PART 1: Julie Anne Genter vs Marama Davidson for co-leader of the Greens (plus Lucy Lawless?)

By   /   February 8, 2018  /   15 Comments

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Firstly, how lucky are the Greens to have two spectacular candidates compete in what will be a respectful and challenging contest?

Pow! We have a contest.

…which follows the reveal over the weekend of the worst kept secret in NZ politics…

…this contest is incredible and the hardest call I’ve ever had to consider.

Firstly, how lucky are the Greens to have two spectacular candidates compete in what will be a respectful and challenging contest?

I think both candidates are extraordinary and I think the Green Party membership have an enormous responsibility upon them to select a co-Leader who can lead at a time when so much of our Political debate is simply not presenting real alternative ideas and strategies to conquer the biggest challenges our species have ever faced.

So let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates and what possible consequences could occur and what possible considerations need to be made for specific outcomes.

Marama Davidson:Here’s what I wrote and stand by regarding Marama…

I think the Greens need Marama Davidson as their new co-leader.

The disastrous election result where they lost half their support in the space of 2 months wasn’t a reflection on the policy platform the Greens ran with, it was horrifically incompetent tacticians which didn’t foresee what would happen to Metiria when she courageously announced her welfare fraud.

What SHOULD have happened is Metiria would have already paid the amount owed before admitting it. By leaving it an open issue, the mainstream media tore Metiria to pieces.

While that tactical mistake was damaging, the real impact was Jacinda and her popularity which had ore to do with the Greens losing support.

Nandor posted some thoughts on the political philosophy of where the Greens need to move towards in the future and I think his targeting of new generation small and medium ethical business is very smart.

The truth for the Greens is that their dreams of being a 15% Party are dependent on the strength or weakness at any given time of Labour. The Greens vote was actually far softer than anyone suspected and with Jacinda now in charge of Labour, it is unlikely to woo much of that back.

So where do the Greens grow? It can’t be at the exclusion of social welfare policy, but it could be an extension of Green values into business.

The Greens could gain support from NZ’s small and medium ethical business community by promoting ethical tax breaks for those businesses. The Greens are all about allowing the market to decide by using state regulation to send the market signals. What better signal could you send the market than by supporting and promoting ethical business?

If small and medium sized business complied with independently tested environmental, ethical and sustainability standards then they should be eligible for a tax break for making that investment.

Promoting Green values into business doesn’t weaken the stance they take on poverty, it simply broadens their voter appeal and that’s what the Greens need to desperately be doing between now and the next election because the vote they lost to Jacinda won’t just walk back to them.

Taking a far more proactive approach to woo ethical business is smart but if core activists feel that’s eroding its social justice obligations the Greens could just be replacing leaving supporters with new ethical and small business voters.

That’s why they need Marama as the new co-leader.

Her activist credentials are better than anyone else, she is amazing on policy and connecting emotionally with voters when she does media and the inroads into beneficiary votes that she begun needs time to work.

Seeing as the ministerial positions the Greens gained were all very white, they need Marama front and centre to be true to their diversity values.

Marama has the intelligence, leadership skills and vision to retain the social justice and environmental values while Shaw can woo small and ethical business.



Julie Anne Genter: Here’s what I think about Julie Anne.

I want to hands up acknowledge that I have at times been very critical of Julie Anne Genter, and while I stand by those criticisms, I want readers to appreciate that I have an enormous amount of respect for her and that previous criticisms are wiped clean for this.

I had the pleasure of touring NZ with Julie Anne trying the Save TVNZ7 public broadcasting tour. She is insanely intelligent and possibly one of the smartest people I know. Her understanding of complex civil issues is probably only eclipsed on the left by David Parker.

The extraordinary leadership she has already stamped upon the Ministry of Transport is remarkable, her championing of human rights in the Ministry for Women is exemplary and the speed with which she has managed to tame those Ministries is actually one of the most important skills a genuine leader can bring to the table.

Julie Anne Genter has the intellect to get a legislative agenda set up and implemented, there really aren’t that many progressive politicians who could do that.

