Really bad takes on the Green’s leadership issue

Written By: - Date published: 9:55 am, July 26th, 2022 - 60 comments
Categories: blogs, Chlöe Swarbrick, David Farrar, greens, jacinda ardern, james shaw, Media, social media lolz, uncategorized - Tags:

One of the features of social media is that opinions are easy to form and easy to spread and are occasionally used as weapons.  And recently there has been some spectacularly bad takes on the Green’s leadership challenge the motivation behind which you have to wonder about.

The background to the leadership challenge is covered in this excellent post by Weka.

Recent takes on Green party leadership issues are classic examples how commentary can be thinly disguised attacks.

David Farrar was formenting mischief when he  tweeted this:

Has Jacinda doomed James Shaw? By stating he remains Climate Change Minister regardless of co-leadership, this allows Chloe to campaign on how Greens can get a co-leader solely focused on promoting Greens messages, rather than running a portfolio.

Matthew Hooton chimed in and claimed that the clock is ticking and no one thinks that Shaw has any chance of surviving much beyond the election.

Then these opinions were augmented by academic Bryce Edwards who stated that there was a good chance James Shaw would not be reappointed as leader.  Edwards stated this:

[Shaw] will be hoping that his rival Chloe Swarbrick announces that she won’t stand against him and, ideally, gives him her full support.

But don’t be surprised if none of that happens. Wiser heads might even persuade Shaw to withdraw his nomination before the end of the week. Shaw and his backers are likely to realise that the tide has turned against him among party activists and Green voters.

There’s now an appetite for leadership renewal, and if Shaw is smart he will end up championing that rather than fighting against it. He still has the chance to look magnanimous in handing the reins over willingly to Swarbrick. And if she gets anointed by him as the next leader, Swarbrick will win the contest next month hands down.

It was a close thing about what was published first.  Bryce’s hot take or Chloe Swarbrick announcing that she was not going to stand thereby completely repudiating every single paragraph of Bryce’s analysis.

He attempted to do a retake this morning on RNZ suggesting that Chloe may change her mind.  He said we should not take what she said at face value.  After singing her praises yesterday to accuse her of being deceptive is somewhat strange.

I don’t know why RNZ uses Edwards so often.  You would think that getting things right occasionally and understanding party policy should be a requirement for a political commentator.

Some of the twitter takes were brutal.

Bomber Bradbury went all tropo on it with a five dimensional chess explanation that I am still trying to understand.  One minute when we criticise Edwards for misrepresenting Labour policy he claims that it is a case of a petty editorial win on technical language.  The next minute he thinks that Matthew Hooton somehow suckered in a minority of Green members.

That is the problem with so much political discourse.  Too much hyperbole and not enough analysis.

Whatever happens I trust the good people of the Green party do not listen to these spectacularly bad and at least in part disingenuous takes.  And it is interesting that at a time where Christopher Luxon has disappeared elements of the right are hyping up issues which the Green Party in its own careful way is working through.



60 comments on “Really bad takes on the Green’s leadership issue ”

  1. Ad 1

    Has there been another country where the Greens have led binding intergenerational climate change legislation across both Government and Opposition? Can't think of one offhand.

    Time to start giving Shaw credit for policy delivery.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    The last couple of posts I have read from Bradbury has me wondering who he is buying his coke off, because clearly he is on some really good gear right now.

    The whole Daily Blog is a bit of mess. I've never seen a group of people who profess to be so opposed to woke culture wars spending so much time and energy obsessing about it. The comments section is now full of people who have trouble with the dizzying intellectual heights and rigorous moderation policies of Kiwiblog. Bradbury keeps heading further and further down the rabbit hole of being a strutting braggart and tedious windbag who has reposted the same dreary three posts for the last half decade on the principle that even a broken 24 clock is right once a day. Unfortunately for Bomber, the clock is digital and it was unplugged ages ago.

