James Shaw’s performance as seen by Green leadership contenders

James Shaw became a Green list MP in 2014. The following year, in May 2015, the relatively inexperienced Shaw was chosen as Green co-leader, replacing Russel Norman. He operated to an extent in the shadow of Metiria Turei.

The last eight months have been full on for Shaw. He has had to deal with:

  • The Turei benefit fraud gamble and subsequent fallout in the Green Party.
  • Rescuing the Greens from possible political oblivion in the election campaign (successfully, albeit with significantly reduced support) .
  • Leading the Greens in Government negotiations (successfully albeit in the shadow of Winston Peters).
  • Setting up the green Party for their first sting in Government.
  • Coming to grips with three portfolios – Minister for Climate Change, Minister of Statistics, Associate Minister of Finance.
  • Adjusting to being sole leader of the Green Party, with a caucus that had shrunk from 14 to 8 MPs.

There have been some queries about his lack of visibility – one could assume he has been very busy doing stuff, without much time to milk media coverage.

Remarkably, despite this huge workload, the Greens only set in place a timeline to find a replacement co-leader for Turei in late January (26th), and it won’t be until April 8th before someone is chosen.

Two MPS have put themselves forward for consideration, Marama Davidson and Julie Anne Genter. They have been doing some debates and media interviews in the process – while the Green Party members choose their leaders it is important to see how the contenders shape up in the media spotlight under questioning.

They were interviewed together on The Nation yesterday. One reaction (from a Fairfax/Stuff political journalist):

Like Shaw, Genter is a Minister outside Cabinet. She was ranked #3 on the Green list. Davidson was ranked #2, but did not get any ministerial responsibilities, presumably in part at least due to her inexperience, she only became an MP when she replaced Russel Norman during the last term, in 2015.

From the interview (via Scoop):

Well, you’ve positioned yourself in the pitch to your membership is that you will voice your dissention; you will work out how to say what you don’t believe in in a coalition situation. Is your current leadership not speaking up enough?
Genter: Look, our current leadership, I think, is doing a great job, but also James and I have very different styles, you know. He’s very collaborative; he’s very much seeking agreement, and that’s great—

Too much so?
Genter: I just think that stylistically, I would be a bit clearer and a bit stronger.

Implying she doesn’t think Shaw is clear enough or strong enough.

So he’s being too agreeable?
Genter: No, I don’t think you need to say he’s being too agreeable to say that we have a different approach to style, but I have very positive, respectful relationships with parties across parliament, with the leadership, particularly in the government, and I think that I have enough…

But you’re pitching a firmer hand, aren’t you?
Genter: …respect in the house to be able to stand up for the Green Party.

Genter was obviously promoting her credentials as prospective leader, but saying she would be clearer and stronger than Shaw and that she would stand up for the Green Party implies a lack of confidence in how Shaw is leading the party.

Okay. Marama Davidson, James Shaw – you’re 100% happy with his leadership style and how he’s leading the Greens at the moment?
Davidson: Lisa, our ministers, our first-time ministers – we need to have compassion for them being able to settle into their role. Lisa, everyone understands that ministers have a whole different level of accountability; that’s understandable.

So what, he’s still finding his way? Is that what you’re saying?
Davidson: Across parliament, we’ve got new ministers settling in and finding their way and working out and negotiating where their places are in terms of what they can speak up on, what work they’re doing. And obviously our ministers need to prioritise their portfolio areas, and so again—

So you’re not 100% happy with how he’s doing at the moment – room for improvement?
Davidson: No, again, what I’m bringing to the co-leadership as a non-executive member is the ability to be able to focus on maintaining our independent voice, working with our membership in particular, and supporting the portfolio priorities of our ministers, of our Green ministers.

Not a ringing endorsement either, Davidson avoided saying what she thought of Shaw’s leadership.

Neither Davidson nor Genter praised Shaw or said anything about how they might work as a leadership team with him. It was all about themselves.

The Greens have had a lot of adjusting to do since they became a part of the Government for the first time. They left themselves half leadership for half a year. They will have some more adjusting to do when either Genter or Davidson becomes a co-leader alongside Shaw.

This interview will be replayed on The Nation on Newshub at 10 am this morning.

A segment of the interview: Greens’ Julie Anne Genter intends to be a ‘clearer, stronger’ leader than James Shaw

 

25 Comments

  1. David

     /  March 11, 2018

    He backed Turei and knew what she was doing which was beyond dumb and nearly sunk the party. In negotiations he seems to have taken a “whatever you think Jacinda” approach and is relying on her saying its going to be an environmentally amazing government, dumb. And now somehow he has to vote for the waka jumping bill, the Kermadecs is on hold and nothing else is really happening in the Green space well you can see why a couple of strong women are disappointed.

