Not A Ripple of Difference

Written By: - Date published: 1:24 pm, August 19th, 2022 - 24 comments
Categories: greens, jacinda ardern, james shaw, labour, political parties, politicans, uncategorized - Tags:

The polls are out and the internal revolt last month to remove James Shaw as Greens co leader hasn’t made a ripple.

Apparently being so close to Labour in Parliament would enable the Green Party to better hold Labour to account. But this year the Greens have asked just one Parliamentary question of the government. Ricardo Mendez March asked the Transport Minister what steps he was taking to ensure people have access to free, frequent, and accessible public transport. Every other party in parliament has asked more questions of Labour than the Greens. So no, not really.

Nor do they hold themselves to account.

This week, Tony Kunowski the former leader of the Values Party, said in The Listener  that it is most unlikely that there are any performance indicators to show how either Shaw or Davidson are performing in their roles as ministers. “Without these, debates about their efficacy are reduced to merely trading opinions and are thus highly subjective. What mechanisms, if any, exist to hold individual members accountable for their inaction or counterproductive actions?”

Despite gaining the numbers to roll him, no one in the Greens stood to challenge him for the leadership.

One current Green Party MP came out to support him this year – Eugenie Sage: “James has ensured that there is a stable framework for action on climate change that will outlast this Government.”

So not only do they not hold Shaw to account, other than Sage they can’t bring themselves to support him either.

Shaw got more support from Labour’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and the leader of the National Party Christopher Luxon, than his own colleagues.

Obviously the attack on Shaw came from within the Greens.

Delegate Trav Mischewski said of the ousting of Shaw that “This is a membership-driven decision. This is not a handful of people who’ve gone rogue.”

His faction has been around for a while seeking to get him, and Eugenie Sage, and Chloe Swarbrick.

In May this year Gareth Hughes the ex Green MP from Dunedin, said by email to Newsroom:

It’s debatable that the trajectory has shifted and we’ll only know if that’s true looking in the rear-view mirror but it’s clear right now New Zealand isn’t doing enough to reduce emissions.”

While writing the biography of Jeanette Fitzsimmons, Gareth Hughes also wrote in The Spinoff in July 2022 about the instability of leadership within the Greens and that it was likely to remain unstable:

In its 50-year existence the party has gone from one leader to no leaders, to three co-leaders to four spokespeople before settling on the co-leader model”, with those leaders further subject to annual delegate re-appraisal.

In terms of the cold evaluation of the political performance of this term’s Green Party, previous leader Russel Norman listed the top three achievements of this government as an oil and gas exploration ban, greater investment in KiwiRail, and a cap on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

Norman put responsibility for those moves down to, in order: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Energy Minister Megan Woods; New Zealand First; and Environment Minister David Parker. None, by his telling, because of the Greens.

RNZ discovered that former Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimmons wrote to James Shaw in 2018 to “explain the overwhelming anger and disappointment felt widely in the party about the decision to support the party hopping bill.”

Other previous Green Members of Parliament to come out strongly against Shaw in the last month included Sue Bradford and Catherine Delahunty.

This week, previous Greens leader Russell Norman has come out and slammed James Shaw again, accusing him of greenwashing for Labour.

People assume that the Climate Minister, especially a Green Party Climate Minister, will not perpetuate greenwashing, and will call it out, but it has not always been the case with James Shaw, and that makes it all the more insidious.”

Also this week, the party that came out hard against the government for massive growth in coal use wasn’t the Greens, but ACT with Seymour noting:

Jacinda Ardern’s “nuclear free moment” has become even more of a joke today as New Zealand has become a net importer of coal for the first time ever.”

Green Party electoral support hasn’t been altered by the leadership challenge. Nor are the Greens holding the government to account. Nor are they holding each other to account. No new processes have been formed for accountability. Green criticism of the government remains as weak as ever.

Those who simply want to destabilise the Green Party from within have done so – and have the mechanisms to do so each year.

As Tony Kunowski says it, the Green Party members who thwarted the immediate re-election of James Shaw have achieved only the most Pyrrhic of victories.

24 comments on “Not A Ripple of Difference ”

  1. arkie 1

    But this year the Greens have asked just one Parliamentary question of the government.

    This just isn't true at all, where did you pull this claim?
    Look at the Hansard. Swarbrick, Sage etc etc.

    This week, previous Greens leader Russell Norman has come out and slammed James Shaw again, accusing him of greenwashing for Labour.

    And in the same piece he said this:

    And I refer to Ardern rather than Shaw deliberately because there is an uncomfortable political reality that sits behind all this: Jacinda Ardern makes the climate policy in this government and James Shaw presents it. The first rule of politics is to learn how to count — look at the numbers and you will understand this government — Labour has a simple majority and Shaw isn’t even in Cabinet.

    my bold.

