Merger on the mind with Green co-leader's slip-up

A slip of the tongue almost de-railed a joint Labour-Greens finance announcement on Friday, with a co-leader for a second confirming the parties would ... merge.

The leaders of the separate parties addressed business leaders, NGOs and academics in Auckland to talk about their 'Budget Responsibility Rules'.

But during his address, Greens co-leader James Shaw began discussing the inevitable questions about how the two parties would work together in a coalition government, saying the current government also does it.

"I think the Maori Party, the ACT Party, the National Party all have quite varied policy platforms.

"We are merging," he said - before almost immediately putting his hands up upon realising his mistake.

"Sorry, sorry, sorry Paddy [Gower]. I saw Paddy's face going 'what?!'

"We are not merging. We are still two...we are not merging. We are still two separate political parties after all."

Mr Shaw recovered quickly from his little blunder.

"We do know New Zealanders want a government they can trust to deliver on their promises and they want to know we can govern responsibly alongside the Labour Party even though differences around some specific policies."

Labour's finance spokesman Grant Robertson earlier laid out the "framework" in which they'd be working to as a government.

They included:

  • running surpluses (barring major economic shocks or natural disasters)
  • keep Crown spending to about 30 percent of GDP
  • a progressive, fairer tax system
  • reduce net debt to 20 percent of GDP in five years
  • increase investment in superannuation, climate change and infrastructure.


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