James Shaw grilled over political future a year after he was briefly ejected as Green Party co-leader

James Shaw was grilled on Newshub Nation on Saturday about his political future a year after he was briefly ejected as Greens co-leader at his own party's conference. 

Shaw was abruptly ousted as co-leader in July 2022 when he failed to get the 75 percent votes of delegates needed to be re-elected. But when no other candidates put their name forward for the leadership position, Shaw was voted back into his old job.  

Speaking with Newshub Nation's Rebecca Wright on Saturday, the Green Party co-leader said the ousting "obviously wasn't a career highlight". 

"It also wasn't the most challenging moment I have ever had in my political career and I like to think I am quite good in a crisis," Shaw said.  

"Ultimately, I had to reflect on what were the lessons I needed to learn there and then get out and talk to the members and here I am."

Shaw said the incredibly public ousting made him reflect on what he was committed to as a politician. 

He said he has no reason to believe former member Dr Elizabeth Kerekere was behind the move to vote him out. 

Kerekere resigned from the party in May after she was caught calling fellow Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick a "crybaby" in a message sent to the wrong group chat. After the message, further allegations emerged about her behaviour towards other Green MPs, staff and members.

"I have absolutely no insight into the extent to how much she may or may not have been involved in the events of the last AGM (annual general meeting), so I cannot comment on that," he told Wright. 

When asked whether the allegations against Kerekere were a way for him to clean house of members who potentially didn't support him, Shaw said he and Davidson have a duty of care to their staff. He said the messages highlighted a pattern of behaviour and that's why the investigation was launched. 

But the party leader wouldn't be drawn on whether the turbulent year meant he was looking at other options. 

When asked how much longer he saw himself staying as the Greens co-leader, Shaw said it was "open-ended". 

"When I first ran for the Green Party co-leadership in 2015 I said my commitment was to take us into Government for the first time and then safely out the other side.

"So it's open-ended in the sense that we are not yet done. In fact, I would argue that we are only just getting going, there is so much more that we need to do.

"I am putting all of my energy and all of my efforts into making sure that we do secure a historic third term in Government."

Shaw also pushed back at suggestions his not contesting the now-open Wellington Central seat is a sign his political career is winding down. 

Earlier in the year, Finance Minister Grant Robertson revealed he was not contesting the seat sparking speculation Shaw could win the electorate. But days later, Shaw revealed he was opting out of the race and nominated local city councillor and activist Tamatha Paul as the party's candidate instead. 

Shaw told Wright that not contesting the seat wasn't foreshadowing him leaving politics. He said he didn't run for the seat because he cannot give that job 100 percent and also be the best Climate Minister possible. 

"The people of Wellington Central can get a two-for-one deal here," Shaw said. "You have in Tamatha, I think, a remarkable woman who is doing a terrific job in council and would be an amazing advocate for Wellington Central in Parliament and you get me."

Shaw also wouldn't be drawn on whether failing to get into Government in October would be the end of his political career. 

"I am not contemplating that outcome. We will deal with that if we get to that. At the moment, 100 percent of my attention is on ensuring we get more Green MPs and more Green ministers sitting around the next Cabinet." 

Watch the full video for more. 

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