Andrew Little's u-turn on dirty deals

Labour leader Andrew Little has pulled a u-turn on dirty electorate deals, accepting a Valentine's Day gift from the Greens, The Dunne Deal.

The Greens will step aside and not run a candidate in Ohariu, giving Labour's candidate Greg O'Connor a free run to take out Peter Dunne.

Just don't call it a deal to Andrew Little.

"It's not a deal," he says. His more palatable term is "electoral accommodation".

It's a sensitive topic because the Labour leader himself criticised these deals during his first election back in 2011 when ACT stood aside for National in the seat he was vying for - New Plymouth.

"If you're a party and you're fighting in a general election you put your candidates up and you put your people up and we'll be the judge. People don't like being deprived of that choice," he said at the time.

Little lost to National's Jonathan Young.

Green co-leader James Shaw says the deal is a crucial move in the left's plan to "change the government".

"We're still going to campaign for the party vote in Ohariu but we're not going to be standing a candidate," he said.

Labour's u-turn on deals means Mr Dunne is now in serious trouble.

He won by a margin of just 710 votes at the last election.

The Green candidate got 2764 - if all those votes head Mr O'Connor's way he could wipe the floor with Mr Dunne.

National's candidate Brett Hudson got 6000 votes. Yet National won't be moving him - he'll stand there sucking up some of the centre right vote.

"We've got a candidate there Brett Hudson who's been selected so we wouldn't be looking to change that," Prime Minister Bill English said.

Mr Dunne's confident his days in parliament aren't numbered, but his survival could come down to the message National sends to its voters - whether it's clear enough to make them vote tactically.