Jim Bolger comes out calling on Greens to talk to National

Jim Bolger, the last National leader who had to negotiate with Winston Peters, says the Greens should have a chat with National.

The Green Party has a responsibility to talk to National about forming the next government if it’s serious about a clean, green New Zealand, says former prime minister Jim Bolger.

Bolger told TVNZ’s Q+A programme National had made no secret it wanted to talk to the Green Party, which had as much leverage as NZ First if it chose to use it.

“What I’m really hoping is that the Green Party will step up and accept that opportunity and … the responsibility,” he said. “If they’re in the political mix and campaigned to have an influence on the government then they should as another small party talk to both sides.”

Bolger is a former National Prime Minister who negotiated the first MMP coalition with NZ First in 1996.

The Greens had campaigned on influencing the country’s approach “on a whole range of environmental issues and some issues of poverty”, Bolger said.

It was” a pathetic argument” to suggest they should stay out of governmentbecause they might suffer the same fate as the Māori Party, which lost its seats in Parliament after three terms in power with National.

The Greens have been in Parliament for 18 years, nine of those under a centre-left Labour government, but have never had a seat around the cabinet table.

“Why are you there if you’re not going to go into government and do something? Why parade up and down the country about your ambitions and your goals and your hopes and aspirations and say we won’t go into government, we’ll just be a talk shop and just prattle on? So you have to go into government if you’re going to influence the outcomes,” Bolger said.

The country is currently in limbo while NZ First leader Winston Peters decides which of the two major parties his party will do a deal with.

NZ First’s options include a coalition with either National or Labour, or sitting on the crossbenches and supporting either party with a confidence and supply deal only. That would mean legislation outside the confidence and supply agreement would have to be negotiated vote by vote.

Senior National MPs have made repeated overtures through the media that its door is open to the Greens, who would have more leverage in negotiations with the centre-right than the centre-left.

The Greens have not spent a single minute in government in 18 years. They’ve wedded themselves to Labour who have shanked them on more than one occasion. What better way to signal that they won’t be taken for granted than for them to at least start talks with National.

If they don’t then they stand accused of not practising what they preach, that climate change and the environment are the most important things we need to deal with. By refusing to talk to National they are telling us that the environment isn’t as important to them as social policies.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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