The coalition of the left

Claire Trevett reports at NZ Herald:

Labour leader has begun wooing potential coalition partners – including dinner with NZ First leader Winston Peters and calling an end to the Cold Shoulder War with Mana leader .

Mr Shearer confirmed he had eaten dinner with Mr Peters last Wednesday at Wellington’s Trade Kitchen restaurant. He said it was an impromptu dinner after they appeared together on a TV3 show.

“It was just a getting together and having a bit of chat, as you’d expect.”

The pair were spotted and it was reported by blogger Cameron Slater on his Whaleoil blog. Yesterday, Mr Shearer would not divulge what they discussed.

“That’s a private conversation, not a public conversation. We didn’t invite the world’s media and put a microphone in a tea pot.”

Mr Shearer also takes a more generous view towards Mana leader Hone Harawira than his predecessor Phil Goff did. Mr Goff had ruled out working with Mr Harawira in a coalition, saying he did not believe he could be trusted.

However, Mr Shearer said although he had not specifically discussed it with Mr Harawira he had talked to him at events and it was “perfectly amicable”.

This is sensible stuff for Shearer. He is unlikely to be able to form a Government in the future without Peters and Harawira. A Labour-led Government is likely to be a Labour-Greens-NZ First-Mana Government. Of course Peters and Harawira have polar opposite views on certain issues, but that won’t stop them accepting Ministerial positions.

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