Watkins on Greens

September 5th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

at Stuff writes:

The decision earlier this year to leave the door open a crack to 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 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.

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15 Responses to “Watkins on Greens”

  1. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    With National’s only reliable allies, ACT, looking decidedly pasty

    That’s nonsense. ACT of course are looking decidedly pasty, but they are the least reliable of Nationa’s allies.

    The Maori Party has had a maverick withdrawal but are lookingmore reliable than Act to have several seats as a part of the next government.

    Peter Dunne has been Mr Reliable for UnitedFuture and National – one of the biggest criticisms of him is that he will reliably work with different governments, and John Key has strongly expressed his confidence and trust in Dunne. I’m not sure how you could get a more reliable ally.

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  2. rakuraku (162 comments) says:

    ACT are doing more damage to the National Party than themselves, most New Zealanders don’t buy into the racist rhetoric from Brash and Banks, they are old colonialists from a bygone era.

    If Key had any steel in him he would try and win Epsom outright.

    Brash and Banks should go back to whatever country they came from.

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  3. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    “Brash and Banks should go back to whatever country they came from”

    Both born in New Zealand moron.

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  4. hj (7,156 comments) says:

    “ACT are doing more damage to the National Party than themselves, most New Zealanders don’t buy into the racist rhetoric from Brash and Banks, they are old colonialists from a bygone era. ‘
    ……..
    Most New Zealanders don’t accept the idea that as previous occupiers Maori own the foreshore and seabed or know more about it and believe that that position isn’t racist.

    unlike

    Catherine Delahunty:
    “I explained that as a Pakeha I had a very limited relationship with the foreshore and seabed but “loved the beach” generally.
    “The other MPs except for Tariana and Metiria, trotted out all the favourite myths about “they killed the moa” etc”
    http://www.greens.org.nz/misc-documents/diary-debacle-archive-6th-september-15th-september

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  5. Shazzadude (531 comments) says:

    “Here I disagree. If National’s vote is low enough that Labour could form a Government, then the Greens will go with Labour.”

    If the Greens have a choice between National/Greens or Labour/Greens/New Zealand First/Maori/Mana, the National option will be by far the most palatable deal.

    The reason is two-fold, firstly one holds much more power if they’re the sole requirement for a major party to hold power (the price the minor party can extract is far greater than if they have to share that with minor parties or find themselves neutralised against other minor partners), and secondly that in turn leads to more stability. The more parties involved, the more unstable it’s likely to be. This is the situation Winston Peters (in 1996 and 2005) and Nick Clegg found themselves in.

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  6. hmmokrightitis (1,596 comments) says:

    @rakuraku, a question for you: When you say “the racist rhetoric from Brash and Banks” can you please point me to something, anything these two have said, as part of their campaign or in their policy, that is racist?

    Please. The reason I ask is that I see this claim, but never ever with any substantiation whatsoever. So, come on, show me.

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  7. s.russell (1,649 comments) says:

    However sensible it might be the Greens would never back National if an alternative government could be formed, but if National has a majority anyway, then yes we could see more of the limited co-operation agreements we have seen in the past few years between National and Green.
    Such deals are good for National because (so long as they are not giving away anything silly) it makes them look nice, pragmatic, non-political, non-partisan, and greenish (in a nice way).
    It is great for the Greens because they gain some policy scraps, and more important, are seen to do so, and to be playing a constructive role in government. This greatly boosts their credibility as an alternative to Labour.
    Labour, of course, loses both ways.
    And the stronger the Greens get (at Labour expense) the more moderate voters (who think the Greens are nutty as squirrel poo) will be wary of a Labour-Green government, and therefore vote National.
    Cue maniacal luaghter in National’s strategy room….

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  8. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    It will only work if National does not need the Greens to govern

    What if the alternatives were National + Act, or National + Greens. In that case, National could publicly say to the Greens you either support us on confidence & supply (or even coalition) or else we will form a Govt with Act. If the Greens refused, they would risk being seen as responsible for NZ ending up with a National-Act coalition (instead of a more centrist National party), and having put themselves on the sidelines for another term too.

    Of course this assumes that National is so desirous to avoid being seen as hard-right that it would rather cut a deal with a party other than Act.

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  9. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    That’s a good point queenstfarmer, it would be an interesting test for the Greens if that situation arose.

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  10. lastmanstanding (1,310 comments) says:

    Perhaps the Nats are looking out to 2014 and even 2017 when they having offered the Greens a small place at the table and allowed them to have some small wins and be seen to be influencing in small but not major matters the Nats can turn to the Greens for support.

    Afterall what have the Greens got out of Labour in the past?

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  11. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    You’re all assuming the Greens are rational. What evidence do you have of this?

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  12. backster (2,195 comments) says:

    The Greens and Labour are the enemy, focus on their destruction, re-assess the mess this crazy electoral system delivers post election but compromise as little as possible.

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  13. Shazzadude (531 comments) says:

    “If the Greens refused, they would risk being seen as responsible for NZ ending up with a National-Act coalition (instead of a more centrist National party), and having put themselves on the sidelines for another term too.”

    I don’t think voters generally are smart enough to appreciate that sort of logic. Certainly, Winston Peters and Peter Dunne got little thanks for blocking the Greens from government in 2005.

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  14. Viking2 (11,672 comments) says:

    The Greens are cunning as shit house rats.

    By mentioning in passing that they might be able to work with National they are capturing disaffected Labour and Maori voters.
    Those voters know that their is little chance of Greens and Labour forming a govt. but are lulled by the Greens snuggling up to national who are well known socialists anyway.

    So the Greens get more votes at the expense of labour. Not going to make a difference to anything except Labour.

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  15. Sean (290 comments) says:

    If the Nats don’t need the Greens then there should be no deal. If the Nats cannot govern without the Greens, then there should be no deal. I will not give my vote to National if they intend to have any sort of deal with the Greens.

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