The enormous win Marama Davidson has managed to pull off is a mandate.
Julie Anne Genter is possibly one of the smartest Cabinet Ministers in Parliament right now and is a supernova of talent, yet the tsunami vote for Davidson is the voice of the Party firmly planting their flag on the progressive Left over and above that ferocious ability of Genter.
That makes Davidson’s win an enormous mandate even by mandate standards.
Marama is one of the most important voices for social justice in the NZ political spectrum.
Her advocacy at the Human Rights commission has blossomed post her role there as a significant voice in the progressive flaxroots social justice movement. For her to have won over so many is due in part to her humble charisma, intelligence and deep sense of humour.
Jacinda is our Trudeau, and Marama finally gives NZ its Corbyn and Bernie.
Where do the Greens gain votes because ultimately that will be what she gets judged on.
Labour and the Greens have locked themselves into the neoliberal small Government agenda with their agreement to our corporate overlords to not increase debt beyond the National Party target, and their continued inability to demand immediate culture change within the neoliberal welfare agencies leaves huge room for Marama to step into.
Conventional wisdom is that the Greens need to pick up votes from National. The constant hunting for the mythical blue-green voter has haunted Green strategists because the compromises required to get National Party soccer mums to vote Green beyond the aesthetic of identifying as a Green supporter is simply too large to work.
It is the unregistered voters, the prisoners, the beneficiaries, the mentally hurt, the renters, those who are going to be most impacted by climate change and the students where Marama must go to.
2014 Green voters voted Labour in 2017 because of Jacinda. Instead of trying to woo them back, the Greens need to target those NZers who have been failed most by neoliberal economics to grow the electoral pie rather than splitting it further with Labour.
Marama should not bend to the vagaries of political brand management, she should give voice to those the system has hurt and be prepared for a crash course in economics, the way Helen Clark did when she became leader of the Labour Party.
True rebellion will be to challenge the neoliberal economic system and to do so with well researched confidence.
Marama should force a strong alliance with AAAP and champion culture change inside WINZ by highlighting their terrible treatment of beneficiaries.
She should do the same with PAPA and JustSpeak for Prisons.
And the same with renter rights groups.
Marama must find new voters rather than steal back existing ones and she can do that by voicing real change from the current economic myths in language that is accessible.
Marama has the mana, it is up to her how she should use it.
All power to her arm.