Expect joint Labour-Green policies in the lead-up to the election

Green Party co-leaders James Shaw, Metiria Turei and Labour leader Andrew Little will campaign together. File  photo / Claire Trevett
Green Party co-leaders James Shaw, Metiria Turei and Labour leader Andrew Little will campaign together. File photo / Claire Trevett

Labour and the Green Party will release joint policies in the coming months and plan to tour the country with a joint policy statement - as well as have their leaders deliver "state of the nation" speeches at the same event.

Labour MPs have gathered at Brackenridge resort in Martinborough for a two-day caucus meeting, the first of the New Year.

Leader Andrew Little told media that his party had one, maybe two, big policy announcements to make in election year, but would mostly focus on existing messages around key issues including housing affordability, crime, education and health.

"In terms of big, headline stuff there's not a great deal more. There will be maybe one possibly two more. There will be some rules about fiscal discipline that we are working on at the moment so people will have a clear understanding about what our priorities are when it comes to government spending and taxing."

Little and Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei will share the limelight - and resulting media coverage - at a joint event on Sunday, January 29.

The annual state of the nation speeches are an opportunity to present key messages to voters - and attack the Government on perceived weaknesses and failings.

Labour and the Greens have signed a formal memorandum or understanding to work together until the election.

Little said he would not announce new policy on January 29.

"You can expect to see one or two joint policy announcements in the next few months between Labour and the Greens.

"There are plans to do that in different sort of ways. One of them is to get around the country with a joint policy statement - talk to a collection of audiences right across the country on a policy area that we have common ground on. People will see that as the year wears on."

There are significant differences between Labour and the Greens on policy. In July, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei was the first party leader to explicitly call for a fall in house prices, saying she wants to see house prices fall by 50 per cent over 10 to 15 years.

Little responded by saying he disagreed with that approach and it wouldn't be happening under a Labour Government.

Today, he denied a joint state of the nation event could result in voters looking at the two parties as one and the same.

"We have differences and we have common ground. But what they will see is, here are two parties presently in opposition who are committed to strong, stable Government as an alternative to the present."

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the parties felt there was more to be gained than lost from holding a joint event.

There were differences between Labour and the Greens, but Shaw said the two were now in a "pretty close working relationship" and wanted to show the public there was a credible and ready alternative to National.

Shaw said during the election campaign the different policies between the parties would be obvious, and this was about stressing to the electorate that Labour and the Greens were ready to work together.

- NZ Herald

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