What’s eating David Hay?


David Hay

The surprise announcement that David Hay is challenging Russel Norman for the leadership of the Green Party seems to be driven by the same tectonic political pressure points that saw David Cunliffe propelled to leadership of the Labour Party.

Maybe it’s the Super City, but Auckland is suddenly finding its voice. The recent Cunliffe win was driven by the Auckland electorate flexing its muscle and this surprise tremor within the Greens is Auckland Greens clashing with Wellington head office in a grudge match that goes back to the Mt Albert By-election when Russel Norman carpetbagged it much to the fury of the locals.

The Wellington bubble world that saw the Press Gallery call the Labour leadership for Robertson (and catch out Labour MPs who should have known better) has been increasingly out of touch with Auckland, and for a Party as deeply rooted in the Wellington mindset as the Greens are, losing step with the largest City in the country isn’t difficult. The Greens have an Auckland problem.

Out of Auckland’s 18 electorates they only scored a percentage higher than the national result in 4 of those electorates. With a sparse number of Auckland MPs, the Beehive hive mentality isn’t helping the Greens win friends in the city of sails, which is surprising when you consider so much of what the Greens stand for would help Auckland more than most other party manifesto.

Add to the weak Auckland vote with a softening of policy for Wellington pragmatism purposes and the hard Greens of Auckland see Russel as part of the problem, not the solution.

It seems the Greens are not sure what tactics they should take now Cunliffe has picked up the momentum. Standing around David Shearer makes any ally look like 15%, but how do they compete with a red flag flying Labour Party in full flight? So far the strategy has been to attack, the Greens decided to run in Christchurch East and Metiria criticized Cunliffe at the CTU conference. That seems to be a lot of misplaced passive aggression when the Greens should be trying to look like they can work with Labour as a coalition Government in waiting rather than the little brother complex they seem to be enacting.

Part of the problem for the Greens in Auckland is a culture one. Prospective candidates have to rate their humbleness to Party faithful, (I’m not kidding, they really do). For a boastful city like Auckland that enjoys ego, the character necessary to do well here would have you sidelined at any Wellington social event as a registered oil company lobbyist. This culture is what helps produces invisible candidates like Denise Roche.

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The sooner the Greens elevate Marama Davidson, the better.

The reality is that Hay’s frustrations are really Auckland’s political frustrations with the 3rd largest Party, but beyond that, Russell and Metiria are easily the best leaders the Greens have and the current line up of MPs is their A Team, but if the Greens can’t make more Auckland friends and they can’t move beyond their pride and work with Labour before the election it’ll be a Team A that is still sitting on the Opposition benches.


  1. Really I couldn’t give a toss about Auckland. What happens there just leaves a thorn in my side as far as repercussions for the provincial areas. Russell Norman always offers a usually sensible alternative to some of the self-serving initiatives the present government pursue. Russell is obviously intelligent, well respected among all parties, he is purposeful and the media love him. Why even create any ripples in the party when they are doing so well in the polls? Senseless BS – David Hay, back off!

  2. Hay seems tactically suicidal with his focus on competing with Labour instead of siding with them to defeat National. Why would you focus on anything other than a strategic partnership to defeat National if you want any hope of being in the position to govern?

    The Greens have done excellent opposition work these last two terms, and Hay’s approach will fritter those gains away. The Greens have been patient and held onto their principles. It should be obvious that the next strategic step is to govern successfully with Labour, and in doing so drive a ten ton bus through the facile arguments of their critics about ‘Green’ economic policy being ‘Greek’ economic policy and so on. Once they’ve had 3 years in government and voters have seen that the sky didn’t fall down, the Green vote will really bloom.

  3. What’s eating David Hay?
    I’m picking mid-life crisis, over-ambition, and search for ‘place’ and public profile.
    No doubt his credentials are all very nice and comfy – it’s just that he needs something else in life to validate it all.
    Maybe its just ‘fame’ – in which case can I suggest (as per Countryboy’s observation on Chris Trotter’s post) a different haircut, … maybe a wardrobe change, getting down with the bros maybe …. even hanging out at one or two gay joints once in a while.
    Better still – just a swift kick up his arse!

  4. What’s eating Hay? the haircut stupid. Mens foreheads and hairlines should always be visible to some extent. The PM and his ‘rug’ look takes my prescription a bit too far of course. But blokes with a fringe always look like prize wallaces on their way to a mens support group.

    Anyway back to it, Bomber is right about the lack of Auckland grip for the Greens but is a change of leader the answer? Norman started slow but has been a good performer and defacto leader of the opposition on several occasions while Labour sorted itself out. Keep Russ till the election at least.
    Righties always pick on Norman re being Aussie. What about Key? Not even a kiwi, but a Euro trash import in the wake of WWII, not that I would say that about 99% of people with his back ground. It is just he represents the US banksters here rather than vice versa.

    • @ Tiger Mountain: “What about Key? Not even a kiwi, but a Euro trash import in the wake of WWII”

      On behalf of all post-WWII Euro trash imports, I protest at this sector of the community being lumped in with John Key, who is in fact a New Zealander, having been born in Auckland.

