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What’s the deal? There isn’t one.

Written By: - Date published: 7:17 am, February 17th, 2017 - 132 comments
Categories: election 2017, greens, labour, peter dunne, Politics - Tags: , ,

Deal noun 1. an agreement entered into by two or more parties for their mutual benefit, especially in a business or political context: the government was ready to do a deal with the opposition.

As reported a few days ago the Green Party has decided to not run a candidate in the Ōhāriu electorate as part of its strategy to change the government.

From Stuff,

The Greens have dropped any plans to run a candidate in the Ohariu seat in a move aimed at giving Labour’s Greg O’Connor a better chance of winning the marginal seat – despite Green misgivings about his past views.

Green co-leader James Shaw said the decision was taken in the interests of changing the Government, which was the party’s priority.

“We have been very clear with our supporters and the public about that since we signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Labour last year,” he said.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the Green move would be very helpful to O’Connor but he said the Greens had not consulted with Labour before making the decision, though they had told Labour before making it public.

The two parties had talked about possible accommodations last year.

“In the end we agreed that we trust each other enough that we will make our own decisions on standing electorate candidates.”

He said there was no “deal” in Ohariu.

“They made a decision not to stand a candidate in Ohariu. They made a decision to stand a candidate in Mt Albert – go figure.”

(my emphasis).

There is no deal. The Greens appear to have made a unilateral decision for the good of the party’s own goals and for NZ. What I like about the MoU between Labour and the Greens is that they kept their independence. Labour are still free to act in the ways they see fit and likewise the Greens. The Greens have acknowledged that they’re not that keen on one of Labour’s candidate choices, but they’re behaving as if it’s not really any of their business. Which it isn’t. This is how adults behave when engaged in respect.

Labour are a centre-left party. Willie Jackson and Greg O’Commor are intentional plays for certain kinds of votes, both of which are problematic for those of us further left than Labour, but will probably help Labour win. One good thing about Wille Jackson is that some Labour voters will probably vote Green, but they will be replaced by people from the centre of the spectrum. These are not accidental or thoughtless actions by Labour, no matter how problematic they are on other levels. Let’s hope that lefties in Ōhāriu don’t squander that by gifting the seat back to Dunne.

If I lived in Ōhāriu, despite Greg O’Connor’s past I don’t think that it would be too hard electorate voting for him in order to get rid of Dunne, such is the damage that Dunne does to NZ in his support for a National government, or even just his stonewalling on medicinal cannabis. It’s also probable that Dunne would choose National again over a Labour-led government that had the Greens in it.

But what if instead of O’Connor it was Willie Jackson? Or maybe David Shearer and he was campaigning on his bash a disabled person platform? It’s hard to say until you are there but we can all think of the end of the extreme where we would be unable to suck it up and vote strategically. Maybe I couldn’t, or maybe I could and then I’d probably write posts on TS about the very real problems Shearer was creating but how those in Ōhāriu should still vote for him and then spend the next 3 years holding him to account. We have actual choices here. Politics isn’t pure, and it’s ok to be pragmatic. I understand that some people won’t be willing to do that, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Is this a dilemma for Green voters? For some it will be. But I see a mix of integrity and pragmatics here on the part of the party. Shaw acknowledges that many members have been wanting this action from the Greens. Turei acknowledges that they have a problem with O’Connor’s past. They haven’t done a deal, but have instead acted according to their conscience and own needs. For those who think it’s a compromise of MMP principles, consider that in 2014 the Greens didn’t stand anyone against Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau and that got barely a mention.

There are things here for the left to learn. It’s too cliched to try and lump the Greens into a box of either purity or damned by compromise. They’re a mainstream political party and they’re behaving as such and still maintaining the integrity they are known and loved for – hence no deal and being honest and transparent about their choice. The other key point is that Labour and the Greens don’t have to be joined at the hip and there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing and still working together. Not only should we get used to this, we should be figuring out how to do this ourselves.



132 comments on “What’s the deal? There isn’t one. ”

  1. weka 1

    Vernon Small tweets that National didn’t stand a candidate in Ōhāriu in 1996 and 1999, thus leaving the way for their voters to vote for Dunne,

  2. Cinny 2

    There is no deal, there is MMP and there is a choice, change the government or not.

    The intelligent Greens are driven to change the government, and they are making clever choices to reflect that. The rest is up to us, the voters.

  3. Nick 3

    Yes Cinny totally agree.

  4. Ben 4

    Oh please. Whichever way you slice or dice it, it’s a deal. Green hypocrisy shines through again, and writing screeds of eloquent prose won’t make the obvious go away.

    • weka 4.1

      What’s the deal exactly then Ben?

      • Red 4.1.1

        The deal is we won’t stand a candidate against Dunn however we expect our reward and consideration if by the very small chance we get to form a coalition government re cabinet seats and policy It’s an implied deal,I have no problem with it, it’s politics and the system however the greens should stop with the holier than though tosh they keep pushing, they are as nasty and manipulative as any political party

        • weka

          Where do you see the Greens saying they expect a reward from Labour over them not standing in Ōhāriu?

          I’m not sure what an implied deal is. Do you mean that party A does an action and the implication is that party B will respond in a desirable way, but there is no actual deal?

          • Red

            Exactly, not that difficult, green are not doing this for fun, they expect a political reward to cash in credits at coalition negotiating table The green are simply playing the game that the system and rules of the game allows, that’s the implied deal with labour.

            • weka

              I’ll ask again, where is the evidence that the Greens are expecting something from not standing in Ōhāriu that they weren’t already expecting to get? Because I think you are making shit up. Which is fine, you can think badly of the Greens if that’s how you view the political world, but let’s just be honest about the actual evidence and then we can talk about the likelihood.

