You are here

From Earth's last islands: The development of the first two Green parties in Tasmania and New Zealand

By Christine Dann, Green Party of Aeteorea/New Zealand.

Chapter five, from her Ph.D. thesis, ''From Earth's last islands. The global origins of Green politics'' (Lincoln University, NZ, 1999)


Completely independently of one another, and without knowing of each other's
existence until they had been going for some two years, the United Tasmania Group
and the Values Party were founded within two months of each other in 1972. Their
origins were quite different, yet they developed in remarkably convergent ways, and
in retrospect they are clearly Green parties in the contemporary meaning of the term.
In the origins and development of these two parties we can see the key themes of the
new Green politics developing. These include:

(1) the reaction against labour parties and politics for being (initially) pro-growth
and (latterly) pro-globalist;
(2) a continuation of the ‘new politics' of the new social movements (including
both policies and styles of activism);
(3) the critique of industrialism and consumerism;
(4) developing global awareness and connections, and participation in global

In this chapter I present the first comparative history of the origins and initial
development of the United Tasmania Group and the Values Party. I ground their
stories within the specific histories of the two nation-states concerned, but in asking
why Green parties first appeared in Australia and New Zealand I reject explanations
based on any alleged environmentalist superiority of these places (Hay and Haward,
1988), or on any comparable environmental campaigns (Rainbow, 1992). Especially
as Rainbow's account is historically inaccurate. A more thorough historical
investigation of the origins of the two parties, given here, provides an accurate
genealogy. However, I do not restrict myself to setting the local historical record
straight, but also endeavour to show how the specific recent histories of both
Australia and New Zealand, and the first Green parties in both countries, are
illustrative of the global themes given above.

The scene and the spark

Drowning Tasmania

The state of Tasmania enjoys a more mountainous topography and a more consistent
rainfall than the rest of Australia. It is ideal for wilderness tourism and for
horticulture - and for generating hydro-electric power. As early as 1914 the Hydro-
Electric Department ‘adopted a policy of encouraging large power-consuming
industries to Tasmania' (Thompson, 1981, 15). In 1930, by Act of Parliament, the
Hydro-Electric Department became the Hydro-Electric Commission (HEC).
The minister administering the HEC Act was made responsible to parliament for the
activities of the HEC, but the HEC was not directed by nor answerable to the
minister, as is usual with government departments (Thompson, 1981, 16). Tasmania
embarked on a programme of hydro-electric industrialisation, spending the bulk of
its loan funds (70% in 1954, 54% in 1969-70) on hydro schemes. (This compared
with an average of 18% for the other Australian states.) This excessive spending on
hydro power distorted the development of the state, with the construction and
modernisation of railways, ports, town water supplies and so on falling behind the
rest of Australia. This in turn put Tasmania at the top of the queue for handouts from
the Commonwealth of Australia government. Nearly 70% of new jobs in Tasmania
between 1971 and 1976 were created by government instrumentalities, and the
Commonwealth government returned to Tasmania double the per capita financial
assistance received by Victoria and New South Wales (Thompson, 1981, 23).

Why was Tasmania able to persist on this path for so long? There was a rock solid
consensus at the top of the political system, with the two key players being Eric
Reece, Labor premier of Tasmania for fourteen almost consecutive years (1958-
1969, 1972-1975), and Sir Allan Knight, the HEC Commissioner 1946-1977.
Between them the two men had the will and the means to drown Tasmania
(Thompson, 1981, 31), and the means of publicly promoting their schemes as
necessary and desirable.

For some thirty-seven years the HEC planning and construction of hydro schemes
continued unopposed. Then in 1967 the South West Committee (a watchdog
organisation formed by bushwalkers and others concerned about the preservation of
wilderness in South West Tasmania) became aware that the HEC's proposed Middle
Gordon power development would involve the drowning of an extraordinarily
beautiful lake, Lake Pedder. The lake was situated in a national park named after it.
Public reaction was swift, with a petition against the move collecting 10,000
signatures, the largest number of any petition to that date in Tasmanian history
(Kiernan, 1990, 21). Government reaction was equally swift and forthright. On June
14, 1967 the Legislative Council (Tasmania's upper house of parliament) accepted
the suggestion by the South West Committee that it set up a select committee of
enquiry. However the Legislative Assembly (the lower house of parliament) passed
authorising legislation for the scheme on June 29, and the Legislative Council waited
a mere two days after receiving the committee of enquiry's report before passing the
same legislation itself on August 24 (Thompson, 1981, 19).

A Save Lake Pedder National Park Committee was set up by conservationist
organisations and individuals. It lobbied quietly and unsuccessfully. In March 1971
Louis Shoobridge, a Member of the Legislative Council, spoke at a meeting
organised by Brenda Hean (later a UTG candidate), which packed the Hobart Town
Hall. The meeting called for a referendum on the Lake Pedder issue. However when
Shoobridge put the motion for a referendum to the Legislative Council a few nights
later, it was overwhelmingly rejected (Kiernan, 1990, 23-24).

Public opinion, though, was running against the flooding of the lake and in favour of
an alternative, less damaging scheme. This was made clear by opinion polls, letters
to the Prime Minister of Australia, and by the ‘Pedder Pilgrimage' of March 1971, a
walk in to the lake organised by the Hobart Bushwalking Club in which over 1000
people participated (Walker, 1986, 5-6). In April 1971 Brenda Hean joined Dr
Richard Jones and other independent conservationists in setting up the Lake Pedder
Action Committee (LPAC), which took a more activist stance. For nine months they
campaigned hard, collecting signatures on a petition, lobbying, and organising a
major symposium on ‘The HEC, the environment and the government in Tasmania',
which was held in November 1971. Over a quarter of a million signatures were
collected on the petition. However, when it was presented to the Tasmanian
parliament the Attorney General refused to accept it, giving as the reason that it was
‘ conflict with government policy...' (Walker, 1986, 20). At this point all normal
avenues to bring about change seemed to have been exhausted.

Then in March 1972, for reasons unrelated to the Lake Pedder issue, a Member of
the Legislative Assembly who was the sole representative of his party resigned.
His party held the balance of power, and his resignation precipitated a general
election that was held on 21 April 1972. The LPAC saw this as an opportunity to put
Lake Pedder on the ballot paper. At a large public meeting on March 23, 1972,
it was resolved that ‘In order that there is a maximum usage of a unique political
opportunity to save Lake Pedder, now an issue of global and national concern, and to
implement a national well-researched conservation plan for the State of Tasmania,
there be formed a Single Independent Coalition of primarily conservation-minded
candidates and their supporters.' (Walker, 1989, 162).

Dick Jones, chair of LPAC, became the inaugural leader of the UTG, and the group
fielded 12 candidates in four out of the five Tasmanian seven member electorates.
Most of them stood in the two Hobart-based urban electorates of Denison and
Franklin. With only a month to organise policy and process, the UTG did not emerge
as a fully-fledged party at this time. In fact it did not become a formally constituted
political party until 1974, and it was then that it developed an electoral platform
entitled ‘The New Ethic' (see Appendix B). Dick Jones made it clear from the outset
that the UTG was a movement for social and political change as well as for
environmental conservation (Jones, 1990, 37-40; Jones, 1974, 1-2).

For the 1972 election the UTG produced two key policy sheets, one on conservation
and one on economics. The eight point economic policy (see Appendix D) was
published for the UTG by the Australian Union of Students, and it stresses
conservation of natural resources, economic diversification and improved research
and marketing. In retrospect the policy does not seem particularly radical, but the
thinking underpinning it was a departure from received economic wisdom, and the
UTG moved easily into the promotion of ‘steady state' economics at a later date. It
must also be remembered that the UTG was providing a policy for a state within a
diverse national federation, and wished to emphasise the particular part Tasmania
should play within that commonwealth. The conservation policy was also quite
specific to the Tasmanian context, listing actual sites to be protected and local
environmental concerns to be addressed, although again it was easy to develop a
‘ new ethic' which applied to local and global environmental issues from this specific

The UTG did very well for an ‘instant' party in its first election, achieving 3.9% of
the vote overall in the state, and nearly 7% of the total vote in the Denison and
Franklin electorates, where it had concentrated its efforts. A UTG candidate just
missed out on being elected in Denison (Walker, 1986, 24). Later in 1972 the UTG
put up a candidate for the federal House of Representatives seat of Denison, and won
4% of the total vote, exceeding the vote of longer established minor parties such as
the Democratic Labor Party and the Australia Party.

Despite such electoral support, the UTG was no closer to achieving the immediate
goals of the Lake Pedder Action Committee, let alone a ‘green' change in Tasmanian
politics. The HEC had taken out an advertisement in all Tasmanian newspapers on
the eve of polling day, warning of a steep increase in electricity charges if the Middle
Gordon scheme was altered or delayed. The UTG call for a commission of inquiry to
investigate this blatant attempt to influence the outcome of an election by a
government-owned enterprise (using taxpayers' money) fell on deaf ears in the
newly elected Labor government (Thompson, 1981, 27). More petitions were
presented - and rejected (Kiernan, 1990, 26). In July 1972 LPAC sought a writ from
the Attorney General to begin a Supreme Court action challenging the validity of the
legislation which authorised flooding a national park. When the Attorney General
referred the matter to cabinet and was refused permission to grant the writ he
resigned. This was a pragmatic rather than a principled resignation, since while as
Attorney General he could not deny access to the courts, the Premier who replaced
him in the role felt that he could - and did. Parliament was convened and the HEC
(Doubts Removal) Bill was rapidly passed - to remove any doubts regarding the
powers of the government to authorise the destruction of the lake and to prevent
court action against it. The Attorney General was then reinstated. (Thompson, 1981,

Despairing of influence through Tasmanian channels, LPAC and the UTG looked for
federal backing. On September 8 1972 LPAC founder member and UTG candidate
Brenda Hean set off for Canberra in a Tiger Moth plane to lobby federal politicians
and to skywrite over the capital. Hean and the pilot are still missing, their fate
unknown. Despite the extremely suspicious circumstances of the disappearance
(which included threatening phone calls to Hean and a break-in at the hangar where
the plane was kept), and despite the UTG placing a newspaper advertisement urging
the government to set up an inquiry to investigate the incident, the government
refused to act (Kiernan, 1990, 27). Public efforts to see the police files covering the
incident have been consistently rebutted right up to the 1990s (Bob Burton, pers.
comm., 4.7.96)

The HEC certainly left no legal stone unturned in its efforts to silence its critics. In
1972 it threatened legal action to prevent the publication of Pedder Papers, a critical
review of the decision-making process within the HEC which led to the proposal to
flood Lake Pedder (Thompson, 1981, 28).

