Are the Greens about to be snookered by a Labour-NZ First Government?



I wrote last week that it was smart politics that the Greens pointed out they could work with National, the soft blue vote that’s looking for a home in the wake of Dirty Politics isn’t going to Labour, so the Greens should certainly flirt with it.

Now I think that announcement by the Greens was as much a warning to Labour as it was an attempt to pull over soft blue vote.


It looks like the Greens are about to be snookered again by NZ First and Labour.  If Greens + Labour + NZ First are the majority, the Greens could get played once again and be limited in their role inside a new Government.

Winston’s talking up of a Labour/NZ First Government is a clear step in that direction.

Here’s the play – Labour coming in decide to slash the Cabinet down to a much smaller number. It has Winston on it, and the rest are Labour. This gives Cunliffe grip on his Caucus, Winston gets to push the Greens out of Cabinet. The Greens would get a whole bunch of Ministers outside cabinet, but that’s poor consolation to the 3rd largest political party in NZ.

Let’s look at the for and against of this new strategy.

TDB Recommends

The argument for Labour/NZ First Government:

-It’s safe enough for the majority of NZers and could probably win in the current political climate.

-The Greens have no option but to agree with it, where on earth could they go? National? The roar from their own support base over that flirtation last week shows that’s just never a serious possibility. This is why the Internet MANA Party are the Greens best friend – if the majority is Green + Labour + Internet MANA then the Greens can simply refuse to get played by Labour, if the majority however is Green + Labour + Internet MANA, then they risk it and have zero options. They could refuse to provide supply and confidence and risk a second election, but that’s only going to end up hurting the Greens.



The argument against Labour/NZ First Government:

-It will be an ultra safe Government that doesn’t really do much more than tinker around the edges.

-The talent pool within Labour is bloody shallow. You can’t seriously make some of those clowns Ministers, the success of this Government will be the intellectual brains trust of the Greens. You can’t seriously have Russell, Metiria and Kevin Hague outside of Cabinet. That’s like leaving your best players on the bench.

-Legacy. The legacy project Labour have constructed for Winston in the form of the stealth asset buy back plan provides Winston with more of a legacy win than anything else he has ever done in his life. That promise of something so dear to Winston’s heart gives the Greens a hell of a lot more leverage than they might imagine. A point blank refusal by the Greens to go ahead with getting played like this means Winston don’t get no legacy.

-Green Party supporters –  if they feel their Party has been played and are being disrespected, they will go on a holy war online for 3 years. Labour just doesn’t have the smarts or the ability to combat that social media civil war. Also, if the Left don’t see some real progress and real achievements the left blogs will turn on them as well.


I think if Greens + Labour + NZ First are the majority then it will be a Labour/NZ First Government with a supply and confidence arrangement with the Greens in return for policy wins and Ministers outside Cabinet. Internet MANA might get Feed the Kids as a policy win.

If the majority is Labour + Greens + Internet MANA the Greens can hold out for a far better deal with a minimised  NZ First added on as an additional support party.


  1. i have always maintained that it will not be winnie that is the king maker but the greens,, it is only the greens that can say if they will work with winnie… if they refuse then the numbers will not stack up to a majority and out the door goes winnies bargaining power with the nats

  2. I might be missing something here, but how – given the current polling – can Labour and NZ First achieve the numbers to form a government on their own, unless the National vote drops down to the low 40s and NZ First jumps right up, so National can’t form a government without NZ First either (unless the Conservatives also leap up well above five percent)

    I think it was a play by Winston to try and grab a few more votes for NZ First by trashing the Greens and making a few more suckers believe that voting for NZ First could conceivably lead to a centrist non-National government.

    To my mind all it did was make Winston look like he is completely out of touch with reality and a bit of a loose canon.

      • The really smart aspect of this move by Winston is that a whole lot of voters will be happy to leave National and vote for NZ First if they know the Greens will be kept out of Cabinet.

        Given that there are many people turned off by the dirty politics who also want nothing to do with Labour and especially the Greens this could be a winning move – and a real test to the rest of us about how keen we are to get National out of power.

        At this point in time I’m in the anyone but National category and I’ll take this over a third term but it is my least favourite option.

        I do think the greens should just stay calm and work on the second term though. I predict that a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised at how good Cunliffe is and also how good Green Party Ministers are. If Winston is bowing out at the end of this term and the country has had time to see the Green’s haven’t destroyed the economy they surely will have a better chance

      • btw Martyn…some of your post doesnt make sense to me …you seem to be giving two options but just repeat the same one viz

        …”if the majority is Green + Labour + Internet MANA then the Greens can simply refuse to get played by Labour, if the majority however is Green + Labour + Internet MANA, then they risk”….

        can you correct ?( or am I misunderstanding something?….seems like you should be including NZF in the second option)

      • No Martyn, here’s what you wrote:

        “It’s safe enough for the majority of NZers and could probably win in the current political climate. ”

        Not the Greens. NZF and Labour. There isn’t a snowballs chance in hell.

