The Greens trying to roll James Shaw is about the most active thing I can think of that the Greens have done during this whole electoral cycle.
As a party you don't hear much about them doing anything, in part I guess because they're so wrapped up with the Labour party now that there's less theatrics and vocal opposition to things.
So it’s good to see them exercised about something - although a party in disunity is never a great sign.
I’m wondering if part of James Shaw’s problem is actually the aforementioned - the Greens have become too cosy with Labour for many hardcore Greens liking.
And on top of that, James Shaw is actually very likeable. He seems about the most reasonable and rational of all of them, which is possibly why a portion of the party’s trying to roll him.
They seem to prefer radicals and activists. People more on the fringe - people who are more vocal and edgy - like Chlöe Swarbrick. I think if Chlöe throws her hat in the ring it will be game over for Shaw. But she’d have to be keen to make her leadership run now - which she may not – and if she doesn’t, then I can’t see who else is a contender.
Former Greens MP Catherine Delahunty has given some good insights already into what’s going on from the activists’ point of view. Shaw is too agreeable.
He doesn’t rark it up enough, he doesn’t hold Labour to account enough, he doesn’t agitate strongly enough.
Delahunty sees Shaw as ‘weak’, but she wouldn’t speculate on other potential leaders, and that’s the problem, are there any?
Apart from Swarbrick, probably not. And this is where the Green obsession with ideology comes unstuck.
According to Delahunty, the Greens need to focus on ‘vision,’ rather than individuals.
She told a reporter yesterday that, “it was important to focus on the vision other potential leaders offered, rather than speculating on which individual.”
So she wants “transformative policies to stop climate change, defend the vulnerable in society, and improve social justice”, but admits she can’t think of anyone who could do that.
So maybe that’s where James keeps his leadership role. In wanting more, or different, or better, many Greens don’t even know what that is or could look like.
If they’re just looking for ‘vision’ then the foundation of their search is all a bit vague. Anyone can offer ‘vision’, what you need is runs on the board, progress and collaboration.
James Shaw managed to get the Greens into a government Cabinet, he's made huge strides on climate change, he shepherded through the Emissions Trading Scheme. He's gotten things done.
But that’s not what activist fringe Greenies want; they want social engineering, they want ‘vision,’ they want noise for noise’s sake, and they seemingly want the opposite of all that James Shaw represents.
Delahunty said, “It's got to be different from a middle-class, middle-age party just propping up the Labour government."
Is that the tired old woke catch cry of getting rid of middle aged white men?
Because if it’s just about ‘not wanting James’, but they don’t know what they want instead, then I’d say the whole exercise seems futile, pointless and a waste of everybody’s time.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
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