According to RNZ, discontent with the leadership of James Shaw and Marama Davidson is growing within the Green Party....
BECAUSE THE EVIDENCE is in front of our very eyes, we know extreme weather is devastating communities around the world. The visible consequences of climate change, we also know that such weather extremes as heatwaves, flooding and droughts will only grow more severe the longer we fail to act decisively.
We also know that we are running out of time to do anything about it. The scientific community has repeatedly warned us that we are on the brink of catastrophe yet our political representatives continue to fail us. The recent UN Climate Change conference (COP26) in Glasgow was little more than a talkfest. Greta Thunberg, the face of the growing movement for real change, summed up COP26 in three succinct words 'Blah, blah, blah.'
But while the need for urgent action now - not later - is recognised by activists, our corporate-friendly political 'representatives' continue to tinker with the very economic system that is chewing up the planet. As activist and author Naomi Klein has observed, a system based on ever-expanding capital accumulation and exponential economic growth is no longer compatible with human well-being and progress—or even with human survival over the long run.
That view is becoming more prevalent within the New Zealand Green Party itself. It is a view that is coming into increasing conflict with a leadership that continues to think we can tinker with an economic system that is not only unfit to cope with the fallout from climate change but is largely responsible for climate change in the first place.
Former Green Party MP Sue Bradford touches on this in an excellent article by Michael Hall of RNZ that details the growing discontent with the Green Party's political direction. That direction has been enforced by the autocratic James Shaw and loyally supported by fellow co-leader Marama Davidson. Observes Bradford:
'Maybe it's naivety, but you could also say James Shaw came into the Green Party from a corporate background, you know, making corporates environmentally sustainable and responsible, that old truck, which is just part of neoliberal capitalism. He's also following his own political path...'
Indeed when he first entered Parliament Shaw said 'I'm a huge fan of the market. When it comes to setting prices and allocating scarce resources it usually beats the alternatives hands down,'
So while the banners and placards might be calling for 'system change not climate change', the present parliamentary leadership of the Green Party continue to peddle such things as corporate friendly carbon trading schemes and Shaw attends business meetings where he talks up the 'profit potential' of market environmentalism.
While the parliamentary Green Party and the Labour Government might share a belief in 'green capitalism' this is nothing more than a politically expedient gimmick to avoid a real reckoning. It is little wonder that the Green Party leadership have been charged by many activists of abandoning its core principles in favour of the 'co-operation agreement' with Labour.
If the Green Party was really serious about tackling climate change then it would recognise the need to drastically change course. It is not credible to advocate for the environment while remaining pro-capitalist. But such is the deep-rooted antagonism that both Shaw and Davidson have for anything that isn't pro-market, neither will even support the Green Party embracing the principles and policies of a Green New Deal.
It is not surprising then that, according to RNZ, 'a number of activists have recently stepped away from the party, including former executive and policy branch members.' Unlike the present Green Party leadership, they recognise that 'green capitalism' cannot avert a climate catastrophe.