    Then there is Chris Trotter, a man who is convinced that Rob's Mob is is still out there, lurking behind a shearing shed in Otorohanga and propping up the rating of Newstalk ZB from the comfort of his (always a his and none of this pronoun nonsense) tax-avoiding branded king cab SUV, just waiting like some sort of ghost army for a racist Aragorn to lead them from the obscurity of Lamedon all the ways to the halls of power.

    A dismal site projecting the paranoias and raging egos of its primary contributors.

    Bryce Edwards piece on RNZ this morning was just an utterly dire take that summed up so much of the NZ pundit class – doubling down even though they are not even important enough to be jesters at the power brokers feast in the great hall – they just stand around in the castle kitchen talking to each other with ill-unformed gossip based on what they dreamed up in the privy this morning/heard from another courtier/were drip fed by someone carrying an empty platter back down from upstairs.

    • roy cartland 2.1

      I agree, TDB seems to run a real risk of being destructive to their own purported agenda. Relentlessly excoriating the 'left', in particular the Greens, can only help the Nacts, right? It's exhausting, but any feedback pointing out as much is either censored or scrubbed. I like Bomber's list of policies though, his bluster not so much.

    • higherstandard 2.2

      'A dismal site projecting the paranoias and raging egos of its primary contributors.'

      … sounds like every NZ political blog laugh

    • Patricia Bremner 2.3

      devil ha ha Sanctuary. Yes they sure get a lot from the privy .laugh

    • Mike the Lefty 2.4

      The Daily Blog has become a troll hole, no room for serious comment or debate there.

      Also Bradbury must be furious that Chloe Swarbrick isn't contesting the leadership because he worships the ground she walks on.

  3. Ad 3

    Stark reveal that Edwards as a political expert inside central Wellington should have no direct connection to the Greens surrounding parliament or central Wellington.

    Time for a Green-specialist political commentator (outside of Delahunty or Sue Bradford). There must be someone capable.

  4. weka 4

    I'm usually ok with Edwards' pieces (to understand a centre-esque take), but that piece about Swarbrick was just bizarre.

    I do have to say I am cheered from reading this post thought. The right really are concerned about Shaw and what he can get done.

  5. roy cartland 5

    I found NRT's post quite enlightening. This is proper democratic engagement.

  6. Ad 6

    It would not have killed the hopes and whatever of the Green MPs to come out and say something supportive about James Shaw in their statements.


    Statement On Green Party Co-leader Election Dr Elizabeth Kerekere | Scoop News


    Green Party co-leadership race: Chlöe Swarbrick says she is 'not in the running' to replace James Shaw – NZ Herald

    Candidates who could replace Shaw as Greens co-leader stay silent (


    "I do think we should be making as much space as possible to have these reflective conversations," he said.

    Candidates who could replace Shaw as Greens co-leader stay silent (

    Try and look like a movement again.

    Hopefully they can come out of their meeting today looking like their have their shit together again.

    • solkta 6.1

      As Chloe has explained, it is not the place of Green MPs to be endorsing candidates for the co-leader election. You know you could actually try and understand how the Greens work.

    • Robert Guyton 6.2

      They must.

      James' stated intention to seek out and listen to the concerns of those who forced the re-sit, should satisfy enough anxiety to allow them to at least grudgingly accept his continuation in the co-leader role. It will also give the other Green MP's time to "muster" the malcontents into an apparently supportive block.

      This is politics, Green-style.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    Now I was a Green for a bit, before traveling abroad & their then rejection of a CGT led me to gafiate. I think Bryce is mistakenly applying the competitive model that applies to fratricidal parties like the Gnats, instead of the consensus model that is preferred by the Greens.

    The underlying issue, I think, is that there is a charismatic overperformer, Chloe, but the two current leaders are reasonably popular and effective and thus secure. How then to harness Chloe's talents more effectively? Rome also limited itself to two leaders, the consuls. But from time to time the advent of extra work and the presence of talented individuals obliged them to appoint a master of horse. The party could do worse than to create an analogous role for her.

    • solkta 7.1

      When did the Greens reject a CGT?

      • Stuart Munro 7.1.1

        Around 2002 – so I took an ELT job in Shanghai.