              Myself, I reckon that Labour and the Greens sorted this shit out last year, they’re strong in their relationship, and it’s already a given that if they form govt the Greens will be part of cabinet. No coalition deal has been done (that’s for after the election), what they’ve done is agreed to work together in some areas, not sabotage each other, and to both change the govt. So that leaves the Greens free to act according to their own needs. It also fits that the Greens would do this even if Labour end up forming govt with NZF and the Greens are outside of that. If your primary aim is to change the govt, rather than gain power, this explains what they just did.

              • Red

                Our two points of view are not mutually exclusive I suggest this is the reality rather than your sugar coated saintly view of the greens Again I have no issue with it, to the contrary I would think less of the greens if the failed to play the system to their maximum advantage

                • weka

                  Mostly now it’s my annoyance at the use of the word ‘deal’ to mean something that isn’t actually an arrangement. Of course they’re going to use the system to their advantage, they’ve been up front about their reasons for that – they want to change the govt. But there are limits too, they don’t condone backroom deals that circumvent voters. Hence L/G decided to not do accommodations last year.

                  I still don’t see any evidence of quid pro quo beyond what was already in place. I guess maybe the Greens are building good will but I don’t think they would have done this just for that. Btw, I’ve been arguing for this move for a long time and I used to get disapproval for it. That the Greens, or any party, can choose where it stands a candidate and can do so without a deal, is not that big a deal.

                  • Red

                    fair enough, its subjective but I will give you that there is no expressed deal or consideration for this expressed action by the greens, more about future deals and positioning. It is however the greens playing politics and been pragmatic vs values where a more innocent Green Party of yester year may have held to their values (not a criticism just an observation)

                    • McFlock

                      Actually I think it’s indicative of growing mutual respect between the parties rather than ‘pragmatism vs innocence’. The Greens have always played a hard game – they weren’t wishy-washy about corngate or Happy Valley, for example.

                      But they have always been upfront about what they do.

          • Infused

            Don’t be so damm stupid.

        • Anno1701

          “It’s an implied deal”

          dont you mean

          I just made that up…..

    • Tremours, Ben, those are tremours you are feeling, rippling as they are, through the fabric of New Zealand’s fragile Right Wing.

    • Bearded Git 4.3


      National have been doing shonky deals in Epsom and Ohariu for years. In the current parliament these deals gave them a majority; without them they would have been relying on the MP.

      Crusher could have got rid of the “one seat gets you a party” rule (public submissions heavily favoured this) but chose not to because it suited National. It is all National’s fault, it really is.

      In this situation you can hardly blame the opposition parties for doing the same as National, but more honestly.

      Good post Weka.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.3.1

        Not exactly: the National Party helps a party with 0% support get a seat in Parliament, because they want an excuse for introducing extreme right wing policies.

        The Greens are hoping to destroy a party with 0% support because he’s an unprincipled weathervane.

    • aerobubble 4.4

      Cost benefit. Its the more business approach of the Greens, under a new leadership. The savings from not running a candidate, added to knocking out a known anti-Green MP, its win win.

    • Cite please. Give me a party member or official source even implying a deal, I dare you.

      I’m actually a party member. This was announced as a unilateral decision to members before you heard about it, and one of the reasons I’m a member is because the Greens are almost obsessively transparent.

      The Greens chose not to stand because they’re hoping that standing aside will give O’Connor the boost needed to unseat Dunne and effectively gain the current opposition an extra half-seat (or rather, lose the government one of its two half-seat advantage support partners) in terms of how parliament is allocated after the election. That’s beneficial to them even if they don’t get anything from Labour for doing it. It’s also especially beneficial if it lets Labour and the Greens not exclusively rely on NZ First for confidence and supply, which is the moonshot goal for the coalition in this election. I, probably like most Greens, think O’Connor is a terrible candidate for Ōhāriu, accepting that it is a centrish liberal electorate and O’Connor is a raging conservative, but I actually still think this is a savvy campaign decision for the Green Party as well after you swallow the idea that Labour will make its own stupid decisions and the Greens only get to react to them, as I want him to win on a tactical level even though I personally would never stomach voting for him out of strategic objections to mixing left-wing liberals with left-wing conservatives in the same party. (ie. I think if NZ First ever pivots leftwards enough, that’s where jokers like O’Connor and Nash really belong. That said, left-wing social-centrists arguably have a place in a party that also has left-wing liberals. Labour has just forgotten that it’s not an FPP party anymore and actually needs to have consistent values nationally now)

      If there were a deal to carve up key electorates, likely the Greens would have stood down in at least one other key electorate, and would have in return asked Labour to stand aside for them somewhere they felt winning the electorate would boost their party vote significantly, as neither party would have viewed it as appropriate to offer up post-election concessions for a campaign-time decision.

  5. Ad 5

    On the same day YoungLabour sent out younglabour.org.nz/volunteer an actual Valentine to supporters saying:

    “Roses are red
    Violets are Blue
    I can’t wait
    To win the election with you”

    …Andrew Little sent this card out on Valentine’s Day:

    “Oh my darling James,

    I know you’ve got these romantic notions about, you know, enduring relationships, and planning for a life/government together.

    But James, O James, I just want Friends With Benefits.
    A little Netflicks and Chill,
    and I get to still screw anyone else I want.”

    And if James thinks Grant Robertson will calmly return the favour from Labour to Greens and step back to guarantee Greens a secure parliamentary seat in Wellington, then the next card is in the mail.

    • weka 5.1

      That’s the point though isn’t it? The Greens know the political reality and still decided to not stand.

      • Ad 5.1.1

        The Greens look oddly principled; Little just comes across as a man-ho on Tinder.

        • weka

          You’ve lost me there Ad. The Greens looking principled doesn’t seem odd to me, I think they did strike the right balance between pragmatism and finding a way to do that that wasn’t a sell out. That striking a balance seems consistent with GP way of working.

          Little, are you referring to the quote in the post? I thought it was a very useful clarification on his part. I guess anti-lefties can argue that they are lying and they really do have a deal only it’s a secret one, but in the absence of evidence or that being likely, isn’t this just an example of two parties who have agreed to support each other, not stab each other in the back, and yet still remain two separate parties?

