As Labour mulls whether to team up with Greens, Helen Clark says 'politics needs long term relationships'

Helen Clark is pointing out the importance of "long term relationships" in politics as Labour mulls whether to govern alone or team up with the Green Party again.

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Labour got enough votes to govern alone in Saturday's election but the Greens want to work together again. Source: 1 NEWS

On Saturday, the Greens secured 7.6 per cent of the vote and the Auckland Central electorate, giving them 10 seats in Parliament. However the Labour Party still have enough of a majority to govern alone, with 64 seats in a 120 seat Parliament.

"The Greens have got some very experienced, talented ministers with some very strong and very specific skills which I think would make a good contribution to a future government," Greens co-leader James Shaw has pledged since the landslide win, though.

But before Jacinda Ardern took the reigns, Helen Clark led the Labour Party to victory in 1999, 2002 and 2005 - reducing National in 2002 to an even lower party vote percentage than they sunk to on Saturday night.

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Labour’s campaign unleashed a red tsunami across the country, engulfing some of National's 'true blue' electorates. Source: 1 NEWS

When asked what she would do regarding the Greens, the former prime minister told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning any advice was "gratuitous".

However, she added, "all I would say is that politics needs long term relationships and going back to that 2017 result for the National Party when they felt they were robbed, hey, they didn't build the relationships and if you can't build relationships with other parties you cannot be a longer term government".

Jacinda Ardern and James Shaw. Source: 1 NEWS

"I think that will be a consideration as it thinks around how they want to proceed now."

In 2017, National, led by Bill English, received more votes than Labour, yet neither had enough majority to govern alone. It came down to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who ultimately decided to form a coalition government with Labour and the Greens.

"They never accepted what happened in 2017, they were robbed was the attitude, and the natural order would reassert themselves. Well actually that's not politics, you have to adjust the circumstances and then make your luck accordingly rather than have a sense of entitlement," Clark said.

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The Labour leader said Labour’s landslide victory in the election meant they had a mandate to crack on with forming the next government. Source: 1 NEWS

But what led to their dismal polling this election?

Clark credited Ardern for her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also criticised National for "ankle tapping" themselves.

"They ankle tapped themselves by deciding to run a strategy of trying to find fault and a scandal out of every little thing that happened at the border and with the [Covid-19] testing," she said.

"Look, the Government was creating a bespoke system to deal with a novel coronavirus, the like of which we have never been struck by before, wasn't a flu pandemic, it was worse. So you can't expect that things are going to go 100 per cent right unless you have perfect hindsight which none of us do."

National got 26.8 per cent of the party vote, translating to 35 seats in Parliament.