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Labour: Greens are the first cab off the rank

Written By: - Date published: 7:38 am, March 3rd, 2017 - 19 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, climate change, greens, labour, Left, mana, maori party, nz first, Politics, sustainability, winston peters - Tags:

I am really pleased to hear this. Following the election this year the first call that Andrew Little will make is to the Greens. For Labour they are the first cab off the rank for the next coalition Government to use a concept introduced by Helen Clark.

From Stuff:

Labour is to treat the Greens as “first cab off the rank” for post election talks in a signal it is firming up its plans to work in coalition with its allied party.

The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding to work together last year, but it was due to expire on election day – a sign that Labour was not certain what stance NZ First would take towards the Greens if it held the balance of power.

But in an Opposition two-step Labour leader Andrew Little on Thursday first announced he was nominating Peters for the intelligence and security committee – with the Greens support.

He then made it clear that in a “quid pro quo” the Greens would be the first cab off the rank and the first party to receive a call if Labour was able to build a government after the September 23 election.

“After September 23 and if the numbers go our way and I am in the privileged position of putting together a government they are the first phone call I will make. No question about it,” he said.

“We haven’t spent the last many-a-year now formally strengthening our relationship and working out common ground … for it to mean nothing at all when it comes to a general election.”

He said there were no guarantees, and the numbers would dictate what will happen.

“They will be the first party I will talk to to interpret what the numbers might be and what that means. It’s a commitment that the relationship does mean something after the election.”

But would he be prepared to leave the Greens out of government if Winston Peters insisted and Labour needed NZ First to govern?

“I think that is unlikely.”

I hate to sound a note of caution but at this stage Winston Peters will probably have a significant say in the shape of the next Government.  I hope he does not.  The last two times he was involved in Governments they ended in tears.  The 1996 National Government was terminal thanks in no small part to his party’s implosion and the 2005 Labour Government was on the receiving end of all sorts of attacks that National aimed at Winston.

I am convinced that if we want to have a Government that will deal with New Zealand’s problems then it has to be a Labour-Green Government without the need for support from any other parties.

If further support is required then I suggest that if Hone Harawira makes it, and if the Maori Party are returned then serious consideration should be given to working with them.  Their voting record is actually impressive, much more impressive than other parties in the Parliament.  I much prefer Kelvin Davis being returned and Labour winning all the Maori seats but if this does not happen then the left need to do deals.

Peter Dunne?  He is a waste of space.  The sooner he disappears from New Zealand’s body politic the better.

If we want a Government that will address child poverty, the housing crisis, climate change and the need to make our cities more sustainable and stop the onslaught of neoliberalism we will need a brave government.  One without the need of pandering to a populist.

Labour-Green needs to get over 45%.  And I believe that for stability and longevity Mana/Maori Parties are better bets than Winston.

19 comments on “Labour: Greens are the first cab off the rank”

  1. ” the last many-a-year now ”
    Now there’s a curious expression.
    A government with a strong Green presence should be the making of this place.

  2. “Labour-Green needs to get over 45%. And I believe that for stability and longevity Mana/Maori Parties are better bets than Winston.”

    Certainly for stability and longevity of a Labour led government. But Little has made it clear that he doesn’t want to bet on the Maori and Mana parties.

    “He said there were no guarantees, and the numbers would dictate what will happen.”

    That’s the reality. The day after the election all bets will be off and the only thing guaranteed about the numbers is that they will be able to be used to justify any sort of approaches, unless National maintains current levels of support.

    I think National will probably lose some of their support. Labour really needs to pick up 5-10% to have a strong playing hand. Otherwise it is likely to be Winston holding the aces.

  3. Tory 3

    The chances of a Labour/Greens Government are zip, Winston Peters and NZ First will be needed.

    The chances of Green Ministers (in a NZF/Green/Labour Coalition) are zip. It would be interesting to see the Greens play 3rd fiddle if NZF is needed (and bend over to Winston). Of Course add in Hone and Winston will walk a mile.

    • Bearded Git 3.1

      They don’t need to add Hone’s vote in to a formal coalition; he will never vote for National.

  4. The parlous state of our rivers will bring more support than most could imagine, to Labour and the Greens. The Maori/Mana parties will align with them as a result and Winston sensing the direction of the political wind, will fall in with the parties who are not National.

  5. BM 5

    Good long term plan by labour, hand 2017 to National and aim for the more realistic 2020.

    Labour has to stick with the greens throwing them aside so they could form a government with NZ First, isn’t a sensible long term option.

    • Bearded Git 5.1

      But throwing the Greens aside and coalescing with NZF in order to form a working majority is what will happen. My pick: L34+G13+NZF11=58. The Nats will slip to 40% (if they are lucky) as Bill makes foot-in-mouth comments throughout the campaign.

      Hone’s vote (he will win TTT) can also be added to the Left.

      • BM 5.1.1

        So you think Andrew Little is talking poo.?

        The greens aren’t in fact first cab off the rank?, Andrew Little will tell them to go sit down the back if Peters says so.

        Jeeze, some partnership. 🙄

        • Bearded Git

          All Little has said is that he will ring the Greens first. Then he’ll ring Winnie.

          Its called the real world. Little must take the chance to form a government and the Greens have nowhere to go but to support Lab/NZF.

