'No qualms' about Greens running Ōhāriu candidate - Kelvin Davis

Kelvin Davis is playing down any rift between Labour and the Greens, following the latter's decision to run a candidate in Ōhāriu.

The two parties' memorandum of understanding (MOU) included giving Labour's candidate Greg O'Connor a clean run at toppling United Future veteran Peter Dunne.

But with Mr Dunne's shock retirement earlier this week, the Greens decided it was mission accomplished and put their candidate back in the race, primarily to campaign for the party vote.

"We originally said we weren't going to stand a candidate in Ōhāriu, in order to get rid of Peter Dunne. That objective's been achieved," Green Party leader James Shaw said on Thursday.

Mr Davis says talk of a disintegrating relationship between Labour and the Greens is much ado about nothing.

"The MOU still stands," the Labour deputy told The AM Show on Friday. "We've got no qualms. Jacinda, after the election, is going to pick up the phone and make the first call to James."

At number 41 on Labour's list, Mr O'Connor will probably need to win the Ōhāriu seat to get into Parliament. It was likely to be tight in a two-horse race with National's Brett Hudson, and the presence of a Green candidate could split the left vote.

The outcome in Ōhāriu won't have an impact on the overall makeup of Parliament, however. United Future's almost non-existent party vote meant Mr Dunne's seat was an overhang, giving the National-Maori-ACT-United Future bloc an extra vote in Parliament.

Whichever of Labour or National it goes to, their total number of seats won't change - the losing side will get an extra MP from the list instead.

Will the Greens make it back?

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett, also on The AM Show, said the next round of polls could determine whether the Greens fall below the crucial 5 percent threshold or scrape back into Parliament.

"I think the next poll really matters, to be honest. I've been thinking about that... I honestly can't call it. The next poll in my opinion will really matter - if they're under five, people will think it's a wasted vote."

The Greens' struggles have come about thanks to a double-whammy of former co-leader Metiria Turei's benefit and electoral fraud admissions and the rise of Labour under new leaders Mr Davis and Jacinda Ardern.

"The left are eating each other's vote," said Ms Bennett.

Mr Davis said while Labour's out to win votes from anyone, the Greens are still their preferred coalition partners - and dinner guests.

"After the Back Benches show [on Wednesday night] I ended up having dinner with Julie Anne Genter. We had a great discussion... it was cool. Good discussion."

As for the MOU: "It's fantastic. We should put it in a frame and hang it on the wall."

National's Judith Collins was also on Back Benches, but didn't dine with her political opponents - though Mr Davis said she would have been welcome.

Newshub.

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