Today’s Herald editorial seems keen on the new working relationship between the Greens and National. But their positive assessment comes at the very end, while much of the piece discusses a supposed change in attitude by the Greens.
This agreement, under which the Greens and ministers will work together in several policy areas, clearly owes a great deal to the all-embracing approach of the Prime Minister, as well as to a new pragmatism in the Greens…The Greens went into the last election saying they could not support a National government, and watched John Key’s Administration quickly cancel several of their pet policies under Labour.
It is correct to say the Greens wouldn’t support a National government and the Memorandum of Understanding signed last week does not change this. But the “pragmatism” is not new, it was signalled at the Greens AGM last year and mentioned often by the Co-Leaders during the election campaign. The Herald speculates further:
The agreement may also owe something to the imminent retirement of the Greens’ co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons. Her unwillingness to compromise lent a certain purity to the party but also denied it a place among the decision-makers. Russel Norman, her fellow co-leader, was unconvincing when he sought to play down the major shift in the Green’s approach.
Except that Jeanette has been as vocal as anyone on how the Greens might work with National. Not just before, but also after the election she often spoke publically of meeting with John Key to explore the options. Key is also on record saying the same thing.
And Russel un-convincing? I supposed that’s not surprising given he couldn’t effectively downplay a major shift when there was no major shift to downplay. Where has the Editor of the Herald been for the last year?
But the piece ends on this positive note:
The party could even begin to appeal to a broader section of the electorate. The partnership may just provide the impetus to make the Greens a greater force.
The Greens have changed not a bit, but I’ll just say Amen to that.