Watkins: Labour and Greens now friends with benefits, with a bit of cheating on the side

Tracy Watkins reviews yesterday’s announcement by the Labour party and the Green party.

Is the Labour-Greens deal what they call the political equivalent of friends with benefits?  The agreement to join forces up to and including the next election campaign apparently comes with no strings attached. The deal foreshadows areas of joint cooperation and policy formation, and maybe even a joint campaign come the next election.

But once the votes are in, all bets are off. The Greens wore their heart on their sleeve at Tuesday’s announcement and talked up the certainty of a political marriage post-election. But with a resurgent Winston Peters lurking in the background, Labour leader Andrew Little was not prepared to commit.

To be fair, most people probably thought Labour and the Greens were already a thing. Their cooperation deal mostly seems to formalise what has happened on an ad hoc basis over the years. So on the surface it shouldn’t be such a big deal. But it is and you don’t need a particularly long memory to understand why.

Most people are laughing their tits off. Labour has just poisoned themselves with the toxic Greens.

It was only 2014 – the last election campaign in fact – when a bid to stitch up a similar deal blew up in the Greens face because of the internal battle taking place within Labour over whether it should be moving to the left or the right to grow its vote.

There was also the small matter of not wanting to put the Greens ahead of Peters as a potential suitor given NZ First’s past record of flexing its muscle at the expense of its minor party rival. But there was always a strong whiff of hypocrisy in Labour’s stance given the number of times it totted up the Labour, Greens, NZ First vote to convince voters it had a credible chance of winning the next election.

On that basis, Tuesday’s announcement may make sense. Voters now know that Labour plus the Greens adds up to more than Labour plus none. Labour is hoping that will be the game changer.

But Labour and Green voters probably had that equation figured in their head anyway. The voters who didn’t are more likely swinging National and NZ First voters. Little may have given them a powerful reason not to tick Labour any more.

Yep it changed the game. It guaranteed a fourth term for National.

Tracy Watkins is right people no longer feel they need to vote for Labour. Watch NZ First surge in the polls, along with National.

All this shows though, just days after the budget that Labour and the Greens have no idea how to beat National and so have joined together the A Grade spastics Kiwi cricket team with the B Grade spastics Kiwi cricket team. It doesn’t make them the Black Caps, it just makes them a bigger team of spastics.


– Fairfax


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