After the Green’s described themselves as more pro-market than National last week, I tweeted:
Will Taylor replied that he and Matt feel that NZ needs a real blue-green party.
I think they were thinking of a new party. But I don’t see why it would not be feasible for the current Green party to enter into a governing coalition with National after the election this year. If National get enough seats to govern alone, the minor parties will have no bargaining power (although, I still think the Greens should try to form a coalition, for the reasons below). But if National falls short of that mark, they would likely be very open to a partnership with a single, stable, reasonably-non-crazy minor party. The Greens would just need to decide what are the one or two key issues that are really important to them and that are not unthinkable for a pragmatic centre-right party–e.g. 1. clean waterways and a serious policy on carbon emissions, and 2 funding for child-poverty initiatives–and then agree to throw away some of the minor stuff like their positions on monetary policy. The long-term advantages to the Greens would be enormous:
- The alternative is likely to be not being in government at all, or being in government with a coalition with Mana, Internet, NZ First, and Labour, which is probably a brush a principled party would not want to get tarred with.
- It would make credible for a long-time that the Greens are prepared to work with either major party to further environmental issues, and so give them much more bargaining power with Labour after future elections.
- Any move on environmental policy achieved in a coalition with National, even if not as strong as could be agreed to by Labour, would be sustainable beyond the next election and could be strengthened then. In contrast, a strong ETS negotiated with Labour might not survive beyond the 2017 election.
- Where their policies are more market oriented than National’s (pricing water appropriately for dairy farmers, not discouraging high-density living in Auckland), having the push come from the Greens would enable National to implement those policies without fear of a backlash from the left.