Marama Davidson’s acceptance speech

Some interesting extracts from Marama Davidson’s Green co-leadership acceptance speech.

I will be a leader who strives for consensus in everything I do. All of our contributions and views are essential in the work we have ahead of us.

Consensus with whom? Consensus in the Green Party? I presume that’s what she means, Greens promote consensus style democracy – when it suits. But that’s not how some of them work in practice, Green supporters and activists can be very intolerant of any person or party with whom they disagree.

Consensus with her supporters? Consensus with the New Zealand public? That would be radical for Green radicals.

History shows that smaller parties struggle to retain their support in coalition governments, lose influence and can sometimes fracture.

My number one goal as co-leader is to make sure that doesn’t happen to us.

That could be a big challenge for Davidson, promoting a more left wing radical social agenda without fracturing the Labour-NZ First-Green government.

We can’t clean our rivers, save our native species, lift our families out of poverty, build warm safe houses and new public transport if our party isn’t united and positive, governing and campaigning for change.

And there is a lot to change.

The National Government has left our country in a mess. It is worse than even we imagined.

So consensus with National on environmental issues seems out of the question. I think this is disappointing – sustainable policies on a sustainable environment would work much better with a degree of consensus across all parties.

Steven Joyce was right, there is a fiscal hole. We see it every day. In the sewerage in the walls of Middlemore Hospital where the Government was more interested in delivering a surplus than making sure our babies were born in safe conditions.

We see National’s fiscal hole in our homeless and unemployed,

In our impoverished families

In our lonely and isolated elderly

We see it our polluted rivers

In our threatened species

And in our climate pollution

But National didn’t just leave a fiscal deficit, they left a moral one too.

So I guess Davidson means consensus with allies, not with everyone.

More than ever we need to deliver on our policy programme and stamp our mark on the Government with bold and effective Green solutions to the fiscal and moral deficit left by National.

More than ever we need to be strong and united. Backing our Ministers and MPs to lead lasting Green change and working with our coalition allies to go even further, be even bolder.

We can make the change Aotearoa needs and grow our vote, returning after 2020 with more MPs and influence.

Remember Metiria? She nearly obliterated the Greens last election. Davidson is generally seen as a Metiria replacement. Will she learn from Turei’s big mistake, or try something similar.

I am a leader who, alongside James, can deliver that real change and grow the Greens by representing a broad cross-section of New Zealanders.

This seems to be Green self-delusion – that they represent a broad cross-section of New Zealanders. They got 6.3% of the vote.

I am very much looking forward to working with James and with our different backgrounds, skills and experiences I think we will make a strong leadership team.

Between us we represent the broad church of green voters. Our different backgrounds and experiences mean we empathise and understand the cross section of issues from economic to social. From human rights to environmental sustainability. We are a team that can reach all.

I think she is right here – Davidson and Shaw probably do represent ‘the broad church of green voters’ – but that’s far from ‘a broad cross-section of New Zealanders’.

James and I will work to regain the trust and support of those voters who left us in the last election, and we also need to be reaching out to new audiences.

A big task.

In order to be a genuine and relevant voice for modern Aotearoa, we need to reflect its diverse reality.

We need more members from all backgrounds and communities.

We need to be present in multicultural, Māori and Pasifika communities, in provincial and rural communities, and in the suburbs, with women, young people and workers.

I have the connections and credibility in these communities. I’m proud to have helped lead the work to start to diversify the party over recent years and as Co-leader I will prioritise it.

A fairly selective diversity. ‘With women’ pointedly excludes half the population. Her National bashing also by association excludes about half the voting population. Farmers and small business owners don’t feature in her diversity, but are a very important part of the New Zealand fabric.

As an activist for social and environmental justice, I stood with many communities on the frontlines of the climate change and inequality crises and the struggles for indigenous rights.

Indigenous rights are important, there are still wrongs and flow-on effects effects that need to be righted. But the rights of the non-indigenous also need to be considered.

I have demonstrated the ability to pull together teams, inspire the best in everyone, and elevate the voices of those who are not otherwise heard.

She may well help inspire better from National MPs, but in reaction rather than cooperation.

And I intend to make that a defining feature of my leadership, elevating voices and working alongside our friends up and down the country campaigning for change.

Good on her for that. It’s good for a minority party to work with minorities and promote minority rights.

I will make sure those without a political voice are heard, and I will be the only leader of a political party in Parliament that brings to the table deep sustained experience in these communities.

