But then National is not an environmental party. It is the Green Party’s job to influence governments on the issues that count and why would National listen to them? The Greens made it very clear in the election campaign that they were not interested in talking to National.
I thought at the time that it was an extraordinarily stupid thing to do, to fasten your lifeboat to a sinking ship. Greens do best when there is an outgoing Labour Government, but this election the results were disappointing. The Green Party might well have won their biggest caucus yet, if they had been prepared to stop licking Labour’s hand.
There is a question of whether National would have paid any attention to them anyway. Senior National MPs were privately hinting so early last year and Mr Key’s approach to the Maori Party indicates a new openness. There was never a better time for the Greens to see if they could forge a new political space, genuinely independent of Labour and National. Unfortunately for us all, they lacked the courage to try.
Nandor is quite correct here. The Greens did throw away an opportunity to have any influence for the next term or two.
No-one (including me) thinks the Greens would ever choose to support a National-led Government over a Labour-led Government. Well, I suppose even that is not impossible – in Hamburg last year the Greens supported the CDU over SDP and are in coalition with them. But back to NZ.
The Greens could have said “Our preference is a coalition with a Labour-led Government but we would consider an abstention on supply and confidence agreement with a National-led Government if a Labour-led Government is not viable”.
If they had done that, then the Greens may have been able to negotiate a number of significant policy concessions. National had been quite careful not to rule out doing a deal with the Greens.
John Key showed with the Maori Party agreement, that he can think outside the square. I think he would have tried to negotiate a deal with the Greens in good faith, if they had not put all their eggs with Helen Clark and Labour.
Now the Greens face a bleak future. Their high polls turned into less then 7% on the day. Over four elections now they seem trapped in a zone of 5% to 7% and twice have been just over 5.0%. They only have to fall under that threshold once and they are all gone.Tags: Greens, Nandor Tanczos