Labour decline to disintregration?

Claire Trevett discusses a number of aspects of the Little Green Memorandum of Understanding, including pointing out that it shows Little’s grip on the Labour caucus.

The Greens wanted a campaign agreement with Labour before the last election, so this is a belated rectification of that, or a premature 2017 campaign move.

It’s a lot more complicated for Labour but Trevett touches on the crux of the agreement.

For Labour, it is an attempt to portray itself as a viable government-in-waiting.

Except that it specifically avoids trying to portray what a Labour-Green coalition government might look like, it ends on election day.

All it is doing is portraying Labour and Greens as a joint ‘dump Key’ campaign.

At the moment, Labour and the Greens are four to five points adrift of National.

That gap has been constant for quite some time. Where Labour runs into problems is in making up those final few points and then getting the extra needed to actually form a government.

The reality is the two parties are still vying for the same votes. The agreement simply means they have to be more polite about it.

Or appear in public to be more polite about it.

That is where things could get tricky. Labour still needs to grow its vote well above the mid-30s to give voters assurance it will not be a weak leader in any coalition Government. The Greens also want to grow their vote to ensure they outweigh NZ First and are Labour’s first choice.

But if the agreement simply means the existing votes move around between the Greens and Labour, it will be useless.

It would be useless for Labour.

If Greens grow their share of the vote at the expense of Labour they will strengthen their position in opposition, and may lead to them eventually taking over as the primary left wing party from Labour, so longer term it wouldn’t be useless for them.

It could be worse than useless for Labour.

By more closely aligning with the Greens, and conceding that without the Greens they have little chance of succeeding in next year’s election, Labour is at serious risk of not only failing to pick up centre votes from National, but also of shedding centre left votes to NZ First, and shedding left of left votes the the Greens.

No wonder there’s suggestions that Labour MPs may be considering jumping into the NZ First camp. That’s the best bet for being a part of the next Government.

And it could explain why some members of the Labour caucus have quietly allowed Little to commit political harikari (except that rather than ritual suicide by disembowelment it is more inadvertent disembowelment).

But it makes it more likely that the decline of Labour will turn into disintegration.

Premature speculation on Ohariu

The Labour-Green Memorandum of Understanding has sparked speculation about whether the parties will do deals on contesting electorates. There has been particular focus on Ohariu.

Richard Harman at Politik: Labour-Green pact could see the end of Dunne

The Labour/Green pact announced yesterday may pave the way for Greens Co-Leader James Shaw to stand against Peter Dunne in Ohariu.

If Labour didn’t stand a candidate — and Labour sources say that’s a real possibility — then, on paper, based on the last election results, Mr Dunne would lose his seat.

Te Reo Putake also considers this in Stick a Fork in Him, He’s Dunne.

I think this is premature. ‘Labour sources’ speculating does not mean the Greens are on board. In any case Shaw has done very well in Wellington Central so why doesn’t Labour consider standing Grant Robertson aside to give Shaw a clear run there?

It is also unlikely to be known until the end of this year or early next year whether Peter Dunne will even stand again in Ohariu. He is the longest standing MP in Parliament, being first elected in 1984 as a Labour MP, 32 years ago.

Even ‘on paper’ is debatable. Results from 2014 in Ohariu:

  • Dunne 13,569
  • Anderson (Labour) 12,859
  • Hudson (National) 6,120
  • Woodley (Greens) 2,764
  • Conservative (Brunner) 1,038
  • Others 466

Sure Labour+Green > Dunne but it’s not that simple.

Dunne+National+Conservative > Labour+Green by a wide margin.

It is unknown how many Green voters would switch to vote for a Labour candidate, or how many Labour voters would vote for a Green candidate.

And if Labour and Greens do a deal and only stand one candidate between them it could substantially change the view of voters.

Dunne and National get heavily criticised for ‘a jack-up’ by opponents and by some media, even though National still stand a candidate.

There was plenty of nudge-nudge, wink-wink by Labour and Greens last election.

If they went further and only stood one candidate between them it would at least even up the jack-up criticism and may swing it against them.

