25 Jul 2022

Chloe Swarbrick rules out bid to be Greens co-leader

4:27 pm on 25 July 2022

Green MP Chloe Swarbrick has ruled herself out of running for the Green Party co-leadership.

Chloe Swarbrick

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Her decision comes in the wake of co-leader James Shaw's ousting at the party conference yesterday.

Shaw announced this morning that he had decided to contest the role again.

In a Facebook post, she thanked people for expressing confidence in her and said she would continue on as Auckland Central MP as well as her work on Parliamentary portfolios and committees.

"What happened at our AGM was unprecedented and I, like all of our Green MPs, wanted to respect the process and take time to reflect and listen. That reflection will continue in the coming days and weeks," Swarbrick said in her post.

However, she did not intend endorsing any candidates.

"Party process is that MPs do not endorse any candidates who put themselves forward," she said.

Earlier today, political scientist Lara Greaves told RNZ that although the majority of delegates backed Shaw, Swarbrick's popularity could bring a needed change for the Greens, if she decided to seek the co-leader job.

PM backs shaw

Asked about Shaw's removal as co-leader of the Greens while she was at Monday's post-Cabinet media briefing, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had full confidence in him.

The climate change portfolio was "reasonably significant to us as a government" she said.

Although it was important to keep the Labour-Greens relationship going, the reason she put him in that role was because she believed he was the right person for the job.

He had been able to make the most significant changes in that field of any New Zealand government, Ardern said.

She said she pushed back on any suggestion the government's action on climate change had not been ambitious.

Shaw had added to the value, including having been in the portfolio for three years that he then took forward into a second term.

"Is he from another party and is that clear in the work that we do with him? Yes, but I also think there is added value," she said, in keeping him on as climate minister.

Her perspective was that the Green Party was able to achieve greater change by being part of the government.

All ministers advocated for their areas of expertise, but in her view, Shaw made a significant contribution to the government even though he was not a member of the governing party, Ardern said.

When the agreement between Labour and the Greens was signed, Shaw and Davidson were named as individuals rather than the leadership of the party, to preserve the principle of the prime minister determining who the ministers are.

"That's not about personalities," she said.

Other MPs rule themselves out

Swarbrick joined other Green MPs who would not seek to become Shaw's replacement, including Eugenie Sage, who told RNZ she was not standing for co-leader and "strongly" supported Shaw.

MP Golriz Ghahraman said she would not be standing for the co-leadership.

MP Elizabeth Kerekere said she would likely issue a statement after the Green Party caucus met tomorrow but has not ruled herself out of the running.

No-one else other from Shaw has announced publicly that they are interested in seeking the role.

Speaking at a Parliament on Monday morning, Shaw said he took the events of the weekend seriously.

"I was surprised that the vote did go the way it did."

Shaw said he had heard from some branches of the party that did not cast a vote on Saturday, and he had been contacted by some members, "and that has reassured me that I had the support necessary to be able to retain the leadership".

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