First Government" line internally for some years now, as a habitual response to the travails and serious risks of stuffing up the Party's long-term prospects by entering into coalition with certain other [presently larger] groups. Not, of course, that I'm suggesting anybody seriously high-up listened...]

The mood on the Convention-Room Floor seemed to absolutely lap this up. And I can well understand it. Many of these people, these loyal and tireless campaigners par excellence, have been going to these things for years. Some of them, apparently, have been following Winston round the place since long before there even WAS a New Zealand First. [I'm not kidding - part-way through his speech, Winston paused to acknowledge a couple who'd apparently been on one of his first selection panels in 1978]

So it's well appreciable that they'd today be relishing the thought of their electoral 'moment in the sun' - and the prospect of all of those other folk from all of those other parties who've spent a good portion of the last decade mocking and deriding New Zealand First ... well, the shoe'll certainly be on the other foot, won't it.

That last remark presumably also helps to explain the near frenzied consternation which presently seems to be emitting from the Greens this past month. Other than some of my more .. twisty conspiracy theories about the Green Party almost seeking to intentionally throw the 2017 Election so as to try and overtake Labour for 'lead left party' status in 2020, I don't think there's a better explanation to be easily had.

They're flailing around attempting to land rhetorical blows on New Zealand First in a manner that's rather questionable for their overall electoral prospects ... in part to attempt to assuage the opinions of a certain portion of their activist-base who evidently threatened to go limp ['going rogue' possibly being too strong of a word] if nothing was done, but also due to an increasing feeling of 'desperation' as to 'what to do about Winston' leading to political-rhetoric kitchen-sinkery as a cap-handed form of allegedly 'finesse' attack.

But what makes this interesting, however, is not the Green Party attempting a re-run of a previous tactic of theirs which has earlier backfired spectacularly [Rod Donald's campaign of comparing Winston to Hitler in 2004-2005 was one of the factors cited in locking the Greens out of Government following that Election] - but instead, the remarkable restraint which Winston showed today in *not* biting back.

I went in there fully prepared for a boisterous bevvy of bruising remarks about dope-smoking radicals engaged in sociological treason. Some of them even directed towards the Greens rather than a past life of yours truly.

Instead, what we got was measured criticism of the Greens in the same sentence as rarking up of Labour and National; and generalized castigations directed at nobody-in-particular-but-you-know about how 'the real racists' in New Zealand Politics were presumably those who'd allowed in upwards of seventy thousand people per year without first ensuring there was adequate provision of housing, schools, healthcare, infrastructure, and other elements of state spending for them once they got here.

It was, I have to say, a pretty decent subversion of multiple expectations; as well as interestingly harmonizing Winston with the rhetorical position of the Greens on the issue - namely, that 'scapegoating' migrants is the wrong end of the problem to be blaming when it's quite clearly a series of failures of political and economic management that have produced the deleterious circumstances we're presently experiencing in correlation with the immigration boom.

Now having said that - words are pretty, and guitar solos are amazing ... but what does it all mean?

There was a definite and pervasive 'mood for change' from many of the people I spoke to at Convention. A keen and keening awareness that the dominant politico-economic paradigm of New Zealand for some thirty three years now - and which has reached a recent apotheosis under National after several terms of moderation under Clark - just simply isn't working and ought be disposed of forthwith.

No seriously detailed plan was presented for how this might yet occur; and in the post-meeting discussion I had with a comrade, it was suggested that to actually attempt doing so would require several terms uninterrupted of New Zealand First dominated [or, indeed, exclusive] Government.

The issue, then, is obvious. For all of the strident talk from Party Grandees about how New Zealand First will be able to extract an incredibly high price from either National or Labour should we go into coalition with one of them ... I would find it frankly incredible if what Winston is proposing would be seriously deliverable in government with either. A coalition with National devoted to ending Neoliberalism would require the blue party to become so unrecognizable in comparison to its present (degenerated) state that it may as well become almost a new party. And whilst on paper the Labour Party is rather closer to this objective than the Nats, there are still somewhat strong reasons to outwardly suspect that this path, too, would lead to severely sub-optimal outcomes. One need look no further than the fiscal responsibility conditions which both Labour and the Greens signed up to as part of their Memorandum of Understanding to see that even the nominal 'lefty' option for Governing partners are pretty fundamentally wedded to the underlying strictures and politico-psychological terrain of neoliberalism.

