Greens clash with NZ First

There were always going to be questions asked about whether the Greens and NZ First could get on in a coalition with Labour. A feud blew up between Green co-leader Metiria Turei and NZ First leader Winston Peters and also Tracey Martin which highlighted the tensions.

Turei on Q+A yesterday:

JESSICA What is your relationship like with Winston Peters? You’ve described him before as annoying as hell.

METIRIA Yeah, I think everybody thinks that Winston Peters. Look, our relationship with Winston is fine. He is on a roll at the moment which is I think a very racist approach to immigration, for example. The worst of his rhetoric is coming out.

JESSICA But you’d be prepared to work with him?

METIRIA Well, we may have to. And my plea, I guess, to the New Zealand public is don’t make that necessary.

JESSICA What’s James’ relationship like with Winston Peters? Is yours better?

METIRIA Well, I have known Winston for a long time now — for the 15 years I’ve been there. And so I do know that Winston and James have spoken, and that’s fine. New Zealand First has not ruled us out, like they have done in the past. And we have not ruled them out either. Because actually, they may be necessary for the formation of a progressive government. I think this is just the political reality we have. Either it is going to be National and New Zealand First, which is completely unacceptable, or it may be the Greens and Labour with or without Winston.

JESSICA Shane Jones? Would you work with Shane Jones?

METIRIA Oh. I mean, I don’t think that Shane Jones is going to have a great impact, actually, on the vote for New Zealand First.

JESSICA What was that sigh about, though?

METIRIA I mean, if we have to work with Shane, we will. I mean, we’ve had to cooperate with Labour when he was in Labour as well.

JESSICA But you don’t sound that keen.

METIRIA Well, I don’t think it’s going to make a huge difference, to be honest.

“So I do know that Winston and James have spoken” sounds like Turei hasn’t tried to connect with Peters.

Turei also doesn’t seem to have any time for Shane Jones.

But this comment has provoked NZ First reaction:

He is on a roll at the moment which is I think a very racist approach to immigration, for example. The worst of his rhetoric is coming out.

Just after that NZ First MP Tracey Martin responded on Twitter:


But later at the Green campaign launch Turei kept attacking NZ First: Andrew Little piggy in middle of Greens – NZ First stoush over racism

Turei said Peters had a “very racist approach to immigration” and in her speech at the Green Party campaign launch yesterday launched into his “divisive” approach, saying a future Government which had only NZ First as a support partner would be “disastrous”.

Peters responded:

Peters quickly fired back, saying it was the Greens who had separatist policies when it came to Maori and ownership of water.

“My warning to the Greens is don’t call New Zealand First racist – an allegation that is spurious – and think there won’t be consequences.”

Peters did not respond to a request for comment on what he meant by “consequences” but he and the Green Party have a fractious history.

And a fractious present by the sound of things.

Going on the attack against NZ First on the Green’s campaign launch day suggests that the Greens are trying to compete with NZ First for vote share, as the must do, but at the risk of damaging their chances of forming a coalition.

Greens seem to be trying to put all their power eggs in Labour’s basket.

Either that, or they have given up on Labour forming a coalition and they are just trying to get as many votes as they can, competing with both Labour and NZ First for the role of lead opposition party.

Turei ruled out National:

JESSICA But you don’t options, do you? Because are you prepared to work with National?

METIRIA No. We are certainly not prepared to prop up a government that they want to establish. We will work with Labour, and we can work with New Zealand First if we have to for a progressive government. But any government that we support or are part of has to be genuinely progressive. We are not going to accept an inferior deal.

This sounds categorical, despite in theory any decision on coalition options is up to the party members to decide after the election.

It also makes Greens negotiating position weak, as NZ First are keeping both National and Labour options open in theory at least.

This feuding between the parties that Labour looks like needing if it is to have a chance of forming the next government makes things difficult for Labour.

Little said it did not worry him and he did not want to get drawn into it. However, he seemed to send a hint of his own to the Green Party to dial back the criticism on immigration.

