Greens co-leadership race: Marama Davidson first off the blocks

Marama Davidson is the first candidate to enter the race for the female co-leadership, with a promise to grow the Greens to a “major broad-based political party”.

She said she’ll do that by reaching communities who haven’t traditionally supported the Greens.

“We need to turn our faces to the streets, and understand the hardship and struggle that so many of our people are facing,” she said from her campaign launch in Ōtara.

Ms Davidson said her position as a member of the coalition Government without a Ministerial portfolio will allow her to push the Government on Green issues.

“Our Confidence and Supply Agreement gives us the right to agree to both work with and disagree with the Government, and we have already shown that we will use that when we need to.

“The Greens are now the only party in Parliament that remains in opposition to the TPPA,” she said.

Ms Davidson said this is the most important announcement of her political career.

Since Metiria Turei’s resignation seven months ago, James Shaw has led the party as sole co-leader, but the Green Party constitution requires the party is led by female and male co-leaders.

At the launch, Ms Davidson tipped her hat to Ms Turei, whose admission of historic benefit fraud led to much scrutiny during the campaign period, causing ructions in the party.

“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her unflinching courage and leadership in the face of adversity,” Ms Davidson said to audience applause. 

Ms Davidson has an activist background and is particularly vocal on social issues.

At the event, Ms Davidson was descried by supporters as "wahine toa", an as "genuine" and "loving".
At the event, Ms Davidson was descried by supporters as "wahine toa", an as "genuine" and "loving". Photo credit: Newshub.

At the event, Ms Davidson was described by supporters as a “wahine toa”, and as “genuine” and “loving”.

“This country has gone to s**t”, domestic violence victim advocate Jackie Clark said.

“If you’re poor and you're brown and you're a woman, you’re f****d, especially if you’re in south Auckland.”

Ms Clark is supporting Ms Davidson’s campaign because of her focus on injustice, homelessness, domestic violence and under-resourcing in south Auckland, she said.

At times Ms Davidson has shared very personal stories to highlight the social issues she advocates for. In 2014, she shared her story of abortion, calling for the public to “demand that any government will decriminalise abortion.” She was one of the women who stood as a victim of sexual abuse in Parliament in 2015.

She worked for the Human Rights Commission for almost a decade, from 2003 until 2012 and worked on the Glenn Inquiry into child abuse.

Ms Davidson has been a Green Party Member of Parliament since 2015, when she entered Parliament after male co-leader Russel Norman’s resignation.

All candidates will be announced by February 12, with party delegates casting votes on behalf of their electorates by April 7.

The winner will be announced April 8.

Greens who ruled themselves out

New MPs Chloe Swarbrick and Golriz Ghahraman both ruled themselves out of running for the female co-leadership role.

Former chief of staff Deborah Morris Travers, who was unceremoniously moved on after the Metiria Turei ruled herself out of standing, as has former MP Denise Roche.