Standing ovation for Little at Greens conference

(Supplied / Twitter)
(Supplied / Twitter)

Labour leader Andrew Little -- the first Labour leader to speak at a Green Party conference -- received a standing ovation today.

The compliment comes days after the two parties signed a formal agreement to work closer together, with the aim of changing the Government come 2017.

Mr Little didn't make any explicit references to a Labour-Green government, but said Labour couldn't govern alone in an MMP environment.

"In our country, under our system, Governments must be built on lasting, mature relationships between different parties that share a common vision for the future.

"That's why we've been strengthening our relationship and cooperation with the Greens.

"We won't accept children going to school hungry and going to sleep in bedrooms that make them sick.

"We'll feed hungry kids in schools so that every child in New Zealand grows up in a home that is warm, safe and dry."

Mr Little said the National Government was tired, out of touch and increasingly looking after only the few at the very top. It had presided over a stalling economy, growing inequality and an endless housing crisis, he said.

Mr Little said voters could choose a new, progressive government with a "better plan for the future".

The Green Party conference continues tomorrow, when a major environmental campaign will be launched.

Green Party member George Moon from Christchurch thinks the memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a great idea.

"In order under MMP to change the Government, parties do have to work together, and ultimately with National's destructive environmental policies we can't possibly work with them in my view, so working with Labour is the right decision. We have a lot more in common with them than we do with National. And I reckon it's going to be better for the country as a whole if we work together," says Mr Moon.

Joanna Plows from Nelson says it's the right time for the Greens and Labour to team up.

"I seriously think we needed to have a circuit breaker. If we really are serious about changing the Government and showing we can govern, and that's what we're here for, I think it's a really positive step."

She says everyone, including both parties and the electorate, need to process this first step before they start thinking about policy negotiations.

"The main thing is we've made this first step; it's an historical step, and I think the details have to be worked out from here."

Phillippa Jamieson says it's high time the parties joined up.

"We need to change the Government. National is doing appalling things. We've got skyrocketing rates of poverty; the housing crisis is out of control.

"Basically under National, New Zealand has been sold off to foreigners and the gap between rich and poor is increasing so much. Also the environment is getting trashed."

With the general election 18 months away, Mr Little says party policy will come closer to the time. He says what's important is the clear commitment both parties have made this far out to change the Government.

"What is very clear is that we do have common ground. We share a vision, we share a now a clear objective to change the Government," says Mr Little, who says there is still "heaps" of work ahead.

Greens Party co-leader Metiria Turei says solutions were offered today to clean up New Zealand's rivers and carbon footprints.

The party leaders emphasise the housing crises, falling wages, health and education as their focus points.

"We will clean up our rivers; we know how to do it. National says they are going to do things, and they do nothing," says Ms Turei.

The Greens and Labour will remain separate parties, but haven't ruled out joint policy or even a joint campaign.

Mr Shaw says they have recruited 3000 new members in the past few months, and Mr Little says the energy, commitment and drive is there, and "fundraising is going perfectly well".

"In the end, I'm confident New Zealanders will be motivated by what's happened to their country that they love, as appose to their PM that's had eight years and ignored some major issues."

Newshub. / NZN