Greens' cracks exposed under Paul Henry onslaught

Metiria Turei on Paul Henry
Metiria Turei on Paul Henry

Metiria Turei appears to be at odds with her Green Party co-leader James Shaw on whether they would work with National, under questioning from Paul Henry.

Less than 24 hours after announcing a marriage of convenience with Labour, Mr Shaw and Ms Turei have given differing opinions on cooperation with National, should it get them into power.

Mr Shaw says the party's first preference is Labour -- hence yesterday's show-and-tell of the two parties' memorandum of understanding.

"When we've cooperated, both of our polls have actually gone up -- and when we haven't cooperated, we've tended to take votes off each other," he told Newshub this morning.

"Preference" is the key word here -- Mr Shaw wouldn't rule out National altogether, saying it's up to the membership.

But Ms Turei says it is "absolutely definitive" the party is committed to removing National from power.

"Our 100 percent commitment is changing the Government because they are so terrible for this country," she told Paul Henry this morning.

"National has left New Zealanders living in their cars rather than dealing with the housing crisis, allowed the pollution of our waterways, allowed the climate pollution. We will not tolerate a Government that does so much harm to our country anymore."

Labour leader Andrew Little says yesterday's announcement was about his party and the Greens "not tripping over each other, not sending mixed signals".

As for whether other parties would be invited into the relationship, Mr Little says if he gets the chance, he'll seek to form "as broad a possible arrangement in Government as possible" -- which could include Winston Peters and NZ First.

"When I told Winston about the agreement on Monday night I said this is not an exclusive agreement," says Mr Little.

Mr Peters on Tuesday called the Greens "poison" to Labour voters, but Ms Turei's not holding it against him.

"The Greens and New Zealand First have been getting on very well over the last few years," says Ms Turei.

Mr Peters has negotiated his way into positions of power before, having served as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in the past. But neither he, nor anyone from the Greens, will get the key position of Finance.

"There's one thing we're agreed on -- Grant Robertson will be Finance Minister. Everything else depends on what the voters decide at the general election," says Mr Little.

Former Greens co-leader Russel Norman had wanted the finance portfolio.

"We are fine with Grant Robertson being Finance Minister under a Labour-led Government, and we will talk with Labour about the post-election arrangements once we see how the votes turn out," says Ms Turei.

The next election is about 17 months away.