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James Shaw responds to Rodney Hide’s Herald column on the Greens leadership

Written By: - Date published: 11:46 am, April 12th, 2015 - 41 comments
Categories: greens, Politics, rodney hide, spin - Tags: ,

Rodney Hide suggested in the Herald this morning that if James Shaw was leader of the Greens there would be a greater chance they could go into coalition with National.  James Shaw does not think so.  From Facebook:

“Oh great. A leadership endorsement from Rodney Hide.

There’s a column about the Green co-leadership in the Herald on Sunday today written by former ACT leader Rodney Hide, declaring:

‘Are the Greens green or red? If green, they will open up the possibility of supporting National and will elect James Shaw their new co-leader. If red, they will stay glued to Labour and vote Kevin Hague.’

Okay. Firstly, I don’t think a single mainstream commentator writing about the co-leadership understands that the Greens are a democratic party and that our coalition preferences are decided by the members, not the caucus or the co-leaders. Is ‘democracy’ really such a difficult concept for our political commentariat to get their heads around?

Prior to the last two elections the membership has directed the caucus that a Green-National coalition is ‘highly unlikely.’

The barrier to such a coalition isn’t that we’re a left-wing party. National went into coalition with the Maori Party, after all (and look how well that turned out for the Maori Party!) The problem is that we’re an environmental party, and the majority of National’s policies, from subsidising greenhouse gas emissions, to seabed mining, to fossil fuel and mineral extraction in our national parks, to the limitless expansion of dairy conversion and the weakening of water quality standards, and ecological carnage in our waterways are explicitly anti-environmental.

A coalition with this National government would be very damaging to the Green Party. It would be very good for National though. It would give them an extra term in government and let them pretend that they were a ‘blue-green’ party. That’s the real motive behind these calls for the Greens to reposition ourselves with National.

My personal opinion on all of this is that Labour and the Greens should go into the 2017 election campaign campaigning together as a strong alternative government. That’s what Labour and the Alliance did in 1999 when they swept the previous National government from power. During the 2014 campaign the high point in the polls for both the Greens and Labour was just after we launched the NZPower policy. We looked like a united alternative. Briefly. This suggests that we are both rewarded when we act like a credible partnership The decision is with the members – and with Labour – but that’s what I’d like to see happen.

As co-leader I will continue to make our party credible on economic issues. And I will gladly work with National – and any politician from any party – to make progress on climate change, the most daunting political challenge in human history. I will not betray the democratic wishes of the members of the Green Party. I will not enter into a coalition that would betray the values of the party. And I’ll be highly unlikely to take political advice from Rodney Hide.”

41 comments on “James Shaw responds to Rodney Hide’s Herald column on the Greens leadership ”

  1. Reality 1

    Great response. Better get back to your dancing Rodney. Just don’t drop your partner next time.

  2. Clemgeopin 2

    Don’t trust the right wing crooks, be it Key, Joyce, Farrar, the tax payer’s union among others or Rodney Hide, the dishonest perk-misusing-perk-busting fart.

    • aerobubble 2.1

      The whole point surely of Northland was to give Key a partner for a fourth term, Peters. That would be the snide view of it. Key snide fourth term.

      Get it, Green supporters can give back just as well, only problem is media picks up the phone for Rodney.

      National-Maori govt has arrived finally, see how that works Greens, hehe.

  3. weka 3

    Great to see this up for discussion instead of Hide’s spin. Thanks.

    Also good to see Shaw stating his position clearly.

  4. Skinny 4

    Shaw probably didn’t go far enough regarding a Green/Red coalition. It would certainly benefit both party’s if they countered Nationals spin merchants with a different approach.

    Every election campaign the Tory’s have trotted out ‘hysteria type nonsense’ about the Greens that freak out a large bloc of gullible voters who get scared off voting the Greens, and too a lesser extent Labour. Basically falling for the bulshit safe pair of hands crap the Nat’s spin.

    Therefore if the Greens & Labour worked together on a handful of common policies (same), ones that will counter the spin the Tories trot out. I kindly feel the Greens would be welling, however Labour not so. Remembering it worked in Aussie.

  5. Karen 5

    I now understand why James Shaw is seen as leadership material. Excellent to see him respond so quickly.

    • weka 5.1

      +1 He’s probably still my pick.