      • Bob 5.1.2

        Winston won’t play third wheel to the Greens, and the Greens won’t be happy to play third wheel to a smaller party in parliament, it’s a relationship doomed to fail.
        By your own numbers, National could govern with NZ First support alone, seems far more likely and stable to me.

  6. Anne 6

    Nicely summed up – thank-you mickysavage, and an insightful comment by Robert Guyton@ 4.

  7. weka 7

    Well put micky.

    My own feeling is we are at a do or die place. Not that I think the left will die if we lose the election or if Peters controls things, but that if we truly want to make a difference around things like water then this is basically our chance, right now, and if we blow it the consequences will be much more dire.

    We need a strong govt, not one that is pulled to the centre (Nat-ified) by NZF. On climate change alone this is probably the most important election of my lifetime.

    To that end, lefties need to think hard about supporting Peters on any level, whether that be maintaining the myth that he is good for NZ (irrespective of the good things he has done), or actively voting for him. Time to go hard for a Labour/Green govt. This doesn’t mean shutting the door on NZF being part of a coalition arrangement, it means putting our energies into what will really make a difference. And I’m pleased to see Little playing the game cannily re Peters and the Greens. In all the rhetoric about how Peters will be kingmaker, what if we worked on a different plan entirely?

    Likewise, party voting TOP, who may also support a 4th term National govt, risks bleeding critical votes away from the left. Last election was close, this one probably will be too, we need to be smarter about the party vote. TOP votes may cost the left the election.

    For the people that really can’t face voting L/G, Mana might possibly be a party vote option, but again, it risks the election. If HH doesn’t win TTT, those votes are lost. If he does win, but there aren’t enough party votes to get Mana another MP, then those votes are lost too. This may be clearer closer to the election when we can see how HH and Mana are doing. The thought of a L/G govt with no other allies makes me uncomfortable because it seems a tad monolithic and of the dominant culture. Having HH in parliament would give use a much better diversity. But that’s pretty much up to TTT Māori electorate voters, the party vote won’t make any difference to that.

    In all those cases, those votes aren’t lost if they go to Labour or the Greens. Maybe it’s time to put aside our personal need to feel like we will be represented in parliament and instead just vote on the pragmatics.

    Having said all that, at this stage, it’s not really so much about who we might vote for, but what we will work towards over the next 7 months. Looks like another option is opening up in front of us.

  8. mosa 8

    This election will be a real contest with a real campaign focusing on some serious issues and in no way will be a repeat of 2011-2014.

    Finally this government and its polices will be under scrutiny by a united ,strong opposition who will be ready for the onslaught of dirty politics part three because National cant campaign on its record.

    This time the public can see that with the MOU the two parties can in effect work as a credible alternative government and that is vital to build confidence in the electorate and for those who will know their vote will bring change.

    Its time for the Green party to be an active partner in New Zealand’s government.

    There is the budget being delivered in May and with a generous family package and tax cuts National will be making that the centre piece of their campaign and Lab-Grn will have to have a plan on how they will react to that.

    There are still a lot of people disengaged and Lab-Grn have to find a way to bring them on board.

    If they can motivate them to vote that will have a huge effect on the outcome of the election.

    Great post Mickey.

    PS -The last Labour led government had some great progressive policies that are still in place and Andrew needs to talk a lot more about that legacy and what the party can deliver that the Tories can only adopt not implement.

  9. This is good signalling for the next government.

    It’s fair and reasonable for Labour to give priority to parties that pledged to support them into government in advance of the election. He’s shifting the goalposts to pull some of the power away from parties like New Zealand First who refuse to commit ahead of the election who they’ll support first in negotiations, and that will serve him well, because when he does make fair compromises to negotiate a coalition with them, he’ll look generous and reasonable.

    He may even be making a play to get them to come onside with Labour in advance of the election, so that they can be on equal footing with the Greens.

    If National actually got along with Act, they would do the same thing.

    • solkta 9.1

      Winston will not come on side before the election. He is busy at the moment hoovering up National rural voters and these people will expect him to be the breaks on a National led government not to prop up a ‘socialist’ government.

      After the election is anybodies guess but if he has done well in the regions he may well be looking to the future and keeping that vote for 2010.

      • Oh, I agree it’s not in his style and would legitimately hurt his polling no matter which side he took, I’m saying Little is making a case for why it’s a bad idea to behave like Winston in general, (arguably, he’s pitching more to the Māori and Mana parties than to Winston here) and is promising voters certainty if he gets to form a government. Little will be thinking that it can’t hurt to tell Winston that if he wants to be first-equal in their coalition negotiations, he needs to talk with Labour ahead of the elections.

        It’s a really non-confrontational way of addressing all the idiots saying he needs to prioritise NZ First ahead of the Greens to get into power. No, if he sucks up to Winston too much ahead of the election, he’s actually just encouraging people to vote for Winston. He needs to be firm and fair, you know, like a leader. 😉

        It’s also a nice change for Labour to be talking about who they’ll prioritise working with rather than who they’ll rule out. It makes them look like they’re ready to govern, in contrast with National who can’t look good no matter what they’re saying, because even reasonable noises about working with NZ First are an obvious flip-flop.

  10. Ad 10

    Winston is the Tom Jones of New Zealand politics.

    Throw your vote/knickers at him for the highest chance he’ll sing your song in government.

  11. Michael 11

    Telling the Greens they’re not responsible enough to sit on the Intelligence and Security Committee looks like a great signal to send Labour’s preferred coalition partner.

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