Green Party may scrap rule requiring male co-leader

Maiki Sherman
Source: 1News

Green Party members will soon need to make a decision that could see the rule requiring a male co-leader scrapped.

The move is part of constitutional considerations that will be decided at a special general meeting in the coming months.

The Green Party has led the political field when it comes to progressive leadership models.

Its male and female co-leader requirements began with Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald, then to Metiria Turei and Russell Norman, and the current duo Marama Davidson and James Shaw.

The party is now looking to go further, with a proposal for one co-leader to be female and the other any gender or identity.

"In terms of the male, female co-leadership it does sound a bit old fashioned doesn't it and I think that this is an elegant way of updating that," political commentator Josie Pagani said.

Former Green MP Sue Bradford says it's a good move.

"During my time the biggest question was could the party ever accept there not being a male in the leadership? And I think it's very progressive that the party is seriously taking this option," Bradford said.

It's an option that could potentially see two female co-leaders, clearing the way for a Marama Davidson and Chloe Swarbrick duo.

Swarbrick is arguably the Greens most popular MP and won the coveted Auckland Central electorate seat.

Former Green MP Catherine Delahunty said Swarbrick had potential but wanted to see more.

"She definitely brings a lot of younger people into politics which is a really good thing and she's extremely articulate. But I couldn't tell her what her politics are beyond single issues," Delahunty said.

Bradford questioned whether Swarbrick could unite those who felt alienated from the party in recent years.

"I think she's got a long way to go in proving herself as someone with the skills and strengths of negotiating and of having a clear values base that actually would be capable of drawing the party together," she said.

James Shaw faced a leadership challenge at last year's AGM but defeated it convincingly.

Shaw has always maintained he wanted to lead the Greens into Government and safely out the other side.

"That's something that the Green Party is going to have to decide that they want to continue and not get taken over by this element that would rather see them as a protest movement," Pagani said.

But former Green MPs were critical of Shaw's performance as climate change minister.

"James has one job he's the climate minister he's failed to take the radical action I would expect from the green party to climate a pressure point on labour," Delahunty said.

A requirement for one co-leader to be Māori is also on the table as part of the Greens commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.