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And we’re off to the races!

Written By: - Date published: 5:12 pm, February 8th, 2018 - 123 comments
Categories: greens - Tags: , , ,

Julie Anne Genter has just added her name into the Green Party co-leadership hat, as many have anticipated. As you will likely have heard, Marama Davidson announced her campaign first, and there is also a possibility that Eugenie Sage will decide to run, too, or that we may have a nominee from outside of caucus again. It is unlikely any of the remaining eligible MPs in caucus are going to put forward a leadership bid, so I would definitely dismiss talk of Chlöe putting in a back-bench leadership bid- she’s got enough on her plate as a first-time MP.

There are some suggesting this contest highlights factionalism and division within the Greens, however there has been clear support for Genter entering the contest on social media, even from fervent supporters of Marama’s own bid to be co-leader. I think we would be lucky to see either of them as a co-leader, and we’re spoiled for choice, although for full disclosure purposes I am admittedly in Marama Davidson’s camp, Julie Anne Genter is highly qualified, and has excellent Green credentials, and a great record as a social liberal which is reflected in her role as Minister for Women.

There are lots of sub-groups among the Greens, both official and unofficial, but much of the media commentary about this has actually relied on sources that aren’t part of the Green Party, and don’t represent it in any way. Unlike die Grünen/the German Greens, you won’t find anyone seriously identifying themselves as a “realo” or “fundy” in the New Zealand Party. (although some people have started doing so ironically thanks to some viral commentary I am informed originated with Young Labour) In many ways, the three prominent caucus members who were rumoured to be considering leadership each represent an ideological emphasis1, but there are difficulties with this narrative of a faction war over who gets to be co-leader.

Firstly, all of the “factions” actually generally agree that each others’ goals are important, so any “argument” going on here is one of emphasis, not one for the soul of the Party.

Secondly, the Green Party runs on consensus decisions, and largely resorts to super-majority votes when consensus can’t be meaningfully reached. It’s hard to form bitter factional divides when 75% of the party has to agree to get anything done, and they still try to listen to and address the concerns of the remaining 25% even when they have to make a decision. It’s made especially more difficult in this model to divide your factions when you have more than two factions, which the Greens certainly do.

Thirdly, everyone involved is respecting each other and glad that there is a public contest and that members get to have their say in supporting candidates- the tenor of the conversation, both public and private, doesn’t support a view of factionalism, even if that is usually the narrative about leadership contests. This isn’t to say there aren’t factions, of course there are, just that they don’t yet seem to be at war the way you would typically expect if there had been a spill going on. The party’s processes and culture are, in fact, explicitly set up to prevent and oppose spills and hostile leadership contests.

We should also take this opportunity to say that people’s feelings outside the Green movement shouldn’t influence us about any of the candidates, one way or the other. I know there have been some National Party-aligned figures publicly endorsing Genter as their preferred candidate. That doesn’t make her a blue-green, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have some nefarious plan, and we should make our own decisions for our own reasons. The feelings of our allies in Labour might be more relevant, but I think they’ve been wise to stay silent on the contest, because being seen as interfering with the internal democracy of their confidence and supply partner could be very shaky political waters to be sailing on. Julie Anne has amazing credentials, was actively debunking the possibility of a so-called “teal deal” after the election, and we are lucky she is an option.

There’s also been some suggestions from certain commentators that Marama Davidson is less qualified to be leader, and is simply riding on identity politics in terms of her campaign. This is simply wrong. Activism for political causes before becoming an MP is considered a qualification by any self-respecting Green Party member, and Marama not only has a history of activism against poverty, and lived experience in that area, too, she has continued her good work on the ground while still maintaining her duties as an MP. When Metiria was talking about the very real experiences of beneficiaries in New Zealand, Marama was showing up at lines outside WINZ offices to hear and tell their stories, and if there is arguably an heir to Metiria’s work in that respect, it is definitely Davidson, and that’s certainly enough qualification for anyone who takes the Greens’ issues seriously. This isn’t to say that Marama’s identity as a strong Māori woman is irrelevant to the leadership race- there is importance to having a Māori perspective on the leadership team, especially as every Party in Parliament currently does, (even Seymour has Māori ancestry) but it’s not going to be a trump card over all the other factors in consideration, either. We are very aware that in a caucus of eight, Marama is the only one holding that mana, and there have been good efforts to encourage others to join the Caucus that were only really impeded by ending up having to fight for the Greens’ core support to stay with the party in this election. Jack McDonald and Teanau Tuiono realistically might have both joined the Caucus when polling was at 15%.

It’s a good thing that this contest has been brought forward- it not only brings it out of the realm of speculation, but even enthusiastic supporters of Shaw as half of the leadership team like myself have been uneasy about leaving him as sole co-leader when the Party is in an important transition to its largest role in government yet, and also because the co-leadership issue could potentially become a distraction from Green policy.

With all the more general talk out of the way, let’s talk some details.

All existing members of the party will get to be involved in the selection process. Unlike the Party List, co-leaders aren’t voted on directly by Members, instead branches will meet, and send delegates to interview the candidates and vote on behalf of those branches. The delegates are instructed by the Branches on what to consider before they vote, however, so it’s a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy, and the candidates do have to do well enough that there’s not a significant (25%+) move to re-open nominations. I think with two (or potentially more) candidates of such high quality, that’s now unlikely, however.

Party registration is always open to new members, and if you register as a new member soon, you will be able to participate in those branch meetings to instruct delegates, and have your say on co-leadership2. There is a small, two-tier fee of $20 in general, but $5 for those who are in a low-income situation, which to my understanding goes to deferring administration costs, running the party magazine, and maybe also to supporting Green campaigns for the $20 tier.

It’s also worth briefly talking about the fact that being a co-leader is not like being a leader in Labour or National. They are chief spokespeople to the media, expected to be generalists in party policy moreso than other MPs, and leaders of Caucus. But a lot of the decisions that a party leader might make on their own in other parties are made instead by consensus of the Caucus, by the Green Party Executive, or by delegates from the various branches at significant meetings or via “phone”3 calls. Whoever wins this contest doesn’t get the ability to unilaterally kick people out of caucus. Even if the Greens do support the waka-jumping bill through Parliament, that’s not something a co-leader will be able to do on their own, as they have to follow their own party’s procedures under amendments secured by the Greens. They don’t control party policy- the Green Party’s formal roles are  divided into three branches, executive, caucus, and policy committees, which each have representatives to each other. The co-leaders only lead one of those branches. What we’re voting for here is more of a representative to the media than actually a formal leader as such.

There have also been typical digs at the Greens for not having a typical leadership structure of a Leader and Deputy. Firstly, I will remind people that the Greens aren’t actually the only Party with a co-leadership model- the Māori Party also does the same thing, and it worked well for them, too. Secondly, to contextualize the decision- the other option was that the Greens wouldn’t have any formal leadership role in the Caucus at all, which I think we all agree would have confused the media and the public far worse. The reason we also mandate that one co-leader must be a woman is to acknowledge the importance of diverse perspectives, and the historical disadvantage that women have faced being represented in Parliament, and to show our commitment that the Greens want to be different, and that we are a feminist party in both action and rhetoric, and this stance is unlikely to ever change. None of these things reduce Shaw’s mana as the other co-leader: he is exactly as supported as he always was, and will have as large a part of the leadership as he did when he was sharing it with Metiria.

1 Arguably, Marama Davidson represents the Green Party’s focus on economic justice and its value for activism, and as a candidate who’s not a minister would also have slightly more constitutional freedom to be a critic of the government.
Julie Anne Genter represents the party’s focus on social justice and marries public enthusiasm with a long list of Parlimentary qualifications, including arguably being Parliament’s strongest expert on Transport issues, a key Green priority.
Finally, Eugenie Sage has a more direct environmentalism focus that is reflected in her ministerial roles without being seen as overtly taking sides between the other two focuses, also has a strong Parliamentary record, and I would certainly say she has value as more than a compromise candidate if she chooses to join the contest, as she has been a high-performing member of caucus despite a relatively lower public profile than Davidson or Genter. However, the rumours of her running are currently just rumours, and even if she was considering doing so, she might have decided not to join the contest. I hope commenters here will respect whichever decision she chooses to make.

