24 November 2011

Why do the Greens get such an easy ride? Part Two - 50 questions that should have been asked of the Greens

As I wrote previously, it appears the Greens are having a media honeymoon.  However, is this justified?  Do the Greens not have policies that could be seen as controversial?  Do their MPs not make statements that deserve further scrutiny?

Well I have composed a long list of questions I think journalists should ask, and more importantly questions YOU should ask your local Green candidate, especially if you are thinking about voting Green.   You may wonder if the Greens are quite so cuddly and inoffensive as the media makes them out to be.

So here it is - 50 questions to ask the Green Party (and one light-hearted one at the end)
My only other question is, why hasn't anyone else been asking them?...

Does your Treaty of Waitangi policy that “All claimants to have the opportunity to have their land and resources returned to them” include claims of private land?  If not, why is that not clear?

Do the Greens still believe Sue Kedgley’s claim that it is wrong to “shift responsibility for health and improving diets from the state to society and to convince people that public health is all about personal responsibility"?  If so, how do see the state leading responsibility for people changing their diets, how would the state adequately replace personal responsibility?

What are “all reasonable steps to prevent immigration numbers and the sale of land to rich immigrants from having an adverse impact on Aotearoa/NZ and its Taonga.”?  How can they have an adverse impact?  What is a rich immigrant?  What will an immigrant do to land than a locally born New Zealander wouldn't? 

How does the Green Party plan to implement its policy to ”Minimise exposure to electromagnetic radiation especially for children and pregnant women”?  How many TV and radio stations would you shut down?  Will you want to close wifi networks at schools and home?  Will you demand children and pregnant women not use laptops, TVs or any other electrical appliance?  Will you demand all homes with children and pregnant women to be outside mobile phone coverage?  Does the party understand how pervasive EMR is and has been for decades?  Does it understand that visible light is electromagnetic radication, and if not, how can anyone trust the Greens on science in other fields?

Do the Greens still believe it is ok to frighten people about non-ionising radiation from mobile phone towers, despite the complete absence of evidence about negative health effects? Is it appropriate for the leader of a major political party to engage in name calling when someone calls him out on not scaremongering Radio NZ transmitter sites, which emit more of the same type of radiation and have done so for decades?

Do the Greens still believe there is a media conspiracy against them on this issue because telcos advertise in the media? What evidence do they have of this?  Could it just be that your science is extremely flimsy and the media refuses to engage with such ignorance?

Do the Greens trust potatoes still, or do they stand by Jeanette Fitzsimon’s press release of 1999 that it was then "the last Xmas when you could trust potatoes"?  Wasn’t all of the fuss over genetic engineering in 2002 just scaremongering?  How many people have been killed, hurt or harmed by genetic engineering anywhere in the world? 

What do the Greens mean about  “Recognise ancestral land ownership in rural areas” for Maori?  Why shouldn’t private land owners in rural areas be worried?  What will you stop them doing?  What isn't recognised now?

What did Catherine Delahunty mean when she said that the Pakeha nation is "racist"?  Does she stand by her use of the term “genocidal spindoctors” to describe National Party speechwriters in 2005?  Does she stand by her hope that Maori will be the largest cultural grouping in New Zealand by the late 21st century?  Is this also Green policy?  Why is it that other parties don't care about the ethnic composition of the country?

When Catherine Delahunty saidWe have plenty of beaten women; gutted communities and whanau living in state housing that have never had proper electricity or water supplies. But lots of Pakeha are drinking wine and surfing, and they say so loudly without saying a word, would you please shut up about the connection between racism and poverty” is she blaming Pakeha for Maori women being beaten up?  Why are Pakeha who drink wine and surf to blame for beaten women?

Do the Greens agree with Catherine Delahunty when she describes Pakeha as having "colonial privilege" even if they were born in New Zealand?  At what point can Pakeha be described by Catherine Delahunty as being equal to Maori as New Zealand citizens with equal rights, if ever?  Do you think Pakeha voters of the Greens know that you believe that?

