Turei new greens leader

Written By: - Date published: 4:15 pm, May 30th, 2009 - 40 comments
Categories: greens - Tags:

Metiria Turei has been elected at the Green Party National conference to replace Jeanette Fitzsimons are female co-leader.

Her election is no real surprise. Turei brings youth and a lack of baggage. Youth is important for a party whose MPs’ average age is 55, apparently the oldest average (apart from Jim Anderton). Sue Bradford, who has had an enormously successful political career, is unfortuantely stained by the s59 debate.

Turei does not bring the intellectual heavy-weight of Fitzsimons or Bradford but there is plenty of intellectual heft in her fellow MPs. If anything, something the Greens need is less intellectualism and more accessibility (without slipping into the shallow political pragmatism that some see in Russel Norman) and Turei can provide that.

She is the first Maori to become leader of a Parliamentary Party outside the Maori Party and New Zealand First. In both those cases the party was founded around the leaders, rather than chosen by the members. That’s something to be proud of.

I’m sure Turei will grow into an able leader and help push the Greens to better success in the next election.

Something for the long-term. With both Norman and Turei relatively young (42 and 39) it’s important they don’t remain as co-leaders until the ends of their political careers as their predecessors did. Rotation of leadership is healthy. It may be that loyalty in the wider membership and the Greens’ unwillingness to create conflict serves to block leadership changes as happen in other parties.

That said, the Greens are the only party that lets the members decide the leaders. Today, the membership made a good choice.

40 comments on “Turei new greens leader”

  1. dave 1

    She is the first Maori to become leader of a Parliamentary Party outside the Maori Party and New Zealand First.

    That’s false. I can think of at least three other Maori MPs who were in Parliament as leaders of other parties.

    • gobsmacked 1.1

      And yet you couldn’t be bothered to name them. Classy rebuttal.

      Sandra Lee was briefly the Alliance caretaker leader. There were one-person splinters, “led” by the likes of Tau Henare after NZ First broke up in 1998, and instantly disappearing without trace. But they were hardly “parties”.

      Who were the Maori leaders of real parties?

      • calltoaccount 1.1.1

        And not forgetting Alamein Kopu, who would be Dave’s third Maori leader (who chose to undertake the mighty task of propping up the Nats).

      • Rex Widerstrom 1.1.2

        Poor old Matiu Rata… so quickly forgotten by all but fossilised political junkies such as myself :-/

      • Ari 1.1.3

        Eddie should’ve just gone with “first elected maori Party leader”, probably would’ve been safer. 😉

        • Rich

          I think the term ‘leader” implies having somebody to lead, apart from yourself.

          • Ari

            Like the four thousand registered Green Party Members, the nine members of the Green caucus, and perhaps some of the hundreds of thousands of other people who voted for the Greens?

            That’s frightfully democratic of you to ignore all of those people because you don’t like them. 😉

  2. Rex Widerstrom 2

    …it’s important they don’t remain as co-leaders until the ends of their political careers as their predecessors did. Rotation of leadership is healthy.

    I agree. It just so happens DPF has done a post highlighting the length of time leaders have spent in that role across all the present parties.

    Anything more than ten years seems to herald some sort of descent into madness, or at least irrelevance (albeit I’m not old enough to have known life under either Holland).

    I’ve always been slightly attracted to the idea of term limits for MPs, though there’s always a handful of really good ones who’d be caught by such a rule which also makes me slightly ambivalent.

    But term limits on the leadership have always seemed like a good idea. Especially in our system, where a leader usually exerts so much influence over the entire Cabinet and caucus. If they haven’t implemented their best ideas in a decade they didn’t belong there in the first place.

    Sadly the parties are all comprised of a majority of people who think they are their respective dieties’ gift to politics, and that while such an idea would be fine for the other people (and especially those standing in their own way), aren’t at all keen to see it apply to themselves.

    • Maynard J 2.1

      Diagree with you rex.

      “If they haven’t implemented their best ideas in a decade they didn’t belong there in the first place.”

