Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A narrow slice of common ground

The big political news of the day is that the Greens have agreed to work with National - though on specific policy areas rather than confidence and supply. Those areas are limited to a home insulation fund (to start by 1 July), updating the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, and a regulatory regime for natural health products. Notably, it does not include climate change or the ETS (though obviously two of those policy areas impact on climate change). The Greens get access to Minister and input into the decision making process in these areas; in exchange they have to "consider facilitating government legislation via procedural support on a case by case basis" - which is basically nothing (though even suggesting that they might support urgency or leave after last week's trickery is a bit rich).

The full agreement is here [PDF].

This isn't that surprising. As I've noted before, the Greens are an MMP party, and they have made it clear that they will work with anyone to advance their policy objectives if they can find common ground. In National's case, that common ground is very narrow - but I still expect them to do what they can to produce the best possible policy. And then, I expect them to work with any future Labour government to strengthen it - something likely to be a lot easier than pushing against National's anti-environment dinosaurs.