The decision earlier this year to leave the door open a crack to National post- November 26 was a difficult bridge for the minor party to cross, and there has been collateral damage – but it also looks to have been a shrewd move, even if the Greens are picking up votes from Labour, rather than catching the soft National vote, which was the intention.
What the Greens have actually said is that they “could” work with a National- led government, even if on the basis of current National Party policies it is “extremely unlikely”.
It is extremely unlikely, but possibly preferable to a further 6+ years of opposition.
With National’s only reliable allies, ACT, looking decidedly pasty, and the Maori Party under pressure to distance themselves from National, a cuddlier Green Party would, on the surface, look decidedly attractive to National should its vote fall much below 46 per cent on election night.
Here I disagree. If National’s vote is low enough that Labour could form a Government, then the Greens will go with Labour.
However if a Labour-led Government is not a possibility, then you could have some sort of deal between National and the Greens. It will only work if National does not need the Greens to govern, but like with the Maori Party offers a deal anyway.
A formal coalition deal may be a bridge too far for both parties but as MMP has shown, there is more than one way to skin a cat. The Greens are unlikely to bring themselves to support National on confidence and supply, but abstaining, as they did after 2002 with Labour, could give them sufficient clout to extract significant policy concessions.
This I agree with, and maybe one could even include a portfolio or two in such an agreement. You might have it that the two Ministers have to vote for confidence and supply (as they are in Government) and the rest of the caucus abstains.