National leader Simon Bridges says his party will be placing an emphasis on environmental policies and has suggested he could work with the Greens – are we seeing the early stages of a ‘teal deal’?

National leader Simon Bridges says his party will be placing an emphasis on environmental policies and has suggested he could work with the Greens – are we seeing the early stages of a ‘teal deal’?
Simon Bridges by Jacky Carpenter.

Newly minted National Party leader Simon Bridges was looking a bit green at his first press conference in the job on Tuesday – but he was certainly not feeling sick.

He was firmly planting his “blue-green” flag in the ground and waving it so it could be seen from all corners of the Beehive.

Over the course of his almost 40 minutes with reporters on Tuesday, Bridges was at pains to point out that under his leadership, National will have a strong focus on environmental policies.

When assessing the party’s priorities, the environment appeared alongside well embedded National policy strongholds, such as law and order and the economy, as a major area of attention for the party under Bridges’ leadership.

“I think the environment is clearly precious to New Zealanders,” he said, before moving on to the importance of small businesses and strong regions.

“I have said to you as I said to my colleagues in the lead up to this contest today that I think we do need to look at our emphasis in some areas – I mentioned to you the environment and the regions,” he said moments later.

His press conference was heavy on “modernising” the National Party and it is clear the environment will be a major pillar of that approach.

This is the man, after all, who described himself as a “blue-green” just a week ago.

Although it is early days, with the election two and a half years away, Bridges could be positioning National for a potential coalition deal with the Greens in 2020.  

He has already indicated he is willing to work with the Greens, telling the AM Show he would prefer to form a coalition with them rather than New Zealand First.

Backhanded

But his comments at the press conference were seemingly backhanded.

“I think if [the Greens] were a true environmental party that wasn’t focused on other bits and bobs, actually they could be a party we could work with, and work with strongly.

“We have shown in the past we would be happy to do that, in terms of home insulation and other areas.”

Bridges then went on to challenge the Greens to support National’s legislation to set up the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, which would make it the largest marine reserve in the world.

“If they do, it shows some promise that they actually are prepared to think independently – but at the moment you would have to say they look a lot more like Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters’ poodles.”

It’s still too early to say if Bridges’ approach to get the Green Party onside early is working, but it is worth noting the Greens were the first party to officially congratulate Bridges on his new role.

“Bridges has an opportunity to redefine his party for the future,” leader James Shaw said.

“I hope that he takes this opportunity to work constructively across the House on the most important challenges we face together as a country.”

Over the coming weeks, Bridges says the country will “get to know who he is” through speeches he will be making – it’s likely he will continue to touch on his “blue-green” side.

As well as this, a major indication of his policy focus will be shown through the party’s reshuffle in a few weeks’ time and how much importance portfolios such as climate change are given.

But until then, Bridges will continue to wave his teal-looking flag hoping the Greens are watching on from the distance.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

45 Comments

Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).
13
up

is this not the guy who tried to mine DOC land then claimed oops did not know.

"3 News can reveal the Government is opening up the Department of Conservation's (DOC) biggest forest park for oil and gas exploration.
That came as news even to the minister who signed it off, with Simon Bridges admitting today he had never heard of the park."

BTW northlanders are still waiting for the ten bridges

http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/minister-didnt-know-park-was-in-drilli...

or when he tried to allow gold mining in Pureroa , home of the timber trail which thousand ride and walk each year and brings employment to the local area

8. CATHERINE DELAHUNTY (Green) to the Minister of Energy and Resources: Will he rule out granting mineral exploration permits in Pureora Forest Park?

Hon SIMON BRIDGES (Minister of Energy and Resources): Kia ora to the member. No

Strange how one changes their view when aware they're out of touch with changing public opinion...

Almost like their values aren't based upon principles that are unchanging, and stay true over time.....but instead get blown around depending upon which ever way the wind is blowing.....(a sign of poor moral character....)

