Pressure for blue-green alliance not just from National

One ex Green MP sees the light. Will James Shaw realise his power?

Pressure for a blue-green coalition is coming from more than just National supporters aiming for some leverage over Winston.

Ex-Green MP Nandor Tanczos has written an opinion piece that should be required reading for anyone in his party.

The dreadlocked one concedes there is no hope of a coalition with National this time around, but he writes.

But he adds, "At some stage in the future we must be prepared to seriously consider the idea."

His argument, in short, the Greens are powerless at the moment. They will only gain Labour's respect if they're willing to talk to both major parties, because "players only respect other players".

He notes many in his party are small business owners and adds, "If Greens cannot carve out a constituency beyond the ‘left of Labour’ cul de sac we are in, we will continue to play out the dynamic of this election over and over, soaring in the polls only as long as Labour is doing badly, but dropping back to 5% as soon as Labour turns left again. Or finds a charismatic leader. We may be mighty in opposition, but we will always be puny in coalition until we stop relying on discontented Labour voters for support."

For those who do think like Tanczos, there's no shortage of ideas about the sort of pragmatic policy wins it could extract from National. Matthew Hooton, David Farrar and the more neutral, genuinely blue-green Lance Wiggs have all put forward their lists. 

National supporters, especially in the rural sector, face a pretty straightforward decision: agree to a laundry list of demands from Peters; enter a blue-green alliance, under which they make limited concessions; or suffer a red-green-black government that puts them under a full seige.

The situation is more nuanced across the aisle. But, so far, the few public comments from the Green MPs have indicated they're too gormless to try for a pact with National, or even to simply indicate they're open to it for strategic leverage in MMP negotiations with Labour and NZ First. As Rob Hosking noted earlier this week, "National is more evil than climate change for most of its members."

Green MP Mojo Mathers has been exhibit A for this dead-end approach:

The reality is that politics has always been the art of compromise, and under MMP never more so.

Everyone's talking about Winston Peters holding the country to ransom. But if he is of a mind to take a handful of policy wins from National, and can carry his caucus, James Shaw has just as much power.

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