          • Ad

            LIttle will now have to explain and explain and explain that the MOU announced with the Greens is … wait already bored.
            There’s no secret, just really poor politics from Little.

            Greens are coming out of this just fine, and look more attractive.

            • weka

              Well someone apparently needs to explain the MoU because so many people still seem to not get it. But that was true before this.

              What do you think Little should have done differently?

              • Ad

                He should have started his first sentence with:

                “We do deals. We are politicians. Deals are the essence of MMP. TA-daaaa”

                He would have eaten Gower’s ‘hypocrite’ charges for a week, then manned up and done another deal. And another. And another. And then won the election. That would get him past all this soft-cockery and into power.

                • weka

                  Are you saying that Labour and the Greens did do a deal, or are you saying that what just happened should be called a deal even though there was no arrangement?

                  Soft-cockery aside, how would it have worked if Labour said “we do deals” and the Greens had said “we didn’t do a deal”?

                  I really like the current strategy. The time for doing deals is after voting closes.

  6. It annoys me that political journalists, people whose strength is supposed to be political analysis, are equating the Green decision not to stand a candidate in Ohariu with National’s maintaining a sock puppet party in Epsom so it can have one more MP than its party vote entitles it to. Oh, yeah, awesome analytical skills, dudes, you’re worth every penny they’re paying you.

    • Andre 6.1

      We’ve got plenty of political theatre critics around the place that call themselves journalists and analysts. Actual fact-finding journalists and analysts are somewhat scarcer.

  7. Simon 7

    Great: Vote Labour and you get the wacky greens with their anti-science views on GMO’s and agriculture generally. Its almost as if Labour prefers being in opposition.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      The depth of your analysis indicates that National is probably a better fit for you anyway.

      • weka 7.1.1

        Not to mention that Labour can’t govern on their own, so the anti-Green rhetoric is in reality saying let’s have a 4th National term.

        • Wayne

          One good thing about the MOU is that it indisputably puts the Greens on the left. There is no more pretence (even if small) that the Greens could go with National, or at least allow National to govern.

          From what I have seen from over the last nearly 20 years of the Greens in Parliament, is that there is almost zero common ground between National and the Greens. Even on environmental issues where there might be common ground (Kermadecs Sanctuary, Predator Free NZ), it is entirely co-incidentaL.

          After all Labour also agrees on these things, and no-one would suggest Labour and National could form a government. The German model of grand coalitions seems to hold no attraction in NZ.

          • Robert Guyton

            “One good thing about the MOU is that it indisputably puts the Greens on the left. ”

            The Greens had a MOU with National in recent times, Wayne. Did that put them indisputably on the right?

          • Robert Guyton

            And Wayne, what even does this mean?
            ” Even on environmental issues where there might be common ground (Kermadecs Sanctuary, Predator Free NZ), it is entirely co-incidentaL.”(Italics mine)

            • Wayne


              The MOU (as I recall) was primarily about home insulation, so it was not really an electoral pact, but rather a policy agreement.

              Though that does rather negate my point about co-incidence on policy issues. There are obviously some things which can be done by formal agreement, rather than the Nats doing something of environmental significance which the Green happen to agree with ex post.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            There never was a pretence, and the Greens have always positioned themselves clearly on the Left.

            It was the Greens being quite clear that the leadership don’t get to decide who they go into coalition with, the members do, and the media’s inability to parse the language of non-zero probabilities into “when hell freezes over.” There are factions within the Greens that are a little more centrist or so environmentally focused that they would, say, take a coalition with National that aggressively lowered carbon emissions if Labour policy wouldn’t get the job done, (hell, I still view the issue as urgent enough that I might agree that such a deal should be approved) and the membership might approve such a coalition deal with National if they viewed it as a situation that could essentially move the entire political spectrum more towards the Greens.

            We’ve never come even close to such a situation eventuating of course, so the MoU does “make things clear” in that it stops pro-National Party journalists from getting confused.

    • Carolyn_nth 7.2

      So who would you vote for, Natz with their anti-science views on climate change, increasing risk of wild fires? See Fires are the new normal on TS.

      What is anti-science about the Greens’ policies, including their position on GMOs? Details, links, please?

      • Psycho Milt 7.2.1

        With Kedgeley gone and Browning going, the “anti-science” label is becoming a lot less applicable. The anti-GE policies remain a problem, though. National is anti-science in a lot of ways, but not so explicitly and militantly as the Greens’ anti-GE stance, so it tends to get away with it.

      • To be fair, as a Green member, I agree that the Green position on GMOs such as mandatory labelling for GE products and keeping GMOs in New Zealand in labs actually isn’t consistent with the best science which basically has now had time to conclude that the GMOs we have to date are no more harmful than the selective breeding we’ve engaged in for generations. (although there have been some disturbing things done with GMOs, such as making seeds that won’t in turn yield crops that go to seed themselves, which could be really bad for agriculture long-term)

        That said, it is consistent with a rational economic cost-benefit analysis of GMOs for New Zealand: That not having them in the wild in the country at all is a great marketing boon for our agriculture industry. And even though I think it encourages science-illiterate behaviour, I can’t object to the consumer having a reasonable right to know whether food they might buy is GE and making their own decisions in a world where marshmallows can market themselves as 99% fat-free. (don’t get me started on 1% fat and the way that products that are either fatty or sugary use the thing they’re not as a red herring) You can’t bring someone over to the side of science by saying they don’t get to make their own decisions, science is about openness and freedom as much as it is about getting things right.

