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BREAKING Labour and the Greens have a Civil Union – will it work?

By   /  May 31, 2016  /  77 Comments

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The Greens and Labour need to look like a confident functioning Government in waiting, that’s the point of this, but it all seems a bit clumsy and rushed.

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Labour and the Greens have just signed up a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to change the Government.

About fucking time. It kinda begs the question what have they been doing in there for 8 years before this?


The Labour Party and the Green Party have announced today they have signed an historic agreement to work cooperatively to change the Government.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties commits them to working cooperatively to change the Government including closer work at parliament and a possible joint policy announcement or campaign.

“We are sending a clear signal to New Zealanders who want a new and better government that Labour and the Greens will work together to deliver that,” said Labour Party leader Andrew Little.

“It is our intent to build on this agreement to offer New Zealanders the basis of a stable, credible and progressive alternative government at the 2017 General Election.

“The MOU is a fresh start and a sign of newfound strength in our relationship and our mutual commitment to changing the Government.

“When I was elected Labour leader I made it clear that we would not go into another election without strong cooperation with likeminded parties to change the Government. Today, I am delivering on that promise.

“A new Labour-led Government will focus on the critical issues facing our country. We will provide better housing, health and education and a cleaner environment while building a sustainable economy with decent jobs,” said Andrew Little.

“New Zealanders who want a better future now have crystal clear clarity about what they are getting with their vote, we are a vote for change,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“It is time for a Government that puts the wellbeing of people and the environment at the centre of everything it does.

“When Labour and the Greens have actively cooperated and campaigned together, New Zealanders did perceive our parties as a credible alternative to National.

This looks like it’s been hastily thrown together so there’s either a Poll – TVNZs I suspect – that says they are doing well and want to capitalise on that or it says they are doing poorly and they are trying to extinguish an eruption of anger from their supporters.

The Greens and Labour need to look like a confident functioning Government in waiting, that’s the point of this, but it all seems a bit clumsy and rushed.

What’s their policy platform, what’s their ideas, what’s their policy on negotiating with Winston? Well, there’s none of that detail, just a ‘we promise to play nicely with each other’ list.

Which seems dull, and a bit of a missed opportunity.

The real power of this symbolism will occur this year when leaders attend the others Party Conferences and speak.

It does tell us that the attempt to move to the centre by the Greens has sailed with James Shaw’s lacklustre media appearances to date and Labour knowledge they can’t get to 40% after all.


This civil union is a bit like a Government Housing Policy,  hasty and light on detail.

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  1. Liberty4NZ says:

    Get Winnie in on the deal and they just might be a force to be reckoned with.

    • fatty says:

      Winnie was on the radio today mocking the Labour-Green connection.
      But that’s Winnie, unable to say he won’t jump into bed with John Key and the poverty producers.

      NZ First and Winnie can’t be trusted. Never could be trusted, as history shows. A vote for NZ First could be a vote for John Key.

      Winnie is no friend of the Left.

      Good to see the Greens show their cards early.

      • Chooky says:

        expected from you Fatty

        because you don’t believe in housing for New Zealanders…in fact I wonder if you are a New Zealander?

        you pretend to be on the Left but your allegiances are elsewhere …certainly NOT to New Zealand and New Zealanders

        • fatty says:

          “because you don’t believe in housing for New Zealanders”

          Lie. I’ve constantly promoted social housing, which is the best (and only) policy to ensure New Zealanders have a right to housing. I refuse to blame non-Kiwis for our neoliberal failures.

          Let me know when Winnie promises to not jump into bed with John Key

          • Words says:

            I don’t think Winston Peters will ever support a key National government.

            • CLEANGREEN says:

              correct words

              Fatty hasn’t been to any community events and listening to Winnie now.

              See firstly we have to realise that NZ first means for NEW ZEALANDERS first, and the whole Party policy means just that!

              Winnie is livid that NZ is being sold out from under us all daily now so is this right or left?


            • Chooky says:


              • fatty says:

                Good for you if you trust Winnie. I don’t. Neither does anyone I know.

                All he needs to say is that NZ First will not go into coalition with National in 2017.

                It’s a basic thing to promise if he really wants to stand up for the left, or if he’s committed to a change of government

          • Chooky says:

            you dont think NZers should own their own houses

            • Chooky says:

              …but you have no objection to foreign ownership of New Zealander’s houses…says it all really FATTY

              • Words says:

                Good points Chooky.

