It’s basically because she lost the co-leadership election to Metiria Turei. Things are obviously not that happy in the Green camp.
Some thoughts on Sue. Before she entered Parliament I thought she would be an atrocious MP – someone like Pam Corkery who was only good at protest and unsuited to actually making a positive (as in positive for their point of view) contribution.
I was wrong. She was in her first two terms a very effective MP. She was named Backbencher of the Year in 2000 by the NZ Herald. On select committee she asked useful and intelligent questions. She didn’t grandstand much. And she actually stood up a bit for small businesses – reasonably sympathetic to not burying them in compliance costs.
She also was a successful backbench legislator, getting three laws passed.
The anti-smacking law was one of those bills. Now I don’t think any worse of Sue because I disagree with the substance of the law. There are many laws I don’t agree with, and I don’t expect Green Party MPs to be promoting that many laws I like.
But where I am highly critical of her, is that she was fundamentally dishonest in her promotion of the law change. I think her rhetoric at times was as disgraceful as some of her opponents. And she basically lied when she said the law change was not about making it illegal to smack, when it was. She has since made quite clear that it was not just about stopping child abuse, but about legislating against correctional smacking.
If Bradford had promoted her law change more honestly, my previously high opinion of her would have remained. But I think she did herself and the country a disservice on that issue – and again I am not talking about the law change itself, but the way she conducted it.
Regardless I hope she has a happy career outside Parliament. Maybe she will stand for Mayor of the Auckland Super City?
This has exposed some unhappiness within the Greens. No matter how much you sugar coat it, an MP bailing out of Parliament with over two years to go is a bad look. Lots of MPs lose leadership contests, do not get selected for Cabinet, are not ranked as high as they want. Almost all see their term through.
There is a wider issue, which I have alluded to before also. Green voters voted for a Green list with Jeanette as Leader and Bradford as an MP. I am not a fan of having significant changes so soon after an election. It almost stretches to false pretences. If there is to be a managed change of leadership it should be in the final year of the parliamentary terms, not just a few months after an electoral mandate has been granted.