13 Sep 2017

Green Party fights as poll bodes ill

8:55 pm on 13 September 2017

The Green Party says it has a strong base as polls show the party hovering above the number needed to stay in Parliament.

Greens co-leader James Shaw

Greens co-leader James Shaw Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

The party has been trending down in RNZ's Poll of Polls since late July, around the time its co-leader Metiria Turei stood down and Jacinda Ardern became the leader of the Labour party.

A Newshub poll last night had the Green Party on 4.9 percent, just under the threshold necessary to make it into Parliament.

An updated mini-Poll of Polls last night put the Greens on 5.5 percent.

The party said it knew it would suffer a drop in support after a tumultuous period in July, where two senior MPs rebelled against the leadership of Metiria Turei, who resigned after pressure over her admission she committed historical benefit fraud.

But it had hoped to be on a upward trajectory heading into the election.

Party leader James Shaw acknowledged today that things were difficult, but said the party was also close to being part of a government for the first time.

"We are in the fight of our lives right now, and we are as close as we have ever been in the whole time that we have been in Parliament to forming the most environmentally friendly, the most progressive government.

"It's a heck of a campaign and it's really, really close right now," he said.

Mr Shaw said he was confident his party would be in Parliament after the election.

"We've got a really strong base, and we know that as voters get closer to the election, they're looking at it and saying actually there's a real mood for change and if they want change then clearly they should give their party vote to the Green party because we're the only viable option in terms of being able to provide Labour with a coalition partner."

At Otago University today, the Green Party unveiled a package, which would raise student allowances by 20 percent.

During a question and answer session with students after the announcement, Mr Shaw responded to the idea that a vote for the Green party took away a vote for Labour.

"Every single vote for the Green Party adds to Labour's total, and increases the chances of a change of government.

"I know some people have been thinking 'oh I need to give my party to the Labour party directly' but actually having the Green party in there is necessary for Labour to be able to form a government."

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern said both her and Mr Shaw had ruled out doing any election deals to help the Greens stay in Parliament.

"Whilst we share values and a desire to change the government, we've each said we'd also run our own campaigns," Ms Ardern said.

"From what I've seen, and in other polls, there is a lot of movement and I just don't accept that will be the final result for the Greens."

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