Labour’s determination never to form a government with the Greens put the party in a terrible situation. If you want to have an effect on environmental issues you really have to have a place in the government and Clark made it pretty clear that the Green Party would never occupy such a position. This wasn’t a problem for Bradford who doesn’t seem to have any interest in environmental issues and was able to advance her social justice causes through private members bills that she could negotiate on a case by case basis, but a policy of permanent opposition wasn’t viable for the party as a whole.
And this is partly why Fitzsimons and Bradford are retiring. They don’t see a change of Government in 2011 as likely and even if Labour wins in 2014, they might spurn the Greens again. This is somewhat less likely now, considering their preferred partner of NZ First has disappeared from Parliament.
The Greens are always more likely to form a government with Labour but they need to be in a position to realistically threaten to form a government with National before Labour will take them seriously in post-election negotiations.
This is what Bradford doesn’t understand. I have said 100 times over that given a choice between a National-led Government and a Labour-led Government, they will go for a Labour-led Government pretty much everytime.
But they need to keep open the possibility of supporting National, so they can get a better deal from Labour. This is not advice designed to help National – it is advice about how the Greens can stop getting screwed over by Labour.