The UK Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, had another meltdown during the election campaign. The Independent takes up the story.
Are the Greens mad? That is a fair question after a week in which the party leader had a very public meltdown live on national radio and was immediately slapped down by a colleague at her own shambolic press conference.
And in Brighton – the only place in the country where they have actual power – the council has failed to set a budget because of Greens voting against their own party.
Or are the Greens – with apologies to Kermit the Frog – a bunch of muppets, who have no idea how to get things done, let alone how to pay for them?
Natalie Bennett coughed and spluttered and left long embarrassing pauses and forgot how much it would cost to build half a million new affordable homes, and how the party would pay for it. “Don’t you think you should have genned up on this a bit more?” asked the politely insistent host Nick Ferrari of LBC Radio. She coughed and spluttered some more.
That’s not what the people of her own city have seen locally this week. The Greens have 21 seats on Brighton & Hove City Council, which means they run a minority administration dependent on striking agreements with other parties – except that they can’t even agree among themselves.
The Green Party budget calls for a 5.9 per cent rise in council tax. Getting the other parties to support it would have been hard enough, but six Greens voted against their own party’s budget on Thursday night, because it involves a compromise figure of £18m in cuts to services – and they are absolutely adamant that they want no cuts at all.
Here in New Zealand politicians had been able to cry crocodile tears over their massive pay hike awarded them by the Remunerations Authority saying, if it was up to them, they’d refuse the money or give it to charity. So the Taxpayers Union, the only organisation to represent taxpayers, asked each MP the following:
we seek your clarification by 5pm tonight whether you will be: this week
a) accepting the increase in pay and back-pay;
b) refusing the amount (or refunding it to The Treasury); or
c) giving the amount to a charity.
If you intend on giving the money to charity, please specify which charity.
We received an odd response on behalf of all Green MPs.
Rather than answer our questions, the Greens provided a few points as to what their policy would be for the Remuneration Authority and future payments to MPs.
That’s all good and well. While their proposed solutions differ to ours, it would undoubtedly see a reduction in the rate at which pay rises occur. But what good is proposing a solution unless you practice what you preach?
When we pressed them further, the Greens refused to say what their MPs would be doing with their pay increases. We can only assume that despite their policies, they will be pocketing it.
Meanwhile, the Wellington Greens have proposed zero fare Saturdays on public transport and Green Yoof lobby group Generation Zero don't want Auckland Council to spend any money on roads.
Locally on Waiheke this week the Green Party inspired Waiheke Local Board has been given the thumbs down by the schools who say they don’t want responsibility for a swimming pool on their land. It was always a mad scheme and one that would have bankrupted Waiheke ratepayers.
Another madcap scheme is the Board’s submission to Auckland’s Long Term Plan to ‘progress development of pensioner and community housing’ on Waiheke. This is not core business for Councils and flouts the Board's responsibilities under the Local Government Act to stick to core business and be cost efficient and effective.
The Board has identified the Telecom site in Ostend for this proposal. Why is this nuts?
- This is one of the few commercially zoned areas on Waiheke.
- The site is unavailable - Council earns good rent from its commercial tenants Downer and Telecom
- Even if there were pensioner housing it is illegal to discriminate in favour of local residents. It is just as likely pensioners from Auckland would be given the houses.
So to answer the question it’s a resounding YES, they’re as mad as cut snakes.