Green Party conference:
Deal with the Maori Party; a challenge for Fonterra; emissions trading; a lone protestor - day one at the Greens' conference
31 May 2008
The Green Party is holding its annual conference this weekend, on the Auckland University campus.
One of the party's co-leaders says deals could be struck between the Greens and the Maori Party when it comes to gathering support this election. Jeanette Fitzsimons says last election an accommodation was worked out where the Maori Party encouraged their supporters to give their party votes to the Greens. She says voters in the Maori seats will be able to work it out for themselves, but when you look at the numbers a party vote for the Maori Party won't increase its representation.
Ms Fitzsimons also urged Green Party supporters not to repeat the mistakes of 2005, telling them they should maximise the party vote. She says in 2005 voters who were scared of National under Don Brash thought they had to choose between their heart and their head in keeping him out. She says the result was National still almost made it in and voters were left with an arrangement that saw New Zealand First and United Future with cabinet posts. Ms Fitzsimons says that must not happen again.
The party also expressed the hope it would get what it is after from the Government's proposed emissions trading scheme. Support for the legislation is delicately poised, with the Greens demanding movement on agriculture and a reversal on the delayed introduction of transport if they are to support it. Ms Fitzsimons says negotiations with Labour are going well, and she appears confident the Greens will get concessions. She says when you hold the votes that will determine if the ETS passes or fails the chances of getting major change are quite realistic.
It was not been all organic wine and roses for the Green Party though. Delegates were greeted by a lone protester condemning the Party for supporting the Government's apology to Vietnam Veterans. He handed out pamphlets headed "why apologise to war criminals?"
Nelson based former MP Mike Ward proved to be a no-show for the event. He hit the headlines earlier this month when he refused to step aside from the Party's list, so co-leader Russel Norman could replace MP Nandor Tanczos in Parliament.
The Green Party conference continues tomorrow.