    • You’re not the only one who is confused. At this moment no-one knows how the numbers may stack and what the winning combination may be, so it is quite possible that NZ First could form a government with National. That being so, why should anyone vote for a party which could do the exact opposite to the voter’s intention.
      Labour can stop this silly game right now by saying that it would accept IMP, whose loyalty is beyond doubt, rather than NZ First, which is unreliable. So why doesn’t Labour do that? The reason is obvious.The politics of Labour is closer to NZ First than to either IMP or the Greens. As has been said, such a Government is not going to change anything.
      The obvious response is for ALL left wingers to party vote for the Greens and for Internet Mana (which badly needs enough votes to get 5%). That will leave Labour with no bargaining power at all. If that occurred and Labour became a minor player in a Left coalition, it can be dumped totally in the 2017 election, which, given its duplicity, is all it deserves.

  3. Labour & NZ First without the Greens or InternetMana?

    Talk about no genuine alternatives…

    Us informed voters need to do our best over the next week to make our message clear: Say NO The TPPA, Dirty Politics & Mass Surveillance. Say YES to our sovereignty, our transparency and our privacy.

    There’s still a lot of work to be done: a lot of my fellow student population are blindly voting National. But my point is, we can’t convince people with something half-arsed, half-baked and half-glass full. Labour + NZ First tinkles around the edges and improves the lives of a few. But there’s no vision in that, there’s no change. The majority will still suffer. We need more votes to the Greens and InternetMana to reclaim our country. NewstalkZB would have you believe that Kim Dotcom and his henchmen have “hijacked our election.” But don’t you all see…. it’s John Key (plus the US govt plus Warner Bros plus big corporates) who are hijacking our country and drafting our laws as we speak.

    The sad thing is; people will only realise the pending damage by a third term National government once its hits them… when the damage has been done. People need to see with foresight here. Beware: a third term for Helen Clark was very limiting as her life was made a living hell by the media and corporates. But a third term government for National = a free reign.

    • I think that Labour in trying to win over the sheeple swing voters have once again trashed their core supporters and support partners, by cosying up to Winston at the expense of the Greens, Internet Mana and the Maori party they have effectively shafted themselves and us! It really is a shame that the multiple parties with many policies in common cannot work together for the greater good and unfortunately that is a legacy that Cunliffe and Peters may have to live with! It’s easy to see that by shafting the Greens during Clarkes reign and then Maori over the foreshore issue and the poor by appeasing the middle earthers that Labour have split the left and can only govern with the support of Maori, Mana and the Greens or they will remain in opposition for many years IMO!

    • @Heteroglossia….”a lot of my fellow student population are blindly voting National”

      …calibre of sophisticated politically aware students must have gone down since my day… are they all just kids with rich parents?…or are they unable to think critically for themselves?…or are they all overseas students?

      …in which cases the future for New Zealand is dire

      ….this is a reason for voting free tertiary education and Internet /MANA

      • Well, there’s a bit of “I just vote what my parents vote”.
        But here are a few reasons why I think students are not being politically engaged and informed (Disclaimer: I am doing a Bachelor of Arts and Commerce double degree at Auckland University. These things are symptomatic of universities nationwide).
        – The neoliberalisation of universities: top-down corporate-like management hierarchies which privileges getting bums on seats instead of being the critical conscious of society.
        – Censorship of material: I’ve had lecturers complain about this, how they have to have political material removed in fear of getting into trouble (lectures are becoming recorded electronically). Lack of courses that offer critical thinking. An Economics department that only promotes one way of thinking about economics. And a Sociology department being curtailed because it is becoming too powerful (and is generally against the hegemonic thinking of other disciplines).
        – Diminimishing of the public sphere: the decreasing powers of student unions, removal of public spaces for students
        – We are the generation of MTV: the culture industry erodes our capacity to think critically about our situtation we’re in. However we are offered the illusory sensations of consumer products.

        It’s not students fault for being apathetic, but rather the structures put in place by those with power and who want it to remain that way.

        • Sounds like your critical thinking facultes are working OK though!…good points….how would you rectify NZ universities?

          • Why thank you, but I do credit this to my fantastic sociology department.

            What we need?

            – Compulsory courses in critical thinking, education strategies and social sciences/humanities for all students. It’s relevant to every degree. For example, scientists need to understand the greater social and political implications of their fields. Chemistry and chemical engineering departments are connected to environmentally destructive curricula or align their research agendas too closely with those of corporations practicing dirty ‘brown chemistry’ (instead of environmentally-friendly ‘green chemistry’). The effect is, your graduates are practicing these environmentally destructive ideas in the workplace because they haven’t had the exposure to green chemistry (which produces the same desired effect through alternative and environmentally-safe means).

            – Appreciation of academic knowledge from non-English speaking countries, and also Maori and Polynesian knowledge. At the same time, the influence of industry dictating knowledge produced at universities should decrease.