Some of those communities. Davidson does not try to represent many of the ‘silent majority’, just selected minorities. That’s not a bad thing, but believing she represents all New Zealanders would be a mistake.

As the most progressive party in Parliament, it is the role of the Greens to continue to be a loud and active voice on behalf of our communities.

‘Progressive’ is highly debatable here. Some see some Green policies, especially the more radical leanings of Davidson and her core supporters, to be regressive.

The next few years will be critical for Aotearoa and the world as we grapple with the crises of climate change, inequality and environmental degradation.

Labelling them crises may not encourage wide support, and excluding the official name of the country could also be divisive.

In this country, two men own more wealth than the poorest 30 per cent of the adult population.

The richest 10 per cent have more than half of the wealth, while 90 per cent of the population owns less than half of the nation’s wealth.

Depends on how you define ‘wealth’. This is populist bashing of people with paper money.

We are losing our indigenous biodiversity at an alarming rate – three-quarters of native fish, one-third of invertebrates, and one-third of plants are threatened with, or at risk of, extinction.

Addressing this is likely to be widely supported.

We have among the highest rates of homelessness, child poverty, suicide among young people, and incarceration in the developed world, alongside among the highest per capita carbon emissions in the world, and rivers so polluted you can’t even swim in them.

Some issues of serious concern there, that have to be addressed much better.

These environmental and social crises are the direct result of a flawed and broken economic model.

I’m not sure that fits with consensus views. It sounds more like a promotion of a revolution, a change to a radical and untested alternative that would be out of step with most of the developed world.

Parliament needs to turn our faces to the streets, to communities right up and down this country, and understand the hardship and struggle that so many of our people are facing.

Yes – to all of the communities, the many struggles people face.

New Zealanders have been waiting far too long for a fundamental shift in our politics, for the return of care and compassion, for a real commitment to our natural world.

Except there is little sign of a fundamental shift in voting preferences.

For an economic system that measures its success by the wellbeing of the people and the environment, not simple GDP growth and the massive accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of a few.

A minority party fighting for the many against the few.

The Green Party vision for Aotearoa would restore us as a world leader through the greatest challenges of our time.

Restore? New Zealand omitted again. I support at least debating whether to rename our country or not, but not to ignore the widely accepted name of New Zealand. (She does refer a couple of times to ‘Aotearoa New Zealand’ and also to ‘New Zealanders’ – Aotearoan doesn’t seem to have caught on yet.

It would ensure all children grow up in healthy, liveable cities, in warm, dry homes that are affordable for their parents.

A vision for a country where all people have a liveable income and people don’t have to work two or three jobs just to survive.

Worthy ideals to aspire to, but they are ideals that ignore realities.

And that recognises the central importance of honouring our founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and celebrates our unique and vibrant diversity.

Our whole diversity. We all should have a good look at what Te Tiriti means and should mean in modern New Zealand Aotearoa.

Parliament needs leaders and parties that champion minority rights. But they will alienate more than succeed if they believe they represent popular opinion and wishes while picking the minorities they want to represent, and at the same time alienate large groups of others.

If Davidson championed issues that faced the majority of New Zealanders in the middle who face struggles and challenges of their own, if she didn’t omit non-females and non-Māori and those who value the input and diversity of past and recent immigrants, then she could do well, and might widen support for the Greens.

But if she pretends to represent the many while being divisive and excluding large chunks of New Zealand society she and the Greens are likely remain a small minority party fighting for small minorities.

Davidson chosen by Greens as new co-leader

It’s not a surprise to see that Marama Davidson is the new Green co-leader. She was widely expected to take over eight months after Metiria Turei stood down.

I can imagine that Davidson is popular within Green membership, but we will have to see whether she appeals to voters generally.

Davidson served part of the last term, becoming an MP after Russel Norman stood down, in November 2015.

Greens have already changed their website:

South Auckland-based MP Marama Davidson will join James Shaw in the role of Green Party Co-leader, after the result of the leadership contest was announced this morning in Auckland.

Ms Davidson secured 110 delegate votes. Julie Anne Genter, the Minister for Women and Associate Minister of Transport and Health, also contested the Co-leadership role and won 34 votes.

Ms Davidson entered Parliament in 2015 following Russel Norman’s resignation. She is the mother of six children and has before entering parliament worked as a youth worker in South Auckland and as an advisor at the Human Rights Commission for 10 years. She was the Chief Panellist on the Owen Glenn Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.

