Another two weeks until Green co-leader is announced

The Green Party will announce a new co-leader in two weeks, on 8 April, eight months after Metiria Turei resigned as co-leader (on 9 August last year).

It was understandable that in a dire situation going into an election campaign with polls plummeting to  below the threshold that the Greens would defer replacing Turei until after the election, but they left it until early this year to get the ball rolling.

Two candidates put themselves forward, Julie Anne Genter and Marama Davidson, and they have been campaigning for the last month.

It may not be a coincidence that Genter has stuck to her guns amidst publicity over the last few days about her suggestion that white males in their sixties should consider standing down from company boards to make way for more diversity – seeOverreaction to silly Genter ‘old white men’ comments.

Henry Cooke at Stuff: Battle for the future of the Green Party comes to a close

Finally, it’s almost over. After Metiria Turei resigned as co-leader of the Green Party 229 days ago, the vote will begin on Monday to decide whether Julie Anne Genter or Marama Davidson will replace her.

We’re still two weeks out from an actual result on April 8, but the official campaign period has ended.

While the two candidates are warm to each other in person, both on and off-screen, their supporters are not always so kind. A small group of Davidson fans have pledged to revoke their membership if Genter wins.

For a party that champions democratic processes and MMP (that requires political, policy and ideological compromises to work) some Green supporters are staunchly uncompromising and averse to alternative views.

Now the decision is over to the Green membership.

Each of the 71 electorates’ Green Party branch will meet to decide how their delegates will vote over the next fortnight. The normal process involves a lot of consensus-building discussion before a secret ballot, but there are not hard and fast rules.

The delegate votes are distributed on a somewhat proportional basis to every branch. A branch with less than 20 members gets one, more than 20 two, more than 100 three, and more than 200 four – the maximum. That means Green strongholds like Wellington Central with hundreds of Green members only have as much vote as two electorates with 50 members between them.

This ensures the regions aren’t trampled over but also gives real power to very small branches: one Maori electorate branch is said to have a single member deciding its vote.

That doesn’t sound very democratic.

Going into the two-week voting process, Davidson’s camp is more confident – and with good reason. A lot of Green Party members are very much in favour of the argument best made by Morgan Godfery; that if they were to elect Genter, the Green Party would be the only major party with a fully Pakeha leadership team.

Godfrey and others have been playing the race card and diversity cards to promote their preference.

The membership is generally considered to be older, whiter, and more environmentally focused than the wider party’s support.

Green membership has oddly seemed different demographically to their activist base.

… while Davidson is a firm favourite, predicting an electoral college-style vote with no polling is a fool’s game. People weren’t expecting Metiria Turei to beat Sue Bradford, or James Shaw to beat Kevin Hague – but they did.

Davidson is said to be the favourite, despite far less parliamentary experience. Davidson replaced Russel Norman part way through last term, in 2015. She has been promoted by some as the obvious heir to Turei’s social justice throne.

Genter became an MP via the Green list after the 2011 election and is now one of the green ministers, despite Davidson being ranked above her on the party list.

It seems to be a contest of experience versus activist ideology. Davidson may appeal more to the Green activist base, but Genter is likely to have wider voter appeal.

Leave a comment


  1. Corky

     /  27th March 2018

    Marama has it in the bag. Brown beats white, Julie Anne. It’s so delicious when PC turns on its practitioners to their disadvantage. Julie Anne should is the better candidate by a long shot.

    However, Julie Anne should bide her time. Who knows what will happen at the next election when the coalition disintegrates.

  2. David

     /  27th March 2018

    Shaw is lets face it a weakish type person and like Corky I think Davidson will prevail and she is basically a stroppy protester so it could be fun. Be delicious to see her and Peters trying to find any common ground.
    Personally I think Genter is in a totally different league and her and Shaw would make a palatable Green leadership team.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  27th March 2018

      Imagine three years of those two. She and Shaw would be…nooooooo!

  3. PDB

     /  27th March 2018

    “Davidson’s camp is more confident – and with good reason. A lot of Green Party members are very much in favour of the argument best made by Morgan Godfery; that if they were to elect Genter, the Green Party would be the only major party with a fully Pakeha leadership team.”

    Ah, great to see democracy in action! May the best person for the job not win.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  27th March 2018

      Hilarious. Hoist by her own statistics. Time for some creative genetics a la Elizabeth Warren. Surely she has some Indian blood? Feels Native American?


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