2 It’s up to your local branch when those meetings happen, but I would suspect they’ll probably be in March for most branches. I have confirmed that there is no additional cutoff for new members, so it’s just about making the deadline of when your branch discusses its stance on the female co-leadership. I would suggest people who chiefly want to become members to decide the new co-leader do so within the next two weeks, just so that everything is squared away for you in late February, in case your branch will meet too late in March to instruct its delegate. If you’re unable to make a physical meeting for any reason, you can still discuss your views with either of your branches co-convenors. (that’s the equivalent of a branch Chair or President)

3 Actual phones may or may not be involved.

123 comments on “And we’re off to the races! ”

  1. alwyn 1

    I now understand why Winston was promising the Racing Industry an all-weather track.
    It was so that the fillies from the Green stable, none of whom appear to be mudlarks, will be able to have a fair race if the are totally overshadowed by the current PM and they would otherwise have to race on a heavy track,

    Gosh. Isn’t Sir Winston a kind man?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      You’re so funny and your horsey jokes about Jacinda Ardern. All the Tory trash will congratulate you on your towering wit and jolly repartee, and then they’ll go back to taking compromising photos of one another with a pig’s head.

      Organise another princess party to console yourself.

    • Matthew Whitehead 1.2

      Please don’t compare grown women to animals, that’s incredibly disgusting, and reflects badly on you as a person. In retrospect I realise the title may have encouraged this, but I was actually thinking about sprinting when I wrote it, lol.

      • alwyn 1.2.1

        Of course your title encouraged it.
        I wouldn’t have even thought of it if you hadn’t put that title up.
        “reflects badly on you as a person”.
        Aw gee. What a load of crap you talk. I imagine you supported the “heroic” Meteria in her calculated fraud on the tax payer. If you did that reflects very badly on you as a person.
        Of course you might have been ethical and I could be misjudging you.
        Did you condemn her actions? If not why not?

        [If you’re still around, see my reply below before posting anything else in this thread. – MjW]

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Take yourself out of this thread for trolling, Alwyn. Good grief. I expect not to see you here again or it’s moderation time. I can put up with a certain amount but over two posts, that hit all my check boxes for what I can reasonably let you get away with in a thread.

          • cleangreen

            Well said Matthew,

            Alwyn is representative of the true ugliness of the nonsense right wingnuts.

  2. Jack Ramaka 2

    Have listened to her speak a few times and she is quite intelligent and has got some balls, probably more than most of the men in the National Party.

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.1

      Julie Anne Genter? Or Marama Davidson?

      Either way, you’re right, they’re both courageous. 🙂

      • OncewasTim 2.1.1


      • Anon 2.1.2

        And this sexist remark is better than comparing women to the majestic horse because …?

        • Matthew Whitehead

          I let it go because unlike Alwyn, Jack isn’t trolling, and I don’t want to be a perennial nitpicker. Yes, technically you shouldn’t talk about women having metaphorical balls because it privileges male anatomy, but I didn’t want to get into a huge discussion about the merits of the phrase, so I simply substituted a sex-neutral term.

          • Anon

            Or because it reduces males to the sum of their anatomy, sexism doesn’t just hurt women.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Well, I would have put it in the lens of toxic masculinity, but sure. Again, this is all pretty off-topic and exactly what I was trying to avoid by not bringing it up.

  3. weka 3

    Great post Matt! So good to have the issues laid out informatively and from a green perspective, super helpful.

  4. outofbed 4

    Go James, Julie anne and Jacinda the “J” team

  5. timeforacupoftea 5

    Yahoo !!!!
    Go hard Julie !!

  6. Chuck 6

    “It’s also worth briefly talking about the fact that being a co-leader is not like being a leader in Labour or National. They are chief spokespeople to the media, expected to be generalists in party policy moreso than other MPs, and leaders of Caucus.”

    A question then…why not just pick whoever best relates to the public? And not focus on internal issues of environmentalism verse economic justice for example.

    From your description of the role, a co-leader in the Greens is more of a public relations one. Dealing with the media and having a good command of party policy.

    • Matthew Whitehead 6.1

      Sure, it IS in many ways a spokesperson role, (although it has other aspects to it, that’s the core of the position as far as I understand it) but the policy emphasis of the person in that role and their perspective affects how they communicate drastically. Think for a moment about Julie and Marama talking about rural issues, Sage and Julie talking about Te Ao Māori or poverty, or Marama and Sage talking transport, and you’ll get why their areas of expertise are relevant- having an expert in an area as co-leader naturally helps place emphasis on that area of policy. They’re also all very good communicators who seem to understand party policy very well, so there’s not much to separate them in that regard.

  7. BM 7

    Go, Marama !

  8. Roy Cartland 8

    Marama for Kawana (or whatever the NZ equivalent of Presisdent will be), Golriz for PM, Eugenie as acting PM and GNH (happiness) Minister, James/Gareth as co-conveyors, Chloe as youth minister…
    Now there’s a start to a Government.

  9. The Chairman 9

    “So it’s a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy…”

    Has there been any calls for changing that to a direct democracy?

    • Matthew Whitehead 9.1

      No, not that I’d be opposed, but there are practical reasons why it wouldn’t normally be. (Co-leaders are usually voted on at the AGM, where all decisions are made by delegates for practical reasons) This system also gives some weight to Greens living out in the regions, rather than essentially letting Wellington and parts of Auckland make the decision. (Most Green members are in Wellington IIRC) It’s a good system for making multiple decisions that are contingent on each other, or taking into account information that individual members might not, in practical terms, be able to have access to. (eg. interviewing the candidates directly, or debating remits at an AGM where admendments might be moved, so the general position on a remit and requirements to let it through might be more important than an initial position of support or opposition)

      Each branch gets a number of delegates dependant on its members between 1 and 4.

      It would be possible to make it a direct decision, but you’d also need to strip out the delegates doing an indirect vote of confidence through the AGM at the same time, and instead do a direct annual strawpoll of members in their confidence of the co-leaders to maintain the same system of checks, balances, and culture of avoiding spills.

      • The Chairman 9.1.1

        Thanks, Matthew.

        So democracy loses out to practicality once again.

        I’m surprised there hasn’t been calls for improvements in this area.

        “It would be possible to make it a direct decision, but you’d also need to strip out the delegates doing an indirect vote of confidence through the AGM at the same time, and instead do a direct annual strawpoll of members in their confidence of the co-leaders to maintain the same system of checks, balances, and culture of avoiding spills.”

        Something to consider following through with.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Practicality is a necessary part of all elections, Chairman. If we didn’t have to be practical we would psychically read everyone’s mind to determine their ideal candidate rather than have them vote, or write essays on what we want to happen after the election, or something else with similarly ridiculous time, cost, or ability constraints. 😉

          I’m actually considering advocating for moving co-leader elections to direct elections myself, (using a Range Vote) however, there are some drawbacks to be considered:

          a) It’s actually more expensive to do it this way, because you either have to buy election software, contract a service to do it for you, send out a ton of letters with return envelopes for a postal ballot, or use up a lot of volunteer hours making your own system for members to vote online. (Volunteer time, while seemingly cost-free, is a scarce resource for a political party and needs to be well-directed in terms of where it’s spent, so it still has an opportunity cost) The Greens are a small party, so anything that involves spending more resources has to prove itself very worthwhile.

          b) There is next to no direct cost for the current system because delegates need to go to the AGM to vote on remits, proposed coalition stances, etc… anyway, so people are already being asked to attend the AGM, and an AGM will happen regardless of whether a co-leader vote goes on there.

          c) We would probably still need to allow for some system where regional branches are given a bigger voice so as to ensure that they have a fair voice in determining the next leader, even though they don’t have many members, because the Greens still want to have appeal to those areas of the country.

          d) The existing system is designed on a consensus basis, where we try to avoid majoritarian decisions where possible, and listen to minority feedback. (this is where “equal consideration” comes in- we do use indirect representation, but we also try to address minority concerns. It’s arguably an even better approach than a simple majoritarian election) I’m not sure how we’d implement that with a direct election. Even in co-leader selections, the total votes for nominated candidates has to exceed the 75% supermajority threshold to avoid nominations being re-opened.

