29 Sep 2020

James Shaw on Green Party polling results

9:55 am on 29 September 2020

Green Party co-leader James Shaw is remaining tight-lipped about what roles the party might want if Labour turned to it to form a government.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw

James Shaw. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

The latest political poll suggests the Green Party will play a key role in forming a new government.

Last night's 1 News-Colmar Brunton poll had Labour on 47 percent and National on 33 percent. This would mean Labour would be unable to govern alone and turning to the Green Party - on 7 percent - to form a majority. The poll had ACT on 8 percent and NZ First on 1 percent.

It was released a day after the Newshub Reid Research poll, which had Labour at 50.1, National on 29.6, the Greens at 6.5, ACT on 6.3 and NZ First on 1.9 percent.

Whether the party would aim to be in coalition or be a supply-and-confidence support partner would be for post-election talks, Shaw said.

"That's a function of the negotiations that we have with Labour after the election.

"Obviously, if you're in Cabinet you have more influence over the shape of the next government.

"One of the things that we are hearing from people, in the campaign, is that they want to make sure that Labour has to talk to somebody and not just to be able to make those decisions by itself."

Asked if the party would want the deputy prime minister role, he said that position and all other ministerial jobs would be up for discussion after the election.

"It depends on the numbers, it depends on the shape of the agreement we've got, it depends on the extent to which we think it can help us advance the programme of work that we have."

He would not say whether the party's commitment to a wealth tax, which Labour has rejected, would be a bottom line.

The party's priorities were on climate change, cleaning up the ocean, extending the house building programme, ensuring people had adequate incomes, and on transport.

Shaw defended the party's agriculture policy saying it would not limit farms' productivity.

"The leading farms ... who are well above those environmental bottom lines are seeing increases in their productivity and their profitability.

"The value of our brand will be protected overseas. In those markets where we sell our food and fibre, consumers there want to make sure that that food is produced in the most sustainable way possible and they are prepared to pay a premium for it."

Shaw was comfortable with a longer wind-down of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter but said the support should be going to the people of the region not Rio Tinto, one of the most profitable firms in Australia.

Labour has promised to negotiate to extend the life of the smelter by three to five years, focusing on establishing a fair price for transmission costs paid to Transpower by the smelter.

The timeline Tiwai Point put up of 18 months was too short for a just transition, Shaw said.

"As that smelter winds down we do need time to do things like put extra lines into the grid to make sure the rest of the country is able to use that electricity. We do need to work out how to get replacement industries down there and how to support those workers.

"My preference would actually be for the smelter to remain in operation but for it to be able to bring in some of the hydrogen-based technologies for it to be a truly zero-emissions smelter. "

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