You can now understand why Helen Clark never embraced the Greens, how she would never entertain including them in a Government led by her.
They are not only Green in name, they have shown themselves as political greenhorns. When Metiria Turei decided to fess up to benefit fraud just short of a month ago, to draw attention to poverty and how difficult it is to make ends meet on a benefit, she drew more attention to herself.
Unapologetic for breaking the law and giving her blessing to others who she says have no choice isn’t the sort of behaviour we expect from our lawmakers. If she is to be believed, it was on a taxi ride in Wellington that she reflected and decided to call it quits, saying the scrutiny of her family became all too much. What did she expect? Of course her family, and her living circumstances when she was ripping off the benefit system, were going to come under scrutiny. For her to expect anything else is naive.
Now this fractured party is limping into the election with one leader, James Shaw, and with a party that makes the six leadership changes in the Labour Party since National came to power, look unified by comparison. It is now on life support and Labour will surely now have to consider whether that memorandum of understanding it has with it could in fact end up being a death warrant. Who under these circumstances could understand the Greens?Ms Turei denied her decision had anything to do with the television poll that came out within an hour of her resignation which, given her vehemence that she was going to stay on as co-leader, defies logic considering TV3 says she had been told about it before she fronted the media.
The Wellington taxi psychologists have never had it so good, they will be buzzing for weeks. It was in a taxi on her way to Parliament last week that Jacinda Ardern says she received the call from Andrew Little saying he was going to resign.
In reality that was all about Ms Turei and the boost to 13% the Greens got after her benefit fraud admission. Well, just look at them now, down the gurgler, dropping by just under 5% in a week. It has often been said of politicians they are poll-driven fruitcakes. Well, more particularly, those who have an overreaction to opinion polls and, if you look at the events of the past couple of weeks, Mr Little could fall into that category, a fruitcake laced with far too much brandy. After the cake was taken out of the oven by Ms Turei, Labour’s support dropped to an untenable 24% and Mr Little drew the curtain. He must now be reflecting on whether he’d taken a slice of the cake too soon, with Labour now climbing an incredible 9%. Ms Ardern’s mouth-watering climb as preferred Prime Minister, by almost 18%, to have her up there with Bill English, would tell Mr Little he was right on the mark.
Barry Soper is Newstalk ZB’s Political Editor