Hence, presumably, the emphasis upon New Zealand First *being* the Government rather than merely supporting one through Confidence & Supply. That's fine. Although the odds of New Zealand First hitting perhaps twenty five percent in this Election - whilst not totally implausible [which shows just how askew from conventional expectations even a year ago we're at] - are still perhaps a bit of a long-shot.

Still, as the old saying goes - when shooting for the Moon, even if one misses, the arrow will still fall among the stars. [My inner cynic notes that, parabolistic trajectories being what they are, it's more often a case of 'what goes up, must come down' ... but I digress]

And so with that in mind, there remains a rather strong argument that a decently sized New Zealand First represents some 'electoral insurance' for the political situation post-2017.

This is because regardless of whether Labour-Greens-NZ First or NZ First-National eventuates, we wind up with a significant shift to the left from the Government we have in power presently.

Perhaps not the most convincing of arguments ... but then, nobody ever said that slightly remixed reissues of releases from 21 years ago were guaranteed to be hits.

[Author's note: For the last several years, my coverage of New Zealand First's annual Conventions for The Daily Blog has been done in something of a dual-hatted manner - in that I was both there for the full weekend as a Delegate, as well as in my journalistic capacity for TDB. Due to factors beyond my control, this year I only attended a small portion of Sunday's proceedings : and only with my "Journalistic' cap on. I mention this not in the hopes of suggesting a lessened bias on my part, but rather as an explanation for why my coverage of Convention is perhaps less fulsome than usual].

Monday, July 10, 2017

On Why The Greens REALLY Tore Into NZ First Over The Weekend

I've taken awhile off commenting on a .. certain area of New Zealand Politics for personal reasons; but looking at my newsfeed for the past 24 hours, it's pretty clear a number of things need to be said about the Green Party's recent comments on New Zealand First.

The first thing I'd like to acknowledge is that yup, some NZ First MPs and personnel have said some pretty stupid things in years past. I hardly need to re-run the particular incidences. No shortage of other people with particular agendas have already done so for me over the day.

But contrary to what some ultra-liberal folk would have you believe, it's possible to have a conversation around immigration policy which focuses on what's best for the country - whether environmentally or economically [and ideally both] - that *isn't* basically just a Trojan Horse covering for some sort of racist dog-whistle.

Personally, I think James Shaw did a pretty good job of that last year when he broached the subject of putting the Green Party's population policy [something that's been in their manifesto-equivalent now for more than a decade, I believe] into practice with regard to immigration. [this makes a certain amount of sense - as unless you go down the whole Chinese One Child Policy route, the only actual hands-on control a government can exercise over population increase is through migration rates. Although obviously changing cultural priorities around reproduction and altering availability of both contraception and abortion can also have an impact]

But evidently, a sufficient number of Green Party folk disagreed with that assessment to mandate a somewhat embarrassing climb-down on that issue earlier this month. Embarrassing, I suggest, because the implication we got from Shaw's repudiation statement was that basing policy on "data and numbers" rather than the optics of a situation was seen as being problematic - and if not actually racist itself, then at least pandering to same. It is arguably a worrying thing when "facts" wind up being deemed inconvenient and objectionable when it comes to policy-making.

As it happens, despite the much-vaunted walking-back of Shaw's previous policy-statements, as far as I can tell the Green Party's policy-document still makes reference to the exact same idea which some Greens activists [and others] decided had to be opposed at all costs. The only thing that appears to have changed is a removal of actual 'hard targets' from the policy in favour of a much more nebulous [the jargon would no doubt be 'values-based'] approach.

