For a tough decision free New Zealand

On Green anti-poverty campaigner Marama Davidson on RNZ’s Morning Report:

She like her co-leader James Shaw won’t say whether she thinks it’s ok for beneficiaries to break the law.

“I too am not going to judge people. What I would like see, laws that will allow everybody to have enough so they don’t have to make tough decisions.”

From the audio from Green Party re-launches election campaign with ‘Love NZ’

The first elimination of tough decisions is to vote for this care free utopia.

There will be no need for anyone to make tough decisions at all, like how to get things done, and how to finance it.

The rise of Marama Davidson

Marama Davidson has had a rapid rise in politics. She is now the second ranked Green MP, and has just been given the responsibility of heading the Green campaign against poverty.

She is known as a social justice activist.

Davidson has been in Parliament for less than two years. She missed making it in 2014 by one list position (she was 15 on the list). When Russel Normal resigned in November 2015 she became an MP.

Earlier this year Davidson was showing as 13th ranked Green, after another new MP had joined after Kevin Hague resigned last year.

When the Greens’ preliminary list came out in April Davidson came in at 4. She was elevated to number 3 for the ‘final’ list, but that has changed now Metiria Turei has withdrawn from the list.

Yesterday in a relaunch of the Green election campaign sole leader James Shaw number the Green number 2 as one of a new caucus leadership team. Davidson has been put in charge of the Green poverty policy, effectively taking over this responsibility from Turei.

From Davidson’s bio (from the Green website):

Marama’s parents met as young, urban Māori activists; she was literally born into the movement.  However, it was Marama’s ten year career at the Human Rights Commission that brought life to her activist and social justice foundations.

Marama worked part-time as the Chief Panelist for the Glenn Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.  Her involvement in the inquiry has placed violence at the forefront of her political radar.  Marama supports the compassionate and necessary work that MP Jan Logie leads around violence, and longs for a day when we can call Aotearoa violence free.

As well as supporting movements on the ground, Marama is also an online activist.  She has a powerful presence on social media, which she sees as a great way to vocalise important issues and to engage with the community.  She is a blogger, and writes about social justice, Māori politics, women’s rights and more.

Marama is passionate about all areas of injustice, and is committed to using her voice wherever she can to elevate issues.  She is inspired by community leaders who do the hard work and stay connected to the issues and the people in their neighbourhoods.

“I am enthusiastic and excited about making change that honours our connection to each other, and our planet”

She is the Green spokesperson for Māori Development, Social Housing, Human Rights and Pacific Peoples.

In October 2016, Davidson took part in the Women’s Peace Flotilla, which intended to highlight the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Davidson is active in social media. her reaction to Turei’s stepping down:

And active in campaigning:

Also on Facebook:

Today I spoke to people waiting in the long lines outside of both the Manurewa and the Clendon offices of Work and Income.

The photo below was supposed to be a selfie with just me and the office door. I don’t like to expose people who might be treated cruelly in public.

But Kataraina went out of her way to run over to me after I’d spoken with people in the line about our Green Party plans to end poverty. And after I’d spoken to people about what happened to Metiria.

She insisted on being in the photo with me. She insisted on being named. I told her that I wanted to post my photo publicly and that I didn’t want her to be in it.

She looked me in the eyes and had to spell it out: she wanted to be in the photo.

So who am I to take her voice away. She wanted her voice to count.

I enrolled lots of people to vote this morning. I gave out flyers about how we will end poverty, starting with increasing benefits and removing benefit sanctions. I asked people to vote, and to vote for the Green Party so we can make peoples voices count.

End poverty. Take our country back from cruelty.

We’ve had a rough week. We’re determined now more than ever.

Her last speech in Parliament:

Davidson will ensure that the Green campaign against poverty continues with some emphasis.

Having representatives like Davidson in Parliament is good. Time will tell, possibly, how she would do as a Minister.


Green Party relaunch – ‘Love New Zealand’

The Green Party are ‘resetting’ their campaign and relaunching it this afternoon.

James Shaw acknowledges that things have been messy. He said he entered politics to campaign on climate change, against poverty, and for a better standard of politics. He says that over the past two weeks Greens have acted as poorly as other parties.

Their ‘new’ slogan is ‘Love New Zealand’ – recycled from 2014.

He also announces a new caucus leadership team.

  • Marama Davidson – ending poverty
  • Julie Anne Genter – climate change
  • Eugenie Sage – cleaning up rivers

They are the next ranked MPs, and now Shaw is sole leader this is s sensible campaign strategy.


Solidarity and resistance?

This is an odd call for support for the Greens resetting and restarting their campaign after a disastrous couple of weeks.