      And in fairness to Key – of whom I’m no fan – it was his parents who were, as you term it, Euro trash imports. His mother was a Viennese Jew and a refugee, with all that that implies – as those who’ve read about what happened to the Jews of Vienna immediately following the Anschluss with Nazi Germany, just before WWII, will know. And his father was an English migrant.

      It’s not clear to me, however, what the relevance of his antecedents are, when it comes to his ability to govern. I take the same view about Russel Norman: jibes from the Right at his being Australian are petty and small-minded, and make the jibers (if that’s a word) look provincial.

  5. “…but if the Greens can’t make more Auckland friends and they can’t move beyond their pride and work with Labour before the election it’ll be a Team A that is still sitting on the Opposition benches.”

    Indeed. The Greens and Labour need to copy the Australian Liberal-National Coalition. It strikes me as supremely ironic that the Right – which promotes rugged individualism – can work together collectively whilst the Left is constantly infighting and fracturing.

    Where is our collectivism?

    • The LNP coalition in Australia only exists because the National Party doesn’t have a separate existence any more. To the extent that it is represented at all, rural Australia is represented by Greens, the KAP, and independents. The actual National MPs are Abbott Liberals in all but name. Which of Labour or Greens should give up their identity to achieve this?

  6. The challenge for the Green Partyover the next few years is broaden its membership base, and for more voters to identify it as being “one of us.” It’s not that the Green Party doesn’t open its doors to allcomers and do its best to expand its voter base but like all political parties it tends to represent certain parts of society. You could concievably have two different political parties with almost identical policies and both can survive because each represents a different group in society – in fact, that is exactly what you have with the Greens and Mana. The next ten years will see the Green Party go through quite rapid evolution.

  7. When you can put personal politics to one side, Martyn, you can write quite insightful commentary. This article, for me, nails the issue on the head. If the Greens can improve their showing in Auckland they could really be a force to be reckoned with.

  8. I think you are absolutely wrong Martyn. David hay does not represent an Auckland sentiment. He is exploiting a well known out in the open issue which the Greens are tackling as an ongoing situation. No this egotistical moron only represents himself. He has no support. You are quite wrong Martyn. The leadersship challenge only exists in his mind and your elevating it to something legitimate is not helping.

  9. “That seems to be a lot of misplaced passive aggression when the Greens should be trying to look like they can work with Labour as a coalition Government in waiting rather than the little brother complex they seem to be enacting.”

    Martyn Bradbury

    “That seems to be a lot of misplaced passive aggression when the Labour Party should be trying to look like they can work with the Greens as a coalition Government in waiting rather than the big brother complex they seem to be enacting.”


    You have got it all wrong Bomber, the passive aggression has been coming from the Labour Party as they try to pressure and bully the Greens into accepting Deep sea oil drilling and more coal mines and ignore climate change.

    It is the Labour Party that need to change.

    The first thing Labour need to do, is rein in their nasty anti-Green Bully Boy Shane Jones.

    Shane Jones disgusting effort to stop Russell Norman reading out Yeb Sano’s plea to the world to cut back on CO2 emissions after Sano’s home town of Tacloban was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan is just the public tip of the iceberg of Labour Party bullying of the Greens.

    The next thing Labour need to do is stand in solidarity with the Green Party and the majority of New Zealanders over Deep Sea Oil drilling.


    As for David Hay what is he offering the Green Party that is different to Russell Norman?

    Is David Hay advocating taking a more principled, or a more compromising line with Labour over Deep Sea Oil drilling and new coal mines?

    What is really behind David Hay’s tilt for the leadership?

  10. By comparing David Hays bid for the leadership of the Green Party to David Cunliffes bid for the Labour Party leadership shows you really don’t understand the Green Party or its members.

    I like David Hays politics, but in publically challenging Dr Norman this way, he displays a complete lack of realpolitik awareness. It seems likely that the members will reward him accordingly.

    “The sooner the Greens elevate Marama Davidson, the better”
    The Green Party list is voted on by all members. Given the work and dedication that she has displayed I’d be very surprised if she did not get placed highly on the list in the coming year.

    David Hay could take a leaf out of Marama Davidsons book if he wants to improve his list place or actually win the co-leadership he’s after.

  11. Hey Bomber, what’s with this Auckland vs everyone else theme you’ve got going? Auckland is not suffering at the expense of the rest of the country. Under National, it’s exactly the opposite. What suffering Aucklanders are experiencing is mostly a result of the planned over-population resulting from unemployed people drifting into Auckland looking for jobs, as the rest of the country is economically strip-mined.

    Cunliffe’s win had nothing whatsoever to do with which city he lives in, and everything to do with the fact that of the three candidates for Labour leadership, he was the least neo-liberal. As for your suggestion that Hay represents some kind of Auckland green faction, I agree with Chris Trotter and NatureSong, Hay represents nobody but himself, and doesn’t appear to be claiming otherwise.

    “That seems to be a lot of misplaced passive aggression when the Greens should be trying to look like they can work with Labour as a coalition Government in waiting rather than the little brother complex they seem to be enacting.”

