17 Jan 2017

Labour and Greens work together, separately, Little says

5:37 pm on 17 January 2017

The Labour Party has batted away any concerns voters might think of it and the Green Party as one and the same.

22082016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Caucas run. Andrew Little

Labour Party Andrew Little: "What people have seen and will continue to see is that we are still two separate parties." Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

For the first time the two parties, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year to work together, will be holding a joint state of the nation speech.

Labour's first caucus meeting in Martinborough

Mr Little addresses Labour's caucus at its first meeting in Martinborough. Photo: RNZ / Mei Heron

Labour leader Andrew Little said the speech, on 29 January, would not have any joint policy announcements.

"What people have seen and will continue to see is that we are still two separate parties.

"We have differences and we have common ground, but what they will see is that here are two parties presently in opposition who are committed to strong stable government," he said.

Mr Little signalled there would be joint policy announcements in the future.

The Labour leader has also decided to stand as a list-only MP.

There had been talk of Mr Little being a candidate in the Rongotai electorate after his deputy, Annette King, announced her decision to also stand as a list MP at the next election.

"As leader, I've got to lead a party that starts from 2014 at a 25 percent vote, [we're] polling at the moment at the late 20s to 30 percent mark - so we've got a lot of work to do and I don't underestimate that.

"I want to be free to get around as much as the country as frequently as I can to sell our message," Mr Little said.

Speaking at the Labour Party's first caucus meeting for the year, Mr Little also took a swipe at Prime Minister Bill English for attending the annual celebrations at Rātana a day earlier than planned due to a clash with a Cabinet meeting.

"It looks like a miscalculation by his office. At one point he wasn't even going to go to Rātana, having abandoned Waitangi. I didn't think that was a very good [look] for Māoridom ... I think they've made a rushed effort to get him to Rātana at some point."

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