It would also mean that National could choose to not stand a candidate at all without fear of being ostracised if Labour and Greens have done the same.

Also it is impossible to judge the mood of the electorate in about 16 months time.

If voters warm up to a Labour-Green alliance then the parties may benefit. But current indications are that it is more likely that Labour looks lost.

And there is also a strong voter resistance to Greens getting into power. If given a virtual choice of LabourGreen voters may turn away from both parties.

Winston Peters is already milking Labour’s current weakness for all it’s worth, and it’s pretty much certain he will go for cream in response to the current Labour-Green arrangement. If the red and green machine cranks up more Peters will be like a cat given a term’s supply of cream.

Greens may decide they have to put all their efforts into at least maintaining their party vote, a further slip next would be quite demoralising for them.

Or they may decide to attack Labour’s weakness, refuse any jack-ups  and go for electorate seats.

A Labour collapse is currently looking more likely than a Labour revival. Greens won’t want NZ First to pick up all the spoils if they think the former will happen.

Amongst all this speculation on Ohariu is based on too many unknowns and looks premature. Especially if Dunne shakes his head and walks away from the current mess of New Zealand politics.

One thing I haven’t seen speculated on is the shell of the United Future party. That is an opportunity for disaffected and demoralised Labourites or a new force in politics (a Trump or Sanders?). It would be far easier to pick up an existing party than start from scratch.

If ever there was a gap in the political market for a new (or reborn) party it is now.

Ohariu is relatively minor in the scheme of things.

As the centre vote grows tired of National, gives up on Labour, continues to want to keep Greens out of Government and wants an alternative to Winston First there is a ready made opportunity.

Ohariu could be the cornerstone of an opportunity. If anyone can be bothered, politics in New Zealand is not a particularly attractive pastime at the moment.

MoU a sign of Labour desperation?

Greens have wanted an openly closer relationship with Labour for years. Cunliffe refused to even symbolically associate with them before the 2014 election despite Russel Norman’s efforts, and said that was a mistake after the election after Labour support continued a decade long slide.

So seeing Metiria Turei beaming at the Memorandum of Understanding announcement is not a surprise (although James Shaw looked less ecstatic as a bystander).

But why did Labour make this move, and especially, why now?

Some have claimed it was hurried and lacked substance – the latter is certainly true. It’s an odd move mid-term.

And both Labour and Greens looked unprepared for inevitable questions asked by the media. All they repeated was that the MoU was designed to enable a change of Government and meant nothing when it came to coalition forming.

Andrew Little even implied that partnership trust wasn’t important by saying that it wasn’t a monogamous relationship. Announcing an engagement and straight away suggesting that fucking around was fine doesn’t suggest a close bond.

So is it nothing more than a symbolic marriage of convenience? Or even a shotgun wedding – has Labour done this out of desperation?

They have struggled to make any headway in polls since Andrew Little took over the leadership and Little has faired even worse in polls. There are a number of suggestions that polls were a significant factor – see MoU a poll punt?

But Labour’s problems run deeper than poll problems. It’s well known they have problems with fundraising.

Last month David Farrar (and others) pointed out Once again Labour getting fewer donations than Greens.

Total donations (over $1,500) in 2015 were:

  1. National $1,400,896
  2. Greens $407,978
  3. Labour $279.134

I understand Labour is so broke they are forcing their MPs to pay a levy to fund the likely Mt Roskill by-election.

There are also claims Labour are having major problems with membership.

Richard Harman at Politik in Little goes after the “rich prick”:

POLITIK has learned that the party’s membership is now probably below that of the Greens, which would place it below 5000. Possibly less than half that.

In contrast, National is aiming to recruit up to 35,000 members before the next election campaign.

Chris Trotter adds to this in – See more at: Unconvinced: Why Chris Trotter Is So Sceptical About The Labour-Green “Understanding”:

If true (and Richard is no slouch when it comes to acquiring “usually reliable” sources) that would indicate a total of, at most, 5,000.

