'I will hear the Prime Minister out' - James Shaw

Green Party leader James Shaw is keeping the door ajar for a potential coalition deal with National.

Speaking to RadioLIVE's Rural Exchange show on Saturday morning, Mr Shaw said it would be "only polite" to see what National has to offer.

"I have said that I will hear the Prime Minister out if he wants to make his case," said Mr Shaw, who was widely considered a more business-friendly face for the Greens than his predecessor Russel Norman, when he took over in 2015.

"I'm keen for the Greens to have a chance at Government, because we've never really had that full opportunity before."

National deputy leader Paula Bennett has expressed enthusiasm for a National-Green deal.

"We'd quite like to talk to them... but I don't think they are up for it," she told The AM Show on Friday.

Mr Shaw says forming a Labour-Green-NZ First coalition Government remains his priority.

"A slim majority of voters did vote for change, and so that's what I'm working on… We campaigned on a change of Government, and I said at the time it was only fair to let voters know what they were voting for - are you voting for the status quo, or are you voting for change?"

At least 75 percent of the Green Party membership would have to approve of any National-Green coalition deal before it could happen. Former Green MP Catherine Delahunty told RNZ earlier this week there was a "snowball's chance in hell" that would happen.

"I would rather drink hemlock than go with the National Party… The last thing I want to see is the Green Party or any other party propping them up to put them back into power. They've done enough damage."

She said National was only bringing up a potential coalition with the Greens to get NZ First to weaken whatever demands it might have.

"This is just a whole lot of political manoeuvring by the National Party and others who would like to give Winston something to worry about.

"It's not even worth speculating about."

James Shaw, Jacinda Ardern, Winston Peters and Bill English.
James Shaw, Jacinda Ardern, Winston Peters and Bill English. Photo credit: Newshub.

If a National-Green deal did happen, Mr Shaw said he'd be keen on the environment and primary industries portfolios.

"I am very interested in primary industries as a portfolio because of the relationship between the environment and the sector. We're not going to solve the challenges that we've got environmentally unless we take an economic development lens to it.

"We can't do this all in regulation. If your regulation's pulling in one direction but your economic incentives are pulling in another, you're always going to lose."

National can form a new Government with the backing of either the Greens or NZ First. Labour needs both on board.

NZ First leader Winston Peters doesn't plan to make any decisions until after all the votes have been counted, on October 7.

Newshub.

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