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Greenmailing The Government

23 May 2002

It is irresponsible for the Green Party to threaten to bring down a Government if it can’t get its way, Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton says.

“Getting things done is not about rogue stunt politics. It is about hard negotiation inside Government to achieve the best possible policy outcome for New Zealand and its people.

“If you can’t get every aspect of the policy you want, then you vote for your policy in parliament. But you don’t throw tantrums, and threaten to bring down the government over one single issue.

“There is nothing wrong with the Greens voting for their GE policy. But they are going further and trying to force everyone else to agree with a minority view. A vote to extend the GE moratorium has the support of 17 MPs at the moment – 10 Alliance MPs and 7 Greens. The Greens want the votes of those 17 to overwhelm the 103 votes in favour of lifting the moratorium.

“In my view there should be no commercial release of GE until the technology is proven to be safe. The coalition agreement allows me to vote for that view in parliament and to advocate for it publicly. The coalition agreement also allows Labour to vote for and advocate its view.

“If Labour changed its policy in response to threats, then the Greens would simply up the ante on the next issue. Parties should get their policy by making convincing arguments and winning public support, not by greenmail.

“The most the Greens can achieve by walking out would be to elect a National-Act Government which, judging by its statements, wants to make the consumption of gene-muddled foods compulsory.

“Some people I used to work with wanted Alliance Ministers in Government to do something similar to what the Greens have just done. I refused to do that because the stability and security of the government is crucial to both the social and economic development New Zealanders need and expect.

“There is a much more constructive solution than the foot-stamping and greenmail in which the Greens are indulging. It is the constructive approach that the Clark-Anderton Government has taken,” Jim Anderton said.

Ends

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