The Green Party has announced the criteria it will use to decide which major party it prefers to work with after the November 8 election.
Its co-leaders Jeanette Fitzsimons and Russel Norman today said the party would assess Labour and National's policies over the next few weeks.
Dr Norman indicated the decision would be balanced between environmental and social concerns.
He said New Zealand was potentially facing tough economic times over the next few years and the Greens wanted to ensure the next government would continue to help those in need.
"Our decision will not be based on personalities. The Greens will examine 12 key policy areas and make a judgment based on which party we believe has the best policies for New Zealanders now and in the future."
The Greens have traditionally aligned themselves with Labour, but the party is keen to strike a more independent stance in this campaign. However, its social concerns push it heavily towards Labour.
Ms Fitzsimons said the Greens would assess other parties against its four charter principles - environmental sustainability, social justice, peace and democracy - and a range of more specific criteria.
The specific criteria were how Labour and National planned to:
* Reduce New Zealand's oil dependence and climate change emissions;
* Improve the public transport and the rail system;
* Clean up waterways;
* Increase protection of threatened species and ecosystems;
* Improve local food security, keep the country genetic-engineering free and support organic growing;
* Reduce child poverty and violence against children;
* Form a genuine partnership with Maori under the Treaty;
* Make education free and accessible;
* Protect our national sovereignty from overseas ownership and keep New Zealand out of foreign wars;
* Protect public healthcare, and invest in preventative health;
* Protect workers' rights and raise the minimum wage;
* Protect democracy and civil rights.