Ardern interview on Russia

From an interview of Jacinda Ardern on Q & A:

Was it Russia?

Jacinda Ardern: Corin, I’ve been very clear in avoiding saying it was Russia.

But that doesn’t…will you actually say that Russia is responsible?

Jacinda Ardern: We are in exactly the same position as our allies, we stood up in the Hague and avoided saying it was Russia. We have been clear in our statements on this that we’re avoiding saying it was Russia. We’ve made sure the UK is clear on our position as well that we’re avoiding saying it was Russia.

Will you consider sanctions?

Jacinda Ardern: That’s something that we’re avoiding saying.

So you’re not ruling out the possibility of sanctions?

Jacinda Ardern: This is the purpose of why we’re staying in touch. We’re not ruling anything in or out. We are unequivocally equivocal.

If you consider Russia is responsible, why are you talking about a free trade deal?

Jacinda Ardern: We talk a lot. All the time. Many conversations.

So are we not doing a free trade deal with them? Winston says we are.

Jacinda Ardern: As I’ve pointed out in recent times and as He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named himself says, we’re avoiding saying we’re not doing a free trade deal with them and hinting that we will in the future.

So because of the attack you will not now do a free trade deal with Russia?

Jacinda Ardern: We’ll avoid saying that we won’t and hint that we will in the future.

Why was a Russia deal even in the coalition agreement?

Jacinda Ardern: At this point I’ll blither a bit and end it by avoiding saying it was Russia. Ask another question.

You said that Values were going to be a driving force in how you make your decisions. Why’d you put Russia in the coalition agreement?

Jacinda Ardern: We’re still going to obey the letter of the sanctions. We can just work around them.

The point is that that’s not the same as taking a principled stand. The Nats wanted an FTA – it didn’t want to put it on hold but it did, because of the whole principled stand and Values thing. You on the other hand agreed in the coalition agreement to put it back on the table.

Jacinda Ardern: I have to correct you there. They put the FTA on ice and applied travel sanctions but there was still trade. No-one has said that we would not apply the sanctions, but we’ll do the still trading bit and put the FTA back in the oven. The coalition agreement says “striving towards”. Here this means we’re sort-of not really maybe reheating it. Because we stand alongside our partners.

So you’re not saying they’re completely off the table? Or maybe you are saying that? It’s got me fucked.

Jacinda Ardern: Right now, I’m avoiding saying either way. Or both ways.

You would have heard the UK going WTF? Which is it?

Jacinda Ardern: The only point that He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named made is one that I will now describe as immaterial. I am here to make the point that I am avoiding saying it was Russia.

Are we prepared to sacrifice EU/UK trade deals to flirt with Russia?

Jacinda Ardern: I’ve consistently said that we say we prioritise the EU agreement but we don’t name them in the coalition agreement. Just Russia. Who we’re avoiding saying an FTA is off the table with. When we named Russia in the coalition agreement, and didn’t name the EU in that agreement we were not thinking at all about Russia. We were totally focused on the EU. We had not officially resumed FTA talks with Russia, just unofficially. And now I’m telling you we will hint about resuming them in the indeterminate future.

Have you spoken to Winston Peters ever about why he’s pumping for a Russia FTA? Especially when he always votes against FTAs? Did you ask? It seems very odd that Russia is specifically singled out as the one to spoon.

Jacinda Ardern: I’m very clear on the fact that he didn’t tell me a thing and in fact we haven’t even spoken at all in the past week so I’ll talk about fairness. Of course, I’ll avoid saying it was Russia.

Who sets foreign policy in your government?

Jacinda Ardern: Aah..errr…Wi..thee…Us! Collectively! Of course both of he-who-shall-not-be-named have a role to play. And myself. I’m playing a role now.

Winston’s staying all sorts of stuff that’s completely out of sync with you lot.

Jacinda Ardern: I would dispute that. The language has all involved double meanings so we can interpret it in a way that suits us and the Values we work around. Rather like the phrase “flying Emirates”. We have all consistently avoided saying Russia did it.