              • fatty says:

                “you dont think NZers should own their own houses”

                Lie again. Show me where I said that.

                “…but you have no objection to foreign ownership of New Zealander’s houses”

                OK, that’s half a lie.
                Of course I object to people from overseas owning houses in NZ – because I object to anyone owning a house that they do not live in. I think rentiers are immoral and only an immoral system allows rentiers to exist.

                What I don’t have time for is people blaming foreigners for our neoliberal housing policies. All that does is help local property speculators.

                Why are you always proposing solutions that help the resident millionaire property speculators? Seems weird to me…

            • fatty says:

              Lie again…or show us a link to when I said that.

              I’ve said the ‘Kiwi dream’ and private property are the root causes of our housing problems.

              I’ve never said Kiwis shouldn’t own their own house, but I’ve suggested people shouldn’t own houses they don’t live in.

              And I’ve said focusing on foreign ownership only lets local leeches / landlords exploit us more. My solution will stop foreign ownership, yours continues exploitation and prevents Kiwis from the right to housing.

              Not into your clunky conservative Nationalism, sorry. I’d rather not help local millionaires exploit more people

    • Chooky says:

      +100 Liberty4NZ…Winnie for Prime Minister …it might just happen…head is head and shoulders above the rest in the leadership stakes

      but he never shows his hand until after the Election

      …this could be his bottom line to a Left coalition…PM…and richly deserved imo

      • mary_a says:

        Hi Chooky

        We might consider giving NZF our vote, but only if Winston declares his hand well before the election and indicates supporting Labour/Greens. I don’t understand why he doesn’t, because voters like to know which way their vote will go and what kind of government they will be voting for.

        As far as we are concerned, if Winston still keeps his cards close to his chest at election time and will not be more open about his preference post election, then we will not vote for NZF, because like many, feel it could well be a vote for another term of NatzKEY!

        • Chooky says:

          don’t think Winston will go with jonkey nactional ( he is to the Left of the Labour Party)…and Winston has a policy of not declaring his hand until after the Election

      • Words says:

        In my humble opinion, I don’t think Winston will be made PM.

        • Chooky says:

          well it will really depend on whether Peters and NZF has enough votes to be King maker…I certainly would not object to him being PM…

          Peters is a lot more experienced than Andrew Little, who cant even win his own seat and who is only there because Labour caucus stabbed Cunliffe in the back

          Peters is to the Left of Labour in opposing the spy on NZers Bill and totally opposing the TPP…he was staunch on the NZ flag

          • Words says:

            Yes, and from what I see, Labour and the Greens need NZ First. There are no 2 ways about it. My hope is for a Labour led coalition government with NZ First and the Greens, so Winston Peter’s is pivotal in achieving that.

            • Chooky says:

              yes …and pivotal to achieving this is Labour and the Greens recognising Winston Peters experience and his mana …and giving him what he deserves!

              …he would make a great Prime Minister

              • Words says:

                I’m very very sure that Labour and the Greens recognize Winston Peters experience and mana, Winston worked extremely well and happily with a Labour government before. I know you would love to see him as PM, but it is just my opinion that I don’t think that’s going to happen, he will have a very important position though. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan and we find out soon when the Nats get defeated !!

                • Chooky says:

                  …”but it is just my opinion that I don’t think that’s going to happen”

                  …why on earth Not?

                  ..because Andrew Little and the rest of the sullied Labour caucus say NOT?!

                  …we will see

                  • Words says:

                    No, not because of that at all. yes we will see. Like i have already posted Fingers crossed it all goes to plan and we find out soon when the Nats get defeated !!

  2. Afewknowthetruth says:

    ‘We will provide better housing, health and education and a cleaner environment while building a sustainable economy with decent jobs,” said Andrew Little.’

    The same old bollocks, packaged slightly differently, as ‘waves crash over the decks of the rapidly sinking Titanic’.

  3. Z says:

    *head slap* 2014 election could have done with this. Better late than never

  4. Dirk says:

    Labour was unwilling to work with the Greens previously.

    Hopefully this temporary alliance will deliver a more humane and progressive country.

    It is unlikely that the MSM will suddenly cease their lack of coverage and negative coverage of either party, quite the opposite. Those of us on the left will need to work even harder to counter the propaganda.

