Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says the embattled Green Party will still be her party's first call in any coalition talks after the election. Nor does she rule out a ministerial position outside Cabinet for under-fire Greens co-leader Metiria Turei.
At a press conference this morning, Ardern tried to distance herself from the crisis enveloping the Greens.
"The only green issues I'll be talking about are climate change," Ardern told reporters.
But the press conference was dominated by questions about Labour's relationship with the Green Party and whether Turei should remain as co-leader.
Ardern said the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two parties had determined that the Greens would be Labour's first call after the election - "and that stands".
National's campaign chair Steven Joyce said this morning that the Greens' infighting would inevitably hurt Labour, because it made the left-wing parties look like a "circus".
But Ardern rejected the suggestion that Labour and the Greens were "tied at the hip" by their MOU.
"We gave transparency to voters and told them that if you want both of us in government then we will deliver that coalition.
"It doesn't change the fact that we are an independent party."
Ardern said she commented publicly about Turei last week because she would face questions about the Green co-leader's suitability for Cabinet if the Labour leader became Prime Minister.
Beyond that, the controversy surrounding Turei was a matter for the Greens, she said.
She was "focused entirely on Labour".
Asked whether she had ruled out a ministerial portfolio outside Cabinet, Ardern said: "That's not something I'm focused on right now".
The two parties have been talking behind the scenes about the Greens' situation, including discussions between co-leader James Shaw and Labour's finance spokesman Grant Robertson.
Ardern admitted the talks were taking place, but she was not involved in them. Deputy leader Kelvin Davis said he "hadn't had a word" to the Greens.
The chaotic scenes within the Greens were not destabilising the left-wing bloc, Ardern insisted.
"I deliver stability. As leader of the Labour Party, I focus on the stability I deliver as leader of our party."
Turei has been under pressure since admitting three weeks ago to historical offending while on the benefit. She said on Friday she would not resign, but she would not seek a ministerial role if in government.
Ardern supported that move, saying she would not have allowed Turei to be in her Cabinet.