Winston’s been less hinty that it was the Russians than you.

Jacinda Ardern: At this point I would like to hint some more, without actually saying the Russians did it. That’s a simple statement of fact. Hope this clarifies.

From Full interview: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sits down with Corin Dann after a challenging week for her leadership – by Oligosomanigripnata, headed “A bit of paraphrasing” (as should have quickly become obvious).

Green Party announces significant change to Question Time

James Shaw has announced an interesting change to how they are going to deal with the Green Party questions in Question:

Green Party announces significant change to Question Time

The Green Party has today announced that, from this week, most of its allocation of questions for Question Time will be handed over to the Leader of the Opposition to use, in order to limit the prevalence of “patsy questions” in Parliament and to strengthen the ability of Parliament to hold the Government of the day to account.

The only exception is if the Green Party wishes to use a question to hold the Government to account on a particular issue, consistent with the party’s Confidence and Supply agreement with Labour, which acknowledges the ability for the parties to agree to disagree on certain issues.

“The Green Party has long advocated the importance of Parliament having the powers to hold the Government of the day to account. Question Time is a key avenue for the opposition to interrogate the Government, so this move is a small step we can take to live up to the values we stated in opposition now that we are part of the Government,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“Using Question Time to ask ourselves scripted, set-piece patsy questions does nothing to advance the principles of democracy and accountability that are very important to us as a party. We expect the opposition to use our questions to hold us to account as much as any other party in Government.

“We think patsy questions are a waste of time, and New Zealanders have not put us in Parliament to do that; we’re there to make positive change for our people and our environment.

“We don’t expect any other party to follow suit – this is about us leading the kind of change we want to see in Parliament.

“The Greens are committed to doing Government differently and doing Government better and this change, along with our voluntary release of Green Ministers diaries to increase transparency, will hopefully spark more of a debate about how we can bring Parliament’s processes and systems into the modern age.

“We will also make a submission to the Standing Orders Review, which kicks off next year, to advocate for further changes to Question Time. This review is where all parties in Parliament make decisions about how future parliaments will operate and is the best place for all politicians to discuss any long term permanent changes to Question Time.

“The Canadian Government has recently trialled changes to Question Time after Justin Trudeau campaigned to do so. This shows parliament systems are not set in stone and should be open to regular review and change to ensure our democracy is healthy and well-functioning.

“We have reserved the right to use our questions when we have a point of difference with our colleagues in government. Our Confidence and Supply Agreement with Labour allows us to agree to disagree on issues, and the occasional respectful questioning of the Government from within is also an important part of democracy.

“That we can occasionally disagree with each other highlights the strength and flexibility of this Government,” said Mr Shaw.

It will be interesting to see whether National changes their approach to Question Time in response.

UPDATE – James Shaw has responded to media claims that Greens had done a deal with National on this.

No deal, just a principled stand

Do you know what frustrates me about Parliament? Sometimes, it’s nothing but a hollow ritual.

As Greens, we’ve always stood for modernising our democracy, making MPs more accountable and giving the public better access to the levers of power.

So from this week, the Green Party will hand over its allocation of questions for Question Time to the Leader of the Opposition. That means, we will no longer waste Parliament’s time or yours asking scripted, set-piece “patsy” questions directed to ourselves.

It doesn’t mean we’ve given up pursuing issues we care about. When those issues arise, our arrangement allows Green MPs still to ask questions where we wish to hold the Government to account.

So why the change? The questions we’re giving up do nothing to advance democratic participation. Question Time should be about holding the Government to account, the Opposition can better use some of our questions to do that.

This is another example of us leading the type of change we want to see in Parliament. We’re walking our walk.

Learn more about Question Time here.

Ardern on the Nation

Ardern was conspicuous by her absence from the first two programmes of The Nation this year, and also from the first Q&A.

She fronts up today on The Nation – possibly scheduled before her tough week at the Beehive office.

On why no one has been sacked over the summer camp mess.

“If everyone who ever made a mistake in their job was sacked, we wouldn’t be left with many people left, particularly in politics.”

