Winston Peters is gone but his warning is not. You cannot judge what a Labour/Green government will be like by looking at the Labour/New Zealand First government. Peters says he stopped a capital gains tax, a new round of treaty claims, a white elephant light rail and he claims many of the policies Labour is taking credit for such as assistance to small business are his party's initiatives.
Peters says he saved the government from the Greens' "woke pixie dust".
The minor parties have influence. Prior to Covid it often seemed Mr. Peters was Prime Minister.
Now that the polls say Labour will be reliant on the Greens to govern we need to be examining the Green Party's manifesto.
I am a former minister of railways so I was interested in the Greens' transport policy. Take just one proposal; "Regional Rapid Rail"; "Intercity trains" with "speeds of 160k". We have a single track, narrow gauge, freight railway network, with a top speed of 80k. Every 10k increase in speed is a doubling of the cost of the track. Slow freight trains cannot share a single track with fast passenger trains. High speed trains would require a totally new rail network, tunnels and bridges. For safety every level crossing must be replaced by a road over bridge. .
James Shaw says money will have to be "diverted" to pay for their transport plan. The total hospital budget would not pay for the Greens' high speed regional passenger trains especially as they say it will be free for everyone over 65, students and community card holders.
The policy is "woke pixie dust". There is nothing intrinsically carbon free about steel wheels. Tesla has already built a proto-type electric truck to manufacture next year.
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The claim that Labour can just dismiss the Greens' demands is just wrong. The Greens have threatened that if they do not get their "priorities" then
they will sit on the cross bench supporting or defeating Labour measure by measure. When the government can only act day to day then no one can plan.
James Shaw is not a Marxist but many Green members are. As Shaw reminds us in the Greens it is the membership that makes the key decisions. When the government's coalition partner is directed by an extreme socialist membership Jacinda cannot promise stable government.
National/Act proved stable. Labour/Greens are an unproven risk.
• Richard Prebble is a former Act Party leader