        Given the two options, I’m quite happy to go with a cost-benefit approach rather than just let GMOs out into the wild because technically they’re safe, especially as there are issues of corporate monopolies and dubious ethics around GMOs still that don’t relate to their safety that should be regulated heavily before we even consider letting them out of the box. Sure, it’s not aggressively pro-science, but neither is it science-illiterate or actually anti-science. Arguably, back before adequate studies had been done on GMOs, it was pro-science to take a precautionary stance about them, although we’re now beyond that point, so the argument against GMOs has shifted to only be valid on economic and consumer rights perspectives.

        That’s not to say there aren’t some anti-science Greenies who wish the Party would select someone in love with homeopathy and obsessed with whether things are “natural,” as if that always guaranteed they were better. (shark attacks are natural. Dying of exposure is natural. I don’t particular care for natural as a rule, I’m more concerned about how processed my food is instead) But the Party’s policy is well within the realm of scientific literacy in all areas, and is actually aggressively pro-science in most environmental, energy policy, and social policy areas, and the anti-science candidates have largely been put out to pasture. (Although please, stop voting Sue K onto the Wellington DHB, it’s not a good idea even if she was a Green MP)

    • mauī 7.3

      Great, you can have your GMO food crops designed to be the only thing to survive being sprayed by Roundup (industrial pipe cleaner). Everyone else can carry on eating natural food like we have for thousands of years.

    • red-blooded 7.4

      The Greens are not anti-science. They’re not the ones trying to avoid acknowledging the effects of climate change (see the post on the fires in ChCh) or trying to deny the negative effects the dairy industry is having on our natural environment (especially waterways).

  8. swordfish 8

    Given that the Nats will almost certainly pull their candidate in favour of the bow-tie wearing bouffant, O’Connor’s only hope is to make significant in-roads into the Tory vote.

    More than 5500 Nats cast their candidate Vote for National’s Hudson in 2014 – compared to just 1400 Greens voting for their candidate Woodley

    • weka 8.1

      Which I assume was part of Labour’s decision. I will be interested to see how far they and O’Connor go with that.

    • So when National does pull its candidate, will we see Ben and Simon throw up their hands in horror as they’ve done here?

      *young snowflake approaches the gates of Hades, filled with expectation of safe passage through the fiery realm.

      • Ben 8.2.1

        Not from me Robert. I didn’t say it was wrong, but that it is a deal.

        • Robert Guyton

          You are merely guessing, Ben. You’ve no way to show that your opinion is anything more than just that. Call it what you like, but if you want to debate the facts, present some. The Greens, authorities on the matter, say it isn’t. Your insistence is nothing more than speculation and is being treated as such. ‘K?

        • http://www.dictionary.com/browse/deal?r=75&src=ref&ch=dic

          a business transaction:
          They closed the deal after a week of negotiating.
          a bargain or arrangement for mutual advantage:
          the best deal in town.
          a secret or underhand agreement or bargain:
          His supporters worked a number of deals to help his campaign.
          Informal. treatment received in dealing with another:
          He got a raw deal.

          You mean like 17?

          There are many things you can criticise the Greens for, if you like, but they don’t do secret deals. If there was a deal they would have signed it publicly and made a press release or had a press conference.

    • Bearded Git 8.3


      Yes, agreed, Dunne may still win with the Greens not standing . However, we must all be hoping that at this election the Labour-Green bloc will get at least 43% rather than 36-37% last time. If this is the case the votes in Ohariu will reflect this shift and O’Connor should win.

      If the Labour-Green bloc can’t get 43% all is lost anyway.

      • I’d say the Greens not standing merely compensates for O’Connor being terribly ill-suited to the electorate. So he has to work just as hard as Chauvel or Andersen would have.

        That doesn’t mean it’s not winnable, it just means that Labour has squandered a situation that could potentially have handed them Ōhāriu.

        • red-blooded

          Matthew, on what basis do you judge Ohariu to be “liberal” and O’Connor ill-suited to it? Let’s remember that the good folk of Ohariu have returned the conservative pudding Peter Dunne to parliament election after election after election, knowing full well that there is no “United Future” party in any meaningful sense (that was a decidedly ill-chosen name, as it turned out, wasn’t it?).

          • Matthew Whitehead

            On the basis that I’ve lived in three separate suburbs of Ōhāriu, including going to school there, and many of them are liberal bubbles? I know I can’t fact-check large amounts of personal anecdotes, but they do paint a picture. Most conservatives in Ōhāriu stubbornly vote National. It’s also home to a lot of liberal national voters who vote for Dunne, and a lot of wealthy Labour and Greens supporters who range on the spectrum from pretty liberal thankyou to complete moonbats. (and of course, the usual assortment of starving students, retirees trying to keep up with balooning rates due to gentrification, and people who are simply struggling) Khandallah especially is where a lot of the senior public servants live when they start families, and that’s a combination of wealthy and liberal that suits Dunne quite well, Broadmeadows has a fair amount of liberals, and Johnsonville, when I lived there, was pretty left as well as quite liberal, although the demographics may now be changing a bit.

            Remember, this is the electorate that pre marriage equality was three hundred votes away from electing openly gay Charles Chauvel as their MP, and unlike Georgina Beyer, it wasn’t a matter of getting to know him personally and thinking he was “one of the good ones.” People were enthusiastic about Chauvel. Hell, I voted for him without regrets, unlike my first electorate vote for Labour after my move.

            Dunne isn’t as much of a conservative as you’d think, not really. He’s a boring centrist with vaguely liberal values in general, (arguably he’s more liberal in some ways than a normal liberal- he supports smoking and gambling quite aggressively, for instance, although I think that’s the “right” part of “centre-right” more than the liberal part of his politics tbqh)

            He thinks Destiny Church should be taxed. He explicitly uses the words “social justice” in his campaign materials. He wants those qualified for WFF to get subsidies for buying homes, he supports more flexibility around retirement, he is basically your classic rich person’s liberal, but also knows how to talk to people who aren’t because Johnsonville is in his electorate, too, and it isn’t gentrifying that quickly, and he will push families, families, and families at them until they think he supports ordinary people because he’s got some weird obsession with marriage and kids. He even thinks encouraging people to play sports is important enough that he’s tormented inside people like myself with extra-long Daylight Saving time. which let’s be honest, is exactly the sort of priorities your average suburban liberal thinks are important.