The election of the Whitlam Labor government later in 1972 seemed to provide a
window of opportunity for the Lake Pedder campaigners. A federal investigation into
the issue in 1973 was favourable to saving the lake, but the recommendation of the
committee to save the lake was rejected by the Labor cabinet. But this was not the
end of the matter.

In October 1973 the federal Labor caucus agreed to underwrite the costs of a
moratorium on flooding Lake Pedder (Kiernan, 1990, 28-30). However within hours
of the federal caucus decision the Tasmanian Labor Premier Eric Reece was restating
the Tasmanian government's intention to flood the lake. Nor were environmentalist
attempts to get support from the labour movement at large any more successful. The
inspirational environmental lead given by the New South Wales Builders Labourers
Federation with its successful ‘green bans' on inappropriate developments was not
supported or copied by labour unions elsewhere in Australia, and efforts to get a
‘ blue ban' placed on Lake Pedder failed (Kiernan, 1990, 32).

The specifics of the battle to save the lake, which make dramatic and disturbing
reading, can easily obscure the significance of this struggle. With the benefit of
hindsight we can see that this was the moment when a new dimension opened up in
Australian - and world - politics. The two great political groupings which had
structured Tasmanian, and Australian, politics for the past 70 years were challenged
by a third force, which emphasised the similarities rather than the differences
between the Labor and Liberal parties. The UTG coined the term ‘Laborials' to refer
to both these parties, as a way of symbolising how closely their policies and
philosophies were intertwined as seen from the new, Green perspective. The UTG
refused to identify itself as ‘Left' or ‘Right', claiming to draw a little from each but
to stand on a totally new platform which was neither left nor right - a platform which
proposed an alternative to heavy industrial development and economic growth for
growth's sake (Jones, 1974, 1-2). Central to this new dimension in politics was an
emphasis on ethics and aesthetics as the basis of its political vision. (See Appendix

The same emphasis on ethics and aesthetics, the same opposition to industrial growth
and economic ‘progress', the same difficulties with the labels ‘left' and right', and
the same challenge to the two major parties was to be offered in New Zealand at the
same time. However, it was in quite a different way in quite a different context.

Opening up New Zealand

In contrast to Tasmania, New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s was governed for most
of the time by a traditional conservative party, the National Party. The brief Labour
government 1957-1960 did little that was economically or social innovative, unless
one counts raising the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, which was an unpopular
move. It attempted to diversify New Zealand's industrial economic base by
encouraging manufacturing (which could also be perceived as a way of
strengthening its own electoral base among urban workers), but in this it differed
only in degree rather than kind from the National Party. It also signed an agreement
with the transnational company Conzinc to supply electricity to an aluminium
smelter at Bluff from a power station to be built at Lake Manapouri. To provide for
the power station it introduced the Manapouri-Te Anau Development Bill to
parliament, where it passed without opposition into law on September 1, 1960
(Wilson, 1982, 14). Thereafter the National Party supported the power scheme,
despite growing conservationist opposition.

Here the story diverges from that of Tasmania, for New Zealand was in better
democratic shape than Tasmania, and it was eventually possible to save the lake by
using the normal democratic channels. There was no need to set up a new party in a
desperate bid to further the cause. The Labour Party gave its support to the save-the-
lake campaign and made electoral mileage out of being conservationist, which
helped it win the election.2 Apart from an imperilled lake, there are few parallels
with the Tasmanian experience. Long established conservation groups organised the
three Save Manapouri petitions and did much of the lobbying. The popular
movement to save the lake, the Save Manapouri Campaign, was initiated in 1969 and
acquired impetus from normally conservative quarters. Its founder was a Southland
farmer with no prior (or subsequent) political experience, and it included a soon-to-
be-prominent National Party politician, Norman Jones. Other senior political figures,
including a former National Party Speaker of the House, publicly supported the
campaign, and Establishment figures including doctors, lawyers, senior academics
and knights of the realm were all outspoken in support (Cleveland, 1972; Peat, 1994)

The Save Manapouri Campaign was a populist movement which touched a nerve in
New Zealanders raised to believe that the possession and appreciation of pristine
lakes and mountains is a significant part of their cultural heritage and national
identity, and therefore not to be sacrificed lightly. While most of the 27,600 people
who voted for the Values Party in 1972 would have signed the Save Manapouri
petition, they represented only 8% of those who did so. Whatever else the Save
Manapouri campaign was, it was not a direct forerunner or progenitor of the Values
Party. Nor was there any personnel overlap whatsoever between the founders and
leaders of the Save Manapouri Campaign and the founders and leaders of the Values
Party, as there was between LPAC and UTG.

Unlike Tasmania, New Zealand was a state that was slowly groping its way towards
an institutionalised environmental politics throughout the 1960s. While there was
certainly a strong emphasis on hydro-electric development, the state of New Zealand
was not diverting the majority of its resources towards electricity development to the
detriment of other forms of industrialisation, nor was it devoid of awareness of the
downside of industrial growth. In 1959, ironically just before it signed the deal with
Conzinc, the Labour government convened a conference on the Conservation of New
Zealand's Scenic Attractions, and in 1962 the National government set up the Nature
Conservation Council, a quango charged with advising the government on
conservation issues. An Urban Development Association was formed in 1964 by
professionals (engineers, planners, etc.) working in the ‘environmental' sphere, and
the Association successfully lobbied the National government to set up an
environmental quango, the Environmental Council, and to appoint a Minister for the
Environment. In 1970 a Physical Environment Conference was organised by a
committee which had been formed at the 1968 National Development Conference.

The 1970 conference was attended mainly by professionals, with few environmental
activists present. Indeed, the first of the ‘new wave' environmental groups to appear
in New Zealand, Ecology Action, had not yet been founded. The professionals were
supported in their approaches to government by an influential group of ‘conservation
academics', professors of natural sciences at several universities (Bührs, 1991, 57-

There was thus a recognition of environmental issues at the highest levels, and by the
late 1960s both the National and Labour parties were offering environmental
protection policies to the electorate for the first time ever. However the approach
taken to the environment by both Labour and National and their advisors has been
described by Ton Bührs as ‘technocentric'. The key features of the approach are

‘ (1) A belief in the possibility of continued economic growth for human purposes;
(2) A belief that difficulties arising from economic growth can be solved by
scientific and technological means; related to that is an emphasis on
rationality and expertise in the formulation of solutions and an avoidance of
debate about values or principles;
(3) Suspicion towards greater public participation;
(4) A belief that environmental problems can be "managed" within the context of
the existing political and societal order.'
(Bührs, 1991, 72-73).

All these elements were to be savagely questioned on the first pages of the Values
Party 1972 election manifesto, Blueprint for New Zealand. An Alternative Future.
Concern for environmental quality and conservation was not the only - or even the
main - issue motivating the Values Party. More fundamental was a critique of the
way in which modern society was organised, managed and controlled in all its
aspects, including the environment. Some of this critique came from the new breed
of political ecologists (as is hinted at by the use of the word ‘blueprint', with its
echoes of the very popular political ecologist text Blueprint for Survival which
appeared in the same year and was cited in the manifesto). But more of it came -
more loudly and in a more developed form - from the new social movements which
had developed in the industrialised democracies, including New Zealand, in the

News of global antisystemic events, organisations and ideas as diverse as the
Berkeley Free Speech Movement, the civil rights summers of protest in the southern
USA, the daily life critiques of the French Situationists, the Miss America freedom
trash-can and the hexing of Wall St guerilla theatre by the Women's Liberation
Movement, the anti-Vietnam mobes and teach-ins and draft card burnings, the
Stonewall riots that sparked the Gay Liberation Movement, the definitive ‘flower
power' concert at Woodstock, the student/worker strikes and the street fighting in
France, and the Aldermaston marches against nuclear weapons in Britain, had all
reached New Zealand via the electronic and print media. The proliferation of ‘free
press' publications facilitated by the development of cheap off-set printing, and the
development of rural and urban ‘communes' as an alternative lifestyle, overseas and
in New Zealand, were all part of a kaleidoscope of dissent, resistance and the
promotion of alternatives.

Young New Zealanders also travelled widely in the Sixties and Seventies.3
Mackwell (1977) found that 30% of the New Zealand-born membership of the
Values Party had lived and/or travelled abroad (mostly in First World, English-
speaking countries). When this 30% is added to the 17% of members who were born
overseas it can be seen that the Values Party was a party which was better placed
than most to ‘think globally and act locally'.

The increase in foreign travel phenomenon generated its own joke - a post-war
New Zealander's education was said to be incomplete without first U.E. (University
Entrance - a qualification usually obtained at age 16), and then O.E. (Overseas
Experience). The global mobility of young New Zealanders was of course dependent
on the rapid deployment of new transport technologies, principally civilian jet
aircraft. Along with faster transport came faster verbal and visual communications
technologies. What political impact did these have?

When I asked Norman Smith, first organiser of the Values Party, for his personal
explanation of why New Zealand had the world's first national-level Green party I
was initially taken back by his reply, which was only one word - ‘Databank.' Smith
(who worked for IBM for several years prior to his Values Party job) explained that
New Zealand was the first country in the world to have nation-wide overnight
electronic cheque processing i.e. Databank. In other words, here at the bottom of the
world was one of the world's first nation-wide electronic networks. This openness to
innovation in communications and networking was characteristic of the ‘new guard'
in society, which included the Values Party. Obtaining and using the new
communications technology in New Zealand is (relatively) expensive, as most of the
hardware is imported, and the lines were formerly a real (state) and are currently a
virtual (foreign transnational corporate) monopoly. Despite these barriers, New
Zealanders acquire information technology with rapidity and avidity.4 The many and
varied political implications of moving into an ‘informational' mode of production
(which go far beyond Green politics) are thoroughly canvassed by Manuel Castells
in his three volume work The Information Age (Castells, 1996, 1997, 1998), and I
consider what they mean for the twenty-first century development of Green politics
in Chapter Eight.

To return to the 1970s, it is sufficient to note that through heavy applications of
energy and technology, on both a national and a global scale, New Zealanders were
confounding both their ‘Earth's last island's' geopolitical location, and their
relatively challenging local topography. This was politically significant, both as
regards reacting rapidly to the global tenor of the times, and in spreading new
political ideas throughout New Zealand and then out into the world.