    If the Greens don’t openly showcase what distinguishes them from Labour, and show they are still willing to openly criticize their policies and positions when they disagree, why would anyone vote Green? Just because a Cunliffe-led Labour government couldn’t be any worse than the current one, that doesn’t mean we need to pretend that Labour now suddenly represents us all perfectly, or even closely.

  12. Maybe David Hay recognises that no New Zealander in a correct frame of mind would vote for socialist Russel Norman.

  13. What the hell is David Hay isn’t he son of Keith and if so what is he doing in the Greens? Has he eschewed the fundamentalist Christianity of his family? If not why is he in a left of centre party and is this the same David Hay that put the final kibosh on the Hero Parade in Ponsonby? If so he is no representative of any Auckland that I know. Perhaps his instructions come from his imaginary friend.

    • I had wondered if it was he. If so, we all need to know the answers to your questions, and that may explain the challenge, and the danger of it. They say the leopard can change its spots, but I would need taxidermic evidence to be convinced.

  14. There have been grumblings about Russel Norman, in Auckland at least, for a long time. Irrespective of whether Hay is the right man for the job, the Greens and their supporters should show their democratic credentials and welcome such a challenge rather than try and shut him down. Some of the very same voices that criticize Norman behind his back are the first to publicly decry Hay’s challenge. No one wants to be seen being disloyal to Norman as it would be considered political suicide for up and coming wannabes. Genuinely democratic party processes should allow for and welcome such a challenge.

    • There haven’t been grumblings in Auck about Russell. We think he is a great Co-leader. Hay is just a self important tard all parties have douch members like this scuttling around trying to inflate themselves. David who?

  15. David Hay should be commended for weeding himself out far enough away from the election to be well and truly sorted before he does any real damage. Didn’t hear much about him till now and if sanity prevails I don’t expect to hear much more about him either, could be a seat available in Auckland for a team player in the not to distant future.

  16. So a Green member expresses aspirations of becoming an MP or leader if they are ranked top 5 next year (up from 16) and that’s tectonic? OK. But surely we’re talking a 1.6 on the political earthquake scale?

  17. I watched Mr David Hay on tonight’s most incisive news source ‘Tree News’.

    All I could imagine was Tina Turner’s ‘Typical Male” crashes into mid life crisis.
    David: a Harley D, a bit of counseling in the art of being a weeny bit humble, a bit of Jenny (Craig), and getting out a bit more would have been a damn site cheaper and less damaging to both you, your family and the GP.
    Ego-fluff – could be the new insulation – wait up – let me patent the idea!

    What a fucking waste! Cudda Shudda Wudda – Oh well …. next

  18. What’s eating David Hay?

    Martyn Bradbury

    Indeed Bomber, that is the question, what is eating David Hay, personal ambition, or doctrinal difference?

    Fairfax journalist Neil Reid has published an extraordinary piece on David Hay’s challenge of the Green Party leadership.

    “Greens need new leaders – rejected candidate”

    “Jilted Green Party hopeful David Hay has called on the party’s leadership to be dumped.”


    The above headline and first paragraph, using emotionally charged words like “jilted” and “dumped” and tying his rejection as candidate to David Hay’s challenge for leadership implies, that David Hay is being motivated by thwarted personal ambition and nothing else.

    However, reading further down Neil Reid’s article we find that there has been some differences between David Hay and the Green Party over “strategy”.

    Could there be more to the Green Party leadership challenge than sour grapes from the thwarted personal ambition of a career politician as Neil Reid’s article implies?

    Or, are there some real doctrinal and strategic differences at stake with implications for the future of the Green Party?

    Some serious (but vague) accusations have been made by both sides.

    I hope that the current Green Party leadership and their challenger can bring the alleged strategic differences between them, out into the open where the members and indeed the public can judge if the current Green Party leadership is not sticking “to the Green Party Kaupapa” as David Hay has alleged. Or that David is unable to follow the agreed strategy of the party as his detractors have alleged.

    Specifically: I would like David Hay to identify exactly what are the “Huge Challenges” he claims that the current leadership are “no longer the best match for”.

    And from David Hay’s detractors I would like to hear what the “some issues”, that Green Party co-convener Georgina Morrison say they have with David Hay, really are?

    And what exactly did David Hay say, or do wrong in the high profile Epsom electorate that seems to have got up the noses of the current leadership?

    The Green Party say they were specifically concerned about Hay’s campaign in Epsom, that they had an agreed strategy and that David Hay was unable to follow it.

    What exactly was, (and presumably still is) the “agreed strategy of the party” that David Hay is unable to follow, that makes the Green Party say that they “can not trust his word”?

    This is a serious allegation of breach of trust.

    The Green Party need to explain “The Agreed Strategy”.

    And David Hay needs to explain why he can’t follow “The Agreed Strategy”.

    Then, and only then, can we make a decision on the rights or wrongs of this dispute between David Hay and the current Green Party leadership.

    Secrecy around these issues will not serve the membership or the public.

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