      • Karen 5.1.1

        I still prefer Kevin Hague, mainly because he has been around long enough for me to know where he stands on most issues. Shaw is still a bit of an unknown quantity.

        • weka

          That’s very true, and it’s hard to know where Shaw sits with the beyond left/right thing and whether he wants to see a shift over time within the GP. He did however state clearly that he’s not in favour of the membership remit on coalitions changing. That and his statement today make me trust him more, not because I agree with all of his politics but because he is clearly aligned with the GP kaupapa on democracy.

          I also suspect he has an x factor that will make him more able to take on Key and co. Not sure if Hague has that.

          (great that the GP has so many good candidates to choose from).

          • Maui

            I get the feeling Shaw would be able to draw voters in from other parties more so than Hague, he has the pizzazz factor. I’m not saying Hague wouldn’t make a good leader, he just comes across a bit flat when addressing the media and that I think leads to people tuning out or reinforcing negative stereotypes of the Greens.

    • Tracey 5.2

      and the nous to turn it to his advantage. and Green advantage.

  6. Sacha 6

    The bullshittery of Hide and chums falls at the first hurdle when they claim Russel Norman moved the Greens to the left – by wearing suits and talking economics, presumably. That our media give a platform for such obvious nonsense shows how far they have fallen from their original professional standards.

  7. Peter Watt 7

    Confirms my opinion that Rodney Hide is irrelevant to politics and political insight in 2015. Don’t read his column but pleased to have had this response notified.

  8. ropata 8

    Rodney is as irrelevant as Roger Douglas or Richard Prebble. His party is a shipwreck but even then they didn’t want him. He was just a lobbyist for big business (trucking in particular), pretending to care about working people, but when it really mattered he decided to help National screw Aucklanders with a megacity rush job and higher GST. That is pretty much against all the “liberal” pricinples he claimed. I would rather take Dai Henwood’s political advice any day.

  9. fisiani 9

    Shaw would be the clever choice for the Greens but when have the Greens ever been clever.

    • weka 9.1

      Yet they picked Norman last time, which was a smart move.

      • fisiani 9.1.1

        Not according to the voters who kept rejecting him.

        • *David Attenborough voice*

          And here we see the rightwing spinner in his natural habitat, attempting to ward off leftwing threats by trying to confuse “electorate vote” and “party vote”. Although the rightwing spinner does not realise this, his behaviour unwittingly reveals how much his species inherently hate democracy.

        • Macro

          For your information Fisi the Greens were the only party in the opposition to actually improve their vote in the last Election – despite the lack of Media coverage offered to the 2 “major” parties. eg no slot offered on “leaders” debate, etc.
          Lying John has a posse of cameras and media following him – the PM’s department has increased in size since he has been around (just to ensure the Ministry of Truth can have a photo of dear Leader. Such tax payed attention is not offered to the Greens.
          But you go on believing your fantasy about why dear Leader is popular and what a wonderful man he is. There are many who are now beginning to see thru the bullshit.

          • weka

            Party vote decreased slightly, number of seats remained the same.

            (Mana’s party vote increased though 🙁 )

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Yep, although to be fair, it’s the first time the party vote ever shrunk for them, it was very slightly, and it was in an election very punishing for the Left. I also imagine that some of the traditional Green constituency voted for Internet-Mana.

        • weka

          “Not according to the voters who kept rejecting him.”

          The only people that vote for Norman as leader are the member delegates. They obviously haven’t rejected him.

    • Tracey 9.2

      Well, they do recognise that a bunch of cash atop a septic and toxic environment is worth fuck all… that’s pretty clever.

  10. Ron 10

    Interesting that he states Coalition choices will be decided by members but when it comes to leadership choice instead of letting members have a direct say on leader they rely on a delegate system.
    In fact there is only one electoral party that truly elects its leaders in a democratic way by membership vote.

  11. OneTrack 11

    “Firstly, I don’t think a single mainstream commentator writing about the co-leadership understands that the Greens are a democratic party and that our coalition preferences are decided by the members, ”

    Rodney understands that very well – he was directing his comments at the Green Party members. If they want to remain as an activist party with their MPs getting paid $150K per annum but achieving nothing as they have done since they started, that’s fine. If they want to actually achieve some of their environmental goals then, maybe, they need to do something different, rather than being last cab off the rank in a vast left-wing government which includes Winston Peters (now that both Little and the Greens have given him the nod in Northland).

