Cunliffe backs down, cowed by the Greens and Winston doesn’t think they can win

David Cunliffe really can’t take a trick right now.

Yesterday he was telling everyone that the Greens wouldn’t be first cab off the rank and now today he is reversing that position.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has dismissed suggestions of a cooling in relations between his party and the Greens, saying the Greens would be the obvious first choice for Labour to strike a coalition with.

Yesterday, Cunliffe refused to say whether he would negotiate with the Greens before NZ First.

But today he appeared to back down from those statements, dismissing speculation that tension had arisen between the two allies.

The backdown comes after the Greens lodged an official complaint with Labour over outspoken MP Shane Jones’ attacks on the party.

Yesterday, Cunliffe said he would work with whatever cards the voters delivered after the September 20 election.

“That may indeed quite likely be with the Greens, it may well be with Winston first … NZ First.”

But he would not say the Greens would be his first choice, saying there was “no preordained order”.

This morning, he told Firstline talking with the Greens first was the logical step, if in a position to form a Government.

“What I’ve said is that we’ll be in conversations with all potential coalition partners and obviously that includes the Greens. I went further than that, I said the first people we talk to will be the largest of our potential coalition partners which obviously is the Greens.” ?

What is it Cunliffe? Greens or Winston first? What is interesting is that Cunliffe gave away just exactly how he speaks of NZ First in that sentence…it is always Winston First…he let that slip.

Winston Peters on the other hand knows that Labour and the Greens can’t win and is saying so.

Winston Peters doesn’t think a Labour/Greens coalition can win the September 20 election.

His NZ First Party could play a critical role in the formation of the next government, and he still won’t say which side he will favour if he holds the balance of power in the next parliament.

His comments today follow Labour leader David Cunliffe saying on Monday the Greens wouldn’t be his automatic first choice as a coalition partner.

Mr Cunliffe told reporters he would work with whatever cards the voters dealt: “That may indeed quite likely be with the Greens, it may well be with NZ First.”

Mr Peters says Labour’s strategists must be worried because they must know they can’t win with the Greens.

“They know full well that those two parties can’t get up in this election,” he said on Radio New Zealand.

“Some people should get their hard hats on, because together they won’t make it.”