Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young: Double billing at 'state of the nation' rally gives Labour and the Greens double the attention

As an attention-grabbing device, the idea of a joint state of the nation worked for Labour and the Greens.

The media turned out in droves compared with last year's showing - probably double the attention.

But there were risks.

READ MORE: Labour leader's speech gets very personal

The Greens have everything to gain and Labour has more to lose by staging a joint event.

The Greens can only benefit by being given equal billing to Labour.

Not only does it enhance their status, the cosier it is the harder it is for Labour to ditch the Greens if NZ First's Winston Peters again tries to veto the Greens from Government as he did in 2005.

LISTEN: Jacinda Ardern vs Julie Anne Genter: Mt Albert byelection

The biggest risk for Labour in getting too cosy with the Greens is not just from the right when it suggests Labour will implement the Greens' wildest ideas.

It may also be seen as giving tacit permission to voters in Labour-held seats to give the all-important party vote to the Greens - and just stick to Labour for the candidate.

As Labour might say to that ..."Noooooooh!"

That was why the event was carefully choreographed to give the Greens the warm-up spot, and Labour leader Andrew Little star billing.

Little shone. He looked sharp, in a new dark suit from Hugo Boss and new black shoes.

He sounded confident and polished. His message was a mix of oppositional attack and inspirational rhetoric. And the crowd went wild.

There was no new policy, lest one party upstage the other.

It was held in a suitably small hall in Mt Albert, guaranteeing that the crowds would be not only standing around the walls but flowing on to the grass outside.

The backdrop for the speakers was a tiered mini-grandstand holding people of many ethnicities, mainly Pakeha, and of many ages, mainly young, presumably symbolising inclusiveness and hope.

The attention to detail did not stretch as far as the post-speech stand-up with reporters, which was so crowded and hot that Little and Greens co-leader Metiria Turei were dripping sweat.

The blood and the tears may not be far behind as election year unfolds.

- NZ Herald

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Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor, a job she has held since 2003. She is responsible for the Herald’s Press Gallery team. She first joined the New Zealand Herald in 1988 as a sub-editor after the closure of its tabloid rival, the Auckland Sun. She switched to reporting in 1991 as social welfare and housing reporter. She joined the Herald’s Press Gallery office in 1994. She has previously worked as a journalism tutor at Manukau Technical Institute, as member of the Newspapers in Education unit at Wellington Newspapers and as a teacher in Wellington. She was a union nominee on the Press Council for six years.

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