Some have gone so far as to say that if the number of affiliated trade union members is subtracted from that total, then there may actually be fewer than 2,000 paid-up ordinary members in the whole party.

Trotter also comments on fundraising problems:

For months now there has been much discussion “inside the beltway” of Labour’s deep-seated financial difficulties.

The slightest suggestion that a person might harbour left-wing sympathies has been enough to earn them a deluge of begging e-mails from Andrew Little and other Labour politicians.

People make a joke of it, but those who know something about political fundraising are only too aware that these are the tactics of desperation.

And on the MoU annoluncement:

The gimcrack quality of yesterday’s (31/5/16) announcement: a hastily cobbled together presser in the old Legislative Chamber; likewise had a story to tell.

It seemed odd that the only audience apart from journalists were Green and Labour MPs and staffers. Membership of both parties were absent from the event and seemed to be absent from the decision making.

It is the story of an exhausted and impecunious political organisation. A party stumbling towards its 100th anniversary in desperate need of support – any support.

It is also the story of a younger and much more vital party desperate for its chance to exercise real power, and absolutely determined that it will not, once again, be robbed of its chance at the eleventh hour.

Such is my understanding of the Labour-Green “Understanding”

Greens look to be the stronger party in how they operate, with donation levels and with membership.

Has Andrew Little rushed Labour into the MoU in a desperate attempt to prop up his party with the Greens?

Harman:

And any thought the party might have had of assembling a three-party coalition to take power after the next election seems to have been dashed by NZ First Leader Winston Peters actively campaigning against Labour.

Peters can see when disaffected votes are up for grabs.

Greens could also pick up some votes off the Labour carcass.

Something may drastically change, but going by the reaction to the MoU announcement (from media and from across the political spectrum) an ‘understanding’ with no substance and with no expectation of faithfulness is unlikely to be the game changer that Greens want and Labour desperately needs.

Mixed Green messages on National

It was notable that at yesterday’s launch of the Labour-Green Memorandum of Understanding Metiria Turei did all the speaking for the Greens alongside Andrew Little.

Both Turei and Little kept repeating that the MoU was focussed on changing the government and wasn’t looking beyond next year’s election.

1. Our Purpose

a) The parties agree to work co-operatively to change the Government at the 2017 election.

So there was no commitment to any possible coalition arrangements after the election.

But there’s two things that muddy the Green waters – James Shaw, and the Green party membership who are supposed to decide what happens.

Newshub reports Greens waver on ruling out National

Co-leaders James Shaw and Metiria Turei seem to have differing opinions on whether they’d accept an unlikely offer to side with National, should it get them into power.

Mr Shaw says the party’s first preference is Labour — hence yesterday’s show-and-tell of the two parties’ memorandum of understanding.

“When we’ve cooperated, both of our polls have actually gone up — and when we haven’t cooperated, we’ve tended to take votes off each other,” he told Newshub this morning.

“Preference” is the key word here — Mr Shaw wouldn’t rule out National altogether, saying it’s up to the membership.

That has always been what the Greens have said in the past – any coalition arrangement should be decided by the membership, not the leadership.

But Ms Turei says it is “absolutely definitive” the party is committed to removing National from power.

“Our 100 percent commitment is changing the Government because they are so terrible for this country,” she told Paul Henry this morning.

Transcript from this morning:

Paul Henry: Same question to you Metiria, if National come to you after the election and they have the better deal for the environment than Labour will you shaft Labour?

Metiria Turei: We are committed to changing the Government.  National has left new Zealanders living in their cars rather than dealing with the housing crisis, allowed the pollution of our waterways, allowed the climate pollution.

We will not tolerate a Government that does so much harm to our country any more.

Paul Henry: So that is definitive, that is definitive, you have completely ruled out shafting Labour.

Metiria Turei: Look our party makes the final decision later next year, but I am telling you now our one hundred percent commitment is to changing this Government because they are so terrible for this country.

So the membership get to decide but Turei is 100% committed to what she and Labour have decided.

She sounds like she is 100% against doing any coalition deal with National already.

How much say did co-Leader Shaw have? He looked like a spectator yesterday.

