Labour ministers 'pleased' with National ruling out a coalition with Brian Tamaki's Freedoms NZ

Labour ministers are "pleased" by the news National won't enter a coalition with a political activist who blamed the Kaikoura earthquake on "gays, murderers and sinners". 

National leader Christopher Luxon had repeatedly refused to rule out working with Brian Tamaki's Freedoms NZ coalition - until Thursday.

A fake judge presiding over a mock trial during the most recent anti-Government protest earlier this month wasn't enough for Luxon to say an alliance with Tamaki's crowd isn't to his taste.

"There's a game that goes on where you want me to rule out each and every one and I'm not prepared to do that," he said. 

"I know everyone wants me to play the game of who we're ruling in and who we're ruling out but all I'm saying is we have a long way to go until the election."

Telling reporters to "read between the lines". 

"Christopher Luxon ploughed on, he doubled down he said he wouldn't have ruled it out," said Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson. 

Robertson went gangbusters.

"Brian Tamaki, in talking about homosexuality said, I quote, 'No other sin in the whole bible has any connection to earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions'."

But Luxon thinks Robertson was "lashing out" to create a distraction from the Government's tax U-turn. 

"The big news of yesterday was a Government that actually made a very rapid turn on a KiwiSaver tax."

Not as rapid though - Luxon's own U-turn on working with Tamaki, that's taken ten days.

"If you want me to rule it out I'm happy to do so."

Luxon's U-turn was music to the ears of Labour ministers. 

"Took him a while, I think he was considering it," said Willie Jackson. 

"Very pleased," Chris Hipkins said. 

Ayesha Verrall said Tamaki's views are not conducive to "a political culture where all members of the community, including the rainbow community, can participate".

Tamaki has warned Luxon of the danger of writing him off, declaring his coalition of fringe parties "kingmaker". 

And while that may be far-fetched, Luxon's initial refusal to rule out working with Tamaki's crowd lends credibility to extreme-right views. It would've been politically wiser to just rule him out a week ago.