Herald on the Green choice

Isaac Davidson at the Herald reports:

The Green Party’s choice of a new co-leader on Saturday will come down to two contenders – a sensible, safe pair of hands or a riskier, flashier newcomer who has the potential to lift the party’s vote.

Not a bad summary.

The early favourite, Mr Hague, is the safe choice. The Greymouth-based MP has centred his campaign on his experience – both his seven years in Parliament and his “real world” experience as head of a District Health Board. The huge demands of being a party leader have been understated in the leadership campaign, he says.

“Here’s a reality check. Whoever is elected to this role, that person needs to come into the House next Tuesday, take on John Key and win. That’s not something that someone just has a natural flair for, it’s something that you win the ability to do through hard graft. I’ve done that graft.”

As the caucus’ strategic head, he has played a key role in the Greens’ path to credibility. He has worked hard to downplay the zanier aspects and has banished anti-scientific policies such as opposition to 1080, fluoridation and immunisation.

One of the reasons I like Kevin. He has worked hard to move some of the Greens away from their anti-science beliefs. Not entirely, as we see with genetic engineering and fracking – but some progress.

He is known for his face-to-face negotiating skills and his ability to find common ground, as proven in his work with National MPs on same-sex marriage legislation, ACC, and changes to health and safety laws after the Pike River disaster.

He has a reputation for being level-headed and never raising his voice. But that does not mean he lacks mongrel. Some of his campaigns began with strong attacks on Government policy, followed by negotiation.

In my experience Kevin will focus more on getting a good outcome, than just making headlines.

This is where Mr Shaw comes in. He is 13 years younger than Mr Hague, charming, and moderate. One colleague described him as “Bill Clinton-esque”.

Oh dear. Not sure that helps him.

Mr Hague is sceptical of Mr Shaw’s leadership credentials. He says the MP was only one part of the Greens’ popularity in Wellington, and his recipe for success does not translate to South Auckland, suburban areas and provincial centres. Would he be at home speaking on a marae, to farmers or to trade unionists, Mr Hague asked, and could the wider population relate to a Wellington-based, metrosexual MP who doesn’t drive?

Amused at the homosexual MP saying a metrosexual MP may not appeal 🙂

I think both Kevin and James have strengths and will do well. The Greens are lucky to have a positive choice – not just of Kevin and James but also Gareth and Vernon. Their members are getting a say on what the future leadership and direction should be.

Comments (20)

Login to comment or vote