    • Quicksilver says:

      @Dirk, Yes, I see those mouthpieces of the Nazional Party, Claire Trevett and Tracy Watkins, wasted no time in publishing crude propaganda pieces for their respective misinformation platforms.

      • CLEANGREEN says:

        Gold here QUICKSILVER, This word says it all. brilliantly thought thanks; “Nazional Party”

  5. tom says:

    Come on Martyn don’t be a nego (what are you MSM) its a start – I agree it needs to move into the detail phase soon……..!!! Was it just me or did Mr Shaw look like a slab of meat with mittens…….!!! Go Greens/labour

  6. XRAY says:

    I’m not unhappy and clearly more has gone on behind the scenes with Little as leader than the last three combined! Point taken though, what is the game plan from here on in?

    • Words says:

      For sure, Andrew Little has been doing alot of hard work behind the scenes. Showing unity is an excellent start. Was quite surprised with the negativity of the article though, this is what people have been wanting to see for quite some time now. I don’t think its been hastily put together though, Andrew Little said a while ago that he is in discussions with opposition parties.

    • Geoff Lye says:

      Lot more Background work and shutting mouths until the election or Guess what john key will do what he does best.

      When he gets desperate we all know what he will do.

      Whats the latest on the rumoured food in schools announcement.

    • kappanz says:

      DC would have, but was scuppered. Anyway, AT LAST. Now MB, stop embellishing with helpful words like “rushed” etc. Get in there and help.

  7. dave says:

    Too many inflated egos in the Greens for this to ever work, Key will be laughing all the way to the bank upon hearing this hair brained idea.

    • e-clectic says:

      Really, really good point there Dave, those Greens, eh?
      Inflated egos, know what you mean – you don’t get much more egotistical than Mathers, Delahunty and Sage. Graham is a puffed-up prima donna – couldn’t spell humble if he tripped over it. As for Hughes with a beard – says it all really. Genter is so up herself it’s not funny – no wonder Norman left.
      Question: does Key laugh? I mean does he actually laugh? He chuckles a bit, but does he ever really have a good old belly laugh? You know, like a human, not a snigger but a laugh that shows some emotion, some warmth, some humanity – not like it’s a giggle for a photo op but a real actual laugh. You know the kind I mean? Banks usually don’t have much to do with them. They’re more about communicating a shared humanity, perhaps some compassion even or a shared appreciation of the absurdity of our existence. No? Oh, well never mind.
      But you’re right, who would have thought of such politically incompatible parties going into bat together. Hair-brained, quite possibly. Hare-brained, absolutely.
      Anyway, thanks for your observation it’s really made me think.

    • Blake says:

      Dave, the only hair brain around here is y___ ! !
      Inflated ego – look in the mirror.
      So sorry all you Natz lovers, your time is soon to be over and a stable;
      sound; ethical and strong govt. waits to clean up your horrific mess.

    • Words says:

      You are completely wrong Dave, and behind the scenes, Key will not be happy at all.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Maybe the greens will now moderate their hard-line attitude as everyone else has done after we all have been washed over from 8yrs of ultra right wing agendas globally.

      We all need to make the changes to nurture the opposition Parties to agree that the most important issue facing us all is to rid the aggressive Corporate hold over all our countries globally as they sink billions to overtake all assets globally like water, energy and the commodities market.

      We will all perish under this regime if we fail to rid their grip over our governments and laws.

  8. Anne says:

    I think you have got it wrong on this one Martyn Bradbury. I watched the announcement live and it was my impression both parties have been quietly working hard towards this goal for the past 12 months or so. If that is correct then their timing is perfect – one week after a lack-lustre budget and with the government on the back-foot over social and housing issues.

    I also think this is [hopefully] the turning point we have all been patiently waiting for – although it may not show up in the next round of polls because of the lag effect.

  9. Michael Smythe says:

    The cooperation has been evident for some time in the house. The shift to working constructively with MMP has taken time. The Memorandum is the formalisation of an evolving process – what Henry Mintzberg would call an Emergent Strategy: ie: the strategy that builds on what is already beginning to work.

  10. EE says:

    Strategic voting in Auckland Central would be a good start

  11. Ray ince says:

    A real coalition is what’s needed. Just one candidate to represent the two parties in Ohariu, and Peter Dunne is toast.

