Not ‘Left’ nor ‘Right’ but Green

for a long time I’ve been wanting to write about how the Greens don’t fit into the left-right spectrum that is so often used to try and place political parties relative to each other.

In my mind the Greens’ political project doesn’t fit at all into that world view, based as it is in industrial values, which hold that the purpose of human endeavour is to extract and manufacture goods and services for human benefit, with the left and right only disagreeing on how the capital should be distributed. The Greens don’t fit into this.

So I was especially encouraged to see an article by Chris Trotter in ‘The Press’ which places the mission of The Greens against the new spectrum of ecologism vs neo-liberal ideology.

He says:

“If all the other political parties grasped the sheer size of the paradigm shift needed to deal with global warming, resource depletion and the unrelenting despoliation of the natural environment, then a political movement dedicated to the practical application of ecological wisdom would be unnecessary.”


“Indeed, all of our political parties – with the exception of the Greens – are dedicated in one way or another to strengthening and/ or repairing the core market mechanisms that make individualism a practical social proposition.”

The politics of the 21st century will not be left vs right, Capital vs Labour, it will be and is becoming, a contest between a vision of the future where we “turn the mechanisms of the market to new, environmentally sustainable and socially integrative purposes.” accepting limits on growth and even prosperity without growth, or a continuation of the status quo, which is leading us socially and environmentally off a cliff.

Not Left vs Right, but Ecologism vs Neoliberalism in it’s many guises. In Aotearoa New Zealand The Greens stand alone from almost all the other parliamentary parties in this, and have it as their core mission. That is why The Green movement continues to grow in support and why the co-leaders of the Green Party of Aotearoa are seen as trusted and competent.

*Michael Tavares is a member and the convenor of the Waiheke Branch of the Green Party of Aotearoa and the Waiheke Campaign manager for Denise Roche MP’s 2014 Auckland Central election campaign. He is also an unashamedly passionate tree hugging Greenie.

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