Green leadership challenge - Shaw opponent speaks out

Maiki Sherman
Source: 1News

One of the member delegates who voted to remove James Shaw as co-leader of the Green Party by forcing a re-opening of nominations has spoken publicly today.

Travis Mischewski represents around 170 members as part of his local branch.

“James should be moving further and faster in regards to climate change in particular. We have a threshold that is coming at us rapidly and we need to be doing something about it,” he said.

“I would love for other MPs to put their names forward.”

READ MORE: James Shaw may not have been green enough - former MP

Shaw is still considering whether he will contest the party’s co-leadership, appearing shaken at a media conference immediately after the result was made public.

“This is obviously a bit of a surprise and I’ve got to work through a few things,” Shaw said.

“If I didn't want to do the job I wouldn't have put my nomination in the first place but I will take soundings from the party before I put in my nomination form.”

The Green's second co-leader, Marama Davidson, said the challenge to her friend's role in the party came as "absolutely a shock.”

1News spoke to a number of Green Party members today, one saying they let their membership lapse under Shaw, but re-joined today at the prospect of new leadership.

Another, who stood for the party at the last election, said the party has no shortage of leaders and a contest is a good thing.

It's the second year in a row the climate change minister has been challenged at the party's annual conference. While only 3% of delegates wanted him gone last year, that's now jumped to 30%.

“This has never happened before. There has always been um a couple, usually one or two people, voting re-open nominations but not 30%,” former Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty said.

It's a crossroad moment ahead of next year's election as the party grapples internally between its activist roots and a drift in recent years toward the centre.

“The planet is burning and it is underwater this is not the time for greens to be moderate. Everyone else can be moderate while we drown and burn but that is not what the greens should do,” Delahunty said.

Canterbury University's professor of political science, Bronwyn Hayward, added the Green Party has always walked a tightrope between pushing New Zealand politics into new directions while also staying in government.

“They also have to win an election and they have to win enough votes that they can be a credible partner to a governing party so that's their dilemma,” Hayward said.