Labour and Green’s MOU date night – the morning after


Once the honeymoon period is over, the agreement will come head-to-head with reality.

The reality is the two parties are still vying for the same votes. The agreement simply means they have to be more polite about it. That is where things could get tricky. Labour still needs to grow its vote well above the mid-30s to give voters assurance it will not be a weak leader in any coalition Government. The Greens also want to grow their vote to ensure they outweigh NZ First and are Labour’s first choice. But if the agreement simply means the existing votes move around between the Greens and Labour, it will be useless.

In 2014, the Green Party was the least of Labour’s problems. It was the random collection of others a low-polling Labour would have needed to form a Government – from New Zealand First to the ill-fated Internet-Mana alliance. Things started to look a bit like the Addams Family. And for some reason, voters were put off by the prospect of the Addams Family running the country.

For some reason?  I hope Red Claire is being sarcastic there. 

The deal has at least demonstrated Little’s grip on his caucus. There is a chunk in that caucus which despises the Greens. Some even call them mean names like “our furry friends”.

Yet Little has got things to the stage where even Damien O’Connor – whose nickname is “Chainsaw” because of his advocacy for logging on the West Coast – managed to use the word “positive” to describe the development. That was done through gritted teeth, but it was still done.

Little has managed to drive it home that the ultimate goal is winning and Labour will have do whatever that takes. In that respect he has learned from Key, who swallowed an entire degustation menu of dead rats in the lead-up to the 2008 election, from Working for Families, the nuclear-free policy, the Maori seats and interest-free student loans.

Encouragingly for Labour, there are signs the Greens have accepted this as well. How else to explain Metiria Turei’s sudden embrace of doing “dirty deals” in electorates to help a Labour candidate win or try to stave off National’s partner, United Future leader Peter Dunne?

Labour has already started muttering about a deal in Auckland Central, where National’s Nikki Kaye won by 600 votes in 2014 over Labour’s Jacinda Ardern. Ardern only came within coo-ee of Kaye because 70 per cent of Green Party voters in the electorate gave her their tick. That was no small number – the Green Party got 100 more party votes in Auckland Central than Labour.

Pulling Denise Roche off the ballot paper might make sense for Labour. But if the Greens do not have a candidate they cannot take part in public debates and that makes it harder to get the Green message out.

It is an even starker story in Wellington Central, where Green co-leader James Shaw stood in 2014. Labour’s Grant Robertson took the seat – again courtesy of Green Party voters. The Greens got 11,000 party votes there – 2000 more than Labour. If they wanted to be mischievous the Greens could argue it should be Robertson who stands aside to give their co-leader an electorate. The Greens will not do that, but they will be very reluctant to give up standing in either of those electorates.

That said, the Green Party cannot refuse to put any flesh of its own on the line. The deal delivered far less than the Greens wanted. The party has not even secured any “right of first refusal” clause on post-coalition talks. But it was the Green Party which pushed for the agreement and did so fairly aggressively.

The best thing about this arrangement is that it will come to tears.  For no other reason than one of the partners will be getting a better deal out of it, and the internal stresses will be such that something will have to give.   We have a good year and a half of mocking this civil union and watching it fall apart.  If it lasts that long.


– Claire Trevett, NZ Herald


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  • Dan

    I see that Andy has attended the Greens Annual Conference.

    “Both Little and Shaw played up the tub-thumping rhetoric that “change was coming”, however no policy was announced.

    “Little told the party that the partnership promised to be slick. ‘We have to be disciplined and focused as well as bold and courageous.'” Yes you do Andy, good luck there.

    But then there was the gem of truth from Andy, “New Zealanders won’t trust us with the responsibilities of government unless we show them we are ready.” Yep! You must show that you are ready. But are they? Well…no, in typical lefty rhetoric, “…he gave no details about how the pact would further co-ordinate over the next 18 months. He said a government he led would be “world-leading” on climate change, and would fight child poverty – both points gaining heavy applause. ”

    Then Shaw, “”It’s now game on. Our MOU with Labour offers New Zealanders a crystal clear alternative to the increasingly drama-prone Government.”

    Crystal clear that they are still unfit for government. And as for drama prone? There is more drama in the opposition benches than a night out at a Summer Shakespeare show. They think they are on the outside looking in but in actual fact the window is a mirror. The only crystal clarity is an increasingly viable NZF opposition me thinks.

