Vernon Small writes:
The Greens have made the right call handing the crucial finance role to their co-leader James Shaw.
Sixteen months too late, perhaps, but the right call.
The “promotion” was part of the reshuffle necessitated by Kevin Hague’s resignation.
It was not that Julie Anne Genter was failing – far from it.
I found Genter was often more sensible and balance than Robertson, when commenting on economic issues. Robertson would say contradictory stuff such as the Government needs to spend more and the Government is borrowing too much, while Genter would be more consistent.
But giving Shaw the role was a strategic must. He has long been the go-to guy for media comment on economic issues, building on the business credentials he brought to the job. That made it hard for Genter to be heard.
And a strong finance voice among the leadership is a real boon. Former leader Russel Norman illustrated that, using it to lift the party’s profile at a time when Labour were in the doldrums – to the point where he was at times labelled as the real opposition leader.
Shaw is clearly rated highly by business, or as highly as a Green MP can reasonably expect. And driving home that the party is these days far closer to mainstream economics than its reputation of old, is a key goal that he is well suited to slot home.
The Greens and NZ First are in a battle to be the third placed party. Shaw is miles more competent than Peters on the economy, but can he beat the populism of Peters?
Elsewhere Barry Coates – a former Oxfam chief – will bring his unblinking opposition to the TPP and his history of activism to the trade and overseas aid roles.
Just what Parliament needs! Coates should go to the US and campaign for Trump, the world’s biggest opponent of the TPP.