Ardern keeps diverting from ‘political management’ to supporting the young people when asked why Minister Megan Woods and MP Liz Craig didn’t advise her about the problems.

Defending her MP Liz Craig, who was photographed at a table with Young Labour members drinking alcohol at the summer camp where the alleged sexual assaults took place. When asked if Ms Craig had met expectations: “I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest otherwise.”

Asked if the party intentionally insulated Ardern from the issue?

She disagrees. Strongly disagrees.

And then diverts back to ‘the young people’.

Asked again.

When asked if her party gave her “plausible deniability” by not telling her about the Labour summer camp allegations, replied: “Absolutely not. I push back on that very hard. That implies that our number-one concern here was political management. That’s not fair.”

And then diverts back to ‘the young people’.

How many other issues have been raised? She has seen one raised on social media.

Asked more specifically about any issues over the last ten years? She concedes some but only those reported in the media.

She was not asked to confirm that she knew nothing about the issue until Monday.

On Russia.

Ardern leaving the door open to a trade deal with Russia. “It is too early to say, under the current circumstances we find ourselves in with [the] Salisbury [nerve agent attack], to say if and when those negotiations and talks would restart.”

Four times now PM says too early to say if FTA talks with Russia will restart – no definitely ruling out.

On the proposed new prison.

The ‘out of control prison population’ is one of the biggest issues the Government has been grappling with.

They “should go back and have a look” at bail laws – a large part of the increase in prisoner numbers is as a result of changes to bail laws and an increase in the number of people on remand prior to trial.

On possible loosening of parole & bail laws: “We are not making justice-policy decisions based on bed capacity. We’re making decisions on what delivers the best outcomes in terms of safety for the community & reducing reoffending and improving rehab.”

She won’t say if they will build the prison or not. Still considering it.

“Do I want to build another prison? No. Do I want extra bed capacity? No. But am I being told that if we had an earthquake tomorrow, we wouldn’t have a place to put prisoners? Those are all things we’re having to grapple with”.

Believes consideration of a Waikeria Prison rebuild is not a betrayal of her commitment to Māori at Waitangi.

A lot on poverty policies, but little in definitive policy or commitments.

Staking her reputation on economic growth remaining stable after cutting immigration. “I don’t agree that that will be the consequences of our policies at all.

Says they don’t have any extra money specifically for child poverty in this budget – even though numbers of kids being raised from poverty revised downwards from 88,000 to 64,000

Working on a lot of things – except making commitments.

Not committing to implementing all recommendations from Climate Commission. She also won’t commit to ending oil and gas exploration permits. “I’m not going to pre-empt that decision, but we’re working on it.”

On Peters as acting Prime Minister – she ‘imagines’ she will stay in touch with him while on maternity leave.

She is adept at sounding strong and clear, but being vague.

“Let me be very clear about this. This is something we are working on and I can’t give you those answers at the moment.”


‘I’d rip their throats out’ over the top

When I saw this via Stuff – ‘I’d rip their throats out’: Nats’ Judith Collins slams Labour’s handling of sex claims – I thought it sounded over the top and not good for building support for the new look National Party line up.

Judith Collins has hit out at the Labour Party for not telling the victims’ parents of the alleged assaults at the Young Labour summer camp.

On Friday, National Party MP Judith Collins told the AM Show if she were a parent she would expect to be told what had happened.

“I’d actually rip their throats out for doing that if it was my kid, I really would,” she said in reference to Labour not telling the parents.

Collins said the “culture of secrecy” bred abusive and coercive behaviour.

To me that sounds like an inappropriate expression, and it isn’t great regardless of it touching on something like a feeling many parents might have if they found out a political party had kept the abuse of their teenager secret from them.

But hang on a minute. here’s a Newshub report – ‘I’d rip their throats out’ – Judith Collins tears into Labour’s handling of Waihi camp incident

Judith Collins says parents of the kids allegedly sexually assaulted at a Labour Party youth event should have been told right away.

The Housing Minister admitted if it was one of his own children, he’d liked to have been told right away.

