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The Green Party’s decision on government

Written By: - Date published: 4:08 pm, October 31st, 2020 - 139 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, democratic participation, election 2020, greens, jacinda ardern, labour, referendum - Tags:

Stuff’s chief political reporter, Henry Cooke, made this comment on twitter just now,

the members’ call for the green party’s deal with labour comes at a time of much higher animosity between the green party base and labour than usual

The timing of the past 24 hours has certainly been interesting. Plenty of disappointed cannabis referendum voters who are additionally disappointed in Minister of Justice Andrew Little’s responses to the vote in the past day (as well as the timing of Jacinda Ardern’s announcement of having voted yes).

I rate Little highly as a politician and think Labour and New Zealand are fortunate to have him. I also generally like politicians to engage on twitter. But his tweets in the past day post-referendum have me wanting him to sit down and shut up. Here’s his official statement about the referendum, and you can see his reply tweets here. You can also look through responses to him to get a flavour of how many on the left are feeling about his and Labour’s position since the vote.

Labour and the Greens completed post-election negotiation discussions on Thursday. The membership meeting to decide as straight yes or no to the Green Party’s proposed deal starts a 4pm today. From RNZ,
The Green Party will present the deal to about 150 regional delegates for a vote later today, and 75 percent of them must support it for the deal to be accepted.

I’ll update the post as soon as an announcement is made. There’s been a lot written in the past few weeks about whether the Greens should do a deal with Labour or stay on the cross benches, and what kind of deal they might get given Labour’s majority. I don’t have any real sense of what might happen with the vote, but it’s important to remember this is delegates making the decision, it’s not a general party wide vote.

I wrote about the Green Party’s coalition negotiation process in 2017 here,

As I understand it the two teams work on a coalition deal as per above, and this deal needs to be something likely to be acceptable to the membership. Once a deal (or deals) are proposed, they are taken to the members at the Province level, who then use consensus (or, if necessary, 75%) to reach a decision. Delegates from each electorate go to a Special General Meeting of the Green Party and any deal needs either consensus or 75% of the delegate vote.

Henry Cooke is sitting on his twitter account twiddling his thumbs, it’s probably as good a place as any to hear the first news of the announcement.


Jacinda Ardern has concurrently released details of the deal. Full text here.

My first impressions. The Green vote increased on 2017, but they would have considerably less Ministerial positions and input into government. This is a weak point in MMP, which is supposed to increase representation not be used to reinforce majority rules. It also has me rolling my eyes a bit at Ardern’s rhetoric about wanting to do right by MMP.

Labour and Ardern are clearly doing hard man, power-consolidating politics here. It looks a sweet deal for Labour, much less so for the Greens. While power-consolidation is standard NZ politics, and is particularly a feature of the old left, it’s not what is valued in green politics, where power sharing and relationship is much more of a factor. Disappointing. The GP delegates not getting the details of the deal ahead of Ardern’s announcement seems just rude.

The things that might be good for the Greens here are Shaw remaining Minister for Climate, and the more internal aspects of parliament. Access to other Ministers, positions on Select Committees, two way consultation on agreed policies and those outside the agreement, a continuing positive relationship with Labour, the ‘no suprises’ agreement.

My gut response is saying that unless there is something serious in the Climate portfolio that would allow Shaw to lead the country on what we actually need to do, the Greens should walk away. Of note is that Shaw being the Minister would mean that the Greens couldn’t criticise Labour’s lack of action on climate over the next three years, Shaw will be bound to speak as a representative of government not GP policy.

Very difficult position for the Greens to be in, that decision. For those of us that believe we are out of time on climate, I’m thinking it’s better for the party to cut its losses and be freed up to go hard on climate. Everything else pales into comparison, and we are well past the point of incrementalism being useful. There’s not a lot of point having power to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Better to stand on the deck and raise the alarm.

On all other issues, I can see pros and cons for the deal, but on this I can’t. Unfortunately for us all, most of New Zealand doesn’t yet take climate seriously enough to vote in parties that will take meaningful action.

My rational brain is saying the Greens can make good use of the smaller amount of power Labour is willing to share. I’m just not convinced that most rational is what is needed in the face of the climate and biodiversity crisis tidal wave bearing down upon us. I can also see the value in the Greens continuing to play the long game, and what we really need now is a strong extra-parliamentary movement that will hold Labour to account on climate and shift the vote for 2023.

UPDATE 2: the Green delegates have accepted the deal, with an 85% support vote.

139 comments on “The Green Party’s decision on government ”

  1. newsense 1

    Those responses from Little look standard. If the Greens could have covinced another 2% away from Labour and another 2% to switch in the referendum sure. But our reality is.

  2. newsense 2

    Seems about best possible deal, yeh?

  3. millsy 3

    The agreement put forward is pretty much bugger all, I don't envy the delgates voting on it. The ministerial portfolios offered to the Greens amount to bascially making speeches at conferences and little else.

    As much as we like to hate on him, John Key gave the Maori Party more between 2008 and 2014, than Jacinda is giving the Greens in 2020.

    That said, if the Greens vote no, they probably doom themselves to irrelevance.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Key needed the numbers and the insurance. For better or worse Labour needs neither.

      • weka 3.1.1

        which confirms the impression that if Labour could, it would have all the power for itself. This is useful to know going forward.

  4. David 4

    The owner has thrown the lap dog a few scraps and the lap dog wags it’s tail in excitement going woof woof.