“It’s the greatest honour of my life to be elected Co-leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa. It is also an enormous responsibility and for party members to have confidence in me to lead the Party is truly humbling,” said Ms Davidson.

“I want to congratulate Julie Anne Genter. My respect for Julie Anne and her obvious talents has only increased over the course of the campaign. I’m proud to call her a colleague and a friend and I know she will continue doing a fantastic job as a Minister.

“History shows that smaller parties struggle to retain their support in coalition governments. My number one goal as Co-leader is to make sure that doesn’t happen to the Greens.

“Without ministerial responsibilities I can focus on the party and ensure the full delivery of our confidence and supply agreement while maintaining unity. With one leader as a Minister and one not we can able to avoid the pitfalls other parties entering Government have experienced who have seen their support fall.

“I intend to stay connected to the community I come from, South Auckland, and other communities like it around the country. I will be the only party leader in Parliament that brings to the table deep sustained experience of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in our country and I plan to ensure they are given a voice.

“The community I come from is at the coalface of the most pressing issues we face as a society: rising poverty and inequality, the housing and homelessness crisis, polluted rivers and poor health and education outcomes. I will ensure their voices are heard, in Parliament and within the Green Party.

“Our Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Labour Party commits to providing a transformational Government. I am looking forward to working even more closely with our colleagues’ right across the Government to achieving our Government’s ambitious agenda,” said Ms Davidson.

“I am incredibly excited about this new era of leadership in the Green Party and getting to work with Marama to deliver great green change and further growing our party,” said Mr Shaw.

“Marama is a magnetic politician, people are naturally drawn to her and respect her. She is acutely aware of how some people and communities are struggling in this country, and she will be an excellent advocate for their interests in Parliament and in our Party.

“Between us we represent the broad church of Green voters. Our different backgrounds and experiences mean we empathise and understand the cross section of issues New Zealanders face. We are a team that can reach everyone committed to a better and fairer New Zealand.

“Member elected Co-leaders have provided decades of unity and stability to the party, and I am sure this new pairing, the first as part of a Government, will be no different.

“I want to congratulate Julie Anne Genter, whose leadership skills and political acumen remain invaluable to our party.

“I have no doubt that Julie Anne will continue to be a stand-out minister in this Government, well into the future.

“I want to thank Green Party members who participated in the leadership contest. Our electoral system is the most democratic of any party and this result represents a clear mandate for Marama to lead our party,” said Mr Shaw.

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.

Marama Davidson running for Green co-leadership

Nominations opened for the Green party co-leadership on Friday (and close next Friday).

First to announce their bid: Marama Davidson announces run Green Party co-leader

Green MP Marama Davidson has officially announced her bid to be the new co-leader of the Green Party.

The position has been vacant since Metiria Turei resigned in August, but the party’s constitution mandates that there must be a male and female co-leader.

Davidson is the first contender out the gate and picked by many as the favourite. Nominations opened on Friday and will close next Friday.

This is unlikely to surprise anyone, it was well signalled. While Davidson only became an MP in 2015 (filling the list gap left when Russel Normal resigned) she rapidly rose to be #2 on the Green list in last year’s election. She is seen as the MP closest to Turei in politics, as well as being female and Maori.

“I’ve decided to stand for Co-leader of the Green Party because I am the best placed to build a strong, cohesive and diverse movement to bring about transformative social, environmental and economic change,” she said.

“To deliver on all of the Green Party visions and policies that our people and our environment so desperately need, we must return to Parliament in 2020 with much greater numbers and as an even stronger and more significant part of the next Government.”

“It’s unfortunate that any of us get stuck into one little corner. But it’s also something I’m not scared of being framed as,” Davidson said.

“I’m certainly proud of my connections to the very communities who have borne the brunt of all the economic and social failures that this country has seen over decades.”

Said she was comfortable with being seen as the left-wing candidate in the race – that means very left wing, it’s likely all candidates (like all Green MPs) will be left wing-ish at least.

Election timeline:

Fri Feb 2 – Nominations open – all female current Green Party members are eligible to run

Fri Feb 9 – Nominations close

Mon Feb 12 – Full list of nominations announced, however candidates can individually announce their candidacy any time after nominations have opened and they’ve filed their paperwork

Sat Mar 3 – Co-leader candidate session at Green Party policy conference in Napier (open to media, details to be advised closer to the time)

Sun Mar 25 – All delegates Zoom (video) call with Co-leader candidates.  This will be a virtual version of what normally happens at AGM with co-leader candidates giving speeches and answering questions from delegates

Mon Mar 26 – End of official campaigning

Mon Mar 26 to Sat Apr 7 – branch consultation and delegates cast their ballots

Sat Apr 7 – Balloting closes

Sun Apr 8 – Ballot counting and winner announced

Green plans for female co-leader

Metiria Turei resigned as Green co-leader last August, leaving James Shaw as sole leader since then. Shaw has just announced plans for finding a new co-leader.