While to the ‘right’ of the Party, that has to be understood within the context of the Green Party because being a ‘right winger’ in the Greens still makes you one of the most left wing Labour MPs ever. I have had an opinion about that in the past, (as noted above),  but given the contexts we now live in, only the fiercest Trotskyite would begrudge her an ideological stance inches closer to the centre than their own.

She is possibly one of the most talented MPs the Left has in Parliament right now.


Let’s also remember that other candidates could throw their hat in the ring.

WILDCARD: Remembering that any member could nominate themselves to be co-Leader, a wildcard could be a member with real star power coming forward. I don’t know if Lucy Lawless is a Green Party member, but someone should sign her up!

Imagine if Lucy Lawless put her hand up for co-Leader? If she ran on a platform of raising visibility to consistently demand better outcomes for the environment and children in poverty, she could easily convince Green members that the star pulling power of an environmental activist and actor to the Green cause would be far better than the right or left of the Party fighting. Lucy Lawless could be the unifying candidate for the Greens while being an enormous boon for James Shaw.

It would generate global news, building the Green brand and make environmentalism a populist movement rather than just a political vote.


In Part 2 – I’ll look at the ramifications and issues to consider behind each of the candidates in the current political landscape.


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  1. Sam Sam says:

    From a narrative/story perspective a lot of people seem to be defending the feminism and some people call me a RWNJ because I support fiscal conservatism when I try to explain financial instruments and people like Draco T Bustard say I’m an establishment apologist, NO, not even close. Feminism for the most part is like this bitchy chatty slugfest of woman dominating there surroundings. But long time fans of woman do have an objective standpoint and there is a lot of effort and thought out in to feminism from high flying female CEO’s so they write business proposals and do planning and throw ideas at each other and reject somethings but there’s obviously planning around feminine products and a lot to be criticised.

    Now picking female Green Party co-leaders is different because it’s like candidates interpretation of what there embers consensus wants to say. And candidates try to interpret what members want with vague ambiguous notes. And I just wanted to make a comment saying I do not support that because cyclone Metiria was fucking stupid and I’m going to prove that. So the Green Party Coms team is a perfect example of what to criticise particularly there writing. So basically I’m incredably sexiest, misogynist and there main point of difference is they think people like me don’t like that political leaders can be female so obviously I would hate all woman (sarc) and that’s just how it is.

    But in all seriousness I don’t pay much attention to Green Party memes/members and there like well if you’re going to wank it why are you pro Green Party and I’m like well yeah, fuck it I am pro Green. But I do pay attention to the Green Party and I kept hearing all these ideas about big stuff and I’m like OK this is the Green Parties billion dollar time to shine and start putting some money where there mouths are and they learnt how to go from 10% to 15% in the poles in like a day and these too prodigies Metiria and Shaw that took like 10 years of training and a lot of PTSD because they felt like shit mentally, and they were like god dam parts of New Zealand fucken suck and we can’t cuck any of it and that pushed Matiria over the edge and every one had to have these really good like core character moments when they felt they could express there inner truths in unlicensed hashtags and now Marama Davidson and Julie Anne Genter they just get the farm. And a lot of people will say well excuse me Metiria’s admission was necessary policy wank stuff you’re wrong. It was done as a bit of a gag. It was a bit of a joke and that’s why it didn’t really do much for Green Party polling. Now the Social Justice Joke I$ $pent!!! And we shouldn’t be compromising Green Party policy with more gag jokes I guess. So that’s why Eugenie and Jan Logie aren’t doing anything IMO. I’m actually some what disappointed Jan Logie isn’t featured as a possible co-leader just so some millennial coolness can happen or something and like cyclone Metiria is behind us and now this SJW stuff is still ok. And I’m like nah, you Green Party PR writers need to start making shit look pretty instead of trying to emotionally blackmail all the time.

  2. esoteric pineapples says:


    Torn between two candidates, feelin’ like a fool
    Wanting to vote for both of them is breakin’ all the rules

  3. Johnnybg says:

    How anyone who is genuinely concerned about the state of our nation can support a middle of the road green wash party like this is beyond me. Our mainstream party political system, which is a gold plated haven for freeloaders & bigmouths, is rotten to the core. Only genuine revolutionary action will sweep them from there privileged perches. Mediocrity is both a curse & a deep seated sickness that permeates every aspect of our society. Radical solutions please, not meaningless commentary on the self destructive status quo.

