by Geoffrey Churchman

It was something that many people who switched to voting for the Labour Party last month hoped wouldn’t happen, but it has. Despite Labour being able to govern alone with a small, but still manageable majority in Parliament, a Labour–Greens deal for the new government has been done.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson will become an associate housing minister focused on homelessness and gain an entirely new role: Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence. Co-leader James Shaw will keep his position as climate change minister and gain an associate environment portfolio with responsibility for biodiversity.

Are these, in fact, stitch-ups of both for the areas in which Jacinda expected to achieve the least and she will be able blame the Greens for it? Does the deal involve the Greens not criticising anything else the government does or doesn’t do?

Setting up bureaucracies is a standard Labour Party approach to dealing with problems, but as we observed after the 2017 election, People working together can achieve significant improvements in services without significant recourse to public money. Look at how much volunteer firefighters, community patrollers, nature enhancers and community beautifiers do in Waikanae!

In other words, helping people to help themselves or others would be more effective than for example, a new Ministry for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence. But there is little chance of persuading either Party of that.

One big sigh of relief, however, results from the departure of Eugenie Sage as Minister of Conservation, whose principal modus operandi in office was to poison or shoot as much of the country’s wildlife as she could. It’s a welcome exit also for the Greens’ Julie Anne Genter.