Boag and Trotter agree: Labour is doomed

Andrew Little (Getty)
Andrew Little (Getty)

Political commentators on both sides aren't expecting much to come from Tuesday's announcement the Greens and Labour are teaming up to try and win the 2017 election.

The parties have signed a memorandum of understanding, pooling their resources in an attempt to overcome the long-dominant National Party.

The only concrete piece of information the parties will confirm is that Grant Robertson will be Finance Minister, should they win. Other key positions -- such as Deputy Prime Minister -- will depend on how the votes fall.

The parties are also yet to decide whether they'll stand candidates aside in marginal electorates.

Former National Party president Michelle Boag says the deal is a sign Labour has "given up" trying to win on their own, and former leader Helen Clark will be "furious".

"They've put the handles on the inside of the coffin, they're pulling it down and they're lying down in the coffin and saying 'that's it for us'," she told Paul Henry on Wednesday.

Left-wing blogger Chris Trotter has seen how deals like this usually end before.

"The first time I saw something like this was out at Albany when Helen Clark went to the Alliance conference...that ended in tragedy."

He says everyone assumed they were working together anyway, and it makes Labour look weak giving equal footing to the Greens -- the third-biggest party in Parliament, but still a long way behind Labour.

Ms Boag says the Greens might scare off more than just a few of Labour's blue-collar supporters.

"Labour will dislodge some of its old loyal troops to New Zealand First, and it may well be that the Remuera housewife who'd flirted with the Green because she's in favour of the environment actually realises 'gosh, these are just a bunch of lefties'."

If the partnership fails, Labour will only make things worse if they change leaders again, Mr Trotter believes.

"You won't be able to count the votes because people would be falling over themselves laughing."

Labour has had four leaders since Helen Clark quit following the 2008 election.