The first signs of this process at work were visible in the peace and human rights
organisations set up in the 1960s. These organisations preceded the political ecology
groups by almost a decade. They began with small protests against the Vietnam War
and nuclear war in the early 1960s. These built up to large anti-war mobilisations in
the late 1960s and early 1970s, with a record (for the time and place) 4,000 people
attending a lunchtime demonstration in Christchurch in 1968 against a proposed US
nuclear submarine navigation system to be sited in the mountains nearby (Wilkes,
1973). The Progressive Youth Movement was formed in Auckland in 1965, and in
Wellington and Christchurch in 1969. The first Women's Liberation groups began
meeting in 1970. Gay Liberation was founded in 1972 and urban ‘communes' were a
normal part of life for young New Zealanders in a country where there were lots of
big, old, stand-alone houses with plenty of bedrooms (but only one kitchen) which
could be rented cheaply by those wishing to live collectively. Even established
institutions, such as the Christian church, were not immune from the ferment of the
times, and in the late 1960s and early 1970s the Student Christian Movement
functioned as a conduit for progressive political ideas and actions.

Racism was tackled via Maori land and language rights campaigns and groups,
including the radical Maori youth group Nga Tamatoa Tuatoru (‘the young
warriors'), which was formed in the early Seventies, and in Auckland a group
modelled on the American Black Panthers called the Polynesian Panthers started in
1971. There was also an active anti-apartheid movement, Halt All Racist Tours
(HART) formed in July 1969, which focussed mainly on stopping sporting contact
with South Africa as a means of forcing it to field integrated teams and move to end
apartheid. (New Zealand could - and eventually did - have more impact than most
countries in this regard since the premier sport of both countries is rugby football.)
Student protestors picked up all these issues and more. A representative selection of
protest activities in New Zealand in the 1960s and 1970s is covered by Rik Tindall
(1994) in his brief history of a century of student protest at the University of
Canterbury. This history includes an excellent visual example of Sixties style applied
to a Seventies issue, in the form of a photo-poster of a long-haired, bearded youth
wearing bush gear and holding a rifle, standing in a forest clearing, with the hand-
written message superimposed at knee height ‘leave our forests alone'. (Tindall,
1994, 22).

The ‘protest movement', broadly conceived, was thus very much alive and kicking in
New Zealand in 1972. It was from this rich ferment of ‘alternative' or ‘new politics'
activity being driven by young people (many of them barely old enough to vote) that
political science student and erstwhile journalist Tony Brunt drew much of his
inspiration when he put together a platform for a new political party. When he came
to present it to a crowd of some ‘sixty curious souls' in the Student Union Hall at
Victoria University, Wellington, on the evening of May 30, 1972, he made it clear in
the first few minutes of his address that Values was a ‘quality of life' party. He did
not mean that in the sense of being anti-pollution. ‘Fighting pollution and preserving
nature are key planks in the Values Party platform and I don't think the Government
is taking strong enough action in this area', he said, ‘but reducing pollution is only a
small part of the attempt to increase the quality of life.' (Brunt, 1972, 1).
(Interestingly enough, when polled on the issues that concerned them most before
the 1972 election 14% of voters said ‘pollution' - which was 3% more than the 11%
who were concerned about ‘protesters') (Roberts, 1975, 103).

In order to restore quality of life, Brunt argued, it was necessary to restore or create a
sense of community, and to stop over-emphasising ‘...economic growth,
technological advance, the importance of consumer goods in our lives, increasing
productivity, competition between people, individualism and increasing
profits.'(Brunt, 1972, 1). The common thread connecting the Values philosophy was
humanism, which Brunt defined as meeting ‘the needs of people and not the needs of
the system'. He claimed that this was the new political synthesis that was forming in
society, especially among young people (Brunt, 1972, 12).5

The rest of the speech largely focussed on the actual changes that a Values
government would introduce to New Zealand society to give form to this philosophy.
These included:

_ improving industrial relations via job enrichment programmes;
_ bulldozing the country's latest maximum security prison and re-thinking law
and order policy from scratch;
_ getting off the economic growth treadmill;
_ setting up a government technology surveillance committee to examine and if
necessary ban or control the introduction of unnecessary or harmful new
_ restricting the use of cars in cities;
_ restricting display advertising (which Values saw as feeding the consumerist
frenzy which in its turn fuelled economic growth);
_ reducing the hours in the working week;
_ paying more attention to regional development;
_ beautifying cities with better architecture, more greenery and more Maori
decorative arts;
_ decentralising government;
_ instituting youth representation in parliament and lowering the voting age;
_ severing diplomatic relations with France if it persisted with nuclear testing
in the Pacific;
_ stopping the proposed 1973 South African rugby tour of New Zealand;
_ increasing total foreign aid from 0.2% of GNP to 5%; and
_ increasing the proportion of aid going to the Pacific Islands.

The speech devotes only four sentences to the environment - but these are in the
section on economic growth, and are at the heart of what was to become the Green
critique. In running through the reasons why people should question the goal of
industrial growth, Brunt comes to the most important reason - the ecological
consequences of growth.

‘ Growth is just not sustainable - or sustainable only at great cost to mankind.
A study on the future of the environment at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology in March of this year predicted that unless we take action to halt
growth the life support systems on earth will collapse within 130 years. So
we are growing now at the expense of the lives of our great grandchildren.'
(Brunt, 1972, 6)

Brunt then dropped the subject, and went on to devote much more attention to
advertising, urban beautification and even to a critique of autocracy and inequality in
Tonga. Yet in retrospect it is clear that this condemnation of economic growth,
because of the harm it is doing and will do to people and planet, with the associated
vision of a more caring and community-based way of life, is the Green equivalent of
Labour Party foundational demands for full employment, industrial arbitration and a
living wage.

In April 1997, almost twenty-five years to the day after he founded the Values Party,
Brunt addressed a symposium at Auckland University on the Values Party and
twenty-five years of Green politics in Australasia. He chose to stress again that he
saw Values as a ‘humanist' party, concerned more with quality-of-life rather
standard-of-living issues. He said that in 1972 he ‘...desperately wanted a politician
and a party to break out of minimalist, materialistic debate of the old left and right
parties. The new concerns about the havoc being wreaked by unquestioned and ill-
directed economic growth, population growth and technological change owed
nothing to the old left/right definition of politics.' (Brunt, 1997, 1)

At first he thought of calling the new party the New Zealand Youth Party.

He himself was twenty-four years old, and he couldn't imagine that the ideas the
party was promoting would be of any interest, let alone comprehensible, to anyone
over thirty. This is an interesting reflection of the significance of the youthfulness of
those engaged in the new politics of the 1960s and 1970s. This is a phenomenon that
appears to be unique to this time in the twentieth century. It is also one that was
certainly salient to the participants, as indicated by their slogan ‘Never trust anyone
over thirty'. That this particular era of ‘youth unrest' was indeed new and different
from previous youth activism of the twentieth century is confirmed by Klaus
Mehnert, a scholar of youth in America and the Soviet Union, and himself a
participant in the German youth movement of the 1920s (Mehnert, 1978). Some
participants stayed true to the principles they were promoting then and some
betrayed them. But they all lost their youth, and the importance of being young to the
new politics has been lost by later analysts.

Yet much of what happened at that time can only be understood by the light of
Wordsworth's comments on an earlier ‘revolutionary' period - ‘Bliss was it in that
dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!' (Wordsworth, 1809).
The membership of the Values Party and the UTG (see Chapter Six for details) was
markedly younger than that of other parties. The fact that the politics was new
precisely because the participants were as new to politics as they were to the rest of
life must be kept in mind.

Brunt was dissuaded from using the youth label by a persuasive young woman met
by chance at a party (of such quirky details is history made), and went back to the
drawing board to come up with the name Values. He is adamant that he never
conceived of the Values Party as

‘ ...primarily an environmental or green party in the generally accepted sense
of the term as it's now applied. It only became that in retrospective analysis,
because the broad philosophical issues I started out talking about were too
intangible and abstract to categorise in any alternative way. Emotional talk of
the economic and technological juggernaut that seemed to be impersonally
steamrolling society, community, the environment, tradition and the very
amenities and civilities of life was pretty fuzzy stuff. Boiling off all this angst
and existential unease left a residue of ecological concerns that has enabled
much easier classification for academics and news media. My idealism was
mainly a Values-driven one, and when I started the party and stepped over
the precipice into the void, the ecological crisis and its emergent doctrines
rose up to meet me. I had a soft landing on solid issues that I could use as
actual illustrations.' (Brunt, 1997, 2)

When it came to providing local illustrations Brunt was scratching, as by world
standards New Zealand was not an over-populated or heavily polluted country.
He had to make reference to the unsustainable nature of global economic and
population growth as described in the Limits to Growth (Meadows et al, 1972)
report. His main example of how this was manifesting itself in New Zealand was the
way in which the demand for electricity was doubling every ten years, with
widespread environmental impacts. He claims that
‘ ...environmentalists - or the early examples of the breed - did not particularly
like us. They regarded us as usurpers with no track record in specific
environmental fights (such as the Save Manapouri Campaign) and felt that
we'd compromise the work they were doing with the two main parties to gain
environmental commitments.' (Brunt, 1997, 3)

So if Values was a Green party, its initial formation was very different from that of
the UTG. It was not an ad hoc coalition of ‘conservation-minded' candidates; it
based its ecological concerns on a more radical philosophical analysis of the malaise
of modern society. This meant it took issue with the core tenets of social democracy
(which had a better environmental track record in New Zealand than it did in
Tasmania), and it also considered the appropriate means by which its radical changes
were to be achieved. Later Green parties were to take up these matters too, and this is
discussed in greater detail in Chapter Seven. Green Values on the campaign trail

In the meantime for Values there was the matter of the 1972 general election, to be
held a mere six months after the formation of the party. It is clear from Brunt's first
speech that he regarded the main opposition for Values as being the Labour Party,
not the National Party. He characterised the Labour Party as ‘dying' several times in
his speech. He also scoffed at its proposal to hold a referendum over the 1974
Springbok tour thus: ‘Do you believe that a party which is a prospective Government
could send a whole nation to the polls - not over a declaration of war, not over union
with Australia, but over a Rugby tour? These are the death throes of a dying party.'
(Brunt, 1972, 11) and predicted that Labour would never succeed to power again.
However the Labour Party did win the 1972 election. It also called off the rugby
tour, sent a New Zealand navy frigate to the French nuclear testing zone to protest
the testing, petitioned the International Court of Justice seeking an injunction against
the tests, prevented the raising of Lake Manapouri, set up a Select Committee on
Women's Rights, and passed the Treaty of Waitangi Act. These are all moves that
would have been approved of by the ‘new social movement' constituency.
The Labour Party was able to make progress in these areas, albeit slowly and
partially. However, what it was not prepared to do was to question economic growth,
to see the social negatives among the material positives.