  4. Historian Pete says:

    Lucy Lawless: Yes, lets go down the road of the failed Democratic Party in the U.S. who suggested Oprah as the Democratic candidate for the Presidentcy.Let’s have a celebrity as co-leader ! And why not go the whole hog and have all Green candidates in the future celebrities., or people who are part of a Family Dynasty like the Clintons, the Bushes, the Kennedys. Perhaps Max Key has leftish tendencies. He would be great!Aren’t there any prodgeny from previous left leaders who have readily identifiable surnames that can be Green Party candidates? Why can’t we have our own political Aristocracy like in Britain and the U.S.? And when they have finished with the politics of the commoners they can join our Upper House of Parliament [The N.Z. House of Lords] that some are so keen on!!!

    • Tom Gardner says:

      Quite so. The fact that a “celebrity” can win an election (e.g. the USA) is not necessarily a reason to appoint one here. A real politician, please, in either country.

  5. savenz says:

    I’d vote Lucy Lawless any day and could change the Green’s fortunes overnight.

    Secondly vote Eugenie Sage, just because she seems like she will bring Conservation a lot further which is where I think the 100,000 missing/switching Green voters wanted.

    I don’t agree with the analysis of why the Greens lost and think thats crap. The public and voters didn’t like it the focus on beneficiaries and they did not identify with that in enough numbers of voters.

    Also the whole Green campaign was awful. Davidson gleering out from the Billboards (similar to whoever the Fuck did Winston’s photo that made him look like an angry old man). Clearly whoever run both campaigns was a moron or a National supporter. Voters want a bit of hope around election time, not a lecture.

    Although I think in general Shaw did a great job, he clearly has no idea about what the average Green voter wanted (not party supporter) and it was NOT hearing about bringing the party list MP’s into parliament which is what my email box was full of rather than Green policy.

    But Shaw seems like a consensus type of guy and obviously relied on extremely poor advice of the remaining MP’s and Green Staff.

    The media like the Metro article and including blogs skewed the perception of which MP was popular so the list was off kilter in the first place.

    Clearly over 100,000 ex Green voters did not agree with what happened.

    Before targeting ethical business, which I think is a long shot, maybe try to win back the 100,000 missing Green voters would be a better target but being realistic about why they left will rely on Greens being honest with themselves which I think is part of their problem.

    Like Labour finally understood, you can’t MAKE people vote for you by endlessly repeating the same ideas that people do not like and are a smaller percentage of the population, to increase or even maintain your voters.

    As well as Jacinda there were a three things that changed Labour’s fortunes, firstly Labour acknowledged that immigration needed dampening down (Greens first said that, and then seemed to renege on it) and then Labour said they would not bring in a capital gains tax in the first term and then Labour said they would not support TPPA unless it was changed in 5 ways (but clearly going back on that one, surprise, surprise).

    If Labour had said there is zero way they could support TPPA they would have beaten outright National.

    Instead it’s not clear what’s gonna happen next election. I’m relieved National were finally defeated and like Jacinda and Shaw as leaders, but am very disappointed that TPPA is going ahead and the scams and mis information that were championed under National, are still operating.

  6. Louis says:

    Love all three! Fantastic people.

  7. The Chairman says:

    “Promoting Green values into business doesn’t weaken the stance they take on poverty”

    It does when promoting Green values into business results in businesses receiving tax cuts while tax cuts for low income workers and beneficiaries are denied.

    • Sam Sam says:

      That’d make sense but higher list MPs seem to be Dark Green as opposed to Light Green, usually sporting okay records. With living costs it’d take a single mother about $40,000 a year to look after her child in modern New Zealand and they probably get half that about $20,000. I haven’t checked the official numbers but that sounds a plausible average. If the goal is to double a single mothers disposable income I’d start with suppressing energy and commodities prices because tax cuts won’t even touch the sides as any increase in low incomes typically goes straight to payday lenders or landlords. Hardly any low income tax brakes go on savings or discretionary spending. Rather than tax cuts I’d prefer the government become the land lord of last resort. With a particular focus on single mothers.

