Green-Labour relationship – lime tantrums and red ambition


How the news on the supposed Green/Labour break down is being reported in NZ media

There is no Party more middle class and white than the Greens and with many voices inside social media, their collective bitterness at Labour preparing for the possibility of NZ First getting over 5% by making the language ‘Labour led Government’ rather than ‘Labour-Green Government’ seems more spurned lover than astute political commentary

Has Cunliffe’s decision yesterday been a missed opportunity? It would seem so. Such an alliance might have galvanised Cunliffe’s campaign, currently dead in the water.

If Labour + Greens were the majority, I could understand the Green anger – but they don’t equal the majority meaning Labour have to keep the door open to NZ First if there is to be a change of Government.

This is the issue for the Left. Do we want to govern with Labour + Green + NZ First with support from MANA or do we want to see NZ First sit on the cross benches and allow Key to govern for another 3 years?

Is NZ First a perfect political partner? Far from it. Winston’s love with playing to the worst fears of Xenophobic older NZers is well documented and disliked and the cavalcade of political circus freaks (other than that nice Tracy Martin) he has as a Party inspire very low confidence, but Winston’s need for a legacy means there is more common ground than a first glance will provide.

A compulsory super fund that buys back the assets of NZ would be the perfect legacy platform for Winston, if Labour and Greens and NZ First can agree on that there will be real progress.

If Labour + Greens with support from MANA equals the majority, we can all sing and dance in the street brothers and sisters but 5 months out that doesn’t seem likely. The Greens can either throw a tantrum about a deal they know was unlikely to begin with or work out how they can connect better with Winston. A point this blog has been trying to make to them for some time.

Cunliffe has shown he will lead the Opposition at the election to replace Key, that’s red ambition. The Greens are flipping out because their ill thought out and unrealistic proposal has been turned down and they are throwing a lime tantrum. What is most alarming about this seems to be how flat footed the Greens were in thinking this was the way Labour would agree to work together. With the Greens in such a strong position, how is it that they keep messing up the negotiations at crunch time?

TDB Recommends


  1. What form is this “lime tantrum” taking, Martyn? What evidence of is there? As far as I can see, there has been little response from the Greens at all, certainly no tantrum. If it’s happening, where is it? To me, it seems as if you are calling on the Greens to show restraint by not throwing a tantrum that they show no signs of throwing. When you do this, it looks like more of a wind-up than political commentary.

  2. “There is no Party more middle class and white than the Greens …”

    Are we living on the same planet?

  3. Hi Martyn. I’ve searched the Internet and I can’t see any sign of the Green “tantrum” you refer to. All Russel Norman was proposing was that Labour and the Greens talk about a Labour/Greens alternative government in the way 90 something percent of people the Left already do. To my knowledge the Greens aren’t excluding Mana, the Internet Party or NZ First. Nobody is talking about a worked-out coalition deal before the election. Russel Norman’s response to Labour’s rejection of the “Labour/Greens” public positioning was polite and cooperative. See the Radio NZ and the Herald

    • Hi Keith –

      I was going to point out the same, and I think that Martyn is getting some facts wrong here. Labour’s positioning may have disappointed some of the Green MPs and members, but they can run a good, successful campaign besides of or despite of Labour anyway.

      Also do I see that both Greens and NZ First are not really ruling out working together, should that be needed to form a new government later this year. There are of course some serious differences, in policy and style and how to speak about things, and it will never be that easy a cooperation, but there are also some areas where Greens and NZ First have similar goals and even policies.

      So I am not that disturbed about what is going on so far, I am rather disappointed that Labour does not get its message across, and remains silent on certain areas, such as welfare, which has led to Labour lingering around just over 30 to 33 per cent in the polls.

      Let voters decide who will bet votes and trust, and negotiations can come after that, to hopefully form a new government that will enable Key to finally retire or semi-retire on his Hawaiian homestead or holiday refuge.

  4. There is no Party more middle class and white than the Greens

    Crap. National. Although National is quite friend to Māori – sending Māori hundreds of millions of dollars where Labour sent hundreds of the Armed Constabulary.

    And if you think Middle White NZ will tolerate a coalition of the losers Labour/Green/NZF/MANA/Maori/Dunne government against Key on somewhere between 45 & 50 precent, you’ve another thing comming.

    The Whale Army will be out on the streets before you can say “return of the writs”.

    • Labour/Green/NZF/MANA/Maori/Dunne – Are you fucking serious?

      Deluded Tory, what alternate universe do you live in.

    • Angry Tory says:
      April 11, 2014 at 9:36 am


      The Whale Army will be out on the streets before you can say “return of the writs”.


      Yeah… nah. The so-called “Whale Army” is perpetually glued to their online porn sites and too obese from knocking back the piss to even get past the front door, much less “be out on the streets”…

      Ain’t gonna happen, sunshine. 😀

  5. “Winston’s need for a legacy means there is more common ground than a first glance will provide.”

    So common ground with Winston is based on his need for a legacy? What about policy? What about principles? Surely this shows just how desperate the left is, and just why they are doing so poorly at attracting mainstream NZ.

    • Intrinsicvalue says:
      April 11, 2014 at 10:02 am


      Surely this shows just how desperate the left is, and just why they are doing so poorly at attracting mainstream NZ.

      I guess the same must go for ACT, currently on 0.0000005% in the polls?!

  6. I think after the Labour response the Green Party proposal, the Greens are the closest they have been so far to achieving their target of 15 percent of the party vote.

  7. Honestly Martyn, what have you got against the Greens. You should really stop undermining them. Given what an articulate, principled, respectful leader Russell Norman is, he deserves better from you

  8. Martyn puts the boot int the Greens yet again. There is no “green tantrum”. The Greens have a Maori co-leader and our policies are very pro-maori, while Mr Peters who Martyn constantly accuses us of not being positive towards remains totally aloof and hostile. Who are you working for now Martyn?

