Opinion: 'They tied a concrete block to their feet and jumped' - Andrea Vance on the perilous Greens-Labour alliance


Oh, come off it Jacinda.

The party is in damage control after two MPs resigned over Metiria Turei's refusal to step down.
Source: 1 NEWS

"I hope that [voters] look beyond these matters," she said this morning, briskly brushing off the chaos that’s enveloped the Greens and the machinations of her own Labour party in the last week.

Nice sentiment. When voters are deciding which way to swing, they assess policies.

But they also need to be confident a Government will be able to deliver those policies (of course, they also evaluate personality, but that’s a whole other column).

When both parties signed the memorandum of understanding last year, it was a symbolic gesture that sent a clear message: we are in this together.

They tied a concrete block to their feet and jumped.

At various times of the year, that dead weight has dragged them down.

And yet, they did not abandon it.

The embattled Greens co-leader talked to the media after a caucus meeting today.
Source: 1 NEWS

Andrew Little was a guest at the Greens conference, James Shaw was a star turn at Labour’s.

They struck a deal to ensure the Greens wouldn't stand in Ohariu, giving Labour's Greg O'Connor a clear run at Peter Dunne.

And officials and MPs from both sides have been talking constantly in the past week.

Labour cannot now duck for cover from the Greens' exploding shrapnel and pretend this union doesn't exist.

Ms Ardern today said she won't offer an opinion on the stability of the leadership of her preferred coalition party.

She won't answer questions on the mess Metiria Turei and James Shaw now find themselves in.

She had every chance to aberrate on assuming her leadership. She could even have ripped up the MOU.

But that line was crossed when she leaned on Ms Turei to rule herself out of any future cabinet.

Mr Shaw said the pair, who have resigned, were strongly in violation of party policy over their demands that Metiria Turei steps down.
Source: 1 NEWS

It's even more specious when you consider the lines of communication have run hot between the Greens and Labour staff and MPs during this crisis.

Some Labour MPs have been furious at the Greens since Ms Turei's risky disclosure.

Honestly, what did they expect?

The Greens policy platform was being drowned out by the Winston Peters’ travelling media circus.

Ms Turei chose the last day of her party’s conference to make a splash with the staggering confession.

It's no co-incidence that on the same day, Mr Peters was also bidding for headlines with his flagship speech.

Labour have done nothing to ease the Greens insecurity about NZ First leap-frogging them as preferred support partner.

On top of that, the "unity-distinctiveness" dilemma is not a new phenomenon in politics.

It's a tension faced by all smaller parties in coalition arrangements – they need to protect their identity, while maximising the benefits of coalition unity.

The Greens were exercising their distinctiveness (just as Ms Ardern is trying to do now).

And, let's be honest, the wretched poll ratings pushed them into taking a political gamble. It wasn’t treachery, it was desperation.

Labour has got answer for that it, at the very least.

Labour's leader says it was not damaging to Labour to have the Green Party in disarray after two MPs quit yesterday.
Source: Breakfast

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