            He’s even an internationalist, unlike ACT and NZ First. (I’ve never met one of the 2,000-odd Winne fans in that electorate. Everyone I’ve talked politics with there has thought he was somewhere between an unpredictable rabble-rouser to the antichrist incarnate) The biggest areas where Dunne is a conservative are religion and drugs, and he’s slowly coming around on drugs.

            Now, don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a waste of space in Parliament, I just think he’s come up with a good campaign/policy mixed strategy for his electorate and you need someone who can counter it with a more left-wing brand of non-radical liberalism. I’m not convinced O’Connor is the guy to win it, as frankly there’s probably a maximum of 9000 conservatives in the electorate, (if we add everyone who party voted NZ First and Conservative together with everyone who electorate voted National, and assume none of the Nats are right-wing liberals, which may not be entirely fair, but let’s assume for those that aren’t, there’s newly enthusiastic conservative Labour voters to make up for them) and barely 2000 of them are left enough to party vote NZ First. I’m glad I won’t have to consider holding my nose and voting for him given my electorate is now a little further south, but I’m welcome to him surprising me with unseating Dunne. We can always campaign to get him booted out of Labour afterwards. 😉 But my big worry is that Green voters and even liberal Labour voters will go with the devil they know, and either throw away their electorate vote or even cast it for Dunne to lock out O’Connor because they’re social voters rather than economic ones. This is not an electorate that will like his pro-gun policies, and if I were Dunne, I would be subtly bruising him on his positions as leader of the Police association so as to make him look like the pro-gun nutbar he arguably is, without giving him space to talk about how Everyone Else Is Soft On Crime, which is a message that won’t resonate as well with the public servants in the electorate at least.

            Most of the reasons to get rid of Dunne are economic. He’s a dinosaur on tax and wants to make things better for wealthy couples just because they might be families, he wants to pick losers in the economy, and like National, he doesn’t really seem to understand how recessions and boom times happen, and that the reason we’re not currently in one is due to EQC paying out the entire National Disaster Fund into Christchurch, so we got a huge stimulus into the economy at a time when the government was otherwise pinching pennies, which offset their economic madness. Sure, he’s Not Liberal Enough, but he’s probably as liberal as that electorate as a whole will vote for, as well. I say it’s a liberal electorate in the same sense that New Zealand is a liberal country- we have a vaguely liberal-of-centre politics overall as a population, with bumps of rugged individualism and conservatism in certain regions.

            But if a left-wing conservative like O’Connor manages to pick up that seat, (and it’s not impossible) we’ve effectively traded someone who is bad on economics but vaguely OK on social policy for someone who is good on economics but terrible on social policy, so it’s a sort of Pyrrhic victory in my books, rather than the outright victory it would have been if we had got Andersen or Chauvel into that seat. We should have had someone who would pick up some enthusiasm from those Greens that no longer have a candidate to vote for. We should have got someone who can talk to suburban liberals about their issues. We should have got someone who understands retirees, and struggling households, and families. Instead we got Shooty The Cop.

  9. Anthony Rimell 9

    Weka, I think this is an excellent analysis.

    The simple truth is that two parties on the left are working together in such a way that maximises the chance of a centre-left Government on 24 September, while still ensuring each retains it’s unique perspective and priorities.

    Some are claiming that Labour and the Greens don’t understand MMP. I see this decision by the Greens, along with others made by both parties, as clear evidence that in fact they understand it very well.

    • weka 9.1

      Thanks Anthony!

      The thing I am hoping for this year is that we finally get to see the potential of MMP rather than much of the bullshit that’s dominated NZ politics since it was introduced. I think some people don’t get the MoU or what Labour and the Greens are doing, mostly because they’re not used to parties not doing subterfuge. Fingers crossed that they get a straight run.

    • Leftie 9.2

      “this decision by the Greens, along with others made by both parties, as clear evidence that in fact they understand it very well.”

      Yes, hence the screams of “foul” coming from the right.

  10. Bill 10

    Wasn’t even aware there was any ‘deal or no deal’ speculation. And if there was, I’m left wondering why?

    The only thing that gets me is the O’Conner thing and the strange defence of him from some quarters. And it’s crossed my mind more than once that Jackson was nothing more than some kind of stalking horse put out there to make O’Conner’s parachute drop gentler.

    I admit to finding it odd that Labour would insist that such a potentially divisive figure gets to contest the Ohariu electorate. But them’s is cunning and smart and there’s obviously a wheen of stuff I’m just not privy to….right?

    S’cuse my ignorance. But who stood for Labour last time around? And why can’t/won’t they stand again? My understanding is that they lost the seat by a fairly slim margin, no?

    • weka 10.1

      The problem is if National choose to not stand someone (see comment 1), then any slim margin becomes much bigger. The theory is that you need someone pretty centrist to take votes off Dunne and pick up enough of the National votes to win. I’m guessing that the previous candidate was too left wing, but I haven’t looked it up. It looks more and more to me like this was a pretty well thought out strategy on Labour’s part. O’Connor looks to me exactly like someone who could pick up votes from both Dunne and National.

      “Wasn’t even aware there was any ‘deal or no deal’ speculation. And if there was, I’m left wondering why?”

      Because some people cannot conceive that the Greens might be able to make this decision on their own? Or that two political parties are incapable of working together without doing backroom deals?

      Much of the debate that’s gone on in the past week is around the semantics of the word ‘deal’. Hence the dictionary quote. The word is being used wrongly. If what I wrote is true (that L/G didn’t make an arrangement between themselves), then ‘deal’ didn’t happen, but that’s the word people are using to describe the Greens’ unilateral action. Some of that misuse is laziness, some of it is intentional to shitstir.

