Heather du Plessis-Allan: Is personal ambition behind the Greens' latest kooky idea?

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 13 Apr 2021, 6:55PM
James Shaw and the male co-leader role could be on the way out, according to new reports. (Photo / NZ Herald)
James Shaw and the male co-leader role could be on the way out, according to new reports. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Is personal ambition behind the Greens' latest kooky idea?

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 13 Apr 2021, 6:55PM

Apparently the co-leadership model in the Greens - where they have one male co leader and one female co leader - is due for a shake-up.

And at the next Annual General Meeting this year, they’re going to discuss changing it and they might move away from the male-female binary.

Instead, they could decide that they must have one female co leader and the other can be anything else – that’s Marama Davidson’s suggestion. Or they might have one Māori member, one non-Māori  – that’s Chloe Swarbrick’s suggestion.

They could even include one leader who is non binary or trans – again that’s Chloe’s idea.

Now I think this is kooky, but my general rule of thumb with the Greens is that if I think it’s kooky then their supporters are going to love it – so I’m guessing this is just perfect for the Green Party base.

But, I’m thinking there might be more to this than just sending ideological smoke signals. I’m wondering if we might have a case of some female Green MPs gunning for James Shaw’s job.

Is this a case of Julie Anne-Genter and Chloe Swarbrick eyeing up James’ job? 

James has that job because it’s reserved for a male co-leader. He’s arguably the only man in that caucus able to do the job, because there are only two other men both who came in at the last election so are too Green. One of whom is Ricardo Menendez-March, and we know he can’t yet be trusted to make wise decisions given the heat he drew over his trip to Mexico.

But there are plenty of capable females who could, if the rules changed, be  a co-leader next to Marama Davidson.

Chloe is outstanding, very capable, blew everyone away by winning the Auckland Central seat. Julie-Anne is similar to James in her outlook, and clearly had leadership ambitions once before given she ran for the co-leadership role that Marama won. 

James is not particularly popular at the moment. He’s seen as not radical enough, and some party members begrudge the efforts he makes to build consensus with the National Party on climate change matters. And he lost a lot of political capital with that green school debacle at the last election. 

So maybe this isn’t just about being green and wacky and radical - maybe it’s also a little bit about personal ambition within the party.