Isobel Ewing: Green door ajar for 'teal deal'

OPINION: This morning brought another airport journalist hustle, as New Zealand First leader Winston Peters continues to hold New Zealand in post-election limbo.

But it's talk of the back-up plan, labelled the "teal deal", that's filling the gap - a blue/green mix.

And James Shaw was leaving the door to the deal slightly ajar today.

"If Bill wants to call, I'm happy to take the call, if he wants to have a conversation," he told media.

The Green's door has been open for a while - James Shaw opened it the morning after the election on Three's The Nation.

"If Bill English... as he said on Friday night, he said he'd make a phone call... He hasn't made a phone call, but if he did, we'd be duty-bound to listen to what he has to say."

Dealing with National is clearly not Shaw's preference, but he refuses to completely rule it out.

It might not be realistic right now, but if Winston Peters' negotiations with National and the Labour-Greens combination falter or fall over completely in the coming weeks, formal talks on a Green-National deal of some kind could emerge.

Today, co-leader candidate Julie-Anne Genter kept the door ajar, saying Shaw would take a phone call from Bill English.

But co-leadership rival Marama Davidson was much more cautious, refusing to be drawn on the topic at all.

There's obviously division in the Greens about even having talks - much of its grassroots membership want the door kept shut.

National's 'blue-green' Nick Smith suggested today the Greens should consider going teal.

"I think the Greens have made a bit of a strategic mistake in linking their wagon so closely with Labour," he said.

And even the distant threat of the "teal deal" has Jacinda Ardern doing her best to keep the Greens in the tent, telling The AM Show's Duncan Garner "just leaving them out on the outer is not fair".

So, for now, the Green Party is sticking to its well-worn track, at least until Bill English makes contact.

Isobel Ewing is a political reporter for Newshub.