Good point. Reminds me of Groucho, something like “ you will enjoy doing business with me because I’ve got principles, and if you don’t like those, well then, I have others.”

16
up

Simon, some of us have not forgotten these words "The environment's reign of terror is over". And you think the Greens might hook up with you?

12
up

They really are desperate for mates that they can co-opt then kill, aren't they? If the Greens are silly enough to fall for this bullshit, they deserve everything they get.

To be fair though, The Greens are not being heard from in this coalition!
Making up the numbers

Rubbish.

Please list the environmental wins achieved by the Greens in Government

Well they ensured that the Kermadecs wouldn't be turned into a Marine Sanctuary (Wintson vetoed it) by becoming fluffers for the Coalition.
Wins Score: -1 for Greens.

Wasn't a lot of Iwi disappointed at National try to seak through Kermandec Sanctuary? Word was it was actually a poorly designed stunt for John Key to grandstand at the UN on his way out.

Mixed messages from Bridgie. I think we will see a lot of that. Cracks in his approach already. Don't expect his "reaching out across the house" to last very long. The bully boy will reassert itself soon...

National need to start a new party themselves and TELL voters in that electorate to vote Policy Party party vote. Full on cynical gaming of the system.

Basically gifting a large fish nursery to the Chinese fishing fleet which surrounds it, as far as I can tell.

Why don't National just tell the good people of Epsom to party vote ACT, as well as for Seymour? If they want to be in government they are going to have to get extremely cynical.

I think we have seen more than enough already that National has got a shit show with Greens. Come on, they just want to destroy them.

Or they should sponsor a new green party that will work genuinely for the environment across parties and not be a kind of red-green that we have now

It would struggle to have any credibility. Greenpeace started in this country. The kind of people who would potentially be attracted to it are far too smart for a stooges party. It would probably just give more support to Greens as "the real deal". Social justice and the environment go hand and hand, two sides of the same coin : Justice.

Indeed, I'm happy to sit corrected but as far as I'm aware Green parties around the globe are centre-left, social justice and environmental are two of the pillars that they all stand for.

Great - a virtue signalling Dave Cameron wannabe. What happened to Dave again?

I think it's high time the National party upped its game in the environment area, where they have been very poor in the past. If Simon Bridges is genuinely going to lead that, then good for him.

As for the Kermadec Sanctuary, I think it would be fantastic if NZ could come together to agree on doing this.

Agreed. The environment is precious and needs our help. I used to vote Labour but realized that working people don't really need my vote. If they can start to do basic math and realize tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of schools, healthcare, etc are bad for them, they'll stop voting National and this political ship will turn on a dime (looking at you rural, low income voters). In the meanwhile the environment is too important to get wrong.

The kermadec was a sop to try and up the numbers of marine reserve. Tried this instead of creating some off our own coast where we could all enjoy - except for fishers who always create merry hell when a reserve is promoted.

The coalition supporters interest.co lobby team sounding a tad rattled this morning. No doubt aware that Bridges has the type of profile which appeals to the fossil brigade who voted for the Peters first party.

Only, Bridges won't give them anything.

From the handy Huawei bug: “Simon, is that you? We need to talk about something important. No, no, worse luck, it was passed in at the auction, but the agent says he has someone on the hook. It’s about the environment. Environment. Where is it? It’s out there, Simon. All around us. It’s where the houses are. They’re sort of in it. The rivers go through it. The rivers. Rivers. You know, where the run-off goes. What we need to do, Simon is to find a way round this ‘clean green New Zealand’ stuff. Green. The colour. What we've been asking ourselves is why ‘green’? It’s not helpful. Calling it green gets in the way of our message. It makes people wonder what the Greens are always going on about. We don't need that. So, what we’re thinking Simon, is ‘clean blue New Zealand’. Get it? It’s our colour. Ours. The National Party. We think it’ll work. And, by the way, that Maori family stuff. Walk it back, Simon. There’s nothing but trouble there. Start talking about the environment. Just talking, mind. Words. ‘Clean blue New Zealand’. Yes, we knew you'd get it. Good boy.“

Actually you you just need to add a bit of yellow to blue to make it more greenish.

