James Shaw re-elected Green co-leader six weeks after ouster

Climate Change Minister James Shaw is again co-leader of the Green Party.Photo/Mark Mitchell

James Shaw has been re-elected co-leader of the Green Party, more than six weeks after being ousted from the job.

Shaw’s return to the job he lost was widely expected. No other candidate is competing against him, but party delegates could have chosen to “restart the nomination” of him, sparking another contest – a token vote of no confidence in his leadership.

Instead, Shaw convincingly won the vote, backed by 138 voting delegates, with only four voting for renomination.

Shaw said it was an “honour and a privilege to be re-elected as co-leader of the Green Party with the overwhelming support of our members”.

“My focus will immediately turn to ensuring the Greens are back as part of the next government, with more Green ministers sitting at the cabinet table,” he said.

His co-leader Marama Davidson said it was “great” to have Shaw on the co-led team again.

“Huge congratulations to my friend James for his election as co-leader. It is great to have him back alongside me as we continue our work for bold action on climate change, policies to heal the damage done to our native wildlife; and for income Support to ensure that everyone who comes in and goes to work can make ends meet,” she said.

Shaw was ousted in a shock vote at the Greens’ annual general meeting on July 23. The Green Party co-leader must be re-elected each year by party representatives at the party’s annual general meeting.

Coalition leaders must win 75 percent of the delegate vote to keep their jobs. Another vote is triggered if more than a quarter of delegates vote to “restart nominations” for the co-leader.

Despite winning a supermajority of delegates at the AGM, 32 votes in favor of renomination and 75 votes in favor of retaining Shaw, sparking the current race.

Since then, Shaw, who continues to serve as climate change minister, has toured the country, meeting with party loyalists in an attempt to retake his old post.

Other MPs, including Chlöe Swarbrick, Elizabeth Kerekere and Teanau Tuiono, were talked about as potential candidates, but none chose to run, leaving Shaw as the only candidate.

The way of voting this time is slightly different from the first poll.

The first vote was a secret ballot. Each of the 150 party delegates is expected to vote as their party branch wishes, but it is suspected that some voted against the wishes of party members.

A constitutional rule triggered by a second vote means that each delegate’s vote needs to be witnessed by other members to ensure that no one delegate can vote against the wishes of their branch.

Shaw, who publicly believes he is more popular among members than representatives, may benefit from this rule.

Shaw has been on a listening tour this month to make a case for his leadership style, which focuses on importance in government.

That has some party members worried that the party has forgotten its radical roots.

Shaw again defended the government on Saturday morning when it came to the election results.

“We still have a lot to do,” he said.

“Over the next year, I will be working hard to drive action to rapidly reduce climate pollution from transport, energy and agriculture.

“Marama, the caucus and I have a proven track record of bold and lasting change together. Our combined leadership, especially on climate change, inequality and protecting nature, is unmatched by any other party.

“Working with our members and MPs, Malama and I will lead the Green Party into a position that can really shape the direction of the next government,” Shaw said.

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