          These four objections aren’t unsolvable, but they are big enough that I don’t see this issue becoming a priority any time soon.

          • The Chairman

            “Practicality is a necessary part of all elections”.

            It shouldn’t override democracy because without democracy there is little point in having a vote.

            Practicability can be considered for how it can best help facilitate the democratic process, but, again, it shouldn’t override it.

            “I’m actually considering advocating for moving co-leader elections to direct elections myself”

            Very good. I would suggest you explore expanding that to every internal vote the party has – e.g. remits etc…

            Yes, it will cost more, thus one must explore the most efficient and feasible ways to facilitate this.

            Live feed meetings, give members a security number and allow them to phone in their vote.

            Minority feedback can still be listened to and give equal consideration to help address minority concerns under discussions in a direct vote. Possibly producing an alternative position to vote upon that better caters to that minority concern.

            Evidently I agree your objections aren’t unsolvable. But if my fellow Green supporters don’t find democracy a cause they should champion then it’s clear the Greens are no longer a party for me.

            Waits with interest to see how other Green Party supporters feel?

      • solkta 9.1.2

        My understanding is that there is a lot more to it than simple practicality. The Party is a collective endeavour as is consensus decision making. Having the branch discuss the candidates and inform their delegates provides a group mind analysis rather than a collection of siloed individual analyses. This provides far better strategic thinking and allows for first hand knowledge of the candidates to be shared.

        The first stage of the list ranking process, the creation of the initial list, is done in the same way.

        I would very strongly oppose any move to change this. Complex decisions require complex discussion.

        • The Chairman

          “The Party is a collective endeavour as is consensus decision making”

          Yes, but in having those discussions and forming that consensuses everybody should have an equal say. Which is the fundamental principle of democracy.

          It’s bad enough we have a Representative Parliament, let alone a Representative structure within the party. Hence, this needs to change.

          • weka

            That’s not how consensus works. Maybe instead of mansplaining the Greens you could try learning how it works and why.

            • The Chairman

              Reaching a full consensus seldom happens, hence we require a direct democratic process to establish the true majority vote.

              • weka

                that just tells me you don’t understand what consensus decision making is beyond some kind of superficial dictionary meaning.

                • The Chairman

                  That just tells me you are failing to take in the wider discussion.

                  Matthew has explained the Greens process. Perhaps it’s you that needs to listen more.

        • weka

          thanks solkta, that’s a great explanation about the value of the collective and the process used.

          I also would oppose a move to one person one vote. For those reasons, but also the whole not consolidating power in Wellington and Auckland. One person one vote really is the most crude form of democracy (although it has its uses too).

          • The Chairman

            “One person one vote really is the most crude form of democracy”


            One person one vote is the very principle of democracy, where everyone is treated equally.

            I think you need to question if the Greens are the best fit for you. Or perhaps move to China

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Consensus decision making is actually highly democratic, arguably moreso than majoritarian (the type of democracy you’re used to) systems. Instead of “one person, one vote,” it’s style is “as few objections as is practically possible.” This means if there are many genuine objections to a course of action, even if a majority supports it, you don’t go ahead until you can come up with a new plan that at least addresses objections sufficiently that people will accede to consensus despite their concerns. (There is also a procedure in the Green Party for a ‘consensus-blocking vote,’ where supermajorities can push through a decision if they feel consensus is being blocked illegitimately, but this is considered a failure in decision making)

              Have a look at the non-partisan arguments for not removing the filibuster in the US senate. They’re basically arguments for consensus decision-making.

              • weka

                such a great model, imagine if we used that as a country.

              • The Chairman

                “This means if there are many genuine objections to a course of action, even if a majority supports it, you don’t go ahead until you can come up with a new plan that at least addresses objections sufficiently that people will accede to consensus despite their concerns.”


                That is what I just pointed out to you above, re under a direct system.

              • The Chairman

                You talk about consensus, yet you say: “All people who still disagree at the end of discussions can respect how a decision was reached and allow it to go forward with their objections noted, or the co-convener presiding believes allowing a 75% supermajority vote in this instance is fair”.

                So it’s not a true consensuses as some may still disagree and have their objections noted. Therefore, it’s still majority rule as the consensus is they agree to disagree.

                Nevertheless, as I keep saying this discussion/consensus process can be facilitated under a direct vote So to can the 75% super-majority.

                A direct voting system can be developed with safeguards. Therefore, you could have a direct voting system with a 75% threshold or higher if desired.

                And when it comes to the vote at the AGM, it should be the candidate winning 75% of the total vote and not 75% of the delegate vote.

                • solkta

                  “And when it comes to the vote at the AGM, it should be the candidate winning 75% of the total vote and not 75% of the delegate vote.”

                  Well that would be as about as undemocratic as you could get. For members to vote for the Co-leaders they would then need to physically get to the AGM making cost a barrier (delegates have most of their costs paid by the branch).

                  The rest of your post just shows that you are still not getting it.

                  • The Chairman

                    “Well that would be as about as undemocratic as you could get”

                    No. Robbing members of their vote and giving it to delegates is what is less democratic.

                    “For members to vote for the Co-leaders they would then need to physically get to the AGM making cost a barrier (delegates have most of their costs paid by the branch).”

                    Find a work around. Like live feed the AGM and allow a phone vote.

            • weka

              “One person one vote is the very principle of democracy, where everyone is treated equally.”

              Bullshit. I live in that kind of democracy and there is no way I am treated ‘equally’. Like I said, stop trying to mansplain the Greens and try learning what they do and why they do it. People in this thread are even explaining some of it to you and you’re not listening.

              Also, there are lots of other people to learn about democracy from, and democracy has much broader applications than the one you are purporting.

              China 🙄 Go reread what I said and see if you can figure out why you’ve headed down a dead end of your own making.

              • The Chairman

                “Bullshit. I live in that kind of democracy and there is no way I am treated ‘equally’. ”

                Not if you live here in NZ, which I gather you do. New Zealand is govern under a Representative system. Part of the reason why we’re not treated equally and why representatives fail to listen to the majority. We vote for them and they largely do what they like.

                I have been listening, and have suggested improvements to a more democratic way.

                China largely sees our democracy as crude, largely believing their system is superior.

                • weka

                  sure, but I’m not seeing you understanding what consensus decision making processes are yet, so your comments come across as one person/one vote is the best way, without looking at other system of democratic decision making.

                  When we use one person/one vote, we end up with the system we have now, where the people voted in can do what they like. Instead, we could design a system that puts in safeguards against that. That’s what the Greens did. Their genesis is in this stuff, it’s literally built into the found documents and in the processes used internally.

                  • The Chairman

                    “But I’m not seeing you understanding what consensus decision making processes are yet.”

                    Of course I understand it. Moreover, I’m pointing out how it can also be done under a more direct democratic way.

                    The main difference really comes down to the vote at the end and whether every ones vote is treated equally under a more direct voting system or unequally under the current Representative system.

                    I know where I stand on this, do you?

