Shame Shaw is clear that he isn’t part of this government

They did it, and here I am as well

Lisa Owen: After 27 years in the wilderness, the Green Party have government ministers for the first time. So they’ve gained, but what have they given up? The Green Party leader, James Shaw, is with me in the studio now. What do you think of the deal you got?

James Shaw: I’m delighted with it. I mean, like you said, after 27 years in the wilderness, and the Greens have a great affinity for the wilderness, of course, we now have government ministers, and that is a huge gain for us.

So you’ve got three ministers outside of cabinet, one undersecretary. New Zealand First got four ministers inside cabinet and one undersecretary. How fair do you reckon the carve-up is?

Well, I don’t think of it as a carve-up. I think about what is the arrangement that we’ve got that enables us to work on the things that we campaigned on – everybody knows what we campaigned on – and that ensures that as a small party, we survive the experience of government. If you look at the history of MMP in New Zealand, it is littered with small parties that have gone into government but not quite made it out the others side. Because this is our first experience, I think the arrangement that we’ve got means that we can deliver on the promises that we made in the campaign and have a good first time in government.

Yeah, because MMP is all about proportionality. Do you think those proportions are right, though?

Yes. I mean, if you look at New Zealand First, they were holding the balance between National on one side and Labour and us on the other-

Because they would go with either.

Yep, that’s right. And so I think that the arrangement that they’ve got with four ministers, us with three, them with one undersecretary, us also with one, I mean, that seems proportional to me.

Do you feel like equals in this relationship – that all three parties are equal?

Well, there’s a different status, obviously, between being in cabinet versus being outside cabinet, but in practical terms, it actually makes very little difference at all. I mean, our ministers will be in cabinet committees, which is where a lot of the detail gets thrashed out. Our ministers will have to go into the cabinet meetings to present their papers when it comes to that part of the arrangement. As Jacinda said in your interview with her, all three parties need to have a very, very high degree of consensus about anything because, actually, it requires all of our votes to pass anything. So this is going to be a government of consensus, which, of course, has been something that has been very important to the Greens for a very long time.

Well, that’s kind of interesting, because Winston got up and made his announcement. He said, ‘I’m going into government with Labour.’ Full stop. No mention of you guys at all. What did you make of that in the way he couched it?

Well, I mean, I have no particular opinion about it, to tell you the truth. He is going into government with Labour. It’s a true statement. We are in an arrangement to support-

But, hey, none of you can be in government without you. It takes three to make this government, yet you get no mention and there’s been no chit-chat with Winston Peters and you as the leader of the Green Party.

I have to say, it’s been a busy few days, and, in fact, I haven’t even got to respond to half the business that I’ve had to deal with in the last couple of days as well. I mean, obviously, we’ll be talking to each other over the course of the coming days and weeks. But, you know, my focus has been on trying to get set up to do the stuff that we need to do.

Well, I mean, I have to say, we live on scraps here Lisa.   We’re Labour’s bitches and we do what we’re told.

Sheesh.

Okay, so whose call was it that you be outside of cabinet? Was that one of Winston Peters’ criteria for going into this arrangement?

Look, the negotiations between Labour and New Zealand First were confidential, so I don’t have any [in]sight about those arrangements.

It’s beyond embarrassing.

 

– The Nation

 


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