Odd solidarity with no James Shaw in that photo – I wonder if that is deliberate. He is supposed to now be the sole leader, heading efforts to rebuild a tattered party.

The post is by ‘weka’: The Greens: solidarity and resistance

Solidarity and resistance sounds like it comes from a century ago, when poverty was far more widespread and worse, and social welfare barely existed.

The Greens are an enigma for some, and this is understandable because they don’t fit into the neat political boxes that the establishment deem real. They also are an inherent challenge to the establishment just because of who they are, so we can’t expect those part of the MSM invested in retaining the status quo to tell the story straight.

In my opinion it’s always better initially to listen to what the Greens have to say themselves. Here are the words of Green Party people speaking in the past few days,

Green MP Marama Davidson,

We will not forget the thousands of you who came to us with your stories of hardship.

This is just the start. All of your voices, the voices who came to us in trust and faith – are our priority. Ending poverty is a priority. We have the plan, and the political will, and most of all we have every single one of your stories driving us on.

We are 100% behind our sole co-leader James Shaw who will take us through the rest of this election. We are 100% behind Metiria who will continue what she started in her ongoing campaign for the party vote. We are 100% behind our strive to ensure that everyone can live dignified lives.

Green MP Jan Logie speaking on Back Benches,

I tell you something. We are going to NOT let (Metiria’s) sacrifice go for nothing. We are going to double down and do everything we can to make that worthwhile. To end poverty.

Double down on a disastrous own goal that has severely weakened the Greens?

James Shaw, co-leader of the Green Party (video at 4 mins)

I am committed to ending poverty in this country.

We are the party that aims to end poverty. Frankly everybody else is interested in tinkering around the edges. We’re the only party that’s drawn a line in the sand and said we know what it takes to lift 212,000 children above the poverty line.

That was to be really clear that the Greens are still strong on the kaupapa of ending poverty.

For the people on the look out for the environmental side, there’s a plethora of solid Green Policy already in place and based around NZ becoming world leaders on climate action, cleaning up our rivers, and ending poverty.

Metiria Turei started the Green Party campaign last month with a speech that started the temporary rise and then dramatic fall of the Greens (and precipitated a dramatic turnaround for the better for Labour).

Green MPs and Green supporters were blind to the risks and to the damage being done to their party. They attacked anyone who pointed out their problems or who criticised Turei or the party. They happily criticised and rejected two of their own MPs who were troubled by integrity issues.

If they want to ignore all of the problems the brought upon themselves, or just blame others – in particular the media which is seen as just a part of the establishment to be resisted – then I don’t like their chances of repairing the substantial damage they have caused themselves.

No matter how Shaw tries to repackage the Green campaign today, if the Green supporters who remain active continue the Metiria mission it may take an election disaster to get the message through.

If Greens generally follow the gist of what weka has posted through the campaign then I think there’s a real chance of them dropping through the threshold and crashing out of Parliament altogether.

That would be a real shame, but the Greens seem intent on doubling down – and down, and down.

Calling for solidarity and resistance may turn the Greens around, but it could also make a disaster permanent for the socialist sisterhood.

Greens won’t let Graham back on list

The Green Party has decided to not let Kennedy Graham come back onto the Green Party list.

Green party declines Kennedy Graham’s request to be a green candidate in the 2017 election

Yesterday the Green Party’s executive met to consider Green MP Kennedy Graham’s request to be considered for re-entry into the Party’s candidate list for the 2017 general election.

After careful consideration of the facts and Kennedy’s submission the Executive concluded that he had breached the Party’s Candidate Code of Conduct in a serious manner, and therefore decided to exclude Mr Graham from the Party’s pool.

The divisions continue. This will make it hard to repair the considerable damage done already.

The Nation: James Shaw and the Greens


James Shaw will be interviewed by Patrick Gower on The Nation this morning about ‘what’s next for the Green Party’.

Shaw has had a torrid week trying to support Metiria Turei, and then when she stood down trying to tidy up the mess. This will be a very interesting interview.

Pre-interview update – the Green Party Executive has declined Kennedy Graham’s request to be reinstated on the party list –  Greens won’t let Graham back on list

That won’t help heal divisions.

The first part of the interview was a waste of time. Shaw wouldn’t say what the Greens plan to change in their campaign until it is announced later this weekend.

Also a wast of time were questions about Kennedy Graham, the interview was recorded yesterday and we now know Graham won’t be allowed back in.

Shaw stood his ground on a couple of things but generally this was a week interview, he looks a bit like Bill Rowling, who Muldoon called a mouse.

Shaw wouldn’t say whether Greens would sit on the sidelines if it meant a Labour+NZ First change of government.