“It’s not a good situation. We’re not happy about it. I think we let these young people down,” Mr Twyford told host Duncan Garner.

Ms Collins, appearing alongside Mr Twyford, said there should never have been any question about what parents would have wanted.

“I’d actually rip their throats out for doing that, if it was my kid, I really would. Obviously not physically, but you might as well. That’s what I’d want to do.

“I cannot believe they’d sit there saying, ‘Let’s not widen the circle.’ Why not? This is the culture of secrecy that actually breeds this sort of behaviour.”

“Obviously not physically” puts quite a different complexion on Collins’ turn of phrase. I still don’t think ‘rip their throats out’ sounds very good, but it’s not dissimilar to ‘give them a kick up the bum’, albeit more impactful being less comon (I haven’t heard it before). She could have said something without violence connotations, like “I’d be bloody pissed off’, and ik think many parents would identify with that.

The partial reporting by Stuff was quite poor. It was written by Laura Walters.

Tomorrow’s Schools review terms of reference

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has announced the terms of reference for the review into Tomorrow’s Schools:

The terms of reference for a review of Tomorrow’s Schools released today sets the framework for a once in 30-year opportunity to shape the way our schools are led, managed and interact with their communities, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.

“There’s been a lot of tinkering around the edges since Tomorrrow’s Schools was introduced, which has moved the governance, management and administration of schools further and further away from what it aimed to achieve. 

“This broad-based review gives schools, students and communities the opportunity to take part in drawing the blueprint for how schools should be organised from here on.

“It will look at how we can better support equity and inclusion for all children throughout their schooling, what changes are needed to support their educational success, and at the fitness of our school system to equip all our students for a rapidly changing world.

“The review will consider how schools might interact differently with their communities, with other schools, with employers, and with other government organisations, to serve the best interests of our young people.”       

An independent five-to-seven person taskforce will be appointed in April, which will consult widely before reporting back in November this year.

“The review is part of the Government’s championing of a high quality public education system,” Mr Hipkins said.

“We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to be the best they can be, regardless of where they live, or their personal circumstances. And we want to ensure our schools deliver that opportunity for all New Zealanders.

 “A key priority is for our schooling system will be to be more responsive to the needs of Māori and Pasifika children and those children needing learning support for whom the education system has not delivered in the past,” Mr Hipkins said.

The review will also consider the roles of the Ministry of Education, Education Review Office, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, New Zealand School Trustees Association, and the Education Council in supporting schools.

The review of Tomorrow’s Schools is part of the Government’s education work programme, announced in February. The terms of reference for the review are available at

Reactions to the National reshuffle

Reactions to the National reshuffle – certainly not timid, but with risks (every reshuffle of non-reshuffle has risks in politics):

Claire Trevett at Stuff: Simon Bridges’ reshuffle radical – by National Party standards

The show-stealers in National Party leader Simon Bridges’ reshuffle are obvious and Bridges took particular joy in setting the scene for a showdown between new Housing spokeswoman Judith Collins and Housing Minister Phil Twyford.

And Twyford has risen to the bait on Twitter and in media. He must have had a day off his housing ministerial duties yesterday.

But Bridges pointed out there is a lot of background work that must happen as well to set the party up for 2020.

In that respect, Bridges continued with the structure that worked well for National, grouping his MPs into teams such as finance, children and social welfare, law and order, health and economic development to work on policies together.

That’s what a party should be doing in Opposition.

Labour seemed remarkably unprepared for Government after nine years in Opposition. Much of their initial work seems to be to have reviews and inquiries and working groups before they decide on what policies to implement.

So Bridges was not exaggerating when he said his reshuffle came with some risks – although he was referring to the risks of some relative unknowns taking high-profile roles rather than the risk of a revolt.

Good leaders have to take risks – especially when faced with the knowledge that first term Government failures are rare in New Zealand.

However bad leaders take bad risks – time will tell how it works out for Bridges.

Stacey Kirk at Stuff:  Simon Bridges caucus holds logic and risk, but will it boast reward?