It was to be another two years before Values set about developing a Green economic
platform that would provide an alternative to social democrat economics, and then
candidates had to be chosen who could put forward the new Green approach. In a
memo to branches in January 1975 Party Chairer Dave Woodhams stated firmly that
‘ We are a party dedicated to the fundamental restructuring of our basic social
framework, not just a bunch of conservationists. The candidate should be
familiar with this wider perspective and able to discuss it logically both in
general terms and personal terms.'

Woodhams (who was and is a professional engineer) recommended that they should
be familiar with the works cited in the bibliography of the 1972 manifesto, and
especially with Erich Fromm's 1968 work The Revolution of Hope: towards a
humanised technology. This was the approach advocated by Brunt in his inaugural
speech. It was also the approach adopted by Woodhams when he was recruited as a
1972 candidate on the basis of reading the manifesto and making a phone call to
Tony Brunt from Wellington airport as he passed through town (Woodhams, 1997,

Not everyone hearing Brunt's inaugural speech was so enthusiastic, and he recalls
that he was attacked by ‘...a nasty young marxist and an equally nasty young
environmentalist' (Brunt, 1973, 88). Others present at the meeting defended Brunt
from the attacks, and some signed up as early members of the party. Brunt
announced his intention to stand for the Island Bay electorate, where he lived, and
held two successful political meetings there. In the next few months small, informal
policy formulation meetings were held in Wellington, and branches were set up in
the three other main centres (Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin). Chief organiser
at this point was Norman Smith, an ex-journalist colleague of Brunt's. The media
experience of Brunt and Smith stood them in good stead when it came to publicising
the new party, and a former colleague on the New Zealand Herald, Alison Webber,
founded the Auckland branch. Also valuable was the experience of Bob Overend as
chair of Values meetings in Wellington and spokesperson for the party - Overend
gained his first political experience when he started and organised a citizens group,
the Wadestown Residents Association. Despite the talents of the founders, the party
grew slowly and by October 1972 only nine candidates had been announced. When
Smith told the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (the state broadcasting
authority) that the party would require television advertising time during the election
because it would be fielding twenty-five candidates, the Wellington members
thought it was a great joke (Brunt, 1973, 89).

However the first manifesto, Blueprint for New Zealand An Alternative Future, was
rolling off the press, and Values was invited to be the subject of a party profile on the
premier television current affairs programme, Gallery. The twelve-minute
documentary was screened on primetime network television on October 17, and the
response was immediate and overwhelming. The trickle of correspondence that the
party had been receiving grew to a flood. The 1972 correspondence file offers
interesting insights into the formation of a Green party.

In June 1972 Geoff Neill, a Ph.D. student and an assistant lecturer in economics and
industrial relations, wrote to introduce himself. He had read an article about Values
in the Otago University student paper, Critic, and thought he could get support for
Values in Dunedin from disillusioned Labourites and younger people. Before too
long he had been made Deputy Leader and was writing to advise on the content of
the manifesto. Sue Clough wrote to Tony Brunt in July to say that she had lost faith
in Labour and that her husband Reg, who was formerly a National supporter,
‘ ..thinks that you are about the only one in the country talking sense.' Reg Clough
was soon the candidate for Remuera (Auckland), where he was the third highest
polling Values candidate in 1972. In 1974 he was elected Leader of the Values Party.
Edmund Hillary, first conqueror of Mt Everest (with Tensing Norgay), and one of
New Zealand's most famous and respected citizens, wrote to Tony Brunt on 24 July
1972 to say ‘...I do agree with many of your contentions. As to whether there is the
interest and will in New Zealand to carry out such programs time alone will tell.'
(Hillary, 24.7.72) A month later Aynsley Kellow, who became the candidate for St
Kilda in Dunedin, told Brunt that the Values abortion law reform and homosexual
law reform policies were ‘damn near perfect', and explained why and how he
thought the drug law reform policy could be improved. After confessing that he used
to think that the Vietnam war was right, he added that he thought it would be ‘...a
good idea to establish a liaison with groups like ecology action, law reform societies,
etc. Co-operation with them should prove quite fruitful. Also, although it will almost
certainly be knocking our heads against a brick wall, why not send some guff
(especially the industrial policy) to the union branches. It will at least plant the seeds
when Labour craps out.' (Kellow, 21.8.72). (The secretary of the Auckland Clerical
Workers Union wrote seeking information of his own accord, but this is the only
union contact in the 1972 file.)

The president of a youth group in Westport, a small town on the West Coast of the
South Island (New Zealand's ‘scenic' province due to its thick rainforests and high
mountains) asked for copies of the manifesto. He thought that ‘...many of the
policies ...would be very relevant to young West Coasters'. Tama Eruera, of Nga
Tamatoa (the radical young Maori organisation) wrote to advise of Wellington
members who might be available to attend Values' first conference, though he
warned ‘In order to be fair to you, don't be surprised if they express lukewarm
interest. Not because of any animosity to you personally but simply because we feel
somewhat suspicious of pakeha [non-Maori] organisations or motives. This may
seem unfair but then, this is basically how it is, and that's how we like to tell it. Then
again, they may pile in behind you boots'n'all. In the meantime, kia kaha tonu
koutou - let you always be strong.'

Numerous groups and organisations got in touch, including the editors of university
student papers (most of which ran features on Values), and the wonderfully-named
Malcolm Gramophone of the Counter Culture Free Press (who dated his letter
3 A.W. - After Woodstock). The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand,
Project Paremoremo (a prisoners aid and prison reform society based on the
maximum security jail that Brunt wanted bulldozed), Action for the Environment
Wellington, the Homosexual Law Reform Society (Brunt was invited to their AGM),
the Student Christian Movement, the Women's Liberation Movement, the Youth
Action Centre, the Wellington Tenants Protection Society and the United Nations
Association also got in touch. So did the Labour and Social Credit parties who were
interested in Values policies and wrote asking for copies.

An analysis of the General Correspondence in which individual correspondents
indicated their interests or views (rather than simply requesting information) shows
the following hierarchy of concerns. The population issue (Zero Population Growth
and abortion) and issues to do with rights and liberties (divorce law reform, drug law
reform, homosexual law reform, rights for women and the disabled) were of most
concern to correspondents. They constituted 20% each of queries/comments. Next
came economics and environment, with 16% each. There was definite interest in the
Values anti-consumerist stance. Social issues, like lifestyle, psychological fulfilment
and alternative futures were next in importance, followed by women's issues
(especially equal pay), education, and defence.

In the correspondence with other groups there was a similar pattern, with half the
queries/comments being in the area of civil rights and liberties (especially abortion
and homosexual law reform), followed by population issues and economics. There
was only one contact with an environmental organisation.

Wherever they came from, candidates rushed to the party after the Gallery
programme, and the manifesto sold out in Wellington within a week, while the
remainder of the first print run of 1500 copies was soon snapped up in the other
centres. A second run of 2000 was ordered before the first 1500 had been paid for
(Brunt, 1973, 91). A best-seller election manifesto was a first for New Zealand.
Another first was clocked up when professional filmmakers enthusiastically
volunteered to donate their services and worked into the wee small hours to put
together a sixty second television advertisement in less than a week, at a cost
(materials only) of $NZ50. The first Values national conference held in Wellington
on the third weekend in October was big news, and forty-two candidates eventually
got their deposits in by the closing date of November 2, and began campaigning in
earnest for the election to be held on November 23.

The candidates were all completely new to parliamentary politics. Some of them
were new to politics full stop - the youngest was twenty-one, and the average age of
the candidates was twenty-nine. This was also unprecedented in New Zealand
politics, where members of parliament and parliamentary candidates were
traditionally drawn from those who had reached senior ranks in farming, business,
professional and labour organisations and/or political parties, who had some
experience of taking representative positions within those organisations
(Forster, 1969).

Youth, political inexperience and a lack of centralised control (which the fledgling
Values Party could not have exerted even had it wanted to) meant that Values
candidates were a departure from the mould. So was the campaign itself. Candidates
and delegates at the first national conference on the weekend of October 21/22 got
off to a fun start by taking a field trip to the Motor Show being staged in
Wellington's big show buildings. Here they satirised devotion to the automobile by
‘ worshipping' the cars on display - prostrating themselves before the vehicles,
kissing the tyres, and so on (Smith interview, 2.4.96).

Deputy Leader Geoff Neill opened his campaign for Dunedin North with a rock band
in the Octagon (Dunedin's central civic plaza), while supporters wearing ‘Values
Guerillas' T-shirts ran around smiling at people and handing out leaflets. In Porirua
Helen Smith had a pop choir performing at the local shopping centre, while in
Auckland the Values candidates drew six hundred to a lunchtime meeting in a hall
designed for three hundred. Wherever he went Tony Brunt spoke to packed houses,
including nine hundred in Auckland's Intercontinental ballroom and one thousand
eight hundred in the Wellington Town Hall (a larger crowd than Prime Minister John
Marshall drew to the same venue). In provincial Hastings one hundred came to the
closing of the national campaign, held in the Valhalla discotheque.

The policies the new candidates advocated were also startling to some and refreshing
to others. In the area of sexual politics Values differed radically from the other
parties, advocating Zero Population Growth, a liberal abortion law and
decriminalisation of homosexuality. It was critical of consumerism and not afraid to
condemn it. The campaign in Nelson featured a guerilla theatre stunt in which a
human fifty-cent coin chased a human dollar note down the main street. Values also
wanted to reform industrial relations for good and all by promoting worker
ownership of enterprises. It had major plans for reforming government too, to make
it more open, accountable and decentralised. It advocated a pacifist foreign policy
(foreign troops out of Vietnam, no more nuclear testing and an end to compulsory
military training), and wanted a reform of the drug laws, including decriminalisation
of the possession of cannabis.

The policies were underpinned by the philosophy hinted at in Brunt's inaugural
speech, and in the introduction to the first manifesto. It was a philosophy not just of
a political party, but also of a social movement. Brunt expressed the difference
between the social movement character of Values and the narrow interest base of the
older political parties as follows:

‘ As the campaign drew towards its peak it became clear that Values was
something more than a political party; it was also, to a certain extent, a social
movement. It differed from Labour and National in that its compass was not
solely matters political, nor its cement an organisational form. Its ideal of a
stable population followed by a no-growth economy demanded as much a
change in Values as a change in Government. It spoke to the growing need of
young people for such things as friendship, peace, community and job
satisfaction. Implicitly, though not explicitly, it pointed to a simpler life style,
one that would accord with a society in which commercial expansion was not
a goal, one in which there would be new motivational bases - idealism,
fulfilment a sense of supportive community, creativity, and service.