                    • Matthew Whitehead

                      You’re definitely missing it, Chairman.

                    • Matthew Whitehead

                      To clarify my earlier reply: Yes, the Green system is indirect, not direct, as you say. But it also has two layers of consensus to it that together safeguard against the very worries you have with representational systems- as Weka says, it isn’t an issue because usually a delegate will both be chosen by consensus, and will be someone who argued enthusiastically in favour of the consensus positions that were reached, so that they will naturally follow those positions. All people who still disagree at the end of discussions can respect how a decision was reached and allow it to go forward with their objections noted, or the co-convener presiding believes allowing a 75% supermajority vote in this instance is fair. The delegate(s) from each branch then attend the AGM and if possible, reach a consensus on a national level, or at least a 75% super-majority of them agree to make a decision. This is, for most issues, a much higher bar than reaching a direct vote majority, although for co-leader the process is relaxed a little to accomodate the fact that it’s not a yes-no proposition, so the 75% threshold merely needs to be delegates voting for a properly nominated candidate, rather than a particular candidate winning 75% of total votes. If a quarter of the delegates or more don’t support at least one existing candidates, nominations are re-opened.

                      I know this is a bugbear for you, but your issues about representative systems are issues with majoritarian representative systems, because those are the only ones you’ve known. Weka has been patiently telling you that a consensus representative system is a very different beast, and you have been completely failing to engage with her point, and simply repeating your own. It is especially more important because branches select delegates for specific meetings and issues to be considered there, not for a long term, so the system is much less risky than national elections in that regard.

                      If we were to rank representational systems in an ordinal fashion by how many rights they give to minority viewpoints, they’d go “majoritarian,” (like most national Parliaments) “supermajoritarian/minoritarian,” (like the US senate, the EU Parliament, and other deliberative or regional bodies) and finally, “consensus.” (like in the internet standards body, Japanese business, where all managers are often required to agree on business plans, or Occupy chapters while that was going on, or in Quaker meetings) All your examples you’ve given on this topic in previous threads have always been majoritarian examples.

                      In some ways, a direct vote would be a move backwards from that system, because you would by necessity have to run it on a majoritarian basis at some point rather than a consensus one, so there is much more risk that it would devolve into factionalism, and that it would create rifts within the party, and make certain groups feel like they hadn’t been heard, or would involve secret decisions. I’m considering bringing up the topic of doing a direct election, but I realise there are tricky things to sort out with that process where we would need a way of ensuring that the Green style of consultation and consensus is still maintained, and that might end up making the process more costly, (such as by requiring additional meetings for delegates to interview the co-leader, or by holding any co-leader elections after consultations with candidates is done at an AGM) which would probably mean it would be a low priority to consider. We do a direct vote on the Party List, for instance, but it’s done after an initial consultation process is finished, and then the Executive is allowed to adjust the results after the direct vote is done before they announce the results, to make them consistent with the internal party quotas for minority candidates. (which include gender, Māori candidates, caucus renewal, and south island candidates) I expect that running both an online election (it’s via secure web page and individualized email links to each member) and a delegate-based consultation process for list selection is quite costly, compared to rolling such a decision into the AGM. It would at least have the benefit that we don’t select a new co-leader each election, though, so long as you left the confidence vote in existing co-leaders in the AGM’s hands, so even if I do mention this, I’m going to be perfectly happy if I’m told we simply don’t do it for cost reasons. I don’t find the current process insufficient, as I think each branch is very careful that all members who want to be are heard.

  10. Incognito 10

    Great post, very edifying, thank you.

    I have a question regarding this part:

    Secondly, to contextualize the decision- the other option was that the Greens wouldn’t have any formal leadership role in the Caucus at all, which I think we all agree would have confused the media and the public far worse. The reason we also mandate that one co-leader must be a woman is to acknowledge the importance of diverse perspectives, and the historical disadvantage that women have faced being represented in Parliament, and to show our commitment that the Greens want to be different, and that we are a feminist party in both action and rhetoric, and this stance is unlikely to ever change.

    As the Green Party leadership is not the usual leadership that people are accustomed to, as you say, why then call it that? And if it is not really a typical leadership role in the classical sense why the strict mandate that the ‘co-leaders’ must represent both sexes? It is almost biblical 😉

    If it is more like a spokesperson’s role to the media (and other audiences, e.g. via blogs?), on specific areas of expertise requiring excellent communication skills and being a party generalist, why not have more than two spokespersons?

    I would argue that this would be more consistent with the party’s philosophy of non-hierarchical structure and (horizontal) leadership & management and its democratic principles. In my ignorance, the Greens always struck as somewhat anarchist, which is part of the attraction …

    Huge disclaimer: I have very little knowledge of the NZ Green Party and its history so feel free to ignore my silly questions and suggestions (I mean it).

    • Matthew Whitehead 10.1

      So, it does have elements of leadership to it, but co-leaders are symbolic leaders of the party, and practical leaders of the caucus. But the spokesperson part is really the core of the role. All MPs are expected to be spokespeople for Green policies, but co-leaders are expected to be able to advocate for all of it, or at least pivot to the bits that will sell well to the country in general. They are expected to lead the caucus in coming up with political strategies and dealing with the reality of Parliament.

      Having “more than two spokespeople” is the “no leaders” option, where the entire caucus is considered co-equal spokespeople. It was decided that having a leadership team, where duties are shared, is a smaller burden on the public to understand the party, while still making our approach of deciding things together, by consensus, sufficiently clear. All other leadership positions are similarly shared throughout the party, between women and men, as the obvious difference between people that can be easily put into a quota for two people, and again, as a statement of principles that the Green Party is a feminist Party that will make sure women can fight for women’s rights, and that men will support them in doing so.

      You’re right that there are elements of anarchism and other radical ideologies in Green politics. Turei was famously an anarcha-feminist before she was a Green, for instance. However, the decision making model of choice is consensus, wherever it can be reached.

  11. Anon 11

    So, other parties have ‘party presidents’ and other behind the scenes figures, does the Green Party just have delegates or is there more to it?

    • solkta 11.1

      The Party has Party Co-convenors who run the Executive and they would be the closest thing to a “president”. There are also Co-convenors of the Policy Committee. Along with the Co-leaders these people make a leadership team of six.

      • Matthew Whitehead 11.1.1

        Yes, the co-convener or co-leader (“Co-,” shared. “Convener,” chair/president) model is used for leaders in all individual units of the party, although sometimes there will be additional singleton roles within a unit that aren’t considered leadership positions. These are colloquially called “co-cos” 😉 Branches, (electorate committees, basically) networks, (identity-based groups, such as the Young Greens, Green Women’s Network, or Rainbow Greens) and as Solkta also says, the three branches of the leadership structure, all have co-cos. The co-leaders are the conveners for Caucus in addition to the symbolic leaders of the Party.

  12. cleangreen 12

    While Julie Anne Genter has been aggressively constantly fighting in the public media for our flagging Kiwirail freight system I ask, – what has Marama Davidson ever done publicly said in the press to save our rail freight policy?????

    Marama has been silently strange about saving rail freight movements and lower the truck gridlocked roads that are now killing many and our environment, so I would need to see a serious policy from Marmara as Shaw and Genter already have made clear policies for rail, which is in line with Green Party rail policy.

    Marama let us see what you have to offer to save our rail freight movements and save our roads from truck gridlock?


    • solkta 12.1

      Marama is not the Green spokesperson for Transport but Julie Anne is. Marama can offer the same as Julie Anne, the party policy, but with a lot less detailed knowledge.

      • cleangreen 12.1.1

        solkta; said “Marama can offer the same as Julie Anne, the party policy, but with a lot less detailed knowledge.”