      • The Chairman says:

        It wasn’t a prescription to cure our ills. It was a likelihood of how such a move would look, thus be perceived at this current time.

        It’s not that I oppose it. It’s just the Greens have failed to secure little for beneficiaries or low income workers. And until they do, a move like this would be seen as weakening their stance on poverty, favouring tax cuts for businesses.

        With power companies having now taken on private investment, there is little government can do to reduce energy costs for consumers without incurring investor wrath.

        And while rents are high, rental yields are not. Thus savings the government could offer would be minimal in that respect.

        As for payday lenders, the Government could become the lender of last resort.

        • Strypey says:

          I agree that successive governments have done little or nothing for low income workers (most of the people on benefits in Aotearoa are underpaid/ under-employed, casual or part-time workers), and that the Labour/ NZ First government has so far showed very little inclination to do much better. But tax cuts for ethical small business (with *very* strict standards), and lifting benefits back to livable rates (and/ or abolishing user pays health and tertiary fees, and/ or imposing rent control on housing for low income people etc), are not mutually exclusive. If a brave, forward-looking NZ government legalized cannabis, including a regulated, taxed, R18 market for recreational sales, they could afford to do both. But the only way *any* of the above is likely to happen, AFAICT, is for the Greens to have a big enough vote to be part of a coalition with Labour instead of NZ First. Hopefully, come 2020, left-leaning nationalists will remember Winston’s about-face on the TPP, and do the right thing.

      • Sam Sam says:

        Chairman seems a little above your rank, you’ve got to take the yin with the yang my young apprentice. Because styles make fights my young apprentice.

        lower the overall tax rate and close off loop holes. I can get behind that, seeing as i’ve thought it was a good idea for years.

        I think the Green Party will bitch on the sidelines of:
        it’s not a big enough, won’t do enough or they’ll whine about the closing of loopholes services… or they’ll find something new to whine about… And Labour NZFirst will struggle to carry Green Party aspirations.

        And secondly socialist programmes assumes relatively high taxes on what can be taxed besides a UBI and things that would lead to higher costs of living. That means things like higher taxes on luxury items is a start. It also means there probably wouldn’t be personal income tax deductions of any sort, because you wouldn’t ‘need’ them to get by, and tax breaks you get anyway gives you enough to live off of, even if you wind up with the rest of your income is on a lower tax. Even relatively poor people would end up being taxed on income they can’t really afford. It wouldn’t get rid of all other income, the tax rates would have to be still set up to ensure people would benefit from making more money.

        Third asset appreciation programmes assumes relatively low taxes which is the direction both National and Labour seem to be tracking, it assumes that cost of living is set up in a reasonable situation, and that people _only_ on a minimum level of income can live comfortably… but not necessarily where they want to, they may have to move to areas with relatively low cost of living, even if there are no jobs there for them, they are relying on 2 incomes. It also means that things which increase cost of living are regulated against unreasonable price growth, including things like preventing zoning and other laws from causing excessive housing costs in cities due to buildings not being able to keep up with the population, outright restricting people from moving into cities with resource issues, like not enough clean water or sewers to support the population sustainably, making sure that if things can be done to make that water more sustainable and cheap like recycling and desalination efforts are done properly to ensure costs are affordable. Making sure basic necessities like food and toiletries are produced in abundance at prices that are based on how easily they can be produced sustainable and manage demand, rather than whatever the markets will pay due to inelastic demand elements, and people can access them at those prices in enough areas to support the population in the lower income zones, even if with reduced numbers of people needing to work, it is harder to find people willing to produce those things.

        These are just some of the tax mechanisms in a minit that need to be in place so down stream either socialist programmes or capitalist programmes are possible.

        Do you understand where I am coming from my young apprentice. We have capitalist tax mechanisms and will in turn have a greater number of asset appreciation programmes. I would sincerely love to have created a UBI but we just don’t have socialist tax mechanisms and won’t get one for a very long time. And I understand that and can live with that. And I think if explained properly other people can understand and live with it too and make rational decisions because it’s not the end of the world. Climate change is not the end of the world. Being stupid and deficient is the ender of worlds.

        Either work with Labour, or show that they don’t really care about their own political relevance.