Competition, consumption, prestige, power and financial gain did not figure
large in the priorities of those who were our keenest supporters. Rock groups,
guerilla theatre and other diversions were used at many meetings to make
politics fun again...It came close to providing what the 1971 National Youth
Congress had advocated: "A redefinition of politics which is integrated with,
and not separated from, our lives." ' (Brunt, 1973, 92-93).

Four years later Dave Woodhams saw fit to reinforce the social movement basis of
Values in his chairman's address to the 1977 National Conference. He reminded
delegates that Values was rooted in the social movements of the 1960s which were
concerned about the direction of society, with creating community, and with human
liberty. He claimed that Values was a special interest group within that wider
movement, and that

‘ Its special interest is to be a political focus for the wide ranging concerns of
the movement, to develop a viable political synthesis of these concerns and to
use the opportunities that come our way as a political party to advocate these
policies and the reasons for them...The political commitment of the Party
takes on an added importance because it is our unique contribution to all the
activity of the movement and if we fail, we let down not only ourselves but
the rest of the movement as well.' (Woodhams, 1997, 4)

The ideas espoused by Values were not entirely new, as the reading list at the back
of Blueprint for New Zealand shows. Although most of the books cited were very
contemporary (published in 1970 and 1971) there were classics such as Lewis
Mumford's Technics and Civilisation (1934), Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving
(1970) and Edmund Leach's (1967) A Runaway World. There were also critiques of
modern technocratic society and workplaces by Berkley (1971) and Townsend
(1970). Tony Brunt recalls that he was particularly influenced by Charles Reich's
(1970) The Greening of America, Alvin Toffler's (1970) Future Shock, and the work
of J.K. Galbraith (1967; 1971) (Brunt, pers.comm.). Nor were the ideas unique to
New Zealand - on the contrary they were part of an international trend that had flared
into revolt in many places in 1968. The main thing that was new and different about
Values was that for the first time these ideas were put together as a political party
platform and offered to a national electorate.

The other factor that set Values apart from political parties to that date was the way
in which it presented its ideas. Its street theatrical campaign style has already been
mentioned. The other side of the novel Values communications strategy was its
consummate use of national media. Here it made full use of the then single-channel
television network in New Zealand, obtaining fifteen minutes of free television time
to run an advertisement described as ‘...the most sophisticated political ad ever
produced in New Zealand' (Luff, 1974, 22). This advertisement, along with the
Gallery documentary, screened in October, and they both provided such positive
publicity for Values that support in the opinion polls went up from 5% pre-October
to 24% post-October.

Bill Luff thought that unlike the other minor parties, which were lacking in media
skills, Values fully exploited ‘...most of the immense possibilities that the New
Zealand media provides, to the extent that the Values Party is justifiably referred to
as a "media party". (Luff , 1974, 23). Luff also - rather presciently - notes that
national media coverage was vital to Values because it aimed at reaching sectional
rather than geographical constituencies. It was aiming at the educated, the young,
and the socially and politically progressive, who were not confined to any particular
geographical electorate. (Although there were of course some electorates - in the
1970s principally the better-off urban seats with younger voters - where Values did

Values activists themselves were acutely aware of the importance of the media to
their politics. As we have seen, their campaign style was theatrical, and aimed at
attracting media attention. Just prior to the annual party conference in 1978 Party
Chairer Dave Woodhams reflected on theatre, media and politics in his summation
of what Values had achieved and where it needed to go next. In a paragraph headed
‘ Politics as Drama' he opined:

‘ If there is one area of the development of the party over the past five years
that we have lost ground in, I would say it is our ability to treat politics as the
high drama that it is. The Auckland Peace Squadron and the Native Forest
Action Council have both made a dramatic impact on the political life of the
country this year. Political action is theatre on the grand scale. With the right
script, the right setting and the right issue, a creative group of people can
command the attention of the media, and bring to life an issue that would be
dead if handled by the usual "press statement" routine. The May annual
conference of the party has been planned to remedy this situation.'
(Woodhams, 1978, 6).

Whether it was the ideas, or the dramatic way they were presented, or both, at its
first general election in 1972 the party appealed to some 27,600 voters who voted
Values on November 23. Values took 1.96% of the total vote (out of eighty-seven
seats) and 3.7% of the vote in the forty-two seats where it stood candidates. It was
the third party in terms of numbers of votes cast in thirteen electorates (Luff, 1974,
5-6). It was a promising start for a brand new party in a political ‘tradition' which
was so new the paint had yet to dry. Where could it go next?

Party structure and development

Before going on to discuss the actual historical development of the first two Green
parties, and how they were structured, perhaps we need to ask why it was that New
Zealand and Tasmania were so willing and able to start political parties based on
Green principles and praxis. Why not just continue with pressure group and
movement politics?

The UTG appears to be clearly a case where there was no other option in terms of
exercising political influence. The pressure group and legal routes had failed,
therefore forming a party that contested elections seemed to be the only way of
getting a democratic bridgehead in a situation of almost total political close-out.
Once it was formed, the party proved an appropriate vehicle for bringing together
like-minded people and providing them with more support for each other, and more
publicity for their ideas, than they had otherwise been able to find in a small polity
which did not look kindly on non-conformists.

But the New Zealand situation was rather different. New Leftist and new social
movement organisations were active nation-wide, and attracting a lot of attention via
their demonstrations, street theatre, media stunts and so on. Student protest was the
‘ in' thing, and the youth branches of both the National and Labour parties were
inspired by all this activity to ginger things up within their parties. So why was a
new party felt to be a good idea?

Norman Smith (Smith interview, 9.7.91) claims that Tony Brunt wrote an essay on
the new politics for his political science course. In it he argued that the proliferation
of new politics among young people in New Zealand, which was largely being
ignored by the National and Labour party hierarchies, provided the basis for a new
party to plug the gap in the political spectrum. His professor rubbished his argument
- so Brunt went out and started the new party to prove him wrong. Whether literally
true or not, the story certainly encapsulates the historical moment of opportunity that
Brunt grasped so firmly.

But was forming a Green party merely due to the whim of that particular person at
that particular time and place, or was there some ‘deeper logic' impelling the first
Greens towards forming parties in Australasia? On the one hand, the egalitarian,
participatory, networking approach to political organising, put to work in relatively
small societies, doubtless made it easier to set up parties there than in more populous
nation-states. On the other hand, in New Zealand's case the first-past-the-post
electoral system was an enormous barrier to third party participation, with only one
third party (Social Credit) getting more than one (and then only two) seats at any one
time in any post-war parliament. The European nation-states, most of which had and
have proportional electoral systems, were and are much more rewarding places in
which to start a new party than Australia or New Zealand, where majoritarian
systems have been largely favoured over proportional ones.

So it is not easy to fathom exactly why Green politics first took party form ‘Down
Under', and answering the question will certainly require a much more exacting and
comparative analysis of electoral opportunity structures and national political
cultures than was within my ‘globalisation and the Greens' research brief. What was
of more interest to me, which I turn to below, is the extent to which the development
and structure of the first two Green parties are recognisably and typically Green, and
provide the first examples of the type. Tasmanian experiments

Although the UTG had its origins in a conservation campaign, it would be wrong to
describe it as simply a conservation organisation with a party label. Pamela Walker
notes that few of the UTG/LPAC activists had backgrounds in well-established
conservation organisations such as the Field Naturalists or the National Trust, and
older conservation groups, such as the Tasmanian Conservation Trust (TCT),
questioned the radical behaviour of LPAC. In 1973 Sam Lake of the TCT said that

‘... a significant proportion of Tasmanian conservationists are loath to indulge in
political means to achieve environmental ends. This tendency has led to the
somewhat unfortunate situation whereby both of the major parties view the UTG as
being the political wing of the conservation movement.' (Walker, 1986, 60). The
Australian Conservation Foundation, Australia's largest and strongest conservation
organisation (founded in 1965) decided not to get involved in actions to protest the
destruction of Lake Pedder ‘...for fear that such activity would be "too political" ‘
(Burgmann, 1993, 205).

In fact, far from being the existing conservation movement in political guise, the
UTG was to actually create the contemporary conservation movement in Tasmania.
Nineteen out of the twenty-three activists (82%) at the inaugural meeting of the
Tasmanian Wilderness Society (TWS) in 1976 were active members of the UTG
(Walker, 1989, 167). Walker (1986, 66) also notes that some ten years after the
formation of the UTG, one third of conservation activists operating in Tasmania had
had their initial political socialisation in the UTG.

Between the end of 1972 and the setting up of TWS in July 1976, which marked the
effective end of the UTG as a campaigning organisation, the new political grouping
set about creating a bona fide political party with a constitution, structure, set of
policies and a budget. It began addressing the task seriously in 1974, when a member
(who had been expelled for the Labor Party) drafted a constitution that was modelled
on the ALP constitution. (Not much new politics there!) The UTG was branch based,
with each branch meeting monthly or two-monthly at the local level.
Branches had a committee consisting of a President, one or two Vice Presidents, a
Secretary, Treasurer, Auditor and Delegates to Divisional Council and State
Conference. There was one Divisional Council for each of the five Tasmanian
electorates, and they met quarterly (Horne, n.d., 8-9). The state conference elected a
state executive, a policy committee and a rules committee, and a state council was
appointed ‘ direct and control the State executive on matters of administration
and finance and to direct and control all election campaigns (Walker, 1989, 166).
A State Secretary was employed full time and attended all branch meetings (Walker,
1986, 40).

The first state conference was held in Launceston on 22 June 1974 - forty people
were present. The conference set up policy committees on Agriculture, Education,
Social Welfare, Local Government, State Resources, Transport and Energy and
National Parks/Conservation and Wilderness (UTG Newsletter No 8 1974). This
provides a clear indication of the UTG's intention to be a political party in the full

Given the later Green emphasis on alternative forms of political organising - the
present day Tasmanian Greens make all decisions by consensus and have never had
an internal election for a party position - what are we to make of the very formal and
traditional structure of the UTG? Did they get it ‘wrong' because they were the first
off the blocks, and had no Green party models to follow, or did they perhaps find a
way to operate a conventional, formal structure in a consensual, participatory
manner? Party founder and leader Dick Jones certainly spoke of the need for
egalitarian rather than hierarchical forms of organisation, seeing hierarchy as a
component of the ecological problem and ‘...advocating participatory decision-
making and decentralisation within a network of co-operating groups rather than a
hierarchical party machine' (Jones, 1990, 39). Similarly, Chris Harries advises that
although the UTG was structured this way on paper, in practice ‘our constitution was
breached virtually every day', mainly because the party was not big enough to carry
out all the functions and roles prescribed therein. In addition, Tasmania was behind
New Zealand in terms of ‘new politics' styles of organising, which were not widely
known until the late 1970s. Harries describes Tasmanian UTG and Green decision
making methods in practice as ‘informal' - ‘More like friends, making decisions by
ad hoc and convivial interaction.' (Harries, pers.comm., 16.6.97).

