Greens make the right choice

May 30th, 2015 at 3:02 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

James Shaw has been elected as the new co-leader of the Green Party.

The Wellington-based MP, who has only been in Parliament for seven months, was confirmed as the successor to Russel Norman at the party’s AGM this afternoon.

Mr Shaw said it was an “extraordinary privilege” to take on the top role.

He acknowledged that some people would be disappointed in the result, and said: “I will do everything within my power to earn everyone’s respect.”

Mr Shaw thanked his rivals, Mr Hague, Gareth Hughes, and Vernon Tava.

Kevin Hague, who had been the early favourite for the male co-leader position, placed second after a vote by delegates.

Congratulations to James, and commiserations to Kevin, Gareth and Vernon.

This is a rare opportunity for the Greens to significantly grow their appeal. If they play their cards right, people who have always dismissed them as being an anti-business and anti-economy party may now stop and listen to what they are saying. They may not necessarily get converted, but more of them will now listen.

James has both an impressive business background, but also knows how to communicate to people who are not left wing. Anyone can persuade people who already agree with you, but the skill is persuading people who don’t.

The election of Shaw is not a silver bullet for The Greens, but it is a golden opportunity. They have shown an ability to win votes off Labour – now they may have the ability to win some votes off National. The election of Shaw is a potential thorn for National. However it is also good for people who believe in sensible policy, as eventually there will be a Labour-Green Government, and I’d rather have James Shaw as the Finance Minister in it, than Russel Norman. Not because Russel is a bad person, but his beliefs were shaped by Marxism, and Shaw’s are not. This does not mean Shaw is right wing, or not left wing. He is definitely left wing – but just more centre left than hard left.

Kevin Hague would have been a very good co-leader if he had been elected. As I have blogged previously, Kevin  has achieved a lot as an MP, and would have done so also as co-leader. he was just unfortunate with the timing of the vacancy, and the fact the Greens under-performed at the last election meant that their members were more attracted to a circuit-breaker.

So it will be interesting to see how The Greens go with their new male co-leader. They have the opportunity to grow their support now, but it won’t happen automatically.

 

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The non driving James Shaw

May 29th, 2015 at 7:14 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

And as for the criticism that he did not drive, “that is simply a statement of fact.”

Aged 16, Mr Shaw decided he would not learn to drive for environmental reasons. He has maintained that stance while living in Wellington, Brussels, and London.

Let’s think about this. James hasn’t decided not to use cars, just not to drive himself. This is like someone saying they won’t cook a meat meal, but they will eat it.

A stance of refusing to drive, on environmental grounds, only makes sense if you refuse to travel by car at all. Does James ever travel by taxi? Does he ever get in a car with a friend? Does he refuse to travel by plane? (plane travel creates more greenhouse gas emissions than car travel – around 80% more)?

Refusing to ever travel by car or plane would be a principled stance. But refusing to learn to drive yourself but allowing others to drive you is not principled. It’s, well a bit weird to be honest.

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Shaw leading to date

May 11th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I heard from a reliable source last week that in the voting to date, James Shaw has a narrow lead for the Green Party male co-leadership.

The actual election takes places at their conference at the end of May, but the delegates from each electorate get instructed how to vote at their electorate AGMs, which have started.

I’ve commented on the four leaders here:

With no disrespect to Gareth or Vernon, but it appears to be a two horse race between Kevin and James.

The good thing for the Greens is both Kevin and James have considerable strengths, and both should be more successful than their predecessor. It’s a great thing for a party to have a positive choice of leadership candidates.

Danyl McLauchlan blogs:

I’ve been helping James Shaw out with his campaign. Up until now its been impossible to tell how things are going, but now that the branches are voting we have a rough idea and I am cautiously optimistic. It’s going to be close but James could win. My reason for supporting him over Kevin Hague – who I have a huge amount of respect for – is pretty simple. The key role of a leader in a modern political party is to be the public face of that party, to front to the media and the public, and to win new voters. Maybe I’m just blinded by partisan bias, but I think James is going to be a lot better in that core role than the other candidates.

That doesn’t mean he’ll win. Kevin Hague also has a lot of great qualities, and they make him one of the most beloved guys inside the Green Party – which gives him a big advantage in a contest to become leader of it. But being the leader is about connecting with the public, not just the party’s own membership. The best thing for the future of the Green Party is to elect a leader who can grow it.

I agree with this analysis. Kevin is very respected and popular with the members – and with many other MPs. I regard Kevin as a good guy, who would be a good Minister of Health and a good co-leader for the Greens.

However the Greens seem to be stuck at a 10% vote ceiling. James Shaw does represent the best opportunity for the Greens to break through that 10% ceiling, and if I was a Green party member I’d vote for him.

If Shaw wins the male co-leadership and Julie-Anne Genter becomes (in time) female co-leader, then I think the Greens would have a real possibility of shaking off the past, and grow support and votes for the Greens.

But as I said, I think Kevin will do a solid job also. Again the Greens are fortunate to have a positive choice.

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Shaw runs after all

March 12th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance reports:

Wellington-based MP James Shaw will bid to be the Green Party’s co-leader, after earlier saying it was “highly unlikely” he’d run.

It is understood the first-term MP is planning to make the announcement on Monday, after telling caucus colleagues at a meeting earlier this week.

Last month Shaw said it was too early in his parliamentary career. However, he appears to have had a change of heart after being approached by supportive members, including at a recent policy conference in the Hunua ranges, south of Auckland.