“It is important that on the issue of immigration, as a country we need to be able to debate it as an issue without getting into allegations of racism and without assuming party’s positions are racist positions. If we are going to assert racism, then that has to be explained.”

Labour have had their own problems with being accused of being racist over immigration and on housing.

Asked if he believed Peters was racist on immigration, Little said he could not recall what Peters had said. However, he said Labour recognised immigration had increased rapidly and put pressure on transport and public services and had to be better managed.

That’s a classic switch from an awkward question to trying to push their own talking points.

She said Peters’ attacks on immigrants and blaming immigrants for infrastructure problems was wrong.

“And his attacks on the Muslim community have been outrageous and wrong.”

“I’m just saying pretty up front I don’t like it, I think it’s racist.”

However, Turei said it did not mean the Greens could not work with NZ First in a government.

The lure of power threatens to override principles.

Nor did she believe Labour’s policy to cut immigration by up to 30,000 a year to allow infrastructure to catch up was racist. The Greens believed the cause was under-investment by the Government, rather than the fault of migrants.

Trying to appease Labour and  and appear in synch with them.

“If he continues with what I think is a very racist line then I will keep calling him out. It’s my job to do in New Zealand politics.”

So it seems to be a planned and firm position for the Green campaign.

Turei said she was pleading to supporters to ensure the Green Party was the strongest partner in any Labour-led government – and prevent a NZ First-National Government or a Labour Government without the Greens.

She was not concerned Peters would veto the Greens again.

“It’s up to him what he does. My interest now is campaigning as hard as I can for the strongest possible vote to make sure the Greens are the dominant influence in a Labour-Greens government.”

Greens appear to be aiming for Labour+Green or nothing. That’s ambitious.

There are also hints of even more ambition – a Green-Labour coalition.

“She was pleading to supporters to ensure the Green Party was the strongest partner in any Labour-led government” does say “Labour-led” but “to make sure the Greens are the dominant influence in a Labour-Greens government” does not.

The only way Greens will be the strongest partner and the dominant influence is if they get more votes than Labour.

The only way they will achieve that is if they get votes off NZ First, Labour and National. They is going to be very difficult to achieve to any significant degree.

On Twitter in response to “ will always speak truth to power” I asked if she could transition to being one of the powerful. Turei responded:

I already have Pete. I’m the co leader of the third largest party in Parliament and have been for 8 years.

I said that that’s quite different to being a Minister in Government. She responded:

It’s a job I’ve I’ve been training for for 15 years. I’m ready and I’ll be great at it.

To get a chance to prove it she has to get the Greens into Government. Ruling out working with National, and provoking and continuing a feud with NZ First, will make that difficult.

Not only is Turei limiting Green options to Labour, she is making things more difficult for Labour.

A row boat with Labour in the middle and NZ First and Greens at each end lashing out at each other with oars may be a hard sell for Labour.



  1. Turei continues:

  2. Brown

     /  July 10, 2017

    Turei is proof that paying shit loads can still get monkeys. She is unfit to run across the road (with a rest break half way). I suspect she is terrified of being in power and being held accountable for the inevitable disaster that would bring about despite slogans galore comrades. This awful trougher that is evidence that the list MP has to be consigned to the rubbish bin. If you can’t win a seat you have no mandate or right to represent anyone.

    • Gezza

       /  July 10, 2017

      What Metiria is doing is just totally nuts. Put the two of them on a marae or a hui & he’ll run rings around her, I reckon. Peters is too savvy & too complex to just be dismissed and openly charged as racist, because he’s not. And saying please don’t elect his lot and make us work with them because they’re horrible is just going to kill their chances, not strengthen them! Who wants to vote for a party whose leader is basically saying if we have to go into coalition with them when we’re going to be constantly arguing & disagreeing with them?

      But that’s different matter from saying if you can’t win a seat you have no mandate to represent anyone, when the reality is if you win a seat as a member of a party, you really have been given a mandate to represent the interests of the people who voted for your party, because that’s what you’ll be doing in Parliament.

