Former Green MP Catherine Delahunty is on the money when she says the Greens should stay well away from a Labour government this term.
Catherine did the rounds of media this morning arguing that the Greens would be “better off independent”, rather than striking deal with Labour that “mutes their ability to speak out”
Catherine obviously seems motivated by a desire for policy change, and so her argument appears to be that the Greens can push Labour harder if they advocate loudly from the side-lines rather than quietly behind closed doors where none of us can hear the message.
But, the other consideration is the damage a deal with Labour could do to the Greens.
Labour is going to govern from the centre. They’ve made that clear a number of times both pre-and post election.
They are going to govern in a way that doesn’t upset those centrist voters who moved over from National.
So, there is very little risk now of Labour doing anything they’ve previously touted as ‘transformational’.
The Greens don’t want to be part of that.
This move to the centre is almost certainly going to upset voters on the left who’ve already had three years of disappointments and now almost certainly face another three years of it.
If the Greens are in any kind of arrangement that binds to share responsibility or forces them to publicly support government moves then they run the risk of sharing the blame from left wing voters.
They’ve already copped it enough over the last three years from die hard ideologues on the left.
They are better off avoiding that and sitting on the side either completely or in an arrangement that allows them to join in the criticism of Labour’s move to the centre
In the long run this will also be a better play for the left bloc. Because what it does is it leaves the left voters to the greens, allows Labour to hoover up the centre voters and leaves National with very place to go other than wait really for centre voters to fall out of love with Labour.