Audrey Young 's Opinion

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young: Greens swallow a dose of reality

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Greens co-leader was already establishing his credentials as a highly credible economic spokesman before coming up with the money-printing policy. File photo / Mark Mitchell
Greens co-leader was already establishing his credentials as a highly credible economic spokesman before coming up with the money-printing policy. File photo / Mark Mitchell

The Green Party's ditching of its money-printing policy is a welcome dose of pragmatism from the so-called party of principle.

From the moment it was announced last October until today's back-down, the party has been beaten about the head for it by political opponents.

Quite why the Greens didn't see that coming is a mystery.

No one ever marched in the streets demanding quantitative easing.

It was a vanity policy, allowing Greens co-leader Russel Norman to show he could foot it in the big international debates of the day.

That was unnecessary. Dr Norman was already establishing his credentials as a highly credible economic spokesman.

It was political blindness not to see it would be used as weapon against them from day one.

Perhaps what wasn't so predictable was that it would be used effectively against Labour as well, the Greens potential coalition partner in Government.

But Norman and his economic advisers were too caught up in the policy to see the politics of it.

It reminds me of Don Brash calling for the decriminalising of marijuana at Act's law and order policy announcement, then naïvely wondering why all the focus went on it.

Norman suggested there had been no blow back from his own party members over his money-printing plan - though that is hard to judge given that the news media was banned from large portions of their conference at Queen's Birthday weekend.

Norman this morning said that during the Labour-Greens- New Zealand First inquiry into manufacturing, it became clear he did not have the support for the policy to be implemented.

With respect, that was also obvious from day one when David Parker pointed out it would not support telling the independent Reserve Bank Governor what to do - and it was already a tool he could use now it were deemed necessary.

It says it has ditched the policy because it has listened. More likely it doesn't want to listen to the mockery of the Prime Minister for the next 18 months about money printing.

Yes, it is a policy being pursued to stimulate some of the biggest economies in the world - US, UK and Japan.

That does not follow it could simply be replicated easily by small countries with similar results.

Smaller countries are more vulnerable. Smaller parties too, Dr Norman has been reminded.

- NZ Herald

Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor, a job she has held since 2003. She is responsible for the Herald’s Press Gallery team. She first joined the New Zealand Herald in 1988 as a sub-editor after the closure of its tabloid rival, the Auckland Sun. She switched to reporting in 1991 as social welfare and housing reporter. She joined the Herald’s Press Gallery office in 1994. She has previously worked as a journalism tutor at Manukau Technical Institute, as member of the Newspapers in Education unit at Wellington Newspapers and as a teacher in Wellington. She was a union nominee on the Press Council for six years.

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