    • observer 4.1

      If you think the Greens are Labour's lap dog you must have been asleep for at least 18 years.

    • greywarshark 4.2

      Who are you putting down here David. The Greens? Or the system? You seem a negative so and so. You don't add anything to the post just making sneering comments. If you are feeling depressed by it all, you have been negative more than once and you're getting boring. Now have a cup of tea or something and come back with some good political ideas. How can we pragmatically go forward within the constraints we have in NZ?

  5. observer 5

    If the Greens don't accept it, then the Minister of Climate Change will be a Labour MP, and in 3 years' time the Greens will have to face the inevitable questions: "Why did you refuse to lead (or at least, help to influence) government policy on climate change? What did you then achieve in opposition?".

    I doubt voters would be impressed with an answer of "well, we think climate change is the defining issue, but we chose not to be part of defining it".

    They have not been offered enough, but still, they really must take it.

    • weka 5.1

      Or, come 2023 the radical left, the green left, Greenpeace and other climate activist groups, have spent three years jeering at the Greens and blaming them for what is actually Labour's inaction.

      There is no way in which incrementalism on climate is useful at this point, other than if the Greens can use the deal to better their 2023 vote.

      • The Al1en 5.1.1

        Though both labour and the greens have used NZfist being a handbrake as a reason for not achieving more during the last three years at no political cost vote share wise, so no reason why Shaw and Davidson couldn't do the same with labour at the next election.

        • weka

          we already know that Labour is a handbrake on GP policy though.

          • The Al1en

            For sure, but inside there's a chance to progress something that wouldn't otherwise happen, and even if it goes pear shaped, they still have a credible and proven out with the voters.

            I think in or out can be played to be win/win, but I'd rather be in trying than out waiting another 3 years to get to work.

            After all, it's not like they're in bed with national or something.

            • weka

              The Greens are very effective at creating change from outside of government.

              • The Al1en

                Well my preference is work from the inside, hopefully with some actual power, but if the fall back is change from outside, lets hope it works this time around.

      • Phillip ure 5.1.2

        Um..!..ardern is on the record as saying climate change is the nuclear issue of our time…I think your cynicism re ardern is a tad overwrought…and ill-considered…you haven't t touched on the good work marama will be able to do as a minister focussed on homelessness…and with ,(going on arderns' words today)..full support from ardern…and that option to make serious progress on climate change should not be spurned…just sitting there bitching for the next three years is a road to nowhere..

      • observer 5.1.3

        Let's say for argument's sake that opposing Labour leads to an increased Green vote in 2023. What would they do with those votes?

        Prop up a tired third term government? Hope that no other options are available for Labour? (the New Centre party, doing a Peters/Dunne, yet again?). Hope that a Labour-Green majority prevails against National plus allies? Maybe a National government would really boost the Greens' support … and so on.

        That's gambling an awful lot on the next 3 years being predictable, as opposed to, say … the last 3 years. Covid-23?

      • Incognito 5.1.4

        There is no way in which incrementalism on climate is useful at this point, other than if the Greens can use the deal to better their 2023 vote.

        The question is what will be achieved in the next three years with or without the Greens. If it is without the Greens, will things speed up in 2023 if they do indeed increase their share of the vote then? Will it be enough to overcome the timid incrementalism of 2020-2023? I doubt it; the longer we wait, the harder it gets, exponentially.

        I believe the only thing that matters is what we do now and this means we give it our best shot, which means getting the Greens on board. This is Ardern and her generation’s “nuclear moment” and I don’t think she needs reminding of the fact; she’s a young parent after all 😉

        • weka

          The Greens can increase their vote and still be in the same position in 2023 as they are now or were in 2017.

          I think Ardern does need reminding. There are apparently a lot of NZers who believe that climate is important but not *that important. I would say she is one of them. But let's see what happens over the next 6 months now they don't have the NZF handbrake.

          • greywarshark

            On delaying concerted action to minimise or ameliorate climate change effects on us and the environment, incognito nails it:

            Will it be enough to overcome the timid incrementalism of 2020-2023? I doubt it; the longer we wait, the harder it gets, exponentially.

            • greywarshark

              Some help if you colour some of your script. It can be hard to turn off. I couldn't get it for a while. The idea is to go to further colours, which is the second window, and tap the black square at top left. That will show up on the chosen colour place on the right and you okay that.

          • Incognito

            I’d like to think that the agreement is based on solidarity rather than on just political expediency and pragmatism. There’s mutual respect, confidence, and trust. Why else would Ardern offer Shaw a key role again when this is her and her generation’s nuclear moment? There’s considerable overlap in areas of interest and a wish to reach consensus and govern for all Kiwis. Where the Parties do differ is in boldness vs. timidity; Labour needs the energy and drive from the Greens to keep moving and I think deep down Ardern knows this.

            • Pat

              plus there appears to be no one in the labour caucus with the required knowledge to handle the CC portfolio

              • Incognito

                Isn’t that very odd? Why have they not mentored anyone, why has nobody stepped forward from within Labour? And I don’t mean another technocrat such as Dr Megan Woods even though she’s highly capable. I could speculate but then I will get told off.

                • Pat

                  perhaps it hasnt been a priority?…and have heard Megan Woods discussing CC (admittedly a few years ago) and she aint it.

