Talking to various Greens sources it has become abundantly clear that David Hay is an ‘interesting' character. All sources including the current male co-Leader Russel Norman's media comments are polite enough publicly but behind closed doors there must be some serious wonder going on.
So let us look at the possible motivations behind Hay's challenge to Norman. First, there's the obvious one. He's a man who has very little profile (except may be in his own mind) and desperately wants to be higher up the list. If he was a smart man he'd use the challenge mechanism to rally support behind him to elevate him up the list. He'd be using lots of talk abut how the growing grassroots membership needs more voice, he'd have a very clear plan of what he would say to media and he would also have a few MPs or high profile Greens pre-organised to say more positive things about him – including behind closed doors to media and bloggers alike. None of that has happened. Indeed the opposite is true. So I think we can mostly strike that motivation out.
In the last hour Hay has been interviewed by duncan garner on radio Live. A pretty soft interview but to be honest give this man a forum and he is going to say some pretty batty stuff. First there was the fighting talking from Hay of how Russel has been a great leader. Oops. Then he admitted that Russel would inevitably remain Leader. Oops again. Hay's one concern that he managed to express at all was that the Greens need to reposition themselves to takeover Labour's position and stop being the ‘handbag'.
It is possible that the Greens are so cunning that they are using a moron to shoot across the bow of Labour but I think the obvious is clear. Hay is acting mostly alone – albeit after a bit of enthusiastic excitement from a few Greens close to him worried about the lack of presence in Auckland. Hay named them clearly in the Garner interview as the likes of Denise Roche and others.
So this leads me to think that something is wrong with the Greens that happens to all parties as they grow. They have lost connection with their grassroots. You see, if they had real connection they would have known Hay was going to do this and would have managed the situation – even in a democratic way. Instead, Hay surprised the parliamentary wing of the Party with his shock announcement.
So, what other motivations could Hay have? Well, the cynic in me suggests that the Greens could also be copying the Labour model. Labour's membership increased by 75% through the leadership contest. More members means more potential helpers on the ground. Is it possible that Hay is actually a very loyal, albeit media inept, hack who is doing the Party a service by driving membership and showing how ‘good' co-Leader Russel really is? More than a little possible. Indeed if I were the Greens I might spin it that way to look mildly united and politically savvy.
So, there's a few possibilities that motivate Hay – is it personal gain to get up the List, is it greater good for the Greens, is it to drive up membership, or is to put a spanner in the works of what has been a pretty well run Greens machine of late? Whatever it is he is a useless front man.
*And before someone freaks in the comments that this doesn't seem like a DPF post. It isn't. It is Jadis and I am a tad more blunt that friend to all Dpf.