The Green Party has been nothing but impressive over the last fortnight. So impressive, in fact, it's tempting to predict a future where the Greens become the major party of the left.

Take this week's release of the party list for a start.

Virtually every Kiwi will find a version of their own face in that list.

There's a very young woman, a refugee, a dairy farmer, a guy with grey hair, a young man in a suit, a relic from the hippy days, someone too clever to bother being friendly and someone who seems dim but happy.


Diversity like this isn't just about ticking boxes for academic reasons. It's politically astute. If you identify with someone on that list, you're more likely to vote for the Greens.

It says everything about the list that, after its release, it took me hours to register just how many women are in the top 20. There are 12.

This is extraordinary. A sitting party releasing a majority-women list without a moment of controversy must be unprecedented in our politics. The Greens made it look as normal as brushing your teeth.

They made it look as if there really are enough capable women available for selection, as if there are times when the woman is a better choice than the man, as if we're living in 2017.

Contrast that to Labour.

That party has consistently managed to make an inferior version of this outcome far more painful.

Remember the "man ban" of 2013?

Since then, the party has changed leader once, deputy leader three times and lost an election, yet gender balance is still an issue.


In just the past month, former East Coast Bays candidate Rohan Lord packed a hissy fit on behalf of all "white middle class" men and pulled his candidacy, and list candidate Willie Jackson also packed a hissy fit but stayed where he belongs, ranked below more capable Maori women.

Now, look at both parties' responses to the Budget.

National snookered everyone with its Robin Hood cash-for-the-poor package. So the Greens made the only move available and voted for that part of the Budget that would put money in the pockets of people who need it.

Not Labour. Oh no. Labour had the audacity to vote against a measure that will benefit its core supporters.

Sure, it sucks to have to admit your nemesis is being nice to your friends, but Labour put politics ahead of people and you know what that looks like to voters? It looks like Labour doesn't have principles.

If Labour was a pet, I'd be about ready to take it to the vet and put it out of its misery. But it's far too early to predict the party's demise. Smarter people called the end for National when it hit the nadir of 21 per cent in 2002 and look where it is now.


The difference, though, is that National didn't have a running mate that appeals to younger people.

Sure, young people don't vote. They won't vote this election. They like the Greens but they won't be bothered remembering which hangover is the Election Hangover.

But one day they'll own a house, have a child and start caring about the future of both those things.

And that day, they will start voting. They will have grown up with their mums working as hard in a paid job as their dads. They will have grown up with an antipathy towards transparent political point-scoring.

And they will have grown up without the baby boomer distrust of the hippie lefties.

The only Green Party these young people know is the one mainstream enough to wear suits and heels. And if I was Labour, I'd be scared about that day arriving.