James Shaw shares election 2020 predictions, responds to Shane Jones' defence of eating meat

Green Party co-leader James Shaw expects election 2020 won't bring a change of Government and is content with continuing to work with Winston Peters.

With only months now until the general election, political leaders will be developing their campaign strategies, something particularly important for parties like the Greens and New Zealand First which will have to decide how to maximise their appeal without devouring the support of other parties they may have to form a coalition with. 

Shaw, who leads the Green Party with Marama Davidson, doesn't believe Kiwis will see a significantly different Government by year's end.

"I think we are likely to see the Government returned in much the same shape that it is this year. Some of the numbers on the edges might change but I think it is looking pretty solid," he told The AM Show.

"If you look at the polling since election night, the numbers haven't shifted a lot. Labour has improved a wee bit, but otherwise everyone is in roughly the same position as they were.

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll shows relatively similar results to the 2017 election, with Labour seeing the largest change with a roughly five percent rise. If Parliament was made up of seats based on that poll, Labour could govern alone with the Green Party. New Zealand First wouldn't have any MPs as it didn't meet the 5 percent threshold.

Shaw said he would love a stronger hand in Government, but despite some policy clashes, he is also happy to continue working with Peters. 

"I have no problem with working with Winston. I think having the kind of coalition we have got at the moment, it gives you a majority of New Zealanders, and what that means, inevitably, that there are compromises you have to take."

While the wins outweigh the compromises for Shaw, he said not getting a Capital Gains Tax across the line is still disappointing. 

"I still think it would have been the right thing to do," he said.

"It would have helped to rebalance the investment markets, move some of the money that the country has got invested away from the property and into the productive parts of the economy, helped to address the imbalance we have between the people who earn money and pay tax on that money, and people who own assets and don't pay tax on that."

Shaw said "funny stuff happens" during election campaigns and "opening salvos" from politicians are already beginning. 

"I anticipate as we get closer to election day, there will be a lot more nonsense that people spout as well."

Asked about comments from New Zealand First MP Shane Jones, who compared climate change activists promoting reduced meat consumption to "eco bible-bashing", Shaw made a telling remark. 

"Like I said, it is an election year and people talk a lot of nonsense in an election year.

"That comment he made over the weekend was well constructed by him to appeal to the kind of people he wants to appeal to."

Jones made those comments following an announcement earlier this month from Shaw - the Climate Change Minister - and Education Minister Chris Hipkins that schools will receive new resources to teach children about climate change. Part of this includes advice to "eat less meat and dairy" - something Jones rejected.

"I don't want the politically correct brigade colonising my dietary habits - it will never, ever happen... Schools have absolutely no authority to stigmatise and demonise us meat-eaters," he told Newshub.

The date of the 2020 election is unknown, but there has been speculation it could be September 19.