So the Greens want a pre-election coalition deal and a formal working together for election.
And Labour don’t.
That doesn’t mean that there’s a big split between the 2 parties, any more than different policies on Deep Sea Drilling do – if they agreed on everything, they’s be the same party.
It’s simple – there’s advantages for the Greens, so they want the pre-election deal. There’s not for Labour, so they don’t. It needs them both to agree, so it won’t happen, and the Greens will live with it – it was just a proposal.
They and the public all know that after the election Labour and the Greens will have to come to an agreement to govern. If there are Labour ministers, there will be Green ministers. Nothing promised from either side beforehand, as that weakens the negotiating hand – but it will happen. What gets negotiated will depend on what numbers each side gets.
Advantage for Greens: First in, best dressed; guaranteed alliance, ministries, equal partnership.
Disadvantage for Labour: Added complexity in coalition negotiations (trying to fit others into a pre-ordained agreement); lose ‘big party’ status (the 2 are seen as equal if it’s described as “Labour-Greens” instead of “Labour-led”); some loss of interest from centrist voters.
So Guyon on Morning Report this morning, desperately trying to get Cunliffe to say something to put the Greens nose out of joint – let it rest. Everybody knows the position, let’s move on.
And to all those who think coalition agreements should be done beforehand so voters know what they’re getting? It’s just not practical.
You say who you’re likely to work with, who you can work with, and who you can’t. But until you know the hand voters give you, there’s no way you can say what the agreement will be. You don’t know what other sides will insist on, how much of your manifesto you can negotiate in. Even a percentage point or 2 can change your hand drastically if it tips the balance. And how many ministries you need to trade for how many policies…
Labour and the Greens have said they’re likely to work together – they’ll need to, and their policies are very similar. Labour’s said they can work with NZ First, Mana and even the Maori Party; they can’t work with National or Act if it still exists. That’s all they can give you pre-election, and we shouldn’t expect any more.