      If they can not come up with any new ideas in ten years with all of government behind them they should not have been there in the first place. If they can get elected after three terms of government they deserve the fourth.

      Any control leads to distortion, think of the 5% threshold. They should be avoided unless they are really really needed,

    • George D 2.2

      It is also worth noting that the Greens elected Norman as their male co-leader at the AGM. The leadership are representatives of the membership, and they rather than MPs have the power to change the leader in the Greens.

      Of course, if things ever get ugly it might be a lot more complicated than that. But at least the balance of power is much further from the leaders office and caucus room than it might otherwise be.

      • Rex Widerstrom 2.2.1

        That’s a very good point, George. In retrospect I’d exempt the Greens from my comments as their leaders’ performance is genuinely assessed by their membership.

        Maynard, we’ve had a few leaders who “shouldn’t have been there in the first place” but were put their as compromises or because of factional rivalries or other reasons which had nothing to do with their ability to innovate.

        My preference would be to force all parties to adopt the Green model of leadership election but the law in NZ has been carefully constructed so as to make the parties untouchable – even by disgruntled members – because they exist only as unincorporated societies.

        Thus, while I agree term limits on Parliamentary leadership are a distortion, they’re one of the few ways I can think of in which statute could be applied to force the parties to refresh themselves.

  3. greenfly 3

    Metiria Turei kicks arse (or ass, depending on what you’re sitting on).

    • Patrick 3.1

      Thats right greenfly, kicking aint the same as smacking is it?

      besides, fifteen years ago it was “Metiria Turei shows her arse”

  4. starboard 4

    If they can get elected after three terms of government they deserve the fourth.

    ..what planet are you on pal ?

    • Mr Magoo 4.1

      A planet that does not exist in a universe with entropy apparently…

    • Maynard J 4.2

      What planet am I on? Earth, as are we all. What was wrong with that comment? I suppose I could have said ‘re-elected’ to make it obvious, but I didn’t think there would be anyone stupid enough to not understand.

  5. mike 5

    Bummer – I was hoping bad hair bradford would win which would have meant the certain demise of the water melon party but now they’re still in with a chance of surviving 2011

  6. Hilary 6

    Sandra Lee was leader of Manu Motuhake from 1994-2001. She was Leader of the Alliance Party in parliament from November 1994 to May 1995 (not just caretaker – Jim Anderton stood down indefinitely, but took over the leadership again after 6 months).

  7. greenfly 7

    Patrick – I’ve always believed they were different, but if you know different…
    As to Metiria’s arse, better I suppose, to show it, than be it (as is the case with Hide et al).

  8. Mr Magoo 8

    I think the Sue that ends up on TV and the real Sue are two different people to be honest.

    But in the opposite way to most politicians. And as a political leader that is fatal.

  9. Good choice by the Greens. I definitely think that Metiria can take the Greens forward into being a party that can both retain its strong roots but also to grow its support in the future.

  10. Godard 10

    The only thing i would disagree with there is the accusation of Turei not being an “intellectual heavy-weight”. If you saw her speak at Drinking Liberally here in Wellington a few weeks ago, you wouldn’t say that. I thought she was smart and charismatic, hopefully others will get to see that soon.

    • marco12 10.1

      If you saw Turei speaking at Drinking Liberally in Auckland couple of weeks ago the only possible conclusion you could have come to was “intellectual fly-weight”, all marketing and zero substance. It was embarrassing.
      I think it’s a terrible shame and injustice that the party chose Turei over Bradford.

  11. IrishBill 11

    Unsurprising but disappointing nonetheless. Met’s lovely but she’s nowhere near the deal maker Sue is. It will be a steep learning curve. I just hope the lessons don’t come at a cost to the party.

  12. Shell 12

    Does she have a Husband???Any Kids???

  13. TightyRighty 13

    How come Sue Bradford was stained by the s59 debate within the green party eddie? i thought this was a magnificent piece of legislation designed to prevent the harm of all children in new zealand? it go passed, so surely the greens in particular would be loving her for it. or have the greens realised the futility of that particular piece of legislation too?