        That is not where the issue is at I again state;

        Green party historically always been very active on transport issues as transport causes very heavy (43% of total climate change emissions) (NIWA) & factual statements made by past Labour Minister of Transport Pete Hodgson in 2004.

        it seems I have never heard Marama Davidson even mention the environmental importance of rail freight yet which will conflict with James Shaw as the ‘tall poppy’ of the Labour lead ‘policy change on climate change.

        As James Shaw is the Minister for climate change, and Jacinda has said this climate change is her ‘nuclear moment of her generation’ !!!!!

        So Marama needs to step up now, and state the need for transferring some of about half of the freight of our 92% road freight back to rail to save our planet!!!!

        Don’t we need this? – as it is the main plank of the ruling party policy directive now, and a clear goal of the green party leader j?????

        • solkta

          “it seems I have never heard Marama Davidson even mention the environmental importance of rail freight”

          Unless you are stalking her closely i am not surprised. The same could be said for the other MPs except Julie Anne and James.

          It seems i have never heard Julie Anne speak about the social importance of reducing child poverty. But that is rather meaningless since i have never been on the campaign trail with her.

          • cleangreen

            Partly right you may be.
            But we are talking about transport here specifically and i am challenging Marama Davidson on the transport issue as i have yet to hear her mention anything about the road/rail issues.

            I only listen to the real messages of politicians that “resonate” in the lameness press and julie Anne has been very strong on rail as a way to reduce the truck gridlocked roads, that we now have so dangerous today.

            Two truck accidents again today for instance, with one truck blocking the whole east coast roading system; see here below.

            I have requested a meeting with the minister of transport on this issue now through our local MP Stuart Nash. It is vital we hear from the green party leaders on this issue now.


            State Highway 2 closed near Gisborne after truck overturns
            NZ Herald
            State Highway 2 between Opotiki and Gisborne is closed after a truck overturned.
            The driver is uninjured but the road will probably be closed for most of the day, police said.
            Heavy lifting equipment is needed to clear the road.
            Motorists are being advised to avoid the Matawai area or delay their travel.
            The New Zealand Transport Agency advised drivers to take State Highway 35 around the East Cape but warned the detour would take around 4.5 hours instead of the usual two hours on SH2.

            • solkta

              “julie Anne has been very strong on rail”

              So you want Marama to take the Transport portfolio from Julie Anne before you would consider her for Co-leader?

        • Matthew Whitehead

          There’s indications both MPs intend to stay on if the other wins the leadership contest, so Genter will be advocating for kiwifreight regardless of who becomes female co-leader.

          Marama’s not going to stop advocacy for rail if she wins, but she may have to defer to Genter on expert-level questions. We’ve seen Shaw advocate for it, so I doubt Marama would miss the opportunity if it were to come up, but as spokesperson on child poverty, she’s hardly going to be working rail into her answers where it’s not relevant, and she’s not gonna get many questions where she would even have a chance to touch on transport policy. She has done advocacy, however, for expanding access to public transport for people who can’t afford it, which I think is absolutely important, too.

          I know rail is your big personal issue, but it is worth considering that there are other important Green policies, and rail isn’t going to solve the climate crisis on its own, I’m afraid, it’s just one part of our strategy for addressing one (admittedly quite big) slice of our emissions in New Zealand. You should be looking at more than just advocacy on rail when considering a co-leader, as you’re not always going to have a transport spokesperson in the race.

  13. Sparky 13

    I do like the Greens approach of a two party lead. It would be good to see other parties take a similar stance as I feel its great for consensus and tends to water down ego’s.

    I applaud them too for being one of the few to take a stance against the worst aspects of the TPPA but whether they can make a difference is difficult to say. To date it really looks like Labour are setting the agenda.

    • Carolyn_Nth 13.1

      The only solution is people power. So we need to support those campaigning for real change where it matters – and no to the TPPA is a biggie.

    • savenz 13.2

      +1 Sparky. It was very disappointing that the Greens were so poor at communicating that they were strongly against TPPA last election because that issue is one that crosses both the left and right divide. AKA – centralists do not like the TPPA. Sadly never capitalised on, last election by the Greens and not even now when it looks like it might be signed.

      • Matthew Whitehead 13.2.1

        The Greens actually talked about it quite clearly and a lot, it just didn’t get picked up by media. In many aspects, if media’s not interested in talking to you on an issue and you’ve already used all the publicity stunts you can get to try and attract attention, you can’t do anything about it.

    • Matthew Whitehead 13.3

      The Greens can’t stop the TPPA without changing Labour’s mind, because currently both Labour and National agree it should proceed. This was always the danger.

      They’ll continue trying, but this is just another reason people need to change who the dominant party is on the left if they want a genuine change in policy.

      • savenz 13.3.1

        Greens talked About TPPA but never capitalised on it. Who remembers Greens talking about TPPA in the last few month of the election?

        Nope is was eclipsed by Metiria/Green social welfare policy, the resignations and then trying to get people to vote for the Green MP’s themselves…. Before that it was housing.

        When Labour shut up about housing for a few moments and how they were gonna fix the crisis, they actually did better. The reason being everyone had different ideas of how to fix it and Labour (and Greens) didn’t necessarily marry up with the voters they needed to lock in.

        Jacinda could barbecue like John Key and seemed like an ordinary and humble person from Morrensville, and took attention away from all the Labour policies (housing and taxes) talked about by Labour.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Everything was eclipsed by that story, mate. Yes, we did still talk about the issue, but you have to remember that both the ups and downs of the campaign were taking up a lot of oxygen. At the end it was very hard to be heard over Jacindamania. 🙂

          I agree making the entire election just about one issue is bad, but I don’t actually think having different policy approaches is what hurt. I think it’s that the electorate wanted to know there was a more well-rounded plan than just addressing housing- I actually talked around a few people I met by discussing things that way, saying yes, the campaign had been about housing a lot because it was important, but also because properly moving investment away from speculation on housing would free up money in the private economy for other, more productive pursuits, and would let the government solve problems more effectively in other areas, and what kind of economy do we want, etc…

          I’d also say there’s a big difference between talking about the recieved message through media is very different than actually going and getting the message first-hand, which it doesn’t sound like you did very much of from how you’re talking. The direct communications were very different to what you describe, even if you simply limited it to “reading policy highlights on the web.”

          • savenz

            I think that’s a co out, because I was on the Green’s email list and got practically nothing about TPPA. It was a major difference between them and Labour because a lot of people thought Labour would renege on TPPA (which looks like is well founded). You can’t blame the media about Greens own emails going out!

            Something went wrong, and the reason I’m bringing it up, is because I’m not sure they are learning from mistakes and missed opportunities and also the effect singular MP’s crusades can derail the overall Greens message.

  14. esoteric pineapples 14

    I’m torn between two candidates, feeling like a fool, wanting to vote for both of them is breaking all the rules

    • solkta 14.1

      “vote for both of them is breaking all the rules”

      Actually no. If your branch meeting to instruct delegates came to the same conclusion and say it had two delegates (most branches have at least two), then those delegates could actually vote differently one for each.

      • weka 14.1.1

        How much discussion happens in the decision/voting meeting? e.g. is it basically a vote, or is there a whole process there too?

        • solkta

          Delegates vote by secret ballot at the Party AGM. Each candidate gives a speech and answers questions and the voting papers are distributed to delegates who have to return these later in the day. If delegates feel the need they can discuss any new matters or uncertainties with people present from their branch and/or province.

          I guess if there was some great last minute scandal the Party Co-convenors might call for discussion, but the assumption is that there has been in-depth discussion at the Branch level and that the delegates come well informed by their branch.

          Last time when James was elected all the candidates (including one not in caucus) toured the country meeting with the membership at the Branch and Province level. All the issues got well discussed locally.

          This time a mixture of physical meetings and video conferences will be used and delegates will vote electronically after a video conference that will mimic the AGM part.

