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

James Shaws tries to dampen down Barry Coates' blog post saying the Greens would not accept a Labour/New Zealand First government.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw is distancing himself and his party from comments made by new MP Barry Coates about the party not supporting a Labour/New Zealand First government.

In a post on The Daily Blog, Barry Coates –  a list MP who entered Parliament in October last year – said if the Greens are not part of a coalition government, the party would not accept a Labour/New Zealand First government.

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.”

In a speech at the Greens campaign launch in Nelson over the weekend, co-leader Metiria Turei was singing a similar tune to Mr Coates.

“If the Greens are not in government after September, our country will face either a Labour/New Zealand First or a National/New Zealand First government. Neither is acceptable to the Greens," she said.

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.”

Mr Coates’ comments come after a week of tension between New Zealand First and the Greens.

On Q&A over the weekend, Ms Turei said Mr Peters was “on a roll” partly because of “a very racist approach to immigration.”

Mr Peters fired back by saying it was the Greens who had “racially separated policies.”

“My warning to the Greens is: don't call New Zealand First racist – an allegation that is spurious – and think there won't be consequences," he said. 

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