    • richarquis says:

      Yes! The split vote between greens and labour last time basically handed it to him on a silver platter, and now he often holds the casting vote. Do the same in Epsom, and National lose their majority.

    • e-clectic says:

      Exactly – that ACT and United Future playing as National’s adjunct parties rort has to end.

  12. CLEANGREEN says:

    Start of a grand coalition?

    They have worked with NZ First before!

    So I guess it’s back to the future with Labour’ third term revisited?

    That combo lasted 9yrs.

    • Strypey says:

      Revisionist history CleanGreen! Clark refused to work with the Greens, although they very generously extended supply and confidence agreements anyway. Winston was only part of the Clark government because she desperately clung to power in 2005, her government having already sacrificed its first coalition partner the Alliance, she then went on to slaughter the support base of both NZ First (they disappeared out of Parliament altogether in 2008), and Dunney’s cobbled together army of Ohariu stalwarts, outdoors enthusiasts, and the former Christian Coalition vote (Future NZ – remember when United was just United?), which imploded not long after joining that government.

      If Labour were playing the long game, they would have been better to let National win in 2005, let Don Brash do his ‘I am the great Oz,don’t look at the neo-liberal behind the blue curtain!’act, refresh themselves in opposition, and return to power in 2008. But Clark’s ego couldn’t put the national interest before her own, and Key’s National is the hell she rained down on us all as a consequence. Lest we forget.

      • CLEANGREEN says:

        Strypey Respectfully noted but as you reminded us the history is a warning so we need also to cast our eyes on all parties back now fron this point and choose who is our best suitor and so far greens NZ first we have been with before in some coalition that key said was “a four lagged monster so what did he do?

        Let us see these parties come together in a Grande “Summit of political change” to go behind closed doors like NaTZ do and keep meeting for as long as it takes to clinch a deal here.

        Time is sort to save NZ now after the ravages of the sell all NatZ carpetbaggers.

    • Chooky says:

      +100 CLEANGREEN…what took them soooo fucking long!

  13. Blake says:

    Please be careful about calling this beginning of a union ” clumsy and rushed “. It sounds like a good start and reasonable plan and lets give them a chance to get their platforms together.

    I disagree with you about James Shaw being ” lacklustre ” .
    Every time I hear him he appears strong and clear and confident with sound ideas and plans.

    Should we not be as positive about this as possible in order to get rid of this train wreck of an elitist ; corporate controlled govt. ?

  14. Steve King says:

    Well at least a promise from Labour that they won’t shaft the Greens at the first available opportunity is better than what has happened historically.

  15. anker says:

    Disagree Martyn (although I could be wrong). Don’t imagine that this was done hastily at all……………I would have thought it would be a long process of building some trust.

  16. dai says:

    clearly they’ve got engage with the voters, especially those that aren’t voting, and cover issues that are important to them as well as the greater majority of NZders, better then national can.

  17. WILD KATIPO says:

    This can only be good news. In fact… this public announcement might have been in the planning stages for a long time. The other thing is both Labour / Greens have to be cautious of announcing policy too soon – as this will give ample time for the far right to counter between now and next election.

    And although NZ First has a position of not announcing either left or right… the groundwork must be done between Labour / Greens to demonstrate solidarity. For all we know this may have included NZ First’s agreement .

    This is what we have all wanted to see… not division and running at cross purposes. This is a good start early in the piece towards 2017. I would say forget about the past and what cant be undone.

    Also … National will be taking a hammering this time round… they are making some big mistakes as of late. People are starting to question National.

    Keys getting booed publicly . The tides turning and now is the time to strike them hard and fast . And you cant do that with a divided house.

    It can only be a good thing.

  18. Sunny says:

    About effing time! Now where the hell is the Maori Party? Lets vote for the Opposition. It will not be perfect but as they say, “the perfect is the enemy of the good”. Get Key and his gang gone already.

  19. Crikey says:

    Asking for specific details is missing the point, they have agreed to cooperate and work together, that is all the detail we need if we want the left to return to government, I wonder if some prefer being in opposition?

  20. Dale says:

    They will have to do really well in the polls,because Winston will not go into government with the Greens at the cabinet table.
    It’s the first time that I’ve heard Andrew say that NZ needs a government that will put the wellbeing of the people and the environment at the centre of everything it dose. But they need to clarify exactly what they will do. Maybe then they will look like a government in waiting.
    It’s a good opportunity for both parties to stop trying to take John Key down and focus on what they will do. The muck raking and slinging shit that just don’t stick is not a good look,middle NZ just don’t like it.