                  • Incognito

                    Perhaps, but that doesn’t match the rhetoric. And Labour has developed some policies to slow down CC. It seems to me that their aspirations have been incongruent with their actions so far. Was it the NZF ‘handbrake’? Then again, it’s much easier to close the borders for navy ships carrying nuclear weapons even though it was largely symbolic and mostly ineffective. NZ must move beyond mere symbolism to meaningful action that leads to lasting change. Not acting will also leave a lasting legacy that will affect all people and their descendants. What we do or do not now matters in the future.

                    • Pat

                      I think there was a NZ First handbrake, but one that Labour wernt greatly concerned about…as you note the action has never matched the rhetoric and that would also explain the lack of expertise…lets face it, if you are genuinely concerned about CC you dont join the Labour party over the Greens

                    • Incognito []

                      Agreed, but concern over CC should transcend any dividing lines between political parties and any other socio-cultural divisions in our or the global society, for that matter. Covid proved that there’s solidarity in the team of five million and CC is bigger and worse, potentially much worse, than Covid. So, there is some psychological disconnect and it is not just in Labour. I can and do read every morning about Covid in the world and the ginormous efforts in keeping patients alive and developing a safe and effective vaccine. People are dropping like flies and it is getting worse. Yet I don’t feel that immediate connection with CC although I know it is undeniably getting closer by the day. There are similar disconnects with lifestyle choices and habits. For example, too much exposure to sunlight can lead to horrible skin cancer decades later in life. Smoking kills too. Et cetera. The thing is one more suntan or one more cigarette is not going to make much difference, is it, but the effect (damage) accumulates and over time it builds, with interest and dividend, and one day it’ll get you; death by a thousand cuts.

                    • Pat

                      It should transcend but to date it hasnt, although the covid response has I believe advanced the likelyhood that CC will begin to be seriously addressed….the rules have been thrown out the window (not to mention there is a sense of panic though well disguised)..there is little that is not on the table from here on in.

                    • Incognito []

                      Arguably, Covid is a wakeup call but the question is how many warnings do we get and how many do we need? Panic and fear are ingredients that can be used in all sorts of recipes, good and bad. We need bold and brave leadership, although this doesn’t have to be loud and arrogant, but it does need to aim to bring as many people alongside as possible, and it doesn’t necessarily exclude incrementalism as long as the steps and speed increase over time as demanded by the circumstances without reverting to the old steady-state (i.e. status quo or BAU) whenever there’s an apparent temporary ‘improvement’.

              • Poission

                A small number of connected proteins,seem to have constrained GHG growth more effectively then Aspergers or stated policy initiatives the future is unwritten.

                • Pat

                  the energy sector was in a state of disruption (and decline) prior to covid…like much else, covid has merely highlighted the problems

                • greywarshark

                  Poission Helping towards clean energy transition will be good, as though it has started, we still lag behind and Covid 19 will bite us in the bum in a good way I think.

    • Pat 5.2

      Tend to agree…a lot will depend on how they approach the portfolio. There may well be room (or they may make it) to advance action despite Labours potential reticence. It will be a test of Shaws skills but i think they can achieve more within than without even if its insufficient….and voters I believe will recognise this next election.

      Plus the continuity of Minister is a positive in fundamental terms

  6. weka 6

    Interesting commentary from Jack McDonald (who was part of the negotiating team in 2017, and then left the party some time after the election).

    • RedBaronCV 6.1

      Why did Jack leave the party? He was good value.

      Personally I think the greens would be better off just to have policy input as policy is designed. Better too do it then rather than try to change at the select committee level. Then they can happily outline what didn't meet the final cut.

      But I guess that is not doable.

      • weka 6.1.1

        afaik he was frustrated with the Greens not being more progressive (radical), and felt he could have more impact outside of the party. Big loss for the party imo, but it's been really good having him speak so freely.

  7. infused 7

    Oh, you're just waking up to Jacinda? Another 3 years should give you a good idea about her/Labour now.

    The Greens must love getting sucker punched by Labour.

    • observer 7.1

      The last PMs to have an overall majority were Bolger, the various PMs in 4th Labour government, Muldoon. Conciliatory and consultative, weren't they?

      Ardern could hardly be less like them.

    • weka 7.2

      Not sure what you're on about there. It's not like this is the first time I've criticised Labour or Ardern.

    • Chess Player 7.3

      Labour will do nothing, as despite the empathetic speeches in times of crisis, they're just the same old Labour party – we saw that the last term.

      The number of billboards I saw saying Let's Keep Moving, when all I was thinking was Let's Start Moving.

      They may surprise me, but I won't hold my breath.

    • Tricledrown 7.4

      Confused making stuff up.

      Last election Winston had the balance of power.

      This time labour are out on their own.

      The Greens haven't managed to garner enough support to call the shots.

      Fact not cynical fiction

  8. Zuszsa 8

    Other than covid, there is no greater issue facing us than climate change.

    As a country we have appalling family violence statistics. FV also impacts heavily on child poverty and housing insecurity.

    Neither of these issues deserve a cabinet post, according to Labour. It would seem neither of these issues are worthy of serious 'whole of government' attention.

    It is clear from the way this announcement has been made that Labour have no respect for the Greens

    Walk away Green Party, walk away.

  9. Devo 9

    No conservation portfolio, I bet all the mining companies that had their permits declined last term will be glad Sage is out

    • Herodotus. 9.1

      That is sad for me as well. I like Sage and her commitment to the cause. I can only wonder why Labour did not give this portfolio to The Greens.