  9. Labour may be the majority party on the left after this election – lets hope – but they can’t do anything without the Greens. The wooing of Winstone is only possible if the Greens are with Labour. Labour needs the Greens end of story. At this stage Labour won’t have enough votes to govern with only NZF and maybe Mana. Yip over Labour’s apparent want to please all of the people attitude, half there, half here approach. Agree totally with Gordon Campbell. SO FRUSTRATING LABOUR! I really want to vote for you!

    My preferred choice for government is a Labour Green government (although I do think the ‘coalition’ should have been discussed much earlier on), supported by Mana, the Internet Party and Winstone’s crew.
    Winstone comes across clearly, strongly, at times ‘interestingly’ and apparently he did do a great job as minister. So he’s not a complete waste of space. Interested husband (who is of the white, left leaning, variety – my wet weather gauge) likes some of the things he says as do others I know – which never ceases to amaze me. And I too find myself inadvertently nodding also. But leaving a legacy would allow him to depart with head held high. Like the idea of the compulsory super fund.

  10. As a Labour stalwart, and a hopeful and eternally optimistic potential candidate for Parliament (pending selection within Labour), I am excited at the prospect of working with the Green Party. There are many Green MPs I like and respect, including Jan Logie, Mojo Mathers, Kevin Hague and Gareth Hughes. These people give the Greens the Mana they deserve.

    However, the Greens are a separate Party with their own agenda. Whilst David Cunliffe has emphatically made it clear not to bag the Greens, and not only do I respect that, but agree, we also must remember that not bagging them does not mean cuddling up to them. They are political rivals as well as allies.

    It is clear that they want to replace Labour as the Opposition Party, and would ideally become the new Labour Party by taking the Affiliates and groups with them. They are not dumb. They are ambitious, as Politicians tend to be. Also, there is nothing wrong with this. We live in a democracy, and if Labour became so out of touch that this happened, then such is life. However, working together does not mean that we are the same.

    At the same time, alongside the satisfaction of knowing that the third major Party in NZ politics is alongside us comes the niggling doubt that much of their support is at our expense. There will always be the feeling that the Green support should really be Labour. There has to be that thought, however deep down, that if the Green Party were to collapse, we would get a large percentage of their base support. There has to be some niggling resentment, though for myself and most alongside me, we are happy that the impending Green/Labour coalition will mean that environmental issues will be highlighted, and unlike the one Green MP in the UK (in my home town of Brighton), our Green Party has come of age and gained that political maturity and realism needed to govern in coalition. (In the UK, they are still seen and acting as out of touch idealists. The Greens here really need to show their UK colleague how it is done, like NZ Labour needs to show the UK Labour Party how to represent the people as opposed to ‘New Labour’ quasi-neoliberal agendas).

    Suffice to say, Green is not Labour and Labour is not Green. We are both battling for votes, and there are no agreements to my knowledge to support opposing candidates in selected electorates. We are rivals, though Progressive Left rivals, campaigning on emphasis of issues as opposed to deep seated differences in doctrine.

    I am happy to work alongside the Green Party. I honour and respect the Green MPs I know and have met, though we do disagree on some issues on a personal level, as most people do. My pitch is for people to vote Labour of course, BUT (and this is a big but), if they cannot support Labour, vote for a Progressive Left Party that most closely matches their views. I do not see the Green Caucus or hierarchy throwing tantrums, but certainly I see some grassroots Labour haters in the Greens trying to upset things. Having said this though, we have some who do not like the Greens, but they are generally keeping a lid on it. We will need to work together to beat the Three Stooges (Key, Collins and Bennett), and so whilst I may not support the Greens as a voter, it will be great to work with them as an MP if I do succeed.

    As for NZ First, I do not like them in general, but they have a solid base support, even if it is a cult following of Winston. Some of their Caucus I think are a liability, but they are speaking for a small but significant body of people. As such, if they can actually work within collective responsibility and not hold the Country to ransom, I believe that they will have a really positive contribution to Government. They may be wrong on the question of immigration and foreigners (like me actually, though a New Zealand citizen of course), but they would be good to keep the focus on New Zealand’s aged population.

    This next Government is shaping up to be a good one, as long as we work together.

  11. Russel Norman is brilliant, he is a hero of mine along with Peter Garrett David Attenborough and Pete Bathune. The world needs more people who work as hard as they do fighting against the ignorant and stupid arse holes like Simon Bridges to save our environment, and wild life. So for god sake get off his arse or we will all be kissing ours good bye as the planet will burn us alive if the Russel Norman’s of the world don’t get through.

  12. Greens = lower middle class Martin if you’re really going to put the boot in, also white and public school educated, office workers confined to middle management. Certainly not the types who know how to use a spanner they go red. Probably also some middle to upper middle class, but not as many of those types, they go national, unless they did arts degrees at uni or feel guilty about having easy lives, some of those types do quite well in the Labour party. Go figure.

  13. everybody keeps hinting winnie is going to be the king maker… thats not what will happen.. both winnie and the greens will end up with similar blocks post election, it will be the greens that are king makers for if they cant get over the winnie hurdle he will walk away.. its up to you greens you can throw toys out of the cot and we all suffer for another 3 years or you can try little humble pie and work with winnie and we have a glimpse of a better future… the choice is yours greens

    • I’m not convinced that NZ First will even hit 5% in such a partisan election. Unless they declare which side of the Labour/ National divide they intend to support, most people otherwise likely to vote for them will instead play it safe and vote for a party that is definitely on their preferred side of the court.

Comments are closed.