Wednesday, 07 February 2024 11:55

Editorial: The last of the real Greens

Written by  Staff Reporters
Outgoing Green Party co-leader James Shaw. Outgoing Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

OPINION: James Shaw is the last of the real Greens – a person who until the end has lived up to the ideals of the original NZ Green Party, which first entered Parliament in 1999 when one of its founders, Jeanette Fitzsimmons, historically won the Coromandel seat. Rod Donald and Mike Ward were the other key founding members.

In its early years the Green Party was the flag bearer for the environment and while many people questioned its policies, it was widely respected.

Fitzsimmons was seen as a strong and uncompromising advocate for the environment, but her advocacy was couched in moderate and reasonable language.

Shaw carried on this tradition to the bitter end; A man with a lifetime commitment to advocacy for green ideals. Described as affable, engaging, gentle and kind he was also intelligent and a smart politician. He will be remembered as a great Climate Change Minister and for the passing of the Zero Carbon Act.

Shaw has not walked away from the Greens – they have walked away from him. To call the present party ‘Green’ stretches the imagination to the limit. It is known in some circles as the ‘watermelon party’ – a thin layer of green on the outside, but red on the inside. While the party bats on about climate change, it seems to be placing more and more emphasis on hard left-wing social issues which will ensure that it forever will remain just an opposition party.

The moderate and pragmatic approach of Shaw, now seems unwanted in the Green Party, which is looking more bedraggled by the day – not helped by the recent Golriz Ghahraman saga. Despite the party winning more seats in the last election, one must question where its future lies and who it really appeals to, other than an array of disaffected individuals.

Sadly, the reality is that Shaw is too good for the Greens and will probably go on to carve out another stellar career in business.

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