Shaw slams 'desperate' Peters

Green Party co-leader James Shaw has slammed Winston Peters' 'desperate' 'politics of division'....
Green Party co-leader James Shaw has slammed Winston Peters' 'desperate' 'politics of division'. Photo: NZ Herald
Green Party co-leader James Shaw is full of disdain but unsurprised at Winston Peters' "politics of division", which he calls a desperate plea for votes.

Peters yesterday delivered a blistering race-relations speech in Orewa that recalled then-National leader Don Brash's "one law for all" speech in 2004, which saw National surge in the polls.

Peters said that too many Māori were "stuck in the past and they want you to pay for it", and he threatened to upend the coalition in order to block a deal over Ihumātao.

"If Labour governs after the election, by themselves, heaven forbid, or with the Greens, God help us all, then they will do a deal at Ihumātao," Peters said yesterday.

Peters said a deal would see a flood of settled Treaty of Waitangi claims being re-opened, even though the occupants say it's not a treaty issue but one of cultural heritage.

Grant Robertson, the minister leading negotiations around Ihumātao, has also said there is no intention to do anything that could unravel full and final treaty settlements.

Shaw said today that Peters was up to his old tricks by misrepresenting the issue.

"That's his shtick. He's trying to use the politics of division to drive up his vote and get back into Parliament. I don't like it, I never have liked it.

"I was completely unsurprised. A bit saddened."

Shaw said Peters' tactic wouldn't resonate because people had moved on from "that view of the world".

"He's just desperate for votes, to tell you the honest truth, and he's falling back on an old formula that's worked for him in the past, and I just hope that people see through it."

Shaw and Peters have become increasingly critical of each other in recent months as the campaign neared, and today Shaw pitched a Labour-Greens Government at a public meeting at the East Harbour Women's Club in Eastbourne.

He outlined three crisis issues at the meeting - poverty, climate change and biodiversity.

He talked through the Greens' wealth tax on net assets over $1 million, the next phase of climate action to target specific industries - agriculture, heating and transport - and greater protections for marine life and oceans.

"Transport is the one I'm really worried about," said Shaw, who will release policy about this next week.

"We've completely fallen in love with Ford Rangers. For every electric car, we bring in 16 Ford Rangers. Transport emissions are frankly out of control."

He also took a shot at National Party leader Judith Collins, who he said was "harvesting grievance" for saying that Labour and the Greens hated farmers.

Sustainability issues around food and fibre production were being led by the farmers themselves, Shaw said.

"They want to solve that problem, and want support for that transition. It really irritates me when I hear people saying that we hate farmers. What we want is better for farmers."

It was "counter-intuitive", he said, but the best way to make Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister again was to party vote Green, which would ensure the centre-left bloc is bigger than the centre-right.

If the Greens didn't make it back to Parliament, there would be more than 100,000 wasted votes on the left; there were 162,000 Green voters in 2017.

Afterwards, he told the Herald that messaging around strategic voting needed to sharpen as October 17 inched closer.

"It's around when we're hovering on the [5 per cent] threshold. There's a group of [left-leaning] people that I know are sitting there thinking, 'What's the best use of our vote?' I would argue it's to give the party vote to the Green Party."

The Greens were at 6 per cent support in Tuesday's 1 News Colmar Brunton poll, which followed Shaw's mea culpa for his advocacy for the private Green School.

But the party generally doesn't do as well on election night as it does in polls leading up to the election.

"I know we have a really solid basis of support," Shaw said.

"We saw that in 2017 when we had a very challenging campaign and we still got 6.2 per cent on the night.

"The challenge for me now is I want to make sure the number is higher than that so I get more MPs."

Even if that means slicing into Labour's votes?

"Well, they seem to have plenty to share around."

This week saw Shaw walk back comments from Julie Anne Genter that the Greens' wealth tax would be a bottom line.

Ardern has already ruled out the Greens' wealth tax.

Shaw said today the Greens don't do bottom lines, even though there were some party members pushing for the party to be more aggressive as Labour hugged the centre.

"If I said the asset tax and a guaranteed minimum income are bottom lines this election, and then Labour said, 'You can do that but you can't have anything on climate change or marine conservation,' that would be unacceptable," Shaw said.

"If you start putting lines in the sand, all you then end up with is the other party having to rule things out. You then end up in a zero sum situation where you cannot actually negotiate anything after the election."


He's not wrong, a very astute analysis of the situation. Winston is desperate.






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