Being part of a National-led Government is not an option for the three Green Party MPs contesting the co-leadership.
The fourth candidate, Vernon Tava – the only contender who is not an MP – says the Greens cannot afford to be “sitting on the sidelines” and wants to see the party at the centre of every government.
Tava along with Green MPs Kevin Hague, Gareth Hughes and James Shaw are bidding for the co-leader title after Russel Norman announced in January that he would be standing down at the party’s annual meeting at the end of May, citing family reasons.
So unless Tava wins, the Greens are saying they Labour can continue to take them for granted, as they have nowhere else to go.
Shaw acknowledged at Sunday’s co-leadership debate the power shift in Parliament since NZ First leader Winston Peters won the Northland by-election.
“The Green Party must grow otherwise the next Government will be decided by Winston Peters,” he said.
“We can not continue with status quo – it’s a path that leads to stagnation or decline.”
But what is the change? They’re all (but Tava) saying that that they Labour can safely isolate them and do a deal with Winston locking them out.
Their stance is the same as Russel Norman’s stance – the status quo. By saying they can only work with Labour, they lose the ablity to pick up centrist voters. The only substantive votes they can pick up are from Labour voters.
And if they couldn’t get more than 10% when Labour got its worse election result in almost 100 years, what makes them think they can get more next time, by adopting the same positioning?
From there, talking points only seemed to get stranger as Hague took his five minutes of air time to talk about heading to space.
“Together we’re building a rocketship to go to the moon,” he told Green supporters.
“I know how to get to the moon. Trust me now, put on your space suits.”
His astronomy-themed speech did not stop there.
When all four candidates were asked to choose someone – other than themselves, who they would like to win the co-leadership, Hague refused to pick a fellow contender and instead said he would like Neil Armstrong, an American astronaut and the first person to walk on the moon, to take it.
Well they often seem to be on another planet.