Most Read Contributor in New Zealand, September 2016
Eighteen months out from the 2014 election and National
still leads Labour comfortably in the polls. But add in the Greens
and the race is much tighter.
This is not to suggest that there will be a change of
government next year, only that there might be and that – if
there is – the Green Party will have seats at the Cabinet
We speculate on what a Labour-Green Government might
look like and what that might mean for business.
The Greens in Cabinet
If David Shearer is in a position to form a government, David
Parker will be Finance Minister. Labour will insist upon that. The
rest of the portfolio allocation will depend upon the strength of
the Greens vote relative to Labour's and whether the coalition
includes a third or even a fourth party.
But, under any scenario, Green co-leader Russel Norman is likely
to get Economic Development and possibly Energy. Metiria Turei will
get a social policy role. Kevin Hague may get health.
Inclusion in Cabinet will be a first for the Greens. Although
they have worked with both Labour and National governments to
advance Green objectives (such as home insulation), they have never
been part of the cabinet.
Under the pragmatic leadership of Norman and Turei, they are
taking a much more hard-nosed approach. We expect them to confirm
this at their annual conference this weekend.
The Greens have identified three policy priorities:
dealing to the external and internal imbalances affecting the
New Zealand economy
They will be releasing a number of "Green Papers" in
advance of the 2014 election campaign, with the opportunity for the
public to provide feedback.
So far they have released a paper on how to grow New
Zealand's ICT sector and – most famously – a paper
outlining their NZ Power plan. The closing date for responses to
the NZ Power proposal is 1 June 2013.
A Labour-Green policy programme
A Labour-Green government can be expected to implement
significant policy change in a range of areas, including:
energy (notably reform of the electricity market)
housing (direct investment to expand the supply of low income
Resource Management Act (to restore the primacy of
environmental over economic values)
employment law (to unwind many of the changes National has
taxation (introduction of a capital gains tax)
ETS (potentially a shift toward a carbon tax), and
There are differences in policy detail between Labour and the
Greens and sometimes – as in monetary policy – these
can be quite significant. But there is broad agreement on the
general direction of change.
It is worth noting that a recent poll by Reid Research for TV3
News showed that the Labour-Green single wholesale electricity
buyer idea has 54% support among the general public. This is in
spite of the fact that it was roundly attacked by the Government,
the business lobbies and most economic commentators.
The Greens are a serious political force. They have strong
grassroots support, especially among younger voters, and highly
effective organisers working full time on their behalf. They are
here to stay. For business, that means building a relationship
which allows for constructive engagement and the frank exchange of
The information in this article is for informative purposes
only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact
Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.
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