National responds to Greens’ ‘race-baiting’ broadside: ‘No interest in working with them’

The NZ Green Party delivers their ‘State of the Planet’ address for 2023.
Video / Green Party Aotearoa

National has no interest in working with the Green Party in a future government after Greens co-leader James Shaw said a National-Act alliance would be the most “reactionary, race-baiting, right-wing” government in decades.

Shaw, alongside co-leader Marama Davidson, made the party’s State of the Planet speech in Auckland today, which included a strong focus on the risks posed by National and Act forming the next government after this year’s election.

“Labour and National may be duking it out for the so-called political centre but this October, New Zealand will either elect the most progressive, climate-focused government that we have ever had … or hand the keys to the most reactionary, race-baiting, right-wing government that we have seen in decades,” Shaw said today.

“A government for the wealthy few at the expense of many, not just in this generation but also those to come, a government of climate inaction and delay.”


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Green co-leader James Shaw voiced his strong distaste for a National-Act government. Photo / Alex Burton
Green co-leader James Shaw voiced his strong distaste for a National-Act government. Photo / Alex Burton

While Shaw didn’t explicitly rule out working with the current Opposition, National MP Chris Bishop believed his comments amounted to just that.

“The National Party’s not going to be lectured to by James Shaw and the Greens who have tethered themselves to a Government that has been absolutely incompetent on almost everything they have tried to do in the past few years, including climate change.

“The Greens have laid out their stall, they want to be part of a Labour-Green government … it’s ultimately over to the Greens who they choose to work with, they have no interest in working with [National] and with comments like that, we have no interest in working with them.”

Challenged on how Shaw hadn’t clearly stated his opposition to working with National, Bishop said it was obvious the Greens didn’t want to come to the party.


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“It’s like inviting someone to a birthday party when they’ve already said to you, ‘We don’t want to come to the birthday party’.

“There’s no point inviting someone to a party if they don’t want to be part of it and they don’t want to bring the beers or whatever.

“I think their attitude’s pretty clear from their remarks today.”

 National's housing spokesman Chris Bishop. Photo / Mark Mitchell
National’s housing spokesman Chris Bishop. Photo / Mark Mitchell

During a press conference after his speech, Shaw didn’t elaborate on his thoughts about co-operation between National and the Greens, choosing instead to focus on his opposition to a National-Act government.

The Herald has attempted to contact the Greens to clarify Shaw’s position regarding working with National.

During his speech, Shaw jokingly hinted at his suspicion that National would rid Christopher Luxon as its leader before the election.

“Just like Labour will need our support, the only way that Christopher Luxon – or whoever follows him – will become the prime minister is with the support of David Seymour and Act Party.”

Luxon has repeatedly stated his intention to stay on as leader of the Opposition, which has been echoed by deputy Nicola Willis – someone pundits consider to be future leader.

Bishop considered Shaw’s speculation about National’s leadership “a bit rich”, given Shaw had to be re-elected as co-leader after he was booted from the role in July.

“I’m not going to take lectures from James Shaw about leadership, only a few months ago his own party members dumped him as leader of the Green Party.”


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Act deputy leader Brooke van Velden believed the electorate would recognise what she described as the Greens’ poor record on climate action.

“The Greens are more concerned about the appearance of environmental progress than actual progress and voters are waking up to that.

“Act stands for real change in our climate policy, ensuring it is practical, effective, and not going to make life harder for New Zealanders.”

In an earlier statement, Shaw said the Green Party would only accept the “strongest possible climate action” from parties that want its support in forming a government after the upcoming election – a strong message to Labour after it axed several climate-focused policies.

“To any political party that wants the Green Party’s support to form a government after the election, let us put it as simply as we can: the Green Party will not accept anything less than the strongest possible climate action,” Shaw said.

“The stakes are too high, the consequences of failure too great.”


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On Monday, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins resumed his policy bonfire with a focus on transport policies, including some that were intended to reduce New Zealand’s emissions, such as the $568 million clean car upgrade scheme, the social leasing car scheme and some public transport goals.

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