  21. Brendan says:

    Stop being so fucking cynical. Do you want change or not? Because I sure as hell do.

  22. Stuart Munro says:

    A promising first step.

    Good governance does not require perfection, only effort and sincerity. Key’s kleptocracy has neither, this could do very well.

    It wouldn’t hurt to have a division of powers metric that would operate if NZF or some future party were to join the group – MMP really requires a convention of the sort. But ridding us of Key (preferably as tiger food) still represents progress.

  23. countryboy says:

    @ Martyn Bradbury.

    I agree. It’s a marketing given. Start with something brilliant then never fix what aint’t to be broke.
    Something as fabulous as a Greens/Labour snuggle fest must emerge from the dull dross as WHAM and POW !
    Not, ” ‘Sigh’. What ever… ”
    To Little and too Green, as in ? Does that smell a bit iffy to you ???
    I’d still like to see Andrew Little knock jonky on his arse.

  24. Mike in Auckland says:

    “This looks like it’s been hastily thrown together so there’s either a Poll – TVNZs I suspect – that says they are doing well and want to capitalise on that or it says they are doing poorly and they are trying to extinguish an eruption of anger from their supporters.”

    Yes, Martyn, I feel the same.

    It all seems a bit rushed and desperate now, like those two Republican candidates that tried to forge an alliance against Trump recently, while they were already losing and had no more change beating him on their own.

    With Labour not having much in the way of clear enough policy, with weak leadership, an uncharismatic leader, who cobbled together a peace of sorts between the ABC and other factions within, I wonder whether the Greens may not have taken a great risk doing this.

    I think due to internal lack of genuine unity in the Labour MP brigade they have been unable to agree on much, anything in the way of policy is held back, not talked about and so the voters out here wonder, what does this party stand for?

    Perhaps they should have waited until February next year to do this, when Labour may have some policy, that may also complement with the Greens’ policy.

    Winston will not be happy, and already expressed this. It will change damned little in the polls, I reckon, so let us wait and see, whether the potential voters out there think differently.

    • Quicksilver says:

      Opposition parties are caught between a rock and a hard place. Anytime one of ’em mentions a policy or intent that runs counter to the Neoliberal doctrine, they get smashed by the corrupt MSM. Yes, Labour is still infected by Rogergnomes, but maybe, just maybe, they will be overridden once/if Little makes it to PM, and real change can begin?

  25. Strypey says:

    “It kinda begs the question what have they been doing in there for 8 years before this?”

    I think the Greens have been waiting for Labour to cross the rubicon from the centre-right to centre-left before they start trying to work publicly with them, to reduce the likelihood of it being used as evidence for ridiculous statements about James Shaw representing a move towards the centre.

    “It does tell us that the attempt to move to the centre by the Greens has sailed”

    Exactly wrong. A move towards Labour is quite clearly a move towards the centre. This is both an inoculation against any attempt by National to paint their opposition as too divided to govern, and a sop to those careerists in the Greens for whom getting into government is more important than the principles that might need to be moderated (ie sacrified) to get there. A good strategic move by both Greens and Labour. Not sure if its good news for the radical left or not. Remember Operation 8 (carried out under Clark’s Labour govt).

  26. Bg says:

    Personally I can’t see how this is can garner new votes? They both already can count on all the left votes. Question; won’t this drive centralists Labour who think the Greens are loony towards Winston?

    And doesn’t he hate the Greens?

  27. mary_a says:

    Been a long time coming, but it’s happened at last and can only be a positive move for the left.

    With that point in mind, I am at a loss as to why this article seems to be putting a damper on the MOU between the two parties!

  28. dave says:

    The Greens have now said they would consider working with the nats. I wonder what Labour thinks of that. labour could sharpen up a bit and be effective, but the greens wont help them much.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Well mate,… the MOU put an end to any speculation of ‘consideration of working with the Nats’, now , hasn’t it …

      So ,… all it needs is to flesh out cooperation , strategic electorate planning , and development of an agreed on set of platforms – and a little impetus from NZ First ( of which there are several options available ) – and its goodbye little Queazy Keesey.

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