Any female MP or party member can put themselves forward, with Marama Davidson, Julie Anne Genter and Eugenie Sage touted as likely contenders.

Timeline announced for Green Party Female Co-leadership election

The Green Party will have a new Female Co-leader by April 9, following the announcement today of an early special election for the position and a truncated campaign period of two months.

The Female Co-leader position has been vacant since Metiria Turei’s resignation in August last year. Green Party Co-leaders are normally elected annually at the party’s AGM but the party executive has decided to bring the election forward in order to fill the vacancy sooner.

“We are keen to get a new Co-leader in place as soon as possible. The party has decided to bring the election of the Female Co-leader forward, with nominations opening next Friday, closing the week after, and then moving into a shorter two month campaigning period,”  said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The last Co-leader election was drawn out over a five month period and in hindsight was too long. Two months is plenty of time for the candidates to get out among the party members and for members to have their say.

“Like we did when deciding on joining the new Government, we will be using video technology extensively in the campaign, with video calls for members and delegates planned. We are excited about using technology in the campaign and giving all members a chance to connect with the candidates.

“I would advise Green Party member to make sure that their membership is up to date so that they can vote in their branch deliberations and they get to know the candidates and participate in this process.

“A lot’s happened in the period that I have been sole Co-leader, not least that we are now part of Government. It will be great to get a new Co-leader on board as we traverse our first term in power and start to implement good green change and grow our party,” Mr Shaw said.

The Co-leadership will be chosen by Green Party delegates, representing the party’s branches. Branches will have a number of delegates proportionate to their local membership size. The vote will use the single transferable vote system.

Election timeline:

Fri Feb 2 – Nominations open – all female current Green Party members are eligible to run

Fri Feb 9 – Nominations close

Mon Feb 12 – Full list of nominations announced, however candidates can individually announce their candidacy any time after nominations have opened and they’ve filed their paperwork

Sat Mar 3 – Co-leader candidate session at Green Party policy conference in Napier (open to media, details to be advised closer to the time)

Sun Mar 25 – All delegates Zoom (video) call with Co-leader candidates.  This will be a virtual version of what normally happens at AGM with co-leader candidates giving speeches and answering questions from delegates

Mon Mar 26 – End of official campaigning

Mon Mar 26 to Sat Apr 7 – branch consultation and delegates cast their ballots

Sat Apr 7 – Balloting closes

Sun Apr 8 – Ballot counting and winner announced

Turei still shows as co-leader

The Green Party, usuaally slick online, quickly removed Kennedy Graham and David Clendon off their list of ‘Our People’ after they withdrew from the Green Party list.

But Metiria Turei still shows as co-leader and top ranked MP:


Turei still shows as co-leader on her Twitter account:


And the Greens on Facebook:


Still in shock? Or just reluctant to move on from Turei’s leadership?

There have been several Shaw only posts on Facebook…


…but the visible comments aren’t great.

The Greens have a lot to do to try to recover from this.

Shaw is trying to move them on: Shaw calls for calm, defends media

Mr Shaw said it had been “a tough week” for the Green Party caucus.

“Passions are running high. I think people need to breathe through their noses and steady the ship and just get on with the campaign.”

Some supporters have lashed out at media online, accusing reporters of hounding Mrs Turei out of Parliament.

But Mr Shaw said he had “absolutely no hard feelings” for the media.

“In my view, the media have just been doing their job. Some of the interviews have been really tough, but they should have been tough.

“People should just calm down and realise everyone’s just doing their job.”

Earlier in the week, MP Julie-Anne Genter criticised media coverage of the story as a “distraction”.

Greens are still distracted by matters that have to be dealt with.

The party’s executive is also weighing the future of MP Kennedy Graham.

Earlier this week Dr Graham and fellow MP David Clendon pulled their support for Mrs Turei.

Mr Clendon said some colleagues were still bitter.

“Certainly it’s painful at the moment. There is a lot of unease and some fairly raw feelings. We could equally be angry about some of what’s been thrown at us in the last few days.”

Dr Graham is applying to be put back on the party’s list, after he and Mr Clendon asked to be taken off earlier in the week.