      • Leftie 10.1.1

        “this was a pretty well thought out strategy on Labour’s part. O’Connor looks to me exactly like someone who could pick up votes from both Dunne and National.”


      • greywarshark 10.1.2

        Ohariu 2011
        Despite a fierce campaign for the electorate, Labour contender Charles Chauvel fell short by 1,646 votes with all ballots counted, saying John Key’s endorsement of Mr Dunne got the UnitedFuture leader over the line.

        The party faced wipeout if Mr Dunne did not take the seat, winning just 0.6 per cent of the party votes.
        Early in the night, Mr Chauvel was within sniffing distance of a historic victory, with Mr Dunne’s lead narrowing to just 76 votes at one point.
        However, it leaped to 500 votes just after 9pm and steadily grew from there.

        Mr Chauvel conceded the electorate at about 9.45pm, saying Mr Dunne’s majority was too big to overcome, even with 10,000 votes still to come at that point.
        “The endorsement from John Key has had an effect and that’s likely to be the outcome.”

        Charles Chauvel in 2013 speech as he withdrew:
        A controversial exit speech by Labour MP Charles Chauvel this week pointing to the lack of racial balance in the shadow cabinet and factions in the party has opened up wounds around the last leadership battle.

        Most of the caucus top-ranked 20 are Pakeha, with only three exceptions, Nanaia Mahuta, Su’a William Sio, and Shane Jones.

      • Psycho Milt 10.1.3

        O’Connor looks to me exactly like someone who could pick up votes from both Dunne and National.

        Yes. It’s about playing to win, not ideological purity. Ordinarily it wouldn’t matter shit who gets to win an electorate seat, but Rimmer and Dunne are effectively Nat MPs who don’t count towards National’s party vote share, so any arrangement that can defeat either of them is worthwhile from the left’s PoV. I’d be happy the Green Party’s withdrawn from this particular electorate race even if Patrick Gower were to find some kind of Labour/Green equivalent of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact lurking in a desk drawer somewhere.

      • Leftie 10.2.1

        Labour’s Virginia Andersen did a very good job of whittling down Dunne’s support. If anyone can finish off the job and take that conservative seat off Dunne, then it is someone like Greg O’Connor.

    • The Fairy Godmother 10.3

      Virginia Anderson is standing in Hutt South Trevor Mallard’s seat so I guess she was unavailable for Ohariu

  11. Enough is Enough 11

    If you’re a party and you’re fighting in a general election you put your candidates up and you put your people up and we’ll be the judge. People don’t like being deprived of that choice.

    • Leftie 11.1

      You should tell that to National EIE.

      • Enough is Enough 11.1.1

        That was directed at National Leftie.

        Its a direct quote from Andrew Little in relation to National’s tactics in 2014.

        Personally I have no issue with what the Greens or National have done.

        • Leftie

          Thanks for explaining that. Would have been good if you had of identified that your comment was a quote, with an inclusion of the author’s name.

          • Enough is Enough

            I purposely left it like that to see if anyone walk into the trap….which they did

  12. Sabine 12

    ahhh its simple

    coalition agreements on the right = double plus good
    coalition agreements on the left = clutch yer pearls and scream “how dare they”?

    so funny to watch them rendering their garments and pull out hair in despair at how the left does what it thinks it needs to do in order to get stuff done. Oh how dare they.

    • Leftie 12.1

      Lol I know !! +1000 Sabine.

    • Red 12.2

      To the contrary Sabine but probably a little subtle for you, most of the right have no issue barring the humour in observing the sanctimoneous bs of the greens trying to explain it. it’s ok your playing politics and been pragmatic. I think the angst is more a deep troubling with in the greens in that they have sold out to pragmatism and dirty politics

    • mosa 12.3

      Sabine good point.

      Wasn’t that where that ridiculous ” National the natural party of government ” came from.

      The arrogance of believing that somehow the National party are the only ones entitled to govern this country and behave just the same when they are the government, that and their hallowed supporters.

      The whole political narrative now with the MSM in full support has changed the playing field dramatically since 2005 in the rights favour.

      You only have to see how this decision by the Greens not to stand a candidate in Dunnes seat was handled by the stupid Katie Bradford.

      The Greens are politically mature and the decision not to stand in this seat is a reflection of where they see the the political landscape shaping up this year and their supporters will understand perfectly as will any left voters in Ohariu who want real change and vote accordingly on September 23rd.

  13. Groundhog 13

    It takes a particularly deep form of delusion to:

    1. Not see that a deal must have been done to bring this decision by the Greens, and
    2. To not see the screaming hypocrisy of this deal, given past criticism of the same type of ‘deals’ done by National and their support partners.

    It has taken over 20 years, but at last the left are learning about MMP. Well done.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      You really ought to cite your source rather than pretending this is your own opinion.

    • Deal implies a multilateral decision. This was a unilateral decision with no expectation of quid-pro-quo. Andrew Little had already said publicly that talks for a deal had broken down months ago.

      • Groundhog 13.2.1

        So you are gullible then? Well that settles that.

        • Ahaha no. More like I’ve been involved with the Green Party and know its culture. It doesn’t operate the same way that many other parties in NZ do. This is a group of people who are almost pathologically honest, and believe in openness so much that all their computers run Linux, all their policy is posted to the internet in advance of the campaign, and all their deals are signed in public and bragged about to the press. They may be pragmatic in approach, (hence the standing down in Ōhāriu) but they’re fundamentally idealists, and one of those ideals is honesty.

          If Little was saying publicly that deals had broken down and it wasn’t true, the GP would have been issuing corrections pretty fast.

          The GP doesn’t do secret deals. It holds a conference vote after each election on any coalition deals, for instance. The caucus could try to make a secret deal, but if they needed any of their staff to work on it, it’d be leaked so hard and so fast that your head would spin.