Did the Green Party membership get a say in the Memorandum?

Perhaps Turei is confident she can convince the membership to do it her way. If Greens get an opportunity.

MoU a poll punt?

Labour and Greens have described their Memorandum of Understanding as being a game changer, but is it more of a punt on being a poll changer?

Labour has been fading in party polls for years, and it’s party vote has been sliding for five successive elections:

  • 2002: 41.26%
  • 2005: 39.10%
  • 2008: 33.99%
  • 2011: 27.28%
  • 2014: 25.13%

Greens rose as Labour fell, but seem to have levelled off – they seem to have hit a Green ceiling.

 

  • 2002: 7.00%
  • 2005: 4.66%
  • 2008: 6.72%
  • 2011: 11.06%
  • 2014: 10.70%

 

In the MoU launch yesterday Metiria talked about it being positive for polling, and that was repeated by James Shaw on Breakfast this morning: “when Labour and Greens cooperate both of our polls go up”.

Launching the symbolic MoU this far out from an election seems aimed, initially at least, at pushing their polls up.

This is also the line Labour staffer/consultant Rob Salmond is spinning too, in a post at Public Address – Labour and the Greens in a tree…

At present, the right is polling around 48%, the left around 40%, and New Zealand First has around 10%. Since the last election the left is rising while the right is falling. We’re right at the bottom of the range where the right can be re-elected on its own. With any further poll movement over the next 15 months, it will be not be clear on election night 2017 who the Prime Minister will be. 

The progressive left is now back in the game.

That makes it the right time for the left to cooperate, with the aim of consolidating the current positive trend and making the opinion change faster.

Like the Green leaders Salmond thinks that the symbol of cooperation will push this trend.

There’s a stream of academic research about this, most prominent in Sona Golder’s (2006) book The Logic of Pre-Electoral Coalition Formation. That research provides evidence that parties who cooperate before an election, rather than campaign completely independently, ultimately are more likely to win government. That’s a pretty good reason to formalize things.

Except that we are not heading into an election campaign, that’s a year away. Is there any research on mid-term cooperation?

…the academic research suggests moves to provide voters with more certainty and more unity in a potential governing coalition tends to get rewarded at the polls.

Labour have tried several political moves already this year to try and turn around their polling. Without any obvious effect.

So they appear to be trying a different stunt at an unusual time of the electoral cycle.

Sometimes, and most strongly, that’s a pre-electoral coalition.

But an MOU achieves at least some of the same goals  as a coalition agreement, and so we’d expect at least some of the same electoral rewards.

Labour seem to be punting on a less strong MoU that is not pre-electoral “so we’d expect at least some of the same electoral rewards”.

This seems to be quite a gamble. Izogi at Public Address points out:

Trying to extrapolate the future based on a chart like this, which shows the declared effect happening once before, is dodgy at best.

Salmond has tripped over his data analysis and political strategy before.

If this doesn’t improve the polls for both Labour and the Greens what then?

What if the polls deteriorate further? Ditch the MoU and try something else? Ripping up the agreement will be easy, but it will be a lot more difficult undoing the symbolism of a Labour-Green combo.

It will take several months to see what effect the MoU has on the polls (complicated by other factors that could affect polls).

The Greens have long wanted stronger more open cooperation between themselves and Labour, but until now Labour have not been willing.

Labour needs their polls to improve. Andrew Little needs his polls to improve. Otherwise they will be increasingly written off as a credible major party – the MoU is already seen as an admission by Labour that they are now one of several lesser parties.

Greens can probably survive unscathed if this doesn’t work. But it looks to be a big throw of the dice for Labour, and a play that now used can’t be used again in the actual election campaign next year.

The MoU looks like a big punt on the polls for Labour.

The Labour-Green MoU launch

Greens have posted a video of the Labour-Green Memorandum of understanding launch at Parliament yesterday.

As well as media there was an audience of Labour and Green MPs plus staffers.

 

Reactions to Labour-Green MoU

Some of the reactions to the Memorandum of Understanding announced by Labour and the Greens yesterday.

