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Labour still 'in competition' with Greens

Published: 4:37PM Sunday June 03, 2012 Source: ONE News

Labour leader David Shearer says although his party works well with the Greens they are still political rivals.

Shearer has been in the role for six months and completely rejects claims the Green Party is leading the opposition.

Citing classroom sizes and asset sales, Shearer told TVNZ's Q+A this morning that in all the major issues this year, Labour has been out in front.

While acknowledging that the Greens are "making more noise" than they did last year, Shearer said Labour is the biggest party in opposition and will form the next Government.

After getting more than 11% of the vote in the last election, the Greens have got 14 seats in Parliament. Co-leader Metiria Turei said at a policy conference in February the party is its own political force, generating its own support.

Shearer said the Greens are doing well and the two parties are both "co-operating and in competition", with a lot of similar policies. But he said when it comes to the real heart and soul of New Zealand, the future lies with a Labour-led Government.

"The thing that's different about us is that we have to be that much more accountable because people see us as leading the next Government."

The Greens can be less rigourous with some of their policies because they have never been in Government, Shearer said.

The new leader is satisfied with where the party is at following Phil Goff's decision to stand down, but admits they have "got some way to go" before 2014.

He said he will not change his personal style even though there have been calls for him to develop more "mongrel".

"I'm not going to try and be anything different than I am...I play the ball, not the man."

Shearer said he brings the ability to be fair but is absolutely prepared to make the hard calls.

As a leader, he said he has a real vision for where New Zealand might be in the future.

New Zealanders are very proud of their country and it is heart-breaking to see so many people going off to Australia, he said.

What is needed is somebody that has a real passion for their country, Shearer said, adding: "I have that in spades".