NZ Greens leader Shaw to fight for his job

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James Shaw will re-nominate as New Zealand Greens leader after his sensational axing by party members at the weekend's AGM.

Mr Shaw, also climate change minister in Jacinda Ardern's Labour-led government, failed to meet an 75 per cent satisfaction threshold among party delegates.

The unexpected vote sets the party up for an age-old Greens debate: can it be more successful in government, or as an opposition party agitating for change from the outside.

Is it better off in the tent, or out?

Mr Shaw, the party's co-leader since 2015, is the leading proponent for working with the government.

A former consultant, he is considered too moderate by the more radical section of the party's grassroots.

Under Greens rules, co-leaders are put to a vote every year.

While Marama Davdison went unchallenged, Mr Shaw polled 70 per cent support of delegates, triggering a spill of his position.

The 49-year-old admitted his shock in the aftermath of the vote, and after taking soundings, pledged to fight for his job "because I'm not done".

"The climate crisis is unabated and we have a lot more work to do as a country there," he told Radio NZ.

Under Greens rules, any member can nominate for to be co-leader, making a ballot almost assured.

While Mr Shaw is extremely likely to win against a grassroots member, it remains to be seen whether a sitting MP will challenge, which would set up a messy fight.

Chloe Swarbrick, the 28-year-old Auckland Central MP, is considered a likely future leader, but ruled herself out on Monday afternoon.

First-term MP Elizabeth Kerekere is reportedly mulling a bid, and will make a decision after a partyroom meeting on Tuesday.

Central to the bid to demote Mr Shaw is a belief the government's climate action falls short.

Mr Shaw said he felt the same frustrations, saying "my primary concern is to stave off the climate crisis and to stop it from getting any worse. I will find any route to achieve that outcome".

The Wellington-based MP pointed to the party's polling as a reason to back him.

"I am proud of what we have achieved, and I believe that people like what they see," he said.

"Our polling is up on where it was on election night 2020 and that was up on where it was on election night 2017."

The Greens enjoy two ministerial positions in the government despite Labour's majority in parliament.

Ms Ardern handed out the ministries as a nod to their supportive role during her first coalition government, from 2017-2020.

New Zealand's electoral system makes coalitions the norm, and polls suggest Labour will need the Greens to have any shot of returning to office after the 2023 election.

Ms Ardern said Mr Shaw "does a fantastic job" and would stay in the job whether a leader or not.

"James Shaw as the climate minister within our government has introduced policy changes that are first in the world," she told TVNZ, citing climate reporting and work to price emissions from agriculture.

"Do we have a lot of work to do as a nation, as a world? Yes, of course.

"Does he often want to go further? Yes. He's a member of the Green party. I would expect that. But that hasn't ... diminished what he has done."

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