The Greens were apparently tossing up about whether or not to run a candidate, mainly for financial reasons, apparently.
However, there’s also the fact that had they not run a candidate, Labour’s Shanan Halbert would have had a better chance of taking what is generally seen as a safe National seat.
But, now that they are running a candidate, they have an opportunity to try and distinguish themselves as separate from Labour, and, with the party only just above the 5% line, that is something that is sorely needed.
And, this is probably the safest opportunity for the Greens to do that.
Northcote is a safe National seat, having been held by National since 2005. Shanan Halbert’s chances of winning it were always going to be small. With the Greens running a candidate, they are now minuscule. But, given they were always small, it’s a reasonably good opportunity for the Greens to distinguish themselves.
The other opportunity they will have to do that is when it comes to the passing of certain bills in the house, such as the waka jumping bill and the Kermadec Islands marine reserve bill.
However, while going against their coalition partners in those bills might help show their independence, it will do more harm than good for the coalition as a whole.
Overall, the Greens have made a good call by standing a candidate.