  15. savenz 15

    Even though she’s not officially a candidate I think Eugenie Sage is the best candidate due to her conservation knowledge. Her gentle persona and would be more of a collaboration with Shaw who also comes across as quiet and gentle. A return to the Jeanette Fitzsimons days when there seemed more of a balance between the leaders and she was voted as the one the public most trusted (based on the idea who the public would prefer to mind their children).

    I personally am disappointed there is less environmentally activist MP’s left in the Green Party. Social agendas don’t seem that popular or easy to agree on with the wider public based on the fates of the Maori party, Mana and Alliance and even the Greens own fortunes last election time.

    It also frees up both Davidson and Gender to be more activist as MP’s rather than their actions always being attributed directly to the Green brand which as we can see from past actions no matter how worthy it might be a cause, once voters get their backs up or don’t like or agree with the messages, it’s hard to get them to vote, less Green MP’s in parliament and the wider brand of Greens is damaged.

    • Carolyn_Nth 15.1

      And yet Jeannette Fitzsimons was a strong supporter of Metiria Turei in August last year.

      Why would the GP listen to someone who is anti- their charter, vision, etc, and who wants to narrow it down to a thin strand of focus on the environment? And who misrepresents their history, policies, and practices?

      • savenz 15.1.1

        It’s not about whether you support Metiria or not it’s about what the public thought about it. Clearly they didn’t like what happened.

        So all the Green activists focusing on social policy can do that, but you’ll be diluting Green power in parliament because we live in a democracy and NZ history has shown what happens when strong people come in with their own ideas and agendas which are not universally popular and derail the party.

        It’s happened to Labour, it’s happened to National in a way.

        The co leader should not be based on whose considered the best politician or the most popular within the party or best networker, it should be on, who will bring the most change of the Green agenda, and that comes from getting more public votes, or even like Sue Bradford bringing meaningful policy changes. And she didn’t need to be a co leader to do that.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          This is the same discussion we’ve always had about Green politics. “Why don’t you just talk about the environment?” Because a conservationist approach affects all policies, and single-issue political parties end up dead. New Zealand First never gets asked why they don’t focus on nationalism when they veer into socially conservative or economically populist territory. (or arguably, why Labour focuses on policies that don’t directly affect workers, lol) It’s unreasonable to single out the Greens for aiming policy at the wider electorate. I can understand wanting more focus on environmentalism, but that’s not what you seem to be talking about.

          And Marama is the Sue Bradford-type campaign this time, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about there.

          • savenz

            Firstly I think Greens have always had a socialist social justice policy so that’s not new at all. What went wrong was that was highlighted as the BIG issue for the Greens last election and it didn’t appeal to enough voters as their BIG issue and caused quite a lot of ructions within the party, after the confession.

            In addition many of the main Green ideas were very niche in the last few years. Trains for the Shore for example is a very niche transport policy and it remained highlighted on Greens website for a long time. (if you lived in other parts of the country clearly Trains for Shore were not a priority). Trains for Locals with a grass roots approach would have been better.

            In Auckland there was confusion between Chloe’s Mayoral campaign promises including rates based on land not land and improvements the opposite of most social policyists would expect, but great for the rich with big houses or developers building luxury apartments!

            Gen Zero managed to get the backs up of most home owners and was used to help the Natz push through the undemocratic zoning changes of the undemocratic supercity. Somehow Gen Zero claimed be the ‘youth’ representation (heavily sponsored by corporations however) and supported developments and developers including the PPP sky bridge for example. Greens in some ways became green washed with so many other groups championing the Green message that didn’t seem that Green.

            Greens were not clear where they stood on many issues and who they aligned with. Maybe they thought they were clear, but I think they got bogged down or dragged into stuff that just didn’t seem like Green policy.

            It was never clear where Greens stood on immigration and overseas work permits one of the big issues going on in Auckland and clearly influencing housing, transport and infrastructure.

            You can yet compare Marama with Sue Bradford until she gets members bills through and takes a practical approach. My issues with the current Greens is that they talk a lot, sometimes do a bit of protest, but then nothing much. Saying how great women are is different from getting a bill through for example where corporations might have to document and explain why they pay differently between men and women employees, for example.

            Sue Bradford was successful in getting cross party support for difficult issues like the anti smacking bill which apparently has dropped youth offending and was a great win for abused children.

            It’s not clear when Greens will focus on policy like stopping our water being exported for next to nothing? Stopping the irrigation projects in Canterbury? Cleaning up our lakes and rivers starting with Auckland who gets sewerage after most rains into the water ways including near one of the most heavily polluted areas, Coxes Bay, which is in Jacinda’s and Julie Anne’s electorate.

            Before any more development maybe Greens should safe guard what is already in NZ, because more houses, more sewerage and more rates isn’t working for many people, and it’s not working for renters either whose wages are falling, houses being taken up by workers deemed better, as is their job security.

            Benefits are the ambulance at the bottom. That’s the problem. It was never going to resonate for enough people if that was the only policy being debated weeks before the election.

            Instead of benefits they need to have more focus on issues effecting a bigger group of people like lower wages, globalisation and trade deals and link that to immigration, surveillance and accountability of public servants, less job security, less quality of life, poorer services, increasing cost of living while wages are dropping, increasing pollution, assets sales, poorer and poorer quality of water while the so called remedy of paying more for something (metro water and transport in Auckland) that seems to be getting worse, overfishing, mass survellance etc etc.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              So, comparing the luck the Greens have had in opposition with the luck they had when Sue B was in a government support party that only needed to convince either the Alliance or the Māori Party in addition to Labour instead of New Zealand First are vastly different animals. The barrier to passing members bills was much lower in those cases, especially because both National and Labour were much more slack about putting members’ bills in the ballot than they are now, so the Greens got a lot of bills drawn, when they’ve only had one heard before Parliament since the new government formed, and it was one that was drawn under the previous Government, at that.

              Yes, Marama hasn’t had as much success yet, but you’re comparing someone with a longer career under much easier circumstances with someone who’s had a shorter parliamentary career, almost all of it in opposition.

              Chlöe’s mayoral policies are indicative of Chlöe’s personal priorities. The only policy impact she will have as a backbencher is in terms of what members bills she drafts.

              The Greens have been pretty clear on both values and rhetoric on immigration after the members set them straight, and have been very pro-migration. They have been clear about stopping water bottling for export without introducing water charges for ordinary use.

              You’re also conflating reaction to welfare policy with reaction to Metiria Turei. I actually think the Greens have significantly moved the needle on welfare policy, despite not having decisively won the argument on it due to how messy things got with her resignation.

              I agree with all your concerns, but you seem to be living in an alternative universe where the Greens haven’t been talking about any of this stuff, and don’t have detailed policies on all of it that outline at the least a general approach on most specifics. Yes, the party agrees with you on all of it, but they’re in probably the most difficult position any New Zealand left-wing support partner has been in compared to their support level, where they need to reconcile every policy with both Labour and New Zealand First. Give them some time to get results, and be aware that backbenchers and other non-ministers will have more difficulty passing bills than they would have under the Clark government, even if it will be easier than under the Key/English government.

              • savenz

                The Greens u turn on being pro migration and pro more development instead of sustainability was part of their down fall in the polls. So many Green voters are anti development and want protection against that.

                So many places in the world are overrun with people – can’t there be a few places left where there is a low population and seek to preserve the natural environment. Greenies switched to Labour.

                Most of those people also do not agree with TPPA being signed – so there is a problem because there is no political party that exists that wants to keep NZ with a low population and not be a party to trade deals that seek to exploit and control resources and IP internationally in that country outside of their own laws.

    • cleangreen 15.2

      I support your rationale savenz 100%.

  16. The Chairman 16

    “Marama Davidson represents the Green Party’s focus on economic justice…”

    “Genter represents the party’s focus on social justice…”

    As neo-liberalism is so ingrained and is causing so much widespread damage (to the extent that a even a number of those seeking social justice are negatively impacted) surely economic justice is the one to champion?

