Green Party co-leadership race a fight for idealogical direction of Party



Greens going Blue

And so James Shaw, the new vunderkidd from the right of the Green’s is challenging for leadership.

Here is how I rated the 3 other candidates

Kevin Hague – Represents the status quo. The difficult balancing act the Greens currently face by trying to be all things to all people. Kevin won’t make a call for either side of the ideological fencepost and will champion the ‘Greens aren’t Left or Right, we are forward’ mantra that Russel Norman adopted to brush off questions about where the Greens stand. He has seniority but faces the challenge that members are wanting a definitive position around which they can build.

Vernon Tava – represents the blue-green dimension of the Greens, wants to open the possibility of working with National and states that the Nats would be very willing to work with them. Tava is running because it’s too soon for James Shaw to run.

Gareth Hughes – One of the Greens best performers in Parliament, Hughes appeals to the large chunk of Green Party members who are Gen Xers and Gen Y, his argument that the youth wing of the Greens should be represented in the leadership role is a difficult one to refuse.

…Shaw’s entry changes things considerably.

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The Green’s weakness is that they have become a Wellington Party and the elite cliques of the Wellington Greens want to cut a deal with National as proof they are somehow post-ideology, an on trend belief that their cause is so logical that it doesn’t rely on one faction to back it.

It’s philosophical hubris of eye watering proportions. Everywhere in Europe where the Greens have tried this, by siding with the Right, it has led to their obliteration in the next set of polls.

Capital pretensions are what is driving the Right within the Greens.

Deciding to move to the centre and work with National at the same time as Andrew Little is galloping Labour to the middle leaves a bankrupt political spectrum incapable of the reform necessary to tackle the inequalities and environmental issues confronting us.

30 years of neoliberalism combined with the death of public broadcasting has moved the centre so far to the right, even the Greens have a Margaret Thatcher quoting candidate.



    • Asking the candidates to quote figures was downright silly. It was more important that they understood the economic issues facing the country than the exact figures.

      • “What do you think, Kevin? Interest rates too high?
        Hague: I think arguably they are. They’re actually stifling some of the manufacturing sector that we actually need to be growing in this society rather than the extractive economy.”

        What a joke. The OCR is 3.5%. In September 2008 when the Greens were last anywhere near Govt it was 7.5%!!

  1. The thing that gets me is Shaw’s claim that:

    [1:06] I took the Green Party from 20% of the vote in Wellington Central to 30% of the vote in the last election.

    When the reality is that he was piggy-backing on the esteem for Sue Kedgley:

    In September 2010 [Kedgley] announced that she would not be standing for re-election in the 2011 general election. She gave her valedictory speech on 27 September [2011].

    15.8% 2005 Kedgley
    20.6% 2008 Kedgley
    27.6% 2011 Shaw
    29.5% 2014 Shaw

    This means that the 2011 7% increase in Green Party Vote in Wellington Central was a response to the period when Kedgley was their parliamentary representative. If we’re generous, we could maybe ascribe 2% to Shaw’s campaign using what was then mostly people who’d been the Kedgley team.

    I have heard from GP members that since 2011 there has been a drastic change in the campaign personnel in the Wellington Central electorate. This is hardly unexpected, and those I’ve talked to may have a simple case of sour grapes, but the word; “purge”, was used.

    The actual increase in GP PV in Wellington Central for; “the last election”, was 1.9% rather than the 10% suggested by Shaw. This was the period during which Shaw and his cohorts were undeniably in command. Frankly, I’m not impressed.

    • I beg to differ in opinion, Kedgley associated the Party with a crystal-gazer magical-thinking voter base whose high profile in the Party I believe kept many evidence based thinkers away from the Greens. It’s been much more electable under Russell and Meteria and since her departure.

      • RC

        I wasn’t saying that Kedgley is superior to Shaw as an MP. Though she did achieve; the Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act 2007, as evidence of her commitment to woman’s issues. However Shaw hasn’t been there long enough to have a private member bill drafted and selected, let alone passed.

        My point was that Shaw by himself did not achieve the 8.9% increase in Wgtn Cntrl GP PV since 2008. Any campaign is heavily reliant on the campaign team, the candidate appears to make speeches but is mostly a figurehead around which the campaign occurs. Shaw had greater success with Kedgley’s team, than that which he has spent the last few years assembling – this does not bode well for his skills as a leader.

