Greg Fleming, founder and head of the arch-conservative Maxim Institute, has clashed repeatedly with the Green MP in recent years. On smacking and prostitution reform Bradford describes the organisation as a “deadly enemy”, but Fleming says he’s sad to see a fellow ideologue go.
“The thing that’s been delightful about our friendship – and we’ve disagreed over almost everything – is that she’s actually very clear about why she believes what she believes,” says Fleming.
A nice compliment.
She says she had high hopes that Jim Anderton’s breakaway party could shatter the male-led old boys’ club of national politics. “But of course in New Labour I was right back into an old patriarchal model – with bells on.”
Bradford quit in 1990, barely a year after she had joined, and refused to take part in the Alliance because of bad blood with Anderton. She joined the Greens in 1998 only after they split from the Alliance.
(Asked about his brief political liaison with Bradford, Jim Anderton declined to comment.)
Sue just got out early. Jim made very clear later on that he would leave unless complete control of the party was ceded to him. McCarten and Harre refused, so he bailed.
While Bradford was able to eventually recruit both John Key and Helen Clark into her drive to remove the Section 59 defence, resulting in a resounding 113-7 victory when the third reading was passed, her inability to connect with the public has been labelled a “catastrophic failure of propaganda” by a source who previously worked for the Greens.
“It ended up being labelled a bill against smacking, which it never was,” says the source.
It did not start off like that. The original bill merely removed S59. But the final bill was a bill against smacking. It basically said you can use reasonable force in numerous situations except correction.
Turei defends the change, saying it has been a conscious process.
She does not openly criticise Bradford, but it’s impossible to hide Turei’s differences with the MP who unsuccessfully battled her for the leadership.
Turei explains the evolution in Green thinking: “I don’t want to
exclude people who don’t hold that old left-wing culture, that can’t relate to that old 1970s hard-core working-class struggle.”
While Turei insists that Green policy remains unchanged, she supports moving the party away from under Labour’s wing and into a position where they could – conceivably – work with National in the future.
Says Bradford: “I’ve always been clear that if we wanted to be a party that would enter coalition with National, I would leave it.
As I have said numerous time. The Greens will never choose a National-led Govt over a Labour-led Govt. But they need to be able to hold open that possibility to stop Labour treating the like a doormat.
The most I would ever expect to see between the Greens and National is an agreement to abstain on supply and confidence.
THERE’S ALSO the possibility of a return to politics – albeit not in Wellington. Auckland Supercity mayoral candidate and Manukau Mayor Len Brown has expressed an interest in having her around the council table.
“I do support Len Brown for mayor and think he’s a great guy, and I live in Manukau at the moment,” she says, non-committally.
“Standing for council would be a big job and I think the process of forming tickets and who will be on those tickets will be tense. I don’t want to cut off the option, I’m quite open to it, but that does not a campaign or ticket make.”
Not yet, but Deputy Mayor of Auckland must be a tempting prize for a woman who quit national politics partly because she never got to be a Minister. I can’t imagine Sue would want to just be a Councillor, so if she is on the ticket, it will be fair to assume she has been promised the Deputy spot.