Shaw’s demotion less than thrilling

The last week or two have provided plenty of material for me as the Clutha Leader’s acting deputy assistant political reporter. While Christopher Luxon was in Te Puke, having ukulele lessons and enjoying raw fish, pineapple and mango martinis at the luau, James Shaw learnt that 70% of party delegates wanted him to continue as their co›leader.

In my university days, 70% was a pretty solid result, earning you a B pass. So you’d think Mr Shaw would have been heartened by this strong showing of approval from his peers. Wrong! It seems members of the Green Party are high achievers, and a lofty 75% is the pass mark required. Sorry James, your job is being re› advertised!

Who will fill the void? According to the Green Party’s original constitution, one co› leader must be male and one female. Of the nine other Green MPs, only two claim to be male, both of whom have ruled out challenging for the co› leadership. That left three options: 1) one of the female MPs would have to agree to identify as male; 2) a male party member who is not a sitting MP would have to be elected to the role; or

3) reappointing Mr Shaw despite his dismal 70% showing at the earlier vote.

“But”, a cynical reader might proclaim, “There is a fourth option; they could do a Vladimir Putin and change their constitution!” Sure enough, just a few weeks before the conference, a “special” meeting was convened and party members voted to do just that, and scrap any need for a male co›leader.

So hard cheese for James Shaw, with those plotting his downfall going to extraordinary lengths to ensure their plan would succeed. Strangely enough there has been no public outcry. No call for an independent inquiry. Nothing.

And the reason, as confirmed by a recent ‘‘nationwide’’ poll (conducted by yours truly), is that . . .nobody cares! Members of the public were asked, “out of all of the current leadership discussions in the news, which one is grabbing your interest the most?” First place went to the debate around the All Blacks coach. All Blacks captain came a close second. A close third was the hotly contested selection of a new All Blacks hairdresser.

But public interest in the Green Party leadership was way down the list, coming in at number 301 in the rankings, narrowly edged out of the top 300 by the debate over who should get the role of lead tambourine player in Dargaville’s Salvation Army band.

When you think about it, it all makes perfect sense. The wellbeing of New Zealanders will not be impacted in any way by whoever is eventually chosen as the next Green Party co› leader. But the All Blacks coach, on the other hand . . .