Do the Greens agree with Kennedy Graham when he saidThe political rights we enjoy today are to be calibrated by the responsibility we carry for tomorrow.”?  What political rights does he think should be “calibrated” and what does he mean by that?  When he said “Individual freedoms are no longer unlicensed, but henceforth subordinate to the twin principles of survival and sustainable living”, what freedoms do the Greens want to “licence”?  What individual freedoms must be subordinate?

Don’t the Greens think Kennedy Graham flying to London to discuss climate change at taxpayers’ expense is remarkably hypocritical?  How many more long haul flights will Green MPs seek to undertake to support fighting climate change and why?

Does the Green Party still share the view of Sue Kedgley that “We need to challenge the doctrine of free trade and accept that people's right to food, to be free from hunger, must have priority over an ideological fixation on allowing market forces to prevail at all costs” so abandoning New Zealand’s long standing bi-partisan trade policy goal of opening up markets to its agricultural products?  Does it share her view supporting the official French policy to effectively continue the EU’s highly subsidised highly protectionist Common Agricultural Policy?  Does it believe that free trade actually really means highly subsidising exports?  If so, why? What future do the Greens see in New Zealand's farming sector if farmers face a world that is protectionist, subsidised and engaging in "food sovereignty" policies?  

Why is it good value for taxpayers to have spent $1.3 billion on a railway that private companies would only have paid a quarter of that for?  Why do you think the private sector hasn't bothered investing in it, despite you being convinced of "peak oil" and that the end of mass use of the private car and road transport is nigh?

Do the Greens still think that it was appropriate to blame the Brisbane floods on climate change linked to the coal exported from Queensland, as if Queensland was getting its just desserts?

How do the Greens think that making membership of student unions voluntary “takes away choices?  Isn’t it the exact opposite?  Would you think differently of student unions if they had been  hot beds of free market capitalist and pro-entrepreneurial activism?  Doesn't this make you claims about believing in human rights superficial?

The Greens want to force electricity companies to generate a proportion of their power from expensive renewable sources.  In the UK a similar policy is estimated to be putting up prices by an average of 50% in real terms by 2020, with a fully privatised sector. How much will this policy of renewables put up power prices to New Zealanders? 

When Metiria Turei says “We need to get smokes out of our homes and out of our shopswhat will you do to achieve this? Do you really want to stop the sale of tobacco products altogether? Why don’t you have the same attitude towards marijuana?  Why don’t you think tobacco smokers should be left alone? 

Do the Greens still believe Don Brash wants to smash Maori culture and force women to be subservient?  Do you have any evidence for such exagerrated claims?

How will the Greens “Support equitable access for Māori to secure employment and decent wages”? How do Maori not have equitable access?  Who is stopping them? 

Do you think Maori can be racist? Why do you think people of Maori descent should be given different political structures from those of other citizens? Why do you think this should be constitutionally entrenched?  Why should the accident of your birth determine how the state interacts with or consults with you?

What examples do the Greens have of “unnecessary production and consumption”, and how do they propose to curb them?  Will this mean banning the production and sale of certain goods?  If so, what ones?

What products will be banned when the Greens implement their policy to  “Require domestic and imported products to be durable and recyclable”? Does this mean every producer of goods that are neither will be regulated out of business?  Does this mean no New Zealander could import a product that is neither durable nor recyclable?  Doesn't this ban anything perishable?

What exactly is "hugely harmful" to the public in private companies being contracted by local government to manage water services?  Where in the world has this proven to be the case?

Does the Green party still believe all of the Cuban government’s claims that its health care system is fantastic?  Is it in the habit of believing the official reports of one party states that imprison political dissidents as mental patients?  Why is Cuba exempt from the sort of scrutiny on human rights that the Greens apply to China or Burma?

Why do the Greens think parental choice of schools is a myth?  Why do they think the state always knows what’s best in education?

When you want to “Ensure all new houses and buildings fully comply with disability access requirements unless specifically exempted.  Will this mean anyone building a house on a hill about a road having to build a ramp or lift unless they get a special exemption from a bureaucracy?  Wont this make it prohibitively expensive to build homes anywhere that isn't on flat land adjacent to a road?  Wont this just increase the price of homes and reduce the supply?