          I don’t actually trust Labour as far as I can throw them, and I don’t necessarily trust that there couldn’t be one or two people in the Greens’ caucus who wouldn’t mind more ability to make decisions behind closed doors. But I trust that it would be impractical to keep any such deal secret with the amount of True Believers in decentralised and transparent decision making that are present in the Green Party in critical positions.

          Basically, citation/leak or it didn’t happen.

          • weka


            Did Little say talks broke down? Or that they decided to not go the route of concessions?

            • Leftie

              The latter.

              “Labour leader Andrew Little says the Greens didn’t consult with him before they made the announcement and denied the parties had agreed to a deal.
              “The memorandum of understanding means we can talk about electoral accommodations. We had discussions last year about it, and in the end we agreed that we trust each other enough that we’ll make our own decisions on standing electorate candidates.”

              <a href="http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/02/green-party-stands-aside-in-h-riu.html

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Well, maybe “talks had broken down” might be going a bit far. I was referring to the fact that they didn’t manage to figure out a way acceptable to both parties that they could carve out key electorates like Ōhāriu, as Leftie points out.

              He essentially said Labour were no longer negotiating for a concession, and it was entirely up to the Greens whether they stood or not- (very likely having been informed that the Greens were making that decision and it was in the cards that they wouldn’t) and now we have that decision.

              The Newshub article, other than its insistence that this is a deal-by-another-name, is reasonably accurate in describing the situation.

          • red-blooded

            “I don’t actually trust Labour as far as I can throw them,”:

            You don’t have to choose Labour as your party, but slagging us off while talking about working in coalition with us seems a bit odd. I don’t choose the Greens as my party, but I don’t diss them either.

            Maybe you don’t like the fact that Labour has worked with NZ1st in preference to the Greens in the past, but there were reasons for that at the time, and the situation is not the same now. The MOU should see us working together and treating each other with respect.

            • Leftie

              Completely agree with that 100%, Red-Blooded.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              I’m not saying Labour are bad people, or intending to hurt anyone’s feelings. (actually, I have a lot of hope for the ordinary members and the young up-and-comers within the party who might eventually get their shot if the careerists will please make some space for them, and for a couple of individual MPs and some of the policy work Labour has put into certain areas, and I know we need a party positioned roughly where Labour is on the Left, because the Greens can’t and won’t represent certain people closer to the centre of politics) I’m saying that their Caucus and their leaders act like normal politicians, that they’re part of a toxic political culture, that thinks certain politicians are entitled to a job for life, that ordinary voters are tired of, and therefore I can’t and don’t want to trust them on a personal level.

              Don’t get me wrong though, that is the norm in politics almost everywhere, and Labour are the least worst of all the other kiwi parties about the sort of backstabbing nonsense that usually pervades politics, and they are slowly improving, too. The Greens are just a strange aberrant Party that have thus far managed to avoid that shadowy side of pragmatism. I have hope that someday Labour will be full of people just as zealous as people like me are about openness, transparency, and trust in politics, and that they’ll reform their party culture to be more and more democratic over time, and less about Caucus and their Leaders, so that those people really can keep them honest.

              It wasn’t intended as an insult, or to hurt Labour’s chances, (I want them to tower back into the high thirties or more, I’m just frustrated that they’re not acting in a way that I think will help them towards that goal) I just guess I have some of that same streak towards pathological honesty. 😉 Overall, I do trust the Green Caucus, and the party’s democratic culture, to prevent shady things from happening, and I am a suspicious and cynical person about those sorts of things.

              I actually don’t care about Labour’s previous arrangements with NZ First and UF. It was a political necessity, and reasonable Greens understood even if they were disappointed that it was more important to stay in government than to acknowledge the friendship and co-operation between our parties.

              I think this coalition can succeed. But that doesn’t mean I’m not realistic about Labour needing to get its act together for that to work out in the long term, and I’m becoming increasingly worried about their behaviour leading up to this election, and am hoping that either they will prove me wrong, or National will make some key mistakes. Bill English may make this easy enough on us that bad candidate selection and Labour betraying its own party constitution don’t matter, or Labour may turn things around from these false starts and suddenly put on the gas. Either way, I really hope so, and am rooting for you. 🙂

          • Groundhog

            As I thought. Your naivete is staggering.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              As is your ignorance of the party you’re slagging off, so we’ll call this one even.

              It’s highly amusing to have it be implied that I’m a naïve optimist, given how cynical I usually am and how it takes a lot of evidence and trust for me to set that aside.

      • Leftie 13.2.2

        ” Andrew Little had already said publicly that talks for a deal had broken down months ago.”

        Do you have a citation for that?

  14. Groundhog 14

    My comment was my opinion. A well informed one at that.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      Polly wanna cracker?

      • lprent 14.1.1

        I am not that certain that groundhog will understand that without an explanation.. Perhaps a visual one?

        This is an image of what was hypothesised at how groundhog gained the “well-informed” opinion.

        Someone giving Groundhog a opinion so that it well formed.

        Groundhog (the brown headed parrot) then re-regurgitated it here. Possiblely by defecation. However whatever process was used, it appears to have done little to transform the parrot puke into something that groundhog or most of us could understand. It has all of the accuracy of a Donald Trump statement of ‘fact’.

    • McFlock 14.2

      well informed, repeating the information almost verbatim?

    • Leftie 14.3

      You are a legend in your own mind Groundhog.

  15. HDCAFriendlyTroll 15

    Not a deal, a favour.

    And as far as I’m concerned anyone but Dunne.

  16. her 16

    NZFirst didn’t run a candidate in Ohariu in the last election either and there was no fuss made about that.


  17. Enough is Enough 17

    National will do an Epsom here. If they stand their candidate he will be there for the Party Vote only.

    Otherwise they will remove him altogether and give Dunne a free run at that gun lover.

  18. One Anonymous Bloke 18

    The MoU is a deal of sorts. If this can be seen as the Greens holding up their end of the bargain (which I think it can), then it’s part of that context. The charges of hypocrisy on the other hand, not so much.