    • George D 13.1

      That’s the narrative the media have been repeating. It isn’t the case among members. It makes me very angry that a woman is “stained” for putting through a law that repeals a defence against the assault of children.

      I think that there were members who voted for Turei because they saw her as safer, more saleable and more ‘conservative’ (the same ones who tipped the balance towards Norman), and am disappointed that this perception drives some thinking. But I’m refreshed because I know that while Turei is astute, she isn’t a conservative but a radical, and wants to change Aotearoa quite substantially. I don’t know how much she can achieve in this position, but I’m sure she’ll try.

      Labour Party people don’t seem to get that anarchists are the ultimate pragmatists; they deal every day with power structures that are anathema to them and have to make decisions that are a very long way from ideal. It is those that are state/capitalists who don’t have to compromise so much.

  14. Phil (not Goff) 14

    Rotation of leadership is healthy

    Someone should have mentioned that to Helen…

  15. glosoli99 15

    “If you saw Turei speaking at Drinking Liberally in Auckland couple of weeks ago the only possible conclusion you could have come to was “intellectual fly-weight’, all marketing and zero substance. It was embarrassing.
    I think it’s a terrible shame and injustice that the party chose Turei over Bradford.”

    I gotta concur, and I am a Green Party member. Metiria has her strong points but she demonstrates a lack of analysis, eg, all that banging on about “young voters”, hello, who wins elections in this country??? It is oldies. Stuff like that. I think it is also really disappointing that we didn’t back our most successful MP, the one who has shown she knows how to make the parliamentary processes work. Very uncool, imho.

  16. greenfly 16

    marco12 – gotta take your ‘intellectual fly-weight’ comment as a personal insult 🙂
    but, can’t take you seriously at all . Metiria ran rings around Paul Holmes this morning on Q&A and while trouncing Holmes might be no indication of ‘intellectual weight’, if you’d seen her in action, you’d have revised your assessment, fast. She’s sharp, bright and wins people over by her manner. As well, she’s been mentored for many years by Sue Bradford and has paid attention.

    • Steve 16.1

      I think Greenfly was watching a different Q+A. Holmes asked direct questions which she couldn’t answer straight such as the question on legalising smoking marijuana. She skirted the issue and banged on about drugs in general. Well that was helpful especially since we know how involved the likes of the gangs are in producing and distributing “P”. So will she stand up and be properly counted on that front?
      And as for running rings around Holmes, she certainly can talk the hind legs off a donkey and it was only thru rabbiting on that they ran out of time and the question was avoided. Holmes could, and probably will , pull her up on this tactic in the future…it certainly won’t wash when Sean Plunkett gets to pot her on Mornring report next week!

      • felix 16.1.1

        Asking for a yes or no answer doesn’t mean you’ve asked a binary question, even if that’s what you were trying to do. And if you misunderstood the question then it’s not too surprising that you misunderstood the answer as well.

        In all honesty though it doesn’t sound like you’re all that interested so how about we stop pretending that you care what she says, huh? I reckon you made up your mind about people like Meteria a long time ago and nothing she says is gonna change that.

        The conversation we need to have to get from this point where you pretend to give a shit to the point where you tell us what you really think is as boring as hell and it’ll save us all a lot of time and electricity if you just put it on the table now.

  17. serpico 17

    Another lawyer,yawn,yawn, watch crime go thru roof, no legal aid gravy train miss green lawyer. Is that social justice?

  18. glosoli99 18

    “As well, she’s been mentored for many years by Sue Bradford…”

    And yet they are very very different.

  19. Lindsey 19

    Yes, she has a daughter. Do you not remember when she first came into the House, she was pictured with Ann Hartley because Ann Hartley’s son is the father of Metiria’s daughter?
    One of the smartest things she did!!

  20. doc whose asking 20

    Hey, have I been picking thru the glossolallia on here… then mention Ann Hartley.. do I guess this Member is significant..? A mebbe in terms of future political possibilities.. if so, what gives..?

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