Green Party Leadership Challenge
Green Party member David Hay announced today that he intends to challenge Russel Norman for the co-leadership of the party.
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"Russel has been doing a great job for the Green Party, but he has been co-leader for six years now. While the party has grown in stature and credibility during Russel's tenure, we have new people in caucus, and there's fresh new talent among the party membership" said Mr Hay.
"There is a real possibility that the Greens will be in government after the next election, and the party needs to be putting its "A" team forward" said Mr Hay.
"I want to put Russel's leadership to the test: if he wins out, then he will lead the party into government with a renewed mandate. If somebody else does, then the party will be even stronger going into the next election."
"I'm putting myself forward because I have a vision for where the party needs to go next. There are three elements to that: Building the Green Party in Auckland, a clear focus on the party's core business, and lifting the party's performance as an organisation."
Building the Greens in Auckland
"I think one of the Party co-leaders should be based in Auckland, be well-informed on Auckland issues, and take a hands-on role in building the party's Auckland base."
"The Green Party has under-performed at winning votes in Auckland, and we need to turn that around. Only three members of the Green Party's 14 MPs are based in Auckland. We currently lack sufficient presence here, in New Zealand's largest city, where a third of the population live."
"I am an Aucklander: I was born, bred and educated here. For the past seven years I've worked at Manukau City Council and then at Auckland Council. I've got a good understanding of Aucklanders and Auckland's issues."
A Focus on Climate and Energy
"The Greens need to focus on their core business of environmental and economic sustainability. The Green Party caucus is covering a lot of issues and punching above our weight in parliament. But achieving that breadth of coverage comes at the expense of diluting our core messages."
"The recent report of the International Panel on Climate Change, and the poor results of the climate talks in Poland were wake-up calls for humanity. They are a kick in the pants for the New Zealand government, for the New Zealand business sector and for the Green Party."
"The Green Party needs to change itself, if it intends to succeed in changing the world."
"The Party has been very stable over the past twenty years, and I think that has built voter confidence. But we are at a point in our development as a party when we need to change, adapt and grow. If we are going to seriously tackle the big problems like climate change and transitioning to a zero-carbon economy then we need to be working faster, smarter and with a clearer focus."
"I have a background in organisational change management projects, among other things, and I would push the party's executive arm to make some significant changes to lift the party's capacity and performance at an organisational level."
The leadership challenge
"At this stage, I'm testing to see whether there is support within the party for change."
"Green Party leadership positions are decided by a vote of the delegates at the Annual General Meeting. This will be held on Queens Birthday weekend, 31 May to 2 June 2014, in Wellington."
Mr Hay (52) is currently ranked number 16 on the Green Party list. He was the Green Party's candidate for the high-profile seat of Epsom in the 2011 general election. He previously stood for the Rodney electorate in 2008, and on the Powerlynk ticket for the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust in 2009.
He has a BCom (Economics) and BA (Political Studies) from Auckland University, and a Master of Public Policy from Victoria University of Wellington. He is currently employed as a principal policy analyst at Auckland Council. Prior to the creation of the super city he was a Senior Policy Analyst at Manukau City Council. More on his website: www.sophocrat.co.nz