These are indeed interesting times. Have the Greens concluded that Labour's chances of forming a government in November are miniscule? For them to even be openly talking about the possibility of some kind of accord with National is in itself remarkable.
The Green Party is going into its three-day conference embroiled in an intense political debate about whether it can work with National.
Tomorrow co-leader Metiria Turei will announce the party's position on potential support for a government. Its draft remit – which will be considered by members during the weekend – offers slim hope of a deal with National.
The preference is to align with Labour. But, unlike in 2008, the document does not entirely shut the door on a confidence-and-supply agreement with National, although says it is "unlikely".Since the Budget, when National laid out plans for partial asset sales, discussions among Green Party members has heated up
Well, perhaps not openly; the Greens demand transparency from everyone else, but these discussions will be hush-hush - read on:
The remit document was circulated around branches after its publication in April and members will debate it in a closed-door session at Te Mahurehure Cultural Centre, Pt Chevalier, in Auckland this afternoon.
This is certainly a most interesting development though. The Greens have had some one-off policy wins with National, and perhaps the party leadership, especially those in the parliamentary wing can see that National and John Key are not the baby-eating monsters that Helen Clark and Michael Cullen made them out to be in 2008.
It could also be that the Greens simply don't trust Labour, and who could blame them? Through nine years of government, Helen Clark repeatedly jilted the Greens at the altar.
Whatever the reasoning behind this weekend's discussions, it's bound to cause some ripples within the Greens' support base. We can't imagine fellow blogger Robert Guyton for example suddenly warming to an alliance between his beloved Greens and John Key whom he recently described, among other things as "unctuous".
There IS another possible explanation; perhaps the Greens have awoken to the risk on being outflanked on the left by the Mana Party, which enjoys the support of several former Green activists. Perhaps this is the start of a move by the Greens towards the centre.
Whatever; we'll know the outcome once the Greens emerge from behind their closed doors this weekend. But we doubt that Phil Goff is going to find to much consolation.