        • solkta

          I don't remember that. I was as involved as you can be at the time. I do remember it moving slowly through the process a few years later and being ratified.

    • Robert Guyton 7.2

      Gafiate – "leave the mundane world and enter the science fiction fandom community".


      Magister Equitum!

      Double wowsers!

      Getting interesting…

      • Stuart Munro 7.2.1

        Err – that seems to have become an official definition – but for those of us that were already in the sff crowd it meant something more like 'drift away from that milieu'.

    • Incognito 7.3

      Why does every capable politician have to be(come) a ‘leader’? Leadership comes with an opportunity cost.

  8. Tiger Mountain 8

    Bryce Edwards seems barely a pundit–more a recycler/aggregator of others posts. As for many of the media Green attack squad, if they some effort into investigating the natzos and ACT policy, they might earn some credibility.

    The Greens remain one party that conducts its business is a reasonably transparent manner. They will likely attract a 9–10% vote at the 2023 General Election regardless of what the wankers in the Press Gallery, ZB and blogosphere might opine.

  9. tc 9

    Whatever keeps the car crash that is national from the main arena appears the logic here.

    Hooton, Farrar spinning, Bradbury foaming at the mouth….just another day in diversionville.

  10. Ad 10

    True to incoherence, Gharahman says Green MPs don't take sides in leadership races, then Eugenie Sage does exactly that.

    James Shaw vows to 'redouble' efforts as he bids again for Green Party co-leadership |

    Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said she would not be standing for the position and had “no further views” on who should be co-leader. She did not know of anyone else contesting Shaw for the position yet.

    “As MPs we don’t take sides in leadership races, or list ranking, because of the disproportionate influence it could have on member-based democracy,” she said.

    Green MP Eugenie Sage said she “strongly” supported Shaw and would not stand for co-leadership herself.

    Great to see one MP finally back their coleader.

  11. pat 11

    Meh…at the end of the day what counts is how the (voting) public perceive events, rightly or wrongly.

    If the challenge to Shaw results in a surge of Greens Party support then well and good….I suspect however this is yet another act that will consign the Greens to continue as a minor electoral option…with the risk that support will in fact decline.

    As Churchill said “democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.”

    And…it is all moot in any case.

  12. Patricia Bremner 12

    James Shaw has been very gracious. smiley

  13. swordfish 13


    It was a close thing about what was published first. Bryce’s hot take or Chloe Swarbrick announcing that she was not going to stand thereby completely repudiating every single paragraph of Bryce’s analysis.

    Bryce Edwards:

    Another possibility is that Swarbrick and Shaw come to some sort of negotiated handover. This might allow Shaw to stay on for longer, with the understanding that Swarbrick’s time will soon come.

    He will be hoping that his rival Chloe Swarbrick announces that she won’t stand against him and, ideally, gives him her full support.

    A lot hangs on what Swarbrick decides to do in the next 24 hours.

    … but if Shaw re-nominates then she would have to be willing to knife her sometimes-ally.

    And his final sentence:

    It’s just a question of whether she is willing to put up her hand.

    Were some of the key assumptions underlying Bryce Edward's analysis wrong … yep … not all, but certainly some … show me a political commentator who gets it right every single time ? But he clearly allows for other possibilities … thus, Micky, your suggestion that every single paragraph is completely repudiated would appear to be an example of the hyperbole you otherwise lambast.

    As for Party apparatchiks, Alas Smith & Jones ... I suspect they swore eternal vengeance after Edwards highlighted their involvement in the Govt-Corporate Lobby revolving door last year:

  14. SPC 14

    Green Party for beginners

    1 co-leaders, male and female changed to co-leaders female and one other.

    2. the female co-leader is of the left. The more left wing MP (Kerekere) supports her.

    3. the male leader is of the centre (centre left in wider world) and manages the environment interface with the government party (whether Labour or National). Something well known to party realists and the caucus.

    4. Chloe S is the Auckland MP, the one contesting an electorate seat there and growing the party vote there and youth vote nationwide.

    I am not sure how anyone in media or academia could get this wrong.

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