The Greens' mad rush for the centre is a huge about-face. It's like Winston Peters welcoming refugees or Peter Dunne declaring himself communist.

I had thought it was only new co-leader James Shaw anxious to be business-friendly and PR-savvy by rejoicing COP21 in which the world's leaders meet in Paris to agree solemnly to do nothing about climate change.

I mistakenly presumed Shaw, in joining Government Minister Tim Grosser celebrating the "do-nothing" agreement, would cause the Green Party to explode. But no. It was accepted.

And now Green co-leader Metiria Turei has made the party even more middle-of-the-road. It's all the more astonishing because she has been co-leader for seven years and in the old radical Green Party she was the most radical.


Turei used her state-of-the-nation address to explain how unradical the Greens are, how they can work with National and Labour, and how they are the party of fiscal rectitude.

"We've had agreements with Labour and National," she said.

And by implication the Greens can do so again. Brilliant. The Greens are trying to straddle the centre and are opening up the possibility of supporting John Key in government. Their members and supporters are being not-so-subtly softened up.

There would be a price, but nothing too scary. Turei does away with any suggestion of big change from the Greens.

"Part of the philosophy of the Green Party is to look for small changes you can make that will have a big outcome."

Turei also showcases the Greens' concern for the careful spending of middle New Zealand's tax dollars. "So the first things we should ask of those who seek to wield that power is what they're going to do, how they're going to do it, and what it's going to cost."

I am sure I said something similar as Act leader and, if I didn't, I should have. That shows how far and how fast the Greens are travelling the political spectrum.

The one-and-only policy Turei announced was to power-up Treasury to cost the promises of political parties vying for your vote. She wants the Greens "to establish an independent unit in the Treasury to cost policy promises".

That would mean, "political parties could submit their policies for costing to this independent unit, which would then produce a report with information on the fiscal and wider economic implications of the policy".

There was a time for the Greens when Treasury was anathema and the devil incarnate. To say a policy was Treasury's was to Green-curse it for all time.

Now the Greens want a bigger-than-ever Treasury, funded and empowered to cost the promises political parties make during a general election. Not so long ago the Greens would be screaming that such a role for faceless and unelected mandarins was an affront to democracy.

I still think that. The Greens cuddling Treasury! The lust for power makes for strange bedfellows.

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