Leader Simon Bridges has unveiled his new look shadow-Cabinet and he’s made it abundantly clear the traditional power structures within the party are a thing of the past.

Bridges’ reshuffle doesn’t have the face of being haphazard or even based on previously-speculated notions of reward and punishment. It’s a lineup that has some obvious logic and planning behind it.

But change this big is both a gamble and a risk.

With an eye on 2020 and the improbable goal of containing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Government to a single term, Bridges will know historic feats are never typically achieved by playing it safe.

Brigitte Morten at RNZ: Bridges’ reshuffle reveals ‘insight and guts’

Simon Bridges’ Cabinet reshuffle was his first real test as National’s new leader and it revealed he has the guts to make the tough calls.

Predictable responses at The Standard –  National announces new line up – and Kiwblog – Bridges announces the new Opposition lineup.

Typically these days Whale Oil is slow to respond, with no post yet (the announcement was yesterday afternoon) part from a promo of Judith Collins, but expect Hail Oil regarding Collins’ promotion and spotlight, and Wail Oil about most of the rest – it could be a good pointer to who is in favour there, which on recent comments is not many.

Bridges shuffles National deck

With Bill English and Steven Joyce gone or going soon, and Simon Bridges now leading the national party, the Opposition  responsibilities and rankings have been announced.

New lineup (with movement from last ranking in brackets).

  1. Hon Simon Bridges (+4), Leader, National Security and Intelligence
  2. Hon Paula Bennett (-), Deputy Leader, Social Investment and Social Services,Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Women
  3. Hon Amy Adams (+3), Finance
  4. Hon Judith Collins (+5), Housing and Urban Development, Planning (RMA Reform)
  5. Hon Todd McClay (+8), Foreign Affairs and Trade, Tourism
  6. Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman (+1), Health, Sport and Recreation
  7. Hon Mark Mitchell (+14), Justice, Defence, Disarmament
  8. Jami-Lee Ross (+19),  Infrastructure, Transport
  9. Hon Paul Goldsmith (+5), Economic and Regional Development, Revenue,Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage
  10. Hon Nikki Kaye (+2), Education
  11. Hon Gerry Brownlee (-7), Shadow Leader of the House, GCSB, NZSIS,America’s Cup
  12. Hon Nathan Guy (-1),  Agriculture, Biosecurity, Food Safety
  13. Hon Michael Woodhouse (-3),  Immigration, Workplace Relations and Safety, Deputy Shadow Leader of the House
  14. Hon Louise Upston (+1),  Social Development
  15. Hon Alfred Ngaro (+5), Children,Community and Voluntary Sector, Pacific Peoples
  16. Hon Christopher Finlayson QC (-8),  Shadow Attorney-General, Crown-Māori Relations, Pike River Re-entry
  17. Hon Scott Simpson (+9), Environment
  18. Hon Jacqui Dean (+5), Local Government, Small Business
  19. Melissa Lee (+12), Broadcasting, Communications and Digital, Media, Ethnic Communities
  20. Sarah Dowie (+19), Conservation
  21. Hon Anne Tolley (-5), Deputy Speaker
  22. Rt Hon David Carter (-5), State Owned Enterprises
  23. Hon David Bennett (+1), Corrections, Land Information, Associate Infrastructure
  24. Jonathan Young (+8),  Energy and Resources, Regional Development (North Island)
  25. Hon Maggie Barry ONZM (-6), Seniors, Veterans,  Associate Health
  26. Hon Dr Nick Smith (-8),  State Services (including Open Government), Electoral Law Reform
  27. Barbara Kuriger (+1), Nominee for Senior Whip
  28. Matt Doocey (+1), Mental Health, Nominee for Junior Whip
  29. Simon O’Connor (+5),  Customs, Associate Housing (Social), Associate Social Development
  30. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (-), Internal Affairs, Associate Justice
  31. Hon Tim Macindoe (-6), ACC, Associate Foreign Affairs and Trade
  32. Brett Hudson (+8),  Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Government Digital Services, Associate Transport
  33. Stuart Smith (+13), Earthquake Commission, Civil Defence, Viticulture
  34. Todd Muller (+8), Climate Change
  35. Dr Jian Yang (+1), Statistics, Associate Ethnic Communities
  36. Dr Parmjeet Parmar (+7),  Research, Science and Innovation, Associate Economic Development
  37. Nuk Korako (+4),  Māori Development, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
  38. Chris Bishop (-), Police, Youth
  39. Ian McKelvie (-5), Fisheries, Racing
  40. Hon Nicky Wagner (-18), Arts, Culture and Heritage, Greater Christchurch Regeneration
  41. Andrew Bayly (+4), Building and Construction, Associate Finance
  42. Dr Shane Reti (+2), Data and Cybersecurity, Disability Issues, Associate Health
  43. Alastair Scott (+2), Forestry, Associate Finance
  44. Jo Hayes (-11),  Whānau Ora, Māori Education
  45. Simeon Brown, Associate Education
  46. Andrew Falloon, Regional Development (South Island)
  47. Harete Hipango, Māori Tourism
  48. Matt King, Rural Communities
  49. Denise Lee, Local Government (Auckland)
  50. Chris Penk, Courts
  51. Erica Stanford, Associate Environment
  52. Tim Van de Molen, Nominee for Third Whip
  53. Hamish Walker, Associate Agriculture
  54. Lawrence Yule, Horticulture
  55. Maureen Pugh, Associate Children
  56. Nicola Willis, Early Childhood Education

