Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:
In a move that won’t surprise anyone in politics, Green MP Kevin Hague has put his hand up to be the party’s co-leader.
The West Coast-based list MP is first out of the blocks, and rookie MP James Shaw was expected to follow, but this morning Shaw said it was “highly unlikely” because it was too early in his parliamentary career.
Nominations for the role don’t open until next month, ahead of the party’s annual conference in May, but Hague, an MP since 2008, explained: “I am certain to stand, and I thought it could be useful for Green Party members to know that.”
Without discounting who else might stand, it is fair to say that Kevin Hague is a very good potential co-leader, and he could do significantly better than his predecessor, if elected.
The strengths that Hague would bring to the Greens are:
- He is not a communist (or former communist)
- He has significant political skills, playing a key role in campaigns such as the marriage equality campaign
- He is trusted and respected with most MPs from both National and Labour
- He will generally put progressing an issue, ahead of point scoring, for example working behind the scenes with National MPs on adoption law reform rather than grand-standing on the issue such as a Labour MP did
- Has the ability to work with MPs from other parties, including National. Involved in many cross-party caucuses.
- Has been influential in the Greens in reducing the power of the anti-science brigade, and has moved the Greens away from blanket opposition to fluoridation and vaccinations to more balanced positions
- Has significant management experience, having been a CEO of a District Health Board
I think Kevin Hague would be an excellent choice by the Greens to replace Russel Norman as the male co-leader.
Hague said he had good relationship with both major parties – but said the Greens made the right decision in aligning with Labour.
“We are not a party that is going to throw away our core principles and our values or actually a very large number of our policies in order to make that political accommodation … it’s hard to see National providing the level of policy gains for the Green party.”
But Hague found common ground with National over national cycleways and pest control. “I’ve got a track record … of finding ways of working with them. I look forward to doing that more.”
The Greens would never choose National over Labour, but a Hague led Greens would be more likely to be able to have a constructive relationship with National, where they can work together in a few areas. This would be a good thing.