James Shaw on being Green Party Co-Leader – My first week

1
343
James Shaw Greens co-leader. Image: Wikipedia.

MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Co-Leader James Shaw: My first week

James Shaw Greens co-leader. Image: Wikipedia.
James Shaw Greens co-leader. Image: Wikipedia.

What a whirlwind week it has been. Today is my seventh as Green Party Co-leader. It’s a good opportunity to pause and reflect.

I’ve lost count of the interviews with media I’ve done this week: everything from morning TV shows to student radio to the National Business Review. It’s been really great to have these opportunities to introduce myself to Green supporters and potential supporters who seem excited about what lies ahead for the Greens.

Parliament was in session this week. I felt excited and privileged walking in to the Parliamentary Chamber and taking the Co-leader’s seat next to Metiria – but mostly I felt the sense of responsibility to honour the hopes and aspirations of those who put me here and who I represent.

On Tuesday in Parliament I challenged John Key to put party politics aside and work with the Green Party to formulate a plan for New Zealand to do our bit to address climate change. He didn’t rise to my challenge, instead trotting out his well-worn lines about how the Greens supposedly want to wreck the economy.

So on Wednesday I challenged the Government again, using its own economic analysis that shows that reducing New Zealand’s carbon emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels would cost only one tenth of one percent of GDP growth. The economy would still grow at 2.1% every year. That’s hardly wrecking the economy by anyone’s standards.

The Government’s bungled responses to my challenges shows that when it comes to economics, they’re living in the fossilised past. They just don’t get it that green economics is the economics of the future. And they just don’t get it that New Zealanders want their politicians to work together to fix the big issues that we face.

That just makes me more determined to keep on challenging the Government to do things differently and do things better.

The reality is that transforming to a smart, green economy would be good for New Zealand in the long term.

On Wednesday night I had a short opportunity to relax a bit on the TV show BackBenches, before heading back to the office for some late night planning meetings.

Parliament is in recess next week, which will give me a chance to get really stuck in to planning my priorities alongside Metiria, the caucus, and the rest of the party’s leadership.

Russel has, of course, left some huge shoes to fill and I’ve begun my time as Co-leader as I intend to continue, working hard to live up to Russel’s legacy.

Over the coming weeks and months I’ll keep listening and learning. And I’ll begin delivering on the promise of the Greens – that we can change the system, and create a sustainable and inclusive society for all New Zealanders.

SHARE
Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

1 COMMENT

Comments are closed.