Wellington Scoop

A deal on Sunday? Greens reach final stages of talks with Prime Minister

Report from RNZ – October 29
The Greens and Labour are inching closer to a governing deal, with an announcement expected on Sunday.

Co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw met Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern again this afternoon at Parliament in Wellington.

Mr Shaw says they are on track to conclude talks tomorrow as planned.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister echoed this, saying: “discussions on a final text are nearing conclusion”.

Once the deal has been hashed out, a Zoom call will be held with about 150 Green Party delegates – likely to take place on Saturday. They will vote on the deal – with a 75 percent majority needed to give it the green light.

Ms Davidson says details of the deal will not be made public before delegates vote.

And in case you’re wondering – the biscuits on the table today were Tim Tams – with Mr Shaw quipping, “you could say that the talks are getting sweeter”.


Report from RNZ – October 28
The Green Party co-leaders say talks with Labour are in the closing stages and they expect to take a deal to their membership by Friday.

Having won an outright majority on election night, Labour does not need a helping hand to form a government, but Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson have had three meetings in Wellington with Labour leader Jacinda Ardern to discuss potential areas of cooperation.

Shaw today said the parties had made “pretty good” progress and expected to conclude talks by the end of the week.

A final deal has not been reached, but RNZ understands Shaw has been offered the climate change portfolio, as a minister outside Cabinet. He refused to confirm this, saying “we can’t speculate on speculation … we won’t be commenting on the content of the negotiations until we’ve concluded”.

RNZ also understands Marama Davidson will likely be offered a ministerial portfolio, but which one is yet to be decided. She also would not comment, but said she was happy with the progress of discussions.

Shaw said forming a government was a “complicated business”.

“It took us four weeks in 2017, but of course the complicating factor there is that there were three parties, so we’re confident we’ll be able to do it a lot faster this time.”

Davidson said talks were getting towards the end, which “indicated good progress”.

“It’s just about narrowing things down, getting things down to the final point and we’re making good progress,” she said. Discussions may continue over the next few days, she added.

Once a final offer has been put forward, the co-leaders will present it to its members on a call. They will then vote on the deal, and a 75 percent majority is needed to accept it.

A spokesperson for Ardern said conversations continued to progress well today with talks on track to wrap up “by the end of the week”.

Report from RNZ – October 27
Green Party co-leaders have emerged from their second round of talks with Labour in hopes of taking a deal to their membership by the end of the week. With Labour holding an election night majority, the Greens are not needed in a formal coalition arrangement, but the two parties are thrashing out areas they could co-operate on in government.

Greens co-leader Marama Davidson described today’s hour and a half meeting in Wellington as “constructive” and said the discussions were “progressing”. She would not go into any detail.

“We saw an immediate upgrade in biscuits from Krispies to Mallowpuffs, so a little bit more sugar and a little bit more cream…of course I can’t divulge the actual content and the substance but we’re working hard and we’re moving forward,” she said.

Davidson said they expected to meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her team again tomorrow, and were hoping to conclude talks by Friday.

“We still haven’t landed on a final offer, we are working through and getting to that point once we do have that it will be going straight to the members,” she said.

Davidson said members will then vote on the deal, and a 75 percent majority is needed to accept it.

Co-leader James Shaw pushed back when asked whether things were moving slower than anticipated. “Not at all, you’ve got to remember that the fastest that a government has formed under MMP is 12 working days and we’re not quite clear of that deadline since the last election.

“So we’re moving as fast as we can, but forming a government is a complicated business and there’s a lot to work through. We have a really good relationship with the Labour Party so the talks are very constructive, they’re very positive, but there’s a lot of detail, so that’s just why it takes some time,” Shaw said.

Earlier report from RNZ by Jo Moir
Labour and the Greens will meet again today to thrash out areas they can cooperate on in government. With Labour holding an election night majority, the Greens aren’t needed in a formal coalition arrangement.

Jacinda Ardern expects to wrap-up talks this week and announce any deal that has been reached.

The two parties met twice last week in the Prime Minister’s office in Wellington and will do so again later today.

On Wednesday following their second meeting with Labour, Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson described the discussions as “fruitful.”

Ardern has ruled out any discussions about a wealth tax, as campaigned on by the Green Party, but it’s likely other areas of common interest such as climate change and the environment are being worked through.

Shaw was the Climate Change Minister – a position outside of Cabinet – in the last government.

And while talks continue, Labour and the Greens won’t be meeting as a caucus as is traditionally the case on Tuesdays when MPs are in Wellington. Neither is National, but its MPs will fly to Wellington for a caucus meeting tomorrow, after last week’s was largely consumed by MPs’ farewells.

Preliminary results for the cannabis legalisation and euthanasia referenda will be announced on Friday.

But it will be another week before the official count is announced, along with special votes, on 6 November.


  1. Marion Leader, 28. October 2020, 1:46

    How can 75% of the members possibly agree to selling out a key policy such as the wealth tax?

  2. Claire, 28. October 2020, 12:17

    Marion I suppose it depends on what else is on the table. Politics is about compromise and hopefully the most important things get actioned.

  3. Hel, 28. October 2020, 20:15

    Marion, I think the answer is that it was a ridiculous policy and there is no mandate to introduce it.

  4. CC, 28. October 2020, 23:02

    Those are bold assumptions Hel – do you have any evidence to support them?

  5. K, 29. October 2020, 11:15

    @Marion Leader: the Greens have zero leverage – anything they get is a gift. If they cant get 75% of members to agree to whatever gets negotiated, then Labour goes alone and the Greens end up with zero concessions from the Labour government towards any green policies for the next 3 years. Which would beg the question: What is the point of the Green party if they refuse to participate in a government when gifted the chance to do so? Would people who voted for the Green party prefer a Labour climate change minister over a Green Party one?

  6. greenwelly, 29. October 2020, 14:41

    @K, Because as Ministers in a government, any Green MP would be forced to support policy in that portfolio, even if it was not what they would decide to do… In our form of executive government, Ministers implement policy that is decided by cabinet.

    In the last government, while the Greens were outside cabinet, they indirectly got to influence the “big” decisions as they had enough votes in parliament to stop anything they really didn’t like. In this case they would be simply be strapped to a Labour horse with no ability to steer it. Whether Green party members want that is not yet clear.

  7. Claire, 30. October 2020, 7:21

    Labour has a green tinge nowadays. And remember Jacinda’s green nuclear moment. Labour needs to keep faith with green voters and the ideas that the Green Party offers. Let’s hope to see a push in the electric vehicle area. I expect to see three Green Ministers outside cabinet.