A lot of work for Shaw and the Greens to repair and rebuild.

Shaw mentioned ‘conversation’ a few times – this interview was more like a gentle conversation than a strong indication of a new start for the Greens under a sole leader.

Quite notable – the panel discussion was solely about the Joyce-Robertson debate and about National and Labour policies.

No mention of Shaw or the Greens.

Greens catching up online

Yesterday I posted about how the Green Party had not updated the online presence of ex-co-leader Metiria Turei – see Turei still shows as co-leader. They are now stating to catch up with events earlier this week – Turei resigned as co-leader on Wednesday.

Their website now features Shaw on their home page with Green supporters and no Turei.


Turei still co-features with Shaw on the photo linking to Our People, but on that page she has now been relegated to the rank and file MPs/candidates. The new top of the pecking order:


Two males only in the top nine. The next three (10-12) are male but may now be borderline to get into Parliament.

No Turei ( she is on the sixteenth row down), and no return of Kennedy Graham.

Turei’s Twitter profile still show her as Green Party Co-leader & MP for . Apparently “quite cool if a little obscure”

 still features both Shaw and Turei in it’s header photo, which is the same as on their Facebook page:


A leadership change means a lot of changes need to be made across social media and in all their advertising and on Billboards. The Greens intend to relaunch their campaign tomorrow.

Shaw will feature on The nation this morning.






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.

Green’s troubles aren’t over

Metiria Turei’s announcement that she will step down as co-leader of the Green Party yesterday may take some of the heat off their turmoil, but their problems are far from over.

They now have to try to cobble together a campaign for the election on 23 September – advance voting starts in a month, on 11 September.

James Shaw will be sole leader of the party for the rest of the campaign. He looked worn out over the last week trying to manage an escalating party crisis. He will have to try to step up and present a positive face. He has looked weak at times, he has to try to turn that around.

All the Green billboards may need attention. They feature both Shaw and Turei and the caption ‘Great Together’.

Their online presence also needs a makeover. This is now out of date:


That togetherness doesn’t look great now.

The normally slick Green machine seems to be in shock. Normally very active on social media, the seem to be MIA. Their website still shows Turei as co-leader and number one in their pecking order.

But the hardest part will be in wider media, trying to repair the damage and look a credible option for the rest of the campaign.  There is a real risk that the mainstream media will either keep highlighting their problems, or moving on to other parties.

Two polls reported yesterday had the Greens plummeting to 8%, barely half of recent highs. They were taken before Turei stepped down, and polls typically take a while to respond to what is happening in the news. They could bounce back a bit, but they could just as easily slip some more.

The Green image is very tarnished after Metiria’s mission gamble blew up on her and her party. Patching over the cracks – or chasms – in the party won’t be easy in the short timeframe left.

Shaw and the remaining Green MPs and candidates are also tainted, having backed Turei to the hilt on her no contrition stance, approving of Turei breaking the law in what are now dubious circumstances, and sending signals of approval that beneficiaries could justify breaking rules if they decided they were deserving of more taxpayer assistance.

Two MPs quit on principle over this and were attacked by party officials and on social media, and Shaw himself threatened to dump them from the party but later thought better of that.

Somehow the Green caucus and party has to save face with their staunch core of supporters, but also convince soft and floating voters that the party still has some principles and isn’t corrupted by double standards.

It’s hard to see them recovering much ground. They may hold where they are, below their 2014 election level of support. Or they could keep digging the hole that was started by Turei and then joined with jackhammers by the remaining green leader and caucus.

This has been a dramatic crash for the Greens, and it is mostly of their own doing through their self righteousness, their enbubbled vision, and their flawed championing of an entitlement syndrome.

This has been a Green disaster.

Turei the victim

The Green Party has been badly compromised by the Metiria mission in which she used her life experiences as a solo mother to promote pro-beneficiary anti-poverty policies.

When Metiria Turei started her confession based campaign against poverty and the pressures imposed on beneficiaries she got quite a bit of sympathy and support, and this was reflected in a jump in the polls for the Green Party.

But things turned sour, for three reasons.

First, Turei proposed a reform of the social welfare system that would substantially increase the amount of benefit paid (by 20%), and also no investigation policy with no pressure to move off a benefit – “everyone has different life circumstances and everyone is entitled to support for as long as they need it”, meaning as long as they chose, no questions asked. See Green policy Mending the Safety Net.

Second, it was revealed that Turei had not just fibbed a bit about having a flatmate to ‘feed her baby’.

She may have fibbed for up to five years with different flats and flatmates, one of whom was her mother for a year or two.

