I was struggling to decide what to write for today’s article when quite out of thin air, the Greens inadvertently delivered an article subject for me wrapped in the resignation of two Members of Parliament from the Party. They had chosen to resign out of principle as a result of Metiria Turei admitting lying to Work and Income New Zealand, but also because she is refusing to resign.
Many Green party members and their M.P.’s will be despairing right now. What had seemed like a calculated gamble that they had initially appeared to get away with is imploding and threatens to completely crash their election campaign. David Clendon joined the Greens caucus in 2009. Kennedy Graham joined the Greens caucus in 2008.
The only way out I think is for Metiria Turei to hand her resignation in before the party implodes. To have had two Members of Parliament who have been around since 2008 decide to quit out of principle over Ms Turei’s refusal to resign herself shows the depth of division in the party when it most needs a united front. To have been told by the most likely coalition party in the event of an election victory that the highest honour short of being Prime Minister – the opportunity to hold a Cabinet portfolio – has been taken away from a party co-leader is perhaps the biggest rebuke possible short of being made to quit in disgrace.
But Ms Turei has somehow managed to achieve all of this. How she must be privately wishing she could have inhaled those words of admission – those well intended but totally naive words – before they began to affect peoples opinions. Did Ms Turei think she was going to somehow get away with this? Perhaps that might have been the case outside of election year, but when the spotlight is on individual parties, checking them for any sign of weakness.
And so the week that might well crash the Green Party in the 2017 election and drive many of their voters to Labour or encourage them to stay home has begun. How long can Ms Turei last before the Greens have an in house confidence vote? Will that change the overall balance of power in Parliament in these dying weeks, and when the nation votes on 23 September 2017, will the voters forgive or punish the Greens?