      And what we can expect will be achieved; over and above having a Labour minister than having E. Sage ? Or more importantly for me, what would be achieved having a Green minister that will now not be so with a Labour minister. The Kermadec sanctuary or cameras on fishing boats 🤔?

  10. greywarshark 10

    Weka's post and Chris Trotter's – I dither between the two. So here are points made from different perspectives.

    Weka : My gut response is saying that unless there is something serious in the Climate portfolio that would allow Shaw to lead the country on what we actually need to do, the Greens should walk away. Of note is that Shaw being the Minister would mean that the Greens couldn’t criticise Labour’s lack of action on climate over the next three years, Shaw will be bound to speak as a representative of government not GP policy.

    Very difficult position for the Greens to be in, that decision. For those of us that believe we are out of time on climate, I’m thinking it’s better for the party to cut its losses and be freed up to go hard on climate. Everything else pales into comparison, and we are well past the point of incrementalism being useful.

    Chris Trotter's thoughts Thursday, Oct.29/20 https://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2020/10/a-leap-of-faith-in-labours-direction-of.html :

    …agree to make a positive and co-ordinated effort to advance their common objectives. These people are committed to making as much progress as possible in a political environment consistently hostile to making any progress at all. The moral high ground is not the place where increasingly incendiary slogans are shouted, it’s the place where progressives have the best prospect of winning over fundamentally conservative voters…

    It’s long, slow, patient work, this wearing-away of entrenched opposition, but history is unequivocal in judging it to be the most effective means of bedding-in change. It’s what Jacinda Ardern means when she argues that the only change worth having is “change that sticks”….

    …At the beginning of 1981 most Kiwis wanted the Springbok Tour to proceed. By 1984, however, public opinion had shifted decisively against any further contact with Apartheid-era South Africa. ..

    …the steps required to fulfil this country’s commitment to fighting climate change, then convince them. That won’t happen if all the Greens do is shout at them, and/or damn them as enemies of the planet. It might happen, however, if someone is willing to make the case for change in the way most likely to make change happen. The ‘someone’ best placed to do that in the newly-elected Parliament is James Shaw. Presumably, that’s why Jacinda Ardern is offering to make him her Minister for Climate Change.

    Nothing could assist National more effectively in this reactionary endeavour than a strident and ultra-radical Green Party. Nothing helps the Right’s effort to portray the Greens as a party of dangerous extremists like behaving like a party of dangerous extremists! Moreover, for those rural and provincial voters disposed to support “Jacinda”, the unrelenting negativity of National and the Greens will lead them to conclude that they are merely obverse sides of the same extremist coin. The only winners in this scenario would be Jacinda and Labour: the voices of moderation and reason.

  11. Byd0nz 11

    Its a good deal when you consider Labour could have gone it alone, never mind the BS about regarding 2023 as the reason to keep the Greens onside, Labour sees the Value that the Greens can support.

    The bigger question is, will Labour deliver for the working class, the core base of the Party. No handbrake to stop momentum, no excuses.

    • Chess Player 11.1

      But there is no momentum…..

      And Labour stopped delivering for the working class in the late 80s

      • Byd0nz 11.1.1

        30 years ago, give us a break.

        Dont be a handbrake.

        • Chess Player

          How am I being a handbrake, exactly?

          Bookmark this comment and then come back to me in 3 years with a list of all things that Labour actually did (as opposed to just talked about) leveraging from their amazing mandate.

          And don't include working groups, meetings, reports, conferences or recommendations.

          I'm talking actual measurable results – impact.

          • WeTheBleeple

            Acting without information more your style?

            I agree the wheels of government appear to be moving interminably slow.

            Let's see what unfolds.

      • Tricledrown 11.1.2

        The working class stopped organizing ,unions have dissapeared the work place is so dispersed the opportunities to form unions and maintain membership is virtually impossible .

        Your cynical side is becoming stale mate.

  12. greywarshark 12

    Some media links:


    Green Party delegates are voting on whether to accept a proposed deal with Labour which would give it two ministerial portfolios outside of cabinet.


  13. Stuart Munro 13

    I'm inclined to think it's a mistake myself – it would have been healthy for Labour to develop good working relationships with as many Greens as possible, as preparation for 2023. It's not as if the Greens lack talent.

    But neoliberal Labour describes a jagged orbit on its path to its ultimate destination – somewhere between supplanting the well-funded Gnat position, and becoming the unpalatable unelectable toxic Blairites that betrayed Corbyn.

    • greywarshark 13.1

      I thought it was a bad sign that Little immediately jumped in with a no to decriminalise cannabis. I thought this man was a forward thinking union bloke with fibre. Needs a change of diet.

  14. greywarshark 14

    Another perspective this time from Gordon Campbell at Scoop Oct.30/20..


    The Greens have the most to learn from Peters’ demise. Fly close to your senior partner under MMP, and you will get burned. This year, the Greens barely survived MMP. It did so at the 11th hour by re-discovering its old mojo as an outsider party of principle. (That’s certainly how Chloe Swarbrick won Auckland Central.) That stance involves running against the party in power – and not volunteering to be a designated driver to destinations not of its choosing.

    In future, the lesson the Greens should learn from Peters would be – go into the government tent at your peril. Because no amount of incremental policy gains will be enough to save you, next time around. Hey, “what if” the Greens chose to refuse to enter into any kind of arrangement with Labour? That’s an alternative reality worth contemplating.