    • Carolyn_Nth 16.1

      Actually I’d say Davidson is strongly for economic AND social justice – they are intertwined.

      From Davidson’s campaign speech:

      Those who try and say the Greens should stick to our knitting and only focus on environmental issues, misunderstand our Party and our history. They also ignore the inescapable truth that the environmental crises we face are caused primarily by economic and social factors.

      In the lead up to joining the Green Party, as part of my activism work I often found myself on panels and at rallies with Green Party spokespeople, and was affirmed with the striking alignment between what they would be saying, and what I would be saying as an wāhine Māori environmental and social justice activist.

      Shortly after entering parliament, she was one of the women her were ejected for standing against sexual assault and harassment. She joined the flotilla protesting in support of Palestinians. She campaigns for strong communities and Maori kaupapa.

      I have relished being a voice for kaupapa Māori aspirations, and to have ensured the Greens are a constant and regular presence in Māori media and communities for the first time.

      In the last election I was so proud to have put universal te reo Māori in schools on the political agenda.

      I have loved serving as one of your Green MPs with every fibre of my soul.

      She is such a strong community activist and leader for social and economic justice provides a strong balance to Shaw’s managerialist approach and focus on climate change and formal economic systems (from above). And as such, I think she is the best co-leader candidate at this time.

      • The Chairman 16.1.1

        “Actually I’d say Davidson is strongly for economic AND social justice – they are intertwined.”

        In areas such as welfare, the gender gap etc… yes, there is a crossover, but in areas such as sexual assault/harassment, abortion, etc… not so much.

        Nevertheless, I was quoting Matthew. But I agree Davidson supports both.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          They both support each other’s priorities, as I said in the post. They’re just a bit more focused on their area of speciality. Genter believes in economic justice and environmentalism. Davidson believes in social justice and environmentalism. And if she gets into the race, Sage also believes in both social justice and economic justice.

          If you’re going to quote me, don’t do it out of context of the wider thesis stated earlier in my post that this is a battle of emphasis on the party’s approach, rather than to suppress the other priorities of the party.

          • The Chairman

            I didn’t take your quote out of context, hence the ‘etc’. Moreover, there was no intent to offend.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Nah, no offense taken, but I disagree with your reply, even so caveated, and I feel like my post should have made that clear. 🙂

    • weka 16.2

      we have neoliberalism because of social injustice.

      • The Chairman 16.2.1

        Really? Care to expand on that and provide an example of how?

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Are you kidding? The whole thesis of neoliberalism is “we will use people’s discontent at social injustice to distract from our economic agenda, by being slightly more liberal than normal right-wingers on social issues, while still stealing all the wealth for the elite.” It is basically the John Key doctrine.

          • weka

            heh, yes that too. I was thinking more of the reason those sociopaths (including the earlier ones) got into power was because society enables white, wealthy, men. That’s a social justice issue (and yeah, fuck the people on all sides who misuse solidarity politics).

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Also incredibly valid. There’s a notable lack of women, Māori, queer people, and other oppressed groups willing to side with blatantly neoliberal politics, although sadly not with centrist politics that enables it by lack of opposition. (ie. being a weak or triangulating Labour Party, or supporting New Zealand First, whose stated opposition to neoliberalism is matched by a lack of economic radicalism that means they’ll never really defeat it, just redirect some of its profits to the regions)

            • Carolyn_Nth

              And also, any economic policy has underlying social values built into it, one way or another: the right includes values that strongly emphasis competition and individualism; the left tends to include values like collaboration, equality of outcomes, etc.

              To try to divorce economics from social arrangements is futile.

            • The Chairman

              “White, wealthy, men.”

              Ruth Rrichardson, Jenny Shipley, to name a couple are not white men.

              • weka

                actually they pretty much were politically. The reason they were enabled in the National Party and the government was because they shared the same patriarchal and neoliberal values* and they were bloody useful in making the revolution more acceptable to the masses precisely because they were women. Matthew made that point above.

                People who hold different values (e.g. not neoliberal ones, or patriarchal ones), get actively excluded from positions of power. Cultures based around matrifocal values for instance would never have developed neoliberalism because it runs counter to those values. The people that wanted neoliberalism where the people that had the power to make it happen – older, white men (and their allies).

                *I once heard Marilyn Waring, herself an ex-Nat, say that Shipley came into parliament with good politics around women and wanting to do good things. It’s not really any surprise that she couldn’t maintain that. The good ones get out.

                • weka

                  this is why some people hate the Greens so much, because they’re basically saying we will never be like that. Some of the lefties here don’t trust them because they’re not overtly against capitalism, and there’s some fair criticism in there, but the real danger is that they are making inroads at the social and cultural level which will enable a different set of values and thus a different kind of politics (and economics). That’s why the social justice stuff is so important to economic change.

                  • The Chairman

                    “They are making inroads at the social and cultural level which will enable a different set of values and thus a different kind of politics (and economics). That’s why the social justice stuff is so important to economic change.”

                    Yes, but that is over the long term, cultural change is a long and dragged out process. A society’s culture doesn’t change overnight.

                    And with the amount of economic injustice taking place we don’t have the luxury to wait. People are dying out there.

                    Whereas, economic change can happen in a instance (in comparison) with a simple change of law or policy direction.

                    So while we are working on one (social issues) the economics must be at the forefront.

                    • weka

                      That the Greens work on the long term doesn’t stop them from working in the here and now. Working in the here and now is dependent upon having a strategy for the long haul, otherwise next year or next term there is no capacity to work in the now.

                      Shaw’s recent State of the Planet speech laid out 5 pieces of legislation that he thought were critical for the neoliberal revolution to have worked. He’s talking about taking that back, not to the left but to sustainability.

                      Yes, the Greens can walk and chew gum at the same time.

                      “So while we are working on one (social issues) the economics must be at the forefront.”

                      If you don’t change the underpinning social issues, you’re just tinkering around the edges of neoliberalism. They’ll let a few things change and then next time they’re in power they’ll have a strategy for how to prevent that happening again.

                      Older white men in power is a massive problem and they’re the ones who don’t want the economic change you are suggesting.

                • The Chairman

                  “Actually they pretty much were politically.”

                  And that’s the point. Male or female is largely irrelevant as it’s their political positioning that counts at the end of the day.

                  Therefore, a right wing party made up of all females would be little different to an all male party when it comes to pushing their right wing agenda.

                  The people that want and support neo-liberalism are not exclusively male.

                  “Shipley came into parliament with good politics around women and wanting to do good things”

                  And as Matthew pointed out, it was part of the social distraction from the economics.

                  And there is no way Shipley was a good one, not from a left perspective.

                  • weka

                    “Therefore, a right wing party made up of all females would be little different to an all male party when it comes to pushing their right wing agenda.”

                    You’d never get a RW party made up of solely women. For the reasons above, which you have basically ignored.

                    You’re confusing gender with politics. I haven’t said that the people who want and support neoliberalism as exclusively male. I’ve said that the system enables older white men to have what they want, and that’s why the sociopaths who forced the revolution were able to do so. I think it’s also true that older white men are more likely to want neoliberalism, but that doesn’t mean all older white men do.

                    You’re arguing gender-blindness. I’m arguing that the power structures in society both enable certain groups of people and are attractive to certain groups of people. Neoliberalism arose from white patriarchal cultures, not other kinds.

                    • The Chairman

                      “You’re confusing gender with politics.”
                      No. You’re the one pointing to white males. I stated gender is largely irrelevant.

                      While I agree power largely sits in the hands of old white males, giving more power to females (in itself) isn’t a cure for neo-lberalism.

                      You are talking about massive cultural change when it comes to moving the populace off neo-liberalism. And of course this takes time.