She was enrolled to vote at the same address as the father of her daughter. She claims they didn’t live together at all ‘since before the baby was born’ and that this was so she could vote for a friend in a different electorate (she stood for Parliament in the same election so one could wonder why she wouldn’t vote for herself).

Questions remain about why she didn’t name the father so he would be required to pay child support, and whether the child supported the child under the table, and if not why did he not support his child.

Third, Turei is complaining about any scrutiny of her family. She wants her years as a benefit and voting fraudster to be ‘no questions asked’. She is claiming to be a victim of a witch hunt.

RNZ: ‘Outside opponents want to see us fail’ – Metiria Turei

Green co-leader Metiria Turei is accusing outside opponents of making “wild accusations” in a bid to bring down the party.

That’s an unfortunate fact of politics,there are some people who want to ‘bring down’ every party other than the one they support.

But Turei left herself open by refusing to be up front about her whole story. She wanted sympathy without wanting to take responsibility.

She took aim at other opponents outside of the party who had attacked her.

“They want to see us fail at the election and they’re using me as a target.”

And she said she expected the critics to continue making “quite wild accusations” over the coming weeks.

“I understand that’s the game some people want to play, but we have a much bigger kaupapa to carry through.”

Mrs Turei also objected to the level of intrusion into her and her family’s personal life as ”a little out of control”.

“We have to be very careful that this doesn’t turn into a witchhunt.”

She chose to use part of her story to promote a policy and a mission. She has been an MP for 15 years, she is a party leader seeking power in government, she can’t be that naive that she expects no scrutiny.

Playing the victim is a risky game, as she has found out.

She accepted she had opened herself up to questions and criticism by going public about lying to Work and Income in the 1990s.

But she did not expect her family to be targeted.

“Having my family paraded in the media has been really tough

“My family didn’t deserve the kind of exposure they’ve had. I might, but not them.”

Her story was about her family and about her family situation. How could she have expected for them to be left out of it?

“The kinds of questions that have been asked of me are questions that are asked of beneficiaries every day.

“The scrutiny I have been under is the scrutiny they are under … people don’t like that. They think it’s unnecessarily punitive and I agree with them.”

Here she is again using her family experience to promote her campaign, but expecting no scrutiny.

She is playing a double victim card, portraying herself as a victim of an oppressive and miserly social welfare system, but wanting no questions asked about her choosing to break laws.

But she is a victim of her own actions. I think most people would barely care about a fib 25 years ago. However they would be more concerned about several years of fibs about multiple things – the electorate fiddle is what turned media against her more than anything, because it suggested a habit of not caring about the law.

And this is the crux of the reason why two Green MPs created turmoil on the party this week.

Having a lax attitude to laws two decades ago is justifiably questionable but history.

But as an MP and a party leader now, not condoning law breaking, and going as far as proposing an amnesty for all benefit law breakers, is problematic, and this is Turei’s real problem – her attitude to benefit fiddling and law breaking now, as a law maker.

The Labour Party has distanced themselves from this stance. Last week new leader Jacinda Ardern made it clear that it rules Turei out of consideration for a Labour led cabinet position.

And this week two Greens broke rank and said that they couldn’t  remain as MPs alongside this breach of integrity and principle.

They were attacked by Green party officials for making a principled stand. Co-leader James Shaw threatened to have them expelled from the party for bringing it into disrepute.

But the damage and disrepute had already happened through Turei’s stance, through Green party policy, and through the support of this from most Green MPs.

A well intentioned ‘mission’ had been poorly thought through and it turned to custard.

The nastiness of some Green supporters was exposed, especially with their attacks on their own MPs who stood up for principles that their party had discarded.

Turei is now playing the victim card. She seems unable to see or accept that she is the victim of her own actions – her actions from 1993-1998 to an extent, but mostly due to her actions and attitude over the past month.

She took a gamble and lost. The Green Party allowed her to take that gamble, they took it with her, and they have lost a lot of credibility, and potentially a lot of support.

Turei, Shaw and the party have chosen to not back down, so they all remain compromised. This is likely to keep blowing up in their faces through the election campaign.

They can play the victim as much as they like, but that is unlikely to repair the damage or win back lost support. It may well ensure that they don’t get it back.

Many of those who have supported the Greens for their environmental activism will be very disappointed that the party focus is obviously elsewhere now.

The Greens have strong core support on social issues and should still get back into Parliament, but this has been a major step backwards for the Greens, with no sign of a change of direction.

Turei claims that things have got out of control. What got out of control was the integrity of her mission.

Blaming others won’t repair the massive damage she has done to her party’s chances this election, and to the party’s credibility and mana.

Talking responsibility for it would help, but there is no sign of that. So the party continues to spiral out of control. It probably isn’t a death spiral, but a crash landing looks inevitable.