They’re not melons – they’re Marxist traffic lights

Bowen Triangle

Rob Hosking

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, who has become a sort of organically grown, carbon-credit-worthy grown fig leaf for what is basically a radical left-wing party, is leaving politics.

Fitzsimons herself, with her background in environmental science rather than radical politics, along with her public image of being everyone’s favourite great-auntie (and a palpable, and genuine decency) had become a front-woman for what is basically a radical Marxist party.

It has become something of a cliché to describe the Greens as water melons – green the outside and red on the inside. It’s a bit more complex than that.

Better to think of them as traffic lights – red one minute, green the next, and a sort of funny orange colour when Sue Kedgley accidentally eats a food additive.

The Greens from time to time insist they’re not a left wing party at all – usually when they want National to take them a bit more seriously, and/or when they want a few more ecologically-minded National voters to take a chance on them.

This is either wilful obtuseness – if they really believe this “we’re not really left wing” stuff– or double-talk.

Fitzsimons has argued the Greens are not really left-wing because they “reject the model of the big all powerful state that makes all decisions for people, in favour of a community model that empowers.”

How does that sit with, say, Sue Kedgley’s calls to ban pretty much everything she does not think we should eat or drink?
Not very well.

Does it fit with, say, Keith Locke’s reflex anti-Americanism, or the party’s instinctive suspicion of the profit motive? Not really.

Co-leader Russel Norman’s background is, as he himself claimed in his maiden speech, left wing politics.

“I am not ashamed to have a history in the socialist movement. I am not ashamed to think that everyone deserves a fair go and a fair share of what this life has to offer; to believe that this world is too divided.”

Socialism though, he said, didn’t go far enough – hence his involvement with the Greens.

Arguing the Greens are sort of a next stage on from socialism isn’t quite the same as saying they’re not left wing.

Then there’s the two candidates vying to replace Fitzsimons. Metiria Turei, seen as the most likely successor, framed much of her maiden speech around an address by radical US academic Noam Chomsky, who said those of us in western democracies are “in a cage” and “we’re going to expand the floor [of the cage], meaning we will extend to the limits what the cage will allow.

And we intend to destroy the cage. But not by attacking the cage when we're vulnerable, so they'll murder us. You have to protect the cage when it's under attack from even worse predators from outside, like private power. And you have to expand the floor of the cage. These are all preliminaries to dismantling it….

“We too, in Aotearoa, live in a cage.”

She also said that in New Zealand “the present state has no legitimacy and that it must ultimately be transformed into a system which implements Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

None of which is exactly middle of the road. You won’t find many broadly non-ideological voters fed up with the old parties, buying into this stuff.

The other candidate, Sue Bradford’s history in left-wing protest politics is well enough known: there is also a tale of her, in her protest days, attending a Green meeting in Auckland in the mid-1990s and being heard to murmur ‘this party is ripe for taking over’.

Whether that anecdote is true or not, it deserves to be.

It is in fact what has happened.

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How any intelligent person ever took these Marxist failures and their drivel seriously has always made me wonder at the naievety of, and absence of logical thinking powers, of some of our public. Why anyone would waste a vote on them defies explanation.
For that matter why have the media journalists fallen over themselves to promote such drivel,thus giving the adherents credibility!


Sue Bradford will become the face of the Greens.

Their demise at the next election is now a forgone conclusion. With a complete radical left-wing front they will only get support from 1% of true-believers and 1% naive youth.

It is only MMP (championed by Rod Donald) that has allowed these fringe dwellers to sneak into power without having ever won an electorate seat. They have no one person that an entire electorate trusts enough with power, what more do we need to know?


I am always amazing people aren't assumed to be socialist. Socialisim has killed 100,000,000 people and yet it is OK and Nazisim (with a much smaller death toll) is not?
And socialisim's track record of seccessful central planning should be enough to put anyone with half a brain off.


Labour also is another party hiding what it is, since when has it been about workers? It is as much democratic socialism as they can get away with by being populist enough to suck in alot of the voters.
I don't understand why any blue collar workers would vote for a party filled with teachers and academics.


There is possibly some truth in what has been said about the Greens. But today the old ideological battle cries and red baiting sound dopey and unkind The political landscape has changed.

With the economic failure of communism, we are gradually evolving to away from the centrally planned economy to one where people take individual responsibility and are self governing at a local level. The democratic and egalitarian society exists as the norm in NZ.