    • PDB

       /  March 11, 2018

      Pretty well summed up – Shaw has sold out to his govt partners – ‘bread and butter’ things for the Greens like not removing fishing boat requirements to have cameras on board should be fought for rather than their current position of seemingly agreeing to remove them (even though Forest and Bird are dead against that).

      Mind you whilst the deluded Green follower (all 6% of them) is willing to roll around in what ever shit Winston throws at them then maybe Shaw is on the right track.

      • robertguyton

         /  March 11, 2018

        PDB – I notice you have an infatuation with “Shit” (to quote your oft-used word). Have you tried prunes?

        • PDB

           /  March 11, 2018

          Good for the garden don’t you know Robert?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 11, 2018

            Do you put manure on your rhubarb and strawberries ?

            • Gezza

               /  March 11, 2018

              Do you mean when eating them?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 11, 2018

              You were supposed to say ‘Yes’.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 11, 2018

              The old joke goes

              ‘Do you put manure on your strawberries ?’

              ‘Yes.’

              ‘Really ? We put cream on ours.’

  2. robertguyton

     /  March 11, 2018

    What a load of drivel, Pete! You’re trying to create the belief in your anti-Green brethren here that Genter and Davidson have expressed their dissatisfaction with Shaw – they haven’t at all! Your “implying” is nonsense! Both have said they have different styles – would you expect them to claim they are clones? Goodness me, this is no more than whipping up froth. Your two flunkies leapt into the vacant space you created though, Pete, like lemmings!

    • PDB

       /  March 11, 2018

      See my 2nd paragraph above…

    • David

       /  March 11, 2018

      I am not anti Green Robert but I do wish that they would focus more on green issues, would select MPs with a green backgrounds and beliefs and leave the far left stuff out. Be nice to have an environmental party to vote for but unfortunately this rabble have occupied this space.

      • robertguyton

         /  March 11, 2018

        “I am not anti Green”

        “but unfortunately this rabble”

        Yes you are.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 11, 2018

          I wonder how the Greens feel about the waste of who knows how many phones when networks make changes. Mine is not very new, but works well. It will soon be obsolete. Parts may be recyclable, but much will be landfill.

          I don’t hear the Greens talking about items sold as disposable like the ‘glasses’ I saw today which did not carry a recycle mark. Plastic bags are being targeted despite their being able to be reused (which they are) and recycled (which they are) and their 10c charges at the Warehouse putting $2,000,000+ into local organisations. But I seldom hear anything about things like the disposables and the deliberate waste of usable phones.

  3. Gezza

     /  March 11, 2018

    Setting up the green Party for their first sting in Government.
    🤔 😀

  4. Gezza

     /  March 11, 2018

    I watched Julie-Anne & Marama on the three + one channel. (Gave Robertson a miss on Q&A.)

    JA & M effectively dumped on Metiria AND JS.

    Julie-Anne came across as a hard-edged, tuff, eco-warrior & political animal: the ecological war takes priority over all – Marama’s a social justice warrior, the ecology’s important but pretty obviously secondary to that. I don’t think there’s a lot of love there just at the moment.

    I caught a few minutes of Hui, on before The Nation. Mihirangi interviewed them both on that. They have a big difference over the nature & level of Maori decision-making The Greens should have. Look at the body language on that one.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 11, 2018

      That’s rather a sweeping generalisation, Gezza.

      • Gezza

         /  March 11, 2018

        They’re the best kind. But which generalisation are you referring to?

    • Pickled Possum

       /  March 11, 2018

      “Look at the body language on that one.” on which one Gezza?
      Did you see the ‘Green Fairy’ story on The Hui … very interesting I must say.

      • Gezza

         /  March 11, 2018

        No, I only caught the very tail end of Hui before the Nation started, Possum. Maybe 4,5 minutes? I’ve worked with a lot of women as colleagues over 30 years. I know what some of that body language there means.

        • Pickled Possum

           /  March 11, 2018

          WHo???? which one???? which whoaman???

          • Gezza

             /  March 11, 2018

            Both of them. Watch their eyes. When they look at each other. And when Marama doesn’t look at her. Those two are fighting, Possum. Suddenly Julie-Anne realises just how angry Marama is. Watch what JA does. And how Marama doesn’t respond. There’s a real battle going on between those two, imo. And one of them wasn’t even born here….which only makes it worse for the other.