    The substance of the Left’s objection to the arrangements the National Party has with its remora is that the remora cannot survive unaided, and in the case of ACT, provide a pre-text for introducing government policy that has 0% support (within the margin of error), or in Dunne’s case. a novelty nodding dog.

    Still. I suppose the difference between principle and pragmatism can look an awful lot like hypocrisy at times, especially when viewed through jaundiced hate lenses.

    • weka 18.1

      Coromandel though.

      • Macro 18.1.1

        It’s true that Helen Clark gave the nod to Labour voters in Coromandel to give their support to Jeanette Fitzsimons in 1996. But it also is true that this was going to be a pretty tight race. McLean the sitting Nat MP held only a slight lead (within the margin of error) in the polls 37% to 34%. This was due to a huge effort Jeanette Fitzsimons and her electoral management team who had been out door knocking and working hard in the electorate for some time. The demographics in Coromandel have changed over the past 20 years so that the support from eco warriors whilst still there is not nearly as strong as it once was. Coromandel has now one of the highest proportions of 65+ in the country, and is pretty solid National territory with many retired farmers and retired and cashed up Aucklanders.
        In the end the nod and wink to the Labour supporters was just sufficient to give Jeanette Fitzsimons the edge in the final count, and the Party has never looked back.

  19. Observer Tokoroa 19

    The Trolls
    Greg O’Connor is obviously an excellent candidate. The Trolls hate him. They hate anybody with any quality. The Trolls crawl out from rubbish known as hopeless National.

  20. Pete 20

    I’m really disappointed with the Greens: haven’t they learned anything from the past? From all we’ve learned thus far, Labour will not form a government with the Greens. It doesn’t have to. They know damn well they can easily coerce a confidence & supply agreement out of the Greens which will leave the door open for a Labour/NZ First coalition.
    Just like everywhere else in the world, Labour has moved so far to the right, they are hardly distinguishable from National. Instead of greasing up to Labour (which is hardly less neoliberal than National), the Greens should be bold and daring and release their own policies and condemn the the ruling elite for what they are: irresponsible, greedy Eco-terrorists with only one goal: spoils for the rich and misery for the poor.
    Seems like the world is ready for something far more radical than the same old BS of a National/Act or Labour/NZ First government.
    Unless of course Labour dares following in Corbyn’s footsteps.

    • BM 20.1

      Greens need to take off their ideological blinkers and consider work with National.

      If they had any brains they’d pick 3-4 environmental policies they’d like to see introduced and you use those as their bargaining chip with National

      Currently, they’re just looking like being bridesmaids again, at best.

    • Leftie 20.2

      What a load of rubbish, I bet you will be proved wrong, Pete.

  21. chris73 21

    Yes Weka its a deal, like the deal Labour had with Jim Anderton (I’m surprised he hasn’t come out of retirement for Labour) or the deal Labour had with the Greens in Coromandel or the deal National has with *insert whoever here*

    Its a deal, its not dirty (no deals are really) but its still a deal and its going to keep being mentioned because of the “holier than thou” attitude the Left have had in the past about Nationals deals

    As someone, whose name I can’t quite recall, once put it:

    “If you’re a party and you’re fighting in a general election you put your candidates up and you put your people up and we’ll be the judge. People don’t like being deprived of that choice”

    • weka 21.1

      Some keep saying it’s a deal but no-one is explaining how. See if you can have a go. The Greens don’t stand a candidate in Ōhāriu and Labour do what exactly? What is the deal?

      • chris73 21.1.1

        Are you being deliberately obtuse, you’re sounding quite a bit like John Banks when it came to KDC over this issue

        The deal probably goes something like this:

        Greens don’t stand a candidate so the left vote isn’t split, with the left vote not being split theres a greater chance of Labour taking the seat off Dunne which will give Lab/Green a better chance at winning the general election

        Or do you really not see that?

        • Robert Guyton

          “The deal probably goes something like this:”

          Your probably unconvinces me, chris73.

          Probably *snorts

        • weka

          “The deal probably goes something like this:

          Greens don’t stand a candidate so the left vote isn’t split, with the left vote not being split theres a greater chance of Labour taking the seat off Dunne which will give Lab/Green a better chance at winning the general election”

          So no deal then. Just a unilateral decision made by the Greens for good pragmatic reasons. Which is what I said in the post.

  22. Leftie 22

    Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the decision had been made after much discussion within the Green Party.

    “I think New Zealanders will understand that, in an MMP environment, it makes perfect sense for us to not stand a candidate in Ōhāriu.”

    And he said Ōhāriu was important when National was looking to put together a government.

    “Ōhāriu has a significant impact on the makeup of Parliament.

    “Not standing in Ōhāriu increases the chances that we will be in a position to change the government in September – it’s as simple as that.”

    “I would actually argue that we’re being more transparent here by actually simply saying we’re not going to and it’s within the structure of the memorandum of understanding with the Labour Party that we signed last year, where we actually held a press conference saying that we were going to work together to change the government.”

    James Shaw.

    <a href="http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/324462/green-party-will-not-stand-in-ohariu

  23. tuppence shrewsbury 23

    So having no evidence of a deal means there is no deal. Despite all the appearances of a deal and despite the MOU? This looks like the worst kind of deal. Done in a smoke filled back room. at least the NATZ and ACT had the gall to do it the right way, out in public as an actual signal to the voters in epsom.

    All this “nothing to see here” stuff from the parties and their published supporters is treating the average voter like an idiot. Not something they relish really.

  24. Tuppence, you are feverish, perhaps, a fretter without a cause? Your overheated imaginings which fly in the face of the evidence, do you no credit but at least you provided the laugh of the morning with your,
    “at least the NATZ and ACT had the gall to do it the right way” – that’s Classic Gold!
    Keep it up, Tuppence, we like your work.

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