        As for electability, these are the recent Wgtn Cntrl Electorate votes:

        2008 5,971 Kedgley
        2011 5,225 Shaw
        2014 5,077 Shaw

      • Sue Kedgley was an incredibly hard working MP, she worked on animal rights, food safety, alternatives to main stream medicine and other issues. If this makes her appeal to crystal-gazer magical-thinking voter base then well and good. She also appealed to a constituency that no one else in the Greens did, the well to do who live in Mt Eden who can afford to buy organics, try out non traditional / alternative therapies.

        I suggest you look at Shaun Holt’s website, this is a doctor and pharmacist who set out to prove that all alternative medicines are nonsense. In fact he found they all aren’t.

        And let’s face it the chinese have been using acupuncture for thousands of years, this wasn’t ‘believed in’ until relatively recently by the Western World and is now both practiced and recommended by numerous doctors in Aotearoa.

  2. Labour is a pseudo right wing party almost undistinguishable with the nasty Nats and now the Greens want to shift to the Right. Those of us who want a progressive social democratic party with strong social values are out of luck. NZ is marching rapidly to fascism with huge inequality.

    • 1000% Mooloo magic,

      We need a new Values party by the looks of what I see happening at present.

      Most of the opposition Parties are to divisive to come together into a cohesive block today.

      Nasty NatZ have partners with some of the most unlikely parties but keep them all bound together effectively and the opposition needs to learn from NatZ success here and quickly!

      Currently the line-up of all opposition political Parties are to philosophically divided to meet in the middle for the betterment of us all to successfully mount any united campaign against the tyrannical NatZ block.

      Get real opposition Parties!!!

    • The idea behind the comment seems reasonable but if the word “pseudo” is to be used would it not be more correct to call Labour a pseudo left wing party.

    • Mooloo, the problem you have is that you see NZ in a way that is fanciful. NZ is further from fascism than we were under the previous Govt. Remember how we were deprived of our right to appeal to the Privy Council? No consultation, no debate, no mandate. Remember the election eve decision to grant interest free status to student loans, the re-nationalisation of NZ Rail…the list of economic vandalism goes on. NZ’ers have had enough of the sort of ludicrous claims you are making, and of the nanny state approach by allegedly ‘progressive’ Govt’s.

  3. I am surprised at some of the comments, I trhink that Kevin would say the Greens are left, I don’t buy into that nonsense that they aren’t left or right. You could pose 50 questions to each of the candidates and ask them for a yes no answer and I am sure all of them would come up with what we would think of as a strong left wing bias.
    e.g. do you support GE, do you support sending troops to Iraq, should NZ be involved in other people’s wars, should Maori receive compensation for their grievances, should we have a living wage, are we doing sufficient on climate change, are we really tackling child poverty, should solo mothers have to go out to work when their youngest child is a 1 year old and so on.

    I will be supporting Kevin, I think that Gareth’s time will come to be leader in the future and I certainly don’t want either of the others, Shaw believes in ‘the market’ clearly he has no understanding of what happened once labour screwed this country in the mid-eighties. I am a Green party member and donor.

  4. The Greens have a set of “green” policies to promote. The question really is whether they should be also be advocating particular economic and social policies as well. If they should then it is going to be difficult for such advocacy to be other than left wing.

  5. Martyn, one of your main points of attack on James is that he ONCE quoted Margaret Thatcher. Once. One quote doesn’t automatically make him a neo-lib, or even a member of the Green Right. And he wasn’t even quoting her, he referenced her as one of the first leaders to recognize the threat of Climate Change. He was pointing out to the Nats that one of their own idols recognized climate change. He was fighting fire with fire and shoving it down their throats. Does this make him Neo-liberal? No. Simply because he worked in business, and referenced Thatcher doesn’t make him the demon you seem to love to portray him as.

    • Exactly @FinnJ – the ongoing “Thatcher quoting” mantra is doing more harm to Bomber’s credibility than Shaw’s.

        • Look at what he said on The Nation – he says it would be “highly unlikely”. Just as Russel Norman has said, just as Kevin Hague and Gareth Hughes say. The only one wanting a deal with National is Vernon Tava.

    • This is what baffles me. He keeps bringing up this Thatcher thing like he didn’t even watch the speech that James made. It’s embarrassing, Bomber. Either you don’t understand the context of the reference or you’re deliberately being disingenuous to score cheap points. Which is it?

      • Shaw is to the right of the Party, he is open to working with National and he uses the language of the Rights favourite monster to entice them to that point. If he became leader, I could never ever consider voting Green again because I would not want the possibility of my vote going to prop up a National Government.

        I don’t believe Hague or Hughes would ever seriously consider working with National.

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