    • Incognito 1.1

      You are almost correct! This year (since 1 Jan 2022) some but not all Green MPs have asked a Written Question in Parliament:

      1. Marama Davidson – 0 written questions
      2. Julie Anne Genter – 0 written questions
      3. Golriz Ghahraman – 0 written questions
      4. Elizabeth Kerekere – 8 written questions
      5. Jan Logie – 20 written questions
      6. Ricardo Menéndez March – 31 written questions
      7. Eugenie Sage – 0 written questions
      8. James Shaw – 0 written questions
      9. Chlöe Swarbrick – 10 written questions
      10. Teanau Tuiono – 1 written question
      • arkie 1.1.1

        I am almost correct? Or is it that Ad is wrong? I didn’t make the claim, I said it wasn’t true.

        70 questions total, by your measure, is a damn sight more than the one that was claimed.

        I am curious where you got this information, my limited search of the Hansard seems to reveal far more written questions than you state above.

        • Incognito 1.1.1.1

          I was trying to be diplomatic instead of binary wink For example, Sage has asked zero written questions this year according to that search.

          I adjusted the date range and the Status to Question and checked that all results were actually written questions.

          • arkie 1.1.1.1.1

            So if they have been replied to they no longer count as questions asked this year? I apologise for my ignorance but I thought that search was of written questions only, I linked to the Written Questions sub-section of the Hansard.

            • Incognito 1.1.1.1.1.1

              They are submitted (as) written questions and archived as such. AFAIK, all questions (must) receive a reply. Does this answer your Q?

              • arkie

                Yes, they are electronically submitted and I linked to Written Question archive. All written questions this year, those that have replies as well as those due a reply, yields these totals:

                1. Marama Davidson – 0 written questions
                2. Julie Anne Genter – 30 written questions
                3. Golriz Ghahraman – 0 written questions
                4. Elizabeth Kerekere – 13 written questions
                5. Jan Logie – 941 written questions
                6. Ricardo Menéndez March – 3204 written questions
                7. Eugenie Sage – 138 written questions
                8. James Shaw – 0 written questions
                9. Chlöe Swarbrick – 181 written questions
                10. Teanau Tuiono – 71 written question

                Shaw and Davidson are Ministers and as such are usually fielding the questions not asking them.

                Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, pg. 660, regarding Replies to Written Questions:

                The reply must be lodged with the Clerk no later than the sixth working day following the publication of the question. This effectively gives one week for the reply to be prepared. A reply due on a particular day does not have to be lodged at any particular time of the day.

          • Belladonna 1.1.1.1.2

            That doesn't seem right.

            Looking at the Swarbrick link to 10 questions. All are in August this year – and are yet to be replied to.

            However there are over 100 using the reply filter – dating from the beginning of this sitting in February, through to August.
            So it seems as though when they are replied to, they shift out of 'Question' and into Reply.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Not a ripple?

    But…but…but…disaster…catastrophe…calamity…surely????

    No?

    Odd???

  3. pat 3

    Its a pity…we could really do with a coherent logical party promoting a more sustainable future, especially one that appeals to more than 10% of the population.

    • Robert Guyton 3.1

      A more sustainable future will never appeal to more than 10% of the population – 10% is the natural ceiling.

  4. Belladonna 4

    Matthew Hooton being complimentary on the Greens political management, and candidate selection, while challenging them on their achievement (particularly Davidson); and pointing out the fundamental dichotomy, that it's the rich city suburbs voting Green, not the poor or even middle class ones.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/matthew-hooton-what-national-labour-can-learn-from-greens-co-leader-james-shaw-dilemma/XTLGH7Q4JLI6AD7WSSJLSYF4MQ/?c_id=3&objectid=12546023&ref=rss

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    It is difficult without the benefit of a decade of hindsight to determine the efficacy of any particular political sally.

    Labour might well look in envy at the way the Green's vocal newcomers were disciplined by the process of discovering their want of support, rather than the messy emotional journey their own most terrible enfant is apparently still embarked upon.

    Will Shaw's political obituary be failure to advocate more strenuously for climate mitigation or other equally important environmental measures? Possibly. But who will have time to care as the hunger stones appear throughout NZ's hydrology, and the market based order, together with its designedly dysfunctional parliament are abandoned in favour of a more atavistic model.

  6. Sacha 6

    Who hurt you, Ad?

  7. barry 7

    "Also this week, the party that came out hard against the government for massive growth in coal use wasn’t the Greens, but ACT with Seymour noting:"

    ACT are not complaining about us burning coal, they are only complaining that we are not digging up enough of it.

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