Patrick Gower: Labour-Green marriage of inconvenience

OPINION: The Labour-Green relationship is a marriage of inconvenience - and it is very inconvenient to Labour.

Labour went in with the Greens when it was weak and needed their numbers to look strong.

But the party is now so strong and the Greens so weak that it does not need them anymore.

Labour's strategist will be stoked that the Greens are making the break-up look so obvious.

Labour is sucking up Green votes - just look at its climate change emphasis and water tax policy.

Meanwhile the Greens are facing extinction - no wonder they have pulled this stunt in Ōhāriu.

If Labour needs the Greens after the election, they will work with them.

But the reality is that Winston Peters is there as "first cab off the rank" and would have wrecked any wanna-be marriage anyway by the Greens, weak or strong.

But the reality is the Greens are weak, and really on the outer.

The Greens had pulled their candidate in Ohariu to give Labour's Greg O'Connor the best chance of winning it off Peter Dunne.

Putting candidate Tane Woodley back in undermines the Labour-Greens "Memorandum
of Understanding" - agreement to work together.

Greens co-leader James Shaw says now Dunne is gone - so is the deal.

But there's more to it than that.

Breaking the deal is a symbol of how Labour and the Greens don't really work together at all anymore.

And it has been coming for a while:

  • The Greens voted for National's Budget policy
  • Metiria Turei publicly attacks Winston Peters, making any Labour-led combination look chaotic
  • Jacinda Ardern forced Turei to rule herself out of Cabinet
  • Now the Greens have broken the Ōhāriu deal.

But to look at the way the relationship has changed - look at the way the leaders have changed.

  • Andrew Little, Annette King, Metiria Turei and James Shaw were there when the agreement was signed in May 2016
  • Now it is Ardern and Kelvin Davis - and just Shaw. And virtually no cooperation.

The Labour-Greens relationship used to be all about the vibe.

Now that vibe is well and truly gone.

Patrick Gower is Newshub's political editor