Greens getting a great deal in the sixth Labour government

James Shaw

Despite much conjecture that the Greens were going to get shafted by Labour and New Zealand First, the Greens are getting a great deal.

What we know so far is that the Greens are getting:

  • 3 ministers outside of cabinet
  • 1 parliamentary under-secretary
  • Zero Carbon Act, + independent climate commission
  • Overhaul of the welfare system
    • Ensuring access to entitlements
    • Removing excessive sanctions
    • A review of Working for Families so that everyone has a standard of living that allows them to live in dignity
  • Significant increases to the conservation budget
  • Better water quality standards
    • Greater water regulatory instruments
    • Funding for freshwater enhancement
    • Winding down of government funding for irrigation
  • Access to mental health services and support for everyone
    • Free counselling for anyone under 25 years old
  • Access to education for children with special needs and learning difficulties
  • Progress in eliminating the gender pay gap in the public service
  • Review, and properly fund & support the family re-unification scheme for refugees
  • Ensuring drug use is treated as a health issue

These are significant gains, and the Greens get to maintain their independence by staying outside of cabinet, which will be great for the party next election.

This is the first time ever that the Green Party gets to hold ministerial positions, and it means that the Greens will finally be unequivocally recognised as fit to govern, not a fringe hippy movement like they’ve been characterised.

I expect the ministerial positions will be:

  1. Environment
  2. Climate Change
  3. Transport

It seems unlikely the Greens will get Minister for Social Housing or Social Development, but it sounds like there’s already been large gains made in this area. Though, it would be nice for Marama Davidson to have a ministerial role, especially as she’s likely to become the next co-leader. Maybe that under-secretary role will go to her or Jan Logie (another potential co-leader) for Social Development.

It’s good that the Greens’ve secured a referendum on cannabis, allowing Julie Anne Genter to sacrifice her members bill and to become the Minister of Transport.

In his latest blog post, former United Future leader Peter Dunne explains why a National/Greens coalition is just nonsensical.

Negotiating government formation arrangements is a serious business. It is not an occasion for settling old scores, satisfying particular fantasies, or tails wagging dogs. The starting point has to be a broad agreement that the parties in the negotiation have a similar view about the direction of travel. They may well disagree about priorities, or particular policies, but for the outcome to be sustainable, they have to at least agree they want to travel in the same direction. Governing arrangements thrown together on the convenience of numbers, but an absence of commitment on direction, are doomed to fail.

(Emphasis mine).

Peter’s point is clear: a coalition only of numbers just doesn’t work, and a coalition should agree on the general direction they think the country should go.

This is why a National/Greens coalition could never work. Both have railed against each other’s visions for the last decade. Both want to see radically different ways of running the country. There is no common vision, nor any common vision.

Yet, Peter Dunne raises the prospect of such a marriage all the same.


Julie Anne Genter explains why a CDU/Greens coalition can work in Germany, but near impossible here

It’s clear that it’s foolish to simply assume the parties are exactly the same and are in the same kind of economic and social environment. You can’t just make total equivalences between parties across the world in different economies.

Julie Anne also argues that National needs to make their own blue-green efforts before the two have any common ground to work with.

Suddenly, every corner of the opinion media landscape seems to be pushing the idea that the Greens should consider propping up a fourth term National government, regardless of the fact it would be political suicide and a crappier option for them anyway.

Jane Clifton, an NZ Listener columnist, and David Cormack, a communications guy or a poltical pundit, both have stated that these writers are simply being paid to share this narrative around.

So, who would have any reason to invest in spreading such a narrative?

A: National.

Q: Why would they do this?

A: Firstly, to somehow ‘convince’ Winston Peters that they have other coalition options, but also to discredit the Greens as unreasonable radicals, and to increase misunderstanding of the Green Party’s platform by casting them as just enviomental.

Q: Why would Winston believe such a thing?

A: He wouldn’t.