Ardern reassures voters that Greens’ negotiating table will be a tiny, humiliating one

On the eve of the election, the Prime Minister wants New Zealanders to know the Greens will be given a very small seat at the table, quite literally.

On the eve of the election, the Prime Minister wants New Zealanders to know the Greens will be given a very small seat at the table, quite literally.

In the final hours of the campaign, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made a forceful appeal to the electorate not to be afraid of any Green Party influence on the next government, promising that a wealth tax would “absolutely not” be on the negotiating table in a Labour-Green coalition, and that the negotiating table itself would be tiny, humiliating, and have chairs made for children.

“I said it last night, I’ve been saying it for two weeks, and I’ll say it again,” Ardern told media today against the backdrop a thousand looming selfies. “Of course when you have for Labour you are voting for Labour Party policy, and that is a bottom line for me. I have said, that a wealth tax will not make it to any negotiating table. I have said that negotiating table will be very small, some might even describe it as tiny in a frankly humiliating way, and thus only able to hold a small range of proposals, which we will explore, but explore with our principles firmly in mind.

“When you have a coalition, you have a big partner, and you have a small partner, and it is purely desperate and scaremongering for certain people to suggest otherwise. When you are the big partner, you get the most say in what we do. You get normal size chairs, water to drink, and lunch. If you are the small partner, you simply must accept that.”

Ardern became particularly fired up during last night’s TVNZ leaders debate, when opposition leader Judith Collins accused her of wanting to implement a wealth tax, saying that the Prime Minister “would if she could.”

A number of people close to Ardern say she was “authentically upset” at Collins’ suggestion that her government would genuinely attempt “to do something.”

A member of staff who has worked closely with the Prime Minister said that Ardern had worked “tirelessly” for the past three years, often foregoing sleep and family, to “talk about the things that matter most to New Zealanders.”

“Jacinda has given up so much energy and time to talk about poverty, and to talk about wealth inequality, to talk about housing, to talk about, you know, affordability and the rental situation, to talk about climate change, to talk about all of these things, and so the suggestion from Judith that she would then turn around and do something about some of those things was truly a bit much.”

Ardern would not be drawn on what exactly would be discussed in coalition negotiations between the two parties, but it’s understood that Labour will be presenting the Greens with a list of Labour policies, and asking them to tick the ones they like.

“Then maybe we’ll agree to do those things,” said one MP close to negotiation plans.*

Negotiation plans for the Māori Party, who have a slightly worse than even chance of being in Parliament after the election, look quite different, with a series of counterproposals ready for some of the parties’ key policy planks.

The Māori Party wants to establish a Māori Parliament, and Labour plans to “meet them halfway,” instead offering them a Māori Café in the Beehive; described as “sort of a Māori Bellamy’s.”

On the subject of renaming New Zealand to Aotearoa, Labour will offer instead to rename the Hundertwasser Toilets to the “Kawakawa toilets”, which “makes more sense anyway,” because “that’s where they are.”

The party may also be offered the opportunity to give “just one or two” towns their Māori names, though their options will be limited to a pre-defined list, which will include Whangārei and Whanganui.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said that though his party would prefer not to sit in tiny people chairs made for children and eat a Le Snak each, while those on the other side sat in big people chairs and enjoyed a full lunch, it was “not a bottom line.”

“It really is going to depend on the number of MPs, isn’t it?” he said. “If on the night we have 6 or 7 MPs, then we might have to sit in the baby chairs, you take that on the chin, but if we get up to say, 10, 11, 12 MPs, then I think we’ll be pretty firm in asking for a small stool.”

*The Civilian would like to issue a correction to the part of this article where we cited an MP who said they were “close to negotiation plans.” We assumed the MP meant, in good faith, that they were involved with said plans, but as it turns out, they were merely standing near them at the time. Given their physical proximity to the plans, it remains possible that the plans were read by the MP in question, and thus we stand by our reporting, and will not apologise for this or any future mistake.