    • newsense 14.1

      Not sure I agree with this from Gordon.

      NZ First ran a poor campaign. They had a late up tick, but not enough. Also there was a suggestion that they could have owned their role in the stable government during the pandemic more.

    • I like Gordon Campbell and he is normally spot-on, but where he says "the Greens barely survived MMP" he is wrong.

      After the specials have been counted the Greens will have around 8% of the vote. Despite being in government with Labour and NZF they have increased their vote and easily stayed in parliament.

      Better still, the party has run a brilliant campaign in Akl Central to take a constituency seat which they may well hold for many years, thus guaranteeing their presence in parliament.

      Labour would have been devastated with the loss in Akl Central-I am sure there would have been factions in Labour telling Jacinda to leave the Greens out in the cold because of this.

      Instead Shaw has retained the important Climate Change portfolio and Davidson has been given a platform to shine on social issues.

      As a Green voter with Labour sympathies this all sounds pretty good to me-85% of Green members are happy enough.

      Remember the MSM will always try and sew divisions between the Greens and Labour.

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    This is a weak point in MMP, which is supposed to increase representation not be used to reinforce majority rules.

    Why do people believe this BS that they make up?

    The point of MMP was to ensure that we'd actually have a government that had been voted in by the majority of people and not the minority governments that had been standard since the 1954 election. It's come very close to achieving that.

    But its still about majority rules. That's pretty much the only way to run a democracy.

    The fact that we have a better cross section of the electorate is just a happy coincidence. I doubt that it has anything to do with MMP and is more a result of a more accepting populace.

  16. lprent 16

    One of the problems that Labour has is that they simply don't have a credible minister to put in for climate change.

    I was just wandering through my head on who could do it without having to have the problem and issues explained to them over and over again like they were children or a conservative.

    It came down to Megan Woods – she has been climate change spokesperson and is science minister. But in a lot of ways she is too good. You want her across a number of other areas as well – like science and technology.

    David Parker (environment) is simply too legal orientated to be effective in a climate change role – too easy to bamboozle with minor details. Good when it comes to getting those details done. Not so good on taking concepts and running them past opposition.

    Any ideas – and one else? Needs to be a senior minister. Pushy and capable of dealing with the science and engineering issues to the level of legal regulation and legislation.

    • Chess Player 16.1

      I know he was Greens not Labour, but the best person in NZ for this role would have been Kennedy Graham, but yeah….

    • Stuart Munro 16.2

      Labour will probably need to train someone. The example I guess is Grant Robertson – he came to the table with no particular economic background, but, with the help I expect of Michael Cullen, has made a pretty good showing.

      Climate is going to be an increasingly important role, and thus a solid specialisation for an ambitious rising MP. Find the best mentors you can – Sandy Bartle, Mike Joy, Alan Mark or the like – they won't put you crook, and they'll be pleased to find someone taking the role professionally. The public like professionalism too.

      • lprent 16.2.1

        Grant Robertson also has the whole of Treasury backing him. That is a large specialised part of government and arguably the premier economic organisations in the country. Reserve Bank and IRD might argue with parts of that. Hard to see anything much outside those in the private sector at a similar overview standard. Which is why the employee movement tends to go one way.

        With the climate area there is a underfunded climate commission and whole pile of little specialised areas scattered across the ministries of environment, science, and internal affairs. You kind of need to know about the topic before you can start judging the quality of the advice.

        Probably one of the best specialised concentrations of talent about climate change is available in the Green party. Once I get past the odd catastrophic junkie there, I find people that I can talk to about implications of climate change.

        It is pretty rare anywhere else to find anyone who has actually read the IPCC reports without falling asleep in the first 50 pages or so.

  17. Anker 17
    • Ok. Here’s something I am noticing……. there is a triangle often used to describe interpersonal dynamics called rescuer, victim, persecuter.
    • I think this seems to apply to a minority of green supporters reaction to the outcome of the election. Some are casting themselves as hard done by, only being offered crumbs by labour eg martyn Bradbury on the Daily Blog. They are casting labour as the persecutor here doing the dirty on the Greens. Labour is not responsible for the Greens electoral outcome. This is the situation we are in. Labour has invited the Greens to negotiate a role and the Greens have accepted that invitation. Now the decision rests with the Greens. I realise there is a lot to way up for the Greens and I sincerely wish them all the best with reaching that decision. Labour negotiated what they felt would work for them. now the greens have some choices.
    • weka 17.1

      not sure if that was a reference to my post as well, but the point here isn't that Labour owed the Greens something. It was to point out that Labour are still centred in old school, macho politics, and this is distinct from green politics. Labour don't *have to consolidate power in this way just because they can. They too have choices.

      I don't see the GP as victims. I saw the Greens on election night acting like they'd won the election and I completely understand why, they did very well.

      Most of the green supporters I am seeing are just disappointed (and angry). For me it's disappointment in NZ left voters, because this what they chose. I am obviously continuously disappointed in Labour. That they have a majority govt is no excuse for not taking adequate action in climate. That is completely on Labour and they deserve to be seriously criticised for it. Likewise welfare.