    • OneTrack

      “world-leading” on climate change..”

      In other words he is going to do what the Greens (Metiria) tells him to do and will trash our economy in a brilliant example of virtue signalling. Vote Labour, get Green.

      • Dan

        Basically. Three things were mentioned by Shaw in his address
        “New Zealanders would catch trams into work at a clean-tech start-up, have family outings in their electric cars and swim in rivers on their way home.”

        Real “world leading” stuff there.

      • OT Richter

        My thoughts exactly – first I can recall of Labour talking about climate change. Pulling a ‘Cunliffe’ by the sound of things and telling the audience of the day what they want to hear.

      • kayaker

        This morning on The Nation, Meteria used the term “climate pollution”. How does the climate get polluted? New one on me.

  • johnnyB

    Perhaps Labour sees themselves so cash and organisationally strapped that they are in danger of being embarassed come election time in certain electorates. Now they will be able to utilise the Greens to do some of the footwork and in certain electorates let the Greens run the Electorate campaigns while being able to save face saying its part of the MOU.

    • XCIA

      Perhaps they have engaged with the Gweens to give themselves a better percentage chance of blagging money by way of the old funds for favours trick.

  • Second time around

    We’ll only be world leading in climate change if our economy is big enough to support replacing the current vehicle fleet with electric vehicles and our credit rating is sufficient that we can borrow to harvest the tides or glaze our wastelands in solar panels. That is where Andy’s stand on free trade agreements will really make the difference, and the Greens’ penchant for opposing agriculture will also have a major impact. There is no practical way they can oppose TPPA. be climate friendly, house everybody and eliminate poverty while still maintaining our current standard of living.

    • Dog Breath

      I think you will find the plan is actually to lower the living standards of the so called rich so that those below a yet to be defined threshold can raise their standard of living. It’s called redistribution of wealth where the so called poor benefit from the efforts of the so called rich. The problem they face however is that the % of actual poor is low because despite what they say the vast majority of people are much better off today than where they were 8 years ago. The Greens and Labour are relying on a number of middle NZ who think they may benefit from this redistribution, voting for them. What these voters will discover is they are considered rich under the redistribution scheme that the threshold is below their income and they will see a significant part of their hard eared income taken off them via tax to fund the redistribution. Regretfully there are a number of middle NZ who will be lured into this trap and will spend three years regretting their vote.

  • kayaker

    I think the tears have already started if the interview with Lisa Owen this morning is anything to go by. Meteria is in charge, Angry has conceded. Material Girl had to rescue Angry like a mother watching her kid being beaten up in a schoolyard fight.

    • Wolfman Jack

      I just watched this on your recommendation and it is something new in politics; in the first few minutes I likened it to a mother with her mentally challenged son trying to get a loan from the bank. Practising for when they come for our money. Just sayin’

    • Wolfman Jack
      • Warren

        Just watched the interview. If these two muppets ever get any where near governing this country, we are doomed. All they could bang on about is how bad the country is. They really need to get about and see that this country is humming. Ok some things need to improve, but these two muppets are on another planet. Dirty rivers ,pollution, homelessness, poverty, give me a break.

  • Nige.

    The dopiest thing about the whole sorded affair is that labour think they and the greens can just make their voters interchange the same way that some act voters have with national.

    The truth is that their core can’t group think

  • twittertit

    I think it says a lot that people are still talking about the patheticness of this agreement days after it was announced. It feels like the most talked about Labour policy in forever. And it’s worthless.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Angry Andy Green pandering. “World leaders in climate change”. Now that sounds expensive with the ultimate result of an extended print of Green funny money. They haven’t even begun the first tussle yet about whether it is a Green/Labour or Labour/Green MOU. The fact is Green plus Red makes only brown hence the Mud Mob. Though the Watermelon label does seem closer with an unpalatable green outer containing a tasteless mushy interior with plenty of pips.

    • Bryan

      brown mud here in Christchurch is called “liquifaction” the crap that comes out of the ground

  • Wheninrome

    Apparently voters have now got a real choice, they can either vote labour or the greens for change, so the words go, how is that going to help, there will be some really confused lefties out there, what to do , so much choice, so little time, they might think it easier to sit on the sideline and do nothing.