'Dirty deal' crumbling? Greens to stand candidate in Ōhāriu

  • 23/08/2017

The Labour-Greens marriage is looking rocky, with the Green Party announcing it's going to stand a candidate in Ōhāriu, after incumbent United Future leader Peter Dunne decided to retire from politics.

It's a far cry from in February, when the Greens decided not to stand a candidate to give Labour's Greg O'Connor a better shot at beating Mr Dunne.

At the time, leader James Shaw said it wasn't a "dirty deal", as National and ACT's Epsom deal in 2011 was labelled.

Mr Shaw said their situation was different as both parties stood a candidate that year, but asked for their voters to choose ACT - whereas the Greens fully weren't standing a candidate.

But now with Mr Dunne's resignation, that's all changed. On Wednesday night, Greens' Tane Woodley announced he was gunning for the seat too.

Mr Woodley was originally only going to campaign for the party vote in the electorate. He also stood for the electorate last election and won 2764 votes.

With National hurriedly putting up Brett Hudson as their own candidate, the battle for the Ōhāriu seat is now hotter than it's been in 33 years.

Last election Mr Dunne scraped in with a margin of just 710 votes, leading Greens and Labour to combine their efforts this election to topple him. Now that it's not as critical of a seat, all bets are off.

But the Greens say there was never a deal for the seat in the first place and it was just their decision.

Green Party co-convenor Debs Martin told Newshub the bulk of Greens' seats come from the party vote, which it was always going to campaign for. The decision not to stand a candidate for the seat wasn't part of the memorandum of understanding with Labour, she said.

"It was purely a Green Party decision," she said.

"Across the country we are making choices to maximise the likelihood of the change in government that New Zealanders are calling for. Our decision won't have any material effect on the campaign that Labour is running."

Meanwhile, United Future isn't throwing in the towel just yet. It's announced it's standing Bale Nadakuitavuki as a candidate in Ōhāriu.