Dave1924 (Your NZ):

“Its not fair that John has been in for so long, and its our time now, and he is mean, and we are going to gang up on him”

A mostly favourable reaction at The Standard in Labour Green announcement – working together to change the government and not just from the loyal Labourites like Anthony Robins. Greens supporters have wanted something like this for yonks – their future in government is very much dependent on Labour.

Weka (Green supporter):

Things that stand out for me,

This is hugely symbolic. It’s also historic.

The MOU looks like how adults behave. It’s also simple, clear, and very easy to communicate.

#ChangeTheGovt brilliant. Everything is being framed as that, and as presenting Labour and the Greens as the parties for change.

It also lays it out really clear for NZF, if they want to change the govt then get on board. Turei says in the announcement that they have no problem working with Peters, they’ve done so in the past, and that any issues are old history from ten years ago, everyone has moved on.

Rather optimistic to expect Winston to get on board with Labour-Greens.

Really good to see they will focus on the 2016 Local Govt Elections.

The bit about no surprises, including where they disagree, is great. This suggests a good level of committment. It also suggests that Little has been largely successful in his behind the scenes pulling together of the Labour caucus.

Was that announcment to the Press Gallery? Because they all applauded loudly when the announcement was first made. Is that normal?

Labour and Green MPs and staffers were present.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog calls it A non agreement, saying “This is a Claytons Agreement. It has nothing of substance, or that isn’t already happening.”

Others have commented that the parties should be doing what they have formally agreed to do anyway.

The Memorandum is more politically symbolic than substantive.

ODT Editorial: United we stand

In an announcement that came out of the blue for most people, the Labour Party and the Green Party yesterday confirmed they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, working together with the aim of ousting the National-led Government.

The two parties have collaborated before, but not to this extent – and not mid-election cycle. The Greens have always fiercely guarded their independence, but their popularity slipped after its peak.

For the proud and long-established Labour Party, with previous terms in government, it is a huge and somewhat shocking admission that it simply can no longer make it on its own.

That’s a common sentiment – The Labour Party of the Helen Clark years (and the past 100 years) is now effectively being marketed as the Labour-Green combo to try and oust John key and National.

One cynical question at the media launch yesterday was along the lines of ‘do you need three leaders to try and match Key?’

Whether the two parties, together, actually provide a viable opposition to the seemingly untouchable Government is still debatable. Prime Minister John Key will take it all in his stride.

I don’t think National will be worried by this move by their opponents.

Green supporters in particular seem to think an alliance will improve their electability but it may reduce Labour’s electability – while many voters don’t mind a Green voice in Parliament there are serious reservations about Greens in a position of power.

What is certain is that – from a position of rock bottom – Labour has upped the ante and the campaigning has begun in earnest. Already, the lead-up to the general election has become much more interesting.

Time will tell whether it is from a position of rock bottom for Labour.

It may grow their support, but it could just as easily help continue their slide. And it’s likely to strengthen already improving NZ First support, which could create substantial headaches for both Labour and the Greens.

Claire Trevett: Labour / Green Party deal a historic agreement, but who wins?

It may indeed be historic but the agreement between the Green Party and Labour today may also effectively have handed the 2017 election to National on a platter.

The agreement itself is pragmatic. It provides room for the parties to ‘agree to disagree’ in a respectful fashion and to work together where they can.

From the Green Party’s point of view it makes sense. It shows they can work constructively and provides some insurance they will not be tossed aside as cavalierly as 2005, when NZ First demanded it.

Russel Norman wanted something like this for the 2014 election campaign. David Cunliffe thought he could go it alone – and ended up alone on the outer.

Whether the agreement makes sense for the Labour Party is another question. It did not need the agreement – it was already a given that the two parties were natural coalition partners.

It is no secret Peters – and some Labour MPs for that matter – think the Green Party is toxic for Labour’s chances of Government. Nor is it any secret that if a Government can be formed with him alone, that is exactly how he likes it.

The only person who will be most delighted by today’s turn of events is one John Key, Prime Minister, whose chances of retaining that title just increased without him having to lift a finger.