      • Scott 17.1.1

        The majority government hasn't even been created yet. Give them a chance

      • anker 17.1.2

        Weka, I disagree that Labour are still centred in old school, macho politics. And I am unsure why you think that way. Labour have just brought in a huge number of women to parliament. Jacinda is so not old school, macho. look at the campaign she has just run. Barely criticising the opposition especially when they were in trouble, think Muellar, health leaks, Falloon. Jacinda is the leader and I see absolutely no evidence of old school, macho. Most of Labours Ministers were they same. Tight discipline, not slagging off the opposition.

        But maybe you have some examples that you think illustrate your point?

        I don't see Greens as victims either, but I think a minority are acting that way and I gave the example of Bradbury. I wonder if you don't see Labour as perscutors though (and I mean this from the point of view of the triangle I mentioned). I am not sure if this is the case with you, you are the best person to answer that. There certainly have been comments on this blog about Labour e.g Infused at 7, which would back up my point about the V,R, P triangle

        BTW I am glad Shaw has got climate change. He is the most experienced in parliament in terms of the port folio and he did really well last time.

        Davidson is taking on a port folio that is very tough in family and sexual violence. Any progress she manages to make on this would be great because its a very complex issue and not easily solved. I hope she takes an evidence based approach.

      • bwaghorn 17.1.3

        Is that the same macho labour party that gave the greens roles last election despite not needing them .

        If nzf had got over the line as well this election do you think labour should have given them rolls inside government as well . ( in this hypothetical labour didnt need either party)

        • weka

          Labour needed the GP to form stable government in 2017. This is why the GP were able to negotiate the Ministerial positions. It's about leverage and who has the power. That's macho politics. The Greens have more seats this election, and have considerably less power because Labour practice macho politics. They do it in a better way than Nact obviously, way better. But the core of it is still who has the biggest stick wins.

          • weka

            I agree with Lynn's general point on this in his post today too, about co-operative government. It's not an either/or thing.

            • greywarshark

              Makes me think of some sayings that get quoted.

              I've just followed up a reference to Carl von Clausewitz and found this interesting perspective of conditions in war, (sounds like our times).

              He stressed the dialectical [different viewpoints] interaction of diverse factors, noting how unexpected developments unfolding under the "fog of war" (i.e., in the face of incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement) call for rapid decisions by alert commanders.

              Another of his thoughts: "war is a continuation of politics by other means." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_von_Clausewitz

              And Sun Tzu – Wikiquote has listed his sayings which are probably tried and true for his time but may still apply to us in certain circumstances; some sound like poetry.

              In war, numbers alone confer no advantage. Do not advance relying on sheer military power.

              The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.

              Apply this to some prominent people in our political parties? Too frequent rewards indicate that the general is at the end of his resources; too frequent punishments that he is in acute distress.


          • anker

            "and have considerably less power (the Greens) because Labour practice macho politics"

            I disagree Weka. The Greens had less power because Labour won the election and didn't need another party to govern. The Greens only got at most 8% of the vote, so some could argue, should have no power as so few people voted for them (but I don't hold that view, although I can understand that point of view. To explain if I reverse the situation and National got enough to govern alone but negotiated with Act to have Ministeral roles, I might feel aggrieved).

            You have provided no evidence to date of Labour practicing macho politics. Labour did have the biggest win. the negotiations seem to go really well and 85% of the Greens delegates were happy with the result. Labour have given the Greens room in their portfolios to say "We wanted to do more, but Cabinet didn't agree" and it looks to me like there is very little the Greens have to do back. They are free to leave the agreement as well.

            I don't know if you are referring to previous Labour Govts being macho and that may well be the case. but blimey there's a new crowd in now. Very few left from 2008 (?Parker ????)

  18. ScottGN 18

    Well put Anker. And why anybody thinks Labour would/should offer the Greens anything more than they really need to beats me. I think the Greens have done alright as it happens, I was sort of expecting just the one ministry for Shaw.

    As for the idea that Labour should look to 2023. Well if Ardern needs the Greens to form government at that time there will be a negotiation and if they are needed to form a majority the Greens will presumably get more bang for their buck. Up to a point. The problem the Greens have of course, is that having said they’ll never go with National, they’ve made themselves vassals to Labour. No Labour leader ever has to offer more than the bare minimum to get them in the tent.

    • Chess Player 18.1

      Exactly – If only we had a party who put the environment front and centre, and would go into power with whoever won the majority of seats, so that every single government delivered something for our great-grandchildren.

      Instead, we have to rely on Labour winning, but not by too much, so they still need the Greens.

      • observer 18.1.1

        I don't think we can blame the Greens for National's obstinacy on climate change.

        If the "blue greens" meant anything at all then there might be a slight opening there. But they are nothing, a slogan with zero practical effect.

        • greywarshark

          Putting the environment front and centre is not enough. We have to ensure that people in that environment are not expected to live in caves or sleep under newspapers; there must be understanding of the needs of the land and the needs of humans, which is lacking now.

    • Incognito 18.2

      The problem the Greens have of course, is that having said they’ll never go with National, they’ve made themselves vassals to Labour. [my italics]

      Have they said that?

      If they have, does that exclude leading a Left-Opposition?

  19. ScottGN 19

    Greens have voted to join the government. The deal is done.

  20. greywarshark 20

    Breaking news a report on Saturday Night just through that Greens have accepted Labour's offer for them to have two Ministers outside Cabinet.
    Snap ScottGn

    • Chess Player 20.1

      Well if that's true, then that's their choice, and fair play to them.

      Nothing much will improve in the scheme of things, but yeah, baubles.

