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Kevin List: What's Dunne Got Against The Greens?

What's Dunne Got Against The Greens?

Images, Audio & Story By Kevin List

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Last evening United Future leader Peter Dunne took a leaf out of his good friend National leader Don Brash's campaigning book and explained on TVNZ's Close Up at Seven that the Green Party's worldview was not that of the 'mainstream'.

What exactly Mr Dunne considers mainstream remains a mystery. In the past Mr Dunne has worked with New Zealand's ethnic communities who supported his bid for Parliament in 1999. Mr Dunne has also keenly lobbied on behalf of that dwindling group of New Zealanders who enjoy tobacco.

Last year Mr Dunne was also an active lobbyist on behalf of the small religious sect the Exclusive Brethren that spent a huge amount of money attacking Mr Dunne's parliamentary rivals - the Greens.

Timothy Lough one of the seven Exclusive Brethren behind the Anti-Labour and Anti-Green Party campaign was able to persuade Mr Dunne to lobby other parliamentary parties on the Exclusive Brethren's behalf in regard to employment legislation late in 2004.

Mr Lough explained to Scoop two weeks ago that he considered Mr Dunne was a good electorate MP and a "nice chap".

Mr Dunne for his part informed Scoop that he considered the Exclusive Brethren's desire to avoid being in unions made perfect sense.

"There is a very strong Exclusive Brethren community in my electorate – they came to see me and lobbied me on [conscientious objection from unions]. I thought that made perfect sense. I've supported amendments in that regard over the years. That was the last time I spoke to them," said Mr Dunne shortly before the General Election.

Nevertheless, now that the Exclusive Brethren's hugely expensive campaign against the Greens looks to have failed to dislodge them from Parliament, Mr Dunne appears to have taken it upon himself to deny the Green MPs and their supporters a toehold under the cabinet table.

However Mr Dunne's ability to lobby against the Greens has been severely dented by an election result which has left his party with only three MPs.

In an interview conducted in early September with Scoop, Mr Dunne explained that he disliked the Greens because of their "sanctimonious " approach to the world. Mr Dunne considered the Greens were intolerant of views that didn't fit in with their own particular worldview. Mr Dunne seemed to take particular exception to the Greens environment and trade policies.

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"Their attitudes are purist idealistic and unworkable. Having parties with those philosophies near Government will scare investors – [it] will make New Zealand a laughing stock and will take New Zealand backwards," explained Mr Dunne.

Mr Dunne was particularly concerned about Jeanette Fitzsimons having anything to do with the energy portfolio and Mr Donald working in any policy area that included overseas trade.

Mr Dunne had earlier in the interview explained that the Greens did have similar views to United Future on a number of issues. In media interviews following the election Mr Dunne has seemed incapable of articulating just why it would be so bad for Green MPs to be in coalition with the Government should they be in positions that didn't conflict with his own Party's policies.

Mr Dunne's pathological dislike of the Greens is however shared by others within his dwindling caucus – such as finance spokesperson Gordon Copeland. At a Business New Zealand conference in August, Mr Copeland explained that he knew 'good' people who would be fleeing New Zealand should there be a Labour-Green Government post election.


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