Shaw would not confirm his candidacy, saying only: “I’m thinking about it, and considering it and as I have said before I will make up my mind when nominations open.”

A source indicated Shaw will pitch himself as a fresh face, with new ideas, against front-runner and “status quo” candidate Kevin Hague.

On the back of a disappointing general election result, Shaw is set to argue the party needs new strategies if it wants to increase its vote beyond 10 per cent. But the 41-year-old also needs to win over those in the party who are suspicious of his business background. Like Hague, he is known to favour a bi-partisan approach to politics.

The Greens are fortunate that they will get to choose from four candidates – all offering quite different skills, backgrounds and future directions.

Hague is the front-runner and the likely winner. I blogged here on his strengths. He is the safe choice, and would do better than Norman, in my view.

Shaw is a bigger risk to the Greens, but also offer potentially bigger benefits. I think he is the candidate most likely to grow their vote and smash through the ceiling of 10% they seem to have hit.

The current leadership and strategy of the Greens couldn’t exceed 10% despite Labour hitting an 80 year low of 25%. It is hard to see them doing better by staying on the current path.

Shaw has the ability to change the brand of the Greens as extremists and anti-business. He has the potential to allow the Greens to break through 10%.

Even if Labour wins in 2017, the Greens may still be shut out of Government by NZ First. To avoid that fate they need to grow their vote. Shaw offers them that option.

 

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James Shaw on Republicanism

November 12th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

James Shaw writes in the Dom Post:

Over the past 20 years, a slew of prime ministers have told us they believe it’s inevitable that New Zealand will become a republic. Generally while ducking any chance of letting it happen on their watch.

If it is inevitable, what can possibly be holding us back?

Do we really prefer the lottery of genetics and the trappings of bygone years to the will of the people, simply expressed? Is it the pageantry and splendour? We have our own, should we want to spend up large on it.

Is it the special character of the royal few? Charles seems like a good bloke. He and I support many of the same causes. His heart is in the right place and he’s coming to celebrate a special occasion for his mum. We can all relate to that.

We should wish them both and their family well and accord them every respect due a visiting foreign dignitary. Because in the end he is not a Kiwi, and nor is his mum. And we can’t expect them to be. When England faces the All Blacks, which team should the British Royal Family cheer for?

Exactly. A New Zealander should be our Head of State.

For a fully self-governing, mature nation to maintain the fiction of a monarchy that lives on the polar opposite side of the planet makes no sense.

For a multicultural, pluralistic, liberal democracy to personify itself symbolically in a hereditary monarch, is not merely illogical, it is bizarre. It is the relic of a bygone era, a political anachronism whose persistence is increasingly difficult to explain.

This is not to deny the cultural and intellectual inheritance that New Zealand has received from Britain. Our parliamentary system is modelled on Westminster, infused with a tradition of justice and rational self-rule that reaches back to the Magna Carta.

We have, if anything, done our Kiwi best to improve upon the model we inherited. We have pared away the vestiges that we don’t need, and adapted to changing circumstances. Our system works for us because we have made it our own. And yet we haven’t. Not entirely. Not quite. Why is that? It should be a simple matter to reform the means by which our head of state is selected. We could put it directly into the hands of the voting public. Or we could leave it to Parliament, as we leave it to them to appoint the governor-general. That seems to work pretty well.

I’d make the Head of State appointed by a 75% majority in Parliament, which will mean no politician or partisan could be appointed to it.

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Green Party list

April 9th, 2011 at 8:28 am by David Farrar

The Greens released (after I had it leaked to me three years ago) this week their draft party list for the 2011 election. It is highly persuasive with the party membership, but normally there are some minor changes. At this stage the list is:

  1. Metiria Turei
  2. Russel Norman
  3. Kevin Hague
  4. Catherine Delahunty
  5. Kennedy Graham
  6. Gareth Hughes
  7. Eugenie Sage
  8. Jan Logie
  9. David Clendon
  10. Holly Walker
  11. Denise Roche
  12. Julie Anne Genter
  13. Mojo Mathers
  14. James Shaw
  15. Richard Leckinger

The Greens could well get 10 MPs. Eugenie Sage is a green green – a long time Forest & Bird and one of the sacked ECan Councillors. Jan Logie stood for the Greens in the Mana by-election. She is the development manager at the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities.

Holly Walker is a current Green Press Secretary, and former Critic editor. I rate her as a significant political talent, and if she gets in, will be one of their more effective MPs.

Denise Roche at 11 is from Waiheke Island, and a former Auckland City Councillor. She is well known in Auckland Central, where Greens do very well.

Julie-Anne Genter is a young transport planner. She has a stellar acadamic record, and from I can tell would be a significant asset to the Greens caucus.

Mojo Mathers is a parliamentary party staffer also, and No 15 Rick Leckinger is a former parliamentary staffer.  That’s three current or former staffers in the top 15. I don’t know Mojo, but regard Rick as a good guy who has a very good understand of Internet issues. He suffers from a minor disability of being born in Georgia, USA :-)

Overall looks to be one of their strongest and most youthful line ups. Of course I think their policies are generally whacked.

For them to get into Parliament Holly, Denise and Julie-Anne etc, they need to lift their vote share from 2008. If I was a centre left voter, I’d be looking closely at whom Labour has on their list around the threshold of “might make it”, and think about which candidates you would rather have in Parliament.

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