Deal or no deal?

There has been argument over whether the Green Party decision not to stand a candidate in the Ohariu electorate constitutes a political deal or not.

Some are adamant it is not a deal because it is different to what National and Peter Dunne, and National and ACT (in Epsom) do.

Call it what you like, it is the pragmatic putting aside of party principles to maximise a party’s chances of winning what they want. It’s politics.

Weka at The Standard: What’s the deal? There isn’t one.

There is no deal. The Greens appear to have made a unilateral decision for the good of the party’s own goals and for NZ. What I like about the MoU between Labour and the Greens is that they kept their independence. Labour are still free to act in the ways they see fit and likewise the Greens. The Greens have acknowledged that they’re not that keen on one of Labour’s candidate choices, but they’re behaving as if it’s not really any of their business. Which it isn’t. This is how adults behave when engaged in respect.

They’re acting freely while engaged in respect? This sounds like trying to claim the political high ground while doing what parties have done for a long time, made campaign decisions that play around with our system of MMP.

The Greens have been standing candidates in electorates with no intention  of winning, and have often nodded and winked at Green voters to vote for Labour candidates. Greens stand aiming deliberately not to win the battle in order to win the war, the all important party vote.

Not standing a candidate at all in an electorate, as Greens have decided to do in Ohariu, is a risk, because it will be harder for them to convince voters to give them their party vote.

In 2014 in Ohariu The Green candidate Tane Woodley got 7.25% of the electorate votes (actually up 1.65 on the 2011 election) but the Greens got 15.01% of the party vote, significantly higher than their nationwide 10.7%. It will be interesting to see what party vote they get in Ohariu this year.

I think that the Greens are so determined to get into Government for the first time that they will be prepared to risk losing some votes in order to achieve their goal.

However if Labour fails to lift their vote significantly overall it may all be in vain.

In a neighbouring electorate: No Green deal for Labour Party in Hutt South battle

Labour will have to win Hutt South without help from the Green Party in the September election.

There has been speculation the Greens would do a similar deal to Ohariu, where they agreed to step aside to give Labour a clear run against United Future’s Peter Dunne.

Constitutional lawyer and Green Party candidate Susanne Ruthven  said the situation in Hutt South was different.

Ruthven stood for Rimutaka in 2014, where she was fourth behind New Zealand First, but this time was standing in the electorate she lived in and was looking to do well.

It’s unclear whether that means to do well with the party vote or the electorate vote.

On her website she says:

It’s about our Community
Hutt South is where I belong. It’s where I was born. It’s where I grew up. It’s where my children are growing up.

It’s where the people are that I want to represent.

That sounds like she wants to represent the electorate. However it’s not unusual for Green candidates with electorate ambitions to be pulled into line by their party strategy and to effectively campaign on ‘vote for the Greens for party vote buit for the Labour candidate for the electorate vote’.


Dunne was likely to be needed to help National form a government and unseating him would help Labour.

That was not the case in Hutt South, which would see  a close battle between National list MP Chris Bishop and Labour’s Ginny Andersen.

In the last election Trevor Mallard defeated Bishop by 709 votes, with Green candidate Holly Walker third with 4966. National won the party vote by just under 7000 vote.

Andersen said there had never been an expectation that the Greens would not contest Hutt South.

If Green voters wanted Hutt South to remain Labour they had to vote strategically.

“I am saying to Green voters give me your candidate’s vote if you want to keep Hutt South Labour.”

She planned  to push the message that if Green voters wanted a change in government, then they needed to vote Labour.

That doesn’t make sense. It’s not clear whether she means vote Labour in the electorate – that will make no difference to whether the there’s a change of government or not.

So is she going to ask Green voters to party vote Labour? While the Greens ask voters to vote for Labour in the electorate but for Greens for party vote?

This confusion won’t help. Without a consistent approach in electorates voters are going to wonder what Labour and Greens want them to do.

Perhaps Labour and the Greens need to do some sort of deal about their approach here, otherwise the different nods and winks in different electorates will end up with voters blinking in confusion.

Wheeling and dealing is a normal part of politics. What Labour and Greens need to try and do is get all their wheels turning in the same direction.

Leave a comment


  1. PDB

     /  18th February 2017

    The hypocrisy here gets worse for the left – just call it a ‘deal’ and be Dunne with it.

  2. Just like the rest of the world, when the left do it, it’s justified and in your interest. This is NOT hypocrisy to do as they tell everyone else not to do. Don’t be ungrateful, they’re doing it for you, the great unwashed, ignorant and easy to pull the wool over eyes brigade. 😉The State, run their way, under their rules is best. Authoritarian leftism alive and well under Andy, Matt and co.

    • Blazer

       /  18th February 2017

      oh the irony after,yankee John Spy….nothing to hide….nothing…to…fear.

      • He’s not authoritarian and Statist. He never claimed Epsom was anything but an accommodation. The whole cup of teagate was wailing, bleating outraged leftists!

  3. PDB

     /  18th February 2017

    Even Bradbury calls it a ‘deal’ though I note that in his long post on the matter he fails to include the possibility of National pulling their candidate who last election received three times the amount of votes as the Green candidate.

  4. patupaiarehe

     /  18th February 2017

    If it walks like a duck, waddles like one, & quacks like one, a clever man will realise that it isn’t a pigeon…

  5. Chuck Bird

     /  19th February 2017

    I read somewhere that National did not stand a candidate in Ohariu a number of years back. Does anyone else know if that is the case? I can see National pulling their candidate a the last minute if they think they need to.

  6. Chuck Bird

     /  19th February 2017

    Thanks for that Pete and Vernon

  1. Deal or no deal? – NZ Conservative Coalition

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