Some details of Labour-Greens Cooperation Agreement
Labour Party Leader Jacinda Arden and Deputy Leader Kevin Davis with Green Party Co-Leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson with copies of the Cooperation Agreement (RNZ Picture by Nate McKinnon)
Green Party Co-Leader will be appointed as Minister for Prevention of Family & Sexual Violence, a new portfolio that has been created by Labour Party Leader Jacinda Anderson as a part of the incoming government.
Ms Davidson will also become Associate Minister of Housing.
A win for Jacinda Ardern
James Shaw, the other Co-Leader of Green Party will retain his previous post as Minister of Climate Change and will also be Associate Minister for Biodiversity.
Both Green Party Leaders will sit outside the Cabinet.
They will be sworn in along with other members of the Labour Party Cabinet at the Government House in Wellington on Friday, November 6, 2020.
The decision to sign the Agreement this morning (Sunday, November 1, 2020) in Wellington followed a majority endorsement of the 150 strong membership of the Green Party at a lengthy conference call held yesterday (Saturday). Ms Davidson said that 85% of the members approved the Agreement, far above the statutory requirement of 75% as the Party’s Constitution.
The two Parties sealed a Cooperation Agreement, which Ms Davidson labelled as a ‘Win-Win’ situation for both political Parties, whereas political observers credit it as a major achievement for Ms Ardern and her astute leadership. Keeping the Greens, who have ten seats in the 53rd Parliament appeased in order that they extend their support as and when the need arises in the House is considered a tactical move.
Labour has a majority, with 64 seats to govern on its own but bringing in the Greens not only gives the Party an added strength of ten seats but also provides it the insurance needed to sail through any eventuality over the next three years.
Areas of Cooperation
The Cooperation Agreement ensures the Confidence and Supply of the Green Party to Labour over the next three years. The areas include Climate, Environment and Child and Community Wellbeing.
The Green Party will support the Labour Government on procedural motions in the House, at Select Committees and will not oppose on matters of Confidence and Supply for the full term of the upcoming Parliament, providing the Labour Government with extra stability in the House.
The Agreement sets out other specific areas that the Labour Government will cooperate with the Green Party and the Government’s intention to work with all political parties on issues affecting New Zealand democracy.
These will include the Electoral Commission’s 2012 recommended changes to MMP, Electoral Finance Law and the length of the Parliamentary term. There have an opinion in some quarters that the tenure of Parliament should be raised from three to four years.
Clear mandate to govern
Ms Ardern said that the Labour Party won a clear mandate to form a majority government on its own to accelerate recovery from Covid-19.
“This Agreement respects the mandate voters provided Labour while continuing our cooperative work with the Green Party in areas where they add expertise to build as strong a consensus as possible,” she said.
Ms Ardern had said on election night (October 17, 2020) that the Labour Party would be inclusive and will be a government for all New Zealanders and continue to build as much consensus as possible.
“This Agreement achieves that objective. We showed in the last government that we can work well with the Green Party. On environmental and wellbeing issues, there is much we agree on that is good for New Zealand and I want to draw on our shared goals and expertise to keep moving forward with that work,” she said.
Complimenting James Shaw
Ms Ardern said that Mr Shaw has been a capable Minister for Climate Change.
“He led the work on the Zero Carbon Act and the establishment of the Climate Change Commission, as well as building important relationships with stakeholders and it is my view continuity and predictability on Climate Policy is important. Marama Davidson will pick up the work led by Jan Logie in the last term of Parliament to address New Zealand’s shameful record on family and sexual violence. Again this work is at a critical stage of implementation and continuity will be critical to its success,” she said.
Positive Working Relationship
Ms Ardern said that the Cooperation Agreement reflects the positive working relationship between the Labour and Green Parties and their areas of shared interest, while respecting the mandate that voters gave Labour to form a Government.
“It will deliver stability and cooperation in key policy areas while allowing the Greens to take an independent position from the Government on all other matters,” Ms Ardern said.
Ms Davidson said that the Green Party is pleased to have secured Ministerial positions on Climate Change and Family and Sexual Violence, and Associate Minister roles on Environment and Homelessness, as well as shared areas of cooperation.
“The Green Party is thrilled to enter into this governing arrangement with Labour, after three years of a constructive Confidence and Supply relationship. We entered into this negotiation hoping to achieve the best outcomes for New Zealand and our Planet. This was after a strong campaign where we committed to action on the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis, and the poverty crisis. New Zealanders voted us in to be a productive partner to Labour to ensure we go further and faster on the issues that matter. We will make sure that happens this term,” she said.
Protecting and Child Wellbeing
Mr Shaw that the Greens are happy to secure areas of cooperation in achieving the goals of the Zero Carbon Act, protecting our Nature and improving child wellbeing.
“We have a larger caucus this term who are ready to play a constructive role in achieving bold action in these areas. In the areas of climate change, looking after our natural environment and addressing inequality, there is no time to waste. Marama will do incredible work rapidly addressing the issues of homelessness and family violence. We are proud to have achieved a first in New Zealand political history, where a major party with a clear majority under MMP has agreed to Ministerial positions for another party, as well as big areas of cooperation,” he said.
Key Aspects of the Agreement
The key aspects of the agreement are:
James Shaw will be appointed to the position of Minister of Climate Change and Associate Minister for Environment (Biodiversity), while Marama Davidson will be Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence and Associate Minister of Housing (Homelessness).
Agreed areas of cooperation include (a) Achieving the purpose and goals of the Zero Carbon Act through decarbonising public transport, decarbonising the public sector, increasing the uptake of zero-emission vehicles, introducing clean car standards, and supporting the use of renewable energy for industrial heat (b) Protecting our environment and biodiversity through working to achieve the outcomes of Te Mana o te Taiao, the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2020, protecting Kauri, building on pest management programmes, and taking action to minimise waste and problem plastics and (c) Improving child wellbeing and marginalised communities through action on homelessness, warmer homes, and child and youth mental health.
Nature of the Agreement
Supporting the Labour Government including not opposing matters of confidence and supply for the full term of this Parliament.
The Green Party will support the Labour Government on procedural motions in the House and at Select Committees.
The Green Party will determine its own position in relation to any policy or legislative matter not covered by the Ministerial portfolios and areas of cooperation set out in this Agreement.
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