I used to buy into this theory that the Greens should stop being a left-wing party and ‘move to the center’ so they could potentially partner with National and thus hold the balance of power. That was back when National was in opposition though. Seven years into their government it’s now apparent that the incompatibility isn’t because the Greens are too left-wing. National cheerfully passed the Maori Party’s Whanua Ora policy, and their flagship policy during the 2014 campaign was free doctor’s visits for children. They’d pass a bunch of Green Party social justice and inequality policies without blinking an eyelid.
The incompatibility is because the Greens are an environmental party and National are committed to an economic model that is fundamentally hostile to environmentalism. Green bottom lines for any coalition deal would start with limiting conversions to dairying and forcing farmers to pay for the environmental costs of their herds. Pricing carbon. Reducing Greenhouse emissions. Protecting the RMA. Banning offshore oil exploration.
It is really hard to imagine National and the Greens reaching any kind of compromise on these issues. The Greens can ‘move to the center’ all they like – it’s their environmentalism that makes a coalition with National impossible.