Top work.

National are going Green alright.
Kermit the frog (and Miss Piggy.)
A talking head with a hand up his backside and flailing arms on sticks.
I'm predicting he will start to unravel and lose his stuffing well before the next election.

The Greens would be wise to at least show a willingness to move sides.

1. They would get more done - i.e. they could almost always be in power.
2. If they just stick with Labour, then eventually they will get swallowed.

Supporting anti-democratic waka jumping bill (The "Keep Winston in power at all costs" bill) is definitely in their Kaupapa.
They are already tracking around 5%, and tend to get lower than their polling at elections.

Quite possible but the extreme left of the Greens would see that, unrealistically of course as a betrayal. Even though The Māori Party’s involvement with National, in my opinion, achieved much more for them than just being in opposition, there was eventually too much traditional backlash, and they finally disappeared. But if the Greens should be split between the socialist and environmental arms, for instance as per the two that resigned just before the election, then one would think there is opportunity and traction for National to work with the latter, but it won’t happen tomorrow, far from it.

Its the bulk of the Green party, ie rank and file that want nothing to do with National not a few fringe loopies as you seem to imply.

I keep asking this question and no-one appears to be able to answer it, maybe you'll be able to help me - can you give me a policy of the Greens that is socialist?

DP

National is the opposite of the Greens. That is why they cant ever be on the same side. Unless of course the Greens were lacking in moral fiber and were able to be bought out. I just don't see the Greens as that type however. They seems to be some of the most principled people in parliament.

National wants tax cuts and less regulation. This includes environmental regulation. Greens want more environmental regulation and more government services/taxes. A government with those two just wouldn't work, no matter how much National supporters wish it might. It isn't just their social justice side, it is their environmental side as well. National see the environment as only something to exploit for profit.

Correct IMHO.

The only two green MP's who had integrity and moral fibre resigned and were ejected from the party in August 2017.

They current green MP's who did not show any integrity are definitely not the most principled people in parliament.

Just because they don't share your principles, doesn't mean they aren't principled.

Using that measure everyone everywhere is automatically principled.

Removes all objective meaning for the word.

No, it means that you will not sell your opinion or actions to the highest bidder. That you are beholden to some greater ideal, bigger than yourself. That you will not be like Simon Bridges who has a long track record of not giving a hoot about the environment all of a sudden talking like he cares because he sees it as his ticket to be PM. I felt Don Brash was principled. I didn't agree with everything he said, but I could tell he was never going to go into coalition with a party that promoted Maori separatism. Because he felt strongly about the issue, and was in parliament for that reason. That is who the Greens are, if they go into coalition with National, the environment would be worse off than any deal with Labour so they will not do it. No matter what baubles they got offered.

And specifically means condoning deceit with intent to commit fraud.

Like Bill and his accommodation supplements he set up trusts to rort? Renting his own house to himself. How many National MP's walked out over that again?

I think most green MPs saw the issue as much less important than them getting into government to save the environment and help the poor. Is that not a principled position?

MMP is not about being on the same side.

If we want to stick to "Sides" then we might as well just have a two party system.

I'm just saying this particular pairing will never happen. Nothing to do with what I want, lol.

He fails right off with his "bits and bobs" comment. Despite Green's being around for many years he obviously has no idea what the Green party consists of and stands for.

Given the National Party signed NZ up to an absolute reduction in GHGs not a per capita one, he clearly will have to focus on the environment otherwise the economic cost to NZ may be huge if we have to pay for the excess GHG emissions, or maybe Labour will beat him to it with the proposed 0 carbon strategy by 2050.

Is that why Paula Bennett wore green against Simon's Blue ?