Labour and the Greens have put pen to paper on a deal to form the next government, with the Green Party claiming the agreement offers them the best of both worlds

A Labour-Green deal to form the next government is an opportunity for both parties to tackle issues which New Zealand is running out of time to address, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson says.

The two parties formalised their “cooperation agreement” at a signing ceremony on Sunday morning, the day after the Greens secured the 75 percent supermajority of party delegates needed to approve the deal internally.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis joined Davidson and her co-leader James Shaw to sign the text, with Ardern describing the agreement as a continuation of the strong relationship the two parties had formed during the last term of coalition.

“I’ve always said that I wanted us to be a government that forms as much consensus as possible, that uses the skills that are available, and Marama and James as co-leaders of the Greens bring skills in the environment, in the family and violence sexual violence space, spaces that we want to work together on.”

Shaw will keep his position as climate change minister and gain an associate environment portfolio with responsibility for biodiversity, while Davidson will become an associate housing minister focused on homelessness and gain an entirely new role: Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence.

Ardern said the agreement was unlike any other, in that it did not require consensus to be formed but instead allowed the parties to take their own positions on issues while working together in areas where they held a common view.

Davidson said the Greens had campaigned on working productively with Labour to get things done, particularly on climate change and inequality, so she was proud to be able to sign the agreement.

“We could spend much of the next three years dealing with what ifs, and we’re really dealing with what’s next.”

“We know that we want to continue working in those areas of climate change, inequality, biodiversity – we are running out of time, and so what we have achieved has also allowed us  to keep pushing on those important areas of work, which the Green Party has always maintained, as well as keeping and protecting our independent Green Party voice.”

While Greens delegates did not unanimously back the deal, Davidson said the 85 percent vote in favour provided a good mandate for the party to work with Labour while protecting its own views.

She understood the concerns of some delegates about minor parties being able to differentiate themselves while in government, but said the deal was a “win-win situation” in preserving the party’s independence while allowing it to work with Labour where it made sense.

Shaw said some Greens members were comparing the deal unfavourably to the 2017 confidence and supply deal which secured the party more ministers, but he believed the 2005 agreement between Labour and the Greens was a more apt comparison.

“We could spend much of the next three years dealing with what ifs, and we’re really dealing with what’s next.”

Davidson said it was “an incredible honour” to continue Jan Logie’s work on family and sexual violence, with Logie as undersecretary to Justice Minister Andrew Little having overseen the creation of a whole of government approach and a national strategy for the issue.

Ardern said the Government still needed to consider how it would approach the issue of constitutional changes to the length of Parliament’s term and the functioning of MMP, with a referendum still an option under consideration.

Sam Sachdeva is Newsroom's national affairs editor, covering foreign affairs and trade, housing, and other issues of national significance.

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