Judith Collins has been promoted to #4, meaning 3 of the top four MPs are female.

Alphabetical (apart from the two leaders):

Q&A today

On NZ Q&A today – Grant Robertson on Finance.

Quite a lot of vague ‘wait and see’ waffle – it was always going to take the first Robertson budget, due in May, to see what he was actually going to do and change.

He indicates a changing Labour stance on immigration compared to what they campaigned on.

Ex National MP (1975-1984) Marilyn Waring:

Waring is well worth listening too – very well informed and a very good speaker.

Possible property ‘value capture’ tax to fund infrastructure

Finance Minister Grant Robertson is thinking about a tax targeting people who will get an advantage from improved infrastructure to help fund projects like rail links.

Rather than ‘user pays’ this is ‘benefactor pays’ – but it could become contentious deciding who benefits and by how much and how much extra tax they should pay.

Would property owners who are adversely affected by new rail lines and roads get tax reductions? Property values may go up close to new railway stations, but values may go down if a property suddenly has trains whistling past them.

The very fact that property values are changed by infrastructure projects will already affect the level of rates they pay, which is already a local body tax on property.

Stuff: Finance Minister Grant Robertson considering property ‘value capture’ tax to fund rail

Speaking at the Auckland Chamber of Commerce/Massey University annual finance lunch at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland, Robertson said the Government was investigating “innovative” ways to bridge the funding gap to pay for the rail and roading infrastructure the country needs, especially in Auckland.

“Between the balance sheets of the Auckland Council and the Government, we still don’t have enough,” Robertson said.

“Minister Phil Twyford and I are actively looking at opportunities for how to do that.”

“If we are going to make big investments in things like [Auckland’s City] Rail Link, and a series of different rail links, people will benefit from that. How do we capture the value of that, and use that to fund the development?” Robertson said.

In March last year, the Productivity Commission gave an example of how that might work.

If the land value of a property benefiting from a new rail link increased in value from $100,000 to $250,000 over five years – a 150 per cent increase compared with a rise of 120 per cent in land values in the wider area – a tax could be levied on the $30,000 gain attributable to the infrastructure improvements.

The tax could be levied alongside of rates, the commission suggested.

This would amount to double taxing – increased property values mean higher rates, but this proposes slapping another tax on top of that.

Sounds very complicated, and it would be very contentious.

People who don’t use rail and don’t sell their properties will end up paying more for nothing. This is likely to particularly affect retired property owners who don’t commute and who are unlikely to move except to the cemetery – perhaps old people living close to cemeteries should be taxed higher.

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