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No expansion for Greens-National relationship agreement

Published: 11:18AM Friday April 13, 2012 Source: Fairfax

  • Russel Norman (Source: Supplied)
    Russel Norman - Source: Supplied

The Greens say they are disappointed National has walked away from plans to expand the working agreement between the two parties.

National and the Greens have been in talks about expanding their memorandum of understanding since last year's election.

The memorandum was signed in April 2009, a few months after National took office, and outlined plans to work together on the home insulation programme, non-1080 possum control, cleaning up toxic sites and a regulatory system for natural health products.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman said this morning National had rejected plans to expand the agreement.

"They decided not to go there.

"It is disappointing but it is probably a reflection of what happened after the election where National has taken more of a right-wing turn.

"I think that has made it harder to find common ground."

The Greens had provided National with a list of projects it believed the two parties could work together on, he said.

The party had wanted to work with the Government to implement the recommendations of the Green Growth Advisory Report, which was released publicly last month and headed by Business New Zealand head Phil O'Reilly.

They included a greater emphasis on sustainability in government procurement, more support for small and medium-sized businesses embracing green economic opportunities and recognising New Zealand's clean green brand.

Norman said the Greens also wanted to work with National on the Land and Water Forum.

The Greens still wanted to work with National despite what it saw as a move to the right evidenced in plans to mine the conservation estate, a deal with Sky City to build a national convention centre and welfare reforms.

"Our position was if you can find common ground and work together, you should."

Norman said it was too early to say whether National's decision had implications on the 2014 election.

The two parties would still work on areas outlined in their 2009 agreement, he said.

National said it couldn't find the funding for the Greens' projects.

A National spokesman said there could be policy areas the two parties could work together in the future.

"But in deciding not to broaden the current memorandum of understanding agreement with the Greens, we took into account the quite different priorities and philosophies of the two parties.

"With a zero Budget coming this year, the Government did not have additional resources available for the policy priorities of the Greens."