The Prime Minister expects no change to Labour and the Greens' cooperation agreement, despite a potential challenger for the Green Party's vacant co-leadership spot appearing open to looking at it.
Greens backbencher Teanau Tuiono held a last-minute press conference on Wednesday afternoon, during which he told reporters he is still considering whether to run for the co-leadership position held until Saturday by James Shaw.
"Whatever my participation is in any sort of process, is that it is actually what the members want but also it's about moving the party forward," Tuiono said. "I'm not ruling anything in, I'm not ruling anything out I'm just kinda giving it a think."
More than 25 percent of Green Party delegates on Saturday voted to reopen nominations for Shaw's co-leader spot, with some suggesting the Climate Change Minister hadn't fought strongly enough for Green values and that he was becoming a lapdog of Labour.
The Greens and Labour have a cooperation agreement that outlines the ministerial posts held by Shaw and co-leader Marama Davidson, as well as the areas the two parties agree to work together on.
While more than 75 percent of Green delegates agreed to enter into the deal in 2020, there are some members who have always suggested the party is more impactful outside of Government.
Tuiono was asked at his press conference whether the Greens' current internal debate was also a question of how the Greens work with the Government and whether he was open to revising the agreement.
"That is definitely something that has come up with the membership as well," he said.
"I am in the bubble now within Parliament. My thing is we have been trying to do the best we can, go hard on agriculture, go hard on all the things, but if that is not resonating outside, well then we should have a look at that."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was later asked whether she thought the Greens should stick to the current agreement.
"I would have an expectation that there would be no change to that agreement because there is no provision for change for that agreement," she said.
"It is an agreement that was formed between the leaders, but involved the parties as well, so that would be a very significant departure."
The Greens walking away from the agreement would involve "quite a bit of process on their side", Ardern said.
After Shaw was deposed of the co-leadership, Ardern confirmed he would remain Climate Change Minister regardless of whether he was co-leader or not. She said the cooperation agreement specifically names Shaw as the minister, rather than saying the co-leader is the minister.
Labour doesn't need the Greens to govern as Ardern's party has a clear majority of seats in Parliament. However, the two parties are natural partners and Ardern said in 2020 that the agreement allows them to continue working cooperatively.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, less than an hour before Tuiono spoke to media, Shaw acknowledged discontent among members.
"The vote at the Green Party AGM to re-open nominations for the co-leader obviously came as a bit of a shock. It's been clear for a while that there has been some disaffection with me, but I had understood that to be primarily amongst members who didn't support the Party's decision to go into Government, or the compromises that come with the progress.
"I want to acknowledge that I understand that the vote wasn't just about that. If I'm honest, I've found it hard to get the mix right between being a minister and a co-leader and, quite clearly given the vote last weekend, I haven't quite nailed it."