Shaw sets a high target for Green membership

New Green co-leader James Shaw has set some very optimistic membership targets on lifting Green membership.

NZH reports on his key-note speech at the Green conference in ‘More like modern NZ’ says new co-leader.

During the half-hour address at the party’s AGM in Auckland this morning, Mr Shaw set out ambitious plans for the Greens.

He wanted to double the membership of the party this year and double it again next year. The party currently has around 6000 members.

While the National Party was a “behemoth” of money and strategists, he said, the Green Party’s strength came from its members.

“If we’re going to contend with such a formidable adversary, we need a lot more of them. And then twice that number again.”

Shaw didn’t mention Labour, he wants the Greens to take National on.

Shaw has been effective in his Wellington electorate, with Greens out-polling Labour in the party vote last election.

It will be much harder lifting membership across the country, especially as proposed, to four times the current membership in two years, from 6,000 to 24,000. That’s probably more than Labour membership (excluding union affiliates).

Mr Shaw said, the Green Party needed to be more like modern New Zealand.

“People vote for people they feel a connection to. If we aim to govern the country then we need to represent it.”

To get a connection with far more people, to get many more members Greens, will have to do a much better selling job with their policies, or they will have to significantly change their policy approach.

Shaw may appeal to a wider range of New Zealanders, but Metiria Turei is still co-leader and it’s hard to see her broadening her appeal much.

What if those targets aren’t reached? We may not hear about it – Shaw may hope that it’s forgotten.

Greens are a niche party. Trying to make them “more like modern New Zealand” would mean making major changes to their policy positions and priorities, something Shaw hasn’t given any indication of doing.

It will be interesting to see how he goes on boosting Green membership.

Shaw hasn’t said it explicitly but he appears to be trying to take over from Labour as the main opposition party.

Leave a comment


  1. It would be interesting to know the margin Shaw won by. If its a large margin then the indication would be that the Greens are ready to move with him. If not then Metiria and her views will continue to rule the Green roost and Shaw might soon be looking for another job. My pick is the latter.

  2. rayinnz

     /  2nd June 2015

    The votes received were 69 to 56 with 1 each for the other two candidates
    Being preferential votes hard to say just how big the real margin was but it seems close

  3. Good luck James..
    maybe he should focus on the ‘lost million’ (30% who dont vote)
    he may get more traction ? :/

  4. Pierre

     /  2nd June 2015

    So, in a years time, assuming they miss the target, can we ask him “does the Green co-leader stand by all his statements”. Hope he doesn’t mind me plagiarising his eloquent (and very original) question from today’s QT.


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