Simon Bridges: National open to working with blue-green party
National Party leader Simon Bridges has indicated it could be prepared to work with a new "blue-green" political party at the next election.
Vernon Tava, a former Green Party member who has long talked about the need for the Greens to move into the political centre, had said he was on the verge of launching his new SustainableNZ party.
On The AM Show on Wednesday, it was put to Bridges that he was unlikely to say "no" to doing business with Tava's party, and Bridges replied: "I think that's right."
But Bridges said he had not talked to Tava about the Sustainability party, and didn't think he had met Tava during 2019.
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Asked if National "could do business" with Tava's party, Bridges replied: "Well sure, but what we'll do is: next year I'll come out very clearly about who we can and can't do business (with). Obviously there's people interested in NZ First and what our position is on them, and so on and so forth."
He wouldn't say whether National would work with NZ First, saying that would have to wait for next year.
Asked if National would do a deal with SustainableNZ over an electorate seat, Bridges said it was far too early to say.
"But what I would say to you is this: I reckon that there is a very strong majority of New Zealanders right now who say, 'you know what, actually National at the last election got 44 per cent, the system was, in a sense, gamed, there was one old rooster who held the country to ransom'.
"And so I think people are open to National making sure it does have options and the ability to be in government in 2020," Bridges said.
It seemed to him the Green Party were more concerned about issues such as Gaza and Ihumātao: "That's valid but they're not a party that's solely focused on getting the best deal for the environment. So I do think, and I always have thought, there is a sort of a gap in the market there for something like this."
Green Party co-leader James Shaw told The AM Show voters who wanted to be environmentalists and have a National-led government were probably already voting for National.
"So I think that the new SustainableNZ party is probably competing more with National than with the Green Party for votes," he said.