Greens' James Shaw confident vast majority of party supports him

James Shaw remains confident the vast majority of the Greens support him as he looks to return as co-leader after being forced to reapply for his job.

At the Green Party's annual general meeting (AGM), members failed to reconfirm Shaw as co-leader - allowing him to be challenged for the position.

There was a lot of talk over who could replace him in the role. Green MP Teanau Tuiono said he was "considering it", but later ruled himself out. 

Chlöe Swarbrick was seen as a strong contender but she too said she wouldn't run for the co-leader position. Other Green MPs, including Elizabeth Kerekere, Ricardo Menéndez March and Jan Logie, also ruled themselves out.

To be elected as co-leader, the Green Party constitution required Shaw receive at least 75 percent of the votes cast. 

Shaw told Newshub Nation on Saturday he remains confident he has the support of the party.

"I think there will be people who remain opposed to my leadership. There have been people who were opposed to my leadership before the AGM this year as well," he told co-host Conor Whitten.

"I am convinced that I have the support of the vast majority of the party and actually the majority of the party understands that whilst we have a radical vision, the political system is what it is and if you're going to be able to be in politics, you have to work with the system as it is. 

"You have to try and reform it as a part of the system but, ultimately, Government is challenging. It's incredibly frustrating. It does not move at the speed or the scale of the challenges that we face." 

Shaw said since failing to be reconfirmed as the leader, he's used the time to reconnect with the party around the country. 

He said he's also used the time to listen to members of the Greens who have concerns about his leadership.  

"Not directly, in the sense that I don't know who the delegates are who voted against me because those votes aren't recorded, but I have had meetings with branches where people have kind of aired their concerns, which I completely understand.

"I think there's a lot of different ways in which this manifests but I think ultimately what it boils down to is that sense of frustration that in Government there are compromises that get made and the speed and the scale at which we are moving does not match that of the climate crisis and I completely understand that." 

Shaw said his vision is the Green Party needs to be an even bigger part of the next Government. 

"What I said when I first stood for the leadership back in 2015 is that I was committed to taking us into Government for the first time with ministers and then safely out the other side.

"Now that job is not yet done and climate change is still a problem. I'm pretty proud of the track record that I've got and getting us to the start line, but there is a lot more that we have to do." 

Watch the full interview with James Shaw above. 

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