The Greens and Labour are both talking up how well their post-election talks are going, but neither will reveal any details about what is being discussed.
In a Facebook Live video tonight, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she’d met with members of the Green Party to chat about “potential areas of co-operation, or ways we could possibly co-operate” with the party.
“I’ll keep those talks obviously … I won’t say anything more, other than the fact that they were constructive and we’ll be doing a bit of that next week as well,” she said.
Key members of both sides met in Ardern’s office to talk about the formation of Government.
Greens co-leader Marama Davidson said the talks were “fruitful”.
But that’s about where the specifics end.
Speaking to reporters after the hour-long meeting, Davidson and her co-leader James Shaw were at pains to point out they would not be talking details until the meetings were over.
This is something they made clear from the outset – the process is similar to the post-election talks in 2017.
The only thing that was on the table, Davidson said, was coconut Krispies, tea and coffee.
But she did say the Greens’ starting point was around “what we can do to makes changes in the areas of protecting climate, our environment and addressing inequality”.
This covers virtually the entire Green Party election platform.
Although neither co-leaders would reveal much, Act leader David Seymour was happy to speculate as to what was going on behind closed doors.
He said the Greens would be “far too nervous to say goodbye to their staff and their ministerial salaries”.
In the last Government, the Greens provided Confidence and Supply to the Labour/NZ First coalition Government.
That meant the Greens were given a couple of Ministers who sat outside of Cabinet.
Seymour said Labour will require people like Shaw around the Cabinet table, given the party’s “skills shortage”.
“If I was the Green party, I would resist the urge to be hugged to death by Labour – but it looks like they are going to fall for it.”
Speaking to media, Shaw did acknowledge the fact that a number of Green MPs had experience.
He was Minister of Climate Change, Julie Anne Genter was Women’s Minister and Eugenie Sage was Conservation Minister
Shaw said utilising this type of experience was – “part of the conversation”.
Although being careful not to say much, Davidson did let one thing slip – she said the Greens were looking to provide “support” to Labour.
“The whole point for us is how we can support, where can we seek further action for climate, the environment and our communities.”
This could mean that any work towards a coalition agreement – where the two parties would govern together – is off the table.
Davidson would not confirm, or deny, this was the case.
Labour’s 49 per cent meant the party gets to bring 64 MPs into Parliament – an outright majority in the House of 120.
And the party might bag a couple of extra MPs when the special votes have been counted.
All this means they do not need the help of any other parties to form a Government.
Speaking to media on Sunday, Ardern stressed as much.
“We do have a very clear mandate but … I’m interested in areas of co-operation where we can use the strengths that exist in their team.”
Shaw and Davidson, along with the Greens Chief of Staff and some other senior staff members, met with Labour’s team in Ardern’s Beehive Office.
Labour’s team consisted of Ardern, Kelvin Davis, Grant Robertson, Party President Claire Szabo, Chief of Staff Raj Nahna and Chief Policy Adviser Holly Donald.
The teams will talk again on Tuesday.
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