If getting attention was the goal of Labour and the Green Party with their memorandum of understanding they’ve succeeded.
However, attention doesn’t necessarily translate into votes and this strategy could well lose more votes than it gains.
All parties need to keep their core supporters happy, that’s the foundation on which they build electoral success .
All but the most deluded of Greens will understand that if they’re going to be in government it will be a Labour-led one so this arrangement is unlikely to worry them and may even please them.
But the Green Party is on Labour’s left flank and the harder left in Labour might welcome the MoU but the more moderate among its members might be less happy.
On current polling these two parties together still won’t gain enough votes to govern without at least one other party. The Maori Party could go left, but a Labour-Green government will almost certainly need more than the couple of of extra seats that would give them.
That plays into the hands of Winston Peters who is likely to hold the balance of power and who refused to go into coalition with Helen Clark’s Labour-led government if the Green Party was in the mix.
Peters’ past behaviour isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator of what he’ll do in the future. Some of his socialist policies would be more at home in a Labour-Green government than a National-led one.
But he won’t commit himself until after the votes are in and he will seize on the opportunity this new relationship provides to gain votes from undecided voters and those luke-warm to Labour who would rather move towards the centre than the left.
Working together to oppose National makes sense for Labour and the Greens but these two together will still be hard-pressed to outdo Peters, the master of opposition politics.
More overt co-operation could make the two parties look more like potentially viable partners in a coalition.
But their pact only benefits them both and their ambition to be in government if the support they gain together is greater than that they are getting separately.
It is difficult to see that happening when the MoU moves Labour left and under MMP the votes which change governments are in the middle.