      • Incognito 20.1.1

        Nothing much will improve in the scheme of things, but yeah, baubles.

        What “baubles”? Are you saying that the Greens have sold out for 30 pieces of Silver?

  21. Bazza64 21

    What Labour has offered the Greens is totally reasonable, this is how democracy works. If you have enough votes to govern on your own you dishonour the people who voted for you if you don’t exercise that responsibility.

    Any offering to the Greens would only ever be a token gesture & at least we avoid the “let’s give money away left right & centre as UBI” nonsense.

    Andrew Little’s response to the cannabis referendum result is what any responsible politician should say. To go against the will of the public in a refer(reefer?)endum vote would be showing Stalinist tendencies & if he did it would make all future referendums a laughing stock.

    • greywarshark 21.1

      …'you dishonour the people who voted for you if you don’t exercise that responsibility.' Poof. The people who voted should have done so in the knowledge of what country, what system, and what the issues are that they were voting for. The Greens are involved in chivvying us to prepare for climate change, that is the background to our votes and our parliaments now.

      Perhaps you should stick to cutting out paper dolls or playing with your toy soldiers if you can’t grasp the breadth of today’s political theatre.

      • The Al1en 21.1.1

        The people who voted should have done so in the knowledge of what country, what system, and what the issues are that they were voting for

        If you don't know you're in NZ, voting in an mmp election and tuned out the seemingly endless politicing over the past few months, I'm not sure you're really capable of wielding the responsibility of voting.

    • Draco T Bastard 21.2

      at least we avoid the “let’s give money away left right & centre as UBI” nonsense.

      Instead we'll just keep up the house price hyper-inflation that's causing so many to fall into poverty.

      Money needs to be pumped in to a growing economy and there's only limited ways to do that:

      • The government creates the money and spends it into the economy doing productive stuff
      • The government creates the money and spends it into the economy via a UBI which is then spent by individuals on productive stuff
      • The private banks create it as interest bearing loans that can never be repaid inevitably bringing about the downfall of the economy and will mostly be spent on existing housing

      Personally, I think a combination of the first two are the best choice.

      Unfortunately, the government has chosen the latter option with the house price hyper-inflation and other social ills that it brings about.

    • Incognito 21.3

      FFS, another binary simpleton bleating on about “the will of the public”.

  22. observer 22

    It's been somewhat overlooked, but I think the abstention opt-out clause is very smart politics for both parties. The Greens are not compelled to vote for Robertson's budgets. They've got that upfront, which is way better than having a conf & supp agreement, followed by reporters chasing Green MPs around Parliament demanding to know if they support various things they don't like, and then headlines about a big row, either within their caucus or between Lab & Greens.

    So no repeat of Hone Harawira squirming as he votes for Bill's budgets. Bend, don't break.

    • Chess Player 22.1

      While I get what you mean, in that there is an ejector seat available if needed, I suspect the subtlety of that arrangement will be lost on the general populace who just see we now have a Labour/Greens government.

      You can't be partially pregnant, and each-way bets tend to deliver either zero or average returns.

      • observer 22.1.1

        That's the same accepted wisdom as "minor parties must lose votes when they support major party". It was historically true, but it wasn't the case for the Greens.

        I'd suggest that potential Green voters can see the value in it. The media or opponents can say Labour/Greens as much as they like, just as National did in the election. But the voters saw "Ardern", not "Labour-NZF coalition with support on conf and supp from Greens".

        TLDR: government will stand or fall on its success/failures, regardless. And those who are disappointed on the left are more likely to vote Green next time, not punish them.

  23. ScottGN 23

    Only happening though observer because Ardern has an unlikely majority whatever happens. In the normal scheme of things this little tweak of MMP coalition/C &S government wouldn’t be possible.

    • observer 23.1

      Correct. But it wasn't part of Key's deal with the Maori Party, when National plus ACT plus UF had a majority regardless. So it's a further refinement, and a significant one I think.

  24. ScottGN 24

    Possibly. But the important thing here is that Ardern isn’t reliant on any other party to hold confidence of the House. Key still needed other parties to do that so his intention was to bind them all close.

  25. Anne 25

    Feeling vindicated.

    I party voted Green because I wanted James Shaw to remain as Climate Change minister. Now that NZ First has gone, we can look forward to meaningful new CC policies in the near future. A good outcome.

    • alwyn 25.1

      Your optimism is truly impressive.

      What does James get from this, apart from travel in a limo of course?

    • Chess Player 25.2

      James Shaw has won the chance to occasionally speak – nothing more.

      The fact that there is a separate ministry for climate change means that it’s still only ‘on the radar’ and not yet embedded into the fabric of our government. It’s a bit like having a Quality department in a business – quality should be everyone’s concern not just the concern of one department.

      I’ll know the government is serious about climate change when James Shaw is given Energy, Local Government or Agriculture as a portfolio.

      • Anne 25.2.1

        James Shaw has won the chance to occasionally speak – nothing more.

        Bullshit! You insult James Shaw. You insult Marama Davidson. You insult the other Green MPs and the bulk of the membership and you nay-sayers know it.

        • Draco T Bastard

          He's insulting all of Labour and, in fact, all previous governments as well when he implies that the only reason to have a ministry for something is to sweep it under the carpet.

      • Ad 25.2.2

        There's no Ministry for Climate Change. There's MfE, and there's the Commission with a weeny little secretariat. Unless there's some structural change happening as part of Cabinet formation. Seems pretty unlikely.

