Advantage of green pure genius
The greater our numbers, the greater our influence on business and Government.
The National-led government certainly needs influencing, as it heads to certain re-election. Businesses reliant on Aotearoa’s 100% pure marketing have been meeting increasing resistance thanks to the debunking of the clean–green myth. Food miles, a high emissions profile, the stepping up of fossil fuel exploration, a badly tarnished dairy industry and preoccupation with motorway construction is incompatible with the smart, clean image those businesses need. According to the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development and Sinclair Knight Merz:
A 5% reputational loss in primary products and international tourism will cost the economy more than 22 000 jobs, and $455 million direct loss p.a.
The percentage of New Zealanders who will applaud the Pure Advantage initiative will give lie to minimal support mustered by the Green Party, which currently hovers barely above 7%. The group boasts in spades what the Greens have always struggled to attract, a brace of well-known and well-respected New Zealanders. The trustees are headed up by a couple of knights: Villa Maria founder, Sir George Fistonich, and Sir Stephen Tindall. The illustrious line-up is completed by: Rob Fyfe of Air New Zealand; previous Microsoft chief financial officer, Chris Liddell; 2004 entrepreneur of the year, Phillip Mills; Icebreaker managing director, Jeremy Moon; Infratil managing director, Lloyd Morrison; Kiwibank chairman, Rob Morrison; 42 Below founder, Geoff Ross; NZ Post deputy chairman, Justine Smyth; and chairman of too many boards to poke a stick at, Joan Withers.
With just one of those names in its corner, the Green Party might make headway.
As things stand, votes that should be going to the Green party vote are all too often going to Green Party electorate candidates, with the party vote going to Labour. The quickest way for the Green Party to educate its voters that the party vote is all-important is to not stand electorate candidates. Not only would this force committed green voters to party-vote Green, the furore over failing to field electorate candidates would generate unparalleled publicity for the party.
Of course with a simple tune-up of mixed member proportional, minor parties would not remotely need to contemplate sacrificing their right to field electorate candidates. Negligible voter education is required: Voters would be asked to rank one or more candidates, and one or more parties. The only voters who would fail to effectively express their preference for party or candidate would be those who attempted to vote strategically, and failed to make their favoured party their first preference.
The smart money, however, is on Pure Advantage doing more to drag Aotearoa kicking and screaming into the low carbon dioxide economy than anything the Green Party achieves, anytime soon. At the current rate, the new group’s membership will eclipse in weeks that of the Green Party, which in its various forms has taken almost four decades to accumulate.
The comparison is odious in that only a tiny 2 or 3% of eligible voters are members of political parties. This is also reason to anticipate that Pure Advantage will soon wield political significant clout—perhaps sufficient clout for Transport Minister Joyce to contemplate…
…the green infrastructure actually needed for green growth.