James Shaw : Perfunctory opposition to the CPTPP.
As the government prepares to sign the corporate-friendly Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement(CPTPP), the Green Party is talking about plastic bags...

IN THE IMMEDIATE days preceding the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement(CPTPP), it would be reasonable to expect that the Green Party would have it made it front and centre of its political activity. Instead, apart from a Parliamentary speech made by Golriz Ghahrama, the Green's have been missing in action.

It was telling that Oliver Hailes of the anti-CPTPP group It's Our Future made a point of publicly thanking Ghahrama for her speech, but had nothing to say about the Green Party itself.

It would not have gone unnoticed by It'S Our Future that co-leader James Shaw has been little more than perfunctory in his opposition to the CPTPP. When the thorny issue of the CPTPP crops up, Shaw has all the appearance of a politician who would rather be talking about something else.

Shaw's complacency has grown in leaps and bounds ever since he became a minister, even if he's a minister outside cabinet.

Responding this week to National Party leader Simon Bridges tentative first attempt at a rapprochement with the Greens, Shaw responded that he was looking forward to being part of a government that would be in power for nine years. Putting aside that the Green's low polling is a potential obstacle to them returning to Parliament in 2020, its evident that there isn't much about this market-driven government that troubles Shaw. That door you heard just slam was the Green's progressive credentials leaving the building.

This week, instead of agitating about the CPTPP, the Green Party focused on the comfortably safe issues of plastic bags and political transparency.

Green MP and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage accepted a petition organised by Greenpeace and signed by 65,000 people  demanding that the use of plastic bags be legislated against. While most of us won't disagree that the world would be a slightly better place without plastic bags, its not going to be an issue that's ever going to threaten neoliberal rule and upset the Labour-New Zealand First coalition government. We're a million miles away from the Green's declaring that its all about 'system change, not climate change'.

Similarly James has made a great play about the Green's new transparency measures which will see release their ministerial diaries, to show who they’ve met with and why. As well, Green Ministers, MPs and staff will not accept corporate hospitality, such as free tickets to events unrelated to their work.

Big deal.

As far as I'm aware no one was suggesting that the Green's were beholden to corporate interests in such a direct and mercenary way.

This is much ado about very little, although that's not what Julie Ann Genter thinks. The Minister of Transport and Green Party co-leader wannabe tweeted that she was 'proud to be green'. Yes, she's proud about being an M.P. in a Green Party that adheres to a pernicious brand of corporate friendly environmentalism that prevents it from actively opposing the CPTPP - even though it will put real obstacles in the way of fighting environmental degradation and climate change.


  1. As a former Green Party member, I've been dismayed how the membership, predominantly white and middle class, have enabled James Shaw to continue taking the Green's in the rightward direction first expressed by Russel Marshall. There are few lone Green voices out there who disagree with what is happening but they are in a minority. I left after I heard Shaw insisting that protecting the environment was not incompatible with business interests. That's the kind of view Donald Trump would agree with.

    You are right - where is the opposition to the CPTPP? With the Green's now at 5 percent in the polls, which is margin of error territory, the party in danger of being supplanted by Labour. Shaw is a centrist and he thinks that is where the votes lie. He is wrong.


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