Most of us accept some state ownership or control as necessary to counterbalance the economic and social dangers of the concentration of economic power in the hands of a few capitalists. Just look at the effective nationalization of some banks in the USA. Laws promoting competition achieve similar results.

The Greens are well ahead of everyone else. I think they focus on the stuff that matters on a national level like food safety and the environment. They don’t seem to worry too much about ideology.

But along with their devotion to helping the disadvantaged, I think the Greens should pushing the self help and self discipline message. As we all know, welfare has corrosive effects on the individual and society It eventually breeds hopelessness and crime.

So forget ideology and name calling. Start focussing on values.


I voted Greens ,and was going to vote NZ First

Probably shouldn't say this


Rob, Great article- thought we weren't allowed to talk like this in NZ anymore- feels like some new fresh air is blowing through NZ- maybe it can blow the greens and labour to antartica to get frzen over with our $5m investment in Scott Base that most of us will never see and enjoy!!!


Yeah Right!Check out the tree huggers paradise and we know best about nature,because of their dumdum ideology hundreds have been made homeless and lost their lives in the great bushfires still raging in VICTORIA AUSTRALIA,AND IF WE ARE NOT CAREFUL HERE IN NZ,OUR FATE COULD BE THE SAME,IF THE SO CALLED 'GREEN' 'PARTY ARE ALLOWED TO PROSPER.


Just as the Labour Party and Greens love to run around like Chicken Little (as they did in the lead up to the 2008 election) denouncing the hidden extremism of John Key and its secret agenda (which never existed), the right in New Zealand do themselves no credit in basically doing the same in terms of the increasingly mild Greens.

A sober reading of the political history of the Green Party will actually suggest that they're doing their best to de-radicalise. Their future is as a centre party that focuses more strongly on environmentalism. Even an ex-radical like Norman can see that and hence has probably pushed the party more than anyone else towards the centre and towards adopting market-based mechanisms for dealing with environmental problems.

There are indeed ideological disputes within the Green Party (and in particular between left and right) and these should be soberly analysed rather than resting on the old watermelon myth. And I say this as someone from the left who kinda wishes the watermelon cliche was true!



As usual, the right are trying to stop a genuine threat to their ideology by simple name calling and labelling their opponents as extreme.

We've heard this for years, and probably will hear it for many more. It is getting a bit thin though, and only the ideological faithful are answering the dog-whistle, as you can see from the quality of the comments here.

I disagree with Bryce that only recently have any market-based solutions been introduced to help solve the environmental crisis. We have consistently promoted them for years, but they have been drowned out by the extremist label.


As the full effects of the financial crisis caused by unregulated markets and gross speculation come to bear, I think this kind of analysis of the political landscape will seem completely irrelevant. We need a Green New Deal no matter where we come from on the political spectrum...and the Greens seem to be the only ones in New Zealand talking about it.


The current recession was not caused by 'unregulated markets'. It was a result of property and stock speculation caused by interference from central bankers, inflating credit and money supply, thus encouraging the speculation and malinvestment which would not have occurred in a free market.


interesting to see one of the co-leaders getting of the sinking tramp steamer ,hmmm


I hope the Greens learn a few lessons from the deaths or injuries of the hundreds of Australian as a result of the fire caused by the overgrown vegetation recently, otherwise the worst is yet to come in future!


J.F. arguing that the Greens aren’t really left wing because they “reject the model of the big all powerful state that makes all decisions for people , in favour of a community model that empowers”, shatters the protective Green outer shell exposing the red interior with this statement of deception worthy of a posthumously awarded quality assurance tick from the radical Chicago extreme left intellectual and activist Saul Alinsky.

In the mould of Antoio Gramsci it was Alinsky, a transformational Marxist, who through the concept of people’s organisation’s sought the way of a Marxist revolution and achieved by slow, incremental, Marchiavellian methods to turn society inside out by systematic deception and winning the trust of the naively idealistic middle class by using the language of morality to conceal an agenda designed to it tear down or in the case of Metiria Turei willfully destroy the cage.


Good to see bashing the greens is still alive, I mean look where rampant capitalism has got us, it must be the Greens fault( if only I could figure out how..), i mean they are responsible for the Victorian fires, they built the houses there (okay some else did), they lit the fires then, (okay some else did), hmmmm they must be some stuff we can pin on them....


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