        The Minister is now the go-between for the Commission and Cabinet. But her has expertise to bring in the area so fair enough give him a job.

  26. newsense 26

    Comes with ministerial funding too yeh? The Nats have suffered from not having the government's resources open to them. Some parliamentary staff are not to be sniffed at.

    Also worth noting for Labour politicians the fate of Shane Jones, Green basher in chief.

    • Robert Guyton 26.1

      The departure of Shane Jones, "Green basher in chief" should be loudly celebrated by all greenies who suffered through his constant denigrations and pompous attacks.

  27. Ad 27

    With these two very small portfolios agreed, the much more interesting question is the makeup of the 90% of portfolios and who makes up the Cabinet.

  28. Robert Guyton 28

    This is wonderful. The best possible result. I'm delighted.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 28.1

      Agreed, good result for continuity of cooperative governance. Bodes well for the future.

  29. Sans Cle 29

    Julie Anne Genter should have a ministerial position. She has fabulous talent.

  30. xy 30

    " The GP delegates not getting the details of the deal ahead of Ardern’s announcement seems just rude. "

    Pretty clear it would have been immediately leaked from the delegate meeting or if it was supplied to the delegates earlier, so this was just good management I think.

    There were journalists tweeting the meeting and interim vote results.

  31. Maurice 31

    Hobbled and Hamstrung ….

    …. the (political) climate is not changing.

  32. Andre 32

    I'm fascinated by the way the discussion has focused almost exclusively on one of the ministerial roles, while the other by my count has received two name mentions only, and one abbreviated allusion to (half of) the portfolio.

    Yet the portfolio with all the interest, while it is something the we absolutely should be putting a lot of effort into and our record so far has been shameful, is really out of our hands and the outcome will be almost entirely dependent on what happens in other countries.

    But the other portfolio that is being ignored is the one that potentially has significant impacts in the very near term on a large number of vulnerable New Zealanders.

    • Pat 32.1

      Might that be because the seldom mentioned portfolio is a blatant creation to accomodate the other co-leader?….and IF the climate change portfolio acts as required then it will impact ALL segments of NZ life, regardless of what the rest of the world do (or dont)

    • Phillip ure 32.2

      Given maramas' track record in the areas to be covered by her new ministry…I have high expectations for change in the lives of those most in need…and don't doubt the energy she will bring to the role ..I am also hoping Steve abel will get in when the special votes are counted..and re the pot-ref I have a small glimmer of hope that the (mainly young) special voters will do what the returning soldiers did to alcohol prohibitionists way back when..65percent yes from those special votes is a big ask…but not totally out of the question..I feel..this based on my assumption that most of the no's would have already voted ..and that more of the specials will be yes…I hope it is enough…but at the very least the result will be nearer a 50/50 split ..and most of those supporting change being green/labour voters will give ardern the mandate to institute changes short of legalisation ..and of course it being a non-binding referendum means it is non-binding..be it yes or no…what it is really is a grandiose survey of public opinion..it should not tie arderns' hands on this issue..

  33. Robert Guyton 33

    So, let's ee…The Greens failed to get 5%, are now out of Parliament, unlikely ever to get back in and we supporters have been thrown into the Pit of Despair….hang on!

    National, fatally-wounded and severely depleted, along with a ridiculously un-tried and unstable ACT have been relegated to the Opposition benches,

    We've topped the 5% cut-off???

    Our top performing MP's are back and we've won an electorate?

    We've been afford a place alongside of the Government???

    Oh woe is us! All is lost!!!

    WE'RE DOOMED!!!!

  34. Jester 34

    As far as i can see, greens would have been silly to not accept the deal. In fact, they pretty much would have taken whatever was offered.

    • Robert Guyton 34.1

      They're not silly, despite the entirely-credible and soundly-based claims of the Federated farmers and ACT.

      • Jester 34.1.1

        Perhaps James Shaw just had a brain fart then when giving the $11.7m to the Green school as that little bit of silliness had everyone worried they wouldn't make the 5%, especially him, as he was apologising to all and sundry for several days after.

  35. Tiger Mountain 35

    Which way are the Greens going to jump?
    “Splattt!!” it seems…

    This is time for Climate Strikes, direct action for rent freezes and reductions, and a mass community campaign leading to ending neo liberalism in 2023–not ghost ministers in a Labour majority Govt.

  36. Koff 36

    CC is a global issue so international direct / community action is relevant. Don't think that climate strikes of the sort we have seen pre-Covid will be possible anywhere else in the world except for 1 or 2 places like NZ. Doubt if that will happen without the momentum from elsewhere. Maybe something more creative to keep the pressure on those in the Beehive? First few weeks of this government's term will give a clue to whether the removal ofthe hand brake means the government will use the accelerator or stay in first gear.

    • greywarshark 36.1

      What would set the chickens among the peeps, would be a limited Christmas payout to beneficiaries; families $50 and singles $30. Snarl from the grinches, but I think demonstrating understanding of what a hard year it has been, giving a boost to bennies and businesses, and a poke in the eye to all the machine-minds of the Culte Avide. (Giving it a French term as none of English words have effect now on the English blase' types.)

      • Phillip ure 36.1.1

        In kinder times past they used to get an extra week's payment..to help them see out the xtra/yuletide pressures on their wallets/lives…at the very least this should be reinstated/we should get back there..

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