I would therefore surmise that if the Green Party have a problem with New Zealand First on immigration, then they are being somewhat disingenuous if they refer to it as being a policy-issue rather than a rhetoric issue.

And further, that if they are going to take serious issue with potential coalition partners on grounds of racist or otherwise problematic rhetoric, then they should probably also take a long hard look at their preferred partners the Labour Party.

After all, let us remember that when New Zealand First was pushing for a register of foreign property-ownership in order to truly assess just what was being bought up and by whom to determine the scale of our problem - the Labour Party were bandying about a list of "Chinese-sounding surnames" acquired through dubious means in pursuit of churlish headlines.

It might, I suppose, be argued that New Zealand First has a longer and more problematic history of objectionable communications in this area than does Labour. And there is perhaps a certain amount of truth in that. Not least because when we think of the words "Labour" and "Abhorrent Statement About Chinese Immigration", we are probably far more likely to recall that time Shane Jones decided to defend Bill Liu being granted citizenship against reams of official advice and strong concern from Interpol.

But to my mind, it is some of Turei's other remarks that are most instructive when it comes to addeucing what the Greens are attempting to do here.

For you see, upon closer inspection this whole thing is not actually about racist rhetoric on the campaign trail. Even though I have no doubt that many Greens folk feel legitimately dismayed about the thought of "enabling" Winston Peters in government because they think that's what they are thus implicitly supporting.

Rather, it is the Greens turning NZ First's standard election positioning strategy on NZ First. With instead of NZ First's customary signalling-lines about how the Greens or whomever are "dividing" New Zealand racially with extremist policies that can only be moderated or curtailed in a future government via a strong NZ First ... well, the Greens are saying the exact mirror-image of this. Namely, that New Zealand First are allegedly practising, in Turei's words "racist, divisive politics", thus requiring New Zealanders to "strengthen [The Greens'] arm in the next government so they don't have that type of influence".

Like I said: the exact mirror-image of what Winston customarily says about them. With additional points for Turei's subsequent line about "moderating [NZ First's] worst excesses" if compelled into a governing arrangement with NZ First - as this is literally what NZ First supporters say when speaking in putative favour of a National-NZ First coalition. [I once referred to this as "buying yourself some electoral insurance"]

Will this work out successfully for them? I don't think it especially likely. Anyone who was going to be (positively) motivated by such rhetoric is probably already voting for the Greens [or alternatively, has a radically different set of personal priorities, and is doing something weird like voting for ACT because they somehow think the destructive hand of the untrammelled market isn't racially discriminatory or something].

And for the many, MANY hundreds of thousands of voters who actually rate immigration as an important issue, well they're hardly likely to feel inspired to support the Greens as a result of this, now, are they.

Indeed, one prospective consequence is the exact opposite of what was hoped for by the Greens - New Zealand First picking up additional votes [and therefore a greater chance of being the dominant influence in a post-2017 Government].

Another rather more certain outcome, sadly, will be the National Party continuing to look strong, stable and 'safe' in comparison to the prospective nont-National-led three-way Government.

Not least because it's rather plainly apparent to anybody who can count that the only way Labour and the Greens make it over the magic 61 seat threshold is with New Zealand First's rather considerable help.

Perhaps, then, the Green Party have made a rational calculation about a Labour/Greens/NZF Government after the Election being rather unlikely [for whatever reason - there are several important prospective causations for why this might eventuate] and are instead attempting to play 'the long game' by continuing to build their own support [at the expense of several other parties] in order to have a stronger voice in some as-yet unconceived future Government in 2020, 2023 etc.

In any case - social media bubbles are not terribly reflective of the actual mood out there in the Electorate, but the strong majority of people who actually bother/care about such things as election-year political party spats do not necessarily appear to be on-side with the Greens about this one.

It will be interesting to see what effect this might have in the medium-long term.

Although I am taking some solace from the pointed refusal by either The Greens or New Zealand First to rule out working with the other party in Government after this year's General Election.