                      Which isn’t to say I oppose it, just there is more we can do now that will have a far quicker and more direct effect.

                      Thus, while working on both this (the economics) should be at the forefront. And it will be an ongoing battle. Winning in political battles never means the war is over. The right will always regroup and come at you again. You know support of neo-liberalism is similar to a religious belief, thus it’s doubtful one can ever totally kill it off. No matter how hard one tries to change the culture.

                      A number keep saying the Greens can walk and chew gum too. Yet, when are they going to display this ability when it comes to increasing benefits and low incomes?

                  • weka

                    “And there is no way Shipley was a good one, not from a left perspective.”

                    I didn’t say she was. You’re not listening.

          • The Chairman

            “Are you kidding? The whole thesis of neoliberalism is “we will use people’s discontent at social injustice to distract from our economic agenda, by being slightly more liberal than normal right-wingers on social issues, while still stealing all the wealth for the elite.” It is basically the John Key doctrine.”

            And largely Labour before them.

            But dead right, Matthew.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              If you’re referring to the Lange Government, yes. If you mean the Clark Government, I would say their problem was triangulation, not neoliberalism, where they felt like they could defeat neoliberalism by compromising with it.

    • savenz 16.3

      I’d say after Rogernomics and Ruth Richardson, the wider public fears and loathes economic reform. It’s like a plague on a party to campaign on that. The only reason John Key managed what he did was that the media hid it and the public still have zero idea and thought he was a nice man who liked to barbecue, but were getting an inkling of something was not right, which is why JK had to go.

      • The Chairman 16.3.1

        I’d say due to the economic reforms of Rogernomics and Ruth Richardson there is a good number seeking change back to a more decent society.

        Jacinda managed to capture some of that momentum for change. But as most of us know, she doesn’t really represent it – i.e. TPP.

        • savenz

          Change is different from economic reform.

          The welfare system and state housing for example that Labour started were positive changes, not economic reform.

          It was after they dipped into economic reform with Rogernomics and their current obsession on trade deals and big exporters, and signing Kiwi’s up to a kind of economic and social noose, that they started losing support among middle NZ.

          • The Chairman

            “Change is different from economic reform.”

            Not if change includes economic reform.

            “The welfare system and state housing for example that Labour started were positive changes, not economic reform.”

            State housing came about due to market failure to provide. And it’s costs have to be budgeted for, so it is economic related. And so to is welfare as it provides incomes which stimulates the wider economy.

  17. Dot 17

    Best wishes Julie Anne
    I am impressed by your work load and sincerity, experience matters too.

  18. savenz 18

    Just saw Lucy Lawless get a mention on TDB, have to say if she ever ran for the Greens as a co leader, she’d change their fortunes overnight and get the public inspired to vote for them.

    • McFlock 18.1

      The green fortunes are pretty good, really. The trouble with three-yearly elections is that you stumble for one, you wear it for three years. They’ll bounce back next time.

      And frankly, even looking at Ardern, a party that “bounces” based on one leader can just as easily flop – although I still think the main reason the leadership change worked was because the new leader sort of reflected the differences with the nats that already existed in policy. Although he also would be a good leader, Robertson wouldn’t have been so different from Blinglish, but nor would Ardern have had the same bounce vs Bennett or Kaye.

      But all else being equal, leaders should be largely interchangable in a solid party. Like, I can’t see anyone in the Greens who’d be a flat co-leader.

      • Matthew Whitehead 18.1.1

        Ardern would absolutely have had the same bounce vs Bennet, or Collins, for that matter. Arguably, you could say she would have had more difficulty against Adams or Kaye, but I think she would have come off as more genuine than either of them. Besides, there’s no indication they’re seriously being considered as successors to English- although maybe to Bennet, perhaps.

        • McFlock

          I excluded Collins because of the generational gap and her, well, viciousness.

          Ardern is definitely more genuine than the other two, actually caring about people does that, but my point is that being animated, younger, enthusiastic, and yes female underlined the differences from a slower, more deliberate, older, man. They were differences that Little just didn’t have. So the less interested voter just saw Tweedledum and Tweedledee, each saying the other is a fool and their own policies are better.

          Whereas against Kaye, the bounce might still have been there but just not as dramatic – but then Little vs Bennett/Kaye wouldn’t have had Labour in the twenties to start with, is my guess.

    • Matthew Whitehead 18.2

      Nah, she’d get smeared and/or ignored the exact same way the media does with all greenies do while in office, and then santaclausified after she left. Lucy Lawless is every bit as radical as Marama Davidson or Metiria Turei, she just has more name recognition and less parliamentary experience. Besides, I think she’s probably happy working with Greenpeace more than being a Green Party candidate, and that’s just as impactful IMO.

  19. Tuppence Shrewsbury 19

    Given the green party support for the electoral integrity bill, won’t this become an all or nothing race for each individual to make sure that they win? it certainly adds a large amount of power to the co-leader post leadership election.

  20. Muttonbird 20

    JAG is getting an alarming amount of support from right wing National supporters. It reminds me of their comical attempt to drive the Greens into coalition talks with National post election.

    They see JAG as a soft Green, ripe for the picking, more easily convinced to work with National because in their view she doesn’t have ‘social conscience’ credentials.

    • Matthew Whitehead 20.1

      Just because they see her that way doesn’t mean they’re right. She’s constantly winning fights with whoever their roads, sorry, “transport” spokesperson is at the time because she actually knows her stuff, and she’s not afraid to step into debates of general ideology, either. I talk a lot about how Kaye would be a good Leader for National, but I don’t say that because I think she would be easy picking or make National more compatible with Labour or the Greens, I say it because she would at least move the direction of travel in the right direction and she’s the only option they’ve got that has literally any charisma. If I wanted to sabotage them, I’d be cheerleading for them to choose Collins. Likewise, the endorsements from the Right for Julie Anne are likely similar to my endorsement of Kaye: She’s bloodied their nose, while still being the closest to their point of view, and they respect that. (Except in Nikki Kaye’s case, it’s more like “she’s been less than embarrassing,” rather than having bloodied anyone’s nose)

      Julie Anne would be an excellent co-leader, and we should remember that National tried similar tricks with Shaw, and we chose him anyway, and he has been as strong on Green ideology, and as difficult for National to handle, as those of us supporting him said he would be. I expect no less than that if we do choose Julie Anne Genter as our new co-leader.

      • Muttonbird 20.1.1

        Genter would be an excellent co-leader. Not disputing that.

        National did try the same tricks on Shaw but Shaw did rebut. The point I’m trying to make (and I should have said it more explicitly) is that Genter has not rebutted National, yet. I think she needs to in the same way Shaw has done.

        Your endorsement of Kaye, in that she’s likely to ‘move in the right direction’ is telling because that’s exactly what Hosking and Farrar are thinking, that Genter is likely to ‘move in the right direction’.

        Question is, which direction are we moving?

    • weka 20.2

      What they fail to understand is that the Green Party active membership (who will inform the vote) doesn’t give a shit about National’s priorities 😉 Still, I guess it helps with the longer term strategy of lying to NZ about the Greens by trying to convince people that the Greens would actually support a National government.

  21. Incognito 21

    Special thanks to Matthew Whitehead, weka, solkta, and a few others for taking the time to answer and explain so well. The comments are deep & rich and I suspect I will return to this Post and re-read many of the comments.

    The Green Party keeps challenging me, in my thinking and in my way of doing things, which is extremely valuable to me. I particularly like the non-dualistic approach to all pressing issues and the holistic & integrated thinking that underpins their politics – other parties are heavy reductionists and focus too much on single-topic and singular emotive issues and their solutions often don’t go much further than a short-lived ad hoc ‘feel good’ emotion rather than a fundamental change (or radical reform, if necessary) that delivers sustained real & meaningful improvement.

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