            – Accomodation of diverse value systems:
            What do Pakeha students value: Becoming assertive and the tall poppy, individualism, competitiveness, support capitalism
            But the opposite for indigenous: collective, support mana/the land, helping others
            (Research results from David Mayeda)

            – But most importantly: you raise a good question. And it is a question we need to debate extensively. (Ironically a university is supposed to foster this, but I argue it doesn’t). The answer doesn’t lie with one person – it comes from the collective. So these are my ideas, I’d love to hear anyone elses!

  4. National + NZ First Govt or Labour + NZ First Govt…. Snap very little difference.

    If Labour does this they really are going to find themselves the third main party after the Greens in a short while.

  5. I have this absolutely awful sinking feeling that we’re getting a National/NZ First Government at this point. I so very much hope I’m wrong, but all the allegations seem to actually be solidifying and even rallying Key/National supporters (especially evident in MSM who inexplicably still have a great deal of influence on the unwashed masses). It truly boggles the mind, but we live in an upside-down world.

    • If Winston goes with Nactional he will become the most hated man in New Zealand…He knows this because he did it once before ( and National hates him anyway because he brought their Govt down over asset sales…After all his rhetoric against John Key and Nactional , he doesnt want the Left and the rest of the country to hate him as well)

      … I think all his inclinations and all the signs are that he will go with Labour…so i wouldnt worry…However Labour has to play this pretty smartly with the Greens and MUST NOT exclude them out of cabinet this time!

      Winston should also pull in his horns and not attempt argie bargie before the Election…the Greens deserve to be in cabinet because they have the Electoral numbers and some excellent and experienced MPs

      • If he does not go with national he will be even more hated because national will poll higher than any other party.

      • Those who think Winston Peters would not have the effrontery to support National dont understand him. Peters is getting old now. This is his last shot at power and he wants to go out in a blaze of glory. He would love to end his career as Deputy Leader and he doesn’t gived a damn who offers it to him. The highest bid wins.

  6. I think this is just Winston making room for himself and maybe catching a few votes on the way.

    He’s always been steadfast about the party with the biggest party vote getting the first shot at forming a coalition. I wonder if he carries that principle down to the larger support party.

    A second election wouldn’t be the worst possible outcome. Has Key got enough desire to run again? And, he’s pretty much doing it on his own.

    • Naw….scrub John x KEYSCORE – he’ll be spending too much time in court to be an effective leader of the opposition.

      SO don’t worry about that one , Daggy boy !!!

  7. It could be a reality if just a couple of other seats which everyone is presuming are going to sty as they are change hands.
    For example, If Labour managed to bump off Peter Dunne in Ohariu ( which I’ve heard is a possibility based on polling) and one or more of the Maori seats fall to Labour, then things could change markedly

    • Absolutely – this is a much more open election then many think – and the potential scenarios are probably best assessed Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

  8. Cunliffe has since said a Lab/Greens/NZ1st colliation.

    He has imo opinion been very clear.

    BTW I was pleased when Winnie challenged the Greens. They have been taking a few unhelpful swipes at Labour. eg. getting an audit, Russell Norman on the Nation saying “wev’e been the opposition” and wanting to be in on the Leaders debate. I don’t think its been a good look for the Greens.

    And before anyone says “well Labour didn’t want to go into co-alition with the Greens when the Greens put it forward, quite right is what I say. Maybe one day the Greens and Labour will become one party or a coalition, but its not a decision you make on the hoof in an election year. Really

  9. NZ, and indeed all civilisations, face huge uncertainties in the future – climate, available cheap fossil fuels, global financial system, obscene equality, corporate control of governments etc etc – unfortunately the Greens appear to be the only party to fully grasp these issues – we must give them a strong voice in parliament – otherwise it is ‘business as usual’.

  10. Winston has always gone with the party which has polled the highest.
    Also if labour poll as the polls say or near what they say and they win seats off Maori and national they will only get one or two in who are on the list.might not get any if they take manna seat of Honi.

  11. Norman & Metiria will be needing some significant growth of benefits to distribute around ‘their’ party machinery to keep things in line, as the Green party is now gelled around the benefits of political power.

    They were able to deal with a challenge from the lower ranks due to this; however if the election isn’t as rosy as they are all expecting, then the dis-content will become more challenging.

    Communistic games aside, internal balances of power could tip very easily. Others are wanting the golden goose.

  12. Not quite on topic here, but in the last leaders debate tonight I noticed something very interesting about John Key’s response to a Mike Hosking question about who National could form a government with. From John Key not one word about the Conservatives, not one! What has happened here? The Conservatives are (if current polls are accurate) poised to get a few bums on seats in the house and dear leader doesn’t want a bar of them? At the same time Colin Craig has been giving Key and National quite a lot of flak over the last few days. Another rift in the right that the MSM doesn’t want to talk about. They only want to talk about the supposed rift in the left parties.

Comments are closed.