    The Greens say global warming is the most critical issue facing the human race. They don’t act like even they believe it (third behind school breakfasts and Living Wage). If that is the case, why should anybody else?

    • ropata 11.2

      “getting paid $150K per annum but achieving nothing”
      whereas national MPs are paid even more to actively screw NZers on behalf of their wealthy corporate sponsors.
      – christchurch disaster capitalism
      – auckland housing crisis
      – two tier economy
      – decade of deficits

      ring any bells or are you a bit too dull to bother with thinking and stuff?

    • You do realise that the MPs donate part of their salary back to the party to help finance it, right?

      The Greens know from experience that the public doesn’t resonate with just one issue. You need to present a lot of issues that they care about in order to make progress on any.

      You also act like caring about economic equality isn’t a natural consequence of caring about global warming. If you sincerely believe that our ability to use certain resources or methods of production is limited to a certain amount, it becomes a natural conclusion that the economic opportunities these things represent should be shared equally. Hence school breakfasts and the living wage.

    • Tracey 11.4

      Examples/specifics of how they can achieve that? List me 5. concrete suggestions.

      There is the irony of the former ACT leader predicting the decline and irrelevance of a party, given the state of ACT.

  12. Reddelusion 12

    Thanks James another 20 years of irrelevance and opposition then

  13. Reddelusion 13

    After 20 plus years that’s it Stephanie, the real question is not what they have achieved it is what they could have achieved if they stuck to been green rather than watermellons

    • Paul 13.1


      • Maui 13.1.1

        What could they have achieved… Slightly cleaner waterways, a larger response from Gov about food in schools, some more renewable investment maybe. Meaningful change or just a nice cover for what would be National’s continued destructive environmental policies?

        Overall a diminishing vote and a core loss of votes to Mana or another party to the left that doesn’t sell out.

    • ropata 13.2

      Still haven’t figured out the reply button re-delusion?

      The Greens have been around for longer than that if you count the Values party and the Alliance. There is a definite constituency there, or don’t you believe in representative democracy? Russell Norman particularly was an effective voice in Opposition while Labour went through its leadership changes. Hard working Alliance councillors prevented the wholesale privatisation of Auckland.

      what is more important: corporate profit or fresh water ?

    • weka 13.3

      “After 20 plus years that’s it Stephanie, the real question is not what they have achieved it is what they could have achieved if they stuck to been green rather than watermellons”

      Your opinion is as relevant as Hide’s. Whatever the GP do, it’s not right unless it serves the right. Paul got it.

    • *David Attenborough voice*

      In this fearsome display, the rightwinger spinner deftly shifts the goalposts of discussion to ignore the fact its partner in crime has been soundly rebuffed. Note how it pretends that the conversation is about “what they could have achieved”, not its partner’s comment about “achieving nothing”.

      The rightwing spinner now retreats to its lair, hoping no one will notice that it’s trying to divert the conversation.

  14. ropata 14

    I see the Right are shitting themselves at the prospect of the Green Party going into government. The spin merchants are reaching critical RPM. She’s gonna blow cap’n!!!

    Having to pay for their environmental crimes might mean a small cut in profits.. oh noes

    • Stuart Munro 14.1

      It’s the democracy that really terrifies them – if it gets established as the new normal there’s no hope for parties like National, much less ACT.

  15. I do not understand why Rodney Hide’s opinion is seen as worthy of publishing at all, given the almost total voter rejection of his old party. I do find the comments beneath his articles reassuring, as most reject and oppose most that he says.

    It also says much about the Green Party when we can field four strong, articulate candidates for the male leadership role while still having an experienced female leader in place. Many other parties struggle to find one leader who could do the job and even National would have a big task to replace Key (Paula Bennett?).

  16. outofbed 16

    I have met James Shaw a few times.
    He is an amazing campaigner has done amazingly well in Wellington Central leading the Greens to 2nd in Party vote stakes
    for the last two elections
    He is a very personable chap in his early 40’s and will make a fine leader.
    As far as positioning goes. If you have ever been to an GP conference you would know that the members have the say, not the leaders.
    That said, I am a Green leftie and I am very happy for James Shaw to be leader.
    James is a bridge builder, gets on well with most people both left and right and is a perfect leader for a MMP environment.
    I wish him well.

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