      So list MP’s were the way people voted to try & increase the number of people in Parliament who could represent other consituencies.

      • Brown

         /  July 10, 2017

        That sounds fine at a superficial level but the real world does not or should not let the 10% fringe communists party run the 90%. Democracy has flaws and the reality is you won’t get what you would like all the time but the boring central view generally wins because that’s where most people gather. I’d be far more to the right than National so there is, in effect, no party at all who will make the changes I’d like. That’s reality and I have to suck it up.

        • Gezza

           /  July 10, 2017

          What it was supposed to do was increase the chances that governments would not just ignore the interests of the – usually majority of voters – who didn’t vote for the party who got the most votes, but certainly not 90% of the vote. It was supposed to produce coaltion governments with a broader representation of Ministers from parties than we have yet had.

          We are basically scared stiff of chancing it with a government whose Cabinet is made up people whose parties wouldn’t be guaranteed to be able to work together & produce credible, sensible, workable economic & tax, welfare & other important policies. And so far, the main two parties under MMP parties have been able to form working coalitions dominated by one party which has had to modify or water down their previous perceived ideological principles to produce centrist policies.

          • Brown

             /  July 10, 2017

            So we don’t need the Greens at all because they won’t work with the most popular choice.

            • Gezza

               /  July 10, 2017

              Well they get a chance to have a shot at it if the polls are wrong & their party are needed to form a coalition, but my feeling is Turei has blundered because she has said she’d not work with New Zealand First are horrible people they’d hate to have to work with.

              This is silly schoolgirl-stupid stuff, but that’s about the level of personality development I place her at anyway. I could be wrong …

            • The latest poll may be a clue as to why Metiria is getting bold/reckless, Labour and Little look lamentable.


            • Gezza

               /  July 10, 2017

              I need a blimmin nap! That should’ve said:

              my feeling is Turei has blundered because she has said she’d not work with National, & New Zealand First are horrible people they’d hate to have to work with.

      • Corky

         /  July 10, 2017

        Its always been a cheap shot calling Winston racist. Glad you pointed that out. If liberals would just get past their angst, they would see his immigration policy, is in my opinion, reasonable.

        • Gezza

           /  July 10, 2017

          What he tends to do, these days anyway is he targets the issue – immigrants who don’t fit in – and people apply rheir own “progressive” or whatever filter to interpret that as meaning he’s talking anout one or more particular ethnic groups, so therefore he’s racist. But he’s not. These people are not nationalists. Winston is. So am I.

          • Conspiratoor

             /  July 10, 2017

            Agreed G. Let us not confuse integration with assimilation

    • Conspiratoor

       /  July 10, 2017

      Agreed Brown, I’ve never a tail wagging the dog end well

  3. She just dug herself deeper in a hole on Morning Report. She completely talked over Espiner ( credit there as that’s VERY hard to do). All her talk of “pragmatism” – that peculiar kind of ‘hold your nose’ scenario. I’m sure there’ll be many a voter who will wonder why they never considered the vastly more left wing National as somone to cooperate with, if political pragmatism was their only aim.

    In decades they’ve never managed government and this time round it’s looking like she’s pushing Winston into National’s arms. Her talk was all ” strengthen our hand”. This means giving the Greens the higher vote and presumably with that, the more senior role. It’s hardly likely there’s more than a handful of NZ First voters who are wavering on a Green preference.

    She can be shrill and petulant and delivers all in a baby’s voice She heads a failed Party who’ve not once made government and she will lost that split co-ledear salary should they fail to form a government this time. She needs to apply herself to her history books. When Labour had a choice of stable coalition they formally chose WINSTON while the Greens rolled over in every respect and didn’t even get a token ministerial position. They rolled over – not like your affable labrador, but like a cowed terrier. Yap, yap, yap, jump, spin in circles then curl up in a comfy, taxpayer funded doggie bed in the laundry.

    James – you’ve got you work cut out for doing clean up behind this nutcase.

    • Brown

       /  July 10, 2017

      If only the Greens did sleep in the laundry! They are trying to take over the master’s bedroom and ensuite. Hopeless and nasty just like all good Marxists.

  4. Tipene

     /  July 10, 2017

    “It’s a job I’ve I’ve been training for for 15 years. I’m ready and I’ll be great at it” says Turei in response to the question as to whether she would be a Minister in Government.

    Clearly, the outcome of Turei’s 15 years of “training” is that she has learned NOTHING about pragmatism or politics -she has simply ‘doubled down” on her original anarchist position 15 years ago, and she has repeatedly done so over 5 elections.

    Sorry love, but being wedded to opposition isn’t “being in Govt” – you’ve simply seat-warmed a green leather seat for 15 years, and marinated in the very capitalism you pretend to despise, and we have been paying for your largesse.

    The NZ voting population writ large didn’t buy into your political delusions in 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, or 2014 – and it ain’t happening in 2017 either.

    The fact that you think NZ First would let you anywhere near the levers of power simply demonstrates how much you are in need of a significant reality check.

    Mind you, the last 5 of these didn’t work, so…………………..

  5. Winnie hits back on Facebook.

    “The Greens went on TV One Q&A today and called us racist.
    They say Maori own the water.
    Just like the Maori Party and the National Party who are writing it into law.
    That’s racial separatism.
    We say all New Zealanders own the water.
    The Greens want to charge water exporters – half of the money will go to Maori.
    We want royalties on water exporters, 25% of that goes back to the region.
    Our warning to the Greens is don’t call New Zealand First racist and think there won’t be consequences.
    We are calling the Greens out right now.
    They’re talking about water today.
    But why would anyone believe the Greens are concerned about water, when they have such a racially jingoistic attitude towards its ownership.”

  6. I think Greens are shoring up their immigrant friendly status more than anything, with a wave of fresh young face, and Gohlriz Gharaman on the books, its foreseeable that there is a tranche of disenfranchised and disengaged younger migrants looking to vote, rather than the “missing million”. perhaps they are targeting a niche, I feel sorry for Tracey Martin, but guilty by association, “racist” is the common long held view of Winston, all the way back to when I was a kid and he was talking up the “Asian Invasion”

  7. sorethumb

     /  July 10, 2017

    I wonder if it would be best to just ignore the racist name calling?
    Unless you are prepared to argue that humans have a natural tendency to ethnocentrism.
    The social sciences are split with the old guard hanging on.
    Deny it if you will but being called racist is like being accused of being a “homo” 40 years ago.
    It was quite rational for NZrs to prefer a continuation of migrations with “the old country” and other European countries while demanding some sort of fee (compensation) form others ((eg migrations too and from a tropical paradise with an (unlikely ) low population))

  8. sorethumb

     /  July 10, 2017

    I get the feeling that the left were horrified by Brexit and Trump and while the initial reaction was double down they are now buoyed by Corybns success.
    The Greens and the left-wing media (Katheryn Ryan, Wally Chapman, Jesse Mulligans Tonsils, The nation, The Spinoff, The Auckland Transport blog) are all buddy buddy.
    They have powerful rich allies on the right.
    [Trigger Warning!]

    Corrin Dann
    you don’t want to get immigration down , to fall though, do you. I just got to say something. I saw you in a speech after the budget and you were in a big room of business people, now some of those were the biggest business minds of the country and you stood up and said: “don’t worry about treasuries figure the estimation that it will go back to 12000, you were confident the figure was going to be a lot higher than that.

    I just think it is likely to be higher than that

    Corrin Dann
    But it’s like telling them you wanted immigration to be up. You were telling them “ don’t worry the demand will be there, the economies going to stay there, that’s what’s keeping New Zealand afloat

  9. sorethumb

     /  July 10, 2017

    The Greens claim they are pro-Maori but if they are it is the Neo Maori who have emerged with an input from post modernist social sciences. One of the architects of thinking on tinorangitiratanga is Professor Paul Spoonley who was also funded by the UN and is a prominent migration advocate (and apologist).
    Maori weren’t listened to according to Dr Ranganui Walker