Chris Trotter thinks the bloodless coup within the Greens is a move to push the Green party towards the right.
I think he is right…and as usual wrong at the same time.
RUSSEL NORMANâ€™S DECISION to step down as the Greens co-leader reflects the partyâ€™s longstanding determination to reposition itself rightward. For eight years Normanâ€™s personal energy and political discipline succeeded in turning aside the pleas of a clear majority of the Greensâ€™ membership to break the party out of its left-wing ghetto. Only by exploiting to the full his partyâ€™s consensus-based decision-making processes was Norman able to keep the Greens anchored firmly on the left of New Zealand politics.
For eight years Norman strove to fashion a Green Party manifesto that was not only compatible with the Labour Partyâ€™s policy platform but would, to a remarkable degree, serve as its inspiration. His astonishing and largely successful mission to master the challenges of contemporary economics; an effort which allowed him to participate in policy debates with an authority sadly lacking in his predecessors, and to drag Labour along in his wake, is probably the most impressive achievement of his leadership.
It was this ability to render the Greensâ€™ left-wing policies economically intelligible that allowed Norman to spike the guns of the Greensâ€™ very sizeable â€śmoderateâ€ť (for want of a better description) faction. The latter had demonstrated its power by installing Metiria Turei as co-leader â€“ rather than the overtly left-wing Sue Bradford â€“ following Jeanette Fitzsimonsâ€™ retirement in 2008. Had the rules made it possible, this same faction would have radically repositioned the Greens as an ideologically agnostic environmentalist party of the political centre; one capable of forming a coalition with either of the main political parties.