In December the Green Party put out a self congratulatory video, outlining what it considers to be its achievements in 2007. This can be seen on You Tube.

Frankly I wasn't impressed. While the Green Party grabs at a whole lot of single issue policies, how can anyone take seriously a party that has become the mild-mannered supporter of the Labour Government?

And that's the problem with the Green Party - it offers no alternative vision of the future. Rather, its all about tacking on a few policies, environmental and otherwise, to create a 'kinder and gentler' capitalism. I'm not interesting in 'greening' capitalism - I want a party offering a way out of the free market morass. But you won't find that from the Green Party.

Many people put their hopes in the Green's providing a strong progressive voice in parliament that would cut across the free market consensus that exists between the two major parties. It was a mistaken hope.

Such is the dissatisfaction with the Green Party that its support has dipped under the crucial five percent mark and there is also discontent among some Green Party members that the parliamentary team have taken the party so far to the right that even the National Party feels comfortable about courting the Green's as a possible 'coalition partner'.

The Green Party's move to the right began in 2005 when, shortly before the last election, co-leader Rod Donald invited New Zealand's business elite to Wellington in order to assure them that the Green Party had no intention of frightening the economic horses, that it had no intention of rocking the capitalist boat.

That rightward turn was accelerated when former socialist Russell Norman was voted co-leader to replace Rod Donald who had died.

He was voted in at the 2006 national conference and it was at this conference that the new political direction of the Green Party was announced. There was little discussion within the party about the change in direction - rather it was foisted on the party by the parliamentary MP's. This was hardly conduct becoming of a party that publicly places great emphasis on 'democracy'

In her speech to the conference co-leader Jeanette Fitzmaurice claimed that the party was neither 'right or left' because these were 'old fashioned labels' and then went on to contradict herself when she said that the Greens even had some things in common with the National Party.

The theoretical justification for this march to the right was offered by Australian political commentator David McKnight and who is senior lecturer in Technology at the University of Sydney. McKnight is an ex-Stalinist and a former member of the Communist Party of Australia

In his book Beyond Left and Right, McKnight claims that there is a general recognition of the "historical universalism of the market as a democratic force" and that "it makes environmental sense to use market mechanisms". McKnight claims that Marxism is now 'defunct'.

Russell Norman, formerly a member of an Australian socialist -orientated youth organisation called Resistance (which he doesn't mention on his CV posted on the Green Party website) reinforced the messages coming from Fitzmaurice and McKnight, going as far as saying that the 'undoubted power' of the free market could be used to 'internalise' the costs of pollution.

These comments went down like a bucket of cold sick with some Green Party members who subsequently left in disgust. I understand, as we head towards the November general election, that the Green Party organisational presence is pretty well non-existent outside Wellington.

This is a party that has divorced environmental, political and economic problems from the capitalist structure in which they exist.

Witness the Green's push for the absurd 'Buy New Zealand' campaign. This campaign (the television commercial features Labour groupie Oliver Driver) claims that 'we' can all be 'better off' if we buy New Zealand goods - although no-one has adequately explained how workers will be 'better off' by buying more expensive New Zealand goods.

I've got a message for the Green Party - we will definitely be better off if we deliver a set of political and economic policies that seek to change New Zealand society rather than just manage it.

The free market model is failing - but you won't hear that from this right wing Green Party.


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