Greens co-leaders dismiss criticism of party's latest alliance with Labour

Source: 1News

Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson are dismissing claims their new co-operation agreement with the Labour-led Government puts them in a weak position.

They jumped to defend their political position, calling the agreement a "win-win" and "best of both worlds" on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.

It comes after  former MPs expressed disappointment in the deal, which allows for them both to received ministerial portfolios outside of Cabinet.

Former MP Sue Bradford yesterday told 1 NEWS the deal leaves the party weak and essentially gags its co-leaders. Meanwhile, Catherine Delahunty says the Greens should've walked away.

However, current membership within the party voted 85 per cent in support of the co-operation agreement.

"It's quite historical that a party with such a large mandate, Labour, have afforded the Greens two ministerial positions, associate ministerial positions, areas to work together on and we still get to maintain our unique independent voice," Davidson told Breakfast.

"We campaigned on working with Labour, we were very clear that that's what we were working towards - being able to work with [them] to get some stuff done because we are running out of time for our planet and for people."

Under the agreement, Davidson will serve as Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence and Associate Minister of Housing (Homelessness) and Shaw will again be Minister of Climate Change and Associate Minister for the Environment (Biodiversity).

Instead of specific policies, the agreement has "areas of cooperation" that include achieving the purpose and goals of the Zero Carbon Act, protecting our environment and biodiversity and improving child wellbeing and marginalised communities.

The agreement is far less specific than the  2017 coalition and supply agreement.  Part of that was reflected in the appointment of just two ministers. The Green Party held three in the last Government.

Shaw admitted a number of Greens' policy plans were ruled out in negotiations, but added "the nature of the agreement is it is all about the constructive working relationship and so we have the opportunity to attempt to convince our Labour ministerial colleagues that there are certain things that we want to move on".

Shaw, who was also outside Cabinet in the last term of Government, also defended the party's position within this Government, saying "we did more on climate change in those three years [of the last term of Government] than the last 30 years of Governments in total".

"During that term we passed the Zero Carbon Act, we reformed the Emissions Trading Scheme, we brought climate change back into the Resource Management Act, we established the Green Investment Fund."

He said he believes that will keep progressing and denied the Greens will be gagged by Labour.

"Some of the anti-voices have got the wrong end of the stick because the agreement specifically says that we are actually able to record and to state that our party's position would have been different from where the Government line was."

Shaw said it means people will have the chance to vote for where they align on issues at the next election.

Ardern will announce her Cabinet today, then on Friday special votes will be announced.

When asked if she was concerned whether or not Chlöe Swarbrick would hold onto her Auckland Central seat - the party's first electorate win in 21 years - Davidson said she wasn't worried because specials "often go towards the progressive vote".

Swarbrick won 9060 votes in the preliminary results, while Labour's Helen White polled 8568 and National's Emma Mellow was third with 7566.

"No matter what, she has achieved history," Davidson told Breakfast.

"She was not in front of all of the polling but she just carried on anyway, she built an incredible grass roots movement for change and they did it. So no matter what happens she has made history."