Labour-NZ First Government “unacceptable” to Greens

Green MP Barry Coates has said that a Labour-NZ First government would be unacceptable to Greens and they may choose to force another election rather than allow that to happen.

Green co-leader Metiria sparked a public feud with NZ First on Sunday, clashing with Tracey Martin and Winston Peters over their immigration policy and rhetoric.  At the Green Party campaign launch she said:

“If the Greens are not in government after September, our country will face either a Labour-New Zealand First or a National-New Zealand First government. Neither is acceptable to the Greens.”

This raised the fairly obvious reality of the polls – Labour look like needing both Greens and NZ First if they are to form a Government after September’s election.

Greens appear to be trying to avoid being cut out in a repeat of the deal Peters made with Labour in 2005, when Greens were left with crumbs on the cross-bench.

Coates posted on The Daily Blog on Tuesday: Great Together

Co-leader Metiria Turei made it clear that the Greens were committed to change the government. The memorandum of understanding with Labour is the foundation for building the next government.

However, if we were not part of the coalition, we would not accept a Labour-New Zealand First government and certainly not a National-New Zealand First government. Neither will be acceptable to the Greens.

We want the Greens to be the beating heart of the next government and the strongest possible party vote for the Greens is the only solution.

This repeats what Turei said on Sunday.

Greens are obviously worried about NZ First getting more party vote than them, weakening their coalition hand even more than making it clear they won’t consider a deal with National, only with Labour.

They must also be worried about Labour’s weakness and the real possibility Labour’s vote might collapse.

Coates went further when contacted about this by Newshub: Green MP threatens new election if Labour goes with NZ First

In an extraordinary move, Mr Coates has said a Labour-NZ First Government would be “unacceptable” to the Greens.

Asked by Newshub if this meant forcing the country back to the polls for another election, Mr Coates responded: “It could do.”

Mr Coates also said Green MPs had discussed refusing to support a Labour-NZ First combination as a caucus in the past fortnight.

“[Labour-NZ First] could not count on the support of the Green Party there is no automatic support that is provided for a Government under those circumstances,” Mr Coates said.

Greens seem to have decided to go hard out for Labour+Greens or bust. Maybe. Coates ‘clarified’ in comments:

The idea isn’t to “rip into NZ First” but to point out that if you want to change the government, don’t vote NZ First. Winston has repeatedly said that he is willing to prop up a 4th term government. He has been a coalition partner with them before.

The other aspect is that the Greens aren’t going to support a Labour/NZ First that cuts us out of a coalition (as happened in 2005). The reason is that we do not think that a Labour/NZ First will be a sufficiently progressive government on this issues that matter.

So if you want to change the government and you want progressive policies, give your party vote to the Greens.


We haven’t said we won’t work with NZ First in a coalition, just that we won’t support a coalition of Labour and NZ First that doesn’t include us. It’s a message calling for a wider coalition, not the fracturing that has happened in the past (2005) when NZ First refused to be in a coalition with the Greens.


We need to get rid of the Nats. The Greens are open to a potential coalition with Labour and NZ First. We are committed to changing the government. But we won’t support a coalition of Labour and NZ First that cuts out the Greens. The reason is because we think it won’t be a sufficiently progressive government. And we want to make the point that if you want to change the government, and have progressive policies, you need to vote Green.


I agree the Greens aren’t as high as we should be but we’re at around 12.4% (not “single figures”). That wasn’t the reason for the announcement this weekend. We wanted to be clear about where we stand politically.

From what Coates has said Greens don’t like NZ First and wouldn’t accept a Labour+NZ First coalition  but would be happy to be included in a Labour+NZ First+Green coalition.

This is a high risk play. At best it may move some support to the Greens, probably mainly from Labour but the Greens may be hoping to pick up some ex-National vote.

This may be intended as a warning to Labour, but this could easily backfire badly. Voters may not like  the Greens threatening to force another election if they don’t get what they want.

There doesn’t seem to be any risk that the Greens will miss the 5% threshold, but they could go down and drag Labour down further with them.

Leave a comment


  1. Brown

     /  13th July 2017

    Big egos but that’s fine if taxpayers are paying. This shows why they should be consigned to a dark past.

  2. James Shaw on RNZ: “We’re committed to changing the government, but only once per three-year term.”

  3. sorethumb

     /  13th July 2017

    The Greens think they can do a Corbyn. They have started using the slogan: “For the many, not the few” They have the Media Party on their side: The Project, Jesse Muligan, Spinoff etc. The Telegraph suggests that while young people and social media played a part in Corbyn’s success, so did the migrant vote (= ethnic interests = muliticulturalisms non voluntary nature).

  4. Ray

     /  13th July 2017

    Ironical that the party that struggles to make 10% claims to represent “the many” .

  5. artcroft

     /  13th July 2017

    They won’t be able to force a new election.

    If Winston goes with the Nats that’s a majority govt.
    If Winston goes with Labour and excludes the Greens he won’t be interested in letting the Greens deny him Supply and Confidence, so, if pushed he’ll sit on the cross benches and give the Nats S&C for a minority Govt and negotiate legislation on a case by case basis.

    If there’s to be a new election he’ll call it himself – and probably blame it on the Greens (who’d be dumb enough to let him do it).

  6. Zedd

     /  13th July 2017

    Just politicking.. a fight over #3 & #4 positions !

    btw; Winston said he would NOT go into coalition with Natz, unless they re-enter pike river & ‘get the men out’.. I wonder if he will stick to that too ??

    look out; I hear TOP are now rising, quickly……….. :/

  7. Gezza

     /  13th July 2017

    The next poll will be interesting. I think this is a mistake, but I’m not sure everyone will see it that way.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  13th July 2017

      I don’t expect much poll change. Most Green voters are virtue signalling, not worried about actual Government. And Winston’s lot just follow the leader wherever he wants to go.

      The main impact will be to discourage Labour voters who might have hoped for a chance at winning. So they will be less motivated to actually vote and that won’t show up in the polls.

      • Gezza

         /  13th July 2017

        You may be right, in fact you probably are which is bloody annoying. Sometimes I like to just take a read on what my original, instant visceral reaction is when something like this happens before my rational analysis kicks in – because that often sits underneath wherever I end up. And I went right off Greens when Metiria played bully-girl.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  13th July 2017

          Yes, you need to be aware of what you want and distinguish that from what you think. Metiria walks a line between what her audience wants to hear and what would actually be sensible politics. Not sure that she knows where that line is.

  1. Labour-NZ First Government “unacceptable” to Greens — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition
  2. Shaw v Coates on Greens v NZ First | Your NZ

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