Mr Shaw had initially shot down the idea, saying and said Dr Graham had lost his fellow MPs’ trust.

When they withdrew from the party list on Tuesday Shaw threatened to have them thrown out of the party.

But he said it was ultimately up to the party’s executive.

“The view of caucus would be that it would be tough for him to come back, but that is a decision for the executive,” Mr Shaw said.

He expected it would be several days before a decision.

RNZ understands there have already been objections to Dr Graham’s return from within the party’s wider membership.

The party split is still evident. It may take some time to tidy up the mess, but rancour is likely to remain.

Turei resigns as co-leader

Metiria Turei has just announced she was resigning as Green co-leader, and may not continue in Parliament after the election.

She says the reason is too much pressure on her family, but there is also speculation she may have been influenced by a poll result due a 6 pm – she is likely to already know the result.

Greens may or may not appoint another co-leader in the short term.

This is a sad but inevitable step in a dramatically changing political landscape.


A brief explanation on why Metiria Turei announced on that she is resigning as co-leader of


NZH:  Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei resigns

…the Herald understands that the latest UMR poll sees the Greens polling has halved in two weeks from 15 per cent to 8 per cent.

The same poll sees a surge in Labour support from 23 per cent to 36 per cent.

And in today’s Newshub/Reid Research poll Greens are down 4.7 to 8.3%. See Newshub/Reid Research poll

RNZ have done a very good job on this story, but the media are getting a bollocking at The Standard, blamed for Turei’s turmoil along with dirty politics.

Labour’s new co-leader

Perhaps this was a Freudian slip by Andrew Little’s office in a letter sent out by Labour and the Greens this week, announcing the parties’ joint inquiry into homelessness.


A possibly unobservant Metiria Turei signed off as Labour Party Co-leader.

Shaw a good bet for the Green future

It’s hard on Kevin Hague to miss out on the Green co-leadership. He’s a good guy who works hard with anyone to progress worthwhile policies and issues. But the Greens have gone for an alternative that’s a better bet for their future.

James Shaw was chosen as the new male co-leader, a Parliamentary novice against Hague’s experience. He was suggested as a leader of the future before getting into Parliament eight months ago.

When Russel Norman announced he was stepping down  Shaw initially said he wouldn’t be in the contest to replace Norman, but then he changed his mind. He must have sounded out support, or supporters encouraged him, and put himself forward.

I think Shaw is a good bet for the Greens. He is more likely than most to work well across the political spectrum and more likely than moist to attract a wide range of voters. He has solid Green credentials but also has solid business experience.

His biggest handicap was his lack of Parliamentary and leadership experience, but that’s not a big issue here as he is co-leader and is not in sole charge. He will have Metiria Turei’s experience alongside him, and Norman has promised to help him learn the leadership ropes.

I think it’s possible, even likely, that Shaw will quickly become more attractive to potential voters than Turei, who is fairly left of left and doesn’t appeal much to people outside the faithful Green flock.

Shaw is as good bet for the Green future.

James Shaw new Green co-leader

Kia ora Peter

I’m James Shaw. I want you to be one of the first to know that I have just been elected as the new Green Party male Co-leader.

This is a huge privilege. I do not take it lightly.

You can help me get the word out about my election by sharing this facebook post.

The last few months have been amazing. It’s been great to get across the country and meet so many of you and hear about your ideas and passion for a better, cleaner future for our beautiful country.

It’s been an inspiring and tough contest, and I want to acknowledge the hard work, passion and vision of all the Co-leader contestants. It was a pleasure to campaign alongside them and I value and respect them all highly.

I’m looking forward to working with you, my fellow Green MPs, and all the people who care about the future of New Zealand.

I know this will be hard work, but it’s worth it – because we can change the system. We can win. And we have to, because our current system is broken.

We have an economy that encourages people and companies to extract as much short term wealth as they can, from the environment or from their workers, regardless of the damage they cause, because they don’t have to pay for it.

The Government is supposed to help those who need help the most, not those who need it the least.

With your help the Green Party will change that, we will lead the change to a system that is sustainable and looks after all our people.

Together we can do it – the campaign to put the Greens in Government in 2017 starts today.

I’m excited, I hope you are too.


James Shaw

Green Party Co-leader

PS – if you want to find out more about me and hear about my vision for the Green Party and New Zealand, you can watch my first speech as Green Party Co-leader live tomorrow, Sunday 31 May at 11.30am.