Further, despite its seemingly conventional form the UTG was not too conventional.
A list of possible fund-raising activities printed in the newsletter, which included
mannequin parades and car rallies, received a blast from a reader who condemned
these activities because they waste resources (UTG Newsletter No. 9, September
1974). However the Radical Ecology Conference barbecue advertised in the UTG
Denison newsletter of 15.3.75 advised people to bring their own grog, meat and beer
mug. The UTG was perhaps not in the mainstream of Australian culture, but it was
not that far way from it. Its fundraising was largely centred on folk music concerts,
bush walks, slide evenings featuring wilderness images, wine and cheese evenings,
and barbecues. The fundraising was well supported and lucrative - the accounts for
the UTG financial year ending 30.6.74 showed that only $358 of the party's income
that year came from subscriptions - the rest of the $3276 raised came from donations
and fundraising events.

Some inspiring green speakers chose to visit Tasmania at this time. The American
environmentalist and pioneer of environmental education Joseph Sax came in 1972,
and in 1974 the founder of Friends of the Earth, David Brower, also came to speak.
UTG candidates stood in local body elections, and by September 1974 three had
been elected to councils (UTG Newsletter No. 9, September 1974). In 1975 in a
campaign for the Legislative Council seat of Newdegate the UTG candidate secured
9.9% of the vote, despite the sitting Labor candidate advising his supporters against
giving their preferences to the UTG (UTG State Newsletter June 1975).
In 1976 there was a strong debate over whether the party should change its name,
with preferences being expressed for ‘UTG - the Conservation Party' or just
‘ The Conservation Party'. The State Secretary saw electoral advantage in such a
move, and argued that it would be a more accurate label. Those against, such as the
president of the University of Tasmania branch, stressed the wider policy range of
the UTG, and the need to educate the electorate on how the relationship to the
environment must inform all policies (UTG State Newsletter, July 1976). Policy
development also continued in 1976, and in October the UTG announced that it was
the first and was still the only party to adopt an Aboriginal policy for Tasmania.
The seventeen-point policy was printed in the newsletter (UTG State Newsletter,
October 1976).

Although by the end of 1976 the UTG had lost its organisational impetus, and much
of the energy of the party had transferred to the newly formed Tasmanian Wilderness
Society (Walker, 1989, 167), the UTG continued to campaign. It mounted nine
electoral campaigns in all, with declining levels of success. The emergence of the
Australian Democrats, in August 1976, as a competitor party for the environmental
and socially liberal vote posed another problem for the UTG. The party went on
developing policy and building links with other environmental and political
groupings (including the Values Party) after 1976; however by 1979 its ‘We told you
so!' ad in the Tasmanian press signalled the formal end of the UTG (Walker, 1989,

The UTG was down, but the Green movement in Tasmania was not out. In 1983 one
of the UTG's last candidates, Dr Bob Brown, became the first Green Independent
Member of the Legislative Assembly. By 1989 he had been joined by four other
Greens. Greens held the balance of power in the lower house and they negotiated an
historic Accord with Labor. In 1992 Tasmania's second Green party was formally
established, with five MLAs already in parliament, and in 1996 Bob Brown became
Tasmania's first Green Senator in the federal Senate. New Zealand innovations

In New Zealand the first Green party (Values) was stronger than the UTG, but it took
longer for the second one (the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand) to achieve
success. However the Values Party almost didn't survive its first year. Once the
election night euphoria was over and they had recovered from their exhaustion, the
members of the new party had to consider what should happen next. New Zealand
went into its usual summer shut-down mode, but some Values people put out a
December newsletter reporting on the campaign and advising that a national
conference would be held in Wellington on Feb 24/25, 1973. Christchurch and
Dunedin had already held post-election debriefing meetings; regional conferences
were to be held in the Auckland region and in the lower North Island/top of the
South Island region. The February national conference was to discuss ‘organisation,
constitution, future directions, local government elections, proposals for a party
newspaper, etc.'

In the event, the February conference almost caused the end, rather than the
consolidation, of the Values Party. Guy Salmon, who had originally attacked Tony
Brunt after his inaugural speech, but who made contact with Values in his capacity
as a representative of the Youth Action Centre in Wellington, wrote a lengthy (eight
foolscap pages, single spaced) proposal on party organisation. It was entitled
‘ A Blueprint for Participation', and was prefaced with five more foolscap single-
spaced pages entitled ‘Organisation: A personal view'. The gist of both papers was
to argue against setting up a party structure with leaders, branches and a national
executive, and to advocate a totally decentralised, leaderless organisation. Such
arguments were consistent with the anarchist strain running through most of the
‘ new politics' groupings of the time. They were acceptable to Tony Brunt and Geoff
Neill, who endorsed Salmon's proposal to do away with leaders and devolve all
policymaking, decision-making and publicity to the regions, leaving only an
administrative secretariat in Wellington. This secretariat was not to have a
spokesperson role and was not to be able to lead or bind the party on policy or
organisational matters.

The debate on party structure recorded in the minutes of the conference shows that
on the one hand there was a strong will to believe in and endorse participatory,
community-based structures, which place a heavy emphasis on trust, power-sharing,
spontaneity, personal integrity and enthusiasm. On the other hand there was also a
significant concern expressed that a stronger organisational and democratic
framework, with elected rather than self-appointed leaders, was necessary to avoid
destructive anarchy and to get the Values message across effectively.

The ‘anarchist' tendency won the day, and the party entered what was to be a
seventeen-month experiment in radical devolution. Reflecting on the 1973
conference twenty-four years later, Dave Woodhams was still critical of the process
by which the decision was made, and its outcome. Salmon's motion was moved
without notice, and in Woodham's view the chair should have referred the decision
to electorate committees. Since Salmon was never seen again at a Values Party
meeting,6 Woodhams considered that the party was left with anarchy without the
anarchist, and that this was the first of a number of self-inflicted wounds endured by
the party. However in his view this anarchy led not to chaos but to stagnation, and
the first long-term effect of the lack of leadership and national co-ordination was a
loss of momentum due to loss of members and loss of confidence. The second and
more positive effect was that having experienced the limits of decentralisation the
newly established Green party made it part of its collective understanding and had
the lessons of the experience in mind when it approached creating a new decision-
making structure from the bottom up (Woodhams, 1997, 1).

An independent survey of nearly two hundred party members in Canterbury and
Otago in mid 1973 (Luff, 1974) showed that complete decentralisation, and
especially decapitation of the party, was not the preferred choice of rank and file
members. Luff found that while a large majority (85%) supported the re-organisation
of the party into thirteen autonomous regional bodies, an equally large majority
(84%) believed that leadership was necessary, and 60% of those in favour of
leadership felt that it was necessary all the time, not just in election year.

For all of 1973 and half of 1974, however, one person was to carry the responsibility
of keeping the party together without having the title or the power of ‘leader',
‘ chairperson' or ‘president'. Catherine Wilson (now Catherine Benland) became the
sole functionary of the ‘National Secretariat' set up to carry out the central
administrative functions of the party as defined in the Guidelines for Organisation
approved by the 1973 conference. In May 1973 she put out the first party Linkletter,
the newsletter that was to keep regions informed about each other, and about national
level issues. In the very first issue Wilson had a complaint about the effects of
‘ decentralisation' - specifically the lack of Values Party comment on the cancellation
of the proposed 1973 Springbok rugby tour, an issue which Values had campaigned
hard on and deserved to get some credit for.

Despite the gap at national level, branches were creative to begin with, with
Invercargill developing alternative transport ideas; Dunedin holding a ‘Greenprint
for Dunedin' meeting; Wainuiomata replanting trees after a native forest fire;
Napier organising a well-attended public forum on development plans for the
Ahuriri estuary (which according to the Dominion reporter quoted in the newsletter
was ‘ of the liveliest and possibly most effective exercises in democracy this
city has seen in years...') and doing a documentary survey of historic and interesting
buildings. (Was this the beginning of Napier's subsequent career as architectural Art
Deco capital of the Southern Hemisphere?). Thames was recycling glass and doing
creek clean-ups; while Auckland was co-sponsoring a seminar with Ecology Action,
marching against nuclear war on Hiroshima Day, and objecting to a proposed
dumpsite beside a beach. Members of the North Shore branch set up a women's
group which met in the day time, a transport group and a local body group, and
attended a course on public speaking and running meetings.
Timaru was involved in supporting a proposal to create a community centre, and
with a road safety campaign. However, Linkletter chose to excerpt a particular quote
from the Timaru newsletter, about the relative roles of community level and national,
level organising, which went as follows:

‘ The Values Party has two inter-linking parts - the social activities and the
political section. What has to be realised is that the community projects,
essential as they are, will only achieve so much. To undertake such things as
Zero Population Growth, penal reform, homosexual law reform and abortion
law reform, we need to gain power or to exercise enough power to get one of
the other parties to do what desperately needs to be done.'(Linkletter, No. 3,
August 1973).

Two months later (Linkletter was delayed for several reasons, including the late
return of branch survey forms and Wilson being involved in starting a feminist
group) it was estimated that total membership of the party was about six hundred, of
whom only one hundred and twenty eight were financial. By January 1974 Wilson
was editorialising thus:

‘ I see it, the problem of whether we are a decentralised collection of
environmental activists and liberal idealists or whether we are a viable
political party, which harassed our last national conference, remains
unresolved. Many whose eloquence was influential at the last conference
have since deserted our ranks - those with more stamina and faith must
reassess the decisions made at conference in the light of a year's further
experience.' (Linkletter, No. 6, Jan-Feb 1974, 10-11).

