This election has come down to one thing for me; the launch of the Greens into a real and challenging fighting-force for parties on both the right and the left. Over the years we have seen a huge transition. Most people I know supported Labour at the 2005 and 2008 elections. But in 2011 that all changed. Suddenly, just months out from the election, the tides turn in favour of the Greens. Suddenly they were an option.
When everyday Labour voters started seeing the Greens as a real choice for a strong opposition in 2011, the Greens started to change too. Recently Business NZ endorsed the Greens’ recent economic announcement for $1b in new funding to research and innovation. John Armstrong even described the policy announcement as ‘centrist’ as fellow Right-leaners, mostly in the ACT Party scowled.
“Goodbye wacky Greens, hello orthodox Greens” said Armstrong. Whether we believe the Greens were wacky in the first instance or not, the fact mainstream commentators are now taking them as a serious opponent to John Key can only be a good sign.
In some areas in 2014 the results for the Greens were tremendous. Wellington Central was their best result with 27.69% of the party vote (up 7.08). The neighbouring Labour-heartland seat of Rongotai was their second best with 24.19% (up 7.22).
At closer observation the results in some areas are truly startling;
Arthur’s Pass, Selwyn: 54.28%
Onekaka, West Coast-Tasman: 50.28%
Broad Bay, Dunedin South: 46.30%
Marahau, West Coast-Tasman: 45.38%
Te Aro, Wellington Central: 44.35%
Le Bons, Port Hills: 41.81%
Ngatimoti, West Coast-Tasman: 37.68%
Waitati, Dunedin North: 37.27%
Pihia, Waitakere: 36.11%
UOC, Dunedin North: 36.07%
Paekakariki North, Mana: 36%
North East Valley, Dunedin North: 35.41%
There does seem to be a disconnect between the north and south. Between Dunedin and Wellington, most regions had ballot boxes where the Greens won or at least beat National or Labour. But certainly The Greens haven’t connected as well with Auckland voters. That could be about to change, as the party’s support turns up and the campaign really gets underway in Epsom at the hands of Julie Anne-Genter, who has good sponsorship.
The Greens are finally getting the attention they deserve, and on a global stage the support for them in some of these selected ballots are huge. The Greens leaders a confident it can get even better this election.
The polling for the Greens started off negatively, with Shearer and the month of Cunliffe securing polling in the mid-30s range. Now as Labour’s vote comes down, the Greens are picking up the energy – and running.