Time will tell.

Tracy Watkins: Labour’s commitment issues

To be fair, most people probably thought Labour and the Greens were already a thing. Their cooperation deal mostly seems to formalise what has happened on an ad hoc basis over the years. So on the surface it shouldn’t be such a big deal. But it is and you don’t need a particularly long memory to understand why.

It was only 2014 – the last election campaign in fact – when a bid to stitch up a similar deal blew up in the Greens face because of the internal battle taking place within Labour over whether it should be moving to the left or the right to grow its vote.

There was also the small matter of not wanting to put the Greens ahead of Peters as a potential suitor given NZ First’s past record of flexing its muscle at the expense of its minor party rival. But there was always a strong whiff of hypocrisy in Labour’s stance given the number of times it totted up the Labour, Greens, NZ First vote to convince voters it had a credible chance of winning the next election.

On that basis, Tuesday’s announcement may make sense. Voters now know that Labour plus the Greens adds up to more than Labour plus none. Labour is hoping that will be the game changer.

Greens are also promoting it as a game changer – It’s a game changer, and we want you on board.

Barry Soper: The nuptials of the red and green

Their Memorandum of Understanding, is more correctly a memo of misunderstanding, taking Labour right back to the perception the great unwashed had of it when Little won the leadership, that it’s once again running the red flag up the mast, something the new leader’s been working hard to dispel.

For The Greens it’s more understandable, it finally gives them a firm foothold on the political ladder, with the rungs possibly taking them into the Cabinet room…

From NZ Herald Labour and Greens – together at last

Morgan Godfrey:

In a country where the Government is selling off state houses amid a homelessness crisis, where health and education are taking funding cuts in real terms, we desperately need an alternative.

For me, this is it.

Ben Thomas:

Formalised ties between the Greens and Labour is an idea whose time has finally come.

Forget “nice to haves” such as electability and charisma: right now, Labour lacks the talent in its caucus to assemble a credible Cabinet.

The injection of sensible heads like Shaw, Kevin Hague and the politically competent Metiria Turei as potential ministers will lessen that pressure.

Labour may rue giving up its wish to regain political superpower status in favour of a first-among-equals deal. But it needs both the Greens and New Zealand First to regain government. It’s probably worth getting Winston Peters used to the idea.

Winston Peters:

“We will go into this election just ourselves, and our policies, seeking to change how this country is governed.”

Note “change how this country is governed” rather than ‘change the Government’. Unlike Labour-Greens he has options and he will keep them open.

NZ Herald:

James Shaw has just claimed on Breakfast that “when Labour and Greens cooperate both of our polls go up”.

If polls don’t improve after this MoU what then? They can’t undo the symbol of Labour-Greens, National will make sure of that.

Video of the Labour-Green MoU launch.

Peters on Labour-Green MoU

Stuff have the initial response from Winston peters to the Labour-Green Memorandum of Understanding:

NZ First leader Winston Peters rubbished the agreement, saying they had never been “part of the mantra” of his party and would undermine both Labour and the Greens.

“We do not like jack-ups or rigged arrangements behind the people’s back. We’ll go into this election, just ourselves and our policies seeking to change how this country is governed.

“With the greatest respect, if I was a Labour Party voter I’d be scratching my head today, and if I was a Green supporter I’d be scratching my head today, because this indicates that their policies are up for compromise – our policies most certainly are not.”

Peters would not answer whether NZ First would be part of a Labour-Green government, saying it was “mathematical crap”, while he also refused to say whether his party would be campaigning to remove the government or John Key.

“We’re not worrying about the permutations you might construct – the fact is if you do your mathematics, the chances of NZ First where this election is concerned are huge and growing every day, none of these arrangements are going to have any effect on me and my party whatsoever.”

From Labour and Green leaders announce closer co-operation agreement

That’s predictable. It would have been very unusual for Peters to have varied his “let the voters decide first” approach of the last century or so.

This will make it awkward for Little and Labour as it’s certain they will keep being asked “but what about Winston?” as they were at the launch.

