Sometimes you have to wonder how the Left survives at all, given its propensity to try to eat itself even when - perhaps especially when - things are going right for it.

Labour is on a high thanks in large part to Jacinda Ardern and her "relentless positivity". The Greens, trying for the same effect, are on a low because their positivity is not so much relentless as lovingly soporific.

And this is after Labour has held them off at arm's length over Metiria Turei while stealing all their best policies: water charges, low-cost housing, welfare reform aimed at alleviating poverty, rail over roads, even (secret squirrels) a capital gains tax.

How many stabs can the big Green heart take before it gets gritty and starts fighting back? Best not leave it much longer or it'll be bled out of electorate.


Which would be a disaster, frankly, because the critically endangered state of New Zealand's environment demands a Green presence in the next government; Labour may be becoming greened, but Ardern's epiphany that climate change is the nuclear threat for our time is knowledge every Green has lived with and worked to counter for years if not decades already.

And here's the thing: Labour won't occupy the Treasury benches without a coalition partner, and if it thinks NZ First is preferable to the Greens then it hasn't paid attention to Winston Peters' connivances for the past 30 years.

James Shaw put it best when he summed the choice as one of change, not chance.
Put Winnie back in a kingmaker role and he's more likely to choose blue as red, given his party's policies align far more closely with National. Even if he did choose change, his price would severely limit any real reform, especially in the areas that matter most.

So why would the electorate take that chance? More pertinently, why would Labour?

See, it's easy to despise those who support the Right, because frankly if they can't see that our whole way of life is being undercut and our environment trashed solely for the sake of a few extra toys while foreigners take control then they don't deserve to consider themselves New Zealanders.

But with the way Labour is allowing the Green vote to be annihilated, you'd be forgiven for thinking they're reading from the same self-interest manual. Even though that makes no sense.

This is the bit everyone thinking of supporting Labour at the Greens' expense needs to get: cut the Greens out of Parliament and, because the Green votes would be redistributed proportionally, you will almost certainly have a National-led government; at best an NZ First led-by-the-nose one.

The "soft" Green voters thinking switching to Labour is a strategic choice to change the government are making a mistake, because Labour will not get to 50 per cent on its own. No party under MMP has done that.

So it's vital for people to understand that in this particular situation, as odd as it sounds, voting Green supports Labour more than voting Labour does.

It doesn't help that most mainstream commentators are slavering over the prospect of killing the Greens; the scare-poll tactics being used to make it seem they're the last people you should vote for are almost as bald-faced fictitious as Stephen Joyce's fiscal hole.

Why? Because they fear real change.

In this, they're pandering to an electorate that shares that fear. But we all know change must come, and at least the Greens have a road map for how to approach it.

Toss them aside and leave the future to chance, and you condemn us to calamity.

■Bruce Bisset is a freelance writer and poet.

■Views expressed here are the writer's opinion and not the newspaper's.