When the Greens want to regulate broadcasting and the press with an authority that will “have the power to impose appropriate sanctions against media outlets in cases where it can be clearly demonstrated that it has exhibited wilful or negligent abuse of power and by doing so has either visited material harm on another party or pursued its own self-interest at the expense of the public interest.”, what examples of the media pursuing its own self interest do they have in mind? Doesn’t this mean introducing newspaper censorship in New Zealand for the first time in decades?

Why do the Greens fear foreign investment?  Do you share this fear of New Zealanders owning land and businesses in other countries, if not why not?  Why do you want to welcome refugees and migrants from all and sundry, but if anyone from another country wants to own a business, you treat them like the devil?

More specifically, what was the security threat posed by a Canadian company buying a New Zealand airport?  Should the British government be fearful that New Zealand company Infratil owns Prestwick Airport near Glasgow for the same reasons?

The Greens repeatedly criticise the trade choices made by New Zealanders in such banal terms as “swapping water with China”.  What exports do the Greens want stopped? What imports do they want stopped? Why do they think they know best what people should sell and buy?

Does the party’s support for taxpayer funding of the voluntary sector not make it the state sector?  Why should taxpayers be forced to support political advocacy groups?

What are the implications of “Requiring the inclusion of environmental science and ethics in all study programs.” involving science education?  Why is this relevant to physics for example?

What does “Support legislation that increases the reliability of the Internet” mean?  How do the Greens propose improving the reliability of a disaggregated global network by a law passed in New Zealand?  Can you pass laws to fix most problems?

How many other traffic laws do the Greens endorse breaking besides walking on a motorway?

Does Russel Norman stick to his belief that the London riots were caused by poverty, not opportunistic criminals seeking designer goods and electronics?

Do the Greens support the view of their blogger “Toad” that democracy doesn’t have to be secular, or liberal, and that it’s “ok” if democracies start a war if the people support it?  In which case, would the Greens support a Christian theocratic state that sent troops to Iran if it was democratically elected?

If the Greens think there should be fruit in schools, why don’t they set up a charity to raise money for it?  In fact, why don’t they ever advocate people raise money themselves voluntarily rather than make taxpayers pay?

When you expect that “significant time for environmental education” will be included in the teacher training curriculum, what should be excluded from the curriculum to allow for this?

Why do you think small business owners should be criminalised because they want to open on a religiously based public holiday?  How do owner-operator shops with no employees exploit people by merely opening their shops for people to choose to enter?

Why do you dismiss electric cars so flippantly, but treat electric trains as being the saviour to all of Auckland’s transport problems?  What proportion of trips in Auckland do you expect will be by train by 2014?

Do the Greens still support a Hamilton-Auckland train service, even though it would be slower than a bus, lose money and the local authorities wont pay for it? 

What’s Green about banning foreign ships that happen to be going from port to port within New Zealand as part of an international voyage, from selling empty space to carry cargo around New Zealand –when the ships would still be sailing regardless?  Isn't that policy just about pleasing militant  maritime unions?

The Greens paint a picture of the environment getting worse,and Russel Norman selectively quotes the Environment 2007 report from the Ministry for the Environment to support stopping road building, even though the report does not say that and provides plenty of facts that are inconvenient such as “Home heating is the main cause of air pollution in populated areas in the winter”  yet the Greens beat up on cars and trucks. The report also said  “Levels of PM10 particulates at roadside locations in Auckland appear to have fallen over the past 10 years”.  Why does a party that purports to be about the environment ignore good news about it?

Do any of you laugh at Catherine Delahunty’s tweets too? Like “Despite the pretty words and new clothes am hoping new puppy at white house will stop killing afghanis and funding Israel wars on Palestine"?

So ask yourself if the Greens DO get around 10% of the vote on Saturday, how much they might have got if a few of those questions had been asked over the campaign, or the past few years, and why the mainstream media seems to have its tongue up the Green Party's proverbial.  Moreover, ask yourself why the National Party hasn't been doing that - is it because it has seen this party as a partner?  If you're planning to vote National, how will you feel if that is exactly what happens?

P.S.  Go here, register instantly and tick an up for this post if you like what you see, it seems the obvious people have been doing the opposite (and I have inspired over 100 comments there).

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