 

 

 

Labour on Memorandum of Understanding

Labour have now posted about the memorandum of Understanding on the party Facebook page:

Become part of the movement for change.

Get involved now: http://nzlp.nz/fwsw2

‪#‎ChangeTheGovt‬

This linked to Andrew Little’s Facebook page:

When I became Labour leader, I made it clear we wouldn’t go into the 2017 election leaving voters in doubt about what we stood for and who we’d work with. We are now well on the way to producing a strong, progressive policy platform.

However we all know that with an MMP electoral system, parties have to work together. That’s why this afternoon I’ve announced that Labour has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Green Party to change the government and provide a stable, credible and progressive alternative.

Labour and the Greens are different parties – sometimes we’ll agree, sometimes we won’t – but we share a common goal of a better, fairer New Zealand. And when we have kids sleeping in cars, thousands of New Zealanders missing out on basic healthcare and an economy increasingly weighted towards those at the top, we have a responsibility to step up.

We have to change the Government next year — we owe it to New Zealanders.
To read the Q+A on the Memorandum and the document itself, click here:http://nzlp.nz/wrn-6

To be part of the change and if you want to get involved, click here:http://nzlp.nz/fwsw2

The link to Labour’s website is just a contact harvester:

LabourIn

They still haven’t got anything on their web home page.

Labour-Green memorandum of understanding

Livestream: Major Labour, Greens announcement

Labour and the Greens are set to make a major announcement at 3:30pm about their plan to take on the Government.

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I missed the start, now watching Metiria Turei wanting to change the Government.

Thanks Andrew Little for his initiative in getting this memorandum up and running.

Wanting to put people and the environment at the centre of everything the Government does.

Questions:

Paddy Gower asked about leadership structure – Little will be leader, Grant Robertson will be Minister of Finance, no other discussions.

What has changed since the last election? Leaders (1 Labour and 1/2 Green)

NZ First? Determined to work together to change the Government.

What if the Greens have to be shut out to get NZ First on board? No real response to that.

Turei says the Greens have no problem with working with NZ First and Winston Peters. Well beyond the days when Peters shut the Greens out. It’s all about changing the Government.

A coalition or a support party? Little says that is premature but they will work together so the can change the Government.

Question repeated? Turei: way ahead of ourselves. Don’t want to talk about possible government arrangements.

No specific policy yet but they will look at potential joint policies and campaigning.

No thought on structure of power sharing.

Voters will want a clear picture? Little: voters want to know if there are opposition parties capable of forming a credible government – but won’t say what that might look like.

They keep repeating the common objective – change the government is virtually the sole focus.

They are still two parties who have come together on a common objective – to change the Government.

Turei: there will be policy differences and some policy in common. The certainty they are giving voters is that Greens and Labour will work together to change the government.

There is already a high level of co-operation between the two parties.

Little: saying to the public “we are ready to take on the Government”.

Turei: cementing relationship. It is historic, the first time an MoU has been done mid-term.

Peters is now dealing with Labour and the Greens? Little: Winston has his own style and Labour work with him but Labour and Greens are formalising an association to change the Government.

Turei: absolutely no concerns about working with Peters and NZ First.

What happens if NZ First holds the balance of power and won’t work with the Greens? Little says that is not their message.

Gower to Little: Will you break the MoU with Greens  if Peters demands it? Little: won’t be drawn on that, won’t answer that.

Today’s announcement is between Labour and Greens to change the Government. Any other party who wants to come on board is welcome.

Labour+Greens+NZ First or Labour+Greens? Little won’t respond to that. Just repeats what today is about etc etc.

End of questions, the Labour and Greens MPs all meet and shake hands and hug.

As usual Greens are on the ball:

Metiria Turei MP on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 – 15:19
The Labour Party and the Green Party have announced today they have signed an historic agreement to work cooperatively to change the Government.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties commits them to working cooperatively to change the Government including closer work at parliament and a possible joint policy announcement or campaign.
As at 4:15 pm nothing on Labour’s website nor on their Facebook page.