2 Feb 2024

Chlöe Swarbrick announces she will run for Greens co-leadership

1:24 pm on 2 February 2024
Chloe Swarbrick

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Chlöe Swarbrick has announced she will run to be the next co-leader of the Green Party.

It comes after current co-leader James Shaw announced earlier this week that he would be resigning from the job in March.

Swarbrick was considered by many to be the frontrunner for the job.

"I am a proud member of the Green Party," she said.

"More than any other party we understand that there is far greater leadership out there in the community than there is in the so-called halls of power. I am here to serve my communities.

"Over the past three days, they have asked me to stand up and put myself forward for this role.

It had been made clear the "the time is now," she said.

"As co-leader, I want to show everyone in this country the power running through their veins to choose our future. We cannot leave politics to the politicians."

Swarbrick said she would be spending the next few weeks speaking with Green Party members about her vision for the party's future and to ask for their support.

"If I am elected to work alongside Marama Davidson, I will grow the Green movement to achieve tangible, real-world, people-powered change - as I have since I first signed up - but now, at even greater scale.

Swarbrick said after conversations with Davidson, she would be leading the party through to the next election.

"That means more Green members across the country, running local campaigns and implementing local solutions. It means more Greens local body members, councillors and mayors. It means more Greens MPs in Parliament and ultimately, our nation's first Green-led government.

Swabrick said she came to politics to represent communities and described herself as a "well-researched radical" on Friday.

When asked how she would achieve her ambitious targets, she said they would get there by growing the Green movement and attracting "incredible talent to our ranks" to command power inside Parliament.

Swarbrick agreed, as Shaw said earlier this week, the Green Party had a very "fresh-faced" caucus.

She told Midday Report she can broaden her public appeal to reach her goal of leading the country's first Green-led government.

She said she demonstrated clearly in Auckland Central her capacity to reach across the aisle and change people's hearts and minds.

"And in an electorate which had a majority National Party vote and prior to that a majority Labour Party vote and we've continued to go the Green Party vote. I see that I can build on that at scale alongside the Honourable Marama Davidson."

She said she has already proven she can work with politicians across the political spectrum to get things done for the Green Party.

"I progressed, to my understanding, the first and only Green Party members' bill that's ever passed with complete consensus at all stages... the Election Access Fund Act... Also, it's pretty well on record and documented my robust and respectful relationship with mayor Wayne Brown. I look forward to continuing to do so without obviously compromising my values."

Swarbrick said she considered the abuse and vitriol faced by young women in leadership positions before taking the role.

"I've gotta be honest about the fact that of course I weighed up the abuse and the scrutiny and all of those other things in deciding to step into this... But ultimately I believe change comes from community building but that's also where resilience comes from so feel really grateful to have the support of many people around me."

Swarbrick first became known when she ran for the Auckland mayoralty in 2016 at just 22.

The underdog, she ended up in third place with 29,098 votes.

With the help of a few close friends and followers, she ran her campaign on just over $7000 - about $500,000 less than her closest competitors. She swapped billboards for t-shirts, and television ads for town hall bookings.

Just a month later, she joined the Green Party.

A number of Green MPs have already ruled themselves out of going for the role, including newcomer Steve Abel, and Ricardo Menéndez March, who said his focus was supporting the current caucus and future co-leadership team in his role as musterer.

Nominations have to be in by 14 February and on 16 February, ballot papers will be sent out,. After that, policy conferences and party wide zoom calls will take place. Branches will then hold internal discussions with ballots to be returned by 8 March. The new co-leader will be announced on 10 March.

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