In the March-April 1974 Linkletter Wilson advised that it might be the last one due
to lack of support for the secretariat from the major centres. She then jettisoned the
Guidelines for Organisation rule regarding the impartiality of the secretariat to
advise that only one third of the thirty-six branches extant in mid-1973 were still
functioning, and she gave her analysis of why that was. This largely centred on the
power structure set up by the 1973 conference, with its lack of clear and effective
roles for the regional and national levels of the party. She also concluded
that "The party in its infancy was heavily dependent on the "charisma" and labour
input of Tony Brunt. The former was deliberately dispensed with by the intrepid
anarchists at the last National Conference...who may not have appreciated how much
of the party's success with the non-intellectual man on the street was due to this
aspect.' (Linkletter, No 7, March-April 1974, 2). It was at this time that a wry joke
on the leadership issue began to circulate, expressed by Dave Woodhams as ‘It was
widely rumoured at the time that a visiting Martian, wanting to contact the Values
Party, was overheard saying ‘Take me to your Post Office Box.' (Woodhams, 1978).
In April 1974 Wilson and Dave Woodhams, after consultation with Tony Brunt, took
it upon themselves to further contravene the 1973 Guidelines for Organisation. These
allowed for conferences to be held only if a region wanting to host a conference
obtained support for doing so from over two thirds of the other regions. They called
a national conference to be held at Massey University in Palmerston North on
August 24/25 1974. The conference duly took place, and Reg Clough was elected as
Leader of the party, and Cathy Wilson as Deputy Leader - the first female deputy
leader of a New Zealand political party. The party was restructured with a national
executive and a regional organisation based on the provinces and main cities of New
Zealand, processes for a more participatory style of decision making were discussed
and agreed to, and a national newsletter/paper was decided upon. (The first issue of
Values - later Turning Point - came out in September 1974.) Working committees at
the conference produced remits which were voted on - these remits provided broad
principles and a few specific details to guide the various policy and other working
groups and committees which were set up. Perhaps the most important group set up
at Palmerston North was the Working Group on Economic Policy - its achievements
are discussed in detail in Chapter Seven.

This time the reorganisation of the Values Party was to prove effective, and to enable
Values to lift its profile, increase its membership to around 2,000, raise sufficient
funds to employ two full-time staff. (There is no state financial assistance to political
parties in New Zealand.) It also conducted two more energetic and full-scale election
campaigns (1975 and 1978). The first official party organiser was Norman Smith. He
was appointed by the National Executive after the 1974 conference. Values achieved
this degree of efficient organisation while still operating a less formal and more
participatory discussion and decision-making style than the other parties, and
without losing its community activist role. Members continued to be heavily
involved with, and often to play a leading role in, community initiatives. These
ranged from Campaign Half Million, the national campaign to collect 500,000
signatures on a petition against introducing nuclear power to New Zealand, through
to countless local level recycling schemes, tree planting projects, day-care centres
and the like. This community activism was entirely in line with Objects of the party
stated in its 1976 constitution, which began with the statement that ‘The long-term
objective of the Values Party is to build a just, sustainable, community-based
society.'(Emphasis added.) The style of the party also continued to be more
exuberant and publicity-focussed than that of the other parties, with street theatre
events still playing a large role in getting the message across. Examples include a
mock funeral procession in Wellington on the proposed route of the new motorway
(which cut through an historic cemetery), and ‘lead mining' on the car exhaust
polluted streets of Christchurch. Christchurch also sold ‘dirty' postcards to raise
funds and draw attention to Christchurch's smog problem - the cards showed
pictures of the city under a typical blanket of smog.

The second election manifesto, Beyond Tomorrow, was another first in political
communication in New Zealand. A substantial document (90 pages) it was more of a
book than a manifesto, with its full colour cover of children on a rocky shore and its
liberal illustration with black and white photographs, cartoons and line drawings.
Also different and unusual were its pithy quotes from Values gurus like Gandhi,
Martin Luther King, E.F. Schumacher and J.S. Mill. There were also quotes from
pop songs and folk songs as apposite as Joni Mitchell's ‘Big Yellow Taxi' (‘So it
always seems to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone They paved
paradise and put up a parking lot.'). The manifesto sold for $NZ1:65 retail - and so
many were sold, lots of them by members going door to door, that the sales financed
the 1975 Values election campaign. It undoubtedly helped secure Values 5.3% of the
vote in that election.

If the Values Party had been in Germany, this vote would have won it over twenty
seats in the Bundestag. However, under the New Zealand first-past-the-post electoral
system, without a concentrated geographical support base in any electorate, Values
had an impossible task. The party's membership, funds and organisation grew
between 1975 and 1978, and it reached a polling high of 12% with candidate Gwen
Struik in the Nelson by-election of 1976. It also mounted a strong 1978 election
campaign under its very personable leader Tony Kunowski. But ultimately it was the
victim of negative voting to try and oust conservative National Party Prime Minister
Robert Muldoon. Even financial members of the Values Party voted strategically for
Labour in an (unsuccessful) attempt to get National out, and some left the party for
Labour for pragmatic reasons. One departing member explained her desertion to the
Leader as follows: ‘It's not that I'm wrapt in Labour's policies or vision for the
future - but because I think there's more chance of actually being part of a power
structure and able to influence events. Again, my apologies for deserting you.'
(Kunowski correspondence).

The Values vote dropped to 2.8%, and the post-election conference at Rathkeale
College in the Wairarapa in 1979 was thick with recriminations, proposals for radical
reform, and personality clashes. There was heated debate over whether, or how, the
Values Party was ‘socialist'. A motion proclaiming that it was socialist was won -
but the chief proponents of the motion, a group of prominent Christchurch activists,
lost their campaign to get Tony Kunowski re-elected as leader. The leadership went
to Aucklander Margaret Crozier. The shine of being the first female leader of a New
Zealand political party was somewhat dulled by having to cope with the split in the
party that followed. It was the ‘socialists' who withdrew their energy - a big loss to a
party already demoralised by election defeat. Having chaired a conference in which
the anarchist left leaving anarchy behind, Dave Woodhams now chaired a conference
in which he saw a ‘socialist' party devoid of socialists come in to being.
(Woodhams, 1997, 5).

Crozier did her best to take a conciliatory approach and bring the party together
again, but it was not possible. Membership dwindled throughout the 1980s, and by
the end of the decade it was down to two hundred or so. Values was not able to
mount a full electoral slate in any of the three 1980s elections, and in 1990 those
remaining in the party agreed to merge with the newly formed Green groups which
had contested the 1989 local body elections with some success. The current Green
Party of Aotearoa New Zealand was born, and contested the 1990 general election,
obtaining 6.9% of the national vote from the 71 seats (out of 97) where it fielded
candidates (Vowles, 1991, 8). The genealogical connection between the two parties
was formally recognised in 1990, when the Green Party applied for - and got - a full
entitlement to state broadcasting time for party advertisements. This was on the basis
that it was not a new party formed less than a year before the poll, but rather an old
one that had contested six previous elections. (The same genealogical/institutional
link was established between the UTG and the Greens in Australia when Greens in
Tasmania wished to contest the 1990 federal election and needed a party registration
to run under - thus the last election technically contested by the UTG was the 1990
federal election.)Global connectionsThe Values Party and the UTG had therefore been born, had flourished and had declined before Die Grünen in West Germany came into existence. Values' heyday was well over before Die Grünen brought the concept, policies and practices of Green party politics to world attention after its accession to the Bundestag in 1983
Attention has focussed (not unreasonably) on the German Green parliamentary
pioneers. Most observers of Green politics are therefore unaware that it was in New
Zealand - a country which is historically low on intellectual debate, but one which
has high levels of education, a passion for O.E. (Overseas Experience), and a
tradition of innovative and practical DIY (Do It Yourself) approaches to all spheres
of life (from house repairs to the House of Parliament) - that a new political
philosophy received its first full articulation in party form.

Word that this was happening was to get to Australia in the early 1970s, and to
Europe a little later, and to have some influence (impossible to assess how much) on
Green politics there. The first Australian party with which Values made contact was
not the United Tasmania Group, but the Australia Party, which was set up in 1969,
largely on a civil rights and anti-Vietnam war platform. By mid-1973 the Australia
Party was sending copies of its fortnightly magazine Reform to the Values Party, and
in August 1973 Linkletter stated ‘Happy fourth birthday to the Australia Party, our
counterpart across the Tasman Sea.' It was not until mid-1974 that Linkletter
recorded a query about Values from the chairman of the University of Tasmania
Students Association. In the July/August 1974 issue there was a synopsis of a letter
from Geoff Holloway, State Secretary of the UTG, who wrote to say that Values had
more in common with the UTG than with the Australia Party, ‘whose ecological
awareness is debatable.' Holloway informed Values that the UTG had taken on the
ideas expressed in The Ecologist's Blueprint for Survival. It was setting up a
state-wide, structured organisation. He enclosed UTG newsletters and other
literature. This was to be the beginning of regular UTG/Values exchanges.

The UTG was also receiving reports from foreign groups, mostly environmental
ones, and the UTG State Newsletter of June 1975 gives some details and also
comments ‘Note: the Values Party doesn't get a mention in the FOE (NZ) report.'
In 1976 Beyond Tomorrow was on sale for $A3 in the Tasmanian Environment
Centre in Hobart, and the UTG newsletters lifted quotes and cartoons from it.
The UTG did a round up of green politics elsewhere in the world early in 1977, and
stated enthusiastically if over-optimistically ‘New Zealand - the Green Party is the
third party!' It went on to say that Values had a programme very similar to the Green
group ‘Écologie et Survie' in Alsace (UTG State Newsletter Feb/March 1977).
Tasmanian green activist Kevin Kiernan had visited New Zealand and seen Values
ads on billboards, plus a display of UTG literature in the Environment Centre in
Christchurch. The same newsletter also corrected misinformation given in
The Ecologist that the UTG had changed its name to the Values Party of Tasmania.
(There had been an unofficial approach to Values asking if it would mind if the UTG
took the Values name - in the end, however, the newsletter editor informed readers,
it was the Australia Party which joined with the New Liberal movement and changed
its name to Values). The Values Party International Secretary's report on the subject
states that the Australia Party's economic policy is ‘to the right of ours' and their
support declining. When the executive of the Australia Party wrote to ask if Values
would mind if it took the name it was decided to spell out the differences between
the two parties and leave it to the Australians to decide.

Values made contact with the People Party, (established in the United Kingdom in
February 1973), very early on. This was through Britons who had experienced
Values in New Zealand returning home and spreading the news. In 1975 when the
People Party decided to change its name the two main options considered were
‘ Values' and ‘Ecology' (Parkin, 1989, 219).

By the time a list of Values Party international contacts was typed up (there is an
undated contact list document - it was probably made in 1976) it was in touch with
sixteen groups in the UK, including the Ecology Party and Friends of the Earth.
The contact with FOE was especially strong as the then FOE director and
Ecology/Green Party candidate Jonathon Porritt is the son of a former Governor
General of New Zealand, and makes regular visits to New Zealand. There were
thirteen contacts with Europe, including France, Belgium, West Germany, Sweden,
Cyprus, Italy, Greece and Denmark, twenty-seven with the USA, nine with Canada,
eight with Africa/Asia/South America and nine with Australia and the Pacific.

Most of these contacts were with environmental organisations of various kinds, some
were with ‘new politics' groups, and the rest with individuals (often expatriate New
Zealanders) in those places. The penchant of middle class New Zealanders for living,
working and travelling overseas for a few years (generally before returning home to
raise a family) was important not just in bringing ‘green' information back to New
Zealand, but also in spreading ‘Values' politics abroad. (1990s Green Party
Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons was living in Switzerland when she cast her first
Values vote.)

Values appointed an International Secretary at Easter 1976, and the first incumbent
in the job, Dave Straton, began reporting back on his contacts via the party
newspaper, Vibes. In April 1977 the paper ran a cover story headlined ‘Values-type
movements gaining ground in Europe', in which Straton reported on the actions and
successes of political ecologists in France and Germany. He led with the success of
Mouvement Écologie in the March 1977 elections in France (an average vote of 2%
across the country, with 15% or more in some places). He also claimed that ‘the
straight politicians are falling over each other to kiss trees instead of babies'. Other
news was that Teddy Goldsmith had been appointed ‘ecological editor' of the French
news magazine L'Express, and that one of his first moves was to commission an
article on the Values party (Straton, 1977, 1).

In June 1977 Straton made a formal report to the party on his activities as
International Secretary. He entitled it ‘Whole Earth Values', and it was a roundup of
green achievements elsewhere in the world. These included the successes of
‘É cologie et Survie' in Alsace in getting an average 10% of the vote, and of the
Ecology Party local body candidates in Great Britain, where two out of the six who
stood were elected. According to Straton ‘One of them specifically referred to
Values in his election leaflet, as proof that ecology parties can be successful.'
Straton comments ‘This is the very sort of thing that justifies us spending $500 on
international correspondence. Whenever a new movement is starting, numbers are
small, and the knowledge that others have had some success elsewhere can give
people courage to keep going in spite of empty meetings and other setbacks. We can
benefit too: donations from overseas are starting to trickle in as people realise what a
boost ecological politics will get world-wide when we win an election. Rather like
the boost that state socialists got in 1917.'

To make sure that knowledge of the ‘Values Movement' spread beyond the shores of
New Zealand Straton was busy pushing Beyond Tomorrow out into the world.
The Ecology Party considered air-freighting 200 copies over to use as their
manifesto, but rejected it as too expensive. However, a class at the University of
Calgary, Canada, was reportedly using it as a text, and Straton didn't have enough
copies to fill the bulk orders he received from bookshops in Calgary and Hobart.

Seventy-five copies had been sold in the U.S.A., and a group of supporters was
‘ translating' it into ‘American' for wider sale. A New Zealand feminist working at
the United Nations in New York (who was later to become a Green city councillor in
Wellington, and then a Green MP) was sent a stock of Beyond Tomorrow to
distribute. Straton reported that he was also investigating the feasibility of someone
like John Lennon releasing the Values 1975 election song, ‘It's a Question of
Values', which had been quite a hit when released by a local pop star in New
Zealand. In Straton's correspondence file (Box 1, Acc 85-11, 10/1, Alexander
Turnbull Library) we find that he contributed articles on Values to the US magazine
Environment Action Bulletin. Also that an article in the US Friends of the Earth
paper Not Man Apart had generated lots of requests for more information. Straton
noted that references to Values were starting to turn up in the most amazing places -
he had just received an Italian book entitled Spiritualismo e criminalita that
mentioned Values. In just two months in 1977 he sent seventy-seven copies of
Beyond Tomorrow to nineteen different countries, namely Finland, Iceland, the Cook
Islands, Belgium, France, Japan, San Salvador, Yugoslavia, Germany, Canada,
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Ghana, Northern Ireland, Eire, Thailand, Holland and
the UK.

France was not spared the Values message - the first contact was with French
political ecologist Brice Lalonde who joined the crew of the Fri, a boat protesting
against French nuclear testing in the Pacific in 1973. Also in the crew was a member
of the Values Party, who allegedly persuaded Lalonde that a political party was
needed to bring about ecological reform. On his return to France Lalonde convinced
Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth) to contest elections, and stood himself in
the Paris by-election of 1976, receiving 6.6% of the vote. (Values Party, Acc 85-11,
Box 1, 10/13, Alexander Turnbull Library). Straton's report records that an
expatriate American who was a member of Values was living in Paris and was
translating Beyond Tomorrow into French. Copies of Beyond Tomorrow were sent to
the French Mouvement Écologie when it formed. Heinz Dessau, the International
Secretary who followed Straton, says that Professor Jean Chesneaux, a French
historian with an interest in the Pacific region, was one of his most invaluable
contacts (Dessau, pers comm, 17.10.91). There was also contact with Germany -
initially with group called ‘Work Group Alternative Development' and with a
German branch of the World Citizens's Party.

Virginia Horrocks succeeded Dessau as International Secretary in November 1977.
She also had a busy schedule of responding to foreign queries (including one from
Puerto Rico on how to set up an ecology party), receiving foreign publications that
mentioned Values and providing articles for same, and receiving foreign visitors
(including the president of the Australian Democrats.)

In 1978 the Values Party decided to send its own ambassador out into the world, in
the form of party Deputy Leader Margaret Crozier. A special appeal for funds for
this purpose was made, and Crozier set off on a whirlwind three-week tour of the
USA and the UK. Her activities overseas included: speaking to two hundred at
a Friends of the Earth party in San Francisco; a lunch meeting with staff of the
California state government; addressing fifty environmental lobbyists in
Washington D.C.; meeting with New Yorkers wanting to set up a Values-type party;
interviews with alternative media; small group discussions with people interested in
appropriate technology, economic alternatives and other green subjects; and
attending three conferences.

She summarised the significance of her trip and the Values connection thus:
‘ New Zealand is back pioneering for the world, incorporating changing social
and economic understandings into a political programme with the Values
Party...The conviction of party members that Values has an international role
to play has been justified...right round the globe there are groups of people
working with similar aims: to involve the public in more satisfying and
sustainable directions within a decaying world economy.'(Crozier, 1978, 3).

The record thus shows that the first Greens were aware of their pioneering, global
role - and that they were eager for contact and confirmation. The highly educated
members of the UTG and Values were strongly motivated and very able when it
came to getting the latest in information from overseas and sending out their own in
return. They were also aware that they had something to offer which was new and
unique, namely party platforms based on ecological values and party processes based
on new definitions of democracy. There was a consciousness of international
relations now being established on a new dimension, characterised by the metaphor
used by Dave Straton in his first report - ‘Spaceship Earth'. This sense of the
connectedness of world problems and the need to work across national boundaries
with a global consciousness has been a hallmark of Green politics ever since.

By the 1980s European and American Greens were visiting New Zealand and
Australia to share their experiences of the new politics (Petra Kelly came in 1983),
and by the 1990s (as advances in communications technologies allowed) they were
able to do their networking in real time, on a global scale. But before the means,
and driving it, came the will. The story of the origins and development of the first
two Green parties clearly demonstrates the strength of that will to make global
alternatives and the solutions to global problems.

Who were the people who exhibited such determination to tackle the world's
problems? In the next chapter I examine what is known about the first Greens as
people, and how this may have affected their political orientation.


1. UTG and Tasmanian Greens activist Chris Harries sums up Jones' contribution to original green thinking and practice as ‘ should be noted that Dick Jones's most important contribution was his recognition that Tasmania's environment was being wrecked owing to the state's ill-conceived economic path. His primary focus on changing the economic direction of the state was critically important to our eventual success...Jones was also professionally an ecologist and therefore espoused the concept of interconnectedness and thus the need for broadband policies, including social policies.' (Harries, pers. comm., 14.6.97).

2. New Zealand's major conservation organisation, the Royal Forest and Bird Protection
Society, organised three petitions to save Lake Manapouri. The third one, which was
presented to Parliament in 1970, attracted 264,907 signatures - a New Zealand record to that date.

A Committee of Inquiry was set up to look at the raising of the lake, and presented its report to Parliament in October 1970. While it confirmed conservationist fears that raising the lake would cause serious and permanent damage to the shoreline, it also held that the government might be bound by its contract with Conzinc. The petition then went to a select committee, which in June 1971 recommended that the lake not be raised ‘in the meantime'. On September 7 the Prime Minister announced that the raising of the lake would be postponed.

In 1972 Labour made saving the lake a major election policy and this was highly popular, especially in the south of the South Island, where the lake is situated. Two ‘blue ribbon' seats that had always gone to the National Party went to Labour for the first and last time. The seat of Invercargill went to Labour for three years, to be recaptured for National in 1975 by Norman Jones, the founder and leader of the Southland Save Manapouri Campaign (Peat, 1994).

3. The extent to which New Zealand as a whole ‘opened to the world' in this period can be judged by the information given in Plate 100 in the New Zealand Historical Atlas
(McKinnon, 1997). Prior to 1961 no more than 100,000 people, including foreign visitors,
entered or left the country in any one year. That began to change in the 1960s, until by 1991 the numbers exceeded two million per year. (The total population of New Zealand in 1991 was around 3.5 million.)

4. The New Zealand Web Directory (1999) (www. claims that New
Zealanders now have the highest per capita Internet usage in the world. No comparative
figures are given to support this claim, but it is plausible - and there is obviously an
enthusiasm on the part of suppliers of services and their users to make it so.

5. Considering this summation of his political philosophy twenty five years later, Brunt was at pains to point out that he ‘...did not mean ‘humanism' in its atheistic sense', as he has never been an atheist.' (Brunt, pers comm., 12.5.97)

6. Not only did Salmon cease forthwith to participate in the Values Party, he then quickly
switched his political allegiance. The non-executive ‘National Secretariat' set up in line with his re-organisation proposal consisted of one woman, Cathy Wilson. In the second newsletter which she sent out after the conference, she noted that ‘...Guy Salmon, prominent at the 1973 national conference and the originator of the plan to do away with a national leader, has been elected to the executive of the youth-oriented National Party "ginger group", Pol-Link...'(Linkletter No. 2, 1973, 5).

Within two years of this about-face Salmon had obtained a position as the first full-time paid employee of the Native Forest Action Council, an executive and leadership role which he has retained for over twenty years. He carried it on into the Maruia Society that was formed from a merger of NFAC and the Environmental Defence Society. During this time he has acted as a consultant and contributor to New Right societies and think tanks, including the Mont Pelerin Society and the Tasman Institute. In 1995 he became a founder and leader of the Progressive Greens party, which contested the 1996 general election with a ‘more market' approach to solving environmental and social problems. With a small list and no constituency candidates it won 0.24% of the vote.

Given the tenor of Salmon's post-Values career it is reasonable to ask whether his proposal to the 1973 conference was a deliberate (and very clever) attempt at sabotaging the new political party. Alternatively, it may merely have represented the terminal point of a very brief left/green phase in his political development.


You can also view Upcoming Events   Past Events

Global Green Federations

Get Involved

Social Networks