Who will lead with James Shaw?

After Metiria Turei resigned as co-leader of the Green Party before the 2017 general election, the position of a female co-leader was left vacant.

That is, until now.

Nominations for co-leader of the Green Party are set to open on Friday, the 2nd of February, and the race for a new female co-leader will run right up until April 8th.

Please note: Members of the Green Party are allowed to run even if they aren’t a Member of Parliament.

Marama Davidson

Pros: She is not a minister or undersecretary in the new government, which means she’ll easily be able to juggle the responsibilities of being co-leader with her other commitments. Davidson lives in Auckland, and an Auckland co-leader could pull in more votes for the Green Party than Metiria Turei who resided in Dunedin. She has a strong focus on housing, Māori and pacific rights, and poverty. She is a former Human Rights Commission worker and has extensive knowledge in that sector. Another positive for Davidson is that she was placed second on the Green Party list for the 2017 election, and most people who follow politics have definitely heard her name before.

Cons: She is a relatively new MP and entered Parliament on the Green Party list when former co-leader Russel Norman resigned. This means she doesn’t have as much experience as a Member of Parliament than some other MPs who may be running for co-leader. In addition, she can fall out of the party line sometimes. In 2016, Davidson was detained for being on a “peace boat” to Gaza, highlighting how Israel blocked the Gaza Strip and their treatment of Palestinians.

Julie Anne Genter

Pros: Has extensive knowledge in the transport sector, previously worked as a transport economist. She has a degree in politics and planning practice, which would be relevant for her as a party co-leader. Genter has been a Green MP since 2011, and holds more experience than Marama Davidson in Parliament. She is the current Minister for Women, and the Associate Minister of Health and Transport. With knowledge on social issues, she could answer questions and concerns with ease as co-leader. Just like Marama Davidson, Julie Anne Genter also lives in Auckland.

Cons: Genter has a strong American accent which led some Green voters to claim they “only want a Kiwi co-leader.” This could be a potential problem for Genter as previous Green voters may switch to another party. Critics of Genter have said that she is “similar” to James Shaw, the current male co-leader, and that voters wouldn’t want two co-leaders who are similar. Otherwise, what’s the point of having co-leaders?

In between: Genter could stray the Green Party away from focusing on environmental issues if she was elected co-leader, which could be a vote winner from voters who are passionate about other issues. On the other hand, it could take votes away from the Greens as some people vote Green because of their environmental policies.

Eugenie Sage

Pros: Sage is the current Minister of Conservation and has a strong environmental background. She was previously a local councillor at Environment Canterbury, and is a life member of Forest and Bird. She is the main force behind the Green Party’s strong environmental focus, which draws in a majority of their voter base. She has been an MP since 2011 and has more experience in Parliament than Marama Davidson.

Cons: As most voters know that the Green Party have an environmental strongpoint, Sage may not bring social issues to the table as much as Marama Davidson or Julie Anne Genter would. She may focus extensively on the environment, even though issues like housing, poverty, and education have recently been more in the public eye. Sage is older than other co-leader candidates, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, the Green Party gained from having young candidates such as Chloe Swarbrick, Hayley Holt, and Jack McDonald.

In between: Eugenie Sage lives in Christchurch, which could gain the Greens votes in the city, but votes may be lost in Auckland and Wellington as a result.

Jan Logie, the current undersecretary focusing on sexual violence and assault, has stated she will not be running for co-leader. Chloe Swarbrick and Golriz Ghahraman say they don’t have the experience to be co-leader in their first Parliamentary term.

Next Green Party co-leader? It’s all in the air.