Greens' James Shaw admits struggle of striking balance as minister and co-leader

"Quite clearly given the vote last weekend, I haven't quite nailed it."
"Quite clearly given the vote last weekend, I haven't quite nailed it." Photo credit: AM Show

The Green Party's ex-co-leader and now Green MP James Shaw has admitted to his struggle to strike a balance as a Minister and co-leader. 

In a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, Shaw aired his thoughts to Green Party members "using the most direct means I have to reach you". 

Shaw said the vote to re-open nominations at the Green Party's Annual General Meeting (AGM)  came as a "shock" but he knew there had been some "disaffection" with him. 

"But I had understood that to be primarily amongst members who didn't support the Party's decision to go into Government or the compromises that come with the progress."

Shaw acknowledged the vote wasn't just about that, and admitted to the struggle of striking a balance of being Climate Change Minister and Green Party co-leader. 

"If I'm honest, I've found it hard to get the mix right between being a minister and a co-leader and, quite clearly given the vote last weekend, I haven't quite nailed it," Shaw said. 

"I can see that I need to spend more time working on my role as co-leader. If members do choose to have me back, I will do that."

Green MP Tenau Tuiono said on Wednesday morning that he is still not ruling out putting his hat in for leadership.

"Whatever my participation is in any sort of process, is that it is actually what the members want but also it's about moving the party forward," Tuiono said.

"I'm not ruling anything in, I'm not ruling anything out I'm just kinda giving it a think."

Shaw meanwhile said he would work to rebuild trust among party members. 

"I want to learn from this and be a better co-leader, a better MP and a better minister because of it."

He said he has already learnt one thing from his leadership contest, which is listening to legitimate criticism. 

"As much as I have been frustrated by some criticism, as co-leader I need to listen and be there for anyone who has legitimate criticism," Shaw said. 

"This is part of the job and that is why we have the mechanism to re-open nominations every year, to ensure that our co-leaders are responsive to those who do have concerns."

Shaw plans to meet with the Party's co-convenors to talk about implementing a process for grievances to be aired and reconciliation to be found. 

"Despite our commitment to non-violent conflict resolution and appropriate decision making, there are times when we don’t live up to that standard. I’ve always found that painful and I’d like to do something about it. "

Earlier in the week Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick ruled herself out of running for the party's vacant co-leadership role. 

"I am not in the running for the co-leadership. Thank you to all of the lovely and kind people who’ve expressed their confidence in me," Swarbrick said.

"I will continue my work as Auckland Central’s MP, in my Parliamentary portfolios and on Finance and Expenditure Committee. Party process is that MPs do not endorse any candidates who put themselves forward."