Gordon Campbell: From loonie Greens to boring Greens

His likely successor – Kevin Hague – will face the same problems after Norman has stepped down in May. At the moment, Hague is not confirming whether or not he is a contender, but the cupboard is not exactly full of other options. (It would be theoretically possible for the Greens to elevate talented new MP James Shaw, but unlikely.) In the meantime, Norman will continue as Co-Leader and as the Greens’ finance spokesperson.

When the party annual conference in May anoints the new leader however, there is a compelling argument for Norman to relinquish that finance role as well, in favour of Shaw. Not only would that help ensure that Hague is not upstaged by his predecessor, but the finance role would provide a useful platform for Shaw to lift his national profile, and widen his support base within the party. Hague would bring his own skills to the job. He is a solid performer and a good off-the-cuff public speaker, with prior senior management experience in public health. Hopefully, under Hague and Metiria Turei, the Greens might be able to gain some added traction with voters on health issues.

Still, Norman will be sorely missed. The Green Party – and Parliament- will be the poorer for losing his incisive debating skills, and his ability to launch credible attacks on the government’s economic and environmental settings. He has earned a break. The social demands of being Co-leader – the enforced bonhomie with journalists etc – often seemed like a conscious effort for him. In that respect, the grumpiness detected by some commentators post-election was not an aberration, but a sign of his natural tendency not to suffer fools gladly. All up, Norman’s departure does look like it is occurring at the right time, and for the right reasons.

In future, the interesting contrast – or lack of one – will be between Hague and Andrew Little. After May, it seems that the centre-left will be led by two quite similar political personalities – Little and Hague are both plain-talking, uncharismatic and capable managerial types with a good deal of integrity. The “loony left” label will be hard to apply to them. Yet the edgy intelligence that enabled Norman to reach younger, normally apolitical voters will be missing – at least until Shaw has earned his spurs.

I guess hope springs eternal, but Kevin has very little charisma.  There is no doubt in my mind that unless he becomes a manage of people that do, and he makes the mistake of being point man for the Greens, he will become the major cause of the further loss of support.

Problem with Norman was that although he was a good agitator – getting into the Government’s face – he wasn’t able to actually offer anything sensible as an alternative.  Not sensible enough to steal blue-green voters from National, anyway.

Will Hague be able to this?  It’s possible.   If he doesn’t bore them to death first.


– Scoop


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  • Time For Accountability

    On checking around my political science contacts and the good old truck driver in a public bar after work, they perceive Hague similar to Grant Robertson, a person who is out of touch and hiding in a sheltered environment.

    Very un – PC i know, but it was their reaction not mine.

    • Wallace Westland

      Well he’s brought it on himself.

      The trouble with Hague, like so many of the Rainbow brigade is they have spent so much time and effort wearing their sexuality on their sleeve and pushing their poofter agenda’s with it that all the hetro males are sick of them and won’t give them the time of day even if they had something useful to contribute. (Of course this is not true of many of the hetro females who of course find them charming and non threatening and like the big sister they never had)
      On top of which the man has the personality of a flounder.

      I’ve got my PC hat on today. How am I doing?

      • The Accountant

        I thought someone had stolen your sign-in Wallace. I’m missing your caustic quips!

        • Disinfectant

          Re comment below.
          Never tickle a sleeping tiger.

  • Rodger T

    Whatever happened to Gareth Hughes?
    He has completely disappeared,hope he has not disgraced himself somehow or can he just not cut it?

    • Just Mick

      Its great so good with no word from that half wit.

    • A Goldie

      Probably locked himself in the WC cubicle and his cry’s for Client to help him are falling on deaf ears.

      • Time For Accountability

        Yep Clint in is the Labour war room which is soundproof to the requirements of the outside world. Matt and Clint though have each other for company and thus believe they have 100% support for all their ideas because the other one always agrees.

        Gareth is like a puppy howling and crying in the wind and being ignored.

    • stephen2d

      Although looneys, I doubt the greens are that stupid to let Hughes anywhere near the co-leadership position.

      • OneTrack

        They let Turei have it.

        • Monty

          My thought exactly. The green taliban will remain batshit crazy with members such as Turei, Delaunty, hughes, the Ebola guy, and the others who I can’t even remember. Labour have no show whole these loonies drag the sensible (snigger snigger) greens down

  • “but a sign of his natural tendency not to suffer fools gladly” then why on earth did he join the Greens?

    • Papillon

      Putting up with his foolish co-leader is surely suffering.

  • jcpry

    But if Wussell doesn’t suffer fools gladly a) how has he put up with the rest of his caucus and b) how can he live with himself?

  • Captain Darling

    “He is a solid performer” read boring as batshit. Like Little, Hague had a personality by-pass. They have the charisma of boiled cabbage.

  • Rick H

    Hague – if I ever see him on “question time” again, uttering all his monotonous questions, almost identical each time, one after the other – –
    Gordon Bennett – – -I don’t think I could keep watching.