James Shaw vows to fight on, co-leader position on-the-line

Maiki Sherman
Source: 1News

The future of Green Party co-leader James Shaw is hanging in the balance, after party members voted to re-open nominations against him sparking a leadership contest.

James Shaw and Marama Davidson speak to media.

It comes as the party is holding its annual general meeting (AGM) this weekend.

The move now leaves the door open for a period of one week allowing any member of the party to put their name forward as a potential challenger.

Fronting media with co-leader Marama Davidson on Saturday evening, Shaw says he intends to contest the nomination in the hopes of being re-elected as co-leader.

It follows reports earlier this week by 1News that members of the Young Greens had been mobilising to oust Shaw, with one critic claiming many are unhappy with his leadership.

1News understands that of the 107 delegates who voted on Saturday, 75 supported Shaw and 32 voted to re-open nominations.

It’s yet another blow for the co-leader whose faced continued criticism since taking over the role in 2015.

"It's not great... it is hard when there's a group organising against you," said Shaw.

"I have to say, I've been through worse experiences."

Just last year Shaw faced a similar leadership challenge with one party member putting in an early nomination against him resulting in the pair going head to head at the annual conference.

While Shaw won that contest convincingly with 97% votes in favour, many are now speculating he could face a challenge from a fellow MP and caucus member this time round.

Those unhappy with his leadership today made up around 30% of voters - a much larger group than the seemingly 3% last year, according to the party’s own numbers.

Chlöe Swarbrick is tipped as a possible threat and would be viewed as a likely favourite if she decided to throw her hat in the ring.

Already hugely popular with voters, Swarbrick is the only Green MP to hold an electorate seat pulling off a major victory in Auckland Central at the 2020 Election.

Although Shaw said he would not speculate on possible challengers he said anyone in the party was welcome "to take a crack" at nomination.

In a media release on Saturday afternoon, the Greens said that co-leaders of the Green Party are elected every year at the party’s AGM in accordance with the Green Party constitution.

"Nominations for the co-leader at this year’s AGM closed on June 11. Marama Davidson and James Shaw were the only nominations received.

"Both candidates met the applicable demographic criteria (that one co-leader is a woman, with the other position open to a person of any gender, and that one co-leader is Māori).

"As such there was a single election at the AGM with two options for each candidate position: 1) vote for the candidate; or 2) re-open nominations.

"The Green Party’s constitution allows for nominations to be re-opened if at least of the 25% of the valid votes cast chose that option.

"The 25% threshold was surpassed at this year’s AGM for the co-leader position that can be filled by a person of any gender.

"As a result, nominations for this position will be reopened to the membership," the statement concluded.

Earlier this week Shaw had brushed off the threat of a fresh leadership challenge ahead of the party’s annual conference.

READ MORE: James Shaw brushes off Greens leadership challenge

“I do expect that there will be some people who vote to reopen nominations, but that happens every year," he said.