Shaw v Coates on Greens v NZ First

The issue raised by Metiria Turei on Sunday that highlighted Green concerns about being left out of a Labour-NZ First coalition deal have continued through the week.

It blew up more yesterday after new MP Barry Coates had suggested that Greens could refer a new election rather than support a Labour-NZ First government – see Labour-NZ First Government “unacceptable” to Greens.

He was slapped down by James Shaw, but Shaw was vague about some things in an interview on RNZ:  Will the Greens support a Labour – NZ First Government? (audio at link):

The Green Party has rejected a suggestion by its MP Barry Coates that the party would force a new election, rather than support a Labour-New Zealand First Government.

The Greens co-leader James Shaw told Morning Report Barry Coates was wrong to say that.

“We would absolutely not force an early election. We are committed to changing the Government, but we are only committed to changing it once in any three year cycle.

“So we very strongly believe in a stable and responsible Government, and in fact, it is something we have been campaigning on in the past year… So Barry is incorrect.”

Mr Shaw says people worried about the influence of New Zealand First should vote for the Green Party to ensure a stable, progressive government is formed after the election.

More from NBR: Greens’ co-leader says his MP spoke ‘out of turn’ on NZ First

Mr Coates said this could mean forcing the country back to the polls for another election.

“[Labour/New Zealand 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,” he wrote.

But Mr Shaw says Mr Coates spoke “out of turn.”

“As a new MP he hasn’t yet worked out what he should and shouldn’t be talking about and I think this will be a salient lesson.”

But he avoided answering whether the Greens would give their support in any post-election scenario where Labour and New Zealand First were forming a government.

“Look, all of these things are hypothetical until election day because you just don’t know how many MPs each party [will have]”, Mr Shaw says.

“What we and Andrew Little have said is we want to form a government between Labour and the Greens and we’re open to New Zealand First being a part of that if they want to change the government – which, they haven’t committed to.”

Mr Coates also wrote that the Greens caucus had discussed refusing to support a Labour/New Zealand First combination in the past fortnight.

But Mr Shaw denies that.

“We have had some general discussions generally about the state of things but the negotiating position is the preserve of the leaders, which is Metiria [Turei] and me.”

But:  Coates wasn’t talking out of turn, he was revealing Greens’ actual strategy: Edwards

Political commentator says a second Green MP told him that threatening to “go nuclear” will be the party’s only real leverage in post-election negotiations.

So was Coates saying publicly what the Greens have been talking about in private?

Regardless, it has put the plan to present a strong reliable alternative to the current government into disarray.

And Greens are going to have difficulty burying this. Winston peters will make sure of that.

Stuff:  In damage control, Greens say they won’t force new election if NZ First lock them out

NZ First leader Winston Peters told Stuff that Shaw couldn’t dismiss the comments as a “brain fade” of a single MP.

“[Coates] said that they’d had discussions in caucus, in their caucus. Mr Shaw denies that, someone is not telling the truth,” Peters said.

“The second thing is the Greens have the knowledge of polls, which has them in a slide and they’re not 3rd anymore, they’re fourth. That’s the reason why they’ve reacted in an attempt to try and stop what is a surge growing for NZ First and a surge it is.”

He said he was surprised about how “naively arrogant” the Greens were being.

“Now the real thing is we’re being attacked by all and sundry at the moment and the only common factor here is every other party is running scared at this point in time.”

But this also weakens Peters’ position. With Labour failing and Greens flailing it makes it much harder for him to play them off against National in any coalition negotiations.

Peters may have moved on from this strategy anyway, it may well be that he likes his chances of challenging Little as leader of the Opposition.

It’s not out of the question that both Labour and NZ First support ends up around 20%.

Leave a comment


  1. Zedd

     /  14th July 2017

    I think Mr Coates, maybe over stepped the mark, but there are few things (IMO):

    1) Greens have a MOU with Labour, does NZF ?
    2) NZF have bullied Labour in the past, to exclude Greens from a coalition cabinet, they should NOT agree to let it happen again
    3) If NZF are really about getting into power, why didn’t they do it in 2014 ?
    4) I think the current NZF team, are more aligned with Labour & Greens. IF they really want to change the Govt. then a deal between Natz & NZF is hardly the way to go.. & it likely will not last long ?

    Maybe all sides need to take a deep breath & ‘regroup’ on this ??? :/

    • Gezza

       /  14th July 2017

      I think Metiria has torpedoed the Greens Zedd. I can’t assure you I’m right, I may be wrong, but I think calling the racists when they’re not, was a really bad move. It might fire up their existing supporters, but I think many undecideds will steer clear now.

      • Zedd

         /  14th July 2017


        I agree it probably wasn’t the smartest thing Metiria has said, BUT the Greens have often been sidelined as Labour’s left-wing etc. & methinks they are just reaffirming they are a seperate party & have their own agenda.

        btw; it wouldn’t be